4th, November, 2015

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I’ve been meaning to put together this Miami city guide (as well as a Las Vegas edition) for a wee while now, but it has most definitely taken longer than I’d hoped. We spent all of our trip in South Beach – and if I had to do it all over again – I would. From the get-go I was adamant about staying in the Art Deco district, and I’m really happy that it all worked out! Stepping outside our vibrant yellow hotel (more on that below!) was like being front and centre on a Miami postcard – the pastel coloured buildings are just so beautiful and distinctive!

If you’re planning on visiting Miami I completely recommend it and hopefully this little guide comes in handy.

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Where to eat

11th Street Diner, 1065 Washington Ave, Miami Beach

During our three day getaway in Miami this is basically all I wanted to eat.. and so I did just that! Before making my way to the sunshine state, I emailed several of my favourite bloggers (The Cherry Blossom Girl and Steffy’s Pros and Cons to name a few) and was told this is where I had to go. Well, gals, turns out I’m forever in your debt, because this place was insane.

The black bean burger had me at hello (after all, we all know I love burgers) but on my next visit I sampled the Belgian waffles – which were equally divine (as expected). On our last night we made our final trip to the 11th Street diner to sample their delicious cocktails. Boy, they were good, and strong too – which made for a less than thrilled flight back to Vegas. (In all honesty, I would’ve been less than thrilled, drinks or not! Miami is bloomin’ awesome, I never wanted to leave!)

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What to do

Nikki Beach, 1 Ocean Drive, Miami

Initially, I just wasn’t sure about visiting Nikki Beach. It seemed really posh, expensive (two things which I definitely am not) and I was feeling a bit anxious about body hangups – because Miami ladies are a seriously good-lookin’ bunch! As it turns out; I’m an idiot. This ended up being one of the best experiences during our whole trip!

We went on Groupon and found a voucher for tickets into Nikki Beach, a sun lounger, a fruit platter and two mojitos. That was all we were going to have, but when you’ve spent the afternoon lying in the sun, followed by frolicks in that sweet, sweet ocean, you’re bound to get hungry! Aaaand it was then that we consumed probably the most delicious vegetarian pizza I’ve ever eaten, ever. Even the pictures are making my mouth water! Definitely be sure to hit up Nikki Beach – you will feel like a celebrity, minus the paparazzi!

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The Buildings

My favourite thing to do in Miami was quite simply: walk around! There is an awful lot to see in South Beach, particularly as it’s home to the genuine art deco pastel coloured buildings! The buildings were the reason I was so excited to visit Miami and it certainly was validated. Besides the art deco, you’re bound to also pass the Versace Mansion which you can see above.

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Miami Beach

Let’s be realistic; would it even be possible to avoid the beach in Miami? I highly doubt it! And why would you want to anyway? This beach is famous for good reason – I have certainly never felt as relaxed (and warm for that matter!) as I did floating amongst the waves of Miami Beach. If you’re lucky you might even see tiny tropical fish darting around the oh-so clear water. Definitely an experience to savour!

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Where to stay

Leslie Hotel, 1244 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach 

When it comes to hotels I’m usually pretty chill and just let Barnaby have the final say. This time (probably for the first time ever) I completely put my foot down! I was adamant about staying in this original art deco building in my favourite hue of all time – bright yellow! I didn’t really care either way about what the interior was like, but it turned out to be one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed!

The staff were so, so friendly, the rooftop pool (!) was beautiful, and the rooms were spacious. I completely recommend this exclusive wee hotel – it was so central and a perfect spot for couples, friends, families and singles alike!

Book your trip now!


8th, September, 2015

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During my trip to Las Vegas last year, I discovered what I genuinely considered the tastiest burger I had ever consumed in my entire 25 years on this Earth. Obviously, I was eager (to say the least!) about getting to try it again this time around. So I’m sure you understand my disappointement when I found out it had been TAKEN OFF THE MENU. Weep.

