Beautiful Days In New Orleans, LA – NOLA

what to do in new orleans

First of all, sorry for the bloggy silence.We have been gone on a couple of trips and I have been having an existential crisis. What should I do with my life? Where do I see myself in 5 years? Where is this blog going? What is the purpose my existence? Yadda, yadda, yadda. Just your typical Sunday morning train of thoughts.

As I am yet to have an answer, I decided to move on and get back to blogging and that is what I am up to today. It is THAT easy, people, just that easy. (insert depressed emoji).

Good new is that I went to New Orleans last month. Traveling is fun for me. My sister-in-law came up to meet me and we had a fabulous time. Walked a lot, ate a lot, and talked a lot. I mean, hours of non-stop conversation. A much-needed break for two women surrounded by non-talkative males – she also has two cute boys.

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Magazine St., Garden District

My favorite place was Magazine Street because it has a bunch of vintage stores, plus design boutiques with a lot of cute stuff. It was nice to see.

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Atchafalaya

Atchafalaya was my favorite restaurant from all of the ones we visited. Also, Kristen Stewart was eating right next to us in there. Actually, this story is pretty funny. I saw these beautiful girls coming in. They sat down next to us. They were so in love, touching, kissing. They looked so happy! I stood up to let them know how cute they were when I realized one of them was Kristen Stewart. Well, as a human that leaves in LA, I know that bothering celebrities in a place like that is a no, no, so I sat down and ate the rest of my dinner in peace, trying not to look too much. And I didn’t! Because I have PLENTY of self-control.

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See this boutique store that we randomly found on Magazine Street? Lots of fun stuff, don’t you think?

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Cavan

Cavan was a beautiful restaurant. The food was OK, but the setting was wonderful, even the bathrooms were cute.

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French Quarter

Ruby Slipper Cafe

For a really good and hearty breakfast, go to Ruby Slipper Cafe. It was good and also decently crowded, always a great sign.

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So Bou

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Cafe Du Monde

Just to be clear, you are NOT allowed to visit New Orleans and skip Cafe Du Monde. You are just not, so be a good sport and give yourself a sweet and amazing treat by going there. We went at midnight and the line was ZERO. A great way of ending the night.

Mother’s Restaurant

For excellent Cajun Cuisine, head to Mother’s. The lines are long but the food is excellent. The place is the opposite of fancy but that is exactly what I liked about it. Here is where the locals eat.

New Orleans is a vibrant city with plenty of things to do. Music is everywhere, no need to search for it as it will find you. Impromptu street concerts are always happening.

In case you are interested, here is a post about Austin, Chile, and Galveston.

Have a great day!

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Here is the Real Deal about the Museum of Ice Cream

­­­We took the kids to the much-anticipated Museum of Ice Cream on opening day. I have contacts people!!!! And by contacts I mean my friend Miguel who happens to have a Platinum American Express, without which you could not have bought tickets the first day they went out for sale and, as a result, you could not have gotten tickets for a weekend day because they were sold out within hours… but, because I have friends with excellent credit, I was able to score tickets for the whole family!!! Yeah for me!!!!

Ok, let’s stop bragging about my rich friends and let’s talk about the Museum of Ice Cream. My kids loved it, but I want to come clean, this is not really geared to kids. True, there is some ice cream, lots of colors, and a sprinkle pool, but the entertainment lasts only 45 minutes, kids are not allowed to touch some of the art and the whole experience goes by fast. To be clear, I am not saying kids won’t have fun in this place because they will! I am just saying that the people that have the real fun here are bloggers and influencers because this place is ALL about getting the perfect shot and posting it in SM.

Like this one  -although is not related to ice cream at all-:

As an example, when we were waiting to go in, I noticed there were no kids in sight, but a lot of young people dressed for the perfect selfie. In our group, there was a girl wearing a dress with ice cream fabric plus an ice cream bag, surely a fashion blogger. I wonder how long it took her to find that cute outfit! She looked great and I am sure her photos and posts are even better, but as a blogger, myself, being surrounded by this made me feel a little bit uncomfortable and kind of fake.

