Monday, July 24, 2017

Ahora 22: It's Fly Week!

The back to school displays are up and ready for shoppers looking for early savings and I still have summer on the brain because we're leaving for vacation this week. 

We don't have much to do, but perennial vacation tasks are left to the last minute by my procrastinating husband. No problem though...errand dates are fun. 

Here's what's happening ahora, now, in my corner of the world...

Listening to...

Camino Island by John Grisham. I joined Audible on Prime Day and this was the first book I picked. I have read other Grisham books and the plot of this one was intriguing. I'll start it this week. 

Do you have any recommendations for good audio books? The best one I ever listened to was The Boston Girl read by Linda Lavin. She was captivating; I could see every smile...every expression.  

Started reading...
Miracle Morning: by Hal Elrod "The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) I'm a morning person, so this seemed like a natural fit. 

I'm excited for the new Dan Brown book, Origin, to come out. I enjoy the Robert Langdon series and this one is set in Spain, so I'm sure that this one will be a fun quick read too. 

American Ninja Warrior. I am continually inspired by these athletes. I love hearing their stories and seeing how they find strength in this kind of physical challenge, like Jimmy Choi. 

A long summer means more down time, so I have had time for movies and I have seen a few good ones, like...



The Big Sick

Looking forward to...
  • Vacation! 
  • Spending time with my favorite new driver! I can't believe it, but my sixteen-year-old niece is a newly licensed driver...and she flew into town this week with one of her BFFs. I am thrilled for the opportunity to spend time with her and enjoy some fun girl time. 
  • A friend of ours is visiting us for two weeks in Spain this year. It will be fun to show her around our local favorites and maybe find a few new favorites as well.  
  • I will be traveling to northern New Mexico in September before my semester begins. Friends of mine recently bought a second home there, and since our husbands will be back to work by then, we decided to take some time and explore the area around their new home. I have never been to that part of the United States and I'm eager to explore Taos and the Four Corners region. 
  • The new school year! I can't wait to meet my new kids!

The hardest part...
Leaving our girl. She's in great hands with her "godparents" and her dog-BFF, but we'll miss her. 

What's happening ahora in your world? Any book or movie recommendations?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday 5: Market Musts When Air BnBing

When you want to live like a local, there's no better way to engage in a new community than by staying in a neighborhood through a house-sit or a home rental, like Air BnB. 

Whenever we visit a new city, one of the places we always visit is the market. I walk through, soaking in local fare, imagining what I would cook if I had a kitchen in my new temporary home. It's fun to plan imaginary menus and consider the dinner parties I would have with my fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

When you're lucky enough to stay in a place with a kitchen, or even with a few kitchen comforts, it's fun to explore the local market and forage for what's fresh and perhaps, unique, to that city. 

Here are five items that we are sure to purchase when we're Air BnBing in a new city. 

In addition to the traditional food items we may buy, we always look for... 

1. Local beer and/or wine

2. Local or regional cheese

3. Fresh baked bread typical to that area

4. Local fish, fruit, and/or vegetable that we may not have ever tried or don't have at home

5. A local treat, like a pastry, chocolate, or candy that is unique to that area

How about you? Do you like to explore local markets or do you enjoy eating out for most meals? What items do you look for when you visit a local market while traveling?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wanderlust Wednesday: Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida

Last weekend, I was in Miami for our end-of-the-school-year teacher party rave, and had the opportunity to explore the Wynwood Walls and I'm so glad I did. I love street art and this did not disappoint. 

The Wynwood Art District is considered one of the country's hippest neighborhoods because of its large open-air street art installation, the Wynwood Walls. In addition to the Walls, the once-manufacturing and warehouse district of Miami contains over 80,000 square feet of rotating art space, art galleries, boutiques, antique shops, bars and restaurants.

The Wynwood Walls were the brainchild of Miami-developer, Tony Goldman, who wanted to boost the area's pedestrian potential. Goldman worked to renovate and rehabilitate unused and neglected warehouses and factories and transform them into art complexes for the area's creatives. 

Since they opened, the Wynwood Walls have hosted over 50 artists representing 16 countries, evolving into a "Museum of the Streets." Wynwood Walls have been operated by the Wynwood Arts District Association since 2009. 

Every month, a city-sponsored Second Saturday Art Walk draws art lovers and tourists alike, and visitors to the iconic Art Basel Miami make their way to the Wynwood Art District to support emerging muralists and graffiti artists.

If you go, don't forget to look up and down and all around; there are messages everywhere. 

The Walls are located on 2520 NW 2nd Avenue, between Joey's Italian Cafe on 25th Street and the Latin-influenced tapas-style Wynwood Kitchen and Bar on 26th Street. This is a fun spot for a bite to eat and a drink before or after wandering among the Walls. 

Street parking in the Wynwood Art District is tight; download the Miami parking app for easier parking. You can set your stay and add time, if necessary. Bikes are available as well for meandering throughout the district. 

If you're in Miami, Wynwood Walls is a must-see and a perfect afternoon excursion away from the beach. Enjoy!

Wynwood Walls
2520 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33127

Friday, May 19, 2017

Happy 5th Anniversary to Us!

Today is our anniversary...five years married, ten years together. We are blessed; it feels like yesterday. Time really does fly when you're having fun. 

And we are. 

Cheers to another year of love and adventure, of good health and lightness of heart. 

Cheers to our shared dreams and our shared path. 

Cheers to another year of wandering the world together and a lifetime of wonderful memories along the way. 

Happy Anniversary to us!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lovely Things: A Fifth Anniversary Gift Guide

May is our anniversary month, and this year marks our fifth year married and our tenth year together. We have gone traditional with anniversary gifts for the last four years, and I predict that whenever possible, we will continue that theme. It's a fun quest. 

I wish I could say that I am using affiliate links, but monetization is on my list of things to figure out, so these items are simply a result of my own search on Etsy and Lowe's.

Here are some ideas...

1. A wooden bathtub caddy

2. A wooden sign for the home. 

3. Wooden kitchen utensils

4.  Scrabble-tile wall art

5. A cedar chest for storing treasured favorites. 

And one for good measure...a wooden porch swing built for two

Which one would you pick? Share your favorite or something else. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wanderlust Wednesday: Paris Can Wait

I love a good travel film, especially when the landscape itself serves as a character in the film. 

When the trailer for Paris Can Wait crossed my social media feed, I knew this would be a must-see. 

See for yourself...

Directed by Eleanor Coppola, the film features Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin, and Arnaud Viard. 

It opens May 12th in major cities. 

What's your favorite travel inspired movie?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pastéis de Belém: A Food Must in Lisbon, Portugal

There are destination experiences, like taking a gondola ride in Venice or exploring the market in Istanbul. 

For people who love food, there are destination food experiences, like street food in Bangkok or macarons in Paris. 

We are food people.

When my husband and I visited Lisbon, there were many foods we were told to try, but one topped our list; one that was not negotiable: the Pastél de Nata from Pastéis de Belémnext to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Belém.
Getting to Belém from central Lisbon is easy. You can take one of two trams (15 or 127) from Praça do Comércio or Praça da Figueira Square. They both stop directly in front of the area between the Monastery and the pastry shop. 

These small egg custard tartlets are considered by many to be among the best pastries in Europe.

According to the history of the monastery, the nuns used egg whites for starching their white habits, leaving a glut of egg yolks for cooking and baking. 

After the Liberal Revolution in 1820 closed many of the local convents and monasteries, the nuns began selling the custards to workers in a nearby sugar refinery, hoping to raise money for their own monastery. 

After the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos closed in 1834, the monks sold the recipe to the refinery owners, who opened a pastry shop in 1837 and began selling the Pastéis de Belém.The decedents of the refinery still own the closely guarded recipe today and reportedly, only three chefs outside the family know the recipe. Women still shape each pastry by hand and they sell about 20,000 tartlets every day. 

There are always two line outside the shop: one for table service and the other for takeaway tartlets. 

Your pastéis de nata are sold warm with packets of powdered sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on top if you want. 

If you opt for takeaway, there's a Starbucks next door, but iced coffee lovers take note: if you want cream in your coffee, it's real cream and not half and half that we're used to here in the States. They do have a nice loft space upstairs though, where you can enjoy your pastéis and coffee. 

The lovely little egg custards are worth their wait in line. Bom provecho!

Do you have a destination food experience? Please share in the comments. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Conference Travel: My WITS17 Packing List and a GIVEAWAY

It's fly week for me as I join 500 women travel influencers, creators, and brands in Milwaukee for Wanderful's annual Women in Travel Summit. 

As someone who attended WITS'15 in Boston, I am excited for this event which has elements of personal and professional development, opportunities for collaboration, networking, and global sisterhood. 

I've started to think about packing and what will make my time in Milwaukee the most productive it can be. Here's what's going into my carry-on. 

My Bags
I am not checking luggage. Whenever it's possible, I carry-on and this year, I am bringing my Kelty Redwing 2500 Backpack. She's been traveling with me since 2010. This front-loading pack holds everything I need and fits comfortably in the overhead bin or under the airline seat. The waist and chest straps even the weight and make carrying it easier on my shoulders and hips. 

I'm also bringing my Samsonite Jordyn Laptop Tote, an attendee's gift from WITS'15.

I never travel anywhere without my packing cubes. These organizers are like individual dresser drawers for my clothes and they save me time and space. I also use a charger organizer to keep my charger cables tangle-free. 

  • My MacBook Pro. This travels everywhere with me. It allows me the flexibility to take notes and work on the road when I have down time before, after, or between sessions. 
  • My iPhone. I will be using this as my primary camera for tours and conference photos. 
  • A power strip. Outlets in hotel rooms and conference breakout rooms can be limited. By bringing a power strip, I can stay charged and help a friend. 
  • Earbuds for my flight and shared hotel rooms. 
  • My Jackery. This dual USB port charger was a game changer for me.

Other essentials
  • Business cards for networking
  • Ear plugs for shared hotel rooms
  • A notebook and pens for quick notes
  • A refillable water bottle and coffee mug
  • Quest Bars and/or portioned bags of almonds for snacks
  • Gum 
  • A scarf and a sweater for chilly breakout rooms
  • Rain gear: Because of this year's weather forecast, I am bringing my Eddie Bauer Insulated Trench. Thanks, Steph, for the recommendation. I have used this jacket since November and it keeps me warm and dry. 

When it comes to clothes, I pack light and functional. I choose a neutral color palette and plan around that. I make sure to pack comfortable shoes for offsite tours and a dressier outfit for evening networking and socials. 

Ready to win?


If you're a woman who loves to travel, Wanderful is for you. This community connects women around the world through meet-ups in over 22 cities, a thriving social media network, domestic and international travel, an influencer program, admission to special events around the world, a home sharing network, and discounts to the WITS conference. 

I am such a fan of this community that I am giving away 10 memberships to Wanderful, a $119 value. All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment below about one gadget you never travel without. 

If you're not one of the 10 winners of this giveaway, you still can take advantage of a discounted membership with $15 off when you sign-up using the code LOVELYLIFE through May 1stClick here for more information.

Good luck!


*This post contains affiliate links, through which purchases help to support this blog.