Category Archives: Miami

You Know You’re from Miami When…

  1. You’ve celebrated a major event by ruining your pots and pans (Heat Championship; Fidel Castro dying; those two times the Marlins won the World Series, etc.) And you know THE BEST spot to party is in front of La Carreta on Bird Road.
  2. You rep “The U” so damn hard, but you probably didn’t even go there.
  3. You spent most of your childhood perfecting your skating skills at Hot Wheels. You would later go there for all ages parties when you were 15 to perfect your sucia skills.
  4. You have five or more Flanigan’s cups chilling in your house.
  5. You know somebody that knows somebody that knows Pitbull.
  6. You’ve been to the “insane asylum” on Krome.
  7. You literally felt your heart break when D. Wade took his talents to Chicago.
  8. You’ve never felt more pure unadulterated joy when he returned to the 305.
  9. You’ve bought mamoncillos, churros, water, soda, gatorade, flowers or limes from a street vendor.
  10. You’ve tasted the sweet sweet nectar of Iron Beer, Jupiña and Materva.
  11. You never take out of town friends to party in the Grove because it’s deader than dead.
  12. You’ve felt such intense road rage that acting on it and going to jail wouldn’t even phase you. Our drivers don’t believe in turning signals, insurance or basic human decency.
  13. You’ve gotten lost in the maze that is Hialeah. And questioned every life choice you’ve made up until that point.
  14. You’ve experienced a seething hatred for the rocks that double as street signs in Coral Gables. Seriously, all of the streets are NAMES and then you put them on a rock… on the ground?!
  15. “Bro” and “dale” are part of your daily vocabulary (even if you don’t want them to be). Your ability to speak proper English is dwindling as a result.
  16. You have a mango or avocado trees in your backyard (or you know someone that does).
  17. You’ve gone to both Santa’s Enchanted Forest and the Youth Fair (and you’ve memorized the theme songs for each).
  18. Back in the day, you attended a birthday party at Don Carter’s (RIP) or Bird Bowl.
  19. You’ve spent at least one Saturday night watching Sabado Gigante. You’re still terrified of El Chacal and think Don Francisco is immortal.
  20. You’ve indulged in some tiki tiki music and made bad life choices at Club Space.
  21. You either love reggaeton or pretend that you hate it.
  22. You won’t admit it, but you’ve shopped at either ÑOOO! Que Barato or Valsan.
  23. You have a mild panic attack when another football team comes close to a perfect season because you don’t want the flory taken away from the ’72 Dolphins.
  24. You know better than to set foot on South Beach during Memorial Day Weekend or Spring Break.
  25. You’re fiercely loyal to the neighborhood you grew up in. (One time for Westchester!)
  26. You’ve at one point or another said, “I live where you vacation.” Even though you go to the beach like twice a year.
  27. You might’ve shed a tear at Tarpon Bend closing because Friday happy hour will never be the same again.
  28. Despite the face-eating zombies, bandwagon fans and the chongas, you love calling Miami home.

20 Signs That You Might Be Cuban

1. The mere site of a chancleta strikes fear into your heart.

2. You question people who aren’t ride or die for cortaditos and coladas.

3. Celia Cruz made the soundtrack to your childhood.

4. Breakfast isn’t real unless it involves a pastelito, croqueta or tostada.

5. Your mom is in a constant panic about the weather. “It’s raining over here. Is it raining where you are? Ten cuidado.

6. You’ve mastered the art of Spanglish and speaking with your hands.

7. However, you haven’t gotten a handle on lowering your voice. You’re at a permanent level 10 and people have learned to deal.

8. You get excited about “¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?” reruns on PBS. And yes, it’s still an accurate depiction of Cuban living despite it being 30-plus years old.

9. Asando un puerco is your favorite part about the holidays.

10. You had tremendo Quinces. Bonus points if you perfected a rueda with your court.

11. You think guayaberas are perfectly fine attire for most (if not all) events.

12. Angels weep over your abuela’s flan.

13. You’re still not over Elian being sent back.  It happened more than 10 years ago, but you simply can’t let it go.

14. People have gotten used to you being late. That, or they just lie about the ACTUAL time you’re supposed to show up.

15. Willy Chirino’s “Tu Cumpleaños” was played at every single birthday party you attended. And you wouldn’t have it any other way.

