Category Archives: Miami

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.

The Miami Bucket List

What happens when two Miami natives become simultaneously funemployed right before deciding to leave the city? Well, the Miami Bucket List, OBVIOUSLY. I’m leaving to L.A. to ~follow my dreams~ and hopefully not end up on a porn set. My bad bitch gal pal Kelly is sauntering to Philly with her boo thang. So, here are the very Miami things we want to do before flying the coop:

Watch/Bet On/Try to Understand Jai Alai

I don’t think either one of us really know what the hell this is. What we DO know is that it’s fast-paced, popular in Miami and Cuban men bet on it. But all of that sounds delightful, so we’re about that life.

Frolic Around Vizcaya/Deering Estate

Despite being THE most Cuban, I’ve actually never been to Vizcaya, so we’re gonna put on some white dresses, big hats and frolic around the grounds like the Miami royalty that we think we are. And while we’re at it, we’ll hit up Deering Estate just to get real fancy for a day.

Citi Bike Around the City

Both of us are terrified of biking, so naturally we want to risk life and limb by renting a Citi Bike. Although, by “around the city,” I mean biking a few blocks before the cars scare us and we just walk alongside the bikes until we return them.

Take a Day Trip to the Everglades

Because alligators. And airboats. And Florida panthers. And milkshakes at Robert Is Here fruit stand.

Witness Half Naked Ladies Table Dance at Mangos Tropical Cafe

Yeah, we’ve never been during peak hours. In fact, we’ve laughed at tourists that come here. But now, it’s about freaking time to embrace this place.

Travel to the Mystical Land of Hialeah for Cuban Ice Cream Sandwiches

So I might’ve already done this one because I’m an excitable human being. But hitching it to Hialeah for ice cream is NO JOKE, you guys. Was it delicious? Yes. Would I go back to the birthplace of Ñooo Que Barato? Nope. So, consider this item CHECKED.

Go On a Double Decker Bus Tour

Mostly to see how our city is being advertised.

Happy Hour at King of Diamonds

We’ve both been… but never together. We’re considering it our last Miami strip club hoorah.

Take in a Marlins Game

Since it’s America’s national pastime. No, but really because tickets tend to be dirt cheap, the stadium is in fabulous Little Havana and I love everything about peanuts.

Swim in the Venetian Pool

On an especially hot day since the water is always freezing. And it’ll help us forget how many people have peed in there.

Are You Gonna Write About Me?

If you’re dating, sexing, casually talking to, accidentally looking at or breathing in the general direction of a writer, odds are… they’re gonna write about you. And they’ll either record your encounter in painstaking detail or compose a fictionalized version of you. Regardless, you’re gonna get put in print. It’s a fact of life. We don’t mean to, but more often than not, we write what we know.

So ever since I became a little less shameless and decided to publicize my life on the Internet, I often get the question, “are you gonna write about me?” Usually, this is asked by someone that is ABOUT to do something incredibly shady or just has. What I’ve learned is that people love to see themselves in the spotlight. Whether it’s positive or negative coverage, they have no fucks left to give as long as they’re being written about.

Lately, however, I’ve been getting confronted by the people I’ve ALREADY written about. The ones I never thought I would see again. Which, my fucking bad. Because Miami is literally the size of my abuela’s house and everyone knows everyone’s business. Also, I legit hang out at the same three places, so I don’t know why on Beyoncé’s green earth I thought I’d be in the clear. So, instead of “are you gonna write about me?” it’s slowly morphed into, “so… you wrote about me.” The question is then followed by an ever-so-brief moment of embarrassment, which is mostly just me acting painfully awkward and the other person thinking they deserve an explanation. Honestly, what am I supposed to say? “You acted a damn fool and it was my duty to put you on blast.” Actually, I should TOTALLY be saying that instead of responding with a half-hearted shoulder shrug.

As much as I hate to admit it, I fancy myself as a literary Taylor Swift. Someone with an insatiable need to write about their long list of ex-lovers (see: not that long at all, actually). So, consider this my final declaration on the subject. YES, I’m going to write about you. YES, I did write about you. BUT, you’re in great company. Jake Gyllenhaal, John Mayer and Harry Styles have been written about, too.

 

Turning 28. Or How I Threw Myself a Quinces to Relive My Youth

As I approach my 28th birthday and inch closer and closer to 30, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for my youth. Usually, when this happens (which is coincidentally when I’m about to become another year older), I take a hard stop and focus on my life in 2002. My freshman year of high school was in full swing. I was crushing it on the social front. Justin Timberlake released his first solo album, which I effectively cried many rivers over. Eminem came out with 8 Mile, inspiring a defense mechanism I still use today (pointing out my own flaws before haters can do so first) and…. turning 15. Yes, that beautiful age where every Cuban girl gets her first acrylic manicure, picks out the biggest tiara she can find, throws on a massive pastel colored dress and has herself a Quinceañera.

While I do have photographic evidence of myself wearing a gown, sporting blinged out headgear and rocking gaudy nails, I unfortunately did not have a traditional Quinces fiesta. No court of 14 guys and gals. No choreographed dancing to Chayanne’s “Tiempo de Vals.” No candle lighting ceremony. No magnificent banquet hall entrance. I did, however, have a bangin’ surprise birthday party that was pretty much the social event of the school year. It was in a fancy backyard (fancy = having a pool). There was a hired DJ that played Jagged Edge and Blu Cantrell’s finest. There was tons of mature slow dancing. And almost my entire 9th grade class was there. Oh, except for my crush who was actually in the 8th grade. Because apparently that’s what Lourdes of yesteryear was into. ANYHOW, the point of all of this is that I always wanted the full-blown Quinces experience. So, upon approaching the big 2-8, I thought this would be a good a time as any to cling to the last of my 20s and do just that.

