SobeSavvy.com presents ~A Parent’s Survival Guide to #SouthBeach, #Miami #FL|#FamilyTravel

Disclaimer: This is a Non-Sponsored post. We moved from South Beach in 2015 after living there for 18 years and thought we’d create this fun guide as ex-locals for families who may be considering travelling to South Beach, Fl but not sure if it is kid-friendly. 

It’s always fun to get away, especially for Mother’s Day weekend where I can relax , relate and release with my loves. Last year, we hit LA, where we did alot of site-seeing, dining at The Grove and I even attended a Blogger Babes Event for Brit Week. This year, I wanted a slower vacay, someplace where I didn’t have to plan anything and we could just play in the sand. We decided the perfect place to go was our daughter’s birthplace! So we packed our bags and the #HeighPartyof3 were off on another adventure. This time it was RDU ➡MIA!✈

Miami, particularly South Beach is well known for it’s party scene and that is well warranted. My husband and I called it home for almost 18 years so we know the quiet side fo South Beach also {Yes, there is an actual quiet residential side but only tell your best friends} There is much more to South Beach than bottle service. Families are plentiful and so are family friendly hotels, restaurants and more!

STAY

Hubby planned a long Mothers day weekend getaway for us and chose to stay at the Loews Hotel Miami Beach. This large upscale hotel has been newly renovated. The grounds, pool area and guest rooms have undergone a major makeover. We had a great view from our partial ocean view double room.

An already good hotel/resort is even better. They cater to kids like no other. Check out  this dedicated kids area on the beach!

The new expanded pool area is very attractive and I even made a new friend as she was floating by !

My daughter was offered the use of a “house” IPAD during breakfast. Every restaurant including pool or beachside has a kids menu. They even have a kids club where youngsters can day camp with all sorts of organized activities! We spent the days in the pool or beach. Both were stellar. Loews is a excellent choice for families.

Also at the Loews is the renowned Exhale Spa. Hubby surprised me with an hour long “Fusion Massage”. Peaceful and zen, the spa was a great refuge for me/mommy time on Mother’s Day weekend.

EAT

*Breakfast:

Whether a guest of the hotel or not, The breakfast buffet inside Preston’s at the Loews is an amazing way to start your day.

You get a myriad of fresh farm to table choices for one price. They also have great kids and a la carte menu choices to be enjoyed indoors or out on their beautiful terrace overlooking the lush pool area. In case you missed it, check out my review of Preston’s >>>here. 🍴

South Beach also has a Starbucks on every corner {almost} so you will never be far from their standard breakfast choices. For a real authentic Cuban Coffee breakfast experience check out David’s Cafe on Alton and 10th street. Cafe Con Leche and a pastelito is a great way to start the day the Miami way !

*Lunch:

 Lolo’s Surf Cantina


After sand, sun and fun on Saturday afternoon we went to Lolo’s Surf Cantina for lunch. REAL Authentic Mexican food {No cans of Velveeta here!}.Tacos and Sangria ruled the day. Located just steps from the sand on Ocean and 1st street it’s is the perfect spot for lunch on a beach day. Check out my full review >>here🍴

Being a recent former resident of the “residential area” of South beach has it’s advantages. To avoid alot of tourist traps, we revisited a few other of our local favorites which are overlooked {thankfully} by the throngs of visitors.

Lincoln Road is one of those rare areas where the local and tourist mix is about 50/50. It operates as a sort of main street.Restaurants, art galleries, movie and performing arts theatres are all present on this beautiful almost mile long pedestrian thoroughfare. My daughter has always been head over heels about frolicking on Lincoln Road.

Stopping by The Frieze” ice cream shop was one of our favorites {and still is !}

Epicure Market Hot Bar
This is an iconic gourmet market on Alton and Lincoln Road that specializes in upscale quality choices. It’s full of local snowbirds and a few tourists in the know. They have an awesome hot bar and a cute little cafe where you can sit and enjoy your lunch. For more info, check out Epicure>>here.