16. You know that merengue is not just a type of music.

17. You’ve shopped at Sedano’s or Presidente Supermarket.

18. You’re well versed in Jose Marti poetry. Zapaticos de Rosa and Cultivo una Rosa Blanca were totally your jam back in the day.

19. You get mildly offended when people confuse the Cuban and Puerto Rican flags.

20. You’ve actually spent time in Cuba and appreciate what you have, and more importantly, where you come from.

A Tour of Lovely Westchester. Yes, Westchester.

For the times that you’ve had enough of the South Beach grind, the Wynwood hipster nonsense, the Gables happy hour mania and the Grove brunch crowd, saunter on over to beautiful, magical, amazing Westchester.

Those that have yet to visit this area, it is a suburban square hemmed by Bird Road to the south, Tamiami Trail to the north, 97th Avenue to the west and the Palmetto to the east. 

It’s got a little something something for just about everyone – great eats, plenty of activities and one HECK of a holiday theme park.

For the Foodies

Instead of drinking around the world at Epcot, just go eating around the Bird Road in Westchester.

Bird Road has some of the best dim sum in the 305 thanks to Tropical Chinese and Kon Chau, both located in totally unassuming strip malls.

Pro Tip #1: If you want the dim sum cart experience at Tropical Chinese, make sure you show up during lunch hours. The dinner menu is great and all, but a bit pricey.

Pro Tip #2: The wonton soup at Kon Chau is an absolute and total MUST. Plus, you can never go wrong with their steamed pork buns.

When Taco Bell and Lime just won’t cut it, get realer than real Mexican food at Los Magueyes. The complimentary chips and muy spicy salsas are more than welcome in or around my mouth.

Pro Tip: The mushroom and spinach quesadilla – YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

Got a hankerin’ for food that’s a little out of the norm? Head over to Salvadoran restaurant, El Atlakat.

Pro Tip: Treat your taste buds to so many amazing flavors with the super antojitos sampler platter. It comes with so many delicious things like fried cheese, skirt steak, chicharrones (fried pork belly), yucca and more!

Honorable Mentions: Pincho Factory (get the toston burger), Frankie’s PizzaEl Rey de Las Fritas,Arbetter’s Hot Dogs (those chili cheese fries though).


For the Weekend Warriors

Nothing is more of a #tbt than spending a night of fun at Bird Bowl. You got bowling, billiards, arcade games, the best people watching EVER, music, laughter and smelly shoes. Seriously, there’s nothing that can’t be done here.

Pro Tip: Get in on that twilight special after 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

For the Holiday Enthusiasts

If you love Christmas lights with a healthy helping of carnival rides and fried foods, then Santa’s Enchanted Forest is the place for you. Now open from October to January, your Christmas can be holly and jolly for a full four months. And just in case you forgot, it’s located in Tropical Park off Palmetto and Bird Road.

Pro Tip #1: Eat all of the elephant ears. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Pro Tip #2: If the holidays aren’t your jam, but fried foods and carnival rides are, wait until March for the Youth Fair to roll through Tamiami Park.

For the Sporty Spices

Speaking of Tropical Park…. It’s kinda sorta a big deal when it comes to places in the ‘Chester. With batting cages, baseball fields, basketball courts, soccer fields, biking trails and tons of playgrounds, you can work on your fitness any which way.

Pro Tip: Roll down “the hill.” Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – will bring you more joy.

This article first appeared on Miami.com.

A Guide to Understanding Miami Behavior

Photo courtesy of LDV Entertainment

Miamians are some of the most unique people you will ever meet. We do things differently than most, and we’re unapologetically “us.” In fact, we’re such special snowflakes that it’s often difficult to interpret our behavior. But fear not, fair reader! With our handy Miami Behavior Translator (patent pending), you’ll never again have to wonder why your neighbor is spending hours banging pots and pans together.

