Confessions of a Professional People Watcher

NYC is an ideal destination for my favorite hobby— people watching. Whether you are on a bench at Central Park, or sipping a beer at a rooftop bar, there is no shortage of humans to observe.

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After sitting and watching countless man buns, sundresses, fedoras and everything in between, I stopped and wondered what was it about people watching that I loved so much.

So, here it is, the top reasons why people watching is the best hobby in the world…

Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self

It’s often been said that how we judge others is how we really judge ourselves. The things that I criticize the most, are the things that I am most self conscious about. People watching helps me to keep myself in check. When you actually sit there and watch someone take a selfie, it makes you think twice. 

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The Superficial Reasons 

Life is a fashion show and the world is your runway. It is so much fun to observe outfits & styles: the good, the bad & the ugly. Watching others sparks ideas for new hairstyles, placement for tattoos, or inspiration in ordering a different drink at the bar. Not to mention the excitement that can come from sparking conversation with the eye candy you were ogling. 

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Comedic Relief 

Some of the things you see are just downright amusing. Whether it’s overhearing an absurd conversation, or a ridiculous outfit choice, people watching can provide great entertainment. It can lead to material for a joke, story plot ideas or character development. 

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The Deeper Stuff

Curiosity will never kill this cat. I often drift away wondering what brings people to where they are, with who they’re with. It’s a hobby that can ignite a sense of self confidence or extreme insecurity. It can make me lose and gain faith in humanity all at once. The horror I feel when watching a little kid distracted from life on their iPad is instantly turned to joy when I see a gray haired couple sip beers together at the bar. People watching brings out the questions that are sometimes hard to ask, forcing you to think about things that you may not necessarily think about. It is a perfect time to practice skills of listening, observation, and reflection. 

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Next time you’re in a crowded public place, sit back and watch what’s going on around you. Take note to the things that stand out, because it can shed light on the things that you prioritize! 

I’m in Miami, Beach! Out There Social’s Guide to South Beach 

My craving for salty air and warm weather has recently led me to the beautiful city of Miami, Florida! The beautiful beaches and beautiful people just scratch the surface of everything Miami has to offer.

I’m Hungry:

I am a major foodie, always excited to try new things in new places. One of my favorite games? Closing my eyes and picking something randomly from a menu. Try it! Who knows, you may find your new favorite entree!

The most Ballin’ Brunch:  Nikki Beach

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Breakfast meets lunch in the most beautiful way on Sundays at Nikki Beach. Not only is the buffet of food magnificent, the ambiance is incredible. Help yourself to a plate, or two, or five, of delicious food, and sit your butt down next to a palm tree. It is such a party vibe! I have been to quite a few brunches in my day, but none have even come close to this one!

Feeling Sandwichy? Le Sandwicherie

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If i had to choose my favorite food group, it just may be “sandwich.” As a former deli diva, I judge my sandwiches quite harshly. Get the napoli, on a croissant, with the works— and thank me later.

Pizza, Pizza! Groovy’s Pizza

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As a New Yorker, my opinion of pizza is an important one. Something that excited me about Miami pizzerias as opposed to NY, Hawaiian pizza was a hot commodity! Groovy’s became my favorite pizza spot: good pizza, good prices, friendly staff & good music while you wait!


I’m Thirsty:

Step one: hydrate. Step two: rage. Here are my top three favorite happy hours in Miami Beach:

Hookah Vibes: D’Vine

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Such a great place to chill out. 2 for 1 drinks on weekdays from NOON to 7… so awesome. The appetizers were delicious, and the hookah was priced reasonably. Located within the Lincoln Rd. mall, so it is a suburb place for people watching.

Reggae Vibes: Mango’ s

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Make sure you check the schedule and get there when they have live music! It has a very fun, party, yet relaxed, beachy atmosphere. Drinks were strong and the food was great! Happy hour specials were still a bit expensive, but its on Ocean Dr, so you have to expect it.

Let’s Rage! Vibes: The Clevelander

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You can’t come to Miami Beach without spending some time here! A perfect spot for a drink and some hot wings. The music gets you in the mood to party (as if you weren’t already in the mood to party, I mean, you’re in Miami…). A fun spot to come to at night as well!


