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We took a three day mini break in Miami last week and I wanted to share some of the highlights.  Miami, staying at the Loew’s Miami Beach, is a surprisingly great weekend getaway with kids.  There are a lot of resorts around Miami – the kind of “check in and don’t leave the compound” type of places, but with kiddos I’ve found it’s nice to have options (what if it rains?!).  The Loew’s caught my eye because it is centrally located and universally well reviewed for families.  And, we weren’t disappointed! The hotel is right on the beach, which felt exotic beyond belief after this past winter in NYC. Our room (806 if you want to book this exact view below!) was big-ish with direct ocean views, good room service, super-friendly/unpretentious staff, and the pool and beach were a 3 minute walk.  The flight from NYC is direct and the hotel convenient to both beach and city things (we walked directly to Wolfsonian and restaurants from the hotel). There is a kids club, but, really only for kids who are strong swimmers (Alex is not). Alex loved the pool however, and it was full of other families so we felt right at home.   To get seats at the pool or the beach you need to head out early (around 9am). Also, the chairs on the actual beach in front of the hotel are owned by a third party and you pay extra for them. But worth it.  Lots of families were out there the whole day (the hotel provides all sorts of sand toys).

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Meals

We didn’t even scratch the surface of food in Miami, but everywhere we ate was good.  We really loved Mandolin Miami  and La Sandwicherie.  Yardbird was good, too.

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We also checked out the Wolfsonian and the Perez museums which were actually the highlight of our trip.

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Spotted: Red cabinets!

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Been looking around and here’s what I’ve been seeing.  1) Liberty fabric 2) Vintage Russian postcards 3) faded pink rugs.

 

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Joanna posted these illustrations by Nathan W. Pyle today and I laughed and laughed. #nycisthebestandworst

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My mom sent me one of these plastic bag holders (that she made!) a few years ago. It is easily one of my favorite kitchen tools –  so satisfying to have a place for the plastic bags (instead of under the sink or in the trash).  Yesterday this elegant striped version popped up on Food 52 ($20) and I just had to share with you!

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Some of you will remember the sprouted sweet potato that caught my eye in Paris last year (see all about that trip here).  Imagine my delight when I walked into my parents house last week and saw that my mother had not only sprouted a sweet potato, but PLANTED it!  The vining action made me particularly happy.  I’ve sprouted sweet potatoes before, but they eventually rot, so this potted approach is what I’m going to try next …

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Alex and I took a rainy walk this morning in North Carolina and took turns taking photos.  These are my favorites and here is one Alex took of some roadkill outside my parents house.   5 year olds!!

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We all have the nice tuckered out from the beach and pool feeling, which is much better than the tired out from work and school feeling. #vivavacation

PS: Daily Dose of Woods from here. 

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We’re in Miami for a few days –  Alex is headed to the hotel kids club at 9am and then I’m going to sit on the beach and read the paper without any interruptions for a few hours.  Any Miami recommendations? Particularly for dinner tonight? We ate at Lure and Yardbird yesterday and both were tasty. The Wolfsonian is on the list for tomorrow.  But otherwise, not plans, no reservations!

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These photographs of New York storefronts were taken by James and Karla Murray in 2004 – the year I moved to NYC.  A lot has changed in ten years – see for yourself.  However, I like the photos from 2004 the best of all.

 

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How To Be Productive

Infographic designed by annavital
I liked this one, especially:
“Define your fashion uniform. Wear it daily.”
“When you read something helpful, write to the author”
“Do a bad first draft”
and my favorite: “Better done than perfect”, my version of which is “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”

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I came across this string on Good Reads via Smart Bitches Trashy Books a year or two ago and have been slowly working my way through the list (I’ll request a few from the library at a time).  A good book is the best therapy money can buy and I love having a long, long list to work through!  Sunday was just one of those days around here (doing our taxes, open houses, life not going according to plan, you know, the usual!).  We had a long subway ride to Brooklyn to go see an open house and I decided to take a time out with a good book  - The Winter Witch ($2.99 Kindle version) - to see if I could shift my attitude and the tenor of the day.  The hour flew by as I got sucked into the hills of Wales (with sheep! and magic! and PONIES!) and a bit of love and redemption, too. After the dust settled, I joked to Tim that we need to have a Kindle preloaded with some new-to-me books mounted on the wall with a “break glass in case of emergency” sign.   Do you read to calm down, too?  Also, if you haven’t read Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, it’s a modern fairy tale treat!

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After a doctor’s appointment on the East side this afternoon Alex and I did a little wander.  We popped into the Ukrainian Institute ($5 suggested donation), an old world mansion on 5th Avenue.  We saw some modern art and some amazing architecture.  But really, we came for the Ukrainian eggs on the third floor!

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Then, we had a dinner date at Serafina, all alone on the airy third floor (which used to be their roof!).  A glass of multipulciano (for me) later, and a pizza and platter of ravioli (for Alex) we rolled on to the Metropolitan Museum, where Alex was in charge of our itineracy.  We saw the knights, the Egyptian temple, we saw the American Wing (returned three times to the guitar player in the American Wing Courtyard) and ended the night in the Greek and Roman Gallery “what happened to their arms?” (and other body parts…) Alex asked of all the armless and member-less male statues.  A few weeks ago when I was despairing about finding the right place for our family (another bid on an apartment fell through, this time on the UES) a friend said to me  ”New York is a place of highs and lows” and boy is that the truth.

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This morning I almost missed my stop on the subway because I was so absorbed in Bernd Heinrich’s Winter World.  It seems counterintuitive that just as winter is ending I can’t get enough of descriptions of how animals survive the cold.  Heinrich brings to life the world of the woods in a compelling and readable way for those of us who are far from being scientists.

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