Tag Archives: Coconut Grove

Tuesdays with Texas

I lived closer to my second friend that I met in Miami when I lived in Dallas, than I do now.  Texas moved to Florida, from East Dallas with her family in June. Just like me Texas’s husband was offered a job here in the Magic City that he could not pass-up.

I didn’t know her before I moved, but when a friend that I have known since I was in diapers in the nursery at church facebook messaged me and told me that Texas was moving to Miami I had a feeling we would be tight; those who choose to live in East Dallas have something in common.  I can not pin point exactly what it is, but there is something that made us, and others, choose this more expensive, eclectic, area of Dallas, “inside the loop”

When Texas arrived in June, I didn’t waste anytime.  We went and bought beach towels for her kids and showed up at their new front door.  I welcomed her like I would have loved to have been welcomed to a new city and hoped that my eagerness did not come across as stalkerness.  My gamble paid off.  Texas seemed to appreciate the calls of support and our kids enjoyed playing with each other.

I would have prefered that she moved right next door (I know, I know that might be a little too much togetherness for a new friend, but I’m telling you if my neighbors would talk to me they would really like me. I’m good at neighborly conversation with great instincts for how much is too much), but the promise of excellent public schools, and a well located office building,  took Texas and her family to a great neighborhood about 30 minutes south of mine.  Even though it was not my first choice to have my second friend live so far, the milage between us might have some advantages.  If Texas ends up loving The Falls and reports a much easier time with getting to know the Miamians in her area, there is nothing stopping us from buying a house down there when our Coconut Grove lease expires (except for a little hour+ commute for my hubby but he could get over it right? Well, maybe that is too much too ask, we would miss him).

Thus far at least two of Texas’s neighbors have spoken to her and one even invites her little cowboys to play ANYTIME THE GARAGE IS OPEN, and it sounds like it is open quite a bit.  We have agreed that we will probably decide there is simply a trade-off.  It looks like The Falls might be more friendly like our former home in East Dallas, while “The Grove” is probably one of the more beautiful parts of Miami, the classic brains vs. beauty debate.  It was love at first sight when my husband and I saw the Grove, but we wonder if the size of her coconuts, so to speak,  might not be enough in the long run to make us happy.

Texas is still enjoying the anonymous stage of her move (described here), so there is still a lot to learn about The Falls.  Time will tell.  We look forward to comparing notes.

It would be easy for a married mother of elementary school aged children to find no time to see her friends, that is why Texas and I made a commitment.  We have a date each Tuesday to explore a new part of Miami.  We’re going to kill two flamingos with one stone: we’ll catch-up and get to know this crazy place at the same time.

We started our Together Tuesdays this week and thought there was no better place to begin than the epicenter of the city: South Beach (some locals may not agree with that statement on “epicenter” but us newbys have gotta start somewhere!).    Texas and I went on a walking tour of the Art Deco Historic District that stretches about 10 blocks wide, and maybe 5 blocks deep in the heart of Miami Beach. Trip Advisor rated Christine Micheal’s small group tour as the second best tour of ALL AVAILABLE tours in Miami (it would be hard to compete with a boat on the beautiful bay waters, but she beat all but one).  Not surprisingly in the 90 degree weather and 150% humidity, Texas and I had this delightful tour guide to ourselves.  Christine talked history, architecture and design while she crab-walked through the district.  We just loved it.  We learned so much about both Art Deco and Miami and we promise to share our new knowledge with you when you come visit (I noticed from her recent facebook posts that Texas really listened to my success stories of heavy campaigning for out-of-town guests). Click for a link to the Art Deco Walking Tour here.

And this is just the beginning.  Texas and I have a lot of  places we want to explore and week by week we will start crossing our Miami must see spots off our list.  This is something that you could do in your own city, even if you have lived there your entire life.  It seems like locals of every city do not always take the time to explore or take advantage of their home town’s treasures.  Many Miamians have admitted to rarely going to the beach  and usually say they wish they could find the time (if they only knew what it meant to be land locked I bet that wouldn’t be the case).  But the truth is, you’ve got to make the time: sit-down, carve it out, and make it happen.     Even if you aren’t on a new friend search like me, I am sure there are hidden gems in your town waiting to be uncovered.  Experts say that friendships are based on shared experiences and even if you think you don’t have room in your life for new friends, I bet you have a few bonds that could use strengthening.  So what are you waiting for?   Call a friend, or take a risk and call someone you hope might be your friend, and make a commitment to go see or do something new!  I don’t think you will regret it!

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Making a rent house a home: new rugs by Dwell Studio

Before we moved to Miami in January we had an estate sale and sold almost all of the furniture in our Dallas home. We had not invested too much money in the furniture, and I had grown tired of most of it. I didn’t see the point in spending a lot of money to move it half way across the country.

It did lighten up our load considerably but left us with little furniture for our new home in this tropical paradise. Without a budget to furnish the entire house I thought it wise to purchase the necessities first, in neutral colors and shapes, that would easily move from the rent house we are in now to another home we might choose to buy next year.

Shopping was fun, but I ended up with a lot of boring neutral pieces and wanted to add a little fun to the house… especially the kids’ rooms!

While purusing my favorite children’s store in Dallas, baby bliss/miniMe in Snider Plaza, I fell in love with everything in the Dwell Studio catalog.

I ended up buying 3 of their rugs- two for the two kids’ bedrooms and one for our new playroom. We love the pop of color the rugs add to the house.

Dwell Studio rugs
Dwell Studio
Dwell Studio rugs

Want one for your home? If you can’t stop into BabyBliss/miniMe in South Lake or Snider Plaza in Dallas, shop Dwell at miniMe online:

I needed something to add a little skip in my step

I have not updated my workout play list in a year and a half and I was ready for a little something new.  I scoured the Internet for recommendations and included songs that I have liked on the radio lately.

I looked for upbeat songs and/or songs that made me happy.  Here is what I have thrown into the mix:

Machinehead Bush

Killing Me Softly With His Song Fugees

Me and Bobby McGee Janis Joplin

Domino Jesse J

That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas) Lyle Lovett

Harder to Breathe Maroon 5

Party in the U.S.A. Miley Cyrus

Fat Bottomed Girls Phillip Phillips

Can’t Stop The Rd Hot Chili Peppers

SOS Rihanna

Runnin Down a Dream Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Lonely Boy The Black Keys

Crazy in Love Beyonce

Shame on You Indigo Girls

Good Girl Carrie Underwood

What Makes You Beautiful One Direction

Rumor Has It Adele

Waka Waka Shakira

Cal Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen

Roxanne– Juliet Simms

I’ve gone through the mix a couple of times and I’m enjoying it.  Shakira’s Waka Waka is really fun and I was surprised how great the Tom Petty song made me feel- I’ve listed to him for years but never considered adding it to my running playlist.  My favorite of the moment though is Rhiana.  Her music is so versatile and the song SOS made me stop mid-run and dance and THAT is a fun way to start the day!

Do you have any new songs that I could add to the list?

Source: twitter.com via Meredith on Pinterest

Cha Cha Cha is the perfect Summer cocktail

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After a 5-hour car ride with 5 kids to Clear Water, Florida my friend Dabney and I were ready for some “Mommy Juice.”

Luckily, we had stashed a new discovery from our great local liquor store Grove Liquors.

Cha Cha Cha Tequila

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With a hint of lemon and honey we thought Cha Cha Cha was great straight over ice and concluded it would be the perfect Summer cocktail. Simple and light on calories without the added mixer.

If that sounds too strong I’ve since tried it mixed with Fresca and that was very tasty and refreshing.

After a cocktail on the beach and a sunset pirate cruise we were all happy.

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If Mama ain’t happy then nobody’s happy, right?

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I hate yoga.. but I can’t touch my toes

And that concerns me.

My mom is 65ish and looks fabulous.

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She has exercised for my entire life. When I was in elementary school, I would wake to find her lying on her side on the floor scissoring her legs in unison with the leg warmer-clad ladies in the Jane Fonda video on the television while she was reading the paper AND drinking a mug of coffee. I’m not sure if Mom was REALLY wearing a powder blue leotard or if that memory manifested from me sitting on the couch and watching Jane jumping jack morning after morning!

That doesn’t sound like exercise to you? Well it was probably just Mom’s warm-up to one of the thousands of tennis singles matches that she played and destroyed her opponent, or a 3-mile jog, or a slalom water ski run, or, well the list goes on and on.

But what she never included in her workouts was yoga, and she says now everything hurts. Not that this has slowed her down; she has just incorporated more ice into her workout regime.

I have also been known to skip out of the “cool down” portion of my favorite group exercise class or push my run to the longest possible mileage leaving no time to stretch before jumping in the shower to get on with my day. But recently, Mom’s regret has fueled me to find a yoga class that I can tolerate.

I timed my growing interest in yoga pretty well. Just as I began to wonder which type of yoga would be best for the most inflexible person on the planet, the discount voucher messages began exploding in my email account. Beginning in January of 2010 I think I bought every exercise voucher that became available in a fifteen-mile radius of my house. And if I missed one, one of my running partners found it and we bought them up! The four of us tried it all.

We had gongs rung in our ears as we looked down on a passing freight train from a loft on the fringe of downtown Dallas and we chanted in unison with people we’ve never met before. We sat behind students that twisted their legs into pretzels and watched in amazement as others leaped from their feet to perfect handstands. I knew I was in trouble when my size 4 running partners went to a first class without me and said it was fun but a little awkward because they were the big girls in the room.

But the trial class that sticks out most in my mind was Bikram yoga. Bikram is a class comprised of 26 poses that are performed in a 105-degree room during a 90-minute period. At the end of our first class the instructor said something like, “and for everyone that is new it is important to get your first 10 classes in as quickly as possible so you can really see the results. We recommend that you come for 10 days in a row.” Ugh… I knew I was in trouble. My 3 friends and I never pass up a challenge. So there I was- for 10 days in a row, at 5:30 am, sweating my axx-off!

I did not like Bikram…. all I could think about for 90 minutes was how hot I was. The truth was, I did not really like any of the yoga that we tried that year and by the end of 2010 I was back to my old ways of racking up a lot of mileage, without stretching too much at all.

But the whisper of mom’s regret would just not go away and when we moved to Miami at the beginning of this year, I decided it might be time to seek out a yoga class again. I had been giving the local Bikram studio the evil eye every time that I drove by. I was mad at it because (1) it was so close to my house and hard to avoid and (2) it had become the favorite yoga for my running girls in Dallas and I just did not understand why.

Without a better idea, I thought I would give the class a second chance. There must be something to this if the girls like it so much. And much to my surprise, it was not that bad. One thing I had not noticed before is that the poses are not that complicated. There isn’t even a downward dog! I heard my instructor telling a new student- “our poses are designed so that anyone can get into them.”

I’m afraid if I utter the words if there might be some truth to a jinx, but risking my flexibility I will tell you, I think I like Bikram.

Bikram himself would probably tell you that something in my life has happened to help me put my mind over matter, to get through the heat. I am not sure why I am able to focus on something other than the temperature but I do know that this mind over matter skill is improving with each class I take, and that can help me in other areas of my life: running, parenting or even keeping house (which is not my favorite thing to do).

Since I started attending Bikram twice weekly, in early April, I have seen quite a few benefits:

1. I workout soreness from other exercise- if I walk into class with a tight hamstring from a long run, I don’t feel it at all when the class is over.
2. My wrists don’t hurt anymore when I attempt push-ups or a plank hold. I was starting to believe that arthritis was setting in but I do not feel this pain at all any more.
3. I am sleeping better than normal.
4. But most importantly, my fingers are getting closer to my toes. The heat has allowed my muscles to stretch further during class and with each class I seem to bend a little bit more and that feels good.

Bikram said you are “never too bad, never too old, never too sick, never to late, to start from scratch and begin again.” Mom, I think this guy might know what he is talking about! I’ve got a mat and towel ready in the spot next to me waiting for your next visit at the end of this month! Maybe we can work out these kinks together.

I attend Bikram yoga at the studio in Coconut Grove, Florida. Here is their website if you would like to check it out.

Ideas for Father’s Day- the time is now if you have to get a gift in the mail

I love to shop for greeting cards. I think I inherited that trait from my mom. Unlike, my mom’s however, my cards rarely get sent. I will diligently shop, find the perfect card for my sweetest friend, and then let her birthday pass because I never brought home a stamp, or let the card get lost under one of the stacks on my desk.

So, when I found the TREAT website I was thrilled! I can browse through a really cute selection of funny, heartfelt and sincere cards, write a personalized message, address and stamp a card without ever leaving my computer desk. Then TREAT will deliver the card on the day that I select. I pictured sitting down monthly and knocking out friends’ birthdays and holidays, without ever missing a birthday again! Well, that didn’t happen, but… it is awesome and I have used it when I remember to make the time to sit down in front of the website…

For Father’s Day I made a card for all the men in my life and included fun family photos! Check it out, you’ll love it. Just don’t wait too long. You need to allow about 5 days for delivery.

Source: treat.com via Meredith on Pinterest

Christmas 2011 was a bit hectic because we were moving on New Years Day. We had quite a few moving expenses so Vince and I decided not to buy each other presents. I ran into the Apple store on the way to 5:00 church on Christmas Eve and saw this small (but not cheap) wireless speaker that I knew Vince would love. So I through our deal out the window and bought the speaker. I was so glad because (1) Vince bought me a gift too and (2) he has used it everyday since!

The Jaw Bone Wireless Speaker

Source: jawbone.com via Meredith on Pinterest

A personalized insulated cup that will hold coffee for the drive to work or water around the house. Vince’s says #1 Dad. If he is ever feeling under appreciated… or just needs a little attention, he gets his Tervis Tumbler and makes sure we get the message.

Tervis Tumbler

Source: tervis.com via Meredith on Pinterest

A Garmin watch. I actually convinced our parents (both sets) to buy this for Vince for his birthday several years ago. He had not asked for it.. I’m not sure if he even knew what it was. But he has always loved to run and I was a new runner and learning about all of the “gadgets.” Even though we both use it, he still calls it “his watch.”

A Garmin Watch

This year Vince is getting a key ring breathalyzer. He has asked for one for years! When we got out we almost always take a cab or designate a driver, but I think he thought this would be good to have in his car, in case there is ever a question over that one beer…

A Breathalyzer Key Ring

Source: amazon.com via Meredith on Pinterest

What are you getting the men in your lives for Father’s Day? I still haven’t decided on a gift for my dad and the time is ticking…

All Hail the Queen

The Queen of the Flowering Trees… the Royal Poinciana.

located in South Gables

the first Royal I saw in bloom in May 2012

I took this picture in Coral Gables at Riviera Park, in front of my son’s school in early May. I have never seen anything like it, have you? I watched as a few red flowers began to grow then … POW, the tree erupted in red!

I had to get a better look!


I had just enough time before school let out that day to walk under the tree and feel what it was like to be engulfed in red flowers; to almost be wrapped in her arms.

Enchanted

I went straight home that day and did a little research (GOOGLE!). This flowering tree can be found in tropical climates all over the world. It is also called the Flamboyant tree, which seems more appropriate than the regal alternative. After my discovery of this red goddess in early May, I was shocked when I woke-up a week later to find she has strutted herself all over this town. Red flowers bloomed from a tree on every block. As time marches on toward summer she seems to show her beauty for anyone that will notice, without regard for the mess of leaves and pods that she leaves behind.

Nevertheless, last week, when the little red flowers began to sprout in my yard, it didn’t matter how many others I had to share her with- I am in awe and am willing to pay a high price for the mere moments (or maybe a month or so) that I get to spend in her presence.

Next weekend is the 75th Annual Royal Poinciana Festival in Coral Gables. And although its not exactly the red double decker bus that my 6 year old has been dying to climb aboard, I think we’ll jump on the free trolly to get a grand tour of Miami’s Loveliest Ladies.