Circa 39

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Miami is one of my favorite places to travel to because of their amazing selection of hotels.

On my latest trip, I had the pleasure of staying at a beautiful hotel called Circa 39 situated in Mid-Beach and I couldn’t have found a more fitting place to stay.

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The hotel’s motto is “Life is a trip, satisfy your wanderlust at Circa 39” and they are all about enriching your life through travel and wanting you to feel at home while you explore the world.

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The entire hotel has an inviting yet also relaxing vibe, it’s one of those places where you want to spend a lot of time in. You don’t feel intimidated by the staff or the place, on the contrary, you immediately feel at home.

Renovated at the end of 2014, the hotel’s new decor reflects Miami’s multiculturalism and spirit, with vibrant colors, a mix of styles as well as vintage charm. The walls of the hotel are adorned with travel quotes, inspiring everyone at the hotel to keep exploring the world. This is a hotel that has tons of personality.

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The room I had at Circa 39 reminded me of a tropical garden or island. It was airy and comfortable and provided me with all the things I might need during my stay. I had the most peaceful sleep while I was there. It was also a great place to watch the Oscars live from our room on their new flat screen TV. I particularly liked their custom orange robes, their free WiFi and free tea/coffee.

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The hotel has a lot more than beautiful rooms to offer. Their garden is an ideal place to relax during the day. You can also opt for their large pool with comfortable chairs and also cozy nooks. They also have a small gym for those who can’t go without.

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One of the things I most liked about staying at the hotel is being able to hang out in their lobby lounge and enjoy delicious drinks and snacks from Wunderbar. Their restaurant Jules Kitchen also offers a delicious breakfast buffet, that goes above and beyond almost every hotel breakfast that I’ve ever tasted.

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The hotel couldn’t have been more conveniently located, just a block from the beach and close to some of the coolest bars and restaurants in the area. One of the perks of being a guest at the hotel is getting complimentary beach chairs and towels at the beach right in front of the hotel. Another perk of staying at Circa 39, is being able to sign up for a beautiful weekly Sunday morning yoga session in the garden of their sister property The Palms Hotel & Spa, located just a few blocks away.

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My time at Circa 39 definitely left me wishing I could have stayed longer. If you’re looking for an inspiring place to stay the next time you’re in Miami, consider Circa 39.

Check out the fun recap video I shot while I was at the hotel below.

Also, if you haven’t already, subscribe to my YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/c/Melsaysdotcom

Running in Miami

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I was happy to get back to running in shorts in Miami last week. Miami weather is ideal for running right now. It’s not too humid, the sun isn’t too hot and there is always a little breeze. I thus couldn’t help but go for a run, while trying out some new gear. Running along the beach is hands down my favorite running location. When I run in Toronto, I always run along the waterfront, right on Lake Ontario. It obviously pales in comparison to running along the ocean with palm trees, but I’ll take what I can get.

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Running in Miami was a nice treat. There are lot’s of great places to run in South Beach, Mid-Beach, Bal Harbour, etc. My favorite spot is the Miami Beach Boardwalk, it starts just passed 5th St and goes all the way up to 46th St. It’s about 4 miles in length. Though the boardwalk tends to get packed on weekends, people are really respectful of runners. The South Point Park also gives you a great view of downtown Miami and all the passing cruise ships. Another option is a little further north, just passed Bal Harbour. Haulover Park is a great place to run as well. There’s a great boardwalk along the beach.

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If boardwalks aren’t your thing, there are a lot of areas on the beach where the sand is packed, making it a lot easier to run in the sand but adding a little more difficulty. The thing with Miami is that there is no shortage of places to run.

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For more info on Miami’s different running trails, go here.

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Nike 5.7 cm Zen Rival shorts (get them here), Nike Dri-Fit Knit Tank (get it here), Nike Pro Classic Bra (get it here), Toms Traveler sunglasses (get them here), Garmin Fenix 3 watch (get it here).

 

Miami Explorations

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Miami is such a great place to spend a couple of days. Guaranteed sunshine, warm water, good food and countless exploration opportunities.

I never tire of traveling to Miami because there’s always something new to see, taste and do.

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On this particular trip, we rented a scooter (when a motorcycle isn’t available, I opt for a cute red scooter and a pink helmet!) and went north. We rode north past Surfside, Bal Harbour and went all the way to Sunny Isles Beach. We spent time at Haulover Park, a beautiful empty strip of beach. It was lovely to see a quieter side of Miami.

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Also, there’s nothing better for exploring than a great pair of shoes. Stoked to have brought these very breathable new Geox NEBULA shoes to Miami. They kept my feet dry and comfortable all weekend!

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I’ll be posting some of my latest food and hotel discoveries on the blog soon, so stay tuned!

Next time we head to Miami, we hope our explorations will take us south, all the way to Key West… and this time, on a motorcycle!

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What are some of your favorite spots to explore in Miami?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Geox D NEBULA (get them here), Saltwater Collective Unity Tee (get it here), ALDO backpack.

Passion for Wakesurfing

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I’ve come to the realization that I have a thing for boardsports. Combine a boardsport with being in the ocean, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be my favorite thing! First it was surfing, then it was handboarding and now it’s wakesurfing. Because I unfortunately don’t get to surf everywhere I travel to, I’ve on the lookout for other boardsports that I can do while traveling. Though it will never replace surfing, they can also be quite exciting to partake it!

My latest discovery: Wakesurfing!

I first tried wakesurfing in Las Vegas last summer (check it out here) and was immediately hooked. Though I enjoyed wakeboarding there was something a lot more relaxing and freeing about wakesurfing. Maybe it’s because your feet aren’t attached to the board, or because it’s a lot closer to actual surfing or maybe because it allows you to place yourself in so many ways behind the boat… Who knows! One thing’s for sure, wakesurfing seemed a lot easier to learn if you’ve wakeboarded or surfed before. I got up on my first try and was able to ride for quite some time before bailing.

Like in any boardsport, there’s always a small period of adaptation when using a different board. When I first wakesurfed in Lake Mead in the summer, the board was long and wide whereas two weeks ago in Miami, the board was a lot smaller and narrower, which made my feet and weight placement on the board a little different. That said, after a few runs it was easy to get the hang of again.

Bailing while wakesurfing is a lot less painful because you can just jump off the board and fall into the water, whereas bailing with a board attached to your feet much like while snowboarding or wakeboarding can be a lot more painful.

Wakesurfing schools are pretty easy to find whether it be in lakes, bays or the ocean. My boyfriend and I were lucky to have two amazing guys guide us through our first wakesurfing experiences this year: Vegas Water Sports crew and also the Miami Watersports Paradise crew. Both Las Vegas and Miami are perfect destinations for wakesurfing. The water is always warm, the area never gets too crowded with boats and the scenery is just breathtaking (see below!). A 2-hour session with either one of these crews will cost you approximately $400 US, which can sound a bit pricey but you can go as a small group, so it ends up being a lot cheaper if you go with 4 to 6 people.

After returning from Miami last week, I found out that there are also some wakesurfing crews in Ontario, so I’m excited to try wakesurfing a little closer to home this summer. I undeniably have a newfound passion for this rad sport!

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Getting Through Winter

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Well, we’re definitely in the thick of winter right now. Temperatures are well below freezing point, it’s snowing pretty much all across the north east and unfortunately spring is still a ways away.

Those who know me how much I don’t like the cold and winter. I used to not mind it as a kid because it meant going skiing every weekend with my family, getting snow days, going sliding with friends, making forts, etc. As an adult, living in a big city, I find winter to be more of an annoyance than anything. That said, this winter I decided to make an attitude adjustment (or at least try my best!). Since I’m all about positivity this year and since it seems like I’m unfortunately not moving to a warm far away place just yet, I still have at least one more winter to deal with so why not make the best of it! I know a lot of us suffer from a mild or sever form of “winter blues” or aren’t too excited about this season, I figured I’d share with you some of the things that are making my winter a little more bearable this year and are helping me get through the next couple of months:

