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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Best Paella in Madrid-La Arroceria de Maria

Thank you Mama Gabana!!! She's my friend's mom who recommended this cute, little, semi-fancy paella restaurant in North Madrid. Because this hidden jewel is off the beaten path I think many tourists will never get over there. But if you are ever in Madrid, please do me a favor and make the trip. It's conveniently located directly in front of Cuidad Lineal Metro. It's also near Calle Alcala, which is filled with many options for shopping(including a Berksha Outlet!!). So after a very hot day at the Madrid Tennis Tournament 2012, we found ourselves cooling off with Albariño (my favorite white wine from Galicia, Spain) and a decadent salad while awaiting our made to order paella.

This is perfect for eating paella! Where can I buy these for my house??
Left-Vegetable Paella/Right-Seafood Paella
Paella to go!




Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day: 365 Days with Dad

Today we celebrate the men who helped us become who we are(biological or not). We buy them ties, make them breakfast, watch the game with them, or simply give them a call. But everyday we should show our appreciation by staying in contact and remembering what our dads mean(meant) to us. One artist is doing just that. Cbabi Bayoc's New Year's resolution was to create an inspiring painting to celebrate fathers everyday of the year. 365 Days With Dad is wrapping up soon, so put your bid in for your painting! Check the website for more details.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Concert Series: SANTIGOLD and Theophilus London

Yes, yes, yes!! I'm going to see Santigold in Baltimore, Maryland next Tuesday. This is one of the few concerts, in my attempt to save money, I'm allowing myself to splurge on. I.CANNOT.WAIT! I've been listening to Santigold for a few years now and have been entranced by her voice, fashion, lyrics, and worldly style. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York it's no surprise that this genre-less star was destined for greatness.

And joining Santigold is an artist that is new to me, Theophilus London. In an effort to learn a bit more about him, I asked Google and he answered with this very informative, aesthetically pleasing GQ article from 2011. Theophilus, also from Brooklyn, was #13 on a 25 best rappers under 25 list compiled by Complex Magazine and also was deemed a Stylish New Yorker by Time Out.
I'm looking forward to hearing his music live, up close, and personal!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

2 Days in Colombia: Bogota Bike Tours

For exactly 52 hours in May 2011 I visited Bogota, Colombia. I'd never been to South America before, but when a friend who was working there for the month invited me, I quickly packed my bags! **Note: If you know anyone abroad-GO VISIT THEM-free room and board, duh!** I digress....On the morning of day one, with little time and patience, I hurriedly searched the internet for the best Bogota bike tour and came across a New York Times article review of Bogota Bike Tours. My six hours with Mike, former journalist from California, and five other tourists from all over the world, was filled with history, jokes, caution "No pictures as we ride through the Red Light District...", and good food and COFFEE! The cost was inexpensive and well worth it at just $15. I had so much fun that day that not only do I recommend it, but I would go again if I had the opportunity. **Only con: I wished we would have finished up earlier so I could have backtracked and visited some of the museums.
Exotic fruit whose name I cannot remember, if someone does please tell me!!
Somehow the peel got into my nose.....**only me**
Bullfighting Ring Entrance
Lunchtime is my favorite time!
Of course I had to get the frothy milkshake coffee drink WITH chocolate :)
Amazing graffiti
They also offer specialized graffiti tours
Cemetery...not my favorite stop, but interesting nonetheless

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Friends that feel like Family

48 hours in New York and New Jersey and I'm back! Whew, my trip was a major success despite the fact that I didn't get to taste any of the birthday cake(that's ok, because I'll be back!) But honestly there is nothing like having friends that feel like family. Every time I visit NyJ(New York & New Jersey) I feel like I'm going home. And I barely sleep because I'm running around trying to see as many "family members" as possible. I'm so happy that we can pick our own friends(unlike our family ;) because I feel like I've chosen the best!

The past two days were filled with nothing but laughter and love as I celebrated my friend's 30th birthday with her. We had dinner at Dos Caminos and partied the night away at Katra Lounge.

As mentioned earlier, I didn't get any cake(no one did)........because my girlfriend, the Sugar Artist(post on her at a later date), made her own cake BUT forgot to bring it to dinner and then to brunch the next day-fail, fail. All that aside, wherever you are enjoy your friends and family, because you never know when life will take you or them away(for a 8 month trip to Spain, for example!).
-Be Inspired!
Looks yummy, doesn't it? I'll never know....


Ready to PARTAY!-Birthday Lady in Pink

Yummy.....
......Shots!


Ain't no party, like a NY party!!

Preparing brunch the next day(was dinner by the time we finished at 6:30...)

