Tag Archives: Florida

Mini Vacay: Delray Beach!!!

Last week, for a quick getaway between Chet’s summer session classes and the fall semester (#professorlife), we loaded up the car and headed to Delray Beach, FL. We stayed in the lovely Delray Beach Marriott, which I’d highly recommend. Due to my work schedule, we knew we could only escape for a few days. But the hour drive from our home meant we had our toes in the sand by 10 am! Plus, the short stay, coupled with choosing a Tues-Thurs time-frame, meant we could splurge on accommodations.

We drove up on Tuesday morning and immediately parked beachside. After an hour or so, some rain clouds started rolling in. But that gave us the perfect excuse to grab brunch at Caffe Luna Rosa. The watermelon mojito is a must! Afterwards, we explored the Pineapple Grove Arts District, read books while enjoying some afternoon coffee, and then headed to the hotel for check-in followed by quick dips in the pool and hot tub.

We got cleaned up for dinner. Burgers and fries are a beach vacay favorite of mine. And went for a long walk along the beach…

delray beach ocean

Do you spy our shadows?

delray beach photographer

Gotta get those ‘grams!

brooklyn girls by gemma burgess

Wednesday was our full day so we headed to the beach bright and early. I brought along Brooklyn Girls for a fast and fun beachy read. We read, swam, and soaked in as much Vitamin SEA as possible.

Chet recently got this old school Polaroid working. (We found it at a flea market.) So we also snapped a roll of film. Presto! So satisfying.

mariott hotel delray polaroid photograph

Here’s one I took of our hotel. Doesn’t it look like it could have been taken in the 70’s. I love the vintage-y vibes. I’d love to find a cool way to display all the pics we took because I’m pretty obsessed with them. Any ideas??

mariott hotel towel service

One way we made this quick trip feel longer? After a full morning and early afternoon at the beach, we packed it in, ate a quick lunch of sandwiches and fruit in our hotel room, and then headed out for round two at our hotel’s pool. I was pretty enamored with the idea of a towel made to the exact specs of the lounge chairs (it’s the little things, people!) and of course the poolside wait-staff. #luxury

We finished off the evening with a trip to a cheesy, quintessential beachside restaurant for conch fritters and frozen beverages.

The next day, we clicked repeat on the beach, had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at 11 am (because why not?) and then headed home in the afternoon. What an amazing getaway!

So long for now, Delray! We can’t wait to come back.

Have you ever been to Delray Beach? Do you like taking quick trips to recharge or do you prefer to really settle in to a place for maximum relaxation? Got any hot tips on where we should take our next mini vacay!? Let me know! xoxo

Advertisements

mid-week round-up

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!!! Did you BBQ? Pop fireworks? Sing patriotic songs while you packed for upcoming travel?! *raises hand for that last one* I’m on my way to Kentucky today! I’ll be hanging out with my Mom for the next couple days and I can’t wait. (I have an embarrassingly long list of food you can only get in Lexington that I want to consume during my short visit.) Hope everyone’s day is peachy and here are a few links for your amusement…

Central Americans, scared of what’s happening in the U.S., stay put.

The U.S. already has a high quality, universal childcare program — in the military.

The problem with writing about Florida.

9 fun activities that also happen to be exercise.

Related: Ballin’ on a Budget — Ditch the Gym Membership

Monthly art projects sent to your door!

35 cheap recipes that will help you stick to your budget.

Related: How to Eat on a Shoestring Budget

Um, a 40 of ROSÉ? Yes, please!

Make the bread, buy the butter.

Ghostwriting for social media stars is the secret new Millennial It-career.

Long absent from discussions about employment, the retail workforce is taking matters into their own hands.

How to think about Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show.

Q&A: WTF is gut health? 

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — My Top 4 Healthy Lifestyle Intentions and TV Recommendation: Westworld.

A Very Beach-y Birthday!

IMG_1456

Hope you had a great weekend! Here are a few pictures from when we celebrated my birthday (LAST weekend), if you’re interested. Above is the view out to sea from Homestead Bayfront Park, my new favorite place on the planet!