This place should be called the Museum of Instagrammable moments instead of the Museum of Ice Cream. I wonder if it is my age and motherhood status that turns me off from this kind of Snapchat events but I decided right then and there that I would NOT take any selfies while swimming in the sprinkles pool, and I didn’t. As if this would make me a better person, which it doesn’t. Stop judging, Mila!

Granted, we went to the museum on its opening day, so maybe the crowd was a little bit different than it will be the rest of the time, but still, it felt weird. With that said, thanks to being part of that weirdness, I now belong to a special and exclusive club of people that, 1) scored tickets for the museum, 2) Instagrammed about it, and 3) wrote a post on top of that. As you see, I am not any different than the things I dislike and I am pretty wise too, clearly.

Let’s get back to the ice cream situation. We were in and out of that place in 45 minutes. We ate 3 kinds of ice cream and 2 sugary things. My kids were in heaven but I was not because I am doing a no sugar diet (or cleansing, as they call it in the West Side (insert eye roll emoji)) for a month and can’t eat any of these things… before you go on thinking how stupid I am to buy tickets to a place like this while in a “cleansing,” I will remind you that I live in LA, therefore I am required to have a couple of detox months a year. Another reminder is that I am going to be 40 in a couple of years and sugar has a big price to pay. It takes a lot of work to stay at my current weight, I won’t lie, so I pass on ice cream once in a while, which totally SUCKS because I get a lot of pleasure out of sugar like any normal human being does.

Back to the subject, you are here for, in this place more than any other (almost), images speak better than words so here are my blog worthy pictures of our outing, and, in case you are wondering, more tickets are out for sale TODAY! So run and get them if you are a blogger or if you want to have a crazy colorful experience, which brings me to my final conclusion: the future of art has to be Instagrammable. Just saying.

Take a look inside the museum:
First ice cream!

Max has food coloring on his ears in case you were wondering. No, he is not an alien, just a child that hates to have his ears clean. Ever heard of that before?
Everything in the museum has pink and yellow, except for the room that is all in mint: The popsicle area was fun, the only problem was that humans are not allowed to touch the “art” and that was hard to explain to a kid, but guess what? I saw photos of another blogger sitting on the blue popsicle… I guess if you have 200k followers is OK to break the rules. Talk about having connections. [email protected] gummy bears room! And, finally, the best for last: the sprinkles swimming pool! Look at that happiness, you can taste it but not the sprinkles because they are NOT real. 

The final ice cream.

If you are wondering why I took so many photos of Victor and none of Max, that is because Max is in his “photo rebel age” where he refuses to look at the camera when asked for.

Hope you enjoyed the post. For more info, go here:

https://www.museumoficecream.com/los-angeles/

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10 Highlights Of Our Trip To Chile

Our trip to Chile was nothing short of AWESOME! The best trip I have had to Chile in a while. We saw a lot of family and friends. Everybody was happy, healthy, and very excited to be together. WE LOVE EACH OTHER, YOU GUYS!

The kids are at the age were they can interact with people without (many) meltdowns or conflicts, so they had a blast! Every morning they would wake up and immediately go out to play. No need for snuggles, which was a little sad for me.

The weather was beautiful. It was summer over there so Christmas day was a 100 degrees – bbq- swimming pool affair. Most of the time we stayed in Santiago, at my mom’s house, but we also traveled north, to my brother’s beach house, for a couple of days.

Here are my 10 favorite highlights of our trip.

1) Reconnect with family and friends

This is an obvious one! Of course it was nice to reconnect! Thanks to SM and Whatsapp, I am well informed about what my family and friends are doing at all times. We have the type of chats that get hundreds of messages a day with every detail of our lives, but is not the same as living together. The good news is that I am all caught up with news and gossip by the time I get to Chile, so I can dive into the daily subjects with no formal introductions.

My close family and friends are pretty amazing. All of them strong, smart, and funny people doing a lot of cool stuff. Each one of them is such a force. The two weeks in Chile were filled with conversations, laughter, and lots of love.

My younger brother (quite the hunk, ah?) with his daughter.
My mom, my nephew, and my niece.All the younger cousins. Look at how happy they are.

2) My dad’s burial

It was hard to say goodbye to my dad again, but it was also beautiful. You see, not everything about death is ugly and sad. There is something magical about the community that grows around you when loss happens. My siblings and I have never been closer.

