Wordless Wednesday: Puppy Love

This past weekend I got to puppy-sit my friend’s puppy, the lovely Frida. I have not had a puppy since I was 2 years old, so technically, I have never had a puppy. The weekend was full of learning and adorable moments, but oh boy, it’s not easy. The picture below was taken during our morning walk on Sunday. I swear I was a zombie, I barely remember doing this. Maybe the key to becoming a morning person is to get a dog. Nothing says alarm clock like a puppy licking your face and then putting her butt on my head. She’s lucky she’s cute.

Fall Foliage, Sleepy Bee & Cow Poop: My Trip to Ohio

  
I was in Ohio last month for work. Being the lucky girl in charge of driving the rental car, it felt kinda cool to drive from the airport in Kentucky all the way up past Cincinnati. The fall foliage was just beautiful! Maybe it was best that I was driving, otherwise I would have filled up my phone with pictures.

Still, I got a chance to walk around and briefly hang out with nature at Sharon Woods Park. See some iPhone shots below.

   

   
Also, if you are ever in Cincinnati, I recommend you drive to Oakley. From what I’ve heard, it’s up and coming and from what I saw, it’s very lovely. I had lunch at Sleepy Bee, delicious food and great service.

  
I had the Beekeper, which takes your BLT up a hundred notches and right up to the perfect level. Ideal first choice would have been the Buzzy Grilled Cheese but I felt that was too much cheese before a work event. You know how it is.

I have officially added a trip to Kentucky and surrounding areas to my travel list. I’m interested in checking out the bourbon trail and see a very unique and interesting part of the US.

P.S. You can buy Ohio Cow Poop at the airport. Not interested? Maybe you would like to purchase Cincinnati Pig Poop instead. Yes, it’s a real thing. Yes, I almost bought a bag for my boyfriend.

P.P.S. Reading around about Cincinnati, I found that some people call it the Paris of America which is funny since I just heard Chandler say today that Tulsa is the Paris of Oklahoma. With that, I leave you.

[San Juan, Puerto Rico] La Fortaleza

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Just a simple #tbt to one of my favorite places, El Viejo San Juan. This time, close to sunset, with the colors taking a whole different beautiful light. Views like this make me miss home.

First Time Apple Picking + Fall Sangria

Deamarest FarmsI grew up in a tropical island. The closest I had to apple picking was having a lime tree in my backyard or grabbing a fallen coconut from the beach. You got apples from the super market, that was it. The concept of making it a full day activity to go apple picking, riding on the back of a truck, wearing boots, eating apple cider doughnuts and drinking apple cider was totally foreign to me. To me, it was all fun because it was a new experience. To my friends, it’s a tradition and a moment to relive memories from growing up.

Demarest FarmsSummer is my favorite season but fall comes in second, bringing with it so much beauty… and apples!

I tried out this great sangria recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, it was delicious! I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I did not add the orange slices and I went easy on the club soda. It was a nice twist to my average sangria and it allowed me to use my freshly picked apples in a fun way. I also realized that nothing tastes bad with cinnamon.

This apple picking thing, it’s not bad at all. Next time though, I really need to get one of those famous apple cider doughnut.

[Strasbourg, France] Forever nostalgic

Strasbourg, FranceI will forever be nostalgic of the few months I lived in Strasbourg, France. I really don’t think that feeling will ever go away and I am ok with it, I’ve said it before. I think everyone needs to live abroad at some point in their lives, even if it’s just for a few months. To some it sounds annoying, but I have never heard anyone who has lived abroad say that they regret their decision. Seriously, it opens your eyes, your mind and your soul. It also empties your pockets, but that’s another story.

Instagram did not even exist when I was studying abroad. *Does quick Google search* Ok, Instagram was literally being built as I was studying abroad. I can only imagine the absurd amount of pictures I would have been posting on a daily basis if I had an Instagram account at that point. I had a basic Nokia phone with limited minutes and text messages as my loyal companion, I used bbm (Blackberry messenger) as the way to chat with my family and friends in the other side of the Atlantic and guess what? I took pictures with an actual camera and not a phone. Bizarre, right?

There’s nothing I can write that can wipe away the nostalgia that I’m feeling at the moment, so I will not keep trying. It’s all just really weird and beautiful at the same time. So join me while I reminisce, I hope all of you have a happy place and set of memories that can bring out the same sense of comfort and longing like Strasbourg does for me.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France

Somewhere near Strasbourg…

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[Boston] You look good in the summer

Last time I was in Boston, I barely made it out due to the ridiculous amount of snow. I twitch just thinking about it. This time (and by this time I mean almost a month ago, woops), Boston redeemed itself for my return, ha. It was gorgeous. Best part, I got to spend a whole weekend with some of my best girls, no type of weather could have ruined that.

Come, walk with me through the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden.

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

This last shot is not in the gardens, but I like the shot so here it is.

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[Puerto Rico] Orocovis: Roka Dura & Casa Bavaria

Orocovis Casa Bavaria

As you may have seen earlier this week, I was recently home in Puerto Rico and while I was there I got to do some fun zip-lining. Toro Verde Adventure Park is located in Orocovis, right in the middle of the mountains of Puerto Rico. A lot of people don’t think of mountains when they think of Puerto Rico, they just focus on the beaches but it really is a beautiful area. I mean, we do have amazing beaches, but our mountains offer a very different kind of beauty.

Orocovis Roka Dura

On our way down from Toro Verde we made two nice stops. After a morning filled with adventure and thrill, we were obviously starving. Locals to the area recommended we had lunch at Roka Dura, just a few minutes outside of the park. They said food was delicious and portions were generous.

Orocovis Roka Dura

They were not lying. This mouthwatering “mofongo” filled with chicken was even more delicious than it looks. The plate below is chicken with garlic cassava, better known as “yuca al mojo”. The chicken was nothing special, but the “yuca” was on point. I love “yuca” but have never ventured to cook it myself, I’m not even sure if I would be able to buy some around here so it’s always one of those special plates I treat myself with when I’m visiting home.

Orocovis Roka Dura

This spot had really nice views. It was early Friday afternoon and you could see the little bars around or “chinchorros” starting to get busy with people celebrating the weekend’s arrival. Although I was on vacation, I also joined the celebration admiring the killer view.

Orocovis Roka Dura Medalla

Second stop was Casa Bavaria. This one holds special memories for me. With a fusion of Caribbean and German traditions, Casa Bavaria was founded by a German couple who fell in love with the island and decided to make a life here. Its claim to fame has been their great Oktoberfest celebrations, that’s how I first got there. It is (or was?) tradition to organize “party” buses to take groups of people up the mountains and bring Oktoberfest to life in Puerto Rico. Each bus had different t-shirts and unique stories, often captured and plastered on Facebook. It was, well, a hot mess. Ahh, memories.

Stopping by this time with a fresh (and sober) pair of eyes, I was able to find so much more beauty in this place. People are so nice and the views are to die for. We only had drinks here, but a lot of people were enjoying a full meal around us. Oktoberfest or not, definitely worth the stop.

[Puerto Rico] Toro Verde Zip-line Adventure

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

Haven’t we all, at some point, wished we could fly? I know that was always my super power of choice when I was a little kid, you know, like Peter Pan and stuff. Still, with age, I have developed a sometimes irrational fear of heights. I even get the jiggles if I get too close to the bars of a balcony, even if it’s not that high.

This month, I got to channel my inner child and fearless Girl Scout spirit while zip-lining at Toro Verde in Puerto Rico. Toro Verde is an adventure park in the middle of the mountains (Orocovis, to be exact). I actually did not know that there are more miles of zip-line cables in this adventure park than any other park in the world!

Puerto Rico Toro Verde

If you are visiting Puerto Rico, Toro Verde is a must. Not only do you get to experience some thrill, but there is also so much beauty to take in and delicious food to eat along the way (more on that soon!).

 Puerto Rico Toro Verde

I recommend you keep an eye out for flash deals that regularly come up for the adventure packages. Either way, the money you pay is worth it. I did the regular zip-line tour ending with “La Bestia” (The Beast).

Last (and only) time I did zip-lining was in Costa Rica in 2004. I don’t recall it having been challenging. This time for me, the first cables were the hardest (although they are technically the easiest). I was nervous and afraid, what if my long hair got stuck on the cable?! What if I accidentally put my fingers in the wrong spot and they got chopped off by the equipment?! These were my fears. My mother’s fears were more along the lines of “What if I fall?!” – I guess that made more sense. I honestly did not even fear the heights on the first few because I was so focused on looking at the cable that I did not even look down.