Not to let my crumbling dreams of black beans patties and melted gouda (mmm) disappear in entirity, we began a quest to find the best burgers in Las Vegas. And I’ll say this now: best decision ever!

First and foremost, I suppose I should announce that I’m a vegetarian so these are all meatless options. It’s kind of hard to eat as a vegetarian in Vegas, so hopefully this little list helps out other vegetarians out there who might have an upcoming trip to Nevada. Obviously, all of these places do meat options too. Furthermore, I can honestly say that all the meat burgers I saw looked absolutely delicious. I may be a vegetarian, but I can certainly appreciate a nice looking burger ; )

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Burger Bar

The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 3930 S Las Vegas Blvd

This was the first burger I ate after finding out that the vegetarian burger of my dreams no longer existed (sob) so I definitely went in in a bit of a negative headspace. Fast forward ten minutes or so, when I was halfway into my burger, grinning from ear to ear, ridiculously pleased with our choice of dining.

I’ve never eaten a lentil burger before – at least, not from a restaurant. I’ll let you know straight up that this burger was insanely filling (lentils are good like that) and the cheese; boy, the cheese was good.

Not only was the food impeccable, but the staff were awesome too. We had the loveliest waiter, who made sure to ask if everything was alright and who also managed to replace our almost-finished cokes in record time. High five! All in all, this place is well worth a visit and definitely got me out of my burger depression.

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Shake Shack

New York New York, 3790 S Las Vegas Blvd

I had heard heaps of good things about Shake Shack and it wasn’t there the last time I was in Vegas. Basically, I was really excited… Until I saw that there was mushroom in the burger. I’m not terribly keen on mushrooms and for most places it’s just kind of the go-to meat replacement for veggie options.

I was deifnitely a little apprehinsive when I got my burger. All I could think about was mushrooms, but a bite or two later and I was a fan.

In this burger, the patty pretty much consists of crumbed cheese and mushroom. Biting into it, the patty quite literally disintigrated in my mouth; all in a wave of cheesy goodness. The lettuce was super crunchy and the bun was soft, soft, soft. Even just thinking about this burger has my tummy rumbling. It was so good!

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Beach Cafe

Tropicana, 3801 S Las Vegas Blvd 

This was hands down the BEST burger I ate during my entire time in America. Scratch that, this is probably the best burger I’ve ever, ever eaten. Even better, it was right in our hotel!

After getting a food and beverage credit, we decided that, hey, why not go try the Beach cafe. Talk about the idea of a lifetime! We tried this burger on our second-to-last day in America, and ended up getting it two more times for room service. I actually ate this burger twice in one day; once for lunch and once for dinner. Gosh it was gooood!

My favourite thing about this burger was that it quite literally had half an avocado in it. Pair that was a sour dough bun, gouda, and grilled capsicum, and you’ve certainly got a winner on your hands. I was a little sceptical about the chillis in the burger (I’m not great with spicy food) but it turned out that it added the perfect amount of zing. If you’re a vegetarian and heading to Vegas, this is definitely the burger I recommend most of all. It might be a little out of the way, what with the Tropicana located right at the end of the strip and all, but your tastebuds will be singing your praises for months afterwards.

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Johnny Rockets

3950 S Las Vegas Blvd

Obvoiusly this is the real ‘fast food’ place on this list. We don’t have Johnny Rockets in New Zealand, we were hungry, so hey, we decided to give it a go. While the order didn’t go off to the best start (they were out of the Soy Bocha patty; the vegetarian option) I didn’t really feel like one anyway, so it kind of worked out for the best.

I was left with a pretty simple, but tasty burger. I ended up filling mine with fries (my faaaavourite thing to do!) and it was good. We ended up going back a couple more times because I liked it so much! In short: this is the cheap option!

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Roxy’s Diner

Stratosphere, 2000 S Las Vegas Blvd

This was a place I had found on Yelp months ago – and was really excited to visit! I’m a little obsessed with American diners (they’re such a novelty!) and having one that was reasonably accessible really was the bees knees.