I emailed my favorite bar, reserved some space, invited 70 of my closest friends and demanded that everyone glam up for the sequel to the most important birthday that I never executed properly. And it was pretty damn phenomenal. Probably (no, definitely) better than anything I could’ve pulled off at 15. I was bought a Justin Bieber piñata, which I smashed to bits with a stiletto. Pastelitos and pan con mantequilla were my snacks of choice. My chosen “recuerdo” were mints that said “Mis Quince Años.” And I should really be Disney’s first Latina princess because my Goodwill gown, pearls, white gloves and tiara were ON POINT. It reminded me that getting older after 25 isn’t a yearly death sentence. It’s something that should be celebrated in the most elaborate of ways. All in all, it was the absolute perfect way to kick off 28. Lord knows that 2002 needed a break from the memory bank.

De niña
De niña…

 

a mujer
…a mujer.

I Don’t Practice Santeria… But I Went to Someone That Does

As much as I try to be a totally practical and sane human being, the notion evades me. Like… all the time. Things not going well at work? I’M GONNA GET FIRED. Nothing popping off in the love department? MY VAGINA IS HAUNTED. Friend doesn’t immediately answer my text? THE BITCH HATES ME. So, in order to cope with these completely inane scenarios, I started listening to more than my fair share of Adele music. You know, just to help me chill the fuck out. However, that eventually stopped working. And instead of taking up Sam Smith, I decided to do the most Cuban thing possible. I went and sought the counsel of a Santera.

I had my apprehensions, OBVIOUSLY. I’m a big believer in all things spiritual, so last thing I wanted to do was go there and inadvertently piss off los santos and whatnot. But, I decided to go into this experience with an open mind, an open heart… and my mom. Because YOU SWEAR that I was doing that ish by myself. Throughout the process, I received a lot of answers. Some that I wanted, some that I didn’t expect. Regardless, they were ones that would help me make better choices moving forward. Or maybe less ratchet choices, to be honest.

Throughout that first session, I was definitely feeling some type of way. I cried when she gave me that real talk about my lackluster love life, my career, my future. It would all work out, she said. But first, I had to get out from under the cloud of negativity that seemed to constantly rain on my parade. In order to do so, I was advised to go through a “spiritual cleanse” at a second session. So, I returned a few days later thinking she would sprinkle some holy water on me, say a little prayer, and I would be good to go. Unfortunately, it was a little more complicated than that. And while I don’t want to divulge the details of what exactly went down, suffice it to say that…. it worked. Or, at least I feel like it did.

Sure, now that things are on the up and up, it’s easy for me to say the Santera fixed everything. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. It could just be that I decided to take a different approach when it came to my own damn life, but I like to think that the spirits had SOMETHING to do with it. They were finally on my freaking side, and I was going to celebrate that. Because there must be a reason for all of my positive Walter Mercado horoscopes lately, right?

My Favorite Miami Bars & Lounges (That Cause Me to Make Poor Life Choices)

LourD at BroJs.

Brother Jimmy’s

My very essence has become so synonymous with this place that it’s kind of sad, really. I’ve had some highs. Like slaying at impromptu flip cup games, killing it in karaoke, becoming besties with some of the employees and watching the bouncer body slam someone that got out of line. But there’s been lows, too. Like witnessing some epic douchebaggery, having my feet practically bleed on Cinco de Drinko due to a very poor shoe game, random acts of crying and unpleasant bathroom visits. But, through it all, this will forever remain a mainstay. Bad experiences be damned.

Blackbird Ordinary

My dubious behavior at Blackbird has been well documented, so it should come as no surprise that it’s included in this list. A friend once dubbed it “black hole,” because that’s what your life feels like after a night of drinking there. Of course, I immediately co-signed that sentiment. Basically, nothing good ever happens to me at Blackbird after 2 a.m. I’ve attacked people with my mouth, participated in numerous dance-offs, had one too many #realtalks in the women’s bathroom and fallen for some OH SO STUPID pick-up techniques. But I’ll still continue ending many an evening there. Sorry that I’m not sorry.

Fado

This one is really just due to the close proximity to Blackbird and Brother Jimmy’s. It’s almost as if by osmosis that I’m compelled to act a fool. Almost every single time that I saunter into Fado I transform into the Hispanic version of Lil’ Jon and start demanding shots. It should be stated that shots aren’t simply my downfall, they are my LIFE RUINER. Multiple rounds of Fireball should never be trusted, much less accepted. Also, I don’t appreciate the fact that I have to safely descend a full flight of stairs in order to get to my next destination. Especially since I look like a newborn baby elephant when trying to achieve that feat. Seriously, a bar on a second floor? NO. ME. GUSTA.

Purdy Lounge

Dirty Purdy, how I love dropping it low within your musty walls. If my vagina isn’t touching the floor at all times, it hasn’t been a successful evening at this particularly ratchet establishment. Once upon a time, I would straight up act like The Terminator up in this piece. Set my sights on a target and simply attack. I’d like to think that I’ve grown wiser and classier with age, but it’s probably just because everyone that now comes here is a fetus, and cradle robbing has never really been my style.

Radio Lounge

The first time I ever set foot inside Radio Lounge, I made a beeline for the pool table. No, not to play, but to dance on top of it. I had a good run before they escorted me off. Plus, someone made it drizzle some dolla dolla bills on me. From that moment on, it became a tradition of sorts to have me dancing on top of that thing. Cue the first few notes of any 2 Chainz song and there I went. But, Radio Lounge has suffered some changes. The last time I went it was filled with a crowd that made me sad to be alive. Instead of a DJ, I got someone playing music from their computer (which is kinda what DJs are anyhow, but whatever). And that beautiful elevated surface that I used to call my very own was now covered and certainly off limits. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.