August 26, 2014

Oh meami, oh Miami.*

*or, "Where we're going, you won't need shoes."

Took a little trip with the girls.

I should actually start from the very beginning. There were originally seven of us - Alicia, Andrea, Haley, Jodi, Kyla, Stephanie, and Taylor. We were friends in college; the group known to dress alike.

And then Nina made us eight, and we graduated from college, as we started getting married.

I use the term "we" loosely.

Haley was first.

Then it just started happening. We all moved to our respective cities and started only seeing one another for the various wedding-related activities; in fact, I'm currently unpacking a bag from the most recent wedding.

So now we're five years out and six of us are married (two have babies), one is engaged...

...and I'll let you guess who the one remaining single girl in this mom squad is:

Anyway, Miami was a chance to get together to celebrate our Jodi; our bachelorette.

Jodi's the full package and she loves Bon Jovi more than anyone I know. In fact, I think Jodi sings "Living on a Prayer" with more heart and more passion (and certainly more fist pumps) than JBJ himself.

So, we + a few more welcome additions popped down to Miami for some sun and some sand and some girl time. I worked that day and was one of the last to arrive; consequently, I was on grocery duty with Tay and Lish.

Taylor and Alicia are health-conscious and I at least don't mind vegetables, so when we heard the room was already full of carbs, we threw a few green things into the cart to even it out.

And then a few bottles of bubbly to even it out even further.

Then we whizzed on over to our condo in South Beach, catching some great night views of the city along the way.

We arrived just in time to say our hellos - the obnoxious kind you can imagine girls who haven't seen one another in ages do with squealing and hugging and kissing and complimenting on how GREAT everyone looks - before the birthday party started.

Wait...birthday party? Yes. Jodi's getting married, but that didn't stop Jill's birthday from making an appearance that weekend. We celebrated with singing and party hats and cupcakes and cat cards.

And then I fell asleep.

It's a problem. I'm horrible at sleepovers.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. the next morning - Friday - ready to go. Mornings without work are full of such promise, aren't they? This view helped, too. Far better than any alarm clock.

I threw on shorts, a tank, and running shoes, and made it outside just before it got too hot.

My quick jog turned into an easy five miles fueled by the view, a breeze, and an impending bikini.

When I got back to the condo, the girls were slowly coming to life. I managed to drag a few downstairs with me, and we made a beeline for the pool, where Nina and I did the most important thing any vacationer does: secure chairs. Nine of them, in fact.

I laid back to read, siting up every now and then for the sake of the view and to make the occasional trip out to the water. 

The perfection eventually got to us, and we all moved inside to cool down.

And kick off the celebration!

Party favors: only the essentials.

After multiple toasts to our bachelorette, we threw on sundresses, sandals, and shades, tossed some food and drinks in a bag, and jumped in a cab heading towards the marina, where our yacht awaited.

And while we waiting on the crew to arrive, I got nosey.

The gentlemen invited me over for a closer look and explained what was going on. They were cutting up this shark for meat, and the head had already been sent in to be mounted. I asked what shark tasted like - I had no idea- and the man looked at me blankly and said, "Shark."

So that was helpful.

Our captain arrived just in time to pull me away from what was turning into an uncomfortable situation, and I carefully navigated the bloody dock, away from the carnage and climbed onto the ship, ready to sail the high seas with my fellow mermaids. The next five hours were a blur of visiting islands, dancing with our captain, and shouting at the various stars as we passed their homes.

Speaking of, meet Captain Paisley, our fearless (literally - fearless) leader. He is an absolute champ: gives a phenomenal tour, takes pretty decent group pictures, and plays the music as loud as you want it. He makes sure you have a great time, mainly because he wants to have a great time.

Now, enjoy the ride.

At one point, my high pony and I abandoned ship for a rogue ride on the captain's paddle board before jumping onto the back of a jet ski with what I would call a very kind man - and what my friends would call a stranger - for a ride around the ocean. He eventually brought me back, which was a relief because at some point during the ride I quickly weighed risk v. reward and realized it wasn't my best idea.

I wasn't the only bold one. Jodi hopped onto a stranger's parked sail boat for a quick photo shoot.

I think this really was the highlight of everyone's trip, and if you're ever in Miami, I would highly recommend booking a trip with this company. I'm frantically searching for the name and will update accordingly. And ask for Captain Gabriel! 

When the food and drinks were gone, we ended our voyage, strategically leaving just enough time to find our land legs, take a quick nap, and throw on a dress and lipstick (because ladies wear lipstick), to head out to the discotheque that all the kids seem to love. The cab came at 1:00 a.m., and I'm sure you can imagine how well I handled that.

Such. Pretty. Friends. 

Camera off now. I'll give us some privacy and leave this part of the weekend undocumented. 

The next morning came quickly. I woke up first, again, and went down to the beach to read. That didn't last long, though, because I was approached by an older Persian man (with a ponytail) who told me I looked like all of the woman in Moscow (apparently all women in Moscow are wearing crop tops, a sloppy bun on their head, and last night's mascara) and then proceeded to put me through an intense workout right in the sand. In a crop top. Turns out this man is a boxing coach - friends with Dan Marino - and so we swapped numbers because he said he'd take me out for dinner the next time he's in ATL. 

This really happened.

The rest of the day was spent mostly like the first - lounging upon lounging, with the occasional break to take a dip in the pool or ocean to cool off. 

Now, y'all know I love food, and dinner that night was so superb. 

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar's menu is just as you'd imagine, and the walls are covered with good advice. 

One of the most lovely things about the weekend was that wherever we went, the people who weren't able to join us had made sure lovely little treats were waiting on us.

Everyone (wisely) let Nina and I order for the table, and we ate family-style:

Deviled eggs (and Jenn)

Fried green tomatoes (and bacon)

Chicken and biscuits (and sweet pickles)

Mac 'n cheese (and cheese)

And just for kicks, a side of fries

Not pictured? The stars of the meal: fried chicken with waffles and ribs. We left happy but miserably stuffed, toasted Jodi with a few glasses of wine, and went back to the room for a games and (for me) bed.

On Sunday we woke up, stuffed bikinis, dresses, and heels into our tiny suitcases, and made a quick trip to the famous Nikki Beach before heading to the airport.

P.S: Our Jodi is now a Mrs! (And we still dress alike.)

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