Happy holidays!

December 24, 2013

December always sneaks up on me so I try to be prepared as much as possible. Christmas shopping is always done ahead of time. I try to do as much as I can in the beginning of December before it gets super busy at work. 

This year has been a very busy year for me especially at work. It has been a very successful year and a very rewarding one. It's nice to be appreciated for all the hard work and long hours I put into my work. 

It has been a challenging year as always. A lot of bumps along the way that I thought I couldn't overcome but somehow did. Hard decisions were made and a lot of tears shed but in the end "what doesn't break you, makes you stronger", right?

And after the crazy ice storm that gave us no power for 3 days, it made me realized how lucky I am to have such a great family and friends. Everyone rallied together to make the best of the situation. We had a sleepover at my house to make use of our gas fireplace. Everyone was warm and sleeping on a mattress in the basement. We made s'mores with the kids and spent time together without the distraction of a tv, computer, or phone. The blackout/storm made us all realize that the most important part of life is family. 

I have a lot to grateful for so I'm choosing to see the positives.

+Travel - it's my passion to explore new places every year.  I was fortunate enough to take 3 weeks off in the winter to travel to Portugal and Spain.  That was an amazing experience being able to drive around the two countries.
In the spring time, I went to Chicago for a long weekend and had my first deep dish pizza. In the summer, it was off to Montreal with my guy friends for a weekend of eating.
Late fall, I went to sunny Cuba for a week. I need a last boost of vitamin D before winter started. Had the best time snorkeling and relaxing.

+Health - each year I strive to be healthier and this year was easier for me health wise. I started running and hope to continue again in Spring.

+Family - no matter how crazy and how loud; always love my family! And each year we get bigger and bigger!

+Friends - always grateful to have my close friends who I have known since highschool. For always being there for me during happy and tough times.

+My love - my travel partner. Thank you for always being there for me <3

Happy holidays everyone! May you have a safe and happy holidays! Happy travels!! See you all in 2014 :)

Sea creatures

December 17, 2013

I love walking on the beach and poking around. I love getting out of my bubble and exploring places as it gives me a new perspective. On this walk, we can focus on the sea creatures living around the beach and ocean.
A hermit crab
Another one with a different shell
my bf picked this sea urchin without prickling his hand
I saw a lot of corals drifting to the shore

P.S. no harm was caused to the sea creatures. Everything was deposited back to the ocean.

Snorkelling in Cuba

December 10, 2013

Ohh hi, it's December! I can't believe it's almost Christmas again and the year is ending. I feel like I need a 13th month out of a year. I barely have time to finish all the projects I want to do before the year ends. It's so busy for me this month at work again but what's new. I could really use another sun vacation this month ;) It's freezing here in Toronto right now.
I have more posts from Cuba. One of the best thing that happened to me on this trip was trying out snorkeling. We all know by now that I can't swim but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying beach vacations. I mainly freak out when I can't reach the bottom of the floor or if the water is past my waist.Silly fears.

It took me a few days to warm up to the idea of doing it. I watched my bf snorkel one day while I stayed on the beach watching him. It didn't look too bad. So one day, I was tanning when I saw a few people throwing bread on the water. I went up to them and saw lots of fish swimming up to us. The water was so shallow and clear that I didn't even need to put goggles on. It was so much fun so I did that for awhile until my bf gave me the snorkel gear and told me to put it on so we can go underwater to have a closer look.
The goggles took some getting used to. I was having a hard time adjusting to breathe through my mouth but it went ok and I went underwater. It was amazing!!! I saw a lot of fish but I didn't have an underwater camera so I couldn't capture it all. Next time..

The best part was feeling like I was a mermaid!!!  It was so much fun and I had my bf holding my hand the whole time so I didn't panic. One of the highlight was seeing a green fish with blue lips.

Time to learn how to swim!

Another day in paradise

December 2, 2013

It's never easy to lose someone especially a person who became everybody's friend not just a colleague. It's hard for me to accept that you're gone. I will miss seeing you everyday when I come to work and I can't imagine not having you around.
As sad as we all are that you passed, I know that you're now in paradise. I will miss you.

Pink Sunset

November 26, 2013

I miss witnessing dramatic sunsets. It's what I like about summer because the sky becomes every shade of the rainbow. Now that it's winter and it's practically pitched dark before 5pm. I can no longer enjoy my favourite "little things in life". I have to settle to looking at photos from my vacations.

I knew that I wanted to be outside a lot when I went to Cuba. I wanted to savour the last week of good weather before coming back to Canada and going through another winter.

Taking a walk on the beach and witnessing this amazing sunset was really special. I am always in awe how nature paints the sky and how the ocean can be so powerful. I'm not religious but this makes me believe of the higher power.

