Buenos Aires, The Land of the Tango

Buenos dias from Buenos Aires!

Just kidding. Thanks to Timehop, I’ve just now realized that it’s been a year since I went to Buenos Aires, which reminded me that I’ve had this blog post saved as a draft for months.

I’m never going to become a popular blogger, am I? Eh, I’ll live.

Last November I flew down to Buenos Aires to work with a public relations agency that would help connect me with media outlets there. I met with valuable media throughout my week there and blah, blah, blah you’re not interested in the boring aspects of my life. Moving on!

I had the rare opportunity to extend my trip some additional days so I booked an Airbnb and was able to explore the city over the weekend.

Where I laid my head down to rest: 

During the work week, I stayed at the Esplendor Palermo Soho, a trendy, contemporary boutique hotel in the Palermo, the largest neighborhood in Buenos Aires. The hotel reviews are pretty much hit or miss. I had no issues with my room except not being able to sleep well at night because of the commotion in the street. I quickly learned that Argentinians love their car horns and have no regard for my sanity. My stay included Wi-Fi (which was terrible) and breakfast, which is where I discovered how delicious a factura con dulce de leche is.

Like I previously mentioned, I stayed at an Airbnb close to the US Embassy in Argentina, also in the Palermo area. The hosts were incredibly sweet and made my stay spectacular with amazing Wi-Fi, recommendations for things to do around the area and complimentary champagne. I was completely enamored with the apartment and would definitely return.


I stayed in Palermo, visited Recoleta (which is gorgeous) and Retiro (which is like Times Square and I hated it).

How I got around: 

1. Walking.

2. Uber Argentina: While I was there, Uber was only open to people with foreign credit cards, like myself while people who actually live in Argentina couldn’t sync their credit cards to the app. It was very weird, but all of my Uber experiences were enjoyable, even the one I took at 1:00 a.m. from a tango show.

3. Radio Taxi: I only took this on my way to the airport because Uber drivers are wary of driving there. The ride wasn’t terrible but it was expensive.

4. I took the bus one day with the agency I hired because we couldn’t get a taxi or an Uber and the experience was bearable. They also have a underground subway (the Subte) which I did not use because subways freak me out.

Weather: 

The weather was in the 90s for the most part although it rained one night, and for two days straight the temperature dropped to the 50s and I was not adequately packed/dressed for that.

Money: 

You tip 10% and it has to be in cash because you cannot add it to your final bill. I found that debit and credit cards with chips had issues working there; my debit card didn’t even work at the supermarket. I ran out of cash very quickly and walked to every single bank in Recoleta, trying to withdraw cash. The bank that ended up working for me was HSBC and the ATM at the Four Seasons. International banks in the area include Santander and Citibank.

Communication: 

I always use WhatsApp for international travel and for speaking with international clients. If you’re saving an Argentinian’s cellphone number to message them through WhatsApp, make sure to input the country code which is +54 and then add the number.

Nomz:

Before I list off the places that I ate at, I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned while dining out:

1. There are no fast food restaurants in Buenos Aires and if there are, I missed all of them. As a solo traveler on the go, it was very inconvenient having to go to a sit down restaurant each time I got hungry. I actually found ONE McDonald’s after a very tiring day and gave in. At the time, those were the most glorious fries I had ever tasted.

2. Restaurants charge you for your eating utensils! All of my receipts had a small service charge for them. Would they have charged me had I brought my own fork and knife? Could I have kept the utensils after my meal? So many unanswered questions!

3. Restaurants often close after the lunch rush and reopen at 8:00 p.m. and if you show up to dinner at that time, you’ll find yourself to be the only person at the restaurant, like I was on more than one occasion (ahem, loser). Argentinians can go out to dinner anytime between 10 p.m. and midnight and follow that up with bar hopping and surprisingly, bowling until 7 a.m. New York isn’t the “city that never sleeps.” It is Buenos Aires.

In comparison to other food I’ve had in Latin America, I found Argentinian cuisine to be quite bland. But the restaurants that I went to were decentnough that I would return if I ever found myself in Buenos Aires:

1. La Pescadorita

2. La Dorita

3. Miranda Cafe

4. Grill Dandy

5. Mooi

6. Sushi Pop – (Pad Thai was really good!)

7. Pizza Gresca – (Their flatbreads are quite tasty)

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8. The Four Seasons – (I hosted a media lunch here, the food was AMAZING.)