* Happy Hour

Semilla


This unassuming yet stylish bistro has an awesome happy hour Mon thru Sat 5-8pm. Oysters on the Half Shell, Kobe beef sliders and Shrimp Tempura just to name a few. Prosecco and specialty craft cocktail at discount prices. You can sit inside or out on the sidewalk. Low key and local. We love Semilla..and so does #outandaboutAva, who knows how to eat Florida Stone Crabs like a pro. 


Doraku
(everyday)

With outposts in Hawaii and Atlanta, Doraku has been in South Beach for 10 yrs now. They offer a superb sushi happy hour every day. Located on the Western end of Lincoln Road by the movies, Doraku has been a mainstay in a fickle town where restaurants come and go pretty quickly. Solid choice for sushi and cocktails while shopping on Lincoln Road. Their Lychee Martini is awesome. Order one.Or two.

Monty’s 
One of my favorites after work spots used to Monty’s. Kinda hard to describe this place. It is a very casual {think shorts, tank tops and flip flops}Key West-ish kinda vibe. They are mainly a seafood/raw bar spot but they also have a more structured menu that you can order from a menu with one of the waitstaff. There is usually a carribbean type band performing and there is also a small pool for those who want to cool off. Located on the Miami Beach Marina ,you can pull up in your boat and just walk up the steps to some fun.

*Dinner

Grillfish

One of the oldest restaurants in South Beach has to be Grillfish. My husband/boyfriend at the time and I used to go here almost weekly since we moved to Miami in 1996. It is the rare place that caters to tourist and locals alike with competent service and an inviting atmosphere of no pretense. At it’s core it is a fish house. The way that they grill fish is simple. They let fish, be fish. Open flame, a few oils and spices and serve. Some whole fish, some fillets. All incredibly fresh and presented the way fish should. Great cocktails and great mgmt {shout out to our fav manager Darcy}make the perfect reason why this place has stood the test of time. You can sit at the bar to eat or a table. Just go here.
Bar Collins at Loews

Another great choice to stop in whether a guest or not. Huge wall screen showing sports and comfy sofas where you can order elevated bar food like their amazing soft shell crab in Korean Soft Buns. Excellent choice. So late night or early evening this is a good place to “pre game” an evening on the town.

*Sunday Brunch

Terazza at Shore Club


Mothers day in Miami. That means every place with electricity and a stove is advertising for a “Mothers Day Brunch”. Thankfully hubby already knew one of my fav brunch spots (that SobeSavvy.com had a chance to review before..ICYMI see here) and made a reservation at Terraza. Located at The Shore Club Hotel, Terraza offers a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a gourmet all inclusive brunch. For roughly 2 hours, guest enjoy unlimited mimosas, sangria and flutes of prosecco and one incredible brunch food choices. Oysters, shrimp and Crab cakes in a beautiful setting on their expansive terrace.

Great place to spend the afternoon with my family and some great friends.

Tip: If you fly into MIA and you plan to stay on South Beach, no car or parking woes necessary. Taxis are flat rate and you also can opt for Uber or Lyft your way to the beach. Once there you can use Swoop or our fave Freebee,

..as well as the South Beach Local bus or Trolley your way around. But if you do opt for a car, all the major car rental companies have a outpost in Miami Beach.

Only rent a car if you plan on traveling to other parts of Miami, otherwise save yourself alot of parking meter grief. South Beach is truly for walking, biking or running!

Our weekend back “home” came to an end much too quick. My daughter was born here and resided for almost the first 4 yrs of her life. Miami is a special place. We’ll always be back. Until next time..kisses or as we used to say in Miami..Besitos!

@American_Girl #WellieWishers Swimwear Fashion Fun Review with #outandaboutAva by SobeSavvy.com

Thanks to American Girl for sending #outandaboutAva these fashions and doll accessories for review! All opinions expressed here are my own.


🙋Raise your hand if you like building sandcastles in the sand? Well that’s what #outandaboutAva and her @agwelliewishers Kendall Doll did while having some fun in the sun sporting their matching Fun Fish Swimsuit & Cover-Up!