What I ate: Cuba

November 22, 2013

This was our room service meal one night. Our resort spoiled us with delicious foods! A lot of people complain about food in Cuba but what I can say is we had no problems at all. I've been to Cuba 3 times and I always had good food. But then again I don't stay at resorts that are less than 4 stars because I know the food/selection will be better the higher the stars. I usually go to the grill to get the fresh fish and meats. 99% of our lunch meals was at the pool grill and it was the best. We had delicious paella, skewers, hamburgers, chorizo, chips, etc.

We had 2 a la carte restaurants at our resort for dinner and you can order room service so we had no complaints at all. We had a lot of variety so you can never go hungry unless you are super picky! 

The room service was divine. We had the meal above complete with wine. The soup was fantastic and the lobster was really really good! 


November 18, 2013

After almost one year of not having a beach vacation, I decided that it was long overdue and booked a one week trip to Cuba. Mexico was great but Cuba always felt like my home away from home. It reminds me so much of the Philippines only much much closer! I really wish Philippines was only a 3 hour plane ride away. I think I would go back almost every week if that's the case.
I have been to Varadero twice and I wanted somewhere different. We ended up deciding to go to Cayo Santa Maria. We flew to Santa Clara and took a long bus ride (1 hour and 40 minutes) to our resort.

We spent one week doing absolutely nothing but relaxing. It was a welcome change from being plugged in 24/7 and working. We had no wi-fi at the hotel and the only time I used my phone was to check the time. 
We spent most of our time on the beach tanning. We we're lucky that our resort was secluded and we could walk along the beach without encountering anyone. I felt like I was in a deserted island and pretended to be a castaway for a few minutes ;)
We had a couple of mangrove trees along our resort. The water was very shallow and we could see a lot of fish and other sea creatures when we took walks on the beach. I always find water to be therapeutic and a cure for my mind when I feel too overwhelmed. This trip served it's purpose and I really relaxed with no timetable or schedule to follow but the rising of the sun.
I hope you all had a great weekend and please help if you can :)

Typhoon in the Philippines

November 11, 2013

 image via CBC

My thoughts and prayers goes out to the people affected by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
I can't even imagine the destruction it has caused - many people lost loved one's, homes, livelihood..it's a heartbreaking disaster. 

Now is the time to help the people who are affected by the typhoon as they will require food, drinking water, clothing, medicine, etc. Every little bit counts.

Here are some of the organizations that you can use to donate:





Cuba 3.0

November 5, 2013

Hola!! I'm back! I was on vacation for a week in Cuba. I had an amazing time there! Having no plans for one week was great. All I did was go to the beach every single day. I can't tell you how good it feels to unplug for a week. 

I have a lot of catching up to do but hope to blog more soon. Wishing you a good week!

What I ate: Spain

October 21, 2013

 Now, let's talk about food. I usually have love/hate relationship with food. I love food but it does not always agree with me so I have to be careful on what I eat because I get ill easily.

Having a rented apartment meant we cooked most of our meals in our apartment. For breakfast, I usually had eggs, cheese, jamon, and bread.
 My favourite pastry shop - Aparicio. We had one located less than 3 minutes from our apartment and I visited it pretty much every day. I could not get enough of trying new things every time I went there. 
Had to get seafood of course ;)
 Homemade paella
More tapas
 My birthday dinner included seafood platter - delicious!
Patatas bravas

An adventure in Tarifa

October 17, 2013

When we booked our apartment in Malaga, we knew we wanted to go to Morocco for a day trip. One day we woke up really early to drive to Tarifa to catch a high speed ferry to Tangier. We wanted to get there early so we can get a glimpse of Morocco for a day. We wanted to eat and visit the medina.

I was really excited to visit Morocco.  But the drive was long!  Getting closer to Tarifa, I noticed it was really windy. When we got to the town, it looked deserted. We found parking near the port and found a travel agency to inquire about getting a ticket for the high speed ferry. We found a travel agent and she simply told us "the port is closed today". And that was it.

We didn't know what the real reason was. Maybe it was weather related?

Anyways, we came too far to give up so we drove back to the direction of another port closer to Malaga. We didn't want to use this port originally because it does not dock directly to the Old Town of Tangier but we had no choice. We made the long drive back and the port was massive. It was hard to navigate and locate the parking lot.

We finally found the ticketing office but the boat schedules were too late for us. Not for day trip at least. It would force us to stay the night and we didn't have that in our plan. It was really disappointing to drive around from one port to another without ever getting to Morocco but that's how it is sometimes. Plans don't always work out. It was still an adventure though and at least got a glimpse of Africa from Tarifa. Sooo close...

Sunset in Marbella

October 14, 2013

We left Ronda before sunset to head back to Malaga. On our way home, we decided to stop by Marbella out of curiosity. We passed by designer shops, cosmetic surgery clinics, expensive cars, and homes. We didn't have time to linger but we did manage to catch the most beautiful sunset at the waterfront.
It's Thanksgiving here in Canada and I had a great dinner with my family on Saturday to celebrate. I am thankful for all the wonderful places I have visited in the past and to many more I hope!

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