Tag Archives: possibility

Montreal

“Rester, c’est exister; mais voyager, c’est vivre. – Gustave Nadaud
“To stay is to exist; to travel is to live.”

2017 came around; I found myself standing and the world around me spinning. It was one of those things where I wanted to take a hold of everything; all at once. It took me until the end of March to realize that in my attempt to grab everything, I just got dizzier as I barely held on to anything. School, work, traveling, bills, trying new hobbies, self-care…I thought I could do it all. Yea, I thought wrong. Time sped and here we are at the end of April.

So much for not having a quarter life crisis.

Well as I sit here reflecting on the past few months, I look back to February when a group of friends and I took a trip to Montreal, QC, Canada. Montreal was perfect from the culture to the scenic views. At this time, I didn’t know I was on a spinning spree, but this trip was refreshing; made me even more addicted to traveling and getting away.

Montreal1

It was five of us; not everyone was familiar with each other, but we all started the journey with an open mind. We decided to make it a mini road trip and left before the sun was even awake (four of us; one was flying and meeting us there.) It was a nice drive and we didn’t hit not one ounce of traffic which, we loved. While waiting at the border we cracked opened our windows, to take pictures of the Canadian flag, and the air felt fresher. It was like breathing in a sense of relief and exhaling all my problems and discontent. I felt happy.

As soon as we crossed the border the signs changed from English to French. I celebrated. Anyone who knows me knows that I become super excited whenever I see or hear anything related to the French language or culture. I was ready to practice speaking all weekend! Yes, I was about to get on everyone’s last nerve…in a good way though!

When we arrived, we couldn’t find parking for the life of us. Guess some things just don’t change in any country. Well when we finally did and figured out the ridiculously expensive street parking situation, turns out our Airbnb wasn’t even ready. So there we are looking like we just woke up and needing showers, in uggs, stepping on slushy snow. So what we do? We decided to walk and search for food and booze. Our first stop was Station 16 Gallery. Contemporary art at its finest. Everything was bold and provocative. Self-expression to the max. Check out the site. It’s worth a look.

After the gallery and stopping at a few boutiques, we found a place to eat. McKibbin’s Irish Pub turned out to be the perfect place to have our first drinks. I had a beer (of course) and everyone else had Irish Coffee. I think this is where it finally hit us that we were in Canada.

Montreal2

Eventually, we got dressed and looked civilized. It felt amazing. Also, let me not forget to mention how in LOVE I was with our Airbnb. If I could dream up my own apartment it would look exactly like the place we were staying in.

We went to the airport to pick up the last person missing from our group, Jadira, who apparently was stranded, with a dead phone and not knowing any valid French to communicate. It was quite funny especially because she was coming straight out of her intro to French course. Well once she was rescued, we headed straight for Old Montreal where Igloo Fest was taking place at Jacques-Cartier Pier.

Montreal3

It was a great beginning to our night! We enjoyed a beautiful picturesque walk around Old Montreal. We stumbled across a cute small restaurant, Restaurant Le Fripon, where we had Canadian beer and snails….YES, snails. It tasted okay…I think it was the cheese and garlic; a little chewy for the most part. When we finally got to Igloo Fest it looked like one of those raging festivals I had no business being at. Fortunately, It wasn’t that hectic (EDM just isn’t my thing and neither is raging.) We took some shots, enjoyed the outside view and headed back to get ready for the rest of our evening.

We ended our Saturday at Muzique, which turned out to be across the street from where we were staying. Okay, so what I learned? When a country allows drinking and partying at 18+ DO NOT go out clubbing. Unless you specifically know it’s a school night and the kids will be in bed. I felt like I was at a college party. It was incredibly crowded and everyone was out of control. The funny part is that the bouncer let us skip the line because we were 21+. Ironic right? We made the best of it by dancing and laughing at what was happening around us. Felt like a teen movie could have been made out of it all the wild things we saw.

Sunday welcomed us with perfect (not so cold) weather. We went to Fabergé  for brunch where we probably waited about an hour or more to get seated. The place was small and the line was long (felt like a good sign.) It was absolutely worth it! We had the most delicious Poutine (potatoes with gravy and cheese,) and ate so much food it was somewhat ridiculous! Shrugs. I’m sure we would all do it again without thinking twice!

