Our MSC Adventure: Day 1

Hello hello hello! Remember watching a cute little video the other day about Our MSC Adventure (a preview!)

Now I come to you with Day 1:

What’s better than 1 traveler? 2?

But because this is a blog and not the YouTube, I’m here to give you some details of our adventure. If you didn’t want to watch the video, just read along and look at the pretty pictures instead.

And as I was typing this all out… I realize I don’t have many pics, so really, just enjoy the video.

Arrival

The SuperShuttle came to pick us up, bright and early (not bright, but definitely early) at 5:15am. Apparently, the van came early and just parked outside our house since 4:45am and took a quick cat nap. We picked up three more groups of passengers before we made out way to Dulles International Airport (IAD).

We decided to sign up for Clear. Which, I just now remembered I should probably delete my account so that I’m not charged their yearly subscription fee. Quick, easy, and painless. We scanned our fingerprints and off we went.

Boarding and Embarkation:

We didn’t wait long in the terminal before we got on the plane. Fortunately, the flight was a little delayed. We got an early flight (money saver), and were concerned we would wait hours before we would be able to check in for our cruise. Not only was the flight delayed, the Lyft took forever to pick us up once we landed and there was mild traffic.

Luckily, we were able to check in and board upon arrival, even though we were two hours early.

The boat is smaller that what I’ve been used to, but it was Priscilla’s first time, so she did not have anything to compare it to. We had checked in our luggage, so it was brought up directly to our rooms during the safety procedure.

Safety Procedure:

Which was fine, honestly. 10 minutes on how to put on your life jacket and where to meet up if there’s an emergency, such as if the ship ran into an iceberg or capsized in a hurricane. Awesome, right?

The Lost Luggage:

But when we got back to the room… my luggage still was not there. So between rushing up and down to try to track down my luggage, I was getting mega-annoyed. Truly, called countless times, went to customer service, went to confiscated and tagged bags. No where to be seen. They finally located my luggage. They pulled it aside because there was a hot comb in it.

… Yeah. A hot comb. Y’all ain’t ever seen a hot comb before? Truly? …

Dinner:

Luckily, that fiasco was handled in time for dinner. When it comes to food, “When you keep your expectations low, you will be pleasantly surprised.” And I strongly feel that way about cruise food too. We’re only paying so much and the food is cooked in batch. The food was good, but when you’re catering to thousands of people, only so much can be done.

Bay Scallop Ceviche: It was good! I wish there was more spice and salt to it, but the small scallops were soft–as were the plantain chips (due to the fact they were soaking in the juices for a lil bit).

Pan-Seared Salmon: I mean… I’m a salmon snob because my mom and I make amazing salmon. But it was good. The rice (which Priscilla described as “right out of the Uncle Ben’s rice bag”) and green beans were bland, but the whole experience was tied together with the butter sauce. Surprisingly better than expected.

Lamb Chops: Homegirl was smart and good the lamb chops. Tender, crusted, and crisp. What more can you ask for?

Catalan Canard Creme: Pretty much a creme brulee that has not been caramