Tag Archives: photos

I longed for a warm scarf…

“Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times” – Asian Proverb

Day 2 started with homemade mimosas and extreme bewilderment as to why it was so ridiculously cold. [Read Day 1] I longed for a warm scarf and a cozy jacket. So what do I do? I purchase the fluffiest scarf I could find at Walgreens. Once I had my fluffy warm scarf, I was ready to tackle on the adventures that awaited us.

Our first stop was the Painted Ladies. We decided that it would be ideal to walk there since it was approximately only a 15 to 20min walk from where we were staying in Nob Hill. During our walk, I was just in awe by the beauty that surrounded us. There was something about the architecture in San Francisco that gave the city a modern vintage look.

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On our way we passed Japantown. Apparently, the Japantown in San Francisco is the oldest of the three remaining Japantown’s in the U.S. which, all happen to be in California. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore Japantown, but it was nice to learn of its existence.

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When we finally arrived to the Painted Ladies we were confused. For some odd reason we thought that the Painted Ladies was the location of the Full House (the sitcom) house. However, it’s not! The Painted Ladies is actually one of the most photographed locations in San Francisco. Right in front of the Painted Ladies is Alamo Square Park where people usually sit on its hill and enjoy the view of the beautiful colorful houses. Unfortunately, the hill was fenced up and tourists had to take their beauty shots from across the street.

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The infamous Chinatown was our next stop. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the second-largest Asian community in North America. Chinatown was filled with an abundance of culture and history. There were stories being told all over the streets through the form of art.

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By this point we were starving and wanted some food. We go on the look for some authentic Chinese food but, instead end up having Sushi at Sushi Taka, a Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi burritos and rice bowls. The irony, we skip Japantown to eat in Chinatown and end up getting Japanese food. Sushi Taka was a small spot in the corner of Kearny street and was only take-out. The line was long but we waited because that only meant that it would be worth it. All three of us order the Sushi burrito and decide to eat at the park in Portsmouth Square, known as the heart of Chinatown.

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The square was filled with pigeons, adorable Asian elderly locals, kids and your few random scattering civilians/tourists. Everything was so serene. We sat by the kid’s playground. As soon as Steph took a bite of her Sushi burrito, she saw a new world and stated that it was the best thing she has ever had. In the midst of Steph’s revelation, an elderly man decides to feed the pigeons right by where we were sitting. The pigeons flocked towards us, and as the man grinned with happiness we fled to a new bench fearing the pigeons and their hungry eyes.

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Apart from the awesome Sushi burrito, the best part of Chinatown was the dance group composed of older Asian women. It was the cutest thing ever! They were performing traditional cultural dances. If I knew what they were doing I would of joined in the dancing festivities.

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Off we go to find a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Beforehand, I do some quick research and read that there was a nice view of the Bridge in Presidio Park. Therefore, we tell our Lyft driver to take us to the park. After our awkward drive, we find ourselves in the middle of a huge hill with no idea where to go. So what do we do? No, we don’t climb the insane hill as shown above instead, like good tourists, we ask a local girl walking her dog. She points us towards Inspiration Point.

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Inspiration Point was truly inspirational; just breathtaking. From the point you can see Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Palace of Fine Arts and the East Bay.

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I am absolutely obsessed with scenic views because there is so much power in them. They hold dreams, inspirations, love, hope; they hold stories of success, failures, sacrifices, beginnings and ends. All we simply have to do is get lost in them and we are sure to discover something valuable. 

Inspiration Point and all its beauty did not have a view of the Golden Gate so our search continued. After waiting for our lost Uber driver for about a half hour, we made it to the Marina District.

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The Marina District houses the Palace of Fine Arts. The Palace was designed by Bernard R. Maybeck and the design reflects the impression of a Roman ruin. It was stunning to look at. There’s always so much meaning behind historical buildings. I always find it interesting.

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As we started walking towards Crissy Field we came across baby ducklings! Yes, it was an exciting point in our trip! We don’t see baby ducklings everyday.

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Finally! We found our view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was perfect. However, in the midst of all the perfection was the strong cold wind blowing so fiercely that my scarf didn’t feel as warm as it did in the morning. There I was again longing for a warm scarf. I sat down as the cold winds caressed my face and took the opportunity to call home. It was nice to feel home close to me as I viewed a historical landmark.

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I looked at the Bay with gratitude and thought of how perfect the moment was. I was truly and genuinely happy.

To be Continue…

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Cali, the West Coast, why not?

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Anonymous

I finally did it! After years of dreaming, I finally made my way to California. All I simply needed was my dream and two friend’s with the same vision.

My friend Stephany proposed the idea to me. At first, I was hesitant because I was focused on all the problems I had going on at the moment but, after a few exchange of words Steph convinced me to take a week off work. “Cali, the West Coast, why not?”
Then we reeled in our friend Damaris who was down for the cause as soon as the idea was presented to her. Soon after we were ready to start planning our trip to Los Angeles, California. In the midst of planning, Damaris had a genius idea; why limit ourselves to Los Angeles? Why not visit San Francisco too? Next thing you know using Expedia we booked an affordable flight to San Francisco and an overnight Greyhound from San Fran to LA.

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Early on Tuesday, May 24th we were at the San Francisco International Airport trying to decide how we were going to get to our Airbnb. After weighting our options, we decided to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit,) the train. We would then get off at the stop closest to our destination in Nob Hill, the area in San Francisco where we were staying, and from there take a Lyft. The BART was definitely an experience. For starters we had no idea how to figure out the ticket machine! If it wasn’t for the local lady who kindly assisted us we would of held up the line for quite awhile. Also, traveling on a train with six suitcases (two per girl) is not as easy as it sounds. No, we didn’t overpack, we were carrying sheets and pillows for our trip to LA…I’ll explain that at a later time. When we got off at our stop Steph and Damaris struggled getting their suitcases up the stairs. It was quite hilarious because an older woman, who was struggling just as bad as Steph, offered to help her with her luggage. The lesson here is that you are never too old to be a good Samaritan. Once we all finally made it up the stairs it hit us… we were in San Francisco, California. We were in the middle of a super busy street, we couldn’t find our Lyft and it seemed that even when we did, the driver wouldn’t have a spot to load our suitcases. Luckily, our driver finds us, she looks at us and our six suitcases like we were crazy, we loaded our stuff, get cursed at by an old man driving, reminding us that we were “not in New York City,” and just like that we were off to Nob Hill.

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We have been traveling since 5Am EST and arrived to our Airbnb around 12pm PDT. We gained three extra hours and we were tired but, more than ready to venture out into the streets of San Francisco. Our first task was to find and ride a San Francisco Cable Car.

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After walking up and down a few steep hills and after waiting what seemed like forever, we finally made it into a cable car! The destination was Fisherman’s Wharf. We paid $7 for a 2min ride down a hill. I didn’t really get to enjoy the ride because it was super crowded and the lady that charged us was extremely rude (don’t work with people if you don’t like people.) However, in the end I did get the experience so it was all worth it.

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When we arrived to Fisherman’s Wharf it seemed as if it got colder and the winds became stronger. It seemed crowded but not too crowded and, the streets were clean. It was a peaceful late afternoon down at Fisherman’s Wharf.

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As we walked and looked for some food, we came across some beautiful street art by a sweet Peruvian man. We loved his work so much we each bought something! He even gave us a discount!

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We stopped to eat at Capurro’s Restaurant where they had a delicious lunch special (half a crab sandwich with a side of clam chowder soup and fries.) 

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We enjoyed our tasty beers and laughed a lot. Everything seemed perfect and it felt like we had so much time left in our day. We walked Fisherman’s Wharf and came across a lot of boats, shops (Steph got her self a San Fran hoodie) and a lot of chain restaurants we were used to seeing back home. Steph and Damaris even made a new friend.

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As we walked closer to the shore of the San Francisco Bay, we saw Ghirardelli Square from a far.

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At this point it was freezing and the wind was uncontrollable. The Bay looked like an abyss filled with unknown secrets and stories. We admired it for as long as we could and then decided to head up the hill towards Lombard Street, where San Francisco’s famous crooked street resides.

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On our 2min cable car ride down to Fisherman’s Wharf we passed Lombard Street so we figured the walk up wouldn’t be so bad.

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Wow, were we wrong! We had the most intense workout. We walked one steep hill after another. Anyone who decides to visit San Francisco, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a daily workout.

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The crooked street housed a beautiful scenic view of the Bay Area. It was absolutely breathtaking. This is just one of the many views in San Francisco that leave you at a lost of words. After admiring what Lombard Street had to offer it was time to head back to our Airbnb. We walked so much and up so many hills, that by the time we got back we literally couldn’t feel our legs.

Just when I thought we were calling it a day, Steph and Damaris start craving Crêpes. So out we go around the block to Crêpes ooh La La. It’s a small place and nothing flashy but wow are the Crêpes amazing! The French man was also super adorable. He had a conversation with Damaris in French and I loved every second of it… as per usual.

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I had the strawberry, banana and Nutella Crêpe. It was worth every single penny! While we were there we had an unfortunate encounter with a drug addict. This was the start of a social issue we slowly started realizing in the San Francisco area. Soon after, it was time to call it a night. We head back, put on our PJ’s and collapse.

We survived our first day in California. 

Good Company

There’s just something refreshing about being surrounded by good company.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambition.” – Mark Twain

When I think of good company a few things come to mind: happiness, laughter, being myself, adventure, relaxation and motivation. I like to surround myself with people who will ultimately inspire me; people who at the end of the day remind me to always be great, even in the moments that are not so great.

A few weeks ago it was my friend Stephany’s birthday. To celebrate we had Brunch at Zylo Restaurant in Hoboken, NJ. 
[Click Here For More Info On Brunch]

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I told Steph about my new hobby, photography, and she was more than thrilled to allow me to take pictures during our outing. I was so excited to carry a camera all day. I felt like such a creative bumblebee just buzzing around collecting sweet shots of honey. I was able to capture unique moments. Moments that tell more than one story. Moments that are now forever imprinted and that can be remembered if one day forgotten.

We sipped on mimosas for 2.20 hours and ate until we couldn’t fit anymore food in our stomachs. So yes we ate, drank and laughed. Could it have gotten any better than that? Of Course!

Hoboken has a great view of New York City being located right next to the Hudson River. It has the type of view that will make you get lost in it…and we did.

We came across an Arts and Music festival! I was so excited.

We all walked together finding something to laugh about with each step we took. So much life and vibrance everywhere! We inspired each other to keep smiling. It’s the small things that count and those moments we spend with those that make us better. Surround yourself with those that make you great. Surround yourself with those that inspire you. Surround yourself with good company. 

Serenity

Dictionary.com defines serenity as the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil.
I was consumed by serenity yesterday when I went hiking at Ramapo Valley County Reservation.

The Ramapo Reservation is located in Mahwah, NJ with 19.7 miles worth of trails. The Reservation’s trails connect with those in Ringwood State Park to the west, Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the southwest, and Camp Glen Gray to the south.
(More Information on Ramapo Valley County Reservation

I think that we can easily forget how much beauty nature has to offer us. From the trees changing colors to the water shimmering in the sunlight reflecting nothing but perfection. I felt total bliss and was reminded that our problems, as massive as they may seem, are minimal.

My friends and I were astonished by the beauty we were surrounded by. I saw a live baby snake for the first time in my life.
Before we entered the park my friends and I saw a “Beware of snakes” sign, I immediately freaked out. The snake was so small and so harmless yet I couldn’t help but still feel some type of fear as I snapped my photo. Fear can be a tricky emotion but we have to always fight against it or else we will accomplish nothing. Fear was not going to stop me from capturing this moment… Mr. snake going about its day.

Will I move forward? Will I accomplish my goals? Will I succeed? Will I find a genuine love? I feel happiness. I feel unstoppable. I feel and see the possibility. I can conquer my fears. I can conquer my insecurities. But will I…? Right at that moment on top of that rock as my friends and I discussed our goals I felt that I would! 

Butterflies, to me, represent rebirth; the possibility to change and self-discovery.

Find a place filled with pure serenity and get lost in it. Explore what’s on your mind and knock down the walls you have built inside your head. Map out the impossible and prepare yourself for a difficult journey…but just like New York (pictured above on the horizon) your goal is visible regardless of the struggles you may face ahead. Fight your fears and don’t be scared of failure, pick yourself up and keep walking towards your goal… I know I will! 

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Hoagie Dip

I love to cook and to try new recipes. It’s something I discovered a few years back. So whenever I get the opportunity I try something new.

Recently, at work, I was talking to my supervisor about her best dip: The Hoagie Dip. I had absolutely no idea what a Hoagie Dip was. I looked it up Click Here For Original Recipe and discovered that it’s the contents of an Italian Hoagie mixed together. (Hoagie is another word for a sub sandwich.) 

I decided to surprise my supervisor by making my team the dip. Surprisingly, it turned out to be a huge success! I was so pleased. Yesterday, I even made it for my uncle’s wife reveal party (she’s having a girl! Yay!) and it was also also a huge success! My mom cannot stop raving about it being a great dip to bring to parties.

After all this success with the dip I just find the need to share with everyone how simple it is to make!

Ingredients:

  • Deli ham, thinly sliced
  • Deli turkey, thinly sliced
  • Deli salami, thinly sliced
  • Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
  • Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian Seasoning

Hoagie Dip

 Instructions:

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together mayo, vinegar, oil and spices
  3. Mix mayo with the cold cuts until combined.
  4. Refrigerate (I like to do at least 24hrs so the tastes can really blend together) 
  5. Add lettuce when ready to serve for a fresh taste

 FINAL PRODUCT

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Wine and Cheese

Today, I was surprised and was taken wine and cheese tasting at Crossing Vineyards in Washington Crossing, PA. Everyone who really knows me knows how much I LOVE cheese and how badly I’ve always wanted to do this. It was an amazing experience.We had crackers and five types of cheeses:

  1. Pepper Jack Cheese
  2. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  3. Pepato Cheese
  4. Dill Havarti Cheese
  5. Manchego Cheese

We tasted about 10 to 14 wines…I honestly lost count.

Here are the notes I took on the different pairings and the wines themselves:

  • Dill Havarti cheese pairs up with Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier
  • Chardonnay doesn’t really pair off with any cheeses
  • Vidal Blanc goes well with Sushi
  • Pepper Jack cheese pairs up with Riesling  *Riesling is also good with spicy food*
  • Manchego cheese pairs up with Merlot  *Merlot is also good with Pizza due to the Marinara sauce*
  • Rosé is really good
  • Cheddar cheese pairs up with Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc is very smooth and delicious
  • Pepato cheese pairs up with Chambourcin Reserve 
  • Peach wine exist!!! (Blew my mind away!)
  • Wild-berry wine is good with cheese cake and duck
  • Chocolate Cherry Truffle wine really tastes like chocolate and is it absolutely delicious!

After the wine and cheese tasting we had a small tour of the vineyard. It was beautiful. There’s nothing like a great scenery.

Grapes growing (not quite ready yet.)

I was honestly in awe at how peaceful everything looked.

During the tour we got a brief history of the vineyard. I even learned that the owner of the vineyard was the man that complimented my curly hair during the wine and cheese tasting. I was extremely flattered being that I’ve been struggling with my hair.

Overall, I had a great time and wine tasting was everything I expected and more. I even learned that I’m more of a white wine type of girl unless I’m drinking Sangria, which comes to show that with every experience we learn something new about ourselves, doesn’t matter how small or big the detail is.

I Climb Rocks

I did it! I climbed rocks! 

Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks Vista) – Pipersville, PA

Self-discovery is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and discovering that “you” that’s hidden underneath all your fears, doubts and worries. There’s no better path to self-discovery than one filled with new experiences.You truly never know what you are capable of until you challenge yourself and push your limits by trying new things. You might end up discovering a skill you never thought you had or a hobby that fills you with that joy you’ve been missing from your life.

I told myself that this year I was going to go rock climbing. Why? I don’t have the slightest idea. I simply just wanted to do something different and challenging. Let me tell you that I have never been more proud of myself then when I reached the top of my first rock, hugged the tree and looked down at my guide and friend who were looking up at me.

Dare to do what you think is impossible.

On my journey to the top I got ridiculously dirty, became acquainted with bugs I would normally run away from, got a few scrapes and bruises and worked out my arms. I felt like I was doing yoga (never done yoga but I’m convinced I did a few yoga moves) while climbing to the top. It was all absolutely exhilarating! Everything disappears and it’s just you and that rock… all I could think about was, “what’s my next move to make it to the top?

Rock climbing is all about determination. It’s like life. It won’t be easy, you’ll definitely get a few scrapes and bruises but reaching the top will make all the struggle feel like nothing, compared to the feeling of accomplishment. Ironic right?

I discovered that I like climbing rocks and I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

Overall, I had an amazing day learning how to climb. My friend was a great supporter and was an awesome climber! I met a family of rock climbers (12 year olds were putting me to shame) and my guide was awesome! Ralph Stover was a beautiful park that left me in complete amazement and gave me an incredible experience.

** My Rock Climbing experience was possible thanks to Northeast Mountain Guiding