Anyway, part of being a finalist was flying to Miami for a photo shoot for the magazine. And because she is a fabulous friend, she brought me along. So, spending a cold January weekend in sunny Miami with one of my besties thanks to American Airlines? Yeah...I'm pretty lucky.
We started with drinks in the Admirals Club. This is not how I normally travel. I will note that I knocked this mimosa over shortly after this photo was taken. Not because I was drunk, just because I am ridiculously uncoordinated. This is why I don't hang out in fancy places like the Admirals Club.
We were on one of those fancy planes with the pods that recline. I reclined right away. I never get to recline like this! It was heavenly. We also got FOOD. And non-stop drinks. And a quilted blanket. First class is a magical place.
After checking in to the most AMAZING HOTEL ROOM EVER (it was bigger than my apartment, which isn't difficult, BUT STILL), we met up with my awesome friend Eli who took us out to a place that served bacon in a bucket. You know we totally ordered it.
We had to check out of the MOST AMAZING HOTEL ROOM EVER (this was the view from the window...I don't know why I didn't take pictures of the actual gorgeous room), and we walked around Miami, had brunch, and did some shopping before heading down to the beach to check in to our new room with a gorgeous beach view.
We were able to glam up pretty quickly, then we headed up to the penthouse to meet all of the other finalists, their guests, and the rad people from the magazine. Seriously, everyone involved in this whole weekend was pretty dang amazing.
Claire and I with Renee, the girlfriend of Neal, one of the other finalists. Claire and I laughed when we realized our dresses for the meet and greet party were almost identical, and we really lost it when Renee walked in the door in something that fit right in. We knew then that it would be an awesome group of people.
The next day all of the finalists started doing their photo shoot, and I stopped in for a little bit, but then I got to wander around South Beach for awhile.
Claire was doing fancy things like this while I walked around and took quite a few naps.
I sat on the beach for a little bit, just to say I did. I love the beach, but it's down the street from me at home, so beach time wasn't the goal of my trip. Plus, I forgot a hat and didn't want to spend $20 on sunscreen, and I didn't want to bring skin cancer home as a souvenir. Anyway, I forgot that South Beach was a little more, um, liberal about their sunbathing policies, and as I went to take this photo I saw that the three girls on the side up there had no tops on. I decided to wait to snap this photo until they were properly dressed.
I decided that this sounded more appealing than the actual beach...lying in my hotel room where I could easily see the ocean, but where I wouldn't get a sunburn and I could take a very comfy nap.
After the shoot we shared a giant mojito and $9 water on Ocean Drive
We hung out up on the penthouse deck before we headed out to the Miami Heat basketball game at *ahem* American Airlines Arena. Claire had her makeup professionally done. I...did not.
We had an amazing suite for the game. It had a balcony with views of the city, plus this view of the game. File this under Things That Don't Suck.
There were also some seats right behind the visitor bench, so we spent some time down there, too. I've had some good seats at basketball games before, but never THIS good. It was pretty awesome.
And, since we were right behind the bench, that meant we showed up on the TV! My friend Jenny snapped this pic of her TV right when we were there lurking in the background. Of course, I had my phone over my face trying to take a picture. That's so me.
I was desperately sad to leave Miami...especially because everyone else was staying an extra day. (If you know me at all you know that the thought of people having fun without me is one of my big issues. And BOY did it sound like they had fun without me. *sob*)
But, if any of you are going to be flying American in March, look for Claire on the cover of the March issue of American Way in your seat back pocket...and see how she placed in the Road Warrior contest. AND you can look for me, too! I'll (hopefully) be hanging out in a picture on the Editor's Note page with the unbelievably nice, wonderful, good-looking, and every other positive adjective editor of American Way magazine, Adam Pitluk. (It will be online, too, so you KNOW I will share it.)
And, if you can, please start up a collection to send me back to Miami, STAT.