This undersea-themed swimsuit set includes a matching blue hooded coverup, sandals and a faux pearl headband for WellieWishers Dolls .

👙 Accessorize with @americangirlbrand Starry Sunglasses and your girl and her #WellieWishers doll can be ready for sweet summer memories in their American Girl Swimwear! Swimsuit/Coverup for girls range from sizes 4-7

I thought all of the pieces for both my girl and her doll were great quality and super cute! My daughter had so much fun dressing up like her doll and other beachgoers thought she was “Avadorable” in her bathing suit. The cover-up is very soft, almost like a terry cloth cotton towel material and is hooded. This made going from the beach to any indoor areas easy! My 5 year old and her Kendall Doll are ready to make a splash this summer in their swimwear and accessories from American Girl! For more info, visit http://www.Americangirl.com

To see more doll fashion and fun pics of #outandaboutAva and her American Girl WellieWishers Doll day at the beach..see here>>>https://www.instagram.com/p/BUMhteABLpV/

#outandaboutAva Celebrates National Poetry Month + April News from @American_Girl #NPM17 #Poetry

Hey American Girl Doll fans….

  • Roses are Red,                                  
  • Violets are Blue,                 
  • SobeSavvy.com                                 
  • has exciting news for YOU! 

April is National Poetry Month, and to help celebrate American Girl is debuting a series of Gabriela-inspired videos, featuring real girls who use their passion of spoken word to let their voices be heard, while encouraging girls how to get started if they’ve never created spoken word poetry before.

In February, I shared a fun blog feature about #outandaboutAva and her new doll, the 2017 Girl of the Year, Gabriela McBride

 In case you missed it, here is a quick update on Gabriela:

·        Gabriela expresses herself through spoken word poetry. To help celebrate National Poetry Month (April), 

·         To connect boys and girls with Gabriela’s inspiring message and bring awareness of the strength in poetry, American Girl has partnered with Scholastic to create and distribute Express Yourself , a custom curriculum program that teaches 3rd-5th grade students how to use poetry as a tool for self-expression. The program features a poetry contest for students that will run throughout the month of April.

After watching the videos, my daughter was inspired to get out a pencil and paper to write her very own poem called “Math” because she loves numbers.  I guess her and Gabriela will be doing a little spoken word performance after dinner!

One plus Two…..I Love You

I have more exciting news for American Girl fans. American Girl will be launching Z Yang on April 27!

“Z” (short for Suzie) is Korean American and the latest character to join this series of contemporary characters, representing more diverse backgrounds, creative interests, and experiences for girls today.  As part of “More Characters To Love,” Z Yang will join Gabriela McBride, Tenney Grant and Logan Everett as AG newest doll in 2017. 

To celebrate Z’s launch, AG is hosting Z debut events at its retail locations nationwide the weekend of April 28. And on May 6, American Girl’s stores in NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, and DC will host meet-up events to introduce fans to real girls who, like Z, have gained popularity and a strong online following based on their creative passion for photography and stop motion videos. They are:

 

o   NYC: Basilmentos https://www.youtube.com/user/basilmentos

o   Chicago: AGSmiless https://www.youtube.com/user/AGsmiless

o   Seattle: FiveHensandaCockatiel https://www.instagram.com/5hensandacockatiel/

o   Dallas: Mixie Pixie https://www.youtube.com/user/mixiepixie7

o   DC: FiveDollStars https://www.youtube.com/user/FiveDollStars

 

 

For more information, go to www.AmericanGirl.com

Remember Create, Dream BIG, and Celebrate your Inner Star!

In honor of National Poetry Month, feel free to drop a poem below in the comments. You never know who you might Inspire! 

Disney Princess Pleybox by @MyPley|Unboxing with #outandaboutAva #Disney #BeautyandtheBeast #pleybox 

Disclaimer: We received the introduction box complimentary for review, however all opinions are my own.