I’m Ready To Rage:

Let’s face it, no one comes to Miami Beach to relax. You’re here to party, and party you shall do:

Old School Hip Hoppin: Rec Room

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This place is a hidden gem. Get there early, which in Miami time is about 11pm. It gets packed later on, and as a girl on your own, can get a bit.. erm… intimidating? Yes, that’s a good word. The place is quite small, so when the crowd isn’t as overwhelming, it’s a perfect environment to go wild and dance your butt off. They play amazing old school hip hop & r&b music, which is my personal favorite to dance to.

Fist Pumpin’ Fun: STORY

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Another Miami Beach classic! The best way to experience STORY is through a promoter, so when they approach you on the beach, listen to what they have to say! Most of them offer amazing pre-game options, limo rides, and VIP entrance for a reduced price. Otherwise, it isn’t very likely that you will be able to get in.

Swanky: Delano

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Run by the Morgans Hotel Group, the Delano is an exquisite boutique hotel. If you’re feeling classy, go sip a martini by their beautiful infinity pool. They host events on certain nights, so check the schedule, or talk to a promoter!


Gimmie, Gimmie More:

I am not exaggerating when I say there is no shortage of things to do in Miami! With so many options, you will never be bored!

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team: American Airline Arena

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Love em or hate em, seeing The Heat play in their home arena is an awesome experience for Basketball fans! I said it before and I’ll say it again, going to a sporting event is such a great way to get a feel for a city!

Cash or Credit?: Lincoln Rd. Mall

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Shop till you drop on Lincoln Rd! They have stores from H&M to Urban Outfitters and everything in between. This outdoor style mall reminded me so much of the 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica! Many great food and drink options along the way as well!

Soak Up The Sun: 14th St. Beach

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I saved the best for last— the beach! Crystal blue water, white sand, and beautiful people. This beach seriously has it all.


One More Thing!

For all my vodka lovers out there, Absolut has a limited edition line of city-themed bottles! Make sure you pick up a bottle of Absolut Miami: passionfruit & orange blossom, mixes well with sprite!

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California Dreaming: Turning a Dream into a Reality!

Two months ago, I packed up my bags and flew across the country. I had no one to meet. No classes to attend. No interview to prepare for. I had the love and support of my friends and family, but was met with a lot of raised eyebrows when asked what my plan was. Plan? My plan was to figure it out  as I went along…

Taking this trip was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I spent 22 years of my life living for other people. Family. Friends. Loved ones. People I hardly knew but didn’t want to let down. 23 was going to be different. This was the year I realized that the only person I can rely on 100% of the time, is me. 

I hate when people tell me that I’m lucky, because luck has nothing to do with it. I made things happen for myself. I set a goal, listed the steps of how to achieve this goal, and worked for it with a smile on my face. There is no magic wand I waved to make this happen… just good old fashion dedication to make my dream a reality. 

In 9 weeks I did things that I never thought that I was capable of. Traveling solo ignites the confidence within that you need to push yourself further than your imagination has the capacity of reaching.

I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime with people from all over the globe. I gained a fresher perspective for the world & my place in it, and a deeper respect for others who have also taken a leap of faith, gaining their wings along the way.

If there’s one thing I can say for certain after this trip, I will never stop traveling. As deep as my love for California is, my wanderlust is insatiable. There is just too much out there in the world. I have people to meet, places to see, meals to try, events to attend, and blogs to write about all of the above!

The most important lesson I have learned from this trip: Nothing Is Impossible. The only person getting in the way of what you want- is you! With this realization, the possibilities of what you can achieve are limitless! Don’t be afraid to get out therebecause outside of your comfort zone exists an incredible world.

What to do in Sunny San Diego…

This beautiful city easily made its way into my heart as a destination I’d visit over and over again. The consistently gorgeous weather allows for an open schedule to explore all of the beauty San Diego has to offer!

Where to go for: Salt Air


…the beach, duh! San Diego has about 70 miles of coastline to explore! If you’re looking for good surf, then head up to Swami’s in Encinitas. Want a young, party vibe? Then check out Pacific Beach & Mission Beach. The beach front bars along the boardwalk are great for mingling after a long day on the sand.

Where to go for: Family Fun!

