Tuesday, November 1, 2016

We bought a house

A house is made of bricks and beams.  A home is made of love and dreams.

We bought a house

I'm so excited to share with you that we bought a house!   After many months checking listings, 2 offers rejected and 11 open houses we found the one for us. 

We fell in love with our almost 100 years old house and we got it.  The house needed love.  We have been doing some renovations and working hard on transforming our house into our happy home.   We still have a lot to do and to buy but so far we have been enjoying the process. 

It's so exciting, quite overwhelming and still feels surreal that it's our.  We are feeling very blessed.   I am sharing with you the "before" photos hopefully I will be able to share the progress soon. 

We bought a house

We bought a house

We bought a house

We bought a house

We bought a house

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary


After the whole Harry Potter adventure, there was a big surprise for me: The trip included 2 days at Disneyland to enjoy all the Diamond anniversary celebrations.

We stayed 2 nights in order to be able to go to the new fireworks show "Disneyland forever" and to the new night parade "Paint the night" in Disneyland.  The other night we went to the World of Color at California Adventure, a new version of the show called Celebrate! in honor of Disneyland's 60th anniversary. 

I love all kind of rides from the classic Disneyland rides to the high-speed roller coaster.  This trip we did a little bit of everything. In Disneyland we went to the classics like Haunted mansion, it's a small world, Mad Tea and King Arthur carrousel and also to the new Hyperspace mountain.  At California adventure we couldn't miss California screamin, grizzly river run and Cars land. 

No matter the time of the year, Disney does it right especially at the holidays.  For the 60th anniversary there were decorations everywhere around in shades of blue and diamond, the whole park was dazzling.  It make it extra special 

For me Disneyland is the most magical place, it makes you feel a child over and over again.  It makes me feel young at heart. It really is the happiest place on Earth.

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th AnniversaryDisneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th AnniversaryDisneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Tomorrow we will do beautiful things.  Antoni Gaudí

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

The Eixample catalan for the extension is a neighborhood in Barcelona developed in the second half of the nineteenth century.   The area is indeed an extension built in Barcelona after the demolition of the medieval city walls.  It was design by the Catalan engineer Ildefons Cerda in the 1850's. 

The Eixample is consider to be one of the first examples of modern urban planning.  It was designed to contain everything you will need for your daily live around.  It is known for the airy boulevards and wide sidewalks. 

Nowadays Eixample is famous for being home to the majority of Barcelona's modernist architecture (Catalan Art Nouveau) like Casa Lleó Morerera, Casa Amatller and the well known Casa Milá and Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí.      

On our last trip to Barcelona, we visited Casa Batlló located in Passeig de Gracia. It is a house reconstructed in 1904 by Gaudí for the aristocrat Josep Batlló.   

The building is known as the casa dels ossos (house of the bones) or casa del drac  (house of the dragon) and it is easy to see why.   The house represent the legend of Saint Jordi and the dragon. From the outside looks like it has been made from skulls and bones and the roof was built to look like the dragon.

Outside and inside the attention to detail is captivating.  Every shape and color has a reason.  Gaudí's architecture is so different and unforgettable.  The building is stunningly original and well worth the visit.

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Casa Batlló. Barcelona

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" Albus Dumbledore.   J.K. Rowling,  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood


For Memorial day weekend, David planned a big surprise for me: A trip to LA.  I had no idea of where we were going after we arrived to the gates.   When we landed late at night and we went straight to Universal Studios and the first surprise was revealed.   We had tickets to Universal Studios for the next day. 

We did the VIP tour which includes some insights of the studios, lunch in a private restaurant and preferred entrance in all the rides.  The only reason why he bought it, was that we expected the park to be really crowded and it was.     We did all the rides on before lunch: Transformers, The Simpsons, Jurassic park, The mummy. 

We left the best for the end: The Wizarding world of Harry Potter.   This area of the park includes the village of Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts. It just opened last April and as diehard fan I was so happy to be there, my husband knows me well.    

At the entry you will find the Hogwarts express and street with all the stores of the village, the wizarding world's best-known establishments like Ollivander's, where you can buy your wand or Honeydukes, the legendary shop for sweets.  

At the back you will find the rides: The flight of the Hippogriff, a family friendly roller coaster and Harry Potter and the forbidden journey, in my opinion the best ride of the park.  It is a 3D ride inside of Hogwart's.  You will fly, play quidditch, fight againts dementors and will tour though Hogwart's. 

The best feature is that if you buy a "interactive wand", you can wave it and make magic in some locations though the park.  The wand come with a map and instructions for every spell.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood




The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios HollywoodThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Arizona State University

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.   Nelson Mandela


On our recent trip to Arizona I stayed a couple of days at Tempe, the home of the main campus of the Arizona State University, known as ASU.

ASU is a public university. It has 4 campuses around Phoenix and the main campus in Tempe. It is one the largest public university campus in the country by enrollment, more than 82,000 students enrolled in 2014.  

Academically it is consistently ranked as a top school for graduate and undergraduate programs. In 2016 was ranked the "Most innovative school" in America by the U.S. News & World Report. 

There are many places that you shouldn't miss if you visit the campus:
The "A" Mountain.  Officially named the Tempe Butte, is a local landmark.   The mountain has a 60 foot tall letter "A" painted in gold.     The trail is a short hike and at the top it offers a panoramic view of the valley. 
Palm Wall.  Probably the most popular and photograph place in campus.  It connects the campus from north to south.  It is lined with tall palm trees. 
ASU Gammage.  The Gamage was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is a performing center and popular spot.  Nearby you will also find the Nelson Fine Arts Center.  
Mill Avenue.   The iconic Mill Avenue is the best place to find restaurants, bars and the best night life in town.

I had a great time in this crazy party college town but it made me fell my age and bring me back good college memories. 




Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What I Read in April

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand – Neil GaimanBook reviews of: Pretty girls, The one that got away, Tell me three things and Night road.



Pretty girls by Karin Slaughter   (4.5)
When Claire's husband died she discovered a lot of secrets of her husband that made her question, who he really was? The situation will make her reconnect with her sister Lydia and together they will try to know more about their sister, whom disappeared 20 years ago. 
This is the best crime thriller book I have read in a long time.  What I loved about the book is that the plot is not expected or predictable.  It felts like reading a mix of Criminal minds with CSI. Note: It includes a lot of graphic violence which is hard to read in some parts. 

The one that got away by Bethany Chase  (3.5)
Sarina lives in Austin and is becoming a successful architect.  She is in a long-term relationship with Noah.  When she least expected a college love, Eamon, reappears in her life and became her client. She will be confused about her path and decisions: Should she stay in a "safe" relationship that makes it somehow happy or should she risk it all?
It is an engaging story, a good chick-flick perfect for summer.  

Tell me three things by Julie Buxbaum  (3.5)
Jessie's mom died recently.  Her dad suddenly remarried and decided to relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles which means a new private school and a new family.  All the changes, turned her life upside-down.  After a few days at school, someone anonymously contact her and offer inside information and advices about the school.  A part of the book is to find out who he is.   It is a charming young adult novel. 

Night road by Kristin Hannah   (5)
Probably my favorite of the month.   Just one bad decision, changed forever the lives of all the characters of the book.  It is a heart-renting book with many messages about love, grief and forgiveness.  You may need a box of tissues to read it. 
I also recommend The nightingale, written by the same author.

This post contain affiliate links, which means I receive a percentage if you make a purchase using the link. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

The desert tells a different story every time one ventures on it.  Robert Edison Fulton, Jr.


A few weeks ago,  I was able to visit the Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona.  The Garden is located in the Papago Park, next door toe the Phoenix Zoo, in Phoenix. 

The garden showcases 50 acres of outdoor exhibits, a vast collection of plants from deserts around the world. It is divided in 5 thematic trails that will help you enjoy and explore the beauty of the desert.  Each loop offers a different experience:
  • The Desert Discovery Loop, is the main trail, where you can find cacti and succulents from around the world. 
  • Plants & people of the Southwest Loop, You can learn about plants that have been used for food, fiber, medicine and cultural purposes.
  • Sonoran Desert Nature Loop, This trail focuses on the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert.
  • Center for Desert Living,  this trail showcases ideas and ways to work with native plants in order to have a garden in desert environment.
  • Desert Wildflower Loop, This trail illustrate the complex relationships between desert flowers and their pollinators.
I spent more time that I thought and left amazed by the beauty of the gardens.  I was captivated by the orange and brown environment around me and by the gorgeous desert plant life.

I ate at lunch at Gertrude's restaurant, located at the entrance of the garden.  The restaurant mainly uses ingredients from farms to the plate and has a marvelous view.

If you are ever in the Phoenix area I highly recommend stopping here, it's absolutely worth a visit.

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

 Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona