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Favorite Summer Destination: Paris, I Love You

30 Aug

How amazing can a summer vacation be? Pretty friggin’ spectacular, especially if the destination is Paris. It’s true what every one says about easy it is to love Paris and after spending some time there, the city can make us feel like it loves us too.

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In Paris, we can spend hours getting lost in the Louvre, one of the largest museums in the world and home to some of the most famous works of art. An experience that will guarantee moments that will take one’s breath away.

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A short walk, or in our case a short pedicab ride, away from the Louvre is the Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts bridge, a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Seine River. Couples come to this “Love Bridge” to memorialize their undying love by writing their names or initials on “love locks” (padlocks, which can be purchased on the bridge), attaching the lock to the railing or grate on the side of the bridge, and throwing the keys into the Seine. This romantic gesture is meant to represent committed love that can only be broken by unlocking the lock; impossible, as the keys are at the bottom of the river. Looks like it’s Sarah & Danny Forever!

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Before the Louvre, many of Paris’ historical paintings, like the Mona Lisa, covered the walls of the Palace of Versaille; however, I should say “unlike the Mona Lisa,” because I learned that this masterpiece was actually on an easel, not on the wall. We’ll notice that most of the paintings at the Louvre have no frames, and we’d have to go to the Palace of Versaille to see the frames that now house replicas of the real things. About a 40 minute drive from Paris, the Palace of Versaille is a must see destination. Renting a golf cart can save a ton of time when touring the gardens and property, especially if you’re like me and want to see it all. During busy seasons with heavy tourist traffic, or not, a private guided tour is also recommended. This guided tour gives tourists access to areas that aren’t permitted with the normal entrance fee, such as the library, music room, theater, etc. Plus, a knowledgable guide accompanies the tour’s guest(s), who can explain the history of the Palace (and it’s former residents) as well as answer any questions we can think of. Once I discovered what it was like in the general areas when walking to the exit to see the Hall of Mirrors (while still amazing, super crowded and unbearable at times), I realized what a life-savor being on private tour was.

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The Moulin Rouge was always a place I wanted to go, so I bought two tickets to it’s resident cabaret show and revue, Le Féerie. VIP tickets will avoid having to wait in the long entrance line and guarantees great designated seats, champagne, macrons, a program, and souvenirs. While the show is no “Cirque Du Soleil,” walking into Le Bal Du Moulin Rouge, so popular for it’s French can-can, makes it’s guests feel like we’re participating in it’s unique history and tradition.

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There are so many sights and monuments in Paris, like the Arc de Triomphe, which was a short walk from our hotel on the always lively Champs-Élysées. The history of the city is so rich and the architecture and design of it’s buildings and monuments are so beautiful and impressive.

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One of the sights that I got to see was the Notre Dame Cathedral. As I kid, this was a place I thought I could only dream about visiting. It was a humbling experience to finally see and realize that dreams are not too far from reality.

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During my vacation, where I indulged in some of the most incredible meals I’ve ever had, I realized that I absolutely loved Paris. Paris told me that it loved me too when I had the best crepe ever at Les Ecuries.

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The eiffel tower has got to be the most prominent symbol and icon of Paris and France. I was able to savor every sight and moment after ascending to the second level by walking the stairs. It was unreal!

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Going to the eiffel tower once in a lifetime is magical in and of itself, but going twice in one day is more than a girl who craves nearly everything could even ask for (the second time around, we took the elevator). We started the last day of our trip in Paris visiting the eiffel tower and ended the day there. Seeing the tower illuminated at night is stunning, but seeing the light show (where the tower twinkles) was amazing and incredibly romantic. In between these two visits (specifically at dinner), there was an engagement! In Paris, I savored some of the best times of my life, and came home with a fiancé (which may have contributed to this being my favorite Summer destination). Je t’aime Paris!

Vale! Savoring Barcelona

24 Jul

IheartBarcelona

What’s the one word you must know when in Barcelona? Vale, which can probably be one thing a person can use in every conversation and most likely get by during an entire vacation. During our stay at the beautiful Hotel Arts, which is a Ritz Carlton property, the resort is staffed with employees from many parts of the World that cater to tourists. So, although we can do both, speaking and/or understanding Spanish isn’t mandatory. Interestingly; however, during our stay, we have never heard “vale” used in such a manner, by so many people, and so frequently. Vale is like saying in Spanish “de acuerdo,” meaning ok, yea, yes, I agree, understood, sure… Since there isn’t much that the staff at the Hotel Arts wouldn’t do for it’s guests, all we heard was “vale.”
Barcelona is absolutely beautiful. The vibe is laid back, the weather is great this time of year, the food is incredible, and there is so much to see and savor. If there was anything I was asked to do, most of the time, my answer was “vale.”

Would we like the have the hotel breakfast buffet every morning? Vale. There’s an assortment of cheese, breads, pastries, a fresh juice station, crepe station, additional items we can order to the table, and more?! Vale.

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Would we like to hang out and lounge by the pool? Vale. Something to drink? Vale, pina colada por favor.

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Would we like to play some card games at the Barcelona Casino? Vale. Go to the Beach? Vale.

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Would we like to see the market and vendor shops at La Rambla? Vale.

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Would we like to walk down the shore of the marina after dinner? Vale

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Would we like to rent scooters and tour Barcelona? Vale.

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Would we like to tour the stunning Basilica de la Sagrada Familia? Vale. Would I like the audio tour and see the city views from the bell tower? Vale.

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Would we like to visit Guell Park, which features more of Gaudi’s most famous works? Vale.

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Would we like to see the Casa Museu Gaudi, where the famous Catalan architect lived for twenty years? Vale.

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If any one didn’t know what “vale” meant prior to visiting Barcelona, once savoring the sights, the food, and everything the city had to offer, that person would surely know it afterward. Vale!

Zinque Craves and Savors

13 Jul

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How many bottles of wine on the wall, how many bottles of wine? At Zinque in Venice, CA, when you take one down and pass it around, there’s that number minus one bottles of wine on the wall. After meeting up a group of pretty awesome friends at a house party in Venice to welcome back our fave New York couple, we took the party down the street to a French wine bar, Zinque, for a few bottles of wine and a bite to eat. I ordered the French fries and flatbread and our friend Bry, our Bartender for the night (and many other nights) ordered the wine. We all got to catch up and got to get to know a little more about friends that we didn’t know before. I didn’t count the number of bottles of wine on the wall or the number of glasses of wine that were poured. I can’t remember the number of conversations we all shared or the number of pictures we all took, but I do know that every minute was savored. And at the end of the night, when Denver hopped on the piano in the bar, I was reminded that in a year, there are five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. We all had to join Denver to sing the lyrics of Rent’s Seasons of Love because, “It’s time now to sing out, Tho’ the story never ends. Let’s celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends. Remember the LOVE!” While we don’t usually count or remember each minute, it’s nice to know that we can always measure our life in love.

Festival Craves & Savors

4 Jun

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Doesn’t every one love festival season? It sure looked like it based on the number of happy festival goers who went to the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino this past weekend, where Mumford and Sons headlined. While I like the band, what really had my bf and I sold on the concert were the food trucks and the fact that we wanted to spend time with Jax and her husband Ste, our music festival partners. There were so many food trucks in this large outdoor amphitheater, and the first thing we did was eat at the Wicked Kitchen, which I had been craving since trying it for the first time at Coachella. I had the same thing I had before, “I Pity The Tofu’l.” Not long after, my bf and I shared some nachos at one of the taco stands. We also tried the Chunk-n-Chip Cookies Truck, which was my favorite. I had the pistachio ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies. The ice cream was delicious, there were little chinks of pistachio mashed in the ice cream, and it was so good, I forgot about the cookies, and neglected them almost altogether. I always enjoy being able to try a variety of food cravings at the trucks and vendors that have become almost as popular at music festivals as the bands themselves. I enjoy savoring time with friends, the great music, and the great vibes from the people there having a good time. It’s also nice to be inspired by festival fashion, and there isn’t any one more fashionable that I know than my friend and festival partner, who can be followed on Instagram @Luna_spoon (named after her beloved Boston Terrier).

So, what festival or concert is next on the list? Which band or musician is a must-see this season and where?

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

30 May

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Don’t we just love being able to spend time with friends to celebrate good times together? In one week span, I was able to be with the best friends a person can have. We’ve all gotten together to celebrate a pregnancy, a birthday, and life! As the years go by, we celebrate more and more milestones together, and continue to learn about and learn from one another, and also learn about ourselves. In addition to savoring the fun times we share together, we are also able to truly appreciate the people in our lives and savor our friendships with them. Initially, I thought that this blog was going to be more centered around style and fashion. As we’ve all probably noticed, so many of the things I crave and savor are actually centered around the people in my life and all the amazing meals I share with them. So I have to give my thanks to all of you who style and accessories my world. You are all like the shoes to my outfits! (And you all know how much I love shoes).

Getting My Mac(aron) On!

29 May

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Don’t we all love getting gifts? Hell yes! Especially when they are edible, and incredible!. While visiting Vegas, I got a nice surprise when I was given a box of macarons by LT, the creator of So Sweet Bites Custom Desserts (http://www.soathome.blogspot.com/). LT is one hot little Suzie Homemaker and makes the most detailed and delicious dessert masterpieces. I was given heart-shaped toffee and mini hazelnut flavored macarons. I always thought the things she made were way to pretty to eat, but that thought went out the window after trying by first bite. The most amazing cakes and treats that are stimulating to taste and look at, I could now say, I would not feel bad eating. I always salivate when viewing her Instagram and blog posts, and was stoked when I was able to enjoy the macarons that she so thoughtfully made for me. LT is as sweet as her desserts. I felt a little pang of sadness when I ate my last bite, but I could not help and thoroughly enjoyed getting my Mac on.