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

Then, it was time for la bestia (cue for roar). The beast is the highest and second longest cable in the world. I believe the tour guide mentioned that the longest one is in South Africa, but don’t quote me on that.

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

You get all prepped up and told you will be laying face down and flying all the way to the other side for like a minute and a half. It seemed scary, but once I was in the harness waiting my turn, all I felt was peace. It was SO weird to feel calm and steady when I was diving across unknown heights in the middle of the mountains. I did not have to worry about any cables because I was going to be lying down so I was like, poof, no worries here!

They pushed me and so I started flying. What a freaking fabulous feeling. I was a bird. Like, as much as a bird as a human can be. I felt the wind on my face as I was zipping around and I was able to take in all the beautiful sights around me. There was a little river, I saw some birds flying near by, it was all wonderful. All I could think was how amazing it felt to be so close with nature and fly. I also thought, damn, I wish I had a GoPro strapped up on my helmet!

Zip-lining Puerto Rico Toro Verde

Seriously, if you are ever in Puerto Rico, experience the beast. It’s breath-taking and I would even consider it a therapy session. I had forgotten the thrilling sensation of facing your fears and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. Big thanks to our tour guides (pictured above) they really took us through this adventure and always made sure we were comfortable, safe and having fun!

Puerto Rico Toro Verde

P.S. Zip-lining: When you learn the value of fanny packs.

[California] Sausalito Sunsets & More Rosé

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During my recent trip to California I got to visit a lot of fun and interesting places, one of my favorite was the city of Sausalito. After spending the earlier part of the day at Muir Woods (more on that later), we were taken to this lovely waterfront town. I love the water and although I can appreciate the beauty of the mountains and forests, there’s nothing like being by the shore.

I immediately knew I wanted to spend more time exploring my surroundings, but knew we had a ferry to catch back to San Francisco. Relying on just online reviews and outside seating, we decided to have dinner at Salito’s.

Knowing that it was our last day in California, we were taking it all in. Everybody seemed happy and without a single care in the world. Except maybe the couple next to us, they were clearly on a first date and it was so fascinating to watch them both react to each other. No, I was not creeping.

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That, my friends, is Salito’s crab alfredo. Not bad at all, although I must say, their mussels and sauce was delicious!

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Note on those sunglasses, got them in California, love the reflection but totally lost them. They must be in some unpacked bag in my room right now, but that may not be the case. I’m not so concerned about the money (they were super cheap), I am saddened more by how well they photographed. Check us out on the shot below!

After dinner, we still had some time before the ferry departure. I saw people drinking by the water and I immediately knew where I needed to be. Turns out, this place called Bar Bocce allows you to eat and drink by the water in a very casual and comfortable setting. I only had drinks, but people around us were enjoying some very delicious pizzas. Note to self: return to this place with a blanket and a big appetite.

This is me at Bar Bocce’s backyard. That face says: “I love my wine, I love this place and yes, I know it sucks that I have to leave”. It’s like you can already see the inevitable sarcasm in my eyes, right?

Waiting for the ferry was not bad at all. Perks of waiting for the last ferry? You get to see the sunset as you leave Sausalito behind. You can also attempt, for the one hundredth time, to take the perfect picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.

[California] Magic Grapes

 
First day back in New York after a week in California. My biological clock is a little off, my bank account is recovering, my phone is overloaded with photos and my mind has a million thoughts spinning around.

California is a beautiful state, I especially loved wine country. Shocker, right? Besides the obvious magic grapes that grow all around, there’s a little extra something to this place. Something so special, that now I’ve added owning a vineyard to my life goals. This might be tough, as I plan to retire in a beach house, but I’m sure I can work something out.

Looking at this photo again, it genuinely makes me happy. Beyond the simplicity of the fruit and the delightful contrast, these little grapes will one day, turn to be someonelse’s happiness. Maybe it’s a birthday toast at a BYOB restaurant or maybe it’s that special comfort you need after a rough day at work. Either way, these grapes only mark the start of a journey to who knows where and that, my friends, I think is pretty cool.