April Showers bring May Flowers but it also brings lots of indoor play time for my daughter. With her being an only child, she has found creative ways to use her imagination and make indoor playtime fun. However, sometimes even #outandaboutAva gets bored with the same toys. So when I heard PLEY.com had launched Disney Princess Mystery Box service, I knew we had to try it! 
As the leading subscription toy company,  Pley.com is expanding its popular toy service by introducing a Disney Princess mystery subscription box line. The Disney Princess PleyBox subscription service will magically arrive every two months and includes a mix of toys, t-shirts, accessories and other goodies. The service is kicking off with a one-of-a-kind package inspired by Disney’s animated classic film Beauty and the Beast.

My daughter was very excited to unbox her very first Disney Princess Pleybox and couldn’t wait to explore the activities and discover the many fun surprises inside. Here is what you get for just $24.99:

  • a mystery box containing between 4-8 Disney Princess toys
  • activity book
  • fashion accessories (The Beauty and the Beast box includes a t-shirt, and role play item..this gorgeous gold crown!)
  • Each bi-monthly box tells the story of a new princess and, like a rags-to-riches princess story, the shipping box magically transforms into a castle, boat, or tower that can be decorated and played with, both reducing waste and increasing play value

Earth Day was just this past Saturday, so I appreciated this innovative, eco-friendly packaging that turned into a castle. I also liked the convenience of having cool toys delivered to our door without the  expense, waste,mess or stress. My husband was happy to have some Daddy -Daughter time by helping to put the castle together!

“Instead of throwing the packaging away, our physical shipping boxes become a part of the princesses’ story. Each box has instructions that transform the shipping box into a playable toy such as a castle, boat or a carriage that can be decorated and played with,” explains Pley CEO Ranan Lachman. “We call it ‘Pleycycle,” and are proud to be a leader in reducing the environmental footprint of toy packaging.”

Available now, the Disney Princess PleyBox subscription service will bring the stories of the brave, kind and adventurous Disney Princess characters to life in a unique and interactive way. Designed to empower girls, this mystery box is an ideal gift for kids who love the Disney Princess characters and their unique stories. The Disney Princess PleyBox delivery service can be ordered at https://www.pley.com/disney-princess. This box will be offered at a limited quantity, so make sure you order yours for your favorite little princess today! 
For more information visit: http://www.pley.com

Want to see more of  #outandaboutAva ‘s unboxing? Check out video slideshow here.

Do you use toy subsription box servives or subscribe to any subscription services? If so, share below!

#Twinning with #outandaboutAva for #LookAlikeDay in #LulaRoe #MommyandMe Leggings

April 20th is Look Alike Day , so I decided to have some fun with my little one by dressing alike in one of our favorite brands for Mommy & Me fashions, LulaRoe. Last time, I shared in a Fashion Friday post about how simply comfortable and stylish LulaRoe leggings are and today I feel the same way! This time we are trying a pair in a fun print perfect for Spring!

Leggings size S/M-her, Tall &Curvy-me

My LulaRoe Fashion Consultant, Kim Breton provides great customer service and surprises me & my lil one with special notes on the packages. Kim, like LulaRoe, combines fashion and fun perfectly! When her mail comes it feels like Christmas since we are always pleasantly surprised. I love the personal touch. Thank you Kim 💗

I hit up Old Navy to find matching tanks for me and #outandaboutAva ‘s new Lularoe leggings because I knew they would have something affordable and cute. I found a “Girls Rule” graphic tee for her and was looking for a “Moms Rule” tee because that’s the real deal in our house but alas there was no graphic tee for me. I did find this matching color tank that was fine for our look alike look. 

Enjoy the twinkle in our eyes-no filter, just sparkle and love 💖

Ever since my life has changed from being a Sahm to working full time and returning to school, I miss the frequency of our Mommy and me moments. Now that she is in kindergarten, I know the time is ticking of when the whole dressing alike will not be cool anymore. At this moment, she still finds it fun to dress like Mom. I’m thankful that LulaRoe provides these stylish leggings like these that we can enjoy together!

If you are looking for LuLaRoe matching looks for Moms and little girls, be sure to contact Kim Breton , 978-732-4530 lularoekimbreton@gmail.com                     IG @lularoekimbreton

GIRL MOMS – do you wear LuLaRoe with your mini me? What other ‘Look Alike’ brands do you wear with your little one? 

Please share below..and Thanks for reading!

Where to Play: #Atlanta Must Do Family Fun Attractions #puppetryATL @CTRPuppetryArts & @LDCatlanta  

Disclaimer: We received complimentary passes to visit these 2 attractions in order to facilitate review, however the opinions are 100% my own.

This past Friday may have been ‘Good Friday’ but we turned it into a Great Friday by visiting two of Atlanta’s family fun attractions: Center for Puppetry Arts and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta! Both of these attractions are kid friendly, educational, full of family fun and a must do when visiting Atlanta, GA.

Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts has alot to explore and a whole lot to admire. I learned so much about the craftmanship and the passion behind making a puppet. Everyone’s childhood history involves being entertained by a puppet. Whether its Sesame Street….

…the Muppets,with our favorite couple Miss Piggy & Kermit…

..or any of the projects Jim Henson was involved in, we all learned at an early age that puppetry like love is universal. 

Edit
Now thru May 28, Pete the Cat will be playing at the Center. Be sure to request all-inclusive tickets which will provide admission to the show, access to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum and ability to attend the Create-A-Puppet Workshop to craft your own Pete the Cat hand puppet! It was nice to be able to see the interactive show based on the books my daughter loves as well as create a keepsake afterwards to take home. 

Our favorite thing that we did was create our own puppet show. My family and I pretended to go live on tv with the hand puppet of our choice and let our imagination wonder! Hmm, I wonder if PBS is hiring?

Located in Midtown, the Center for Puppetry Arts should be a part of your family vacation memories your next visit to Atlanta.

Center for Puppetry Arts

  • 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th
  • Atlanta, GA 30309-2820 USA


LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta

A family visit to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center was recommended as a family fun attraction during our stay at the Mandarin Oriental because it is conveniently located nearby in the fashionable Phipps Plaza shopping mall.

Legos are those little plastic, colorful, play things that are beloved all over the world. We knew a visit to this attraction would definitely appeal to our 5 year old!

While legos and building opportunities are everywhere here, they have different areas dedicated to specific themes. Their “miniland” area had lego mock ups of construction projects and the space program. They also have 2 rides; Merlin’s Apprentice and Kingdom Quest laser ride. We also took turns getting on a specially calibrated scale that converts your weight to how many lego bricks it would take to weigh that much! However Daddy and daughter mostly enjoyed connecting and discovering what they could build together.

When it was time for a break we took in a show at their incredible Lego 4D Cinema where you are immersed {literally} into the story of the screen. You may get snowed or rained on in the theatre! 

My daughter also had great fun using the karaoke machine. If you get hungry they have a neat little Cafe where you can get snacks and Icee’s. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta is truly fun for the whole family! It brought out the little Big Kid in us all. 

LEGOLAND Discovery Center 

Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Rd.

Atlanta, GA 30326

Where to Enjoy a Luxury Family Getaway ~Mandarin Oriental Atlanta @MO_Atlanta #FanofMO 

I have been fortunate enough to have had quite a few experiences traveling the globe and staying in some of the world’s premier hotels. Whether for business or pleasure, most were renowned for their “luxury” and grandeur. However, my most recent stay at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta was the first luxury family travel experience shared with our daughter. As a kindergartner celebrating her first Spring Break, I thought we’d stay at this 5 star hotel known for its beautiful rooms, superb restaurant and elegant spa. We were quite pleased with how this property combined luxury with great service while keeping the littlest guests in mind.

CHECK IN

The moment we arrived at this 580 ft tall skyscraper in Buckhead, we immediately felt part of the #MOfamily. When we pulled up to their valet service, no one asked us did we need help with our luggage, they simply just took over the task. I found that predicting needs is what sets them apart from the rest. The intimate check in area was friendly and efficient. Upon arriving, a special welcome awaited our daughter along with a ‘Passport’ that had a fun scavenger hunt inside. This allowed us to tour the hotel to find clues as well as admire the ppst modern architecture and beautiful decor, such as the white and black marble floors throughout the lobby area!