The San Diego Zoo is great for all ages! The combination of attractions, animals, and beer vendors are superb! Make sure to set an entire day aside for this outing, because you won’t want to rush through any part of it!

Where to go for: a Romantic Sunset

There is no place more picturesque than the La Jolla Cliffs. Although, I believe photographs can hardly do this spot justice. Go with a loved one, to just go on your own, to breathe in the wonder that Mother Nature has given us.

Where to go for: Outdoor Exploration 

Balboa park: museums, gardens & cafes, oh my! This is another spot you should set aside an entire day for… and although this is where the zoo is located, there isn’t enough time in a single visit to truly enjoy both. The botanical gardens are nothing short of majestic, and the Spanish village is bursting with creativity! 

Where to go for: Historical Beauty

Where else but the historical landmark: Hotel Del Coronado! Visit the spot where Marilyn Monroe filmed the classic, “Some Like it Hot!” Even if you don’t stay overnight, it is a beautiful spot for a day-cation, where you can shop, eat, and lounge on a beautiful beach!

Where to go for: Nightlife

The Gaslamp District is always raging. There is something for everyone, regardless of your idea of an ideal night out on the town. If clubbing is your scene, check out Fluxx. Great DJs in a wild atmosphere is a recipe for success! Enjoy more of a bar scene? Go to The Shout House. This dueling piano bar is home of good drinks, awesome live music, lots of laughs & an all around great night out! 

Tinder for Travelers 

For as long as its been around, I have been anti-tinder. I thought the app was creepy & superficial… which it is. 

When I started traveling, I decided to give it a second thought. No, I’m not on there looking to find my Tinderella, but, this app can actually be more beneficial than you think! And hey, what’s the harm of a free dinner?

Talk to Locals

Sometimes, Yelp can’t give you a clear picture of, let’s say, where to go on a Tuesday night. Tinder connects you with locals, who are usually more than happy to give suggestions… as long as your profile photo is hot enough.

Make New Friends

My network of friends is predominately male. Now, I know guys aren’t on Tinder to get friend zoned. However, sorry guys, that’s what’s going to happen to you if we’re a match and seem cool enough to hang out with. One of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting new people. Tinder expands  networks into the infinite inter web! 

Beware!!!!

Don’t be stupid!!!!!! If you’re going to meet someone, do it in a public place. Going to someone’s house is NOT a date, and having someone pick you up in their car isn’t a good idea either. If you’re traveling alone- lie. Say you’re staying with somebody that you know, that is waiting up for you. And, most importantly, always keep an eye on your drink! It is a crazy world, and you can never be too careful!

What To Do in Encinitas 

If you’re planning a trip to San Diego, be sure to head up to Encinitas… at least for a day! This beautiful surfer town in the Northern County of SD is just a $5 train ride from Old Town, and has so much to offer!

Life’s a Beach

Walk towards the big Encinitas sign and take a left on D street. Walk down the spiral staircase, and prepare to be amazed! This beautiful beach is only comparable to a tropical island. While I was walking, I even spotted a baby sea lion lounging on the sand! Moonlight beach, and Swami’s are the two surfer hot spots.. so grab your board! The beach goes on for miles, so if you want some privacy lounging, this is the place to be as well!

Ommmmmmm

If you’re in San Diego, you MUST come up to Swami’s meditation gardens. Pictures can never do this place justice… This is something you must experience for yourself. Imagine the world described by the classic “The Secret Garden” brought to life. From stunning alters to koi ponds, this beautiful getaway is the number one place to clear your mind.

Nom nom nom

As much as I love to cook, it would be a shame not to go out when you are surrounded by so many great restaurants! Encinitas is home to the Zagat proclaimed best lobster roll in San Diego at Lobster West. Union has delicious flatbread pizzas, but the watermelon salad stole my heart (..don’t hesitate to add some shrimp. It’s totally worth it!) In the mood for fish tacos? Go to Encinitas Fish Shop; where you choose your fish; seasoning; and how you’d like it prepared. The quesadillas at Beachside Bar & grill weren’t quite up to Mission District, SF standards… but it was still delicious!  And last but not least, if you’re looking for a delicious smoothie, check out Berry Happy Frozen Yogurt on your way to the beach… you’ll be berry happy that you did!

