Month: March 2015 (page 2 of 3)

Miami: Travel Diary

miami path to beach access{The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside}

My husband and I just got back from a long, relaxing weekend in sunny Miami.  It was the perfect getaway: convenient to get to from the east coast, beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, great food.  Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip and my list of places to check out while in Miami if you are planning a trip there soon or if you are looking for new spots to check out next time you are in the area.

miami morning rooftop pool and ocean view {The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside}


The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside – This is the best spot for a quiet retreat with beautiful views of both the ocean and the bay.  The hotel is close enough to all of the great restaurants and nightlife of South Beach while remaining peaceful and serene.  The rooftop pool is a must: amazing view and free yoga included with your stay each morning.  This is also my pick of places to stay if you are looking to bring kids.  The pool on the first level of the hotel is kid-friendly with quick access to the beach and the oceanfront suites have a separate sleeping area and bathroom for the little ones.  And the French-inspired restaurant that has indoor and outside seating serves a great brunch.

The Raleigh – I loved the Art Deco architecture of South Beach and this hotel highlights that fun, vibrant style.  You will find funky poolside cabanas and vintage furniture in each guest room.

The Miami Beach EDITION – Brand spanking new and full of life, this hotel is top-notch in every way.  It is so chic and impeccably decorated.  Their restaurant, The Matador Room, was my favorite place to eat while in Miami.  And they have an entire basement filled with an ice skating rink, nightclub and a bowling alley.

Loews Miami Beach Hotel – This hotel is located in the heart of South Beach, so it’s the perfect spot for those looking to be situated just steps away from busy Ocean Ave, Lincoln Road and the beach.  Another bonus is a great spa on premise.

miami the betsy hotel{BLT Steak Miami at the Betsy Hotel South Beach}


The Front Porch Cafe – A great location to view the crowds on Ocean Ave over brunch.  And you can fuel up before lots of walking to check out all of the stores on Lincoln Road.

BLT Steak Miami – Best lunch spot for a really great burger, big salad and lots of people watching on the front porch of the Betsy Hotel located in the center of South Beach on Ocean Ave.

The Matador Room – We loved this place so much we went for dinner and went back another day for lunch.  This restaurant, located at the hotel, Miami Beach EDITION, serves amazing sweet pea and pumpkin seed guacamole, and their BBQ pork and chipotle chicken tacos were my favorite meal of the trip.  At night, enjoy cocktails in their indoor bar while you wait for your table or their outdoor bar that overlooks the blue-lit pool.

miami edition pool{Relaxing poolside at the Miami Beach EDITION hotel}


Rent Bikes – Cruise along the long stretch of sidewalk between the ocean and the heart of South Beach, just north of Ocean Ave.  Around 15th Street is a great place to start out.

Mango’s Tropical Cafe South Beach – Catch a live show or salsa at this busy nightclub.

Deep Sea Fishing – Charter a boat with your family or with a group and go deep sea fishing or just explore the waters of Miami.

miami morning light{Early morning view on our balcony at The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside}

miami rooftop yoga{Rooftop yoga at The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside}

miami matador room lunch{Matador Room, at the Miami Beach EDITION hotel}

miami moscow mule{Oak Tavern, Downtown Miami}

miami packing list zoom{Triangl Swimwear is a beach must-have}

miami matador room date night{Matador Room, at The Miami Beach EDITION hotel}

miami beach{Beach entrance at The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside}

miami edition pool 2{The Miami Beach EDITION pool}

miami matador room date night 2{Matador Room, at the Miami Beach EDITION}

miami blue vibes{Early evening view out our oceanfront suite at The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside}

Go out and explore Miami and let me know some of your favorite spots there, too!

xo gina


Miami: Packing List

miami packing list

So, I got a lot of questions about where to get some of the items on my packing list for Miami and I thought I would share them here.  Miami is such as easy destination to pack for because you are looking for simple, lightweight pieces that can transition from pool to brunch to beach.  And a couple of swim suits will be your uniform all day long if the weather is right.  Make sure to bring some comfortable workout gear for morning walks on the beach, bike rides and rooftop yoga.  At night, airy dresses and rompers with sleeves are perfect for drinks at a fun outside bar, then dinner in a cooler, air conditioned restaurant.

miami packing list 2

Top: The Sassy Shop Girl, similar HERE and HERE

Cut Off Shorts: old Stitch denim cut-offs, similar HERE and HERE

Wedges: old from the GAP, other favorites HERE and HERE

Tassel Necklace (Purple and White): Shop Candy Apple

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Wayfarer

Bikini: Triangl

Lightweight Sweater: Topshop

White Denim: Topshop

Tassel Necklace (Green and Orange): Topshop

Bold Clutch: Shop Candy Apple

Bikini: Triangl

{Some other favorite items packed and not pictured in the photo}

Lace Shift Dress: American Eagle

Sandals: Tory Burch

Romper: American Eagle

Crop Yoga Pants: Lululemon

Long Sleeve Workout Top: Lululemon

Nike Vomero 9 Running Shoes: Fleet Feet Sports

miami packing list zoom

Happy Monday!