We buried my dad next to his parents and sister. They all died many, many years ago. I didn’t meet any of them. The ceremony was short. Some of my siblings gave speeches, somebody played the guitar, it was a nice morning.

George with my older sister, Luchi.

My Irish twin, CocoThis guy not being able to act with the solemnity required by the event.

After the burial, we went for lunch to a nice restaurant. Many people joined us: aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc… it was a nice afternoon that ended with a cable car trip to the top of the hill. The kids loved riding the cars and the view was gorgeous. Although, waiting 20 minutes in a long line under the sun to go into a cable car wasn’t great, it was definitely worth it.

Me and my sisters. Yes, I am two feet taller than all of them and no, I am not adopted.Look at that cutie.Real paletasCable car

3) My older brother got married

The wedding was a private and small affair. My brother and his wife told us about their marriage two weeks before our trip to Chile. They rented the second floor of a restaurant, gathered their closest family members and got hitched. No band, no fancy dress , no months of preparation, just an intimate and stress-free event for everybody involved. I liked the concept. As I mentioned in this post, my chilean family is all about frugality right now, which makes me proud.

This wedding was a perfect way of ending 2016. Now we can’t say that this year was all that bad, can we?

4) Exposing my kids to a different culture

I live in LA so my kids are constantly witnessing different cultures, but going to Chile is different. Over there they actually live it.

In LA, my kids don’t get socially challenged that much because their surroundings are pretty controlled – school, small family with only two kids, adult supervised activities, etc. In Chile, things are not so structured. People are on your face constantly and you better get used to it or you won’t be having any fun. Activities are disorganized and involve a lot of yelling and craziness. I like my kids to be out of their comfort zone and fend for themselves.  It makes them savvy at dealing with frustration!

Fray Jorge National Park

5) Heated debates

My family likes long and heated discussions about what we “think” are important topics. In these discussions, it is hard to listen to each other, much less reason any logical outcome. We fight and we make up. We treat each other harshly but don’t take it personally. We say what we think. Our opinions about the other don’t stay silent, and if we are mad we talk about it pretty openly. I like that dynamic, but it is not easy to swallow for newcomers. We scream a lot.

Here is a funny example: one day I was sent out to buy fish. I went to the grocery store and bought the fish. 3 hours later one of my sisters gave me grief about the quantity and amount of money I had spent on that fish. Then my brothers jumped in and gave me more grief because they didn’t know how to cook the fish (how am I guilty of that?). I defended myself and yelled back. I didn’t make the decision about how much fish to buy, that was my sister Maureen’s decision, but she was having a nap so nobody could give her s**t. The topic of the fish went on for 2 hours until Maureen woke up from her nap and came into the kitchen, at which point we all yelled at her for being responsible for this big quantity of fish that cost so much money. She looked at us and gave us the middle finger. Conversation over. And this is how debates go in my family. Conflict / Conflict resolves / Conflict / Conflict resolves… over and over again.

6) Tongoy

My older brother (same one that got married) has a house right in front of the beach in Tongoy, a beach city in the north of Chile. We stayed in his house a couple of days with the whole family. Being there reminded me to my own vacations when I was little. My dad loved going to the north of Chile. It was his birthplace.

In Tongoy, we spent all day at the beach, playing in the sand, eating seafood, or visiting the farmer’s market. They were quiet days. There is not many people at the beach during the Holidays, so it is the best time to visit. The water was warm and clean. Some days were cold but still enjoyable. Kids got to see a lot of sea animals, we watched beautiful sunsets, and stayed up a couple of nights. I organized a children-dance party that was pretty successful. I wish I had videos of all the kids dancing in the living room for hours on end.

Palmeras. A beach delicatessen.

Exploring the sea.

7)Food

Chilean food is SO good. Fruits during the summer are the best ones you could ever eat. Seafood at the beach is fresh and tasty… everything seems to be taken right from the ground and into your plate. I like that my family is eating healthy now (no sugar, no processed foods). Every time I go to Chile I gain an average of 5 pounds because of so much eating and drinking, but this time, I didn’t gain any weight. It was a first one for me. I felt more energetic and happy throughout the trip and didn’t have to get back to LA in full diet mode.

