Cruising the Mediterranean, Part One: France

It's been a couple of weeks since my trip to Europe, and now that I'm back and (somewhat) resettled I can take a break from being sad about it being over and start reminiscing.

Here's a general overview of our itinerary: We flew from LAX to Miami, then Miami to Barcelona, where we boarded our ship for a 7-Day Mediterranean cruise through France, Italy, and Spain. After leaving the ship, we spent an extra three days in Barcelona. 

First of all, let's talk about the flight. Ahh, the love/hate relationship that I have with being on a plane. Have you seen the bit by Louis C.K. about The Miracle of Flight? Sure, flying definitely has its cons — there's the chance of losing your luggage (more on that later) and the awkward ways of trying to sleep on long flights — but when it comes down to it, the miracle of flight supersedes any and all of these things. After all you're sitting on a freaking chair in the sky, and if you are lucky enough to get a window seat (I always try to get one) you get to experience beautiful views like this above the clouds. 

Next up, the second giant vessel I boarded — the ship. We took a Royal Carribbean Cruise aboard the Liberty of the Seas, where the view from our balcony was 360 degrees of the Mediterranean Sea. While we weren't out exploring on land, it was nice getting to sit out to enjoy the view and the sounds of the water. 

Our first stop was in Marseilles, France, where we visited the Basilica Notre-Dame of the Garde. This was the highest point in Marseilles and had an amazing view overlooking the city. The church itself was breathtaking on its own. Everything was so intricate and ornate, filled with so much history and art. 

The next day was a long day as we visited Nice, Cannes and the independent state of Monaco. I loved the small old-timey feel of Nice with the quaint narrow alleyways, colorful buildings, and shuttered windows. There was even a farmer's market going on while we were there. They sold an array of colorful fruits, vegetables and lavender. Lots and lots of lavender. Mmmmm.

Cannes and Monaco were fun to visit once but it was a little too bougie with all their fancy schmancy yachts, private helicopters, and designer stores for me to want to come again. Well, let me take that back for a second. We did have some really amazing mussels in Monaco... so for that I might just come back. hehe.

All in all, I'm glad I got to experience the little bit of France I got to see. Next post... Italia!  

There is Only One of You in All Time

I was looking through some old quotes I've saved up over the years and came across this one:

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost."
— Martha Graham

Martha Graham was a choreographer from the early 1900s. She probably said this quote in reference to the expression of dance but I think she knew this idea extended through life itself. It relates to the way you should do all things. Live your life by fully expressing it as it ought to be expressed through your uniqueness and not through some corporate bullshit or preconceived idea of how things "should" be. There is only one of you in all time. Live it. Live you.

I just got back from a trip to Spain, Italy, and France. It was amazing and I am so grateful for the whole experience. Traveling definitely has its way of putting things into a new light. After all, I was pulled out of my daily routine, thrown into 3 foreign countries, 7 different cities, and 2 independent states. I saw new things, heard new languages, and felt feelings that I could no longer forget. I was reminded of my own vitality and unique energy that only I could express in this moment and in this life. 

How could I go back home to how things were? Now that I'm back I'm setting a clear intention of how I want to channel this energy into action. I'll explore more, design more, live more, and love more. I am under no obligation to be the same person I was yesterday. Change is okay. Just make sure it's driven by a positive energy that brings you closer to the person you will be happy to see yourself be.

As I saw plastered on a sign in Florence, euronlyliveonce. There is only one of you. Don't waste it on someone else's idea of what you should be doing or how you should be doing it. Be aware of your uniqueness and express it how you know you should. 

What to Eat When Camping

Here's another post about the camping trip we had last week, this time featuring everyone's favorite topic — food! We stopped by the Vintage Grocer's Market in Malibu, which is kind of like a mini Whole Foods to get all of our food, ice, and cold beers. 

Here's what we came up with! Props to AV for cooking pretty much everything. I was just there to assemble the meals and make them look pretty:) For breakfast, we kept it pretty basic with scrambled eggs and good 'ole steel cut oatmeal.  

Here's some awesomely delicious ceviche tacos with avocados that we were able to spread out over two meals. Yummmz. They were so good. I'm actually still thinking about them.. I could've eaten these the whole trip if we had enough.

We had some quinoa burgers with pepperjack cheese and they were surprisingly pretty good. I forgot to take a picture of the actual patties but no worries, because as with most veggie patties, it tasted a lot better than it looked. LOL

Then of course, we had to have the s'mores! There were so many other chocolates available so we skipped the usual Hershey's and perused down to the fancy chocolate aisle. We decided on this Dark Quinoa chocolate  (obviously to go with our quinoa burgers). It didn't taste like quinoa at all but kind of had a nutty-ness to it. I'd definitely recommend it. It tasted good and the packaging's not too bad either. 

Ready for s'more camping posts? I think I'll have one more so I can show you the stargazing pictures we took. They are kind of awesome. Til then, bye bye friends!

Camping at Big Sycamore

It's always been a tradition for AV to go camping with his family but this year we got to make some fun memories camping on our own at Big Sycamore Canyon in Malibu.

Our adventure started on the way there as we took the infamous Mullholland Drive. You know, like the ride from Disney's California Adventure, where the cars make crazy turns and almost fall off cliffs? Yep, it was pretty much just like that. As a passenger, it was not fun. The view was amazing but when it comes down to it, PCH > Mullholland any day.

It was quite the mission getting everything in order but once we finally did, everything just seemed to flow into place as we made Big Sycamore Canyon our little home for a few days. AV took care of setting up the tent and starting the fire and I took care of decorating the camp site. It was definitely the little details that made Lot 34 ours. 

I made a bunting banner to hang above our tent. All it took was: a thrifted plaid shirt, fluorescent DayGlo cardstock, a hole punch, glue and twine.  It was a really easy and inexpensive project and was fun seeing it up :)

To make it more homey I brought some glass bottles I had to use as centerpieces at our table. They were perfect for filling with wildflowers, leaves, and branches that I found around our campsite. Then of course, there were perfect little tea light candles. Because you know, candles kinda just make everything better.

We spent the next few days relaxing, eating, stargazing, and taking our own twist on the usual camp activities. More about that in another post. Happy Friday everyone!