Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Providence, Rhode Island – A little tour around the city

Some weekends ago I had the opportunity to go to Providence, Rhode Island.  One of the advantages of living in New England is that we are really a cluster of little states together so it is easy to travel to other places within an hour. Yep, we are that close from Providence.

Since we spent the weekend over there I had some time to enjoy myself. The first day I did some walking around the city. For what I heard, they have worked really hard in cleaning up streets and laying out the city so people can enjoy it. There were many places that were within walking distance.

I started my tour at the R.I. Convention Center, they have a great service for tourists, there is someone explaining you how to find things, the best routes and plenty of maps to use!

My first stop was  the Providence Mall. This place is huge (4 floors with a 5th for IMAX and food court). The layout is really nice and it has a walking tunnel that connects from the Westin/Convention Center all the way to the mall which is really neat if outside is snowing and cold and you feel like walking. Also, the view from the tunnel is just so nice, here you have it.

Then I walked to the State House that is a mini replica of the White House, isn’t it pretty? I couldn’t get in because it was Saturday and it was closed. Since this building is at the top of a hill, you have a nice view of the city and the avenues from there.

After that I started walking towards the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Museum, or so I thought so. After walking some blocks I realized I was going the wrong way so I was trying to read my map and a very nice lady helped me to find my way back to the museum.

I hadn’t been in a museum in a long time and I absolutely picked the right day since I got in for free! It seems that Bank of America gives you access to many museums for free the first weekend of every month. It finally paid off having an account with them!

The museum is huge, 6 floors! I enjoyed my visit so much! I loved the Egyptian section, I have always been intrigued by this culture and was reading that they used to bury their love ones with head statues that didn’t represent the facial characteristics of the person being buried but an ideal of them, so they just labeled the statue with the name and presto! No wonder why we have such a hard time trying to accept how we look like! Not even then human beings were satisfied with their appearance.

I tried to take some pictures of the art pieces but my camera doesn’t do a very good job with the lighting (or it may be is a user problem) but I did take a picture of the bathroom, isn’t it cool?

Then I found out that this school is one of the best of the country and from here many talented, world renowned artists have come out, have you heard of Chihuly?
When you leave the building and walk a couple of blocks you come across with the first Baptist Church in the country and again I couldn’t  get in because it was Saturday!

After that, I kept walking along the Providence River and finally met my husband to get some good eats at a street called Thayer that is right by Brown University. This avenue is full of hip places to eat and students! Average age? Uhm maybe 25? I felt old here!

We also went to Federal Hill, considered the Little Italy for many years. We had a chance to try the best cannoli’s in town and some very good pizza.

I would definitely recommend anyone to visit Providence, R.I. if you have a chance, good foods, nice city and very nice people!

We are already making plans to come back in the Summer! 

Coffee, anyone?

I haven’t blogged in a long time, I even missed two 12 for 12 picture challenges so that means that I haven’t posted a single word in months.

It is so hard to go back to the saddle when you stop writing for such a long time. Inspiration has been elusive but I resolved to get back to the writing thing so here I am.

A good topic to start little by little is to write about little things in life that make me happy or help me go through the day. In this case I am talking about coffee and green tea lattes. They are two of my favorite beverages and living in New England there is nothing like a good coffee to gear me up for the day.

Pete’s  is my go to place for coffee, the quality is great and the people that work there already call me by my name, they know I will be having a soy latte; warm so I can drink it right away.

On sunny days I go for the Green Tea Latte with soy milk, great refreshing option, from Starbucks. I know I shouldn’t have that piece of chocolate chip banana bread, but that thing was calling my name.

After I have my morning drink, I am ready to sit at my desk and start working away…

What is your go to drink?

Monday, February 14, 2011

12 of 12 - February 2011

One of the things I am trying to do is working more on my blog, you can only write more if you just do that, write more. I decided to start doing this 12 of 12 challenge. You take 12 pictures during each 12th of the month and narrate what you did that day. The unfortunate thing is that my February 12th wasn't that exciting! But hey, at least I took the pictures. Here we go:

Started the morning getting ready to get out and run some errands. I was really happy to be able to wear my purple sneakers instead of snow boots!

First stop, Trader Joe's. We haven't been there in ages and there is one on Cambridge, very close from where we live. Obviously, as many places in Cambridge, the parking lot is horrible and people that go there live on their own little heads without concern about other people. My husband got very upset with the whole situation so I was only able to take a picture from the car!

Next stop, haircut. I got a haircut and my red highlights retouched. I love the feeling after seeing myself in front of the mirror with my hair perfectly done for the day. I wish I could keep it like that every day. I have been going to this place: Bella Hair for a year now. I found them when I recently moved to MA and so far so good. Michelle is good as far as asking you what you want, listening and offering suggestions.

After two hours of being pampered it was time for lunch. Henry and I usually don't have fast food but once in a while we crave it so we stopped at Wendy's for some quick lunch. I had the Southwestern Salad that has chili on it. Pretty fulfilling and one of the only ways that I eat chili. Henry can eat whatever he wants, since he is sooo slim (damn genetics) so he got a double burger.

After that, we headed home, took a nap and started cooking dinner. We realized we were missing some ingredients so we headed out to Sophia's Greek Pantry for some Feta cheese and Greek yogurt. Then we stopped at Eastern Lamejun Bakers right around the corner from our apartment to get some pine nuts. This is one of the things I love about our apartment's location, there are so many things that are at our reach within walking distance.

