Travel Diary: Miami Beach, Florida, USA

August 6, 2014

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Well, hey there! I'm baaaack :)

I enjoyed two wonderful weeks of summer vacation and am back at the office now (boo!). But vacation was awesome. I went to Miami Beach, Florida with one of my best friends. This was our fourth vacation together, so she's basically my travel buddy. We had a great time and enjoyed the hot weather, the palm trees, the beach, the pool, the cocktails, the food and the shopping!

Here are a few impressions, all shot by my iPhone unfortunately, but you get the gist of it. I actually did take my big DSLR camera with me but I didn't end up lugging it around everywhere. I guess that's one major downfall of those big cameras.

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This is on our first day in the lobby of our hotel. We spent 10 nights at the Red South Beach Hotel, located at 30th & Collins Avenue. It's not the most luxurious of hotels but we also didn't pay what one would pay for a luxurious stay. So we were satisfied with the value for our dollar. We had breakfast included (the choice of bread basket or eggs & bacon with toast) and we were very close to the beach (across the street past the row of hotels which were directly at the beach). The biggest downside was that our hotel didn't have beach chairs and umbrellas available to use. So we weren't able to survive at the beach for very long, since the sun and heat were very intense. We spent more time at our hotel's pool lying on very comfy chairs and having the option of using umbrellas to hide from the burning sun. Unfortunately, there was some construction going on next door, so that got a bit annoying on our last few days. But we were able to block it out somehow.

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These delicious nachos are from the Hard Rock Cafe in Miami. It's situated right by the ocean at Biscayne Bay and both times we dined there we sat outside and had gorgeous views of the harbor. Before devouring these nachos and the delicious watermelon cocktail, we did a city and boat tour of Miami with Half Price Tour, which was pretty good! I'd definitely recommend the boat tour, which is always funner than a bus tour. We saw pretty views and got to see some celebrities' mansions - ooh la la :)

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Ahh, the sight of those shopping bags makes me smile (haha). One of the best shopping experiences was at Sawgrass Mills Mall, which is the largest outlet mall in the USA made up of 350+ stores. I was seriously in heaven. The receptionist at our hotel recommended the trip, which cost $30 per person and included the transportation by bus and a coupon booklet. I think the trip from our hotel to the mall took about 45 minutes, so not too bad at all. We left around 10:30am and the bus picked us up at the mall at 5:00pm. I could have stayed longer (obviously) but the next pick-up would have been at 9:00pm so that would have been a bit exaggerated to have stayed another 4 hours! But I definitely bought enough stuff, as you can see in the picture. I'm so happy with everything and the prices were really great!

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While at the Sawgrass Mall, we took a breat around 1:00pm and had some lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. It was our first time eating there and it was scrumptious! I had the quesadillas and for dessert, we shared this delicious piece of cheesecake which included chocolate cake, caramel, peanut butter and peanuts. IT WAS SO GOOD. The two of us couldn't even finish one piece though, it was so filling.

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We did a little impromtu photoshoot while walking down Ocean Drive, the view of the beach and the palm trees - we couldn't resist!

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One night, we went out to Ocean Drive and had drinks and some nachos at Mango's Tropical Cafe, which was recommended to us by our hotel receptionist. It was very loud, happy and energetic. They had girls in cute (*cough* slutty *cough*) outfits dancing around and live singers and it was just a fun atmosphere.

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Our second impromtu photoshoot :)

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This was our second visit of the Hard Rock Cafe in Miami. We did a bit of shopping in the area and then enjoyed a yummy meal and this gorgeous view.

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Seeing as we were proper tourists, we made a trip to the Everglades. I wouldn't necessarily say this is a must-see, but I guess it's such a typical thing to do that everyone goes there anyways. The boat ride was fun and our "captain" was a hilarious guy and told us some stories of him catching snakes and alligators at the Everglades since he was a child. In high school he would catch and kill snakes, then take them to school in his backpack and sell them (my whole body literally cringes at this thought since I'm so afraid of snakes). It was a hot and sunny day so all the alligators were hiding out in the shade. We only spotted one baby alligator and I only spotted his tail haha...

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The DASH store! I'm a fan of the Kardashians (guilty reality-tv pleasure) so I naturally had to hit up the DASH store. I was totally disappointed though. The store was almost empty, the prices were very high and nothing even really stood out to me. But hey, at least a got a picture in front of the store!

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And last but not least, the best donuts in the world, from Krispy Kreme. I love them! But I think it's definitely safer for my waistline that these aren't sold in Switzerland. Otherwise, I'd be in big trouble.

Hope you enjoyed my vacation pictures!

Have you ever been to Miami Beach? Can you recommend a great place to visit in the US? I'm definitely thinking about going to New York / California / Vegas next :) But since school is starting school and I'll be on a tighter budget, who knows when that will happen (ugh...what a hard knock life... hah!).

(By the way, stay tuned for some makeup and fashion haul posts! I got some really good stuff.)


*This blog is NOT sponsored. All opinions are my own.*

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