Miami Behavior: Incessant honking the second a traffic light turns green

Meaning: We’re already running stupid late to any of the following: our second cousin’s quinces, our latest laser hair removal appointment, a boozy brunch.

Miami Behavior: Banging pots and pans together

Meaning: Raul Castro has finally perished, one of our major sports teams has won a championship, a young boy was just sent back to Cuba.

Miami Behavior: Overdressing for any and every occasion

Meaning: We’re all about movin’ and shakin’, both literally and metaphorically. Since this is a town built on seeing and being seen, there’s no room aboard the hot mess express.

Miami Behavior: Busting out the winter gear when it dips below 70 degrees

Meaning: We’re literally freezing. (Don’t judge).

Miami Behavior: Drinking at least three espressos/coladas a day

Meaning: This is our fuel. How are we expected to function otherwise?

Miami Behavior: Greeting you with a kiss on the cheek

Meaning: We never learned the meaning of personal space, handshakes are too informal, we’re not emotionless monsters.

Miami Behavior: Cutting you off in traffic

Meaning: Inherently, we’re assholes.

Miami Behavior: Purchasing food or flowers from street vendors

Meaning: You think we’re gonna find mamoncillos at Publix? Plus, we never EVER knock the hustle. Rick Ross taught us better than that.

Miami Behavior: Hashtagging Instagram pics with “I live where you vacation”

Meaning: I live where you vacation.

This article first appeared on Miami.com.

6 Pieces of Jewelry Every Miami Baby Must Own

It’s a well-known fact that Miami babies are born con tremendo estilo. Fresh off the runway (read: their mom’s womb), they’re rockin’ the latest azabache for spiritual protection or mini gold hoops to give their Martha of Miami onesie some flair. In fact, Miami mamis usually agonize over how early is TOO early to put five karats in their baby girl’s ear. So, if you’re planning to have a baby (in the near or far future) or just welcomed a little bundle of joy, here’s a list of jewelry that your baby must have to truly roll with Miami’s finest.

Azabache

Courtesy of @alinaespinalaccesorios

This black charm in the shape of a fist is usually on some sort of bracelet or pin with the words Dios Me Bendiga. This is the No. 1 way to protect your infant from the “evil eye” or Miami’s general chusmeria. Even if you’re not a believer in spiritual protection, your baby will be a total nobody in the Mommy & Me set if they’re not rockin’ one or two or three.

Hoop Earrings

How else will your little diva grow up to be one of the chongas Miami is known and loved for? Gotta start ‘em young, amirite?

Nameplate Bracelet

You got them an azabache to protect from the bad intentions of all those Miami cualquieras, so it may seem counter intuitive to get your kid a nameplate bracelet. Pero, Miami is like that old timey television show “Cheers” –  a huge city where everyone seems to know your name (because it’s written on your wrist).  Nameplate bracelets are also clutch if you have multiple kids and can’t be bothered to remember their names. Parenting is hard enough.

Religious Necklaces

Courtesy of @santayanajwlrs

Most Miami parents are faux Catholics until just after their kid’s First Communion (don’t @ me). So, it stands to reason that they would swag their baby out with the religion’s finest symbols – crosses and virgins and angels, oh my! Bonus points if this is attained at your baby’s baptism.

Evil Eye & Hamsa Bling

Courtesy of @santayanajwlrs

Have you noticed that Miami parentals are REALLY into protecting their spawn? By any means necessary, in fact. So much so, that regardless of their religious and cultural background, you will definitely see evil eye and/or hamsa (Hand of Fatima for some) bling in every stroller south of the Broward County line. Because you want to cover all your bases when it comes to keeping the evil spirits away from your bebe.

Birthstone Jewelry

Whether it’s in the form of earrings or a necklace, your little one needs to passionately identify with a random birthstone from, well…birth. It will certainly influence their high school class ring choice and potential favorite color. Also, whenever someone brings up the stone for whatever reason they can proudly exclaim “THAT’S MY BIRTHSTONE” as if they’re the most special snowflake that West Kendall ever did see.