Braised brussels sprouts, guacamole, ensalada mixta, Tortilla Española, and yummy punch!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Road Trip: NYC-from Frank Sinatra to Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

It feels so good to be back home in Washington, DC(3 days to be exact). The jetlag is still kicking my butt, but I'm hanging in there. And it probably won't improve anytime soon because I'll be partying the next few days away in NYC. I'm heading "up top" for my friend's 30th birthday soiree and I absolutely cannot wait! I'll be posting pics and reviews of different restaurants and clubs we visit, as well as events. I'm hoping to sneak to Brooklyn on Sunday for a free performance and movie as apart of Brooklyn Family Day/Summer Stage. So if you are in the northern NJ/NYC area and you see me-say hi! Until next time, here is a NYC anthem to start your weekend......Enjoy!
And for those who don't know the inspiration of Jay-Z and Alicia Key's version, here's FRANK!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gracias España, Besos y Abrazos xoxoxo

Words cannot explain how blessed and grateful I am to have had this experience; living in Spain for eight months. I will never forget the people I met, the food I ate, the places that I've seen and visited. I could go on and on(I feel sorry for my future children, lol). And I honestly wouldn't change one second of one minute of one hour of one day that I've had here. I would have never imagined that I would have had such an amazing time. And thank you all for following along and experiencing it with me! Spain, Europe and everything they encompass will always have a special place in my heart...ok, I don't want to mess my laptop up with tears, so I'll just say:

Gracias por todo!!! No es adios, es hasta lluego!
Thanks for everything! It's not goodbye, it's see you later!

Two things that I'll miss the most:

Weekends(not working) but Traveling....

Free tapas with any drink....
But don't go anywhere, just because I'll be back home I'll still be traveling. I'm also planning a career changing travel announcement soon.........STAY TUNED!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Trip to the End of the World: Finisterre, Spain-Inspiration Mondays!

After arriving at the cliff that is Finisterre, Spain, I really felt like we were supposed to jump into the water to be transported to another life(or to the edge of the Western Hemisphere, D.C. maybe??). But no, alas we took very daring photos and sang "It's the End of the World as We Know It...". We also watched Pilgrims burn their clothing in open fires(it's llegal, but it's a symbolic ritual done after reaching the end of the Camino de Santiago). The day was long, but definitely enjoyable. It was a great way to end my eight months here in Spain. Oh, so bittersweet, less than 24 hours and counting.....
ON THE WAY....
First stop: Muros Fishing Village
Next stop: Playa de Louro
El Horreo de Carnota: Longest Horreo(granary), possibly, in the World
Waterfalls: The water was soooo cold!!
The daring ones...(L-R: Spain, Ireland, & Turkey)

We have arrived!!!
Traveling Buddies: Where Europe and the Americas Meet! (From L-R: Brazil, France, USA, Italy)
Tree Pose-Namaste!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'm awake, reminiscing....Happy Sunday!!

I should be doing this......
Metro in Paris, headed to Airport(May 2012)
But instead I'm on this......
AirBnB Rented Apartment in Barcelona(Dec 2011)
Would be nice if I was here.....
Wizard Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama(Dec 2009)

I've been here for 8 months......
La Alameda Park, Santiago de Compostela, Spain(October 2011)
And I'll be here in 3 days......
Downtown, Washington, DC(April 2010)
I slept three hours last night, woke up at 4:30(showered, got online), am about to make breakfast, be a little productive, then go back to sleep! pst**-it's 8:40am now....


Friday, June 1, 2012

Travel Films

One thing I like as much as I like travel and fashion is WATCHING MOVIES!!!! I absolutely love watching foreign, independent, documentaries, romantic comedies, and so on(you get the picture). One early morning while scanning different travel blogs I came across this list of movies. I've seen these two featured below and am looking forward to watching the others. What are you favorite travel films?


Motorcycle Diaries: "The Adventure Can Change You In Ways You Never Imagined
In the early 1950′s, a youthful Ernesto Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado hop on a banged-up motorcycle and embark on an adventure of a lifetime – 5000 miles across Latin America.  This journey, the thrills and set-backs, and the indigenous people they encountered all made a deep impact on the young man, forever changing him and laying the foundation for his later work as the legendary Marxist revolutionary and defender-of-peasants, Che Guevara."-BGF
 

Up In The Air: "George Clooney and Vera Farmiga are a great combination. This was one of the most highly-anticipated films to hit the frequent flier community. Pithy trailers convinced us that finally Hollywood was trying to understand life on the road for the corporate traveler and the travel addict. It didn’t quite meet up to all the hype and pre-film speculation, but it was pretty darn close. It did effectively convey the perks and the pressures of the lifestyle and earned 6 Oscar nods in the process. The BGF girls enjoyed the film and we think it’s worth the watch."-BGF
  


**Added below are two of my favorites**
Las Cartas de Alou: This movie was so moving when I saw it a few years ago in a Spanish Film class. But now that I've lived in Spain and have actually met and become good friends with immigrants from Africa and Brazil, it hits home even more. The story follows Alou, an African immigrant, on his journey to a better life in Barcelona. Even though faced with many setbacks and obstacles, Alou perseveres. Alou's story is one that is well-known throughout Spain and the director was able to use real life experiences and stories from immigrants to mold this inspirational tearjerker.  
Vicky Cristina Barcelona: This sexy, romantic, drama directed by Woody Allen would have anyone wanting to catch the next flight to Barcelona. The luscious plot includes two young women vacationing in Barcelona who find themselves suddenly in a love square(four people, not the usual triangle of 3) with a couple of passionate Spanish painters/lovers. My advice to you is grab a glass of Sangria and some tapas and get ready to transport yourself into 'Una Zona Española'...