You know how you hear about gigantic American portions? This was the real deal. We were a little peckish, so ordered a side of onion rings, thinking that, you know, normal onion rings would arrive.. These things were massive. I was feeling relatively full after two, so when the mammothly huge burger arrived, you can bet I felt intimated! In fact, this was the only burger I couldn’t finish on the entire trip. I even gave the sad little line when I couldn’t eat any more – “this burger has beaten me!”

I genuinely wish that I could have finished, because this burger was incredible. It was really, really greasy, but it kiiind of made it taste better (mmm, greasy). The pepper and black beans in the burger gave it a really Mexican taste, which was delicious. Oh, and I even ate the portobello mushroom too. And it was GOOD! I came away from this trip liking mushrooms way more than when I left!


2nd, March, 2015

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I’m hoping to put together a city guide or two on the places I’ve visited – so thought I’d start by a little guide to Auckland shops! My absolute favourite place to shop in Auckland is Karangahape Road – More commonly known as K Road. It doesn’t matter whether you’re into new or vintage – this place genuinely has something for everyone (even an electronic music shop, which kept my guy, Barnaby very entertained!) You can duck in for a slice or two of New York style pizza pie from Sal’s Pizza (which I totally did!) to keep your hungry tummy a-going, while making your way from one vintage boutique to another, or pick up cute homeware at just one of many stores. Here’s a little list of where to shop in Auckland, New Zealand.

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The Bread & Butter Letter / 225 K Road, Auckland

I recognised this shop from a Frankie Magaine feature a few years ago as soon as we set foot inside (I even asked the manager, and was proven right!) This shop is filled to the brim with the cutest knick-nacks and vintage clothing (always a plus in my book). I was giggling at the ‘poos and wees’ wall hanging (very mature, Jo), and the collection of mugs had me at hello. This beautiful and refreshing store is definitely one to visit, and even more so when you find out that the shop is owned by real-life friends, Rosie & Sarah, and that everything stocked is locally made and independently owned.I’m already eyeing up a piece or two from their online store, and am particularly smitten with their dreamy embroidery.

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Monster Threads / 161 K Road, Auckland

Aside from being in a massive, massive space adorned with some of the coolest art around, Monster Threads has the best collection of wooden jewellery I’ve seen in quite some time! It’s no secret that I’m pretty keen on my novelty gear, and when you spot deer-shaped wine holders, or tartan bear picnic blankets amongst the shelves, it’s a pretty good indicator of an awesome place to spend my money!

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Viven No 8 / 183 K Road, Auckland

When a vintage store has a row dedicated to sparkles n’ sequins, you know it’s gonna be a good ‘un. The other great thing is that the men’s selection is absolutely massive. Lots of my guy friends complain about how difficult it is for them to buy vintage, and how easy us ladies have it. It’s definitely not the case here, as there are rows and rows of really neat men’s clothing! The women’s collection is neat too – with 50’s dresses, retro jumpsuits and cowboy boots crammed into the mix.

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Iko Iko / 195 K Road, Auckland

If you know me in real-life then there’s no doubt you would’ve heard me talk about my favourite shop (ever!) – Iko Iko. Luckily they have two branches in Wellington (and one is super close to where I live! Score!) and I couldn’t help but pay a visit to the Auckland branch. There’s no way this couldn’t be on my list – it is packed to the brim with the cutest homeware and gifts you’ve ever seen! For someone who loves bright colours – it is impossible not to fall in love everytime you look around. Oh, and I am obsessed with the lawn flamingoes. Can I have a lawn too, please?

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Karen Walker / The Pavilions, Britomart, Auckland

I couldn’t leave out my beloved Karen Walker now, could I? Set in the picturesque Britomart, this ivy-covered wooden store houses clothing (and glasses!) that are even cuter than it’s exterior. I’ll admit, I was way too frightened (and distracted) to bust out my massive camera during my visit, but this is definitely somewhere you can’t leave off your list. Plus, there is even an American-style burger bar practically opposite ; )