9. Boulan Bakery – (Do yourself a favor and order everything in sight. My Airbnb’s building had a Boulan on the lower level and it was the best/worst thing that could’ve happened to me)

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10. Santísima Cervecería

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Fun stuff: 

You can’t go to Argentina and not go to a tango show at a tangueria. I went to two, one with a coworker who happened to be in the same city as me that night and one with the PR agency I was working with.

The first, La Ventana was located in a small, intimate venue. The price of admission included wine, a three-course meal and the show. Since most of the guests visiting tanguerias are tourists, La Ventana picks the guests up at their hotel, so we did not have to worry about transportation (the hotel my coworker was staying at was one of their partner hotels; they don’t pick you up from any hotel). Dinner was at 8:30 p.m. and the show began around 10:00 p.m. and ran until midnight. I had never seen a live tango performance and quickly fell in love with the dance, the intimacy between the dancers and their gorgeous costumes. The night culminated with a powerful performance of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” in Spanish and with images of Maria Eva Duarte De Peron (known as Eva or Evita) projected in the background.

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The second, La Piazzola Tango, was a similar dinner-show concept except the venue was a huge theater in the basement of a shopping center.

I’ve watched Evita once and have belted out the Madonna song countless of times, but I had never thought about Eva as a real person before. So of course, one of my first stops on my time off was to visit the Evita Museum. Turns out Eva was sort of a bad-ass, a pioneer for women’s rights in Argentina and through her efforts, women were granted the power to vote. The museum is located inside a building that Eva had turned into a rehabilitation shelter for women and children with no resources.

I then made the trek to the Recoleta Cemetery to find Eva’s tomb. The cemetery is huge, spanning at 14 acres and it contains many elaborate mausoleums. I had never seen anything like it and spent about two hours wandering around admiring the architecture.


Like a typical tourist, I visited the MALBA (I came for the art but stayed for the excellent Wi-Fi) and saw a Frida Khalo painting, stopped at the Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens (which were relaxing but kind of underwhelming) and walked around the Eco-Park which used to be a zoo. From what I read, the zoo was to be turned into an ecological park and the animals to be relocated to sanctuaries, but when I visited, there were still plenty of animals there, not exactly pleased with the 90 degree weather. I saw bears, drenched in sweat with no water to swim or play in and elephants who looked distressed. I’m not a Blackfish-Close-Down-The-Zoo type of person but that eco-park should be closed down. The conditions those animals were in were inhumane and it broke my heart.


One of my favorite places to visit was the Rosedal De Palermo, the most famous park in the Palermo neighborhood with a collection of over 18,000 roses of diverse color. I couldn’t get over how beautiful everything looked and smelled!


Speaking of flowers, I visited the Floralis Generica, a giant flower sculpture made of steel and aluminum which “blossoms” each morning and closes its petals at sunset.

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Thanks to a Buzzfeed list of bookstores, I found myself walking one afternoon to El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a theater turned bookstore.


On my last day there, I headed to the San Telmo Fair which takes place every Sunday. San Telmo is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and the fair features unique artisans and antiques. There were hundreds of booths at every turn and had my feet not been killing me for walking on cobblestone all afternoon, I would’ve stayed until closing time. I ended up buying origami cranes on strings and origami earrings (don’t ask me why, I’ve never been into origami but the paper she used was gorgeous). I was told by my Uber driver to watch for pick-pockets there but I found the experience relatively safe.

I enjoyed visiting Buenos Aires and hope to return to Argentina soon. The people were so friendly and the architecture dreamy!

Have you been to Argentina? What did you do? 

xx

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Second Anniversary Weekend

Happy Monday, friends! Hope you had a restful weekend! Our was busy, but relaxing – the perfect combination for a memorable anniversary weekend (click here for a recap of our first anniversary)!

Friday:

Our Friday night was an early one, as we were trying to catch up on sleep following Halloween Horror Nights on Wednesday and a 9:30 p.m. showing of The Florida Project on Thursday night.

Saturday:

We were up and at ’em on Saturday morning, with Halston doing breakfast with his family and myself driving to Rifle Paper Co.‘s sidewalk sale before the crowds descended upon the shop. My haul consisted of eight miscellaneous cards, an art print for my office, a 2018 planner and candles from their new collection. Each candle is usually priced around $28, but they were $12 each at the sale! I got all but the Jardins De Paris candle – I wasn’t a huge fan of the scent.


Retail therapy was followed by a visit to the dog park with Scout, as we had to tire her out before leaving her at home because we were doing a…

SPA DAY! 

The Renaissance Hotel on Sea Harbor Drive has a $95 TravelZoo deal for the Neu Lotus Spa which included a 50-minute massage or facial, a pedicure and resort pool access.

Because our anniversary landed on a week day, Halston and I decided to wait until Saturday to use the TravelZoo deal and pamper our very tired bodies.

It is recommended guests arrive 30 minutes before their appointment, to fill out paperwork and chill out in the relaxation room. However, Halston and I rolled in about 15 minutes before our first appointment (thanks to Scout who decided to sit in every muddy puddle at the dog park and required to be rinsed off), so we hurried into the separate male and female changing areas. We were each given keys to a locker, where we found our robes, a toothbrush, razor, shower cap and comb.

Front desk.


My Padawan robe.

We then met our respective masseuses and were led to separate rooms. Once I was under the blankets, laying face down on the massage table, my massage therapist walked inside the room and began working her magic on my sore body – first my back, arms, legs, feet, abdominal area (a towel covered my chest at this point) and lastly, my neck. I began the 21 Day Fix this week and have been sore all week, so when she began massaging my calves I almost burst into tears of gratitude. Once the 50-minutes were up, she left the room, waited for me to get dressed and led me back to the relaxation room. Halston got a deep-tissue massage (additional $20) because of his tense back (must be all that studying). Once he was done, we were led to the salon area where we got our pedicures.

Big Feet McGee.


The salon carries Opi and Shellac nail polish – Shellac was an additional $20, so I opted for Opi. This was Halston’s first and last pedicure. He said he enjoyed it, but doesn’t see the point of spending money on them as he doesn’t get his toenails done like I do every month. Fair enough. I didn’t like that the salon had the pedicure chairs sitting about six feet from each other, so it felt weird to yell across the room to talk to Halston. Instead I busied myself with magazines and Halston probably scrolled through Reddit. He also took the below creeper shot of me.


Following the massage and pedicure, we headed down to the pool, where we relaxed in the water and ate a delicious lunch at Palms, the poolside restaurant and bar.

While we do not see ourselves frequenting hotel spas in the near future, it was nice to get away from it all, if only for an afternoon. Also, the experience was a lot more relaxing at a resort rather than going for a massage at a strip mall (not that we get massages often. I haven’t been since the week of our wedding and our honeymoon).

Apologies for the poor quality, hazy image. My screen shattered and I can’t take selfies.


Sunday: 

Sunday morning brought us back to Winter Park for the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival, but before that, we needed to fuel up for the day at New General, a contemporary general store, coffee shop and restaurant.

I had recently seen a picture of a white bean toast on their Instagram account and was jonesing for one, however, the restaurant switches up their menu often and it was no longer available. Luckily they had delicious options like the sweet potato toast with sautéed spinach that Halston enjoyed and the grape and walnut one I devoured. We will definitely be back!


We then headed to the art festival and wandered around for a bit, looking at things we couldn’t afford. I did find a local artist who’s work I am determined to have in our future daughter’s room (no, this is not a pregnancy announcement. I’m just positive my first child, a thousand years from now, will be a girl).

Sunday wound down with Mexican food and Halston working on his latest project – a shiplap wall in my office. I’ll make sure to keep you updated on that!


Have a great week! Make good choices! Keep on working out! 

That last sentence was mostly for me.

xx

Fri(yay) Lovin’ #14

Who has two thumbs (covered in bite marks because of her psychotic puppy) and is excited that it’s Friday? This gal!

I was extremely excited that this was going to be a short week because we had Memorial Day off and then I remembered that today is my SUMMER FRIDAY!

My current job allows us to take one Friday off during the months of June, July and August. So the weather doesn’t lend itself for an ideal Summer Friday… but I still get to kick off the weekend by relaxing at home, tidying up the house and hanging out with my dad, stepmom and nephews, one of them who graduated kindergarten last night, reminding me that I’m turning into an old hag!

So let’s kick this Friday off with the things I’m loving!

Top Paw Life Jacket: My mother-in-law recently bought Scout a Top Paw Life Jacket from PetSmart because her fur gets quite heavy while swimming. I will preface this by saying that if you’ve seen the (hilarious) videos I posted on social media, Scout absolutely hated the life jacket (there go my dreams of putting her in costumes…). BUT it is a necessity, as we have a pool and we want her to get used to swimming! The life jacket was affordable, light, it has a handle for pulling her out of the water and it is perfect for her to splash around the pool. She did great the first time she swam with it, but the second time, not so much. We think she was stressed out because her puppy cousins, two Vizsla pups, were swimming circles around her!

Had Scout written this blog, she would have not included the life jacket.
Puppy and human cousins.
Ocean Sun Brewing: On our poorly-planned Ale Trail Memorial Day adventure (we didn’t have a game plan and most of the breweries were closed) with our friends, we discovered Ocean Sun Brewing, which opened last spring. Located on a strip mall in Curry Ford, there really isn’t much to the outside of it, but inside the 5,200 square foot space features 120 seats and a five-barrel brewing system with 50 barrels of fermentation space. It also has space in the back for corn hole, darts and let me not forget the most important detail, it is DOG FRIENDLY, so I was basically in dog heaven (as you could probably tell from my Snapchat story). Halston and I ordered flights and my favorite was the Bumby Belgian Blonde Ale (I have a thing for blondes). The only thing that would make this place even cooler than it already is, is if it were actually by the beach. But it’s okay, I’ll live. We’ll be back, with Scout in tow.

Dat depth, tho.

Cubicle to Cuba: Desk Job to Dream Job: If you’re looking for an easy read, this is it. In this book Heidi Siefkas highlights her journey of quitting her cozy cubicle job and pursuing her passion of traveling to places like Kauai, Italy, Peru, New Zealand, Australia and Cuba as a tour guide. She shares her perspective gained from years of travel on the once-forbidden island, which is great, as I one day hope to visit the island that my father is from, but I will say that the book lacked introspection and depth. Either way, it was a fun read, I did laugh quite a bit with the stories she shared about her tour groups and it made me excited to start planning my future trip to Cuba!

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend! 

xx

Fri(yay) Lovin’ #13

Hey, it’s Veronica. Veronica Figueroa. That’s right. Don’t adjust your contact lenses, glasses or whatever vision correction device you’re reading this with. It’s me, live and on WordPress.

Unlike Hannah Baker on 13 Reasons Why, I’ve come for my return engagement and

If you’ve been searching through my Instagram account, trying to figure out what became of me during the past month and a half, I have no excuse for you other than I’ve been busy eating all the Mexican food in Central Florida (Please go visit Hunger Street Tacos, Black Rooster Taqueria, The Ocoee Taco Company and Fruta Mix Ocoee – I’m so serious. Just stop reading this awful blog post and go!), settling in to my new job and acting as a human chew toy for my new puppy.

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Meet Scout, a 10-week old Golden Doodle. My fur child.
Basically, I’ve had my hands quite full and I’ve settled into a very comfortable but predictable pattern in life where I do not find myself interesting enough to entertain you on a weekly basis. I mean, the fact that my birthday is coming up on Monday and I have no plans other than getting a pedicure with my stepsister (who is officially moving back from Hawaii this weekend and I finally get to meet my niece!) is very indicative of where I am right now. I just want to take it easy, blog once a quarter and count the days until I am officially retired (only forty more years to go, you guys!)

Anyway, crack open a cold one because it’s Friday and in true Friday fashion, I’ll be sharing a Fri(yay) Lovin’ list with all of the things I’ve been loving this week (it’s not just tacos and puppies!).