8) Christmas

Christmas traditions in Chile are different depending on the family. In our family, kids open gifts on Christmas Eve. They wait for “midnight,” and go out looking for Santa Claus while some adults stay behind to place the gifts under the tree. I like this tradition: all the kids go around the block screaming at every light in the sky, believing that it is Santa

This Christmas was particularly exciting because when we went out into the street, we ACTUALLY SAW SANTA!!! It was incredible. A cart with Santa happened to drive through our street giving away candy at the exact moment we left the house. Let’s stop for a second here. Can you imagine how exhilarated the kids were at seeing Santa outside our home!!!! ?? It was amazing. After eating some candy and waving goodbye to Santa, we went back inside to find the presents under the tree. I wish I had photos of this moment but the kids jumped fast to open their gifts and torn the paper apart in a matter of seconds. There were only 3 gifts per kid. The reason why is here.

You must be asking yourself, how could you wait until midnight to open the presents??!!! Which normal parent could let their kids stay that late? Well, in Chile, tricking kids is not out of the question so we pretended it was midnight when in reality it was 9:30pm. Because it is summer time over there, it gets dark late, and the kids go to bed late too, so this schedule was not that crazy.

As for Christmas day, we spent it in the swimming pool, eating bbq, and having drinks. Heaven.

Searching for santa

9) Dancing until 4 0‘clock in the morning 

Every party in Chile requires dancing. In New Year’s Eve we danced until 4 am. It was only us, our significant others, plus a friend. We had the best dancing party I have been to in the last 10 years. We sang and danced like there was no tomorrow while kids slept. Here is the proof:

Welcome 2017!

10) I heard “I love you” a lot

My family is not afraid nor scared to say I love you. Every time I go to Chile I hear “te quiero” over and over again. Incredibly enough, my brothers are the ones that say it the most. Every hug goes together with a casual or heartfelt “I love you,” because we feel it, so why not say it? I am making this a new trend and will be saying “I love you” to all my friends from now on, because it warmth people’s heart, don’t you think?

I came back from this trip with a rejuvenated soul.

Ok. That was a long post. I hope you liked it!

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A Guide To Visit The Rose Bowl Flea Market

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Let’s talk about vintage obsession today – not about politics, ok?

When I say my house was 70% built at the Rose Bowl, I mean it.

My house is filled with old scores I have been collecting throughout the years. Thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets…they are all part of my hunting routine, because I am a hunter and a hoarder… but don’t tell that to George because in our relationship HE is labeled as the hoarder.

In LA,  the Rose Bowl Flea Market is my usual vintage destination because it is one of the ultimate flea markets in the country. Famous beyond boundaries, filled with amazing pieces, and heaven for vintage collectors.

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As good as the Rose Bowl is, there is one problem and that is $$$. You don’t go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market to score a great deal. You go to the Rose Bowl to find beautiful things that others scored at a great deal. Scoring a great deal is hard work, folks. It takes time and effort and a LOT of trips to estate sales, so, if you don’t want to spend that time and effort to find beautiful things for your household, you can go to the Rose Bowl where it is all layout for you in a beautiful, easy, and pricey way.

I take my trips to the Rose Bowl very seriously. I get there early morning – 7am -. I start from the top. Focus. Go vendor to vendor (I already have my favorites). Get out of there by 10am.

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Early bird is my middle name and  I recommend it is yours, too. After 10am it gets SO crowded and hot! It is hard to walk, bargain, and appreciate the beautiful pieces. On the other hand, if you want to get a good discount, it is better to be the last one standing, so it is up to you.

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Here are some tips if you are planning to visit the Rose Bowl:

  • Get there early. 7 am is the time I like to get there. It costs $15 to get in (after 9am it only costs $9). Vendors are setting up, the place is not crowded, and there is plenty of parking.
  • Finding parking is easy early morning. I have my favorite parking place right in front of the Exit doors. If you park on the grass, make sure you memorize some kind of landmark near your car. I have seen too many people get completely lost trying to find their cars on that grass. Beware!
  • Bring cash! Withdrawing money from an ATM on site costs $5, so there you go. Don’t do it.
  • Asking for a 10% discount when bargaining is the reasonable amount. Always ask for that discount, not much more than that.
  • Take a cart. This is major for me. It is hard to go around the market with a bunch of stuff in your hands. Another option is to ask vendors to keep your purchases with them until you decide to leave later, but this is such a big flea market that finding the same vendor again is not your easiest choice.
  • Do not be discouraged if it is raining. Rainy days are the BEST days to go to the Rose Bowl. There are not as many vendors, true, but what you see gets sold CHEAP! Best deals I have ever had at the RBFM happened during rainy days.

rose-bowl-13 rose-bowl-7rose-bowl-10Rose Bowl General Information 

Opens the 2nd Sunday of each month

Schedule: 5am-4:30pm – Ticket office closes at 3pm – most vendors start leaving at this time too.

