• reneeshian


Updated: Oct 1, 2020


How's everyone? I hope the holidays were well spent with loved ones. I am back to writing after a short break and I am looking forward to what I have in store for this year, especially with this blog! To 2020! Starting off the New Year right with a post that was long overdue! Allons-y!

Oh Miami, what a lovely city. Ever since the end of September, I decided to follow my desire to start writing and blogging. It was this trip that pushed me to use writing, a skill that I struggle with, as an outlet and a tool to give my voice a platform. The memories that I hold on to this trip will always be special to me. Exploring a new region, being able to travel and pause from a dark summer, re-awakened a burning desire I had deep in my soul with regards to myself as an individual. While I was enjoying myself and soaking up the Florida sun, I was unknowingly reflecting on who I am, where I have been and what is next for me. Allowing myself to become raw with my self-perception was without a doubt liberating and fulfilling to my soul. The process is still ongoing, as it should be, with that though, I would like to share with y'all my trip and self-discoveries. 

The view from Faena Hotel.


The few months leading up to Miami were a period of darkness for me. I was working in an environment where I felt unappreciated and undermined. To add on to those feelings, I had been enrolled in a summer course which progressed at an accelerated pace. I experienced complete burn out from both the demands of school and work, it was rough. There were days where I would lie in bed all day until I had to work and after work, I would go back to my dorm and isolate myself all over again until a new day arrived. Now don't get me wrong there were times of joy, thank you Becka and Kate, yet the profound feeling of loneliness was superior. Because of that, I was longing for this trip in hopes of feeling content. I have been sad for so long I wanted to experience something joyful and beautiful. If only I knew then what I would be receiving is even greater than a construed temporal feeling of happiness. 


I traveled to Miami with two close friends and unlike them, it was my first time traveling out of the country without my family. The thought of having to navigate the airport frightened me but nonetheless my friends knew exactly what to do. We flew from Buffalo to Detroit and then from Detroit to Miami. The overall plane ride was smooth yet unfamiliar. I haven't flown in an airplane since 2015 and I forgot how much I hate turbulence. At last, after 4 hours we've finally arrived in Miami.


One word. Humid. When I first stepped out of the airport, I was not prepared for the heat. For a moment, I thought in my head 'Damn, I ain't gonna make it'. Despite that, the excitement to taste good food, relax at the beach and sightseeing allowed the heat to be bearable. For the next few days, Newport Beachside Hotel and Resortroughly about 30 minutes away from Miami, was our new home. Next time, I would definitely try out staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel. Our hotel was not special to me at all just a place to sleep. The upside, however, was the close proximity to the beach. To be able to witness the sunrises and sunsets while viewing the water was mesmerizing.


Over the course of seven blissful days, I explored a vibrant city, experienced various activities that I never thought of doing ever in my lifetime. Some of it was peer pressure but nonetheless, worth the memories. Here's to highlight a few of the sites I went to that I believe are worth the visit!


The place we went to the least but still worth mentioning. Located in the heart of South Beach, if you're looking to shop at high- or low-end boutiques or, stop by to grab a bite to eat in an elegant restaurant, Lincoln Road is the place to go. We walked around the very long street for the sole purpose of searching for the infamous burger shop Shake Shack, which I must say is overpriced and sub-par. We also made a failed attempt at window-shopping and bought a few items at Urban Outfitters. The few hours we were there were delightful yet not that memorable. Perhaps the nighttime it is livelier!

I ended up not taking too many photos at Lincoln Road, but here's the shirt I bought :)


Now, Ocean Drive is the place that you go to when you want to splurge them hard-earned coins. Sounds tempting right? Not for this girl unfortunately. My friends and I ended up going for decently priced drinks at Il Bolognese. Fishbowls were on the menu and I just needed to try one! I drank a whole fish bowl to myself, so mind you, I was pretty much out of it for the rest of the night (sorry for the emotional rollercoaster at Dominos). When I go back to Miami, speaking it into existence, I am definitely going to splurge out on Ocean Drive and experience more of the nightlife. She's 21 now baby!