Montreal4.jpg

Next stop was Mount Royal.  First, i’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Montreal5

Montreal6

The view was absolutely spectacular and truly breathtaking. I couldn’t stop staring at it. In that moment, I wanted to stay in Canada. It was covered in cold and frost but filled with serenity. I can close my eyes and feel the happiness I felt from looking at Montreal. Moments like that is why I love to travel.

We headed back to Old Montreal where we stopped to take a few pictures of the Notre-Dame Basilica, the first Gothic revival style church to be built in Canada.

Montreal8

Old Montreal is spectacular. It looked even more beautiful in the rain…something about the wet cobblestone made it look more alive.

Montreal7

We went to Les 3 Brasseurs for dinner. It was probably the most fun we had thus far during our trip! We started off with the beer sampler, which had a mix of white, blonde, amber, brown and IPA beers. How we managed to taste ALL the beers? Let’s just say we decided to “Be-er about it…” sip and pass until the cup was empty! We finished before we even got our main courses. 

Montreal9

That night, for some odd reason, we decided to give clubbing another try. We started off at Tokyo Bar and ended at Apartment 200. I guess because it was a school night, there were barely any kids out! So yes, the night was a total success and a complete 180 from Saturday night. I had so much fun that by the end of the night, I shed a few tears because I didn’t want to go home. It was definitely bittersweet for it to be the last night; yet such a fun night.

Waking up on Monday was a bit difficult but we managed to leave by 11am. Before hitting the road we picked up some smoked meat at Schwartz Deli and some more Poutine for me. It was tasty just too much meat for a small piece of bread.

Montreal10

… but with the last bites of our sandwich ended our trip in Montreal. We walked to the car, got lost trying to buy some souvenirs and off we were to our 6-hour drive back home.

It was a nice getaway, but it left me wanting more. I wanted more adventure and more moments to capture. Therefore, my spinning continued and I quickly started planning my next trip.

sig

Philly, Hey!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time flies. One minute I’m traveling; the next I’m back in school preparing assignments and presentations. Sometimes, I truly wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.

Last month, right before I started my my second semester as a Graduate Student, I decided to do a small weekend getaway trip, with some of my girls, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I booked us a really nice hotel room in Center City at Loews Philadelphia Hotel. We had such a breathtaking view of the city. It was one of those views that reminded you of the beauty of architecture and sunlight brightening up the sky, and the serenity created by skyscraper lights. Can you tell I love cities? Because I do. I’ll admit Philadelphia is far from my favorite city but on that weekend, it definitely grew on me.

We decided to walk to our first destination. It was supposed to snow in a few hours and we wanted to enjoy walking, while we could. It wasn’t too cold so it was perfect. In the middle of Midtown Village we came across Finn McCools Ale House.  Here I discovered and had my first White Russian. I don’t know much about cocktails, and at 25 maybe I should know a little more than I do,  but wow was it strong. Luckily, I shared the drink with my friend. We left Finn’s very happy and probably a tad buzzed.

pa1

PA_2.jpg

As we walked towards the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens we came across beautiful murals and graffiti art. Had to stop and take pictures.

pa3

The Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a beautiful project that started in the late 1960s by Isaiah Zagar. It’s a remarkably stunning work of art that opened up to the public in 2008. At first sight, you can’t help but to look in awe at how detailed everything is. Every corner, every inch, is truly magical. We literally stayed there for about two hours just mesmerized by everything. We took so many pictures wanting to capture every moment we created there.

pa4

pa5

pa6

It started getting colder and that was pretty much our cue to walk back towards are next destination. On the way, we stopped by Strangelove’s Bar. I’m 100% a beer girl so I was more than enthusiastic to try something new. We ended up spending about 1.5 hours just talking and enjoying our beer selection. It was a nice spot and we clearly got sucked into the vibe.

Before heading to Philly, almost everyone I talked to told me to check out the Reading Terminal Market and that’s what we did next. At this point we were starving and all we wanted was food. The place was crowded and the options to eat felt endless. We ended up separating, half of us got Philly Cheesesteaks  while the rest of us got some Soul Food at Keven Parker’s Soul Food Cafe. I devoured my food. It was absolutely mouth watering delicious. There’s no other way of putting it. We couldn’t leave the Market without getting some famous Beiler’s Donuts. The line was insane but totally worth it.

