1. Take a last minute trip to Miami. You’ve been there once before when you were 19 but, you had a shitty time. Decide that this time, you are going to do Miami RIGHT.
2. When you get to Miami, check into your hotel, head straight to the beach and jump in the ocean. The water is warm and turquoise and feels wonderful.
3. Take off your bathing suit. The water feels so damn good and being naked feels even better. It feels SO amazing that you decide to make skinny dipping a daily ritual for the next 3 days.
4. Get approached by a very drunk (crazy?) man who is yelling at you in Spanish. Say to yourself, “There’s weirdos here too… but, I can’t understand 90% of what they saying. Cool!“. Later, learn what “Maricón” means.
5. Be a tourist and decide to take a photo in front of the same thing every day.
6. Chill out at one of the beach side cafes on Ocean Drive. Accidentally order a $32 Mojito. Realize that the first lesson of your thirties should be: if the drinks on the menu have no prices attached to them, ASK before you order. Second lesson of your 30’s: a Mojito this large will give you the worst heartburn of your life.
7. Stay at a chic but cheap art deco boutique hotel in South Beach, that has a lobby that inexplicably smells like cotton candy and tropical flowers. Sleep on 300 thread count sheets. Enjoy the small but cute courtyard pool, lounging beds and pool cabanas. Take photos like this even though in them you look entirely too serious to be on vacation.
8. Realize that going to Miami in your thirties means NEVER having to hear the words “We could really save some money on hotels if we just slept on the beach” (um, yeah and have our organs harvested).
9. Say no to eating cereal in your hotel room or packing bologna sandwiches in your purse. EAT AT PROPER RESTAURANTS.
10. Get dressed up and go out every night, even if its just for drinks at one of the outdoor bars.
11. Go to Dash boutique to see if you can spot any wayward Kardashians. Realize that Dash really only has a couple racks of clothes and mostly sells Kardashian brand bottled water. Weirdsies!
12. Spend every day wandering around the art deco district, admiring the architecture and falling in love with how everything is painted in your favorite colors (turquoise! pink! white! bright blue sunny skies!). Come to the conclusion, that Miami is kind of surreal and beautiful and wacky and perfect.
13. Wake up on your 30th birthday to the most beautiful sunny day. Eat breakfast at an outdoor cafe. Put on a striped dress. Go shopping on Lincoln Rd. Have lunch in the Historic Spanish Village. Find the most perfect store ever and vow that one day when you are rich you will buy everything inside.
14. Enjoy birthday drinks IN THE POOL of your hotel. The drinks are free. Feel like a pimp.
15. On the night of your birthday, have your cabbie drop you off at a “mystery location” (because restaurant/club choice #1 was closed due to 9/11). Realize when you stumble out of the cab, that he has dropped you off at Gloria Estefan’s club. Laugh a little because little does anyone know, you were a huge Miami Sound Machine fan as a kid. Remember the days when used to “do the conga” in the living room, as Much Music played on the TV and your mom made Borscht in the kitchen. Laugh even harder when you realize you’re going to spending the first night of your 30’s in a place called “BONGOS“.
16. Hear DJ Africa. Shake it to reggaeton, dance outside while overlooking Miami Bay. Realize that when it comes to throwing a party, Miami puts Toronto to SHAME. Develop an deeper appreciation for the musical styling of Pitbull.
17.Wear as little clothes as possible. Everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t you?
18. Eat lots and lots of Cuban food. Decide that you really like Ropa Vieja and Shrimp Creole (with yucca on the side). Make it a point to try it everywhere you go to see who makes it best. Also eat a disturbing number of Empanadas.
19. Go to Bayside to check out the free music and eat more Cuban food. Have one of the best Mojitos of your life.
20. Drive through Little Havana (Calle Ocho) on a scooter as the sun is setting. Realize that two white people on a scooter that says “RENT ME” across the windshield basically screams out “We’re jackasses. Please rob us“. Decide not to drive the scooter into Little Haiti as planned.
21. Learn to ride the rented scooter. It’s so much fun…until you almost crash it into a parked car. But still, its A LOT OF FUN. Make note: buy scooter.
22. SWEAT A LOT. Miami is hot.
23. Hear one of the best lines of the weekend: “I used to be part of the Wu-Tang clan” (Um, yeah)
24. See shirts like this everyday. Debate between buying this one and the one that says “I’M IN MIAMI TRICK”. Buy neither. Take a photo instead.
25. Have cocktails at an outdoor bar that has a POOL. Feel like you’re in a hip hop video.
26. Smoke a cigar. You’re 30. You’re allowed to do this kind of stuff.
27. Wear a bright pink dress that you originally bought when you were 18 because it still fits and really… it’s bright pink – where else are you going to wear it but South Beach?!
28. Get invited to a party on the roof top of a hotel that overlooks South Beach. On the roof there are waterfalls and beds. Spend the rest of the night lounging, listening to the DJ spin Deep House tracks and looking out at the Atlantic Ocean.
29. Have a total Liz Lemon moment at the airport when you simultaneously try to speed eat two Cuban sandwiches and two empanadas before going through security.
30. Conclude that even though you have more lines on your face, you are very happy that you are no longer the 19 year old girl who came to Miami the first time.
BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.