December 11, 2015

The Holiday Gift Guide Series- For the College Girl

  Yup, that's right, I'm back with the next part of the Preppy Ballerina Holiday Gift Guides! {View part 1 here!} For those of you who got the hint from the last part of the gift guides {People hate applying to these}, this guide is for all your favorite college girls because yes, people hate applying to college.

{Clockwise from top left}

1. Fleece Lined Leggings {Shown in Black Heather}
    Now if I'm being upfront with all of you, I am a firm believer that leggings should never be worn as pants unless you're exercising, but after trying a pair of fleece lined leggings, I've decided that these are the exception to the rule. Warm, cozy, and perfect for walking across campus or studying at the library, these leggings are the perfect gift to help your favorite college girl stay warm in the winter!

2. Florabunda and Things are Totally Gonna Work Out Notebook Set
    Whether these notebooks are used for taking notes in class, jotting down a reminder, or just for daily motivation, there's no arguing that they're absolutely adorable! Notebooks make the perfect gift for not only college students, but anybody!

3. iSkelterProducts Kennedy Beauty Station
    If you don't want one of these for yourself now, you will once I'm done telling you about it! The iSkelterProducts Kennedy Beauty Station helps to keep any desk or makeup table organized with plenty of room for brushes, compacts, palettes, and any other makeup you can think of. Not to mention the beauty station also has a built in display dock for your tablet and phone. The nice this about iSkelterProducts is that they make a lot of beauty stations similar to this in other sizes, so if you wanted to buy one a little bigger or smaller it's definitely possible! This beauty station is the perfect way to watch Netflix, ask Siri a question, and do your makeup all at the same time!

4. Kate Spade Cold Hands Warm Heart Thermal Mug
    Speaking from experience, thermal mugs are the only way to go when trying to bring a warm beverage to class, and this Kate Spade one has the cutest message!  Kate Spade offers this mug in other patterns without quotes on it as well, so you're sure to find one your college student will like!

5. Kate Spade Dot Your i's and Cross Your t's Pencil Pouch
    Give your favorite college girl a penmanship reminder with this adorable Kate Spade pencil pouch!  This pencil pouch is stiffer than pencil pouches found at Target or office supply stores, and way less likely to fall apart as quickly! Inside, it comes with two pencils, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, and a ruler. It also comes in other cute patterns!

6. Vera Bradley Throw Blanket {Shown in Alpine Floral}
    This blanket is not only adorable, but so so soft! I have this blanket in Lilli Bell, and I can't even explain how tempted I am to buy another! The blanket is a Twin/Twin XL blanket, making it perfect for college dorm rooms!

Be on the lookout for the next part of the holiday gift guides coming soon! {Hint: "You're my TRUEEEEE friend."}

Love and Stay Preppy,

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December 5, 2015

The Holiday Gift Guide Series: For the Traveler

Yes, it's that time of year again, aka my favorite time of year again, aka the most wonderful time of the year.  That's right, the holiday season!  I thoroughly refuse to break tradition and start buying Christmas gifts and singing carols and yes, even refuse to buy Starbucks' holiday drinks before Thanksgiving, but now that Thanksgiving has passed, I am in full on Christmas cheer mode!  So here I am presenting to you the first part of my holiday gift guide series, a collection of gifts hand-curated by yours truly for all your favorite travelers!

{Clockwise from top left}

Jet Set Candy Luggage Tag Charms {Available in 928 Sterling Silver or 14k Gold Vermeil}
  Raise your hand if you think this is one of the cutest charm ideas you've seen yet!  I am in absolute love with these charms.  It's the perfect item for anyone who has recently come back from a trip, or to start a collection for each place traveled to!

Mark and Graham Seersucker Monogrammed Jewelry Roll {Available in Red or Navy}
  Jewelry rolls are the perfect item for keeping necklaces and bracelets from getting into a giant knot when packing!  I know I've had this happen to me way too many times and my jewelry roll when in Miami this summer was absolutely essential for keeping my jewelry organized and tangle-free!  Mark and Graham offers their jewelry rolls in a variety of colors and fabrics, not just seersucker, so you're bound to find one to match the person on your gift list!