We wanted to make empanadas so Henry cooked the stuffing. One was apples with cinnamon and sugar and the other one was spinach with mushrooms and feta cheese. Here is the apple one:

Here is the spinach with mushrooms:

Then, prep came in place, chopped cheese and started working on the puff pastry:

Henry mixed the cooked apples with some goat cheese and the spinach with some feta cheese:

Then we started stuffing the empanadas and getting them ready for the oven. Sorry but I forgot to take a picture of how we stuffed them, here is one where Henry is working the borders of the empanada:

It took around 35 minutes for these things to cook. We were starving by the time they came out from the oven, but it was worth the wait!

And finally we got to try these babies. They were delicious! Of course, throughout this process, Luci was our loyal assistant cleaning every morsel that hit the kitchen floor!

And that is all for my 12 of 12! It is kind of difficult to come up with 12 pictures when your day is not that exciting!

See you soon!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update on wishes

Even though I am still digging deep inside to find some inspiration to write about how my life in this snowy city has been I thought a good start is a short update on my wish list.

As my friend Jonathan said, living debt free is going to propel your other wishes, so last weekend I sat with my husband and we went over the stuff we need to pay off in order to start working towards the other wishes. It was a liberating experience since that allows me to stop worrying about my future and start chipping in one day at a time. We finally put together a master plan for the next 5 years. It sounds daunting but the funny thing is that it wasn’t at all. It just took two hours of our lives and I was very pleased with the fact that my husband and I are on the same page that is always good news.

Also, the eating healthy part has been work in progress, we watched Oprah last week and her interview with Kathy Freston, she wrote a book called Veganist where she talks about the benefits of a vegan life style. We are not going to go 100% vegan because I just love fish and cheese too much but we decided to clean up a little bit our daily diet taking some points from her. So I guess that is also a good point.

Lastly, I have been taking bootcamp classes since November and still going strong. I don’t know if I have lost any weight but I am for sure not gaining which under the weather conditions I am living on right now is a BIG plus. You know, when it is freezing cold outside, half of the streets are covered with ice (they look and feel like a skating rink)  and sunset happens around 4:00pm you really don’t feel like moving too much, you are bored and the closest thing to you is the kitchen…so I am giving me some points for this too.

And that is all for now folks! Here are some pictures taken from my backyard and of me with Luci walking through the neighborhood (check out the height of the snow banks).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My wish list for 2011

As I was reading my previous post and assessing how depressed I have felt the previous weeks I resolved to do something about it. I didn't believe all these people that told me that winters were hard to go through until now. What an awful season to be around. I don’t even understand how people function on this kind of weather. I admire my husband that wakes up around 5:00am to go to work every day. I have to be at my office at 9:00am and it takes me forever to start moving!

So I went out for lunch with my coworker Alanna and as I was telling my brother (through the msn chat) that I was back, he asked me to listen to an interview on the internet that a Mexican radio station was having. I listened to it. We talked about it. I don’t even know if I should comment about it here because people are going to say that I am crazy but I will just say that there was a medium involved in the interview. It was really good to hear what she said. I know, I know, a lot of people don’t believe that normal people have some senses more developed than others - I do.  The piece that woke me up from my depression was when she said that most of the families that she helps are the ones with parents that have lost a child. That confirmed that she was serious about her work. Anyway, the interview made me think about my loved ones that are not on this earth anymore. It reminded me that as a tribute to their lives and memory I need to live my life to the fullest. What if they are watching me or stop by once in a while to check on me? I would be ashamed to let them see how sad I have felt the last weeks. The lack of energy, the ambition that is nowhere to be found and then realized, well I have to take one step at a time.

My friend Sam has her resolutions (goals) on her blog, many people post them as a way to keep tabs on themselves. I don’t want to call them resolutions, I want to call them wishes, just because I wanted a different name. So here are some of my wishes for this year, I will tell you if I achieve one, two, none or all in my future postings:

 Yes, they are all over the place! I know I need to narrow them now and be more specific but better to have them like this than not to have them at all, right?

Have you accomplished your wishes/desires? How?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 – What to make of this brand new year?

As the first month of this 2011 passes by I realized I haven’t written anything on my blogs for some weeks now. I had a ton of ideas about topics, wanted to show off my Christmas decorations, talk about the great Christmas celebrations I was part of and more. But then something happened that changed all my priorities. We had a loss in our family. It happened all of the sudden on December 26th.

It happened here in Massachusetts and as God always knows, we didn’t travel to Mexico this time. See, usually by the 26th of December my husband and I are in Mexico City spending time with my family. This year we decided not to go since we had so many changes during 2010; the move, new job, new apartment etc. Of course that now I can tell you that we were here for a reason. A tragic one.

Since this loss affects so many people, I don’t want to go into details. It is not for me to tell this story. I just wanted to say, you will always be missed and remembered in my mind and my heart. Thank you for the smile and all the great little things you shared and did for me. Little things in life are what actually enrich a life. Thank you.

Because of the events that took place during the last two weeks I think I am going to need time to come up with words and topics. Or maybe I will be more prolific than before. I still don’t know. What I do know is that on New Year’s Eve, when the resolutions time came in, I just made one: To be happy, as happy as I can possibly be. I made this promise to my aunt that passed away some years ago, I promised her that I would live my life to the fullest and would live it based on the principles that she thought me. Now, I want to renew this promise. Remember that there is no better time to live your life than now.

See you soon.