Starting the new year in a new place is just what I needed before my final semester of grad school. 

Insert -- five days in sunny Miami, on the shores of South Beach.

Spending time where you've never been in a different climate and culture always has its ups AND downs: spending way more on a rental car than planned, getting lost and going the wrong way on the highway only to rack up some tolls (even with a GPS), and burning that pale skin that was accustomed to Chicago's winter. But I can't complain because spending the day on the beach and swimming in the ocean in January was a great way to start 2012. Not to mention spending plenty of time in the Art Deco District and a long day in the Everglades.

For my first playlist of the new year I've garnered inspiration from a multitude of vibrant cultures found in the city -- a majority of these tracks are shelved as international and just won't let you sit still.