Alex and Ani "Places We Love" Bangles {Available in Rafaelian Gold or Silver}
  If you follow me on Instagram {@Eva_Phan}, you know how obsessed I am with my first Alex and Ani bangle, the Monopoly Dog bangle!  Start or continue your friend's Alex and Ani stack with these adorable destination bangles {shown here in Miami}.  Like the Jet Set Candy Luggage Tag Charms, these make the perfect item to collect for each trip taken!

Evelyn Henson Map Prints
  Evelyn Henson's Map Print collection is the perfect memento to represent a favorite city!  Evelyn's curated some of the most prominent locations in tons of different cities around the U.S. and the world, so it's fairly likely that you'll find a print for the person on your list!

Macaron Case Earbuds
  I love flying.  Looking out the window to the clouds and the cities down below could be one of my favorite things in the world.  That being said, some flights, and especially road trips, are long long long and require a little entertainment.  These pastel earbuds come in a macaron case that is not only adorable, but helps prevent the earbud cord from getting tangled with other cords and items in a carry on!

Vera Bradley Luggage Tag {Available in in-season Vera Bradley patterns}
 Want to know how to help a friend spot their luggage from across the baggage claim?  Gift them a bright luggage tag, of course!  The Vera Bradley luggage tags {shown here in Marrakesh}, are some of the brightest around and a fun addition to any plain luggage!

Kate Spade Cedar Street Passport Holder {Available in other colors and patterns}
  Passports.  Those things you need to you know, enter and exit a country.  Now I've never been outside of the country, but I would imagine that it would be just a little bit easier to dig a passport out of a bag if it was in a cute passport holder!  The Kate Spade Cedar Street Passport Holder not only holds a passport, but other travel essentials such as credit cards and cash, an absolute must for any frequent international traveler!

  Want a to know the next part of the TPB holiday gift guide series?  {Hint: People hate applying to these.}

Love and Stay Preppy,

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November 14, 2015

Praying for Paris

  On the list of things that I really hate, injustices done to innocent people has to be towards the top.  That's exactly what happened on this tragic night in Paris.  I have few words that can accurately describe what happened tonight in this beautiful city, but instead a flood of indescribable emotion. What it basically comes down to is absolute appallment and grief. My heart and prayers truly go out to the people in this beautiful city, may Paris find peace quickly and may no more innocent citizens brutally murdered.

Sur la liste des choses je très deteste, des injustices faites à des personnes innocentes doit être vers le haut. Quel est exactement ce qu'est passé ce soir en Paris. J'ai peu des mots quel peut décrire quel est passé ce soir avec precision, mais plutôt un déluge de émotion indescriptible. ce qu'il ce résume à est appallment absolue et le chagrin. Mon coeur et mes prières vont à les gens dans cette belle ville, Paris peut trouver la paix rapidement et peut citoyens pas plus innocents être sauvagement assasiné.
(I'm really sorry for my terrible French, I'm still learning.  If I accidentally said something offensive, please let me know!  //  Je suis très desolé pour ma française atroce, je suis apprendre. Si je accidentellement dit quelque chose d'offensant, s'il vout plaît laissez-moi savoir!)

The following are two prints I made in order to show support for Paris during this tragic time.  Please share to show support for this beautiful city and its people.

I made a French version and an English version.
J'ai fait une version de française et une version d'anglais.

Love and Stay Safe,

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October 31, 2015

DIY Little Gold Book- How to Keep and Save Inspiration

As you may or may not know, October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness month, but also Bullying Awareness month. Over the past 1 1/2 months or so, I've taken a journal and turned it into an instant feel good, so I thought it was appropriate to post this DIY during the month of October!

  As most of my DIYs begin, there was most definitely a story behind this DIY. While I was in Chicago earlier this year for auditions, my friend and I stopped into the Kate Spade store (of course), and while I was there, I found this journal which I just could not resist buying!  I knew I wanted to use it for something, but it was so cute and tiny that I knew I wanted to use it for something special. It didn't come to me until just a few months ago, when the little gold book began that I found the perfect use.

  Let me clarify: The little gold book got it's name first and foremost because the Kate Spade journal I bought is the "Little Gold Book." But the more I thought about it, the words, expressions, and quotes I was writing in there were gold. In reality, the little gold book isn't a tangible object, it's a set of thoughts.