A warm welcome always makes a great first impression. Our little one received a MiniMO stuffed Panda and slippers along with some bath products to make her stay more comfortable. Also awaiting for us was a beautiful array of delicious sweets to enjoy. These special children’s amenities and treats were a pleasant surprise! 

OUR ROOM

Our first room located on the 6th Floor had an issue with the Air Conditioning unit. Maintenance arrived in a few minutes. After a quick assessment they determined it may take a bit of time to repair. The room phone rang. It was the front desk. They apologized profusely for the situation and advised we would be immediately moved and upgraded to one of their Mandarin Terrace Rooms on the 15th floor. This room had a private balcony which overlooked the Buckhead skyline. The staff took control of what could have been a negative experience and not only solved it but enhanced the positive.  Click here to see our video tour of this elegant and spacious room. My favorite feature in the room was the smooth white marble bathroom with deep soaking tub, walk in shower and vanity area with flat screen tv. Our daughter really enjoyed bath time watching her favorite cartoons and I enjoyed winding down each day by turning bath time into my own city sanctuary! 

DINING

After a great night’s sleep, which included turn down service-another sign of the high caliber property that the Mandarin Oriental is, we woke up just in time for room service to deliver our breakfast. It was delightful. The American Breakfast offered a variety of delicious breakfast favorites. The Brioche French Toast with chocolate chips is definitely a 5 yr old’s dream! We enjoyed the meal and it was a great way to start off the day.

We also dined in their sophisticated restaurant and enjoyed breakfast there on our final day. I laughed when I was about to ask my waiter for more cream but he magically appeared before I could ask…he was holding more cream..There is that predicting needs thing again! The Cafe & Bar and its inviting surroundings not only offers a tasty breakfast menu but dinner, lunch and Sunday brunch. French Press Coffee, Freshly Squeezed Juice, Belgium Waffles, and Shrimp & Grits are just some of the modern American cuisine menu items you can find on their menu. High quality, locally and flavorful ingredients were used to prepare our meal and without a doubt turned us into #MOfoodies!

THE SPA at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta

Winner of the Best of Atlanta Awards by Atlanta Magazine, Dec 2016 for Best Spa Package (Splurge) , The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta is a wellness oasis and a great treat for anyone needing some relaxation. I had a spa appointment for an Oriental Essence massage on our final day but prior to my indulgent treatment, we enjoyed their 60 foot lap indoor pool. 

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental offers a range of treatments, sauna, steam room, vitality pool access, a spa boutique, fitness center and more. The minimum age requirement for Spa and Fitness center access is 18 yrs old, however the pool is available to all guests. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day around the corner, I highly recommend treating someone to the gift of luxury & wellness by gifting them a Mandarin Oriental gift card! They won’t be disappointed. 

AMENITIES & OFFERS

While I received my massage, hubby and daughter wanted to check out Lenox Mall & Phipps Plaza nearby. While he was going to retrieve the car, the doorman advised them for such a close drive they should take the Mandarin Oriental’s house car. Ahmad the driver pulled up in their Tesla sedan and off they went. They simply called him when they were ready to return and he promptly picked them back up and delivered them back to the property. Very nice indeed.

The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta has a variety of offers for those planning a luxury retreat. From May 1-October 31, 2017 check out their Family Field Trip package which encourages family travelers to explore Atlanta’s great outdoors.  We checked out some indoor family fun attractions: Center for Puppetry Arts & Legoland Discover Center (which is conveniently close to the hotel and a must do). Stay tuned as I share my review of these Atlanta kid friendly places this week.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of our favorite moments staying at The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta and are inspired to ‘Experience MO’ yourself with family.  At check out, #outandaboutAva received a concierge gift for completing her scanvenger hunt and answering correctly. Luxury they do very well. Service they do even better. We are definitely #MoFans aka Fans of Mo and hope you will consider becoming one too!

The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta 

3376 Peachtree Road NE

Atlanta GA 30326

Website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/atlanta