IMG_1453

We drove down to this little gem first thing on my birthday celebration day. (I was sipping on a tumbler of hot coffee when we first set up camp on the little beach.) The park features a marina, tons of fishing spots, picnic places galore, and an atoll pool with a sandy beach. We spent the morning and early afternoon soaking up some sun and floating in the restorative salt water.

crossroads

I love the park’s quirky features, like this colorful sign (It’s all so close!!) and the decorated lifeguard huts.

bayfront view

It’s the perfect place to spend a whole day–I can’t wait to go back again and again! (Maybe with a penny board or some fishing poles…) And you can’t argue with views like this one.

la playa grill menu

After we had our fill of beach lounging, we dusted off our sandy limbs and headed up to La Playa Grill, which overlooks the atoll pool and the ocean beyond. We ordered up a couple coronas…

fish and chips

and I munched on this AMAZING order of Fish and Chips (with tropical cole slaw!). Chet had a Playa Burger which he said was one of the best burgers he’s ever had! Full and happy we left Homestead and headed back to Miami to run a few errands and prepare for the next fantastic meal my birthday had in store for us!

crawfish potato

A few weeks prior, I jokingly requested Crawfish Etouffee Potatoes for my birthday meal knowing full well we wouldn’t be able to find crawfish in Miami. But lo and behold! Crawfish showed up at our front door just in time! Chet had them shipped (in a styrofoam cooler packed with dry ice) from Louisiana. You might remember my love affair with this particular dish began on my birthday last year! It is the thing that dreams are made of.

birthday cake

We rounded out the celebrations with Nutella birthday cake and a glass of Pinot Grigio. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day or a better way to ring in my 30th year.

P.S. I can’t resist giving you a peak at the WONDERFUL presents I received! Aren’t they glorious?! I am the luckiest! (The book “When We Were Romans” and the docu “Surfwise” were presents to myself because #treatyoself.)

IMG_1522

P.S. 50 facts on my birthday and Chet’s birthday (when HE surprised ME!).

Full. The Musical

full program

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Tampa to see my sister star in, Full, an amazing musical which she also wrote and produced! Katie played a high-school girl grappling with recent tragedy, young love, and her own demon’s brought to life right in front of the audience’s eyes. After several readings created a lot of buzz, Jobsite Theater presented the WORLD PREMIERE of the show at the Straz Center of Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. The result? A beautifully acted and expertly staged presentation of an honest, well-written script.

full collage

As any proud sister would, I’ve enjoyed reading other people’s thoughts on the show and it’s impact. Here are three lovely quotes:

Michael Canon Henry (writer): “Ms. Berger has an open, expressive face that makes her wonderful for all sorts of roles (in my book, at least; I’m not a theater critic). Of course, she’s good mostly because she works at it.”

Molly Miller (mother): “I saw Full. the musical. last night. What an amazing show! from the opening line to the very end it caught me, and held me. As the mother of a teen age daughter I was especially delighted with the authenticity of the dialogue. A beautiful and heartbreaking story. I can count on one hand the number of times I have cried in a theater, and 2 of them were last night. The song lyrics were spot on with the production, and the actors had amazing voices. Each and every character was cast perfectly, so meshed into their roles that I actually felt more like a voyeur than an audience for a lot of the show.”

Broadway World: “I recommend Berger keep writing and exploring the musical genre because she’s a strong, intriguing songwriter with an interesting, twisted world view. And she has a keen ear for snappy dialogue. She may be known for being a local performer, but now she’s become something else: a real writer.”

Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with the world, Katie! Your story is so important and you bring delight to us all! I was lucky to see this first staging but I can’t wait to see where else this show will take you.

P.S. I love this shot of my mom and I with Katie after her show…

family pic full

Related or whuuuut?

P.P.S. Check out the official website for Full the Musical HERE and enter your email for a FREE download of one of the tracks from the show!