Savoring The Life Of The (Birthday) Party

28 May

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Isn’t it easy to fall in love with the life of the party? I’ve known Jax for the past 15 years, but it was definitely love at first laugh. It doesn’t have to be her birthday (which it so happens to be today) nor does it have to be a party in order for her to bring life to any situation, no matter how crazy or how mundane. There are some very rare and very special people in this world that never fail to entertain, and if there was a reality show that I would actually watch, it would have to star this birthday girl. In addition to Jax being one of the most fun persons to be around, she is also an amazing friend, and an amazing person. She is a person that I look up to and look forward to being around and if you ever have the pleasure of meeting her, she will surely and easily sweep you off your feet too. I can honestly say that throughout the years, she has made countless and (already) unforgettable experiences that much more memorable. I can’t help but savor and be appreciative for the flavor and color she brings to my life, so I have to say Happy Happy Birthday to the beautiful, stylish, and irreplaceable Jax, the Life of the Party.

My Favorite Person, My Mommy

12 May

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Who is my favorite person in life? My dearest Mommy, who I love with my all my heart. Every one’s story starts with our mothers, and my story started with a compassionate and loving mother, who always put her children’s well-being before her own. With unconditional love and lifetime of sacrifices, she was able to instill values and a belief system that has allowed me see the best in people and always keep in mind the importance of family. She also been such a supportive force, allowing me to believe that I can achieve anything and to believe that the sky is the limit. I owe so much to my Mommy, and can’t express how appreciative I am to have her as my mother. She is my best friend, the best person I know, and she means the absolute world to me. To an incredible person and some one I owe everything to, I wish my Mommy the happiest Mother’s Day.

Savoring The Dive At Baling Hai

8 May

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Is it weird to wonder, while scuba diving, why Sebastian from the movie The Little Mermaid looked so much more like a lobster instead of like a crab? While diving the Baling Hai site off of Boracay, Philippines, a lobster was one of the many things that I had to pleasure of seeing and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Sebastian, the lobster-looking crab, who had me singing in my head, “Just look at the world around you, right here on the ocean floor. Such wonderful things surround you, what more is you lookin’ for? Under the sea, under the sea, Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me…” With so many amazing sights to see in the ocean, but not much to listen to, I was left with my own thoughts and tunes to narrate my experience in the depths of the ocean.

After gearing up and doing a back-roll off of the side ledge of our boat, my dive buddy, Randy from Scotty’s Dive Center, guided us down the coral wall to an unforgettable underwater adventure. There is so much to see in the ocean. Most times, when looking one way to see something, we miss seeing something else. That’s why it’s best to dive with some one who can point things out, even when it’s to let me know that I missed a stingray. There was; however, so much that I was able to see, like a huge sponge, tons of different types of fish, and coral. The best part of the dive was seeing a school of fish completely still and sleeping, and now I can actually say I know what it’s like to sleep with the fishes.

Craves and Savors from the Philippines

5 May

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What’s better than satisfying genuine Filipino food cravings in the Philippines? Sharing the experience with family and friends. While staying the Manila, I was able to visit my family members who I hadn’t seen for a long time, and some members who I had never even met before. Despite the distance, how well I knew my relatives, or how well they knew me, they made me feel right at home as gracious and generous hosts. One thing about Filipinos is they love it when their guests eat, and I was happy to oblige as the food continued to be placed in front of me. Filipino food has been a long awaited craving that I rarely get to satisfy, and every meal was ready and waiting, and offered with lots of love. A typical Filipino meal that I enjoyed was white rice with egg, fish, and sliced tomato in soy sauce or vinegar. Every means was also accompanied with delicious fruit like papayas, pomelos, yellow mangos, bananas, or watermelon. My uncle even took me to Jonas for dinner, where I had mami (noodle soup) and was happy to indulge my cravings of leche flan and banana bread. I loved being able to spend time with my family members before I met up with my friends and their family members, for more time spent savoring the company of loved ones, and eating more Filipino food. For lunch at Aristocrat I satisfied more Flipino food cravings: Palabok (a signature Filipino noodle dish), Pinakbet, (a signature Filipino vegetable dish), Puto (a Filipino delicacy), Garlic Rice, and I washed everything down with Buko (young coconut water). Having lunch with friends in another country, enjoying our time together in the Philippines and sharing our experiences with one another is something that should never be taken for granted. Also, being in a city of a third world country, where poverty is apparent on every block, is a truly humbling experience. Everything that I’ve eaten and enjoyed is just that much more savored and appreciated, as not every one has the luxury of constant and steady meals. Everything so far craved and Savored have been accompanied with feelings of being very blessed and thankful for all that I have in my life, and every one in it.