It was early, around 7PM, but it was raining, and phones were dying, so we decided to head back to the hotel to charge for a bit. The plan was to head back out for a few more bar hops, before preparing for our evening festivities, but the bed felt too good for a few of us. The rest of the group headed down to the hotel bar. Never underestimate the hotel bar! You might just end up having a pleasant time with some fancy delicious cocktail, that you keep calling by the wrong name…yep, totally me.

pa6_1

Eventually, we got dressed for the night. It was an interesting one to say the least. If I had to summarize the night in one word it would be random. We spent most of our night at Time Restaurant. It was a great place divided into three sections: one for dancing, one for live music and one for simply sitting and drinking. After that we somehow ended up at Wawa. That had to be the most crowded Wawa I’ve ever seen.

The next day, before heading back to my house we had Brunch at the famous, and highly loved, Green Eggs Cafe. Beforehand, we had mimosas at Caribou Café, a Parisian bistro, to kill the 1 hr and 45min wait we had at Green Eggs. It was such a cute little French place it took everything in me to not order food.

To end our Philly adventure we took a picture with the Love sign like any other tourist. It was absolutely freezing at this point and we couldn’t wait to get back to the car.

pa7

Philly, was a good adventure. The trip definitely warmed me up to its possibilities. Philadelphia might not have the best public transportation system, but it’s not lacking great bars and places to eat. So if you want a nice weekend getaway why not give Philly a try? I did.

sig

Last Day In CA

“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” – Vincent Van Gough

It was officially Monday; our last day in Los Angeles, California. We had to wake up super early to move our cars, and it was brutal. We were so tired from our hike the day before. On our search for a parking garage, by accident, we ended up driving by the famous Skid Row. It was by far the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life. All the poverty broke my heart. I was truly baffled and speechless. It was one of those experiences that made you grateful for what you have. A reminder to always give thanks for your blessings. At that moment I missed home.

We couldn’t find the right parking garage and it was already 9:00 am. We decided to just have breakfast. Of course, we couldn’t find non-meter parking (meter prices were ridiculous,) so we decided to get our food from Poppy + Rose to go. We really wish we could have ate there because it was a quaint spot; perfect for a relaxed morning with friends.

We ate our breakfast in the car and then head towards FIGat7th. I guess this is LA’s way of modernizing its downtown. Think of it as a mall. We didn’t stay long just stopped by Target, which by the way had a whole liquor area. I was pretty taken aback by that. I haven’t seen a Target with liquor in NJ.

At this point, we were wide awake and just ended up parking the car at a parking place right around the corner of the apartment. It was time to get ourselves ready for Beverly Hills.

Before heading out, we decided to find one of the Los Angeles Angel Wings, which is a part of the Global Angel Wings Project.

wings

We looked like total tourists and enjoyed every second of it.

bh

When we arrived at Beverly Hills we were in shock…talk about a total 180 from downtown LA. We parked and thought, “we’ll only stay for two hours max. What can we possibly do for a whole day here.” Yea, we spent our entire day in Beverly Hills without a single care in the world.

It was a perfect day in Beverly Hills. The weather was fantastic and the atmosphere was peaceful. First, we came across this small chocolate shop, Diane Krön Chocolatier. Damaris wanted to get some chocolate for her family. We started talking to the owner and to our surprise she was Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal chocolate connoisseur. She was an absolutely lovely woman with so much kindness. She allowed us to taste some of her delicious chocolates and nicely packaged the chocolates Damaris purchased. It was the perfect welcome to Beverly Hills.

Once we hit the main strip, we came across all the high-class expensive name brand stores that I would never shop at on a daily basis. Dior, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Vera Wang (wedding dress goals,) Tiffany & Co. It was all there!

bh2bh3

We walked in awe. Everything was beautiful and expensive. Surprisingly, we didn’t feel poor, even though we totally were compared to the riches we were surrounded by, which is probably why we didn’t go into any of the stores.

We had lunch at 90210 Pho – A Modern Vietnamese Kitchen. The food was good and prices were affordable. We had the funniest waiter who loved that we were from the East Coast. We considered doing a tour of the mansions but ended up not doing so. We walked around some more and then came across Amorino Gelato Al Naturale. Talk about tasting the softest and most delicious gelato ever!

bh3

Before heading back to downtown LA, we drove past some of the Beverly Hill mansions and swore one day we would own one. They were spectacular! With dreams in the air, we parted ways with Beverly Hills and drove right back into reality.

We ended the night at the Ace Hotel Upstairs. It was interesting, to say the least. We didn’t stay long, even though we tried. I think it was 70’s night; not really our crowd. Just like that ended our final day in Los Angeles, California.

California was definitely a 2016 highlight. It has always been a dream of mine to visit the West Coast. I’m glad I was able to share that with some of my closest friends. We definitely learned a lot from our trip and were able to experience things we didn’t think we would anytime soon. It just goes to show that all you really need to make a dream come true is a little push to make it happen. So thank you Steph and Damaris because only by pushing each other did we make this a reality.

Last Day: Golden Gate Bridge

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

We have reached the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge! We were so excited to finally have made it to San Francisco’s most iconic monument. [Read Here: Beginning of Day 3]

SF1

The bridge was an impressive view; stunning. It was 1.7 miles of beauty, connecting San Francisco to California’s northern counties. It was as if we entered into a new world. The sun and warmth was no longer with us. The area surrounding the entrance of the bridge was foggy and windy. Again, we longed for a warm coat, but not enough to deter us from our adventure and making it to the other side.

SF2

We were so excited to be walking the Golden Gate Bridge. It was one of those experiences you only dream of doing, until somehow you catch yourself living the dream.

SF3

We were surrounded by beauty. A scenic view full of possibilities as we walked away from the city. I remember walking and thinking, if this moment was possible anything could be possible. The same smile I conjured up that day resurfaces as I reminisce. At that moment problems were nonexistent; I saw all the possible doors I could open by just starring at the vast sea.

SF4

Slowly, the fog started disappearing and the sun resurfaced. It was magical as if we were crossing into holy grounds. However, we didn’t really know what to expect on the other side.

SF5

Turns out that at the end of the bridge is Vista Point, a place where you can take in the beauty that is the city of San Francisco, along with the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was simply breathtaking. Vista Point is located in the town of Sausalito, CA. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore Sausalito being that it was a 15min walk into town. However, on our way towards the Point, we did receive great reviews from a friendly couple we came across.

SF6

By the time we finished taking in the view we realized how hungry we were. It took us a bit of time to order a Lyft because Vista Point has no exact address. Luckily, we found a Lyft that was already at the Point and was able to pick us up without any hassle. We headed straight to Liquid Gold, after reading reviews, hoping for a great meal. Come to find out the place is strictly beer and BYOF (Bring Your Own Food.)

We asked for some close by places to eat and the bartender directed us towards Cordon Bleu, a Vietnamese restaurant. Cordon Bleu is a San Francisco must find. It is nothing fancy nor special but it was amazing! Think of it as authentic Vietnamese comfort food. Something you would get if you were to visit the household of a Vietnamese family. There’s nothing better than eating those type of meals on vacation. Happiness in a plate, simple as that. After stuffing our faces we made it back to Liquid Gold for our beer tasting.

SF7

Liquid Gold is a new Bottle Shop and Tap Room in San Francisco. I’m a beer fanatic so I was super excited about finally experiencing a beer tasting. Beer tasting at Liquid Gold includes four beers (local and international beer) of your choosing from the Live Tap Menu.

SF8

This was our last day in San Francisco so we enjoyed our beers as we looked back on our adventures. After about an hour, we started getting ready to wrap things up and head back to our Airbnb. We had to head to the Greyhound station in about 1.5 hours to catch our overnight bus to Los Angeles. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Damaris decided that she needed a San Francisco hoodie and then that’s when I decided that I needed a California hoodie. Stephany gave us the side eye, but after deliberating back and forth, we chugged the last of our beers, ordered a Lyft and headed back down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We ended up getting our hoodies from the same shop Steph got her’s. Why didn’t we just get one back then? Who knows. Once we got our hoodies it was time to head back and say bye to Nob Hill.