Cheers!

So many bars, so little time! If it is beer you’re looking for, naturally, Bier garden is the place to be.. Happy hour is all day on Wednesdays to celebrate hump day! In the mood for a delicious cocktail? Go to Union… and try the spicy pear!

Retail Therapy

There are no shortages of boutiques on this strip! There are so many unique pieces of clothing, decorations, jewelry, furniture and more. With a lot of shops being consignment, this day of shopping will not kill your wallet!

Let’s Rage!

Around on a Saturday night? Check out Shelter. This bar has a retractable ceiling, which gives an awesome view of the stars at night. Great drinks, chill atmosphere, fun people and good music… what else can you ask for? 

Mission Impossible: 2 Weeks in the Mission District, San Francisco 

This city reminded me of everything I love about NYC, except without the aspects that I dislike. Sure, the weather required me to wear pants, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some beautiful, sunny, 90 degree days too!

People

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I feel so lucky to have met the beautiful people that I stayed with in the Mission, and am happy to call them my new friends! Lydia, Maria, Ghio and Koko not only opened their homes to be, but they opened their hearts! Without them, I would have had a completely different experience… especially on Halloween and el dia de los muertos! They showed me what it was like to be a true San Franciscan living in the Mission District, and I am so grateful for them!

Places

San Francisco is a small city, only 7 x 7 sq miles! There is so much jam packed into such a small space. In the mission, you are surrounded by culture.. and delicious food! If you are looking for the best burrito, look no further! Hop on the BART and head north until you reach the Embarcadero, and spend the day at Pier 39 for amazing sea food, and incredible views. For a more detailed guide of where to eat, check out:

Hungry for Adventure, Where to eat in SF!

Things

 

If you go to San Francisco, the one thing you MUST do… bike over the Golden Gate Bridge! You should probably be humming the Full House Theme Song to yourself as you cross. If you take the BART to Powell St. prepare yourself for a day of shopping! Don’t miss a chance to check out Macy’s… you’ll be thoroughly impressed! 

Oh! And another thing about San Francisco… people there hate it when you call it “San Fran.” I got a lot of eye rolls until someone finally set me straight, telling me it is San Francisco (said really, really fast), Frisco, or SF. 

 

Bottom Line: 

As much as I loved San Francisco, I can’t picture myself living there. Before this trip, I had always considered myself to be a city girl. While it is true, I do love spending time in the city, I have come to realize that it is the beach that truly has my heart! I would never turn down a city trip, but when it comes down to a place where this gypsy would want to settle, it’s got to be near the ocean! I will definitely return to SF to visit my new friends, and explore sites that I have yet to see! 

Blending In: How To Visit a City Without Feeling Like A Tourist 

“Blending in” can be a difficult feat. It is especially difficult when you’re feeling particularly out of place. When I picture the standard “tourist”, it is someone holding a map, in a Hawaiian shirt, with thickly applied sunblock. They stand out. 

Being a tourist makes you a target… which is dangerous for solo travelers, especially girls! Here’s some tips on blending into your new environment: 

Airbnb: Try it! 

I’ve been hosted by airbnb in 9 different cities to date. This has been my rock of “blending in.” My hosts quickly became my friends, pointing me in the right direction throughout my journey. Staying in a hotel takes you away from all the action, while staying with locals puts you right in the middle of it. Learn from your surroundings!

Public Transportation: Learn it! 

Nothing has made me feel more successful than navigating San Francisco’s BART system. Once I have mastered that, I felt my options expand tremendously. Uber and Lyft are also great methods of transportation, however, all of those trips add up! If you are in a city that has a decent public transportation system- utilize it! Los Angeles’ train system was unimpressive, however, SF’s BART was convenient, reliable, and cheap!

Food: Don’t eat at chains! 

I pride myself on being a major foodie. If you avoid eating at chains, you open yourself up to the amazing world of new tastes that are Out There! Don’t be afraid of a tiny place that doesn’t seem like it has much to offer… often times, those are the most delicious! Nervous to dive into new food territories unarmed? Use Yelp to help you navigate! Must places post there menus online, too! 

(There is of course an exception to this rule, and it goes by the name of: In and Out Burger. Go, order your meal “animal style”, and thank me later).