Baby Teeth Jewelry

This one is for the parentals. Cause once Miami kids start losing teeth, anyone who’s anyone will turn those pearly whites into a borderline creepy piece of jewelry. Teeth earrings, teeth bracelet, teeth necklace – the possibilities are only limited to the number of teeth in that kid’s head!

This article first appeared on Miami.com.

9 Questions Miamians Have About Ultra Music Festival

Ultra. The mere word can either bring extreme euphoria or absolute dread to any Miamian. For some, it’s a three-day party. For others, it’s a headache that they rather not have. It’s the oh-so polarizing music festival that most locals love to hate. Below, the wide range of thoughts that most Miamians have when Ultra Music Fest brings the tiki tiki into the 305.

1. Why are people dressed like this? What’s with the furry boots? Is this amount of nudity allowed in public? WHY IS THAT GIRL DRESSED AS IF A UNICORN JUST THREW UP ON HER?

2. How much traffic can I handle before I snap? Can I feasibly avoid Downtown/Brickell/Key Biscayne for three days?

3. Is there anything other than tiki tiki music on this lineup? What is a Dubfire? How will David Guetta perform if Nicki Minaj isn’t there?

4. Do people over the age of 22 still go to this? Have I reached the age limit? Can I go without being judged by the #youths?

5. Wait a minute. There’s something called Winter Music Conference? It’s at the same time? HUH?

6. The three-day passes to Ultra are HOW MUCH? Have the organizers lost their damn minds? Oh, they’re sold out? Nevermind.

7. Is making out with a tree a requirement of going? Will the stupid things I do be caught on camera? Asking for a friend.

8. Should I Airbnb my apartment for the weekend? Will I make some fast cash or will the renters come in like a wrecking ball?

9. Can I afford skipping town during Ultra? What other city is nice this time of year? Do I like skiing?

This article first appeared on Miami.com.

8 Do’s and Don’ts for Locals During Ultra

DIRECTED BY: ROSHAN NEBHRAJANI
WRITTEN BY: XIMENA ALIAGUILLA
STARRING: LOURDES DUARTE AND XIMENA ALIAGUILLA

In this instructional (read: destructional) video, X + L reprise their Miami XL roles to impart their endless wisdom and expertise on how to deal with Miami’s annual Winter Music Conference. There will be glitter.

This video first appeared in The New Tropic and Ximena Does Film.

How to Create the Most Miami Quinces Photo Shoot… EVER!

If you’re a Latina from Miami, odds are you had a quinces, wanted a quinces or despised the idea of a quinces. While I never got the magical party myself, my very Cuban mother was insistent on photographing me in all of my glory to commemorate the moment that I transitioned from una niña to una mujer.

Since this makes me an expert on the subject, here’s my advice on how to create the most Miami quinces photo shoot ever.

Must Have Trees

No Quinces photo shoot is complete without going to some random park in Coral Gables and posing awkwardly with the elements. We all can’t afford to go to Vizcaya, right?

Perfect the Over the Shoulder Longing Look

To showcase how mature you are, there’s the standard “over the shoulder longing look.” It’s one that Quinceañeras have been perfecting for years. Bonus if you find a photographer that will Photoshop you into random places like in front of a lighthouse or inside a vortex.

Show Off Your Dress

Your family paid good money to rent your dress from some random store in Hialeah, so you better do your very best in showing off the layers of tulle.

Make Sure You Have Props

To truly make your quinces photo shoot one to remember, YOU MUST HAVE PROPS. Fake flowers, a chair, un abanico, anything that will give your pictures that something extra.

Practice a Sultry Studio Gaze

Make sure to find a photographer that will also capture you inside their home studio. It’s not enough to just have photos with a white dress in a park, you deserve a chance to do a high fashion shoot. You can use them for your modeling portfolio because all 15 year olds are just waiting to be discovered.