  The little gold book became the place where I would write down anything and everything that I loved. Compliments that built my self-esteem, quotes that made me laugh, or made me think, quirky little sayings that I just loved. Basically anything in the little gold book was something that if I was having a really bad day, I could open to any page in the book and read something that might make me feel even the slightest bit better.

So here's the two step guide to making your own little gold book.

1. Find a notebook or journal.  ANY notebook or journal. What I love most about mine is that it's fairly small, if I wanted to put it in a purse or backpack it would fit no problem!

2. Just start writing.  It doesn't have to be full journal entries or anything close!  Just a single quote when you find one, or a compliment, or a string of words!  Don't force it, write it when you find it!

Here's a collection of smaller journals I found that would be perfect for you to start your own little gold book! What's better? All of these journals are under $25!

The Preppy Ballerina Journal Collection
1. Kate Spade Take Note Little Gold Book Medium Journal-  The original!  I cannot say enough good things about this journal!  The cover is beautiful and the paper is really heavy, ink hasn't bled through at all!  The ribbon bookmark is so helpful and in the back cover there is also a mini folder!  I love how it's so small that I can put it anywhere. Don't be fooled- online it may say this is a "medium" journal, but I definitely would call this smaller than a medium!

2. Lilly Pulitzer Mini Notebook- The notebook I have pictured is in Pink Lemonade, because it's definitely one of my favorite prints! Keep in mind this notebook is spiral, so the rings may bend a little if used frequently, like the Lilly Pulitzer agendas! Like everything Lilly, this notebook comes in a variety of prints, so you're bound to find one you like!

3. Target Rose Garden Journal- This journal actually has blank pages, so if you're someone that likes sketching, this is a cute option for you, so you can either sketch or write!

4. Poppin Metallic Gold Journal- Love the look of the Kate Spade Little Gold Book but want a more inexpensive option? This journal has a similar aesthetic, but is only a fraction of the cost!

5. "Hello Beautiful Day" Journal- Loving the vibrant blue with the metallic gold lettering on this journal!  So fun and bright! This is journal also has blank instead of lined pages, giving you a little more creative freedom!

6. Lilly Pulitzer Journal- This journal is similar to the Lilly Pulitzer Mini Notebook, however instead of a spiral notebook, it's a covered and bound spine! Personally, I prefer the bound spine because I tend to be kind of hard on my notebooks (it's a blogger's life for me, oops), but both options are equally adorable and both come in multiple prints.

7. "Be Awesome Today" Journal- This journal is the same style as the "Hello Beautiful Day" Journal, just in a different color and with a different quote!

8. Kate Spade Take Note Sweet Nothings Medium Journal- If you love the style of the "Little Gold Book," but don't like the metallic, this journal is perfect for you!

  Whether or not you choose to make a little gold book of your own, here are a few favorite quotes from mine to get you started or inspire you!

"You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it." -Edith Head

"She has a way with WORDS, RED LIPSTICK, and MAKING AN ENTRANCE." -Kate Spade

"A woman is like a tea bag -you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." -Eleanor Roosevelt

"Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be." -Blair Waldorf

"C'est n'est pas parce que la vie n'est pas élégant qu'il faut se conduire comme elle." -François Sagan
{Translation: "Just because life isn't elegant doesn't mean you shouldn't be."}

  The little gold book is such a helpful way to remember the things in life that inspire you most!  Make your own, and see where it takes you!

Love and Stay Preppy,

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September 4, 2015

The Best of Labor Day Sales 2015

  I think we can all admit that one of the best parts about Labor Day weekend is not only the long weekend, but also the SALES!  With so many sales to sift through, I thought I'd help you out a little bit by rounding up some of my favorites.

BEFORE YOU SHOP *IMPORTANT*- Get money back and the latest sales everyday with Ebates!  Ebates offers you cash back at tons of stores, including some on this list!  If you click this link and make a purchase, you'll also receive a $10 gift card!  Ebates sometimes also has exclusive sales offer such as the one from Saks in the bottom of this post!