1) Travel – Even if it’s just for a weekend, traveling and getting away from the cold is definitely a morale booster for me. Getting some much needed Vitamin D during these grey winter months can have a serious positive impact on how you feel and how you deal with winter. It’s also something to look forward to. Some of my favorite destinations that are still relatively cheap and close enough to travel to for a weekend are: Miami, Las Vegas, California, Arizona, Memphis, etc. If you can’t take any time off, I recommend looking to travel during Family Day and/or Easter. Though it may be more expensive to travel during those weekends, if you book enough in advance, you can definitely find some deals. Also, if you’re desperate to get away and want to make it the cheapest trip possible, try booking red-eye flights, or early morning flights that way you don’t even have to tell your boss you were away or ask for any time off, you’ll be at the office at the same time as everyone but with an extra glow! You can check out my travel section on the blog here to get more travel ideas!

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2) Treat yourself – Whether you like massages, manicures, trying out new restaurants, going for brunch on the weekend, playing board games, visiting a museum, cooking, being crafty, making dyi beauty products, etc. it’s the perfect time of year to treat yourself and do things for you. I find that I have a lot more free time in the winter and so I take that opportunity to take care of myself. Sometimes, it’s the littlest thing that will be a moral booster. I definitely feel like when I treat myself or just take care of myself, I automatically feel better. Some of my favorite things to do in the city this winter: Having dinner at Electric Mud BBQ, grabbing the goûter at The Tempered Room – the best French bakery/patisserie in the city hands down, eating brunch at The Drake, enjoying the pools and get a massage at Body Blitz Spa, going for tea at the Shangri-La Hotel, grabbing a snack from Bolt Fresh Bar, etc.

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3) Try a new outdoor activity – Yea being outdoors when it’s -20C might suck, but if you’re doing something fun with friends or even by yourself, you might not think it sucks as much. Plus, I realized after all these years, my mother was right – Dress warm and you’ll be fine! I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I’m planning on being outdoors for a while, style or any kind of fashion sense gets thrown out the widow. I’d prefer wearing my big dorky boots and huge jacket than freeze my butt off! As you may have read in one of my previous blog posts here, this year I’ve given winter running a try. To my surprise, it’s a whole lot easier than I thought it would be. Layers are super important and make sure your extremities are covered, but once you’re out the door, you’ll be sweating in no time. Also, if you’re lacking the motivation to run by yourself, there are tons of great clubs out there. Just in Toronto, you can run on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings with the Nike Queen West Run Club, on Thursday evenings with the Academy Of Lions run crew and also on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the Parkdale Roadrunners. These are just some of the many clubs in Toronto and there are run clubs in just about every city! And with all of these clubs, no matter your level and speed, no one gets left behind!

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Another thing I recently started doing is snowboarding. I grew up skiing but in Ontario, the “hills” are so small that skiing is quite boring if you’re an avid skiier. Luckily, Offner offered to teach me how to snowboard three years ago and these small “hills” have been the perfect place to learn and progress. I’ve also noticed that a lot of ski stations offer discounted day rates online, which makes riding a little more affordable! Walking is also a great way to spend time outdoors. The streets are almost empty in Toronto in the winter, so it’s actually really nice to explore the city when there’s no one around. Offner and I often walk at night from work or walk around on weekends. Plus, there’s nothing more awesome than going into stores to warm up or stopping by your favorite coffee shop to grab a treat mid-walk.

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4) Catch up on all the movies & television series you’ve missed – Two years ago, I made the decision to get an Apple Tv and I must say it’s been a lifesaver during the winter. I love making myself a warm cup of tea (currently obsessed with the rose bud tea that I got in California), lighting my new Dyptique candle and watching a movie wrapped under a blanket on my couch. In the summer, I’m usually so busy traveling and being outdoors that I rarely get to sit down and watch “television”. So I write down all the new series and movies that interest me and catch up on them in the winter. Currently, I follow about 7 series and try to watch at least 1-2 new movies a week, so it gives me something exciting to watch every night if I want to. Some of my favorite movies lately: Virunga, Copenhagen, Boyhood, Chef, Interstellar, Fed Up, etc.

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5) Read a book – I’ve said it in one of my previous blogs, I’m making a real effort this year to read a lot more. I’ve also noticed that I tend to read more during the winter, I think the reason being because it’s a nice form of escapism. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not escaping winter but it’s nice to get carried away in a story once in a while. It’s the perfect way to also disconnect from your busy day at work and relax.