Get an On Point Manicure


To truly elevate your photos, make sure to get an incredibly painful acrylic French tip manicure that will forever ruin your nails. Plus, you never know if your photographer will want to take a photo of JUST your hands to then superimpose your face onto them.

Choose Un Recuerdo for Family and Friends

Just like school photos, you’ll have to choose a quinces look that you’ll be able to share with family and friends in wallet size form. This photo should show off how mature you are, while still indicating how much you love the recipient. It’s quite the feat, but one that can always be achieved.

Practice Your “Side Lay”

Can’t afford fireworks or a car for your shoot? No biggie! As long as you have the classic “side lay” pose down, your photographer can work wonders in post.

Be Able to Laugh at Yourself

Because no matter how trendy you think your photos are now, they’ll be extremely embarrassing in a few short years. But hey, at least they’re always great for a #TBT.

This article first appeared in Miami.com.

West Coast, Not So Best Coast.

So, L.A. was a bust. Well, okay, not necessarily. Basically, I came to the conclusion that moving was an error. It was a decision based on emotions felt at a low point in my life. And after giving up my apartment, job prospects and personal relationships, I felt that the move was something I HAD to go through with. Something that was expected of me. Which is obviously where I went wrong. Oh, and going for absolutely no reason other than wanting to “wing it” was also not the brightest idea. My delusions of grandeur got way too big, even for me.

I guess I came to my LOST-esque WE HAVE TO GO BACK moment on day four of my 10-day road trip. I was emotional, crying every hour on the hour and not at all excited for what was ahead. My anxiety was the opposite of “on fleek.” I was miserable. My uncle (aka my road trip partner) was extremely concerned and even offered to turn around once we hit Austin. But I’m a stubborn baby bitch and I decided to forge ahead. After driving through the New Mexico desert with no service or other voices clouding my judgment, I realized that I belonged back in Miami.

Now, it’s a matter of starting over. Rebuilding. Getting back to “the old me.” Pero like a way better version of the old me. One that doesn’t make impulsive decisions. One that doesn’t pay attention to other people’s expectations. One that doesn’t drown in negative feels.

But, every experience comes with a major lesson. And this faux move made me so damn thankful for everything I have. For friends and family that ride or die with me and my unique brand of cray cray. And for this magical, beautiful city that is more than just my home. It’s my heart.

I Got It From My Momma

I realize that I’m a few days removed from Mother’s Day for a post dedicated to the baddest bitch I know, but I find that holiday to be un poquito bootleg anyhow. Don’t think that I’m not utterly obsessed with the woman that birthed and raised me. Quite the opposite, actually. EVERY day should be one in which she is celebrated, played only the finest Pitbull songs and treated to Miami’s best croquetas.

So, when one of my favorite writers/women/humans wrote an ode to her “vieja” on Tumblr, I had to follow suit with a dedication of my own.

My original ride or die, Momma Duarte had me eight days after her 18th birthday. It’s an important fact to note since being a teen mom is no easy feat. Even less when you have to raise the kid on your own. The absence of my father never bothered me though. To me, it was normal. Sure, other kids had two parents, but I felt like I did too. Because moms kept me swagged out in the hottest Disney gear. Sent me on every single school field trip with the most enviable Lunchable. Bought me that fancy hot pink Motorola Razr. And never let me feel like I was going without.

Aside from material things, I got so much more from my mom. For starters, my sick dance moves (although, her attempts to teach me salsa and bachata have failed throughout the years). My sass, class… and ass. My hustle. My appreciation for Willy Chirino’s greatest hits. But, most importantly, she has given me her blind support. I want to move to L.A.? She’s there cheering me on (and calling dibs on almost all my possessions). I want a 305 tattoo to ~stay close to my roots~? She’s asking if she can come with. I have an improv show that I know she won’t fully understand? She’s sitting there and laughing at everything I say. She’s kinda sorta the best freaking person I know.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have a mom like mine, don’t just give her flowers on some random day out of the year. Smother her with affection, ALWAYS. At least call her once a day. Cook HER some empanadas for a change. After all, this woman deserves it. She’s been dealing with some form of your bitchassness for years.