Thursday, June 21, 2012

Miami Beach Transportation

So I'm doing lots of research on my transportation options in Miami Beach. I will have my rental car, but I'm an advocate of walking and taking public transportation when in a new city because dealing with the stress of parking and finding gas stations is quite stressful to me.

If I do decide to drive around, I have a list of affordable parking garages. Most are $1 per hour for the first 4 hours and then a $15 flat rate for the entire day.

Another option is to take a cab (estimate your fare here) but that would definitely add up for my small party of 2 people. However, if you have 4 people to cart around, it might end up being more economical to take the cab. For example, from my hotel to Espanola Way (8 miles or so) it's about $13, which, when divided between 4 people, is comparable to the bus fare.

But there is a bus stop right in front of my hotel (the Eden Roc) so I'm thinking of taking the bus for $2 per ride as well as the SoBe shuttle, which is only 50¢. There's an area of South Beach which is pretty dense with touristy photo opportunities so I'd spend $2 to get to that area and then maybe another $2 or so hopping around on the shuttle and then another $2 to get back to my hotel. The Metrobus accepts cash ($1 and coins but no pennies) which is convenient since you don't need to go and get a card somewhere. There are cards available, called EasyCards, as well as paper versions called EasyTickets. The EasyTicket might be a good option for a visitor who is going to use the bus a lot because there is a 1 day pass for $5.

I'll be using the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker App which is free and useful.

Of course, I'll report back with my findings once the holiday actually takes place.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Girly Post: Nails on the Road

If you're like me, you like to travel light and efficiently when you fly. That means packing only the essentials and that usually means I can't squeeze in nail polish, base coat, and top coat in my little zip-top bag of liquids. Enter: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips; I'm not sure how they make these but you know they're really nail polish by how they smell. The kit comes complete with a wooden stick (to push back cuticles and press down the strips), a nail file with a buffing side and a smoothing/sanding side, and 16 strips in different sizes to suit different sized fingers and nails.

The directions are rather simple: clean and buff nails, choose a strip that fits your finger, peel off the backing (there's something protecting both sides of the strip), stick to your finger, crimp and smooth out the strip, pull off excess, and file until smooth. And that's it - there's no drying time so you're good to go immediately after application. These suckers last a good week or so and are a perfect way to bring a manicure on the go without having to deal with packing liquids.

There are a bunch of different designs, from impressive patterns to just regular solid colors if you want to keep it simple. I got mine from Target for under $10, so it's still cheaper than a professional manicure, though, pricier than 1 bottle of polish. But again, it's the whole convenience factor you're paying for. I chose these checkered strips in honor of being in Florida - you know, it's NASCAR nails.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Marriott Points & Miami

After 1 year (give or take a few weeks) of living out of a hotel in Baltimore, I've accrued almost 300,000 Marriott reward points, hoorah! And since I've stayed more than 75 nights so far this year, I am also an elite platinum member which means I get a few perks like free internet in the Marriotts that ask for payment for wifi (which is just sacrilege to me), cutting the line at check in, early check in and late check out (unless the hotel is majorly booked and can't spare the hours), free upgrade (when available), get greeted with some kind of gift, and other fun things like that.

I looked into converting my points into airline miles but it turns out the conversion rate isn't favorable and you end up "throwing away money" by doing so. And so I've decided that whenever possible, I will be staying at a Marriott.

Which brings me to my next announcement. Next week, I will be driving down to Miami (from my current location, which is West Palm Beach) for the weekend and staying at the Eden Roc Renaissance Resort & Spa in Miami Beach. It cost me 35,000 points for a night in an ocean view room (instead of $300+/night), it's an awesome looking, newly renovated resort with beautiful decor, lovely lounge areas (both inside and out), and is supposed to have excellent staff and service. Obviously, I'll judge that myself when I'm there next week though. It's in mid-beach so it's a 2 mile walk to the good stuff - like Lincoln Road Mall and Espanola Way, Versace House, and the well-known restaurants - but who doesn't need exercise? Anyway, I'm v. excited because my sister will be flying down to join me and I think we're going to have lots of fun.
looks fabulous, right?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Sunny, humid Florida

Hello from gator land! I'm in the Palm Beach area and its super hot and humid. Yesterday, it was so bad that I almost passed out, but that's probably because I was wearing jeans. When you work in construction, it's a safety rule that you have to wear long pants.

Which reminds me, when you go to warm destinations, like a tropical beach holiday, remember to hydrate and replenish your fluids and electrolytes.

But on the plus side, when I got back my hotel room, I got to relax by my favorite plants: palm trees!

Friday, June 01, 2012

West Palm Beach

Okay, so change of plans. I will no longer be headed to Boston on a road trip because something came up with work and my company is sending me to West Palm Beach. Excited to get some sun but weary of melting in the humidity. My body doesn't always do well in extreme heat - I've fainted multiple times in a few different summery situations (water park, club, at the gym) - but I have a few new swimsuits that are begging to be worn. I'm told I won't be stuck working hours that are too long so I should be able to enjoy some leisure time, a.k.a. toasting on the beach or by the pool time.
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