Homemade Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

almond butter cup 5

Lately, I have been on an almond butter kick.  Spreading it on whole wheat toast in the morning, on apple slices topped with mini-chocolate chips in the afternoon, and I was looking for another way to enjoy it for dessert, besides my no-bake snack bites (recipe found HERE).  I decided to melt some dark chocolate and make almond butter cups.  For the filling, I wasn’t sure if there was anything I should add to the natural, creamy almond butter, so I found this method on the blog, Sprouted Kitchen and tried her version.  The mini-cups were the perfect size for a small treat that was not overly indulgent.  I made two larger ones, too, to see how they would come out and they tasted just as amazing, only they were really thick, loaded with tons of chocolate and almond butter and needed to be shared or eaten in two sittings!

almond butter cups 1 {Ingredients and instructions slightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen}


  • About 10 oz. or a little less than one bag of Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers (the whole bag is 12 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter (I use Barney Butter, smooth almond butter)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • sea salt flakes for topping

almond butter cups 4{With these measurements, I made 12 mini-cups and 2 large cups}


1.     Melt chocolate wafers in a double boiler (a pot of simmering water with a bowl resting on top).  Stir constantly for about 5 minutes or until smooth.

2.     Set liners in a mini muffin tin, to help the cups hold shape.  Spoon about one teaspoon of the melted chocolate into the bottom of a liner.  Tilt and twist it around so the chocolate coats the side of the liner and rest it back in the tin.  Repeat with remaining papers.

3.     Mix the almond butter, honey, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together until smooth to make the filling.  Scoop out about one teaspoon of the almond butter filling and gently roll it into a ball between your palms. Gently press it down on top of the thin chocolate puddle.  Repeat.  Spoon about one more teaspoon or slightly more of the melted chocolate, on top of each almond butter ball to cover completely.  Sprinkle a pinch of flaked sea salt on each one and chill in the fridge to set.

almond butter cups 2


1.   I was able to make 12 mini cups and with the remaining chocolate and almond butter mixture, I was able to also make two large cups, which I set in regular-sized muffin liners in a large muffin tin.

almond butter cups 3


Roundup: Clutches I Am Loving Right Now

Sometimes a whole new wardrobe just isn’t practical, but if you are still looking to change up what lingers in your closet, the easiest way to reinvent an outfit without breaking the bank is with accessories.  And a clutch is a great way to add a little punch to a dress that you have had forever or your staple uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.  Here is a roundup of 12 fun clutches I am loving right now.

clutches 1

{Top Row, Left to Right: Sophisticated, deep forest green / This go-to evening fold-over clutch for date nights can be unfolded and pairs with jeans just as well}

{Middle Row, Left to Right: Unique and intricate embroidery detail / A preppy color combination perfect for summers at the shore}

{Bottom Row, Left to Right: Pebble textured bold cobalt blue brightens things up / A feminine bag that can be casual or dressy}

clutches 2

{Top Row, Left to Right: Simple, beautifully constructed with a punch of neon pink / Perforated leather in classic black that will never go out of style}

{Middle Row, Left to Right: Beach-ready raffia stripe clutch / A funky, festive bag with colorful stitching and pom-pom details}

{Bottom Row, Left to Right: Modern print meets old-world leather / Fun fringe clutch in a flattering shade that converts into a cross-body bag}



A Few Of My Favorite Things {On Etsy This Week}…

{A few of my favorite things on Etsy this week}

lululuvs rainbow bows

1.     Kayakilims.  Quality kilim rugs perfect for every room from the bathroom to the staircase to the living room, that are sent from Turkey with love.


2.     Lululuvs.  I have two girls, so we go through (and lose) a ton of bows around here.  These are some of the cutest I have seen.

lululuvsbkln3.     LovesAffect.  I am really into the tassel necklace trend right now and these feature some beautiful raw cut stones.


4.     GlamFeteByBri.  This shop has the best balloon tassels and tissue garland in some great color combinations.  I love to use her items to decorate nurseries and parties.


Happy Friday!

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