Gift Guide: Miami Edition

Happy Shopping Madness Season!

A trend in 2017 that I have seriously enjoyed is how much positive popularity Miami has gained thanks to several entrepreneurs who had a vision and ran with it. I wanted to highlight a few of them because they’re worth all the praise in the world.

Martha of Miami

I love attention to detail. I love puns. I love satire. I love graphic tees. Martha from Martha of Miami manages to nail all those in her work. She also has mugs, tank tops, bathing suits, dad caps, and the famous batas de casa.

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You’re not from Miami if you don’t understand that greatness that this design is. It basically captures Miami and its diversity in its entirety. From Walter Mercado to the Cuban dominoes. If it’s from Miami, she’s got you.

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My personal favorite is the Cuban Bred t-shirt. It combines my heritage with my favorite item on every Cuban menu…Cuban bread. The sticker on the lower right corner is the brand’s claim to fame…the Pina Colada. A play on words with photos like no other. You can find her amazing items for your family this Christmas on www.marthaofmiami.com.

The Salty Donut

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A picture is worth a thousand words. The geniuses at The Salty Donut craft these gorgeous creations on a daily basis for their ever growing customer count. They are the year round Knaus Berry farm and they never get old. They transform your taste buds in such a way that any other doughnut tastes like cardboard. People stand in line for HOURS to have their lives revolutionized by the place. Your family and friends will love you forever and ever if you show up with a box of these for Christmas or you can turn it into a family outing. Have a Nutella one on me.

Hubs & Hers

Technically they’re not in Miami, but they’re close enough in Florida to be considered. Hubs and Hers is a business owned by a young couple who are so madly in love with each other, they decided to turn that love into a business. They make it all. Mugs, shirts, keychains, and even flannel shirts. Couples nowadays really do not appreciate each other as much as we should. Loyalty, respect, and compassion is something we need to give each other more. This company is a fabulous way to express your love to your significant other. Married or not!

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Their claim to fame comes from the “His Babe” collection and their witty ways of making love cool again.

Any Miami business I miss? Let me know!

Disclaimer: This post isn’t sponsored. I wrote this because I wanted to highlight Miami businesses and celebrate their hard work.

Happy Shopping!

-T.

 

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Do’s & Don’ts: Chicago Edition

Hello Everyone!

Slowly but surely I plan on making Miami Obsessed a travel and fashion blog. In that process I decided that an important step would be to offer my tips and tricks when it comes to certain cities. Today I want to share my (AMAZING) Chicago experience. I will be describing Chicago in the winter because that is when I visited.

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Do’s!

  • Make sure to pack thermals and warm clothing because Chicago winters are no joke and the wind is unforgiving. This Miami girl was freezing!
  • Invest in a CityPass — it includes the Shedd Aquarium, the Skydeck (which isn’t for everyone), and The Field Museum just to name a few. The CityPass pays for itself and you get to visit all the main tourist points in Chicago.
  • Try Chicago style pizza. I, personally, did not enjoy it because I am not a fan of sauce but it’s great to say that I tried it.
  • Go in the “off-season” because Chicago can get packed and quickly.
  • Visit the Magnificent Mile! If you’re a bargain shopper like I am, you need to visit the TJ Maxx and the Marshall’s. The quality is so different.
  •  Have appetizers at the Purple Pig — we really enjoyed our time there and we met some interesting folks.
  • Drink the most delicious hot chocolate you have ever had at Dollop Coffee Company  — their chocolate chip cookies are also life changing. (The irish pub next door makes the best hash for brunch. I wasn’t blogging then so I forgot the name, but I know it was amazing.)
  • Take some time to visit the Navy Pier. Definitely an interesting sight and you’re close to the Bean!
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I took this from the John Hancock building. If you are not a fan of heights, do not eat here and do not visit the Skydeck.

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The Adler Planetarium is where I’d have my wedding if I lived in Chicago. You can tell that a lot of thought and detail is put into enabling visitors to interact with their exhibits. (Fun Fact: You get a ticket to their space show when you buy the CityPass!)

Don’ts!

  • Walk around without a lip balm. You will seriously hate yourself for not moisturizing your skin and your lips. The wind, like I said, is unforgiving.
  • Jaywalk. In Chicago this is apparently frowned upon.
  • Visit any of the viewing building if you are afraid of heights or elevators. It takes a minute to get to the top of the SkyDeck and it takes another minute to get back down. You can visit the “Tilt!” attraction if you really want an adrenaline rush — I passed on that.
  • Expect to have cell signal when you’re high up in the buildings.
  • Only drink Starbuck’s coffee. Chicago has delicious little coffee shops that allow you to explore.

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If you have any questions — you can email me at: miamiobsessed@gmail.com OR visit me on Instagram (@miamiobsessed)!

-T.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. These are my own opinions and anything I suggest purchasing in this post, I purchased with my own money.

 

Date Night Idea: Miami Heat Game

Hi Everyone!

The word boring never comes to mind when describing Miami. There is always something to do in Miami and because of that sometimes things may get overwhelming and we end up not doing anything. I wanted to start a new series called: “Date Night Idea” where I will feature something to do in Miami that might inspire you on your next date night.

My boyfriend and I (read: my boyfriend) are Miami Heat season ticket holders. (In case you are wondering…no we are not over the fact that Dwayne Wade left.) We really enjoy the sport and the games are incredibly exciting. Not to mention the amount of celebrities there is insane.

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Tickets

Tickets are pretty affordable and you can always count on one, unless it’s the Playoffs. When we don’t have tickets, but we want to see a team we typically go onto Ticketmaster OR we check StubHub.

Food & Drinks

If I am having an “adult beverage” I typically order the Bacardi Double Mojito. These are pricey, but if you’re like me and you milk your drinks you will be fine. Food this season is a little different. There are a few new vendors and they decided to take away the best one (Pincho Factory) which is truly depressing. This past game we went to against the Chicago Bulls was my first game this season. I had my usual drink, but ordered the worst nachos at Bodega. Their tacos are amazing, but the nachos are really dry, so my advice is to steer clear. Haagen Daaz is always a favorite as well.

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Attire

You can pretty much go as casual as you’d like (this does not mean pajamas) but I am not the type of person that is casual so I always wear heels.

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Outfit details: Shoes are from Nordstrom by Michael Kors (super old); Jeans: Black High-Waisted from Forever 21; Jersey: Miami Heat Dwayne Wade #3.

-T.

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Hello Lovelies!

One of my favorite things to do is cook and this recipe I am sharing today is one of my favorite (and best recipes) of all time. It is an easy dinner for two that takes less than an hour to make.

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Ingredients:

  • Salmon
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Non-stick Cooking Spray
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic Salt
  • Optional: Garlic Butter, Lime Juice.

Supplies:

  • Baking Sheet
  • Aluminum Foil

Cooking Steps:

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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place salmon on baking sheet already sprayed with nonstick-spray. (Note: We buy our salmon at Costco. You just need to make sure it is defrosted completely when cooking. We also really enjoy the Kirkland brand cooking spray because it is a way better value than PAM at Costco.)

DSC_0394.JPG3. Sprinkle a generous coat of the lemon pepper and garlic salt over the salmon after drizzling some of the extra virgin olive oil over it. Rub it in and cover the pan with aluminum foil. (Sometimes I add a little bit of garlic butter in the center so it melts when cooking and I spread it over before serving. You can also add lime juice, which makes a huge difference.)

4. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Ta-da!

I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as my boyfriend does.

-T.

South Beach Seafood Festival

Hello Everyone!

Over the weekend South Beach hosted the South Beach Seafood Festival and that’s how I celebrated my birthday. There were various events during the weekend, but we attended the festival on Saturday with the VIP passes. The bars were open (read: wide open) and in the VIP section had various little tents where you could eat for free. The tents outside charged for the food, in cash or tickets, and the lines were so ridiculous. There is honestly no other word for it.

I wanted to highlight the two places we enjoyed the most within the VIP Lounge.

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The first one was Papa’s Raw Bar where they had shrimp cocktails, ceviche, and the most delicious squid salad I have ever tasted. It was infused with soy sauce and I swear I must have had at least seven of these little cups. My boyfriend’s favorite part of their kiosk were their oyster shooters. This consisted of a raw oyster with vodka, hot sauce, and horse radish. Very delicious, but very dangerous.

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Next up was American Social and they made the most delicious paella I have ever had in my life. There were so many ingredients it’s hard to list them all. The chorizo stood out the most and the mussels as well. We loved the seasoning and the consistency of the paella. The key is to make sure the rice isn’t dry and the seafood either.

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To keep the tradition — the outfit details for my little birthday staycation: Top is from Marshalls; Shorts are Gap Shorts; Sandals are Jack Rogers; Hat is from Charming Charlie.

-T.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Welcome back!

Today I continue my blog posts on Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. I wanted share with you all my experience at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The resort is adjacent to Volcano Bay and is a Universal Orlando property as well so you have access to City Walk, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure through shuttle because you are on property.

