09.01.2014

Around California – Carmel

Tickle Pink Inn - Carmel

Tickle Pink Inn – Carmel


If you ever find yourself on this side of California you should definitely check out Carmel. It’s a quaint town north of Big Sur, just before Monterey. It’s known for having had Clint Eastwood as mayor, in addition to lots of art galleries, restaurants and bed and breakfasts.
The first time I visited Carmel and saw some of the B&Bs downtown I thought they had been taken straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen book. We stayed at the Tickle Pink Inn and you can’t ask for more. The view was magnificent, the room had a great hot tub, and since they knew we were ending our honeymoon there, they welcomed us with some champagne, score! Tickle Pink Inn Carmel

If you ever go to Carmel, make sure you have reservations for dinner, especially on weekends, and don’t forget to take a walk to the beach. Besides the beautiful sunset, you may see some dolphins putting on a show.

Tuck Box

Tuck Box via Tavoladelmondo

Lone Cypress - Monterrey

Lone Cypress – Monterrey

Monterey

Monterey

Have  you been to Carmel or Monterey?

 

PS – Sorry I can’t post more of my own pictures but I lost several folders with photos when my old computer crashed.

 

 

08.27.2014

New York, New York

New York City

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today… I spent a full year singing this Frank Sinatra song until we finally landed in New York. We spent a year in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn, and that was an Experience. Yes, with capital E.

I had a love and hate relationship with this city. One day I loved it and started to plan to ship our car there and spend the rest of our lives there, and the next day I wanted to leave ASAP. For some reason New York evokes really strong opinions from people, and most of the time it’s not a good one. Here are a few things I learned while living there:

  1. Public transportation blows. I could write a whole post about this. Can anyone say…”rats”? And you’re telling me that if I take the wrong train I have to get out of the subway, cross the street, go back in and pay AGAIN? The metrocard is for 30 days, why not a full calendar month? I had to keep track of what day I used it first; not cool. The subway is noisy and filthy. We complain in Madrid but people don’t know how good they have it compared to the subway system in New York. And then I moved to San Francisco… I miss NYC MTA.
  2. New York is a trap on weekends. We bought a book about day and weekend trips around NYC so we could explore our surroundings, especially in the summer. That’s when we discovered the Jersey Shore. We weren’t going to pay $80 (the rate we were quoted) to rent a car for a day, so we used public transportation. We lived about 10-15 minutes from the subway and sometimes by the time we made it there, it was closed. We learned that on weekends it was easier to get a cab to Penn Station, get to the town, and walk for 20 minutes to make it to the beach. Total trip time: 1.5 to 2 hours. In my experience, it wasn’t easy to get out of the city.
  3. This is New York. Every time we talked to some landlord regarding an apartment, or if something wasn’t right with ours, the answer was “this is New York” like if for some strange reason this was the answer to any issue. We had a duplex and the crappy stairs broke, with my husband on them. We told the landlord and yup, we got the “this is New York”. Right, because that’s the answer to anything.
  4. There aren’t cabs in Brooklyn. This is important because when we moved there we didn’t know our subway line was going to be closed most weekends, so going somewhere was pretty annoying (see point 2). In Manhattan you can get a cab pretty easily, but not so much in Brooklyn. Unless you see someone coming in from Manhattan and you can grab it, you are out of luck. However, I would imagine that by now they’ll have Lyft, Uber or something along those lines.
  5. You almost get four seasons. I love that there are seasons, but spring only lasted a couple of weeks. Summers where hot and humid, and winters… Well, see the image below.

    New York City

    New York Times buried in a foot of snow

  6. Girls love to swear. I’m no prude, believe me, but one thing that shocked me was seeing all these cute girls going to the subway, on their phones and swearing all the time.
  7. New Yorkers are rude. No, they are not. I feel like that’s a misconception. In my opinion, they are focused on what they are doing, so they may seem cold and distant, but when you break that built-in shield they have, you’ll find authentic people. They will tell you the truth instead of just being politically correct.
  8. Central Park is the best park ever. In my opinion, there’s no other park like this. I love it, it’s the lung of the city, and no matter when you go, there’s always something entertaining going on.

New York City

New York City

Overall, I miss New York, and I think it’s a great city to live in, even to raise kids. What do you think about New York?

08.20.2014

Getting Lost in Prague

Prague

If there’s something I like to do when I’m in a new city, even if it’s my hometown, is just get lost. Prague is no exception.
I feel like as long as I can get a taxi to go back home, why not? Obviously it has to be in a safe area. I can’t really put my finger on it, can’t say what or why it is exactly, but I love this city. Prague has something special.

Prague
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08.18.2014

Brunch in San Francisco

Brunch
If I had to pick my favorite meal to eat out it would be brunch. I love the whole concept of it: eggs, potatoes, French toast. It’s not lunch, it’s not breakfast, it’s just Brunch! No question about it. It’s not that I don’t like to go out to dinner, but brunch is just relaxed, casual, you can even go directly after yoga and nobody cares, at least here in San Francisco.
I just can’t get enough of it. The only thing that I don’t like, and that’s why I don’t do brunch out as often as I would like, is the lines. Restaurants usually don’t take reservations and sometimes the wait can be up to an hour.

I wanted to share with you a couple of places I like for brunch in San Francisco. Check them out next time you visit. You won’t be disappointed:

  1. Zazie – It’s a French Bistro in Cole Valley, and there’s definitely a long wait. Sometimes we’ve been able to get in in half an hour, but an hour is usually normal. Their poached eggs are insanely delicious. I don’t like hollandaise sauce, but this is the only place I would order them.
  2. Rose’s Cafe – It’s a bistro with Italian food located in Cow Hollow. It opens early in the morning, so even if you just want coffee and a pastry, you’ll be set. Being the coffee snob I am, this is one of the few places where I could actually enjoy my coffee. They change the menu every day.
  3. Cliff House – This building has a couple of restaurants and a souvenir store, and as its name implies, it’s on a cliff with breathtaking views. The brunch menu is fixed price and buffet style. One of the few places where you can make a reservation for brunch. Try to go on a sunny day to enjoy the views and the beach.
  4. Stacks – Good old-fashion American diner with great service and a big menu in Hayes Valley. The food is just plain good, but careful with what you order, portions are big!
  5. Pomelo – There are two locations, Sunset and Noe Valley. What makes this small place unique is its menu. Each dish comes from a different part of the world, which gives you the opportunity to try different cuisines at the same time.

There are definitely more places, but these are the ones I tend to go more often.

Do you also enjoy brunch? How’s the “scene” in your city?

 

08.13.2014

Weekend packing – Summer edition

Weekend Packing A couple of weekends ago we went on a trip to Nevada City, and I decided that packing light was the way to go. As I mentioned before in a previous post, I tend to pack a lot, especially when we drive. There’s some conversation in my head that goes like this: “I don’t need to pack much. What’s the point? We are just going to Nevada City. It’s super casual there.” “That’s silly, we are driving, I can park whatever I want. There’s no maximum liquid allowance or weight limit.”
So, the latter nonsense tends to win. But, this specific weekend, I decided that I was going to pack super light, and you know what, it’s such a breeze! First, you don’t need to keep track of all your clothes and extra stuff you want to bring, and second, it takes no time to unpack, which, let’s face it, is always a pain.

I decided to use this small bag to limit what I was bringing. I wore my hat, a maxi dress and flats, and the rest went in the bag.

Weekend Packing

The bag

In this case I decided to bring this one from Lo & Sons. I hadn’t used it in a while and I wanted to test it for this specific occasion since I tend to use it as a handbag.

Clothes

I love to use packing cubes, but due to the shape of my bag I used a jumbo plastic bag. I feel it was easier to pack it, but for suitcases the packing cubes are the way to go. I packed three tops, two pairs of shorts, a maxi dress, pajamas, a bikini and undergarments.

Weekend Packing

Toiletries

This time I used my 3-1-1 bag for when I fly. Packing this little bag is not too bad; the key is to use little containers to pack your creams. There’s really no reason to pack a big jar for two or three uses. My only advice is to be careful with these kinds of containers. I remember packing one that I couldn’t open and had to throw it out and make another trip to the store.

For makeup, I just brought this little bag which is pretty much what I use every day. In the end I didn’t even use it.

Other necessities

In order to save space, I just packed my iPad instead of a laptop. I didn’t bring a handbag but I brought a wristlet that lately I am using as a wallet.

Weekend Packing

Done, easy breezy. Let’s see what happens in the winter!

Do you have any tips to maximize space when packing?