5 Things to Love and Loathe About Living on South Beach

Note: This was written shortly before I moved off of SoBe. Opinions still stand and I think if/when I return to Miami, i’ll be opting to live a bit further inland – say, Coconut Grove?

This building was down the road from me. I saw it every day. (Yanked from flickr.com/photos/mrclean/)

I’ve been an unintentional, sometimes unwilling, unofficial resident of South Beach for the past 5 months. The first of those 4.75 months were spent living inside a cramped hotel room with my soon-to-be husband and his cat – but more on that later. As a lifelong Miamian, i’ve had the opportunity of living and hanging out in several of our city’s fine (and not so great) neighborhoods, including Sweetwater, Kendall, Pinecrest, and Coconut Grove. In younger years, I often dreamt of packing my things, getting a room mate, and testing out some beach front living, but it never really panned out – until now. South Beach, a conglomeration of too much bass, khaki shorted tourists, and sun tans in every possible shade of bronze, wooed me for a few weeks and has subsequently left a foul taste in my mouth. Like the salt water that burns your nostrils after a dip in the Atlantic, i’ve learned that perhaps I, too, am not a fish. Still, sometimes it has its’ moments…

5 Things to Love

24 Hour Eateries

Coming from the suburbs, there’s nothing quite like moving to a place where your midnight craving for falafel can be (fairly) easily fulfilled. SoBe is the closest thing Miami has to NYC eating habits. There are plenty of bodegas open late, lots of 24 hour pharmacies, and you can basically find a pizza or a burger well into the evening. I discovered one of my favorite pizza joints, Primo’s, when I was starved for a slice at 2am, and my god is it phenomenal pizza. There’s also Crazy Mexican for when you’ve got the taco itch, 8oz Burger Bar when you need some meat (they also have 2 vegetarian patty options!) with a craft beer, and Chow Down Grill if you’re drunk and not very picky about your fried rice.

Walkability

I wouldn’t exactly say that South Beach is pedestrian friendly, because we’ve got more drunken asshole driving around per square mile than the majority of Dade County. What I would say, though, is that walking the streets of SoBe is much more entertaining than attempting to hike around in most other parts of Miami. From my current apartment, I can very easily walk to a number of gas stations and pharmacies and bodegas, 2 laundromats, a yoga studio, a bank, a few restaurants, and oh yeah, the ocean. My old place in Kendall would have me walking for at least 35 minutes until I reached any center of commerce. Plus, walking around here, you’re sure to see something at least remotely interesting.

Architecture

SoBe is home to Miami’s infamous Art Deco Historic District. On top of that, even the not-so-Deco structures here have a personality all their own. I mean, just look:

We could see this one from our bedroom.

The Goddamn Ocean

I mean, have you seen the beach?! I always took it for granted when I was younger until I wound up taking a trip to New York’s Rockaway Beach (I was having a bit of a Ramones moment last year). Although not the most beautiful beaches i’ve been to (that title belongs to Pochomil, Montelimar, and San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua), South Beach definitely has much to offer. (Relatively) clean, long stretches of sand and cool, blue waters to splash around in without so many waves that i’d be afraid to go in, it’s pretty fantastic. Plus, it’s where my husband proposed to me. I can’t really argue with that.

Not engaged (or pregnant) here yet, but certainly falling heavier in love on the beach.

5 Things to Loathe

Parking, Parking, PARKING!!!

Mother. Of. GOD. Parking is fucking terrible on South Beach. Unless you are an official resident (I.D. and all) and are willing to shell out near $100 a month for a parking pass, you will be fucked on South Beach. I’m fairly certain that the Miami Beach Parking Department are in bed with Tremont Towing and Beach Towing, who have their hands beyond full on any given day. Let’s see… Public parking garages are few and far between, and anyone staying more than, say, 5 hours is destined to pay $20 not to have their car impounded. As for street parking, you might be lucky enough to get to a metered space but this means paying over $1 an hour and hoping the meter doesn’t run out before a meter maid comes by and writes you up. And by god will they write you up. Over and over and over again. I left my car for a day once at an unfortunate meter (never park on Meridian south of 5th!) and got 4 parking tickets in under 12 hours. That’s practically $100 – more so if i’d waited over 30 days to pay it off. Oh, oh. But always MAKE SURE TO PAY YOUR PARKING TICKETS. JB and I had the misfortune of finding my car missing right before dinner on Father’s Day, only to find out that my 5 outstanding tickets had granted Tremont Towing a free pass to hunt down and take my car and then rape me with a $300 fine (on top of the practically $400 I owed from overdue tickets). Lesson learned.

However, there are ways around the parking fiasco. When we lived on Ocean Drive, we came to realize that we would only get ticketed on weekends, and only once in a while. We cut our losses and decided not to pay meters, and still wound up only paying maybe $40-$60 a month on either car. Additionally, living on 5th street, we found certain meters don’t appear to EVER get ticketed – not even on weekends! If you can find one of these golden locations (and sorry, I won’t be telling you on the off chance I move back to SoBe and need it myself), you’re pretty much set for life.

High Cost of Living

SoBe living ain’t cheap. I’ve never been to a more expensive Publix in all of Miami ($6 for a small pack of string cheese? You fuckin kidding me?!). You have to pay for parking always (see above – or again, I had to PAY to use the Publix parking garage if I were staying longer than 2 hours. Granted, who shops for that long? But you never know!) Although some entertainment (people watching, swimming in the ocean) is free or cheap, plenty of other stuff (concerts, comedy shows, festival entrances, night clubs, bar tabs) are much more expensive around here. Unless you know your way around to the cheap joints (like Las Olas Cafe for the $4 breakfast special or Club Deuce for you seedy bar flies out there), you’ll end up overspending within a few hours of visiting the island.

Some girlfriends and I before an afternoon at the Deuce, back in my own bar fly days.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Hello, police state! I’d never actually been to SoBe on Memorial Day Weekend (a.k.a. “Urban Week”) until this year, and I can see why. Absurdly long lines to get in and out of the island. Checkpoints as far as the eye can see. More obnoxious party-going tourists than you can shake a glow stick at. And cops everywhere. Everywhere. All up and down the street. In cars, on bikes, on foot. In the fucking SKY! Seriously, helicopters were flying above our apartment for days on end. Luckily we knew our way around some of the annoyances (taking the Venetian instead of the Macarthur helped at times, as did living/using the streets south of 5th). We didn’t even go out to explore that weekend. We were better off indoors until the craziness passed.

Tourists

This is just me being a snob, but after a while, being around tourists just gets old. I figure this is what NYC people must feel like hanging out in most of Manhattan. Too many teenagers looking to “party” and trash my town and if it isn’t them, it’s old folks with too much sunblock, scared to cross the damn street and taking too long once they do to look up at the pretty buildings. If only life were more like Grand Theft Auto…

It Smells

Yeah, I said it. It’s possibly not the worst smelling part of town, but it is pretty funky. The mixture of sunblock and tanning oil sizzling off people’s sweaty bodies, homeless dudes in every possible state of cleanliness (fun fact: during “Hurricane” Isaac, JB caught a naked bum showering next to our trash bin), and more sweaty but probably not homeless folks walking around without caring about their personal B.O. (you’ve never been to a worse smelling Whole Foods – or maybe that’s just the overcrowded hot food bar – and I normally love WF!) makes the streets of SoBe the wild west of odors. But hey, it could always be worse!

All that being said, I miss the damn beach. Being landlocked in a town where you can’t walk to anything is insanely frustrating. I got spoiled having a 24 Hour CVS across the street as well as a variety of open-late amenities a few blocks away. South Beach, you will always have a place in my heart – you crazy fucking bitch, you.

The Hurricane

“The hurricane came and went.”

It’s the first line to a story I once wrote shortly after Hurricane Frances. It was 2004 and I had just broken up with my boyfriend at the time- a pot head Pakistani whose answer to our relationship problems was to take more MDMA, and who wouldn’t listen to me when I continuously told him that it was over. It was one of the most life changing hurricanes of my life. I had just returned from my first ever trip abroad, to Nicaragua, the land of my ancestors. In three weeks, I met a ton of new family members and learned how differently people live in other countries. I also met a man who made me realize how desperately I needed to get out of the relationship I was in. A man who we hired to drive us around the country. A man who happened to be in an unhappy marriage. I was 20.

That summer changed my life. I can’t say that Hurricane Andrew changed my life quite as much. I was only 7 years old that August of 1992 when the relentless 100+ mph gusts of wind knocked over my favorite tree in the front yard. But I still remember that night pretty vividly, considering it was twenty years ago. My parents hid my brother and I in the tiny closet of our one bedroom duplex. I had a lunchbox full of snacks. Fruit by the foot, gushers, possibly even a Lunchables. I read Archie comics with a flash light and my father stood guard in the room, walking out the front door every so oft to see what was going on outside. When the sky finally cleared up, it was beautiful outside. Blue skies everywhere. And we were without power for two weeks – which meant camping in our living room with no a/c and having cook outs with the neighbors on a daily basis. It changed my life too. It taught me not to fear nature. It taught me to care for my neighbors. And I started a new school that September and my life changed yet again.

I’m writing this sitting in my living room in a small apartment on South Beach, Miami, and my life is much different from those first two hurricanes. I’ll be 28 in another week and a half, and i’m pregnant with my first child – a statement and a reality I still don’t quite believe. My husband (surprise number two!) is contentedly slumbering in our bedroom. He is tall and freckly and has gorgeous eyes and a deep voice but an incredibly kind smile. He loves me more than i’ve ever known was possible. I still don’t know where he came from, but I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I accept his love and reciprocate it as best I can. My life is very, very different these days.

This is our first hurricane together and we’re as prepared as is necessary for a Category 1 storm. We’re not scared or worried. We have bigger concerns right now – like where we’re going to be living past August 31st. Our lease will be up and we haven’t found a new place to sublet. We were supposed to move away, but things are moving a bit slower than expected so we don’t know quite when we’ll be leaving. It’s strange to have “adult responsibilities” and “adult problems” and to, well, be an adult.

I’d heard tell from other “adults” that it would just sneak up on you but that you’d never really accept it. I guess that’s just how it is. I don’t even really know if being pregnant and married and living on our own and all that makes us adults. Maybe it has more to do with how other people perceive us. You start getting treated differently once you’re married and pregnant. Maybe that’s what being an adult is.

But that’s besides the point. The point is there’s a hurricane a-brewin right outside my window. I hear the gusts slowly picking up and then waning again. The rain drops sprinkle on our window and then pour down and then dry out. Life is changing. The hurricane brings with it new chapters, unavoidable rites of passage, place markers we can go back to when recounting our lives. Andrew, Frances, and now Isaac. I’m looking forward to it.

I’m Not Dead Yet

Looking out the window, I can see the ocean and palm trees reflected on a sliding glass door, right across the parking lot. And there are waves crashing on the shore; I can see this and more. The sound of machinery in the distance; the fan spinning overhead; the low rumble of the wall’s air conditioning unit. I drink water from a red plastic cup I keep by the bed. I listen to a song by an artist I could never get enough of, and think about how nice it would be to see him perform. He calls it paradise and when he says it, I can’t really disagree.

There’s an hour and a half until I go back in to work. The drive over the causeway, breezing past the cruise ships and mansions, the bridges that keep us from coexisting. But it’s a goddamn beautiful drive, crisp air and bright blue waters.

And after that, i’ll be here again. Every morning, a smile on my face, and every night the same. I’m not sure from which direction any of this came. But it sure is nice…

Most of it is impossible to explain. I’ve learned to accept that. Sometimes I fear that i’ll allow myself to be consumed with a job and a relationship – two extremely time consuming activities. But there is just so much work that needs to be done.

I was supposed to leave on the 26th. I never know how to feel about this, except that it’s irrelevant. I’m happy with my life right now. I’ve never been in a better place than this.

Still, I can’t forget the work.

I’m not dead yet.

 

10 Minute Moments: Adjusting

Woke up with a stuffy nose, and I know it’s because my room is a mess and because I keep forgetting to take my allergy medicine. The sun isn’t even up and I’m not sure how I’m still awake. Or rather, how I woke up at all. It’s the end of February, and the only thing that makes me realize is that time simply refuses to sit still.

I think i’m going to try to do a little free write like this whenever I can. Too often, I jot down ideas of what I want to write about, I open drafts that I never publish, I write but I stop myself because it’s not perfect. Except that writing is never perfect. Art in every form is constantly changing, morphing from one thing to the next. Or maybe that’s just the kind of thing you think when you’ve slept maybe 10 hours tops in 3 days. Who knows.

I started a new job on Monday. I’d been waiting to hear back from them for about a month now. So far, it’s going alright save for the whole waking up before dawn part. Living out in the suburbs certainly doesn’t help the situation.

Other random thoughts as of late?

– Sandwiches are fantastic. I got hooked on Po’ Boys this month after celebrating Mardi Gras the only way I knew how (with food, although we had some Abita too. Did a little Boozin Betties write up on it here.).

– I don’t mind driving far distances as long as the traffic isn’t so bad. And yet, I live in Miami, where traffic is king.

– I’m still stuck between trying to figure out if I should try to TEFL abroad next year, or just move to New York, or apply to grad schools and see where they take me, or pack up all my stuff and move to California, land of milk and honey and lax laws about some favored personal items. Or maybe become a rubbertramp, pack my stuff in my car, and travel around. Except my car is unreliable. You see where I’m going with this…

And on that note, time for work. My 10 minutes are up.

Song of the Day: Matthew Dear “Monkey”

Yanked from the Village Voice

I was driving eastbound on Killian Drive this morning, the rising sun’s rays forcing me to squint as I sped past slow drivers and yellow lights, when I noticed this song blasting from my radio’s speakers. I’ve heard Matthew Dear‘s Black City album in its entirety before, but almost always, I end up finding myself only listening to select tracks and basically ignoring the rest. (What can I say? I’m sometimes a creature of habit.) This was one of those tracks I somehow missed. Maybe it sounded too much like the rest of the album to really cause it to stand out for me. Maybe I was just crazy up until now. Whatever the case, this song is all about swaying back and forth, hips and arms and wrists and knees and head, following the path of the music. When you let it take over, it’s impossible not to realize what an incredibly fun song this is.

 

And FYI, for you local Miamians reading this, if you’re a fan of the song (and/or a fan of Matthew Dear), he’s got two upcoming gigs in town! The first is for the Viva Music Party (during WMC), on March 23rd at the Shelbourne. The second show will be over at the Electric Pickle on April 20th (giggle), so watch out for those tickets!

In related music news… two other shows you might not want to miss are Broadcast at Bardot on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day!) and Four Tet, also at Bardot, on March 23rd (coincidentally the same night as Matthew Dear’s Viva show).

I’ll be posting more show announcements soon as WMC approaches!

This Week In Amazing: Booze Blogs, Airplanes, Crunchy Granola, and the Margaret Cho Powerhouse

I don’t know if it’s the new year, or if the planets have just been aligning in the right way, or if it’s all my positive thinking as of late, but 2012 is shaping up to be pretty grand. It’s been another busy busy week – hustling to find work and making time for the amazing people in my life.

It’s been a little extra boozy around here this week... On Tuesday, a friend of ours came in to town from Las Vegas and we all went out to one of our local haunts (Scully’s Tavern, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives – please try the Garlic Fries if you’re ever there!) for a few pints. Had to dedicate a cheers to our friend Germs, whose been sailing on the high seas with his new gig as an airbrush artist for Carnival Cruises (what an awesome gig to land!). Also joined Miss Emily Gingham for a few daytime cocktails at Chilis (note: we didn’t have the pizza shooters or extreme fajitas) during the week, and this was when we came up with our new brain child… or rather, booze child. See, Miss Emi and myself have some pretty extensive knowledge of the Miami bar scene. Plus, we love booze. So with that, we decided we’re starting up our very own blog about our misadventures with alcohol!

Our "contract," written appropriately on a bar napkin.

Emi's first contribution to the booze blog.

We’re still finalizing a name but we’ve got plenty of ideas for writing and artwork to go along with it. I’ll post a link up to it here once the site’s gone live. Seriously excited about giving ourselves another excuse to bar hop, hah.

Speaking of bars, I hung out with a friend a few nights ago who actually showed me a spot in Kendall I didn’t know about. If you’re a Kendall rat, you already know the Ale House, Flanigans, Gridiron, and the rest. However, tucked away inside of Tamiami Airport is a little insider secret called the Runway Cafe. A decent beer selection, plenty of Jamaican food, reggae and latin music, and most importantly – a seriously chill vibe are what make this one of my favorite new Miami finds. After a round of beers, my friend took me out on to the actual airport runway and showed me his plane (not a euphemism, I swear). It was my first time hanging out in a cessna and it made me think I should add “Get my pilot license” to my ever-growing bucket list. I can’t imagine how freeing it is to know that you got yourself up in the air! But one thing at a time… On a side note, my new friend is looking for someone to join him in some indoor rock climbing (something i’ve been wanting to try out for ages now), so watch out for some embarrassing posts about my fear of heights at the rock climb gym!

Of course, these kinds of activities will require a bit of money. And speaking of money, I started one of my gigs this week. It’s running the front desk of a dance school. Extremely part time, but a gigs a gig and right now I take what I can get. The job hunt is a slow and frustrating process, but I feel like it’s partly about the numbers and the rest is who you know. This is just one of many reasons why I love meeting people. I’m currently in the process of possibly obtaining another PT gig for a small software development/consulting firm. Regardless of whether I get the gig, I’ve already met some new folks and learned some interesting things as a result of the interview. My potential new employer asked me to come attend a tour of his home as part of a local permaculture class.

For those of us new to permaculture, let me guide you to a short wiki description:

Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature.It is based on the ecology of how things interrelate rather than on the strictly biological concerns that form the foundation of modern agriculture. Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs; it’s a system of design where each element supports and feeds other elements, ultimately aiming at systems that are virtually self-sustaining and into which humans fit as an integral part.

So basically, it’s keeping in mind both multipurpose design and sustainability when creating living and farming spaces. There’s some great people and great ideas to be found in the Permaculture Miami group. They offer a 6-week course twice a year, so any local folks interested in this sort of thing should definitely join the Facebook group and sign up! In a simple tour, I learned about the importance of having lots of windows, how to make your home look bigger by design, how to use composting bathrooms, and how people use groundwater to keep their homes cool. There were so many different kinds of people in the group too: bankers and socialists, interior designers and dancers, all together because they want to see how they can build their own beautiful living spaces cheaply and as green as possible.

After the tour, I came home to two pretty great family-related moments… The first was a conversation with my grandmother, whom I hadn’t spoken to in about 2 years. In the past few years, there were a few falling-out moments with a lot of my family in Nicaragua and as a result, I’d basically been unable to speak with anyone over there in a long while. Finally getting to talk to my now 85-year-old grandmother, hearing her speak, still sharp as a whip, brought me a whole lot of joy and made me realize that I seriously need to book a flight over and visit my abuelita in Corinto. Life is much too short and in my life, there are few people I have ever felt loved by so unconditionally as her.

Chloe and Sophie know what's up.

My second family-related moment came when my nieces, the Wonder Twins, came home while I was having a nice 90’s dance party on the solo in my kitchen. As it turns out, Chloe and Sophie both share my great love of TLC and NKOTB and every other 90’s group with acronym names! I had a blast lecturing these almost 9-month-olds about never settling for “scrubs” and I even confessed my formerly undying love of Taylor Hanson.

Oh, yeah. I'd still hit it.

Yeah, I really can’t complain. It’s been another amazing week. As I type this, I’m also in the process of getting ready for a mini-vacation to West Palm Beach to hang out with a rad artist friend of mine. To say it’s going to be good times is most likely an understatement.

One last thing before I go… If you read anything this week, make sure to read Margaret Cho’s recent piece that up on Jezebel. The short of it is that she said everything that every woman (hell, every PERSON) has ever wanted to say to any asshole that decided it was their job to criticize another person’s body. Here’s an excerpt:

Some outside Facebook observer said that my “language” was too much and told me that I had “lost a fan” because she couldn’t condone my “language.” I am sorry for that, as I love my fans, and it sucks to lose one, but obviously she doesn’t understand that when you grow up the way that I did, with kids at school throwing rocks at my face because they hated it because it was so ugly to them and they wanted the blood from my wounds to cover it so it wouldn’t have to be seen and at summer camps stuffed dog shit in my sleeping bag because I was told time and again that I looked like shit — and that I had to empty myself in the dark forest and still sleep in smelling that shit all that night and for weeks after because my family was too poor to afford a new one — my “language” is on the strong side. I apologize for offending the former fan, but I am only myself. That is all I can be, and if I must apologize for that, I don’t mind. All I am trying to say is that no young girl should be told she is ugly. If she is, you kill her spirit, and she may grow up like me, and lose a fan.

Ms. Cho is gorgeous and for her to have the kind of strength to share this and to really lay into someone that deserved it makes me respect her a million times more. As someone who grew up at times completely hating what she looked like, I can completely relate to her anger and frustration, and also to what I bet was a nice catharsis when she finished writing all of this. Some people grow up oblivious to how cruel words can sometimes be, especially when you’re deemed as “different.” (How appropriate that TLC’s “Unpretty” just started playing as I write this?) I spent years wanting to get a nose job, a boob job, laser hair removal, and wanting to lose weight so I could fit in to the mold of what I thought was supposed to be beautiful. I grew up admiring my Barbie dolls and as a 10 year old was convinced that when I turned 23, I would magically go blonde, grow huge tits, have a tiny waist, and look like some imaginary Caucasian model version of myself. When I turned 13, I realize that would never happen, and real depression set in. Compile that with ignorant kids saying ignorant and hateful things, walking across a hallway in order to not have to walk near me, getting spit balls thrown at me, having people play mean tricks, and it’s no wonder that I had suicidal thoughts before I even got to high school. I’ll write more about this another time, but basically – Margaret Cho, thank you.

That’s it for this week in amazing. Time to prepare for the next one! Here’s a little outro music for your listening pleasure. It’s an oldie but a goodie:

This Week In Amazing: Miami Winter, Enchanted Santas, Impossible Missions, and the Spiders from Mars

If the first week of 2012 is any indication of what is to come this year, it may very well be the end of the world.

Alright, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but these first few days have been admittedly too much fun (if such a thing exists). It’s been deliciously cold out (cold for Miami, that is), so it’s been difficult not to be out and about. There were about 3 days in a row where my main mission was to find a good place with coffee and pie, a la Twin Peaks (holy crap someone get me this shirt!!). In between these days have been hang outs revolving around playing pool and watching movies. My pool game has sadly not gotten any better in the past few days, but I have to say it’s definitely improved in general over the past few months. As for the movies, we saw Young Adult a few nights ago (I’m still trying to write out my disappointment about this film in a separate post) and this past Sunday, I took my dad to watch the latest Mission Impossible film for his birthday. Maybe it’s because I didn’t exactly have high hopes for it, but MI4 wound up being exactly what it was supposed to be: mind-numbingly entertaining. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Simon Pegg, and hell, Jeremy Renner isn’t exactly hard on the eyes. See for yourself:

On top of all of this, there have been nature walks in parks (and almost getting pegged by the Frisbee golfers), my first time feeding my baby nieces (messy, to say the least), bonfires and barbecues in backyards (not to mention unpasteurized Gouda), drinks with the ladyfriends (at Fox’s, Mr. Moe’s, Sunset Tavern, Sandbar, and Titanic’s – all places I should be piecing together some reviews for soon), and the rediscovering of good music.

In particular, I’ve been indulging myself in a lot of Radiohead (the Com Lag and Airbag/How Am I Driving? EPs to be specific) and David Bowie (namely: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars). Getting lost in music again is inspiring me to bring back the old podcast, maybe even if it’s just mini-mixes for now. Will be trying to get something going for that in the near future.

Quite possibly the best night so far of 2012 though involved a trip to that Miami holiday staple: Santa’s Enchanted Forest.

Santa’s is the annual winter-themed carnival that graces Tropical Park from November to January. Like most Miamians, I’ve been visiting the Enchanted Forest since I was a little kid – I’ve even got the Polaroids to prove it. Of course, back then it was much smaller and a lot less expensive. Nowadays, the roughly $27 entry fee gets you admittance into the park where you can indulge your inner child while walking past Christmas-y dioramas, watching acrobats and clowns and the occasional fire-breathing act, stuffing your face on elephant ears and other fried goodies, and riding everything from rollercoasters to ferris wheels to the infamous Himalaya (“Let me hear your screaaaaaam!” is a popular phrase you’re sure to hear if you happen upon this particular ride). While this was a place I used to absolutely love coming to as a kid, it was sometime around early adolescence that I decided I was “too cool” to keep going to such a “childish” establishment. Luckily, the older I get, the less I care about ever looking goofy or silly, so my friends and I revived this old tradition last year and have since come to enjoy it as one of our new winter traditions. This time around, we over-indulged in cotton candy and nachos, enjoyed defying gravity on numerous rides, and even made friends with some enterprising, traveling caricature artists. And of course, there are more details about all this, but for that you’ll have to wait til I jot ’em down in the book (wink, wink). Suffice to say that sleep has been lost, memories have been made, and plenty of cafe con leches have been drunk in between. So is the good life.

On a side note, I’ve got my first part-time gig going for the year and quite hopefully more work to come. If all goes well, I may be returning to the store to reward myself with this dress:

I’ve spent far too much time wearing the same tired old things. 2012 requires drastic wardrobe overhaul!

For now, it’s time to continue with the writing goals and see where the rest of the year takes me.

 

How was your first week of 2012?

If it hasn’t been spectacular just yet, start adding a little magic to your life. Take an alternate route home sometime. Talk to the stranger next to you. Do something completely unlike you. You might be surprised at how much these little details can alter the course of your day, your week, your year.