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So those are the top 5 things that are currently keeping me sane this winter. What about you?

Miami Vice

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I got a much needed with break from winter last month when I spent a few days in one of my favorite long weekend destinations: Miami. As expected, the sunshine and heat was there to welcome us. Here are a few things worth your time on your next visit:

1 – Standard Miami Beach

We spent our first 24hrs at the Standard Hotel located on one of the islands in Miami Beach. I loved their remote location because it was far removed from the noisy south beach strip yet still close enough to restaurants, entertainment, etc. I absolutely loved everything about my experience at the hotel. The lobby was beautiful (loved the ping pong and foosball table), the room was simple yet super comfy, the gardens were lush, the pool had a superb view as the hotel is located right on the water, the restaurant (especially the brunch!!!) was delicious, the spa was super relaxing, the juice bar was a nice little touch and I loved all the activities they had available for guests (SUP, Yoga, etc.). I recommend booking a spa treatment with them even if you’re just going for the day. You’ll be able to do their steam rooms, saunas, etc. afterwards and will also have access to their pool. It’s also really fun to walk around from one island to the other since you’re already on one of them (Belle Isle to be exact!). It’s so fun to see all the beautiful homes and boats on each island.

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2 – Joe’s Stone Crab

Make sure you check out this South Beach institution, whether you’re a fan of stone crab or not, it’s totally worth the experience. It’s first come first served so either show up right at 5pm or be prepared to wait 2-3hrs, which is what we did but was well worth it. The restaurant is absolutely humungous and so is their food. But everything that they make and serve is made in house or caught fresh. I recommend ordering some stone crab, wearing the bib, also ordering a few side dishes and a homemade dessert to enjoy the full experience.

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3 – Renting a scooter

Everyone rides around in a scooter in Miami. It’s a super cheap way to get around not only South Beach but also Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, North Beach, etc. There are many places to rent scooters, we rented ours from Beach Scooter Rentals, on Washington ave. just below 14th ave. They have more than one location in South Beach. We got a cool looking Vespa for $80 USD for 24hrs that came with two helmets (no one wears a helmet in Miami!!) and a lock. We even got to take it to our apartment overnight. What’s amazing about having a scooter is that it costs $5 to fill up the tank of gas! Having a scooter allowed us to explore the area a lot more!

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4 – Miami Watersports Paradise

@Offner and I are always looking for fun activities to do when we travel. For a while now, he’s been wanting to go wakeboarding and while we were at Otentic (the best French restaurant in Miami! Check out the dessert platter below – bonjour le Café Gourmand!! You have to go check out their new location!!), the owner told us about a buddy of his that owned a watersport company right at the pier. So we hit him up for a two hour session. What’s great is that you don’t really need to bring anything other than your bathing suit. He gives you a life jacket, the board and teaches you how to do it. He’s really patient and super friendly. Not only did we get to do some amazing wakeboarding (it was my first time and I’m now hooked!!), he also gave us a super cool tour of the islands in his boat. It was really special because it was just the instructor, Offner and I! He also offers wakesurfing classes, tubing, etc. So much fun!!

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5 – The Beach

No matter how many times I go to Miami, the thing I love the most is the beach. The clear warm water, the tropical fish you see when you’re swimming, the long stretches of sand, the boardwalk… it’s perfect! Even in mid-February, the water was in the high seventies. A little chilly to get in, but once you’re in, it’s super refreshing. Swimming in the ocean has always been my favorite thing to do ever since I was a kid. I would spend my entire day in the water playing games, paddling around, swimming laps, etc. I think I’ve always stayed a kid at heart because the ocean still brings me so much joy. If you’re going to Miami, the beach will most likely be where you will want to spend most of your time. You will also definitely want to invest in either buying, brining or renting a parasol if you’re going between April-November. It gets REALLY hot on the beach!

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The more I go to Miami, the more I love it! Yes, there’s the very show off, lound music, crazy side to the city but there’s also a much quieter, local kind of vibe that you get if you explore a bit. Can’t wait to be back!!

