“Food Trip” – Pittsburgh & Washington, D.C.

7 Jul

Hello again!  I wanted to share with you some pictures and places from my last trip.  This time I went to Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C.

Pittsburgh, I must admit, was not in my list of “must visit” cities but that has changed.  I went there for work, and even though I didn’t have much time to explore the city, I loved the area I stayed at.  My hotel was located right across the Convention Center on Penn Ave. and everything you want and need is walking distance from there.

While I was walking to have dinner, my first night there, I saw that they called this the “cultural district”.  So many restaurants, bars, they have theaters and a place called Cabaret, on Theater Square, where they play live music, they have wine and beer events, and more.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do the theaters or Cabaret during my stay, and now have added Pittsburgh to my traveling list so I can experience everything they have to offer.

Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown Pittsburgh

 

I did have the chance to eat at some amazing restaurants, like Meat & Potatoes, where I had one of the best Mussel dishes ever!  They have a great looking, and stocked bar where the mixologists (not bartenders) make some incredible craft drinks.

Service is impeccable and atmosphere casual and inviting.  Here are some pictures to convince you even more to try them when you’re there.

 

I also went to Seviche, which is a Cuban Ceviche place on Penn Ave. as well.  They have Latin music playing (I recognized, and wanted to dance every song they played), inside and outside seating, fun looking bar, and they clear the floor after 9pm (at least on some nights) for dancing.  I had the empanadas and the avocado sauce they come with is delicious.  Of course I had ceviche, the Salsa Verde one, which is on their regular menu was good but my favorite was the special of the day…  Pineapple Ceviche.  It was fresh, light and flavorful.

 

Washington D.C. was fun too.  I got to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Reflection Pool, and the White House.  The Museums looked impressive but, didn’t have enough time to go in so, just like with Pittsburgh, this is another city I will have to visit again.

 

Of course, since this apparently was a “food” trip, my meal here was excellent as well.  Went for brunch at Old Ebbit Grill, where I had the Eggs Atlantic – same concepts as Eggs Benedict but with seared salmon.  This was outstanding!  That salmon was perfection, I could have had it by itself.  Almost forgot about the appetizer, the Crab and Artichoke dip is addictive.  Believe me you must try this!  Oh, and desert, you must order desert…  actually you must order the Chocolate chip Bread pudding.  It is heavenly.  Warm, not too sweet, right amount of chocolate and they top it with vanilla ice cream slowly melting on top of it.  This dessert is flawless.

 

If you get the chance to go to all or any of these places, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  I should go on a diet now, but have no regrets, I enjoyed every bite.

 

“Home Is Where The Heart Is”

28 Jun

They say “Home is where the heart is”, but what happens when your heart is filled with so many people and these people are all in many different places?  Where is home?  The answer is easy…  wherever you are with one or more of these loved ones.

My life started in PR, where I truly thought I would stay all my life.  My family and friends were all there, so home was there, in every sense of the word.  I didn’t know how little my PR (and home) was or how big the “outside world” was, or how life changes in a blink of an eye.  I was happy and comfortable, and completely unaware of how my definition of “home” would change later on in life.

My cousin moved when I was 12 years old.  That’s the first time I felt my heart be at more places than one.  Then my friends for college, another cousin moved…  And then, it was my turn.

I still call PR my home.  My “roots” are there, I still have family and friends there, so many happy memories, beautiful sights, amazing food and wonderful smells that will always remind me of that “home” but, I also call where I live now “home”.  I have family here, I’ve met great friends, have built a life and I’m creating countless of priceless memories here too.  My heart has expanded, and my home has too.

Now, these are not my only two homes…  I experienced another meaning of the word when one of my cousins moved to Chicago for a while.  I went to visit her, and her husband, and because she was there, and the memory of our childhood together floated wherever we went, it became my home during the time I was there.  My heart recognized her, and our time together, and made it feel my own.  Same thing with my other cousin who I visited in San Francisco, and Maryland.  Completely new places for me but they didn’t seem like it since I had her (and family) there with me.  When you visit someone you always reminisce about the time you spent together growing up, or school, etc., making your heart full of nostalgia and longing for “home”, and you create a new one right there.  It might be for a weekend, a week, month…  It doesn’t matter, what does is how you feel, how when the time comes to leave you realize you will miss it.

There’s places I haven’t been yet, where I know there’s friends and family who will make me feel right at home if/when I get the chance to visit, and I can’t wait.

There’s also places, like work locations, that, because of how many times you visit them, they also start to feel like a “second home”.  You feel familiar with them and comfortable.  When you travel and you identify with a culture, or love the architecture or their way of life, you may feel “right at home” and make the move to make it your own.  Looking at it that way, the World is our home or, it can be even smaller than my PR, home can be in the arms of just one person.

As I said, the definition of “home” changes, and it’s different to everyone.  What should always remain the same is that home should be a place where you feel happy, safe, comfortable, somewhere you belong and where you build wonderful memories.  Home is what you miss, what your heart recognizes and wants, what makes it jump with joy.  A place you want to go back to.  May you all have such a place (and people) in your life, and hope you keep finding more.

 

Home

All That Gossip…

3 Jun

I’ve always tried my best to stay away from the line of gossip and drama.

I did pretty good during my high school and college years…  I escaped it without even a “scratch” and I really thought that by the end of those years I, and everyone else, would be in the clear.  So imagine my surprise, and somewhat disappointment, to see more of this in my “adult life” than I did before.  It’s like a lot of people regress instead of “growing up”.

Why are people so interested in other people’s lives?  How does it affect you what they wear, drive, where they live, or who they date or don’t?

In my opinion, if you were happy with your own life this would not happen…  Then again, social media does not make the matter any easier, and this is coming from an avid social media user…  I do think it helps connect people, and keep long distance relationships but, when used to pry, criticize, and gossip, that’s when I have a problem with it.

Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize, it’s human nature to talk about others, but let’s think about it…  gossip usually comes from assumptions, of half-stories we hear, of someone wanting to harm someone else so, why take a part of it?  Why not show that we are better as human beings, ignore it and put an end to it.  That way you protect the person who’s being talked about, and the one spreading the rumors of becoming a worst human being.  Also, you protect yourself…  who is to say the next target of the gossip isn’t you.

The time you spend hearing and spreading rumors, should be spent on your own life.  Work on making yourself happy, find a hobby, read a book, forgive, love, live!  If someone wronged you, or hurt you, or if you think the “grass is greener” on that other side, let it go, trying to hurt them by gossiping about them hurts you as well…  all that anger, or envy, or whatever consuming feeling that made you start that rumor will eat you inside and will never let you be happy.  So, forget the past, and don’t be so concerned about other people’s lives.  Live yours, treat each day as if it was your first and enjoy it.   Live and let live!

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Travel!

8 May

Since I could remeber, I’ve always wanted to travel…  see new places, experience different cultures,  hear different accents and languages, try different food…

My dad used to travel a lot for work, and I thought it was the perfect job.  Having someone else pay for you to see the world must be the best job in the world but, he always said “be careful what you wish for”.  The heavy part of his traveling came later in his life, when he says he wasn’t as young and with as much energy as before so, I guess that’s mainly where he’s warning comes from, maybe also the fact that he would have to leave his family for, sometimes, a month straight.  Still I wished for that job that requied me to travel, and I got it.

I’m on my third trip to Hong Kong, and extending to parts of China.  I was also lucky to travel several times to Chicago, one of my favorite places so far.   True, I work a lot more hours when traveling but, it’s completely worth it. The learning experience I get in each trip is priceless, it builds up my confidence and value as an employee, plus I get to live my (and so many others’) dream of traveling.

Yes, the almost 20hrs flight to Hong Kong can be “brutal”, to that add two trips to China this time, all the customs lines and process, the late nights and early mornings…  as ready as I was to get back home that last day, I was, at the same time, missing HK already.  I can understand how these trips might become a little difficult in the future but, right now, I’m still young and ready for more.

I want to see more, learn more, meet more people, and expand my travel experiences, and with it “my world”.

Be it for work or leaisure, I wish you too have the opportunity to do so.  Happy and safe travels to all!

Here are some pictures from my last trip…  enjoy!

On my way…
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Foggy view of the HK skyline
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Kowloon Park (view from above)
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Canton Tower (Guangzhou,  China)
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Metal Lotus Flower (Vibes, Mira Hotel, Hong Kong)
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Last view before I go.
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Let The Music Move You

1 Apr

Have you ever heard a song that transports you to some moment in the past?

What a question… of course you have!  We all have, and it’s not only one song but many…  Some take us back to happy times, some make us feel nostalgic, others make us think of people we love(d), others just make us feel happy, hopeful, and dance.

I started thinking about this the other day when, just with the first note of one song, I hadn’t heard in years, I was able to remember what movie it was from, the first time I heard it, what was happening in my life at that moment…  all that in just one note.

It’s amazing, and wonderful, the power music has on us.  They say everyone “dances to their own beat”, I believe this is true…  We consider ourselves spiritual beings but we’re all also musical.  I can’t imagine anyone not being affected by music, not being drawn by it, whatever genre you prefer.  It’s like it’s embedded in our souls.  Even without knowing we hold on to it, because it’s part of who we are.  So, let it move you, allow it to let you remember and wish, make it your own, and dance.

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“You attract more bees with honey”

7 Mar

They say “you attract more bees with honey”, and I’ve experienced this to be true.

Where ever you go, regardless of language, race, culture, a smile and nice tone of voice will usually open any door, and help you have a great experience and interaction with people.

I’m not saying I’m perfect and practice it at all times…  we all lose our temper from time to time but, when that happens, and I see the results, I realize how true that saying is, and how it’s better to think before speaking, and that sometimes silence is the best answer.

At work is where, I think, we need to practice it more.  You see these people probably more than you see your family.  You didn’t chose them as friends, yet you are “forced” to interact with them sometimes more than you wish to.  There are so many different personalities, situations, etc.  Yes, it can be difficult sometimes but, again, I’ve found it best to just step back, breathe and find the best way to approach the person instead of reacting or attacking.  The fact that we’re in an office means we’re all adults…  let’s act like it.

Imagine how nice and productive it would be if we all work as a team.  If, instead of taking everything so personal, you stop and realize that maybe that person is having a bad day or personal problem.  We all have them…

Unfortunately this week has been a trying one at work, with tempers off the roof.  One word and you get yelled at or attitude.  As much as you try to keep the peace, or stay away of these situations, when it’s constant, and all around, you can’t help but feel tired, unmotivated, and like giving up, which is an awful feeling.

Talking to friends, I know this is a global issue…  so please, watch your manners, take others into consideration, and remember “patience is a virtue”…  practice makes perfect.

It’s Thursday, week’s almost over.  Thankfully I’ve managed to keep my tone and a smile on my face.  Hope we can all do the same, every day.

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No regrets…

13 Feb

Why do we feel “stupid” or regret when we fall for someone that doesn’t feel the same way about us?

Think about it…  how many times do you open up to someone, or go out with them, to find out they don’t feel the same and you feel foolish or like you wasted your time.  How many times has a friend said “oh, I’m telling you he (or she) is not interested so you don’t look “stupid” chasing after him”.

First of all, I think “chasing” has a negative connotation and maybe not the best word to use when it’s a real emotion the person is having (unless you are really doing that or stalking the person but, that’s another subject).
Second, why feel that way when your feelings are genuine / sincere?  Why apologize for, or deny your feelings?

We don’t get to choose who we like or fall in love with.  It just happens.  There’s obviously something that person has that attracts you to them, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Yes, if the feeling isn’t mutual it hurts but, that doesn’t take anything away from you or makes you seem “stupid”, and I would definitely not consider it a waste of time.  You see, with every situation you live, you learn, you grow…  and before the heartbreak or disillusion you got to smile, hope, have expectations, and some good times.

I’ve always loved the quote below and its other two versions:
“Never regret anything you do, cause in the end it makes you who you are”
“…take chances and have no regrets, because at one point everything you did was exactly what you wanted”

What you feel is real, only you decide if it’s wrong or right for you.  As long as it’s honest, and if you decide to pursue it, enjoy it for as long as it lasts.  If for some unfortunate reason it ends, don’t let the hurt make you bitter, or be hard on yourself.  Don’t feel “stupid” and don’t regret it, take it as an experience, take the good from it, and move on, trusting something better will come.

never regret something that once made you smile

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