Kate Spade- 3.5% cash back through Ebates, AND 25% off all sale items in-store and online through Monday, September 7th with the code DELIGHT

J.Crew- 6% cash back (usually 3%) through Ebates, AND additional 50% off all final sale items online only with the code GETSHOPPING through Wednesday, September 9th.

Kiel James Patrick- I'm so excited for this one!  25% off of the entire store with the codes LABORDAY, KJP, or SEANBURKE!

Vineyard Vines- Additional 30% off Sale styles with the code LABOR2015

Vera Bradley- 50% off select colors and styles, lots of backpacks, blankets, and weekenders, perfect for back to school! Not to mention 3% off cash back if you shop through Ebates!

Sperry- Additional 30% off sale (no code required)!

American Eagle- 4% cash back (usually 2%) through Ebates, AND buy one get on 50% off the entire collection AND additional 60% off clearance until Monday, September 7th.

Aerie-Buy one get one 50% off on the entire Aerie collection until Monday, September 7th.

Marley Lilly- Labor Day Flash Sale ending on Monday, September 7th!

Nordstrom- Up to 40% off select items until Sunday, September 13th, AND 3% cash back from Ebates!

Ralph Lauren- 6% cash back (usually 2.5%) through Ebates, AND additional 50% off select sale styles until Wednesday, September 9th.

Bloomingdales- 10% CASH BACK (usually 3%) through Ebates, AND additional 20% off sale prices through September 8th with the code BIG20.

Saks Fifth Avenue- EXCLUSIVE EBATES OFFER: 10% CASH BACK through Ebates AND an additional 10% of sitewide (including beauty!) with the code EBATES15 AND free shipping with the code FREESHIP

Happy Labor Day and Happy Shopping!

Love and Stay Preppy,

*Believe it or not, this post was in no way, shape, or form sponsored by Ebates.  I know, it definitely looks the part.  I just really think it's a great way to save money while shopping at all your favorite stores!*

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August 25, 2015

Craft Preppy: Minky Cuddly Bow Pillow DIY Tutorial

  Apparently I love bows so much that I just had to do ANOTHER bow pillow DIY for you guys.  If you missed the first one, you can read it here!  This pillow is perfect for all ages, minky fabric is so soft and cuddly and totally irresistible!  It does shed a little when cut, though, so make sure you're working in an area that can be cleaned up easily!


1 yard of minky fabric
1/2 yard in a coordinating minky color
Fiberfill (Stuffing)


Start by cutting out two 20"x18" pieces out of your base color.
Now toss those aside and cut one 22"x13" piece out of  the coordinating color.  Also cut a piece out about five inches long and three inches wide.  This will be the center of the bow.

Take the 22"x14"  piece you cut out of the coordinating color and turn the long edges over 1/2" and sew.

Grab one of the base pieces you cut and lay the coordinating color on top of it, pinning in one side.

Fold the bow center piece into thirds, so that it is approximately one inch wide.  Pleat the coordinating color and wrap the center around it.  Pin the bow center at approximately the circumference you want it at, and slip it off the unpinned end of the bow.  Sew the bow center together.

Pinch the center of the coordinating color in the center.  It helps to pin in with two pins: one going upward and one going downward!

Slip the now sewn bow center onto the unpinned end of the coordinating color and center it.  Pin the unpinned end the pillow base.

If the edge of the bow fans out a little bit from the edge that's totally fine!  Just let it do that, and make sure the top and bottom corners of the bow are equal on each side.

Turn the other, unused, pillow base piece and lay it on top of the pillow base with the bow right sides together.  Pin together.  Move the pins holding together the pillow base and the bow to the outside to include the second pillow base piece.

Sew around the whole pillow using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Leave about a five inch opening on one side.

Stuff the pillow with fiberfill through the five inch opening.  To close the pillow, use a blind ladder stitch.

To do a blind ladder stitch, simply take your needle and grab opposite sides of the open fabric, alternating each time.

This picture is sooo blurry and I'm so sorry, but you get the general idea as to why it's called a blind ladder stitch, right? I loosened mine up so you could see the ladder, but make sure you're always pulling yours tight!

You're done!

Love and Stay Preppy,

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August 24, 2015

Craft Preppy: How to Make Lilly Pulitzer Glitter Letters! Perfect for your dorm or bedroom!

I love this DIY because it combines two of my absolute favorite things: Lilly Pulitzer, and glitter.  This project is so much fun and easily modifiable!  These letters are perfect for jazzing up a dorm or bedroom, and could be done to spell a name, a word, a monogram, or just a single letter, like I did!


Lilly print of your choice, printed on normal printer paper (I'm using A Story Written in the Sun!)
Mod Podge
Foam Brush
Wood Letter
Glitter that coordinates (or doesn't) with your print

When choosing a wood letter, it helps to have one that has a hole in the back, much easier for hanging!


Lay your letter down on your print face up, making sure the entire letter is on the print.  Trace around the letter.

Carefully cut out the traced letter and lay it on top of the wood letter, to make sure that it fits right!

Here's where the mess begins.

Put a layer of Mod Podge over the front of the letter and place your letter cutout on top of it.

Here's where things get really messy: GLITTER.

Before doing any of this:  Make sure you're working in an area that can be easily cleaned and have a dish or tray under your letter at all times when applying glitter.  I made such a mess and thought that I cleaned it all up until I walked downstairs this morning and found glitter all over the kitchen table, my chair, and the floor.  Whoops.

Apply Mod Podge to the edge of the letter and sprinkle glitter over it.  Shake the letter to get all the excess glitter off.  Repeat on all edges, then go around the entire letter again with a second layer of glitter to ensure that there are no cracks!

After finishing the second layer of glitter, apply another layer of Mod Podge over the glittered edges AND the top of the letter and let dry.  It will try clear and will not dull the sparkle, promise!

Ta-da!  My mom thinks my finished letter looks like my mind.  I can't say she's completely wrong!

Love and Stay Preppy,
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August 10, 2015

Preppy Goes Back to School with Lilly, for the Third Time! Lilly Pulitzer Binder Covers 2015

  Yup, it's that time of year again!  The beginning of August when everyone starts thinking about school again, unfortunately.  I, on the other hand, refuse to think about school again until the morning of the first day.  ;)

  If you want to learn how to monogram your binder covers, click here!

August 6, 2015

How I Monogram my Lilly Pulitzer Binder Covers

It's essential.  Really.  If your binders aren't monogrammed, how will you be able to prove that your notes are even yours? ;)

I monogram online two different ways: the first is using a font, and the second is using Chicfetti. (MUCH EASIER!)

OPTION #1: Doing it by hand (On the computer)

To do this, you're going to need to download my favorite free vine monogram font, Monogram KK.  You can download it from DaFont here. (The website looks sketchy, I promise it's not.)

1) Open Paint.

Yes, I just wanted to prove that Cortana could be one of my favorite things about the new Windows 10 upgrade.

2) Select the text tool, then choose the font size you want.  I used 96 px.

3) Type your center initial (your last initial) as a CAPITAL letter.

4) Type your first initial in the same size font, in a separate text box as a LOWERCASE letter.  Move the first initial around so it overlaps with the center initial.

5) Repeat step four with your middle initial (it will got to the right of your center initial.)

5) Use the "Select" tool to grab the monogram and drag it as close to the upper left corner as possible.

6) Adjust the canvas so that it is a tight as possible around the monogram and save.

Scroll to the bottom for instructions on how to insert the monogram into the binder cover!

OPTION #2: Chicfetti

  For those of you who don't know what Chicfetti, formerly Printable Monogram, is, you're missing out big time.  Chicfetti is this totally awesome sight where you can download tons of free printable monogram and party decoration files for FREE.  All they ask is that you either make an account or connect with them on social media, easy!

1) Go to Chicfetti and select the monogram you want, download it!

2) Open your downloaded file with ADOBE READER.  (This is important!!)

3) Edit the monogram so it has your initials.  Type your first and middle initials in lowercase, and your last initial in uppercase.

Note: If a red line appears under your monogram, highlight the monogram and right click.  A menu should open under your cursor.  Select "Ignore All" under the spelling suggestions.  :)

4) Screenshot the edited monogram, getting as close to the monogram as possible.  (I did this before realizing the red line was there.  I had to redo it after I fixed spell check.)

5) Save the screenshotted monogram as a JPG or PNG.


1) Download an ever-so-lovely Lilly Pulitzer binder cover from the Preppy Ballerina!  Click here for the 2013 covers, and here for the 2014 covers!  A little secret: The 2015 covers will be released Monday!

2) Open Picmonkey, one of my favorite free photo editing websites!

3) Choose to "Edit" and upload your chosen binder cover.

4) When in the editor, go to the overlays tab (it looks like a butterfly) and choose to upload your own.  Upload either the handbuilt or Chicfetti monogram.

5) Size and center the monogram in the circle so no corners peek out!

6) Save, print, and enjoy!

Love and Stay Preppy,
Eva Phan

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August 3, 2015

Craft Preppy: Felt Bow Pillow Case Cover DIY + Tutorial + Pattern

  I love bows.  I recently bought some (a lot) of pink felt that I originally was going to use for a different DIY project, before deciding that I really didn't want to do it.  So for a few months, I tried to figure out what in the world I was going to do with all this felt, until today, that is, when I had this brilliant idea, combining my love of bows with the never-ending supply of pink felt.

July 28, 2015

How to Travel Miami- 7 1/2 Fun Places to Go While Visiting the 305

  I was in Miami for five weeks, FIVE WEEKS (Well technically five weeks and two days, but who's counting? ;) ).  If I'm being completely honest with all of you, I didn't really like living in Miami for a while, that is, until I figured out where to go.

1) South Beach (Obviously.)

      South Beach is absolutely gorgeous, and, if you can go at a time when it's not too crowded (i.e. Sunday morning), it really is enjoyable.  The beach has absolutely gorgeous blue and green water and it stays shallow for quite a while which allows you to go pretty far off shore.  :)

    Helpful Tip:  If you ever need to park, there's a lot on 22nd St that generally has space, but the beach straight down from it is pretty heavy on seaweed a few feet up from the water and a little bit in the sea.  If you go a few blocks down, straight down from Lincoln Road, there's clear shores and it's generally cleaner.  Plus, there's a really fun purple and green lifeguard stand!  We were at this part of the beach on a Sunday afternoon so it was pretty quiet for South Beach, but go on a Saturday and it could be pretty busy.  IF you do go on a Sunday, Lincoln Road has a little Farmer's Market that not only has fresh fruit (lychee, anyone?) but also has really good fresh squeezed juice.  Pure mango juice, try it, it's amazing.

2) 3rd St Beach Yoga

      Beaches and yoga, two of my favorite things!  A yoga teacher I had at Miami City Ballet teaches this on Mondays and Saturdays at 5 in the winter and 6 in the spring and the summer.  Her yoga classes are amazing!  So relaxing and so much fun.  I would highly recommend stopping by at least once, especially if you are staying on South Beach!

3) The Wynwood Walls

      These walls are seriously so cool.  Think whole wall street art turned artistic murals and that's what Wynwood is.  Wynwood is tasteful, and artful, and captures Miami's diverse culture.

(Get ready for the flood of pictures)

 Of course, dance pictures had to be taken.

    This wall...  The whole wall is so cool, all done in the same color palette and kind of like a throwback collage, however what I really loved was the section that said "Rise Above."  So naturally, I was like, "I have to do a jumping picture!" Eight jumps later, I'm not sure that was such a good idea.  But we got the shot!  :)

Which current Rhianna summer hit song was Eva thinking of when she saw this picture for the first time? ;)

  I am absolutely in love with this wall.  The camera doesn't even begin to capture how cool it actually is in person.  On camera, it's just a grayscale wall, but in person, the back base color of the mural is a matte gray, and every other accent shade is done in different shades of metallic silver paint, absolutely gorgeous.

Am I the angel mermaid thing yet?
When your squad is ACTUALLY on point(e).

       Wynwood Walls is a TOTAL Miami must see, just make sure you check the weather first before going.  There is a cafe and a gift shop within the gated walls, but besides that, it's all outdoors.