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Cabana Bay Perks!

  • The resort is right next to Volcano Bay so you can walk to the park bright and early and walk right in. At least that’s how it went for us. It was such a simple stroll and because you are a resort guest, you have access to the park an hour prior to the park opening. (This helps because Volcano Bay takes no time in reaching capacity.)
  • The view from our room was SPECTACULAR. We could see park guests drop from the free-fall slides inside the Volcano and we could see both the pool and the lazy river from our window.
  • The resort is decorated in 1950’s and 1960’s decor and that makes it that much cuter. The toiletries are labeled as they were in that era and you can see details all around the resort. Including the bowling alley!
  • You won’t have to worry about being bored at the hotel all day if you can’t get into Volcano Bay. The resorts has two very large pools and a lazy river that is beyond refreshing.

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Cabana Bay “Room for Improvement” Areas

  • Mornings are hectic when you are on vacation with three kids and need to get to a theme park before it’s full. I think it would be beneficial for both guests and their corporate offices if they added another area for families to enjoy breakfast. The line at Starbucks was quite lengthy and the buffets at the breakfast area were full as well.
  • My family and I were really excited about the lazy river. Everybody loves a lazy river but our excitement died down a lot when we were told that we had to buy the inner tubes. $47 later and we were able to float. They were overpriced and this isn’t something I was able to read about anywhere so you heard it here first…they charge for inner tubes. (Some are as high as $15!)
  • Maybe we were disoriented or maybe not, but when we left the building we were staying at (The Americana) we could only find one way to leave the resort. The line went slowly and it went around the lot because it appears that there’s only one way to exit Cabana Bay. The wait added 45 minutes to our trip back to Miami.

At the end of the day we had fun and really enjoyed the wonderful parts about Cabana Bay. The proximity to Volcano Bay didn’t hurt either. We would probably stay again if we revisited Volcano Bay, but we hope that these minor issues won’t be there anymore.

-T.

 

 

Universal’s Volcano Bay!

Universal Studios (finally) built a water park in Orlando to compete with Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Wet N’ Wild is gone and the Coco Key water park does not really offer enough options for kids that want to do it all. Volcano Bay is brand new. So new that we visited on the 30 day mark of the park opening. I wanted to share some of the things I learned while at the park and some tips for when you decide to visit.

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Volcano Bay Pro’s

  • Fun for all ages. The age range in my party ranged from 7 to 40. Every single one of us had fun in our own way. I’m sure that their idea was to make this a destination for families and they hit the nail on the head.
  • Sprinklers all over the park to maintain the floor cooled. My feet only burnt while on the sand where my chair was located, but throughout the park they keep the floors wet so guests do not burn their feet and that, to me, is BRILLIANT.
  • Volcano Bay opens at 9:00 a.m. for all guests, but if you stay on property like we did you have special early access to the park at 8:00 a.m. (This was a life saver because the park was closed by 10:00 a.m. due to capacity requirements.)

Tapu-Tapu

For those that don’t know, Tapu-Tapu is Universal’s version of the Magic Band but exclusively for Volcano Bay. Personally, I loved this idea, but it needs its little tweaks.

  • No waiting in line for hours on end because you can simply register your band at the ride and go about the park enjoying other parts of the park.
  • The bracelet vibrates when your window to go in line opens and you can walk right on over.
  • You can connect your credit card to the bracelet and make purchases around the park. Your personal PIN ensures that no one else uses your card in case you lose your band.
  • When you’re registered you cannot register for another attraction, but you can ride the slides that are “Ride Now” attractions. IF you are lucky enough to find one, then you’re in good shape. If not, then you can have some lunch or float around in the two different lazy rivers.
  • The Tapu-Tapus fall off very easily and that becomes a hassle when you have kids with you on your trip.
  • The bands do not tell time so you lose track of it pretty easily.

Volcano Bay’s “Room for Improvement” Areas

  • The food options are too exotic for children to pick from (and ridiculously overpriced) and even for some adults.
  • The Tapu-Tapu bands are really easy to lose and it takes a while to have them replaced because of the long line.
  • Add more umbrellas or trees because the sand burnt my feet in the few seconds I dared walk through it.
  • Figure out a better system with the weight limits on the rides. In practically every ride, my family was split up because we had two big men in the group.
  • Encourage the lifeguards to speak to guests as though they were at Disney World.

I definitely recommend experiencing Volcano Bay with your family, friends or by yourself at some point in your life because it is incredibly fun and the adrenaline rushes are worth the hype the park is getting from all angles.

Enjoy!

-T.