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Jean on Jean #DailyOutfit

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend! I attended the sold-out show The Balconies put on Saturday at Lee’s Palace. Couldn’t be more excited about their current success! Offner and I also spent time antiquing in Newmarket with the lovely Chevy Cruze Diesel I had been driving all week. Check back soon for a full recap of my #ChevyDrive adventure from this past week!

Got a super long 6 day work week ahead but counting down the days until my next trip in less than two weeks. Can’t wait to soak in the Miami sun!!

Today’s outfit: Jean on jean on leather… and a banana? Never hurts to have a little fun 😉

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 Photos by @Offner

Anine Bing boyfriend jeans (get them here)

 Zara Biker Jacket with zips (similar one here)

H&M chambray buttoned-up shirt (similar one here)

Lionette SINEAD bracelet 

Nasty Gal Shoe Cult Diverge Combat Boot (get it here)

Lionette HARLEM necklace (get it here)

Vanessa Mooney Little Ways Gold Bracelet (get it here)

Vanessa Mooney Sweet Antiquity Bracelet Pearl (get it here)

Winter Shorts #DailyOutfit

Back in Toronto after being on the road for almost a week. I had a great time in Ottawa! I was able to eat at some of my favorite spots in the city: Murray Street (the best cheese & wine in Ottawa!) and also a new hotspot called Sidedoor : where they served the most delicious donuts!! I also really loved their tacos and all of their sharing plates. You have to hit these two restaurants on your next trip to the Canadian capital!

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Getting use out of my shorts today! It may be hella cold out but wearing tights with shorts is always a fun look. It makes me think that summer is only a few months away… Can’t wait to soak up some sun rays in Miami and LA next month!

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 Photos by @Offner

H&M oversized knitted jumper (similar one here)

Verameat Peace Hand necklace (get it here)

Verameat mystery hugs ring (get it here)

Verameat vampire crown ring (get it here)

Urban Outfitters jean shorts (similar ones here)

Modern Vice Camo Jetts (get them here)

Uranium gold tripple thick ring (Fall 2013 collection)

H&M big floppy hat black (similar one here)

Welcome to Miami!

Two weekends ago I was able to spend a few days in Miami. My last visit to Miami dates back to last November but I had only spent 48hrs in this tropical wonderland. Growing up in Quebec, Florida was always a very popular destination for my family in the winter. I think my first ever trip as a baby was to Orlando when I was just a few months old. I’ve done the Orlando/Disney trip a handful of times, stayed in West Palm Beach with my grand-ma, went to Fort Lauderdale a few times but hadn’t spent too much time in Miami before.

So I was really happy to have more quality time there to discover some of the city’s hotspots.

Summer isn’t necessarily the best time of year to head to Miami, that’s when it tends to rain a lot just because it gets so humid and hot. We got lucky with the weather, it only rained one morning out of four and a half days. It was 42+ celsius and sunny the whole time.

We spent most of our time at the beach, the water was SO warm! It is also really clear and the ocean floor is soft and sandy, so you can see all sorts of tropical fish swimming around you. It’s beautiful! Though a little pricey – $50 a day for two chairs and a parasol but you can come and go as you please the entire day, we made sure to protect ourselves from the hot sand and intense sun. There’s really nothing quite like swimming in the ocean. It’s oh so relaxing!!

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I was able to do a little bit of shopping while I was there. My two favorite spots are: Collins Ave. (where you’ll find everything from Zara to LF, to Armani, etc.) and also the pedestrian outdoor shopping area on Lincoln Road.

I’m a huge fan of Art Deco so seeing all the different art deco hotels, buildings, clubs, museums, etc. are so amusing to me. We took the time to visit one of their Art Deco themed museum – the Wolfsonian FIU, located on Washington Ave. They had interesting collections on women and sports, Zeppelins, Art Deco, Architecture, etc. It’s only $7 per person and will take 1-2 hours of your time.

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3 favorite places to eat:

The Dutch – is located in the W Hotel in South Beach. They offered a brilliant fall fixed price menu with one appetizer, one main and a dessert. Everything everyone had there was absolutely to die for! The wine selection was also top notch! The vibe of the place was cozy yet stylish, the staff was knowledgeable and super helpful. I loved my dinner there and can’t wait to go back!

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Otentic – I officially found the best cheese platter in Miami. This small restaurant located on Washington Ave. makes typical French dishes. I loved drinking a Monaco (beer & grenadine drink), their charcuterie boards and salads are also killer. They make a mean chocolate mousse! I love their attention to detail, offering customers a free glass of white wine and tapenade as soon as you walk in. The owner Aurélien (yup, same name as Offner!) is super young and friendly. A must!

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The Forge – Loved eating at this over the top Art Deco inspired restaurant. The atmosphere was young, hip and fun! The styling of the place was unreal. They had a special on Veuve Clicquot champagne the night we went so if you ordered a glass of champagne at the bar, they would serve you unlimited appetizers. Unreal! The food was also heavenly. They had very tasty bread baskets and a fabulous selection of wine. I had the soup and grilled cheese, Offner had the burger and his parents, the biggest steak I’ve ever seen! Their little dessert tray was also yummy. It’s a festive place with loud music so if you’re looking for a quieter spot, this may not be the place for you!

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Now for something completely different, the 11th Street Diner located on Washington and 11th Street is also a superb place to grab some quick breakfast or lunch. It’s the original building that was constructed in 1948 in New Jersey that they moved to Miami in the 1990s.

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A bar to check out:

The Broken Shaker – is located in the hip Freehand Miami hostel. Offner always loves checking out up and coming bars in every city we visit. He had heard of this place because of their original handcrafted drinks made from ingredients, herbs & spices directly taken from the place’s garden. We tasted their savory sweet and spicy homemade punch. They also had a tremendous outdoor garden/patio with a pool, lot’s of fun seating areas, little lights, trees, ping pong tables, etc.

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(photo credit: The LA Times)

Finally, if you’re looking for a cool morning or afternoon excursion, I highly recommend taking a trip to the everglades at the Everglades Safari Park. I’m not one to do too many touristy things on vacation but this was really well organized, informative and fun. For $40, they take you from South Beach (the location of your choice) on a 40min bus ride to the everglade national park. You then go on a 45min airboat tour where they teach you about the different species of snakes, alligators, wildlife, etc. in the national park. That is followed by an informative alligator demonstration (no one wrestles with alligators!) and time to walk around their sanctuary where you can see all sorts of alligators, crocodiles, lizards, etc. They then take you back to your hotel in South Beach. Honestly, well worth the money and super amusing!

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Our time in Miami went by SO fast! With it only being a 3hr flight from Toronto, it’s the perfect long weekend destination! Can’t wait to go back soon!

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Gemeaux Travels #DailyOutfit

Today is yet another travel day! I’m off to Montreal this weekend for this year’s Prix Gémeaux gala. The show that I work on received a nomination.

For the occasion, I’ll be wearing a brand new RUDYBOIS dress from his new SS14 collection. Here’s a little sneak peek.

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I decided to get some custom nail art to match the dress from the talented Esther Mulders.

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I’ll be posting pics of the final look early next week! 🙂

Today, two of my favorite New York designers Pamela Love x VEDA, finally announced their collaboration together. They’ve paired up for a rad line of biker jackets that I had seen in the Bing Bang NY offices in the spring. The jackets are simply irresistible! I want one!! They’re now available for pre-order here. DREAMY!

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Running on very little sleep since I went to Miami last week, so I was in dyers need of a good pump up track! I was stoked to find out that one of my favorite bands Phantogram, (I really miss working with them, they’re some of the nicest people!) released a brand new track from their upcoming record Voices. Their new track is a definite hit! Can’t wait to hear the rest of the record! The track is called “Black Out Days“, you can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/phantogram/black-out-days-6

Off to Montreal! Wishing everyone a fab weekend! xo

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 Forever 21 Ribbed Trimmed Fishnet Sweater (similar one here)

Uranium gold tripple thick ring (from their upcoming fall collection)

Forever 21 leopard print harem pants (similar ones here)

Verameat vampire crown ring (get it here)

Verameat Peace Hand necklace (get it here)

Anine Bing boots with silver studs (get them here)

Karl Lagerfeld ’7′ Beveled Bezel Bracelet Watch (get it here)