4) Sawgrass Mills

      Sawgrass Mills is actually about 45 minutes outside of Miami in Sunrise, but it is well worth the drive.  Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlet mall in the United States (or so their website claims), and it really is huge.  Sawgrass Mills has outlets from inexpensive retail stores such as Old Navy, to couture fashion houses such as Prada (Did anyone even know there is a such thing as a Prada outlet?).  My favorites were Kate Spade and Vera Bradley, of course. I ended up getting this really adorable Love Note Bow Ring at Kate Spade, and way too much stuff at Vera Bradley.  Other outlets included Tory Burch, Diane von Furstensburg, Barney's New York, Ralph Lauren, and Coach.  Outside of the outlets are these painted alligators which were each handpainted by various artists.

      This is also outside of Miami, in Coral Gables.  It's only about a half hour away, but I would definitely make the drive.  The Venetian Pool is actually the city of Coral Gable's PUBLIC POOL, but you definitely wouldn't know that just from looking at it, trust me, it's totally gorgeous.  Way prettier than any public pool you've probably ever seen before.  Let's start with the fact that each day, the pool gets refilled with spring water from their underground aquifer.  No chlorine, no chemicals, no salt.  There is a major waterfall and caves to swim under and sit in.  There is also a really pretty bridge and rocks lining a few sides of it.

      Designed by George Merrick, Denman Fink, and Phineas Paist in 1924, the Venetian Pool is actually on the National Registrar of Historic Places, and is the ONLY pool on the list.

      If you're going here, GO EARLY.  It is all over the Venetian Pool's website and at the entrance that they will stop selling tickets once they've reached capacity.  My mom and I got there around 10:30 Sunday morning, and by the time were leaving around 11:45, there was already a line to the ticket desk almost to the gate entrance.

  For non-residents, the Venetian Pool is $12 for adults, and $7 for children ages 3-12.

    IMPORTANT: The Venetian Pool doesn't allow children under the age of three in and this is for a reason.  The shallowest part of the pool is four feet, with most of the pool being about six feet deep.  The area by the major waterfall is actually nine feet deep and the caves are in five foot deep water.  If you're going here, it's most enjoyable if you know how to swim, especially because it's not like most public pools where you can hold onto the edge or a wall.  Although there are some ledges built in, a lot of walls are rock and difficult to grab on to.  In a few areas, there are rocks at the bottom of the pool to rest on, but it isn't everywhere and I wouldn't count on it, especially if the pool is busy.

6 and 6 1/2) Key Biscayne

      I'm counting this as 6 and 6 1/2 because I'm actually talking about two different parts of Key Biscayne, and although neither are completely perfect enough to stand alone and get a full number because they aren't things I would go out of my way to do, I know a lot of people who would absolutely adore these two locations.  For those who prefer a quieter, more relaxed beach setting without a large commercial area, Key Biscayne is for you.  Although it does have some resorts and restaurants like most beaches, it is definitely tamer than South Beach.  While I was in Miami, I went to two different parts of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, and Crandon Park.

      Being a state park, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is fairly serene and calmer than the other parts of Key Biscayne.  It has an iconic lighthouse which has been there since 1846, and is the oldest structure in Miami-Dade county.  It is $8 to park a multi-person vehicle, and the park closes at sundown, which means eight o'clock in the summer.  The one downside is that because Bill Baggs Cape Florida is a state park, it isn't maintained as well as other beaches, more seaweed and that kind of thing, but still gorgeous.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: As far as I could tell, Bill Baggs Cape Florida didn't have any lifeguards, please keep this in mind when deciding to visit.

    Crandon Park

      Crandon Park is more towards downtown Key Biscayne, but is much quieter than being in downtown South Beach.  The water is so shallow and there are tons of sandbars which allows you to go really far into the ocean, which was so much fun.  The beach area is well maintained, with not much seaweed or trash on the shores.  In the water, there was large patches of seaweed in certain areas which was not very fun to step in, but definitely didn't alter the overall impression of the park.  Crandon Park also had tons of lifeguard stands, which was really reassuring.  On the weekends, it is $7 to park at Crandon Park.

      I might be prejudiced, but this might be the best one out of the whole list.  ;) Honestly though, if you're in Miami/South Beach during Miami City Ballet's season, GO.  Their company is absolutely amazing and located on 22nd and Liberty, it's really convenient to get to from any hotel on South Beach.

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