Fishbowls drinks we ordered at Il Bolognese.


Hot. Scorching Hot. Unbearably Hot. Key West, a tiny island city located all the way at the end of Florida and 4 hours away from where we were staying at. We made this destination a day trip and took a coach bus deal found on Groupon (I highly recommend using this app when looking for deals on excursions). Once arriving, we got to explore the area. Buildings burst with bright, vivid colours, skyscrapers in the form of palm trees and the never-ending, turquoise, oceanic view. Snorkeling was our main goal for the trip. I was reluctant to participate which in my defense I had a reason to be. As someone who DOES NOT know how to swim, of course I would be hesitant. After continuous persuasion, I went into the water and got to see the coral reefs, which this city is known for. A remarkable view. A few hours passed and food was next on the agenda. Amigos Tortilla Bar caught our eye and did not disappoint. I ordered my go-to favourite for any occasion: Quesadillas. They were delicious and a great way to end a fun trip. I highly consider visiting Key West, make sure to stay hydrated though. 


Undoubtedly my favourite place we went throughout the entire trip. The atmosphere of Wynwood loosely reminded me of Kensington Market and Graffiti Alley back home in Toronto. From wall to wall, graffiti art from different aspects of pop culture: anime, hip-hop, cartoons to celebrities the list goes on. Every street and store had graffiti painted all over and I absolutely loved it. Some noteworthy sites to visit include: Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Marketplace. Wynwood Walls is a renowned, worldwide known art exhibit, showcasing remarkable sculptures, graffiti and murals created by artists all over the world. Whereas, Wynwood Marketplace is an outdoor venue right in the heart of Wynwood, where local vendors sell their unique items, food stands are posted up, and the music is playing all day and night. Both places are in minutes away from each other making it easier to explore the area. While here, I was able to devour some delicious tacos.The Taco Stand and Twice Butter treated my palette excellently, they took care of me. I cannot stress the fact of how much I loved Wynwood. Take. Me. Back.


The name says it all! Little Havana makes you feel like you have stepped into a different energy; cigars, Latin music, food and the locals are friendly. One thing that stood out to me the most was just hearing multiple live bands play music throughout the street. Everyone was dancing and jamming along to the music, it just felt natural. My only regret from here is not taking the time to visit there even longer. We were supposed to go back again to visit unfortunately, the day we wanted to go we got rained on. Little Havana until we meet again.

Welcome to Little Havana!
One of my favourite pictures that I was able to capture in Miami!


Like I said earlier, Miami was a trip that opened up a part of me that I have chosen to hide from myself and others for a long time. There were a lot of ideas and aspirations that interested me, but I chose to disregard them due to lack of confidence in myself, my worth and my voice. Self-doubt and lack of confidence pushed me away from blogging, I am now grateful that I was able to make that choice and choose the route of not limiting my voice to myself. I believe that this is the start of something magical, I never felt so passionate in such a long time. The goal here is to not only be successful but to keep on taking the time to listen and push myself to be the woman who I am destined to become. Looking back at the trip now, I have grown a lot and applied that confidence in all aspects of my life. Yes, there are days when I see myself reverting into those negative thoughts, however, I remind myself that I cannot let my progress as an individual go in vain. I have so much to bring, so much light to bring, it is not fair if I don't showcase it to the world. There is only one Renee Shian why not live the life out of her? 

Newport Beachside Hotel and Resort. The sun and I were GLOWING!

As I am finishing up this piece it is currently the last day of 2019. I am looking forward to what the new decade has in store for all of us. The only way to go is up, let's start climbing! Happy New Year! 

I hope y'all enjoyed this piece. If you have any questions or comments about my trip feel free to ask! Comment and share, I'd appreciate it immensely! I'll see you on the next post :) 



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