To be Continued…

Trust.

“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible” – Mandy Hale

Trusting is hard. However, the funny thing is that you can’t live without trusting…I mean at least yourself. No trust in yourself means no faith in yourself and ultimately, that negativity limits your changes of succeeding. 

About two years ago I didn’t trust anything. Love was playing games, I seemed to keep failing and though I truly wasn’t alone, I felt like I couldn’t trust anything but the dreams that lightened up my night while I slept. I was scared, scared to be stuck, scared to fail, scared to not find love, scared to wait and embrace the uncertainty of the future. I was fragile and my heart was filled with insecurities.

Then, as many already know, I was encouraged to do my list and tackle on things I had put on the back burner. I didn’t realize it at the time but the list challenged me to trust. It challenged me to trust in myself and my capability of not only accomplishing the things on my list but, trusting that I could discover the bits and pieces of myself that make me who I am.

heart

When my friend Krystal asked me to join her May writing challenge I was excited because who doesn’t love a challenge? [Check out her Blog] Each week we will focus on a word and funny enough this week’s is Trust. Trust is the foundation of my blog because when I had none, this blog allowed me to open myself more as I unfolded the tasks on my list.

I also challenged myself to trust in the uncertainty of life. I have come to realize that because nothing is certain everything is possible. Two years ago, when trust was merely a word without any foundation, the thought of uncertainty made my cringe. Today, I proudly stand on the ledge of uncertainty and look straight, awaiting the unknown.

Trust can be scary but scarier is to live in fear of life. Trust in your failures because they will make you stronger. Trust in the unknown because it creates a bridge of possibilities. Trust in love because it gives us hope…. but most importantly, trust in yourself because you have the power to be great!

Savannah, Georgia Pt.1

Roulette is a game of chance. Once you spin the wheel it is up to chance to decide where the ball will land.

Thinking “here goes nothing” could be the start of everything – Drew Wagner

A few months back my friend Shakia and I let chance decide where our next travel adventure would be. Jetblue was offering a series of flight specials that we just couldn’t pass up. I wrote down all our possible options in pieces of paper, folded them and jumbled them up on my night stand… and just like that we played travel roulette; we were booked to go to Savannah, Georgia in November.

Day 1 

We arrived to the Savannah Hilton Head International airport excited and slightly tired from our lack of sleep. We picked up our Enterprise rental car and after chatting it up with the friendly employee (wish I remembered his name) we were on our way to our hotel at La Quinta Inn and Suites in Pooler, Georgia. We were so excited about our trip that we completely forgot about check-in. We arrived around 10am and check-in wasn’t until 1pm…we were stuck. So what do two girls with nothing to do at 10am end up doing?…yupp we went shopping.

Savannah1

I’ve never been to the Tanger Outlets  but my first time in one and Oldnavy was having a spectacular sale. Good sales are like kryptonite to us and if it wasn’t because we had to fit everything into our suitcase, we probably would of spent all of our money shopping before even exploring Savannah!

Savannah2

After we finally checked in and freshened up we were off to Tybee Island. It was the perfect day to be around the beach with the 80 degree Georgian weather. Our first stop was the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum ($9 well spent!)

Savannah3

The view was breathtaking. I’m a true sucker for a beautiful scenery.

Savannah4

I felt completely at peace and content with life. I’ve said it over and over again…there is nothing like the simple moments in life. 

As the sun started setting and the clouds got darker, we headed to the beach.

Savannah 7

The sand was filled with broken shells and the air smelled fresh with a hint of salt water. I continued to feel content even as the horizon was warning us of a storm coming our way.


I took it is a metaphor…even though hard times are ahead, be grateful for what you’ve accomplished and what you have gained thus far in your life.


As rain drops started to fall, we ended our night by heading to the The Crab Shack. We got our hands dirty and devoured our fresh crabs. I recommend the Deviled Crab! It’s basically a crab cake made with real crab meat. It was absolutely delicious.

While we walked out and waved at the alligator (yes, there were alligators in a pond) we realized how exhausted we were. It was time for bed.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all – Helen Keller

To be continued…

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! 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin