I have to admit, when my girls started diving into the planning of my friend Alicia’s bachelorette party in Miami, my first thought was, “Oh. We haven’t out-grown these yet?” But as usual, my friends (LEFT: Lori, Angela — Alicia’s sister, Jessica, Alicia — in back –, Shannon, me Darcy) were right: the weekend was a must. All of us had a blast, it was good to get away, and us girls needed some quality time together. We were going to be South Beach girls once again!
I lived in Florida much longer than I lived anywhere else, five years of that in Orlando (I met Alicia on the bus on the first day of sixth grade – how nice of her to let the terrified new girl sit next to her?), and then I went to University of Miami with most of this group of girls – the reason for the big South Beach reunion. As soon as the heavy humidity whacked me in the face after stepping off the plane, I knew I was home.
Friday night, we had a late dinner (of course, everything runs late in Miami) at the very beachy-casual Joe Allen. We loved it! The dim lighting and chill vibe were perfect for our tropical reunion, and the menu, which is fresh daily, was superb. Afterwards we hit Set, which was an unexpected blast of déjà vu. During my senior year of college, I’d believe you if you told me I clocked more hours at Bar Room, the hot club that has been resurrected as Set, than in class. It is so enormous and other-worldly in my mind, so it was weird to return… Looking at it as an adult, it seemed so small!
On Saturday, we hit the beach, taking in the famous turquoise water and white sand – plus a few pitchers (ABOVE: Alicia tastes the first one) of our favorite Miami Vice frozen cocktails, which is a beautiful swirled concoction of strawberry daiquiri and pina colada. Our favorite!
That night, we held Alicia a very special little party at Darcy’s swank pad at the Continuum. Her amazing fiance had recorded a hysterical video for her, answering a long list of questions. Alicia had to guess what he would say for each one. She did pretty well! I was surprised that out of all of his girlfriends, he said his meeting with me was most memorable. Since I was in charge of writing down his answers, I can tell you he exact words were, “I left sweating.”
After our little soiree, we headed to the Gansevoort Hotel for a delicious dinner at Philippe Chow’s Philippe before hitting the hotel’s lounge/club, Louis. We had a blast! Thanks to a dear friend of mine from years ago, Chad Fabrikant, of Carma PR (@carmapr), and the lovely Vanessa Menkes of The Opium Group, who I’ve also known for years, we had an amazing table set up with champagne and 42 Below vodka. We almost finished both bottles and danced the night away, until Alicia was ready to shimmy herself home.
Sunday, we hit the pool at the Continuum for lunch, complete with champagne delivered to our lounge chairs in plastic cups in bags of ice (ABOVE), just “in case” we wanted to hit the beach. Only in Miami! Then… I got to meet @andiperullo of My Beautiful Adventures!!!! She was in Key Largo and stopped by on her way to the airport in Miami. This was huge — both because I was dying to meet her, and because I’d be attending her wedding in Argentina just a few short weeks later. Yes, I was planning on attending the wedding of someone I’d never “met,” but it just never felt that way at all!
Later that night, Lori, Darcy and I spent our extra evening hitting up Joe’s Stone Crab new (to me) to-go market for a luxe picnic. Champagne, stone crabs and the balmy South Beach breeze. Nothing’s better!
I miss Miami, how over-the-top it is and how beautiful, from the warm water of the Atlantic Ocean, to the charming Art Deco of South Beach. Best of all, for me, it reminds me of my carefree youth, those four years of college when I was a fearless young woman with a clear vision of everything I wanted out of life. I was a club kid who happened to love school, and Alicia and I balanced staying out all night with kicking a** at university. We’ve done a pretty good job at accomplishing our dreams — and we’ve barely started. Congratulations, Alicia! See you at the wedding!!
Some Miami recommendations from a few University of Miami alumni ladies:
Joe Allen, 305-531-7007 (beachy charm, casual but elegant, excellent menu that covers everything from gourmet pizzas to lobster)
Set nightclub, 305-531-2800 (get there early if you’re not on the list)
Gansevoort Miami Beach hotel, 866-932-6694 (one of the seen-and-be-seen South Beach hotels, with beach and pool clubs)
Philippe restaurant: 305-674-0250 (Asian small plates from Philippe Chow)
Club Louis (Gorgeous crowd, but less clubb-y, fun hip/hop and rock, no house music)
Restaurant: 305-673-0365 (their stone crabs are fabled!!)
Take-Away: 305-673-4611 (excellent option for those not wanting to wait in the first-come, first-serve lines)