Las Chicas Del Cable: After riding an emotional rollercoaster with 13 Reasons Why and laughing my ass off with Chewing Gum (and concerned that the show is borderline blasphemous and I may go straight to hell), I decided to give Las Chicas Del Cable (Cable Girls) a chance. The period drama, filmed and set in Spain, follows the lives of four women with very different backgrounds working as switchboard operators at a telephone company in Madrid – Alba, the young woman trying to erase her past and keep her secrets from being found out, Marga, the shy, small-town girl who is finally making it on her own, Carlota, whose upper-class, controlling father won’t allow her to work and Angeles, a working mother with huge aspirations and a selfish husband who’d rather keep her at home. The show dives into women’s rights, feminism, sexuality, coming of age and so much more. If you were a fan of the badass female cast of Call the Midwife and are (im)patiently waiting for Netflix to release its latest season, check out Cable Girls. It’s in Spanish but it has subtitles (for the Spanish-impaired).

PhotoScan by Google Photos: My husband is constantly raving about everything Google does (honestly, he’s their biggest fan) so it didn’t come as a surprise to me that he wouldn’t shut up about PhotoScan, the app they released back in November. At the time, I worked inside an office and conveniently sat next to a scanner. Since then, I’ve left that job and lost access to the fancy scanner. I skeptically downloaded the app this week when I had to scan in some documents to my health insurance provider and was pleasantly surprised. The app, available for both iOS and Android, is extremely easy to use. I just took a picture of my document and the app recognized the four corners of the page. It then asked me to scan my phone over the four corners and it stitched together the five overlapped images. So as I search through old boxes and photo albums, prepare yourself for epic #ThrowbackThursday gems like this one:


And this one: 


Millennial Podcast: When I’m not binge-watching Netflix, I’m binge-listening (is that a thing?) podcasts. I recently stumbled upon the Millennial podcast and at first, I expected the worst. A podcast about “coming of age” and named after an age group that is constantly being ridiculed by older generations. I basically expected a podcast hosted by an entitled millennial with no depth to her words. Instead, I found myself traveling adulthood with Megan, its 20-something-year-old producer. She tackles current events, politics, even her parents’ separation and opens the doors to her personal life in a refreshing and lighthearted way. It almost feels like you’re talking to a friend (Megan, if you’re reading this, let’s be real friends).

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

xx

Road Trippin’: Palm Desert

Have you ever had one of those weeks in which…

  • you realize you’re doing the work of three for the price of one,
  • so you question your entire being and existence,
  • begin to feel terrible about yourself
  • and then your father calls you to tell you a family member is on their deathbed,
  • so then you start crying in your cubicle, trying to figure out when the next flight out of Orlando is (said family member is now in stable condition, thanks for your concern)?


Wait… and you’re telling me that it’s only Tuesday?


Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. *rolls eyes and takes a swig from bottle*

As I continue to battle my self-diagnosed seasonal depression and continue grasping at straws, I invite you to join me in happier times–my summer road trip. And yes, I’m totally aware that I’m way behind on these blogs so bear with me!


After taking in the majestic views of The Grand Canyon, we set our sights on the land of Coachella–Palm Desert.

Where we laid our heads to rest:

My husband’s coworker and her husband were gracious enough to host us during our stay in their lovely home.

Fun stuff:

Salvation Mountain: My husband and I finally got around to watching “Into The Wild” last year. It is a 2007 American biographical drama adapted from Jon Krakauer’s 1996 non-fiction book of the same name. In the film, Christopher McCandless travels across North America and one of his stops was Salvation Mountain, Slab City.

Located about an hour from Palm Desert, Salvation Mountain is a hill made from adobe, straw and paint, encompassing messages of love, peace and Bible verses. It was created by local resident Leonard Knight (he appeared in the movie as himself!) and is considered “a folk art site worthy of preservation and protection” by the Folk Art Society of America. It really is a unique sight–a towering, colorful hill, displaying the message that “God Is Love,” in the middle of an empty landscape.

East Jesus: Also found in Slab City is East Jesus, an art installation that invites guests to imagine a world without waste. Empty bottles, discarded television sets and dolls missing their limbs are given a second life as mixed-media art at East Jesus. Since the Slab City residents are always adding to the installations, I plan on returning in May while I’m in town for the PRSA conference.

Mud Pot: Do any of you have the TripAdvisor app on your phone with the location settings turned on? While driving back to Palm Desert, a notification popped up on our friend’s phone, letting us know that we were only minutes away from the Salton Sea Mud Pots.

Past reviewers on TripAdvisor marveled at the uniqueness of this “off the beaten path adventure” and we thought, “we are already here, might as well, right?”

After driving down a dirt path for a few miles, we stopped by a massive field with a power plant and got out of the car. The smell of sulfur hit me the second I opened the car door and I began to gag, laugh and choke on my own spit. Why were we here?

We held our breath, walked over to some mud mountains and heard them gurgling… Mud slowly trickled down one of the mud volcanoes and we all looked at each other. It was time to leave.

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The only picture of the mud pots that any of us took.

Nomz:

Reservoir: We did brunch at Reservoir, the casual, outdoor restaurant at Arrive Hotel. My favorite part of the restaurant was that it faced the hotel pool and every California stereotype came alive before my eyes (California girls, they’re unforgettable!). If I had a dollar for every female trying to find the best angle for their Instagram picture, I would have been able to afford one California-priced cocktail.
Hart Family Winery: Founded in 1980, the winery is the oldest continually owned and operated winery in Temecula Valley, producing boutique wines that include Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo. Halston and I were fans of their Roussane’s smooth and fruity flavor during our wine tasting and ended up buying a bottle to enjoy on the winery’s porch. The wine tasting at $12 for 6 wine tastings.

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Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery: At Palumbo, we enjoyed the $15 tasting which includes 5 wines and took in the gorgeous vineyard from the winery’s patio.

 

There are over three dozen wineries found in Temecula so it was a little bit hard to choose which one to go to, but we were happy with the choices we made. Next stop, Napa (I wish)!

Have you visited Palm Desert/Palm Springs before? What did you do? 

xx

Fri(yay) Lovin’ #9

Me, rn.

I honestly thought Friday was never going to get here. After living what could possibly have been the longest week of my life, saying goodbye to my two favorite coworkers as they move on to better opportunities (RIP Swizzle Spot), crying, and meeting my new boss, I deserve a Sleeping Beauty-type nap to recharge and prepare myself for whatever BS 2017 is going to throw my way.

From Pulse to the election results to Instagram stealing the Snapchat interface, it goes without saying that 2016 will not be remembered fondly by many.

But listen, I’m not here to drag you down and I don’t want you to think that this blog post is a cry for help. A few things in life still excite me (I’m looking at you, Chipotle burrito bowls), so without further ado, here are the things I’m loving this week.

Bibliotheca:

Back in the summer of 2014, my friends and I came across a Kickstarter campaign trying to raise money for Bibliotheca, an entire biblical library separated into volumes and designed purely for reading.

According to the founder, the text is reverently treated in classic typographic style, free of all added conventions such as chapter numbers, verse numbers, section headers, cross references and notes. Basically, it reads like a book, which is perfect for someone like me who enjoys reading but goes into a catatonic state when opening the Bible. Something about how busy those pages look make me feel like I’m back in my college humanities course…

The design was simple and the collection of books cost $75 so like good little Christian hipsters, we went ahead and ordered them.

For two years we waited and I eventually forgot about the order until a Christmas miracle occurred this week and they showed up on our doorstep!


They look and feel exactly as they were advertised, so I’m thinking that my resolution for 2017 should be to read the collection of books (I don’t really care for resolutions though). It will be interesting to read the Bible in the form of a novel and I’m also a little “eh…” about someone having taken apart the Bible and rewritten it. I mean, I don’t know if he edited things out or took creative liberties with the text, so we’ll see! For now, I’m just really excited Bibliotheca finally arrived and that I’ll be able to read it.


El Churry:

El Churry food truck became one of the first food trucks to cater to the late night crowd back in 1998 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (hey, that’s where I’m from!). They were also the first restaurant in Puerto Rico to offer churrasco sandwiches.

Their fan base kept growing throug the years and they continued opening new locations to keep up with demand–which brings me to this exciting announcement: EL CHURRY IS OPENING A FOOD TRUCK IN ORLANDO!

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They made the exciting announcement on their Facebook page a few days ago, making every Puerto Rican living in Orlando cry tears of joy (and all the Puerto Rican’s living in Miami green with envy).

On their menu you’ll find burgers, wraps and sandwiches. My favorite thing on the menu is the Mixto sandwich which consists of churrasco, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, potato sticks and mayo-ketchup (the only time I’ll ever willingly consume mayonnaise). All that is stuffed in Puerto Rican sweet bread known as “pan sobao.” The delicious sandwich was actually featured on the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

The food truck is set to open in January but I won’t have to wait that long to eat at El Churry because…

I AM GOING TO PUERTO RICO FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

For the first time in the 12 years I’ve been living in Florida, I’ll be able to spend the holidays back home. If you know me, you know that during the timeframe of Dec. 24-25 I spend hours scrolling through Facebook pictures of family parties I am not at or receiving Snapchat images and videos from my nieces. Well my friends, this year I’ll be doing the Snapchatting.

I am excited to spend time with my dad and my stepmom, to see my nieces and nephews, my friends and family, to eat all of the food and explore parts of the island I’ve never been to before (so thankfully, that means I won’t be trekking through the rainforest for a third time).

I’m counting down the minutes until I board that plane, fam!

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“I am ready for Christmas food.” Instagram: @PepitaSandwich

What are you doing for Christmas? Are you going anywhere exciting or is there a gift you’re hoping to get? 

Happy Christmas, loves. 

xx

Partin Ranch Corn Maze

¡Feliz Día de las Brujas! That’s Happy Halloween in Spanish to you gringos since I am coming to you live from Buenos Aires this week and missing all the Halloween fun back home.

I’m rarely in the fall spirit. I’m the kind of person to patiently wait until November 1st to belt out Christmas tunes at the top of my lungs, buy 300 holiday candles and start untangling the string lights my husband will eventually have to risk his life for to hang around the house.

But after stumbling across an easy DIY project (I actually only used the Krylon Looking Glass spray paint and a sealer on white and gray pumpkins)…

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…I began to get in the fall spirit and dragged my husband along to visit Partin Ranch Corn Maze. Halston and I had never been in a corn maze before but I came across of an aerial shot posted by the @igers_orlando Instagram account and I was sold.

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It was a 45 minute drive from our home in Winter Garden, but a familiar route as I often find myself hugging sloths at Wild Florida–the ranch is located about ten minutes from the airboat and wildlife park.

It is open select weekends in October and November. Admission is $10 for ages 13 and above, children ages 3-12 are $8 and there is no fee for infants and toddlers.

Once inside, we were greeted by hundreds of pumpkins and gourds, perfect for carving or for posing next to in a cute picture. The ranch has activities for children of all ages including a “Mini Maze” for younger children to explore and not get lost in, a corn box (instead of a sand box!), barrel train rides, combine harvester and hay rides, a kiddie zip-line and more!

But we were only here for one thing: the five acre corn maze. The night before, I “pre-gamed” by watching YouTube videos of families calling their local law enforcement agency because they had been stuck in mazes for hours. I had prepared for the end of the world.

Our experience was the exact opposite of that. We quickly glanced at the map we were given and set forth on our adventure. We encountered multi-generational families, couples and the occasional cheater who made his/her own path out of the maze (you know who you are).

After a few twists, turns and dead ends, we found our way out and it only took us about 25 minutes! And of course, we had to go back inside to take hilarious Boomerang videos because priorities.

We rewarded our teamwork and quick wit with Cajun boiled peanuts and people-watching. Other vendors at the ranch sell yummy treats such as cotton candy, funnel cake and kettle corn. Basically the stuff dreams are made of.

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Make sure to visit Partin Ranch Corn Maze on Nov. 5-6 and 12-13. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Or you can check out this list of 22 Central Florida pumpkin patches and corn mazes. There are some that are going all the way until December!


¡Adios, mis amores! And if you’re going out tonight drink responsibly, watch out for drunk drivers and be safe!


Besos xx