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40 years YOUNG

18 Oct

If you are 40, or passed it, I’m sure you’ve been asked the “mandatory” question…  “so, how does it feel?”

I just got to the “4th level” of life, and was just asked that.

Personally, I’ve always been a kid at heart, and my family and friends embrace it and help me stay young despite the years.

Perfect example was the surprise party my family planned for me.

As a true “forever young” celebration, they gave me, my very own Wonderland!

Whoever saw them planning, probably thought this was a kid’s party, but no, this was a 40th birthday, and the most Wonderful one!

Everyone dressed up according to the theme, including me of course.

They had the Queen’s Court with the Flamingo Croquet outside.

As soon as I walked in, I was transported to a magical land.

Butterflies hanging from the ceiling.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea table, with lots of food and the most AMAZING cake!

The Cheshire Cat, of course, was there too.

Drinks, props for photos, and music to dance to.

This was the perfect way to celebrate!  It’s a “place” I always wanted visit, and they created it for me.

They all went along with my inner kid, and I can’t express how happy I am to have them all share it with me.

So to answer the “mandatory” question:  I felt more like a kid than 40.  I feel happy, loved, and blessed.

Yes, my state of mind and heart keep me young, but also my incredible family and friends, who always make me smile.

Thank you all for celebrating my 40 years YOUNG with me, and being part of my life.

Can’t wait to celebrate many moments more with you all.

Remember, Age is just a number…  and it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you age and spend the time in between.

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A couple of “Firsts” in China

20 Apr

Can you believe I “had to” go all the way to China to pick strawberries?

Yup, I’m back from another work trip to the Orient but luckily we always manage to squeeze in some fun.

This time after one of our meetings, the factory owner escorted us to a Strawberry field and we all got to fill multiple baskets with big, beautiful, perfectly red, delicious strawberries.  This was my first time doing it, and it was fun sharing the experience with my China office colleagues and suppliers.  We helped each other pick the best ones, until all our baskets (and bellies) were completely full.



Another fun night, was also after a meeting.  To end the night, they invited us to their beautiful cellar, and we got to do a “private” wine tasting with a really nice view of the HK skyline.  This was (I think) my first time drinking Bordeaux wine, in a private cellar with over 4K bottles of wine. 

Walking the gardens of one of the hotels in the morning, was the most relaxing way to start our day.  Happy birds singing and beautiful flowers all around, overlooking the water.  This was my first time seeing blossoms too. 
I went to a little market where, they told me, I had to try the Vietnamese street lamb.  Very tasty!    

And I saw my very first (Ginseng) Buddha fruit


Learned a new “drinking game” called Big Liar at a pub in Ningbo, and shared many laughs with everyone playing.
Also tried a new hotel (Shangri-La), in HK, after many years staying at the same one, and was a very nice change.  Club level, beautiful view of the bay & HK skyline, and excellent service.  VIP treatment all the way. 
No matter how many times I make this (work) trip, we always mange to enjoy ourselves, do something new, and look forward to the next.

As I’ve said before, it’s all how you see things.  May we never lose the sense of wonder and excitement, even in the “little” things.  This will make life so more enjoyable, happier, and give you many wonderful and memorable experiences.  Happy Journey to All!

“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.

 

It’Sugar!

9 Aug

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Those who know me, know that my “inner kid” never left me (and probably never will) and, one of the times it makes its presence felt the most is when it sees a candy store.

Since I could remember these have always made me happy, I immediately smile when I see all the colors and candy options.  Yes, I did eat most of these when I was little girl, but now, I  guess it’s just the memory of a “happy place” that makes me smile and the little kid inside of me just wants to get out and start pouring candy in the “per lb. bags”.  I’ve been trying to control myself, after realizing that a lot of the candy I liked before taste “different” now that I’m older but still, and I repeat, these stores are one of my happy places.  I even had a mini candy store, every summer, on my terrace.  I loved going to the warehouse to find all the candy I could sell.  Anyway, back to this candy store…  

When I saw It’Sugar I immediately smiled and almost ran to it.  It is all big windows so you can see from outside all they have to offer.  Just about every candy you can imagine, everything gummy (even a $35 giant snake), sugar candy, chocolate, jawbreakers in every size, gumballs, Nerds, lollipops, and so much more.  They also have novelty things like cute Bandages, Hello Kitty and Mini Mouse things, even TED!  I want one by the way…  It talks!

ImageI walked the whole store taking it all in, finding something at every turn, and came out with some Mary Jane (My Dad always got those for us growing up), a bag of Sixlets, and some other cute things like “Sugar Bandages” that say things like “sucker punched” and “heartbroken” (my “inner kid” for some reason likes band aids that say things too, it says they’re like removable tattoos)  :p

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I think having that “inner kid” is fun, I suggest you let yours out and go to It’Sugar, you both will have a happy/sweet time.

4th of July in Key West

12 Jul

Blue skies, white clouds painted on them…  Calm blue water on each side of your car on a 7 mile bridge…  yes, you guessed it, we’re going to Key West!

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4 days in this little bit of paradise, no work, no schedule, just a relaxed long weekend with friends.  I smile just thinking about it, and wish I was still there waking up late, and going straight to Baby’s Coffee to get a different flavored latte each day, in my pajamas because the Keys life is so laid back that no one cares.  Or having a strong but sweet colada at Cuban Queen Coffee.

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I had oysters for the first time.  Ok, they were cooked but still my first time.

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I had Dark & Stormy drinks, Pain Killers (although there was no pain on this “vacation”)

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We watched the 4th of July fireworks, with our red and blue star shaped glasses on, to be festive like everyone else.

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We sunbathed, watched the boats go by, waiving hello and goodbye, as if they knew us because, again, this is the Keys life, friendly with no worries.

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Santiago’s Bodega served us some of the best food I’ve ever tasted in my life and the service is equally amazing.  They started my night right with that smooth red sangria that if you are not careful will get you addicted and in fun trouble. The Porch invited me in for a beer to pass time while it was time for dessert at Better than Sex who always spoils chocolate lovers, like me, to decadent sweet treats, which you must pair with one of their rim job drinks.

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Sunday came, we must go back.  We all know the answer but still asked “why”.  “Let’s just stay”, we jokingly said but we packed the car and left.

Goodbye long weekend, until next time Key West…  thanks for a great time!

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My First Cruise Vacation

27 Jun

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This weekend was my first cruise vacation.

I’m not a fan of anything that involves water (yes, I do shower every day…  LOL!) so I was a little hesitant at first to book this vacation.  On top of that, the cheapest one was Carnival, and with all the recent problems they’ve had, that added to my hesitation but, I really needed a vacation, this was turning to be fairly cheap, compared to our other options, plus I always have a great time with the friends I went with so I paid for it and here we go!

Arrived at the Miami Port, all smiles, passport and ID ready and in less than 20 minutes we’re in.  Received with the cocktail of the day and the friendliest staff I’ve ever met.

The first day we kept getting lost, going up and down elevators and stairs but this was part of the fun.  Doing this we found a room where they had Latin music.  After that first time, every time we heard Latin music we followed our ears to find these guys.   We danced for hours.

We got to see people doing Karaoke – you all know this is always fun – 2 comedy shows, and spent the late hours at the club dancing some more.

I also go to see the last NBA Finals game at their theater, and celebrate our Miami Heat win their second title in a row.  That was so exciting!!!!

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We stopped at Key West, walked around a little, got Henna Tattoos, and our other stop was Cozumel where we ate some authentic tacos with freshly made delicious tortillas, one of the best guacamole I’ve ever had, and the best of all, Tequila tasting.  We went to Hacienda Antigua where we got to try about 9 different Tequilas (Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, Cherry, Almond, Cream, Coffee, and more).  We ended the Tequila tour with a Margarita and on our way to the always fun Fat Tuesday right at the Cozumel Port.

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Talking about food…  I was not one of those that goes on the cruise to eat but I do understand why some people do it.  Just with our first dinner when I had amazing Escargot, and that perfectly cooked and seasoned salmon I wanted more.  Every time we went to that dining room I would get excited to see options for the day.  All very beautifully presented and, again, served by the friendliest staff.  Plus all the food served at the breakfast and dinner buffets.  Wow!

 I wish I was still on that ship, sipping cocktails, meeting and talking to new people, dancing merengue, salsa, and yes, even bachata.  Laying by the pool, just relaxing, and watching the beautiful moon at night without having to worry about work the next morning.  Yes, vacations are the best!

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Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash

19 Jun

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I started my Saturday at the amazing Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash at the PGA National Resort, in West Palm Beach.

The event is very well organized with over 60 beers to try and about 20 burgers. 

The breweries each featured at least 2 of their beers for us to try.  They even had local craft beers on tap like Holy Mackerel, The Native, TBC and more.

My favorites of the day were:

Rooney’s Old Irish Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Alchemy Ale
Coronado Brewing Company Idiot IPA (I tried this one for the name)  :p
Breckenridge Brewery SummerBright
Know Breing Wilua Ale

Now, as I said, this was also a Burger event so of course we tried those too.  They give away 3 prizes, which we get to vote, and my winners were:

In my opinion, Chuck Burger Joint  definitely deserved the “Best Burger” title.  That burger was perfection.  Classic, juicy, flavorful, comforting…  Not surprised at all they got the  “King of all Burgers” title last year.
My “Best Alternative” went to Cha Cha’s with their slider Kale & quinoa burger with humus on whole wheat.
My last award, the “Most Innovative Burger” went to Vic & Angelo’s Saltimbocca Burger.  This was a sage infused burger with black garlic aioli, sun-dried tomato marmalade, prosciutto di parma, gorgonzola dolce and baby spinach.  All I can say is I want more!!  Absolutely amazing that burger…
Other two worth mentioning were the ones from III Forks and Four Seasons.  

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This was their Second year doing this event and, by what I experienced, I’d say (and hope) they have many more years to come.  Making a note to lookout for next year’s dates, you should too.