Regular admission starts at 9am: $9.00 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free with an adult.

Express admission from 8:00am – 9:00am at $12.00 per person

Early admission from 7:00am – 8:00am: $15.00 per person.

Special preview VIP admission from 5:00am – 7:00am: $20.00 per person.

Free parking.

No pets allowed

Food and beverages available on site.

 

Let me know if you have any questions or need any tips. I am happy to answer anything you want!

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galveston

Galveston, Texas – A Charming Beach City

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I travelled to Galveston, Texas, a couple of months ago for a wedding. It was a pleasant surprise to discover how charming this beach city is. Green, colorful, warm, and with a good amount of vintage shops!

It has a cute and small historic Downtown surrounded by neighborhoods with Victorian houses, most of them colorful and adorable.

Galveston has two main geographical areas: the historic neighborhoods close to Downtown, and the beach life close to the sea. Everything within a short distance. Driving north of the city, you find modern and gorgeous homes sitting on columns and looking out at the ocean. This area is prone to hurricanes, so most homes are hurricane proof.

My favorite places to visit were Downtown, obviously, and the Galveston Island State Park, which has a gorgeous beach and a lot of beautiful hikes.

Here are some photos of the trip and some tips if you decide to visit:
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How To Get There And What to do

Galveston is a 1 1/2 hr drive from Houston. Not difficult to get to. I rented a car, which allowed me to explore more of the place. I like to be independent and not worry about mobilization. Although the city city is small, and you can perfectly well walk or take taxis around downtown, it is best to have a car to visit places far away from the city,  like Galveston Island State Park, or other northern beaches.

If you go with kids (or without), spending the days at the beach is your best bet (make sure you go to one where swimming is allowed). For short adventures, the Railroad Museum and the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier are good options. The Pier, for example, has carnival games and souvenir shops. Also, as I mentioned above, the Galveston Island State Park is a must.

If you like vintage shops like I do, there are a few in this beautiful city. Spending and afternoon walking around downtown, looking at shops, having a coffee, and finding vintage stores are a perfect use of vacation time, don’t you think?

galveston-65 galvestonGalveston Island Historic Pleasure Piergalveston galveston galvestonColor, color, and more color. galvestongalvestontexasgalvestonDowntown Galveston

Where to Eat

There are plenty of cute restaurants and coffee shops in Galveston.

I liked eating at Eatcetera. It has a couple of tables outside and a vintage shop at the other side of the street.

MOD Coffee & Tea House was my favorite to have a coffee because of the ambience. Lots of people in there, plenty of couches and chairs, plus a cute outdoor space for those who like to seat outside.

For breakfast, Mosquito Café is the place to go, unless you want to be closer to the water, in which case, Miller’s Seawall Grill is your best option, but beware, this restaurant is touristy and it gets crowded.

Go to La King’s Confectionery for ice cream and sweets. Kids love it here. Candies galore.

For dinner, your best options are Rudy & Paco, Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar, BLVD seafood or Mama’s Teresa Flying Pizza.

galvestongalvestonEatcetera

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Where to Stay

So many options here.

I stayed at the Four Points Sheraton. The hotel was fine, nothing special, but it had an excellent location.

Better options are The Tremont House in Downtown, or the Hotel Galvez & Spa, right in front of the beach. Although they are more pricey.

galveston Galveston Island State Park
galvestongalveston galveston galvestonSo many flowers, everywhere you looked. It was a beautiful scenery.galvestongalveston galvestongalveston galvestongalvestone-73galveston-34

Goodbye, Texas! It was a lovely stay.

Also, photos of our trip to Austin  here.

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