Ah, Miami, you're so beautiful. To some you have a bad rep for Spring Breakers and Party Goers but you have so much more to offer! In college I did the Miami Spring Break thing quite a few times and it was amazing but as an adult I wanted to experience Miami in a different way and I was not disappointed. 

On a short and sweet trip this past weekend not only did I find the hidden beauty in Miami but I was also reminded of how important it is to spend time ALONE. Yes, alone. I know it sounds scary to some and to be honest, it's something that used to frighten me. Who will I talk to? What will I do? God forbid I have to actually have a conversation with a stranger or entertain  myself. In reality there are far worse problems to have so over the years I've challenged myself to enjoy spending time with just me and it's the best thing ever! Besides, if you can't be happy spending time with yourself how can you expect someone else to be? 

This was a last minute trip so I wanted to make sure I spent my time and money wisely. A result of booking a last minute flight and being cost aware is ending up with interesting flight times. My arrival time was quite early, around 9am, so I was challenged to find things to do all day until my friends arrived closer to 6pm. I could not check into the hotel so I really had to keep myself busy to enjoy the day.

I started the day by going to the hotel and asking them to store my suitcase until check-in. Always check with the hotel for this service, they are usually happy to store your luggage for the day as they understand people have flight times that do not always coincide with check-in. That was a huge help! Now I was free to roam about, luggage free because there was no way I was lugging that around all day. I was also allowed access to the hotel pools, restaurants and bars but instead I headed to Nailed for a mani/pedi. I know…who goes to the beach without their nails done? I never had time before my trip to get to the salon but I knew I could find somewhere awesome and I did! Nailed is an awesome boutique salon located on Collins Avenue, right in the heart of the beach (They had THE best reviews on Yelp). The owner was there and greeted me as soon as I walked in. After checking in and letting them know what I needed, they were very careful and clear to explain the pricing before seating you. Although I had already looked up the prices and decided before I arrived, I appreciated the fact that they didn’t try to swindle me or assume I knew they were pricey. I was then walked to the color table (not an entirely overwhelming wall of 1,000 colors like most salons) where the owner assisted me with a color choice. She reviewed what was trending, which colors were most popular in her salon and which she thought would work best for me. Most places just leave you standing there and tell you where to sit down when you’re ready. I was impressed with the customer service already.

After choosing a color and being seated I was offered Espresso and/or water. My nailed tech was very accommodating, friendly and fast. Not too fast where you feel rushed but fast where you can’t believe how efficient it was. The pedi was pretty basic—your feel will not soak in the water for a long period of time and the massage is shorter than other places. At Nailed a longer scrub or massage is an add-on so I opted out. After the pedi they walk you to your nail station to finish. I learned that this is a celebrity hot-spot and they also make house calls! For a nice chunk of change they will send a nail tech to your home or hotel for private service. Apparently Cassidy, Diddy and the Kardashians, to name a few, are fans of the salon. Who knew?! Overall I was extremely pleased with my visit and recommend it to anyone visiting the Miami area. Nailed it!

Next was shopping! I ordered a few things online to wear on the trip as I just purged my closet and am low on options. The package never arrived so I basically went down to Florida with a purse, shoes and undies in my suitcase. Lincoln Road has plenty of options and was super close to my hotel. I spent a few hours there, grabbed lunch and headed to the beach. I forgot how clear and beautiful the water is there. Absolutely stunning! It was hot without a cloud in the sky and I loved it. Water always centers me and reminds me of how small I really am on this Earth. I was reminded to always remain grateful for all of life’s blessings and to help others along the way. I was happy for this time alone to reflect and put things into perspective. I felt at peace.

By this time it was late afternoon and I was hungry again so I headed to the hotel to put away my shopping finds and grab food. The hotel had an awesome sushi bar (which I’m not craving) and the friendliest bartender. It was almost time for my friends to arrive and I was ready!

Besides the nail shop and being a beach bum the next day, my favorite gem was Puerto Sagua, a Mom + Pop Cuban restaurant off of Ocean Drive. YUM. I had Platanos Tostoni (Fried Plantains) and Fried Filete de Cherna (Fried Grouper) with rice and beans. Everything wasn’t fried, that was just my choice because, why not? SO DELICIOUS. It’s not fancy place and the service is extremely slow but it makes it all the more authentic.

Thinking back on the weekend I am so appreciative of the time I had alone to just be with myself and my thoughts. I was so proud of myself for genuinely being okay spending the day alone and actually enjoying it! I encourage you to try it, you might learn something about yourself.