An Afternoon of Art – Frost Art Museum

IMG_1311

Just because Chet works at Florida International University doesn’t mean we can’t play there too! Universities and colleges are a great resource for finding fun (and usually affordable) experiences and activities. On a recent rainy afternoon we headed to campus to check out the Frost Art Museum. There was no entrance fee and the staff at the desk explained what exhibits were up and where they were located within the museum. We set off down the hallway and were greeted by this installation by Pawel Nowak featuring Polish passport photos.

IMG_1269

Upstairs were the main exhibits. The rooms were gorgeously kept, with shiny wooden floors and the occasional skylight letting in peaks of natural light, and the art expertly displayed. Here’s what we saw —

Cartographies of Water by Rufina Santana

Santana’s art was deeply inspired by her homeland–The Canary Islands. The rugged volcanic rock shaping the islands, the exotic plant life, and of course the ocean are all expertly depicted in her work. It’s the endlessness of the sea, she says, which captivates her imagination. Just like a wide stretch of dark ocean waters, the paintings felt bold and expansive while also fearless.

IMG_1274

IMG_1275

IMG_1277

IMG_1280

There Are No Other Everglades in the World by Jim Couper

Couper’s paintings highlight the characteristics unique to the Everglades, a distinct and fragile environment located no where else in the world. He utilizes a bright palette of colors to play with the various ways the sub-tropical light changes and transforms the magnificent waters. His brushstrokes reminded me of an Impressionist painter’s, like Claude Monet. I found myself wanting to jump into the canvas and live in one of these serene waterscapes.

IMG_1283

IMG_1284

IMG_1286

Green Machine by Carlos Luna

Luna is one of the foremost contemporary Cuban artists. He represents a generation of Cubans who embrace their heritage but also reinvent and adapt themselves to new trends and techniques. The exhibit featured a multitude of artistic media styles, including; painted canvas, mixed media work on paper, ceramics, and fine art tapestries. Luna is clearly a multi-talented artist. Working in Puebla, Mexico for 13 years after leaving Cuba, Luna now resides in Miami, and it was interesting to see the strong influences of those three places coalescing in his various pieces.

IMG_1294

IMG_1295

IMG_1297

IMG_1301

IMG_1302

IMG_1305

IMG_1306

IMG_1309

Behind the museum is a lovely little lake watched over by this guy. Oh, Florida!

IMG_1310

We topped off our afternoon with iced coffees and a stroll through campus. The student union was buzzing with weekend activity. The space between buildings is full of great outdoor seating, including some contraptions which I feel are called gondolas but I really have no idea if they have a name. They’re essentially a picnic table…with a canopy for shade…and the whole thing swings back and forth. I. Want. One. Anywho, I can’t wait to go back to the museum as the exhibits change over the coming months! And I’m excited to discover what else FIU has to offer us. Perhaps a dance performance or a concert!?

Do you scope out activities at your local college campus? Would you? Do you have a favorite art museum? Let me know in the comments below! 

Five free things to do in Coral Gables.

arch of banyan trees biltmore hotelIMG_1235 IMG_1227IMG_1230 IMG_1236

In an effort to get to know our new surroundings in South Florida, Chet and I have been setting off on a new adventure each weekend. Exploring Coral Gables was near the top of our list for a couple reasons. 1. Bourdain recommends doing so in the Miami episode of The Layover. 2. We live super close to this little hamlet! We spent the afternoon driving and walking around and taking in all the sites “the city beautiful” had to offer us. And we ended up not spending a dime! A welcome situation because SPOILER ALERT: moving and setting up a new home is expensive! It struck me that others may want to check out Coral Gables (or “the gables” as the locals refer to it) on a similar budget. So, here are a few ways you could spend your afternoon…

1. Take a drive under the canopied arches of the Banyan trees. This is the activity recommended by Bourdain and I’ll echo his suggestion. You’ll feel like you’re on a magical amusement park ride underneath the shade of these natural tree tunnels. The way the knobby trunks grow all twisted together is a site to behold. You may even want to climb out of your car at one of the center medians and get a closer look (or have a photo shoot…perfect Insta-worthy moment). But the real reason you’re going to love driving these scenic roads is the HOUSES! There are tons of stunning Mediterranean Revival homes with grand entryways, palatial courtyards, and spectacular fountains.

2. Pretend you belong at the Biltmore. Coral Gables has been home to this luxury hotel since 1926. It’s had a pretty notable history since then, including being used as a hospital during World War II. The Wikipedia page is worth a read as you wander around the circumference of the vast grounds. Perhaps pretending along the way that you’re staying in one of their suites for the weekend and only popped out to get a bit of fresh air. Maybe if you’re feeling bold you can zip on into the lobby and have a poke around there, too!

3. Walk the Miracle Mile. The Miracle Mile is a stretch of road that bifurcates the city center. It was designed in order to make all the businesses in the downtown commercial district no more than a two-block walk from each other. The result? An extremely pedestrian friendly city! You can amble up and down the stretch, popping in and out of quaint boutiques along the way, and check out the cool architectural details on some of the more historic buildings.

4. Enjoy a free film at the Miracle Theater. Along the Miracle Mile you’ll find the Miracle Theater which comes complete with an old school marquis and a vintage vibe. Amazingly, the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theater sponsors a free film series! Check the calendar and plan your trip accordingly. They do a showing about once a month usually with a Saturday evening time and a Sunday matinee.

5. Do a little wedding window shopping. Not sure why but there are a TON of bridal and wedding shops in Coral Gables. As someone who is newly engaged, I didn’t mind at all! You could definitely find a few dream dresses while taking in all the different window displays. You can also find some ensembles you wouldn’t be caught dead in…and a particularly horrid few shops that feature crazy looking bridesmaid gowns and Mother of the Bride atrocities. And if weddings aren’t your thing…try home decor or records or art prints. There’s something for everyone!

Bonus: Sick of walking? The Gables also provides a FREE trolley service, with a trolley running a continuous circuit up and down Ponce de Leon Boulevard throughout the day.

 

 

We moved to Miami!

hole in the sky

Last Thursday, after an extended delay in Lexington (thanks for letting us crash, Mom!), Chet and I loaded up our two cars and set off South. We planned to take it easy on the long haul drive and split it up over three days, but then… after checking in to our motel at the end of the first leg of our trip, the movers called and said they would need to deliver our belongings early Saturday morning! I’m not a big fan of driving. And with a kitty on board I wasn’t so sure how a 12ish hour drive would go for us. But sometimes you just gotta zone in, cue up 7 million podcasts, and go the distance.

So! After a grueling final few hours through the hectic Florida highway system, we made it to our new home just as it started to rain. If the guards manning the gate at our complex hadn’t been so nice I may have finally lost my marbles at this point. One guard actually hopped in a golf cart to personally escort me to the front of our building! But the stress from the drive quickly melted away once I saw inside our new abode.

new bathroom

Our lovely rental apartment is a 2 bedroom/2 bath in the Kendall area of Miami. To me it’s exactly what one might imagine when asked to describe quintessential Florida housing–all tile floors and huge sliding doors. The creature comforts of a dishwasher and walk-in closet are fantastic but the piece de resistance is a HUGE screened in balcony that runs the length of the unit. Wink is as happy as a clam that he gets to roll around out there in the sunbeams. The complex itself has pools, a clubhouse straight out of the 70’s, and you can’t spit without hitting a palm tree. We are just 4 blocks from a grocery store and other shops and restaurants. Just under 5 miles from the university where Chet is working.

Basically, I’d say we did pretty well for renting the place SIGHT UNSEEN (other than a few cell phone pics). We’re settling in quite easily and I’m having fun slowly setting up, organizing, and decorating all the little nooks and crannies of our new home. WE ARE PUMPED about this place!

Anyways, I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated so thanks so much for reading! Do you know Miami (or the Kendall area) at all? I would SO appreciate any recommendations of fun things to do, good restaurants, etc. We’ve had a blast exploring and can’t wait to do more. It’s a whole new world down here!

P.S. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of this blogging thing now that all the craziness of moving across the country, etc. has calmed down. I think I owe y’all a post about a certain question Chet popped about a month ago! I’d also love to share what podcasts got me through that monster drive, a new book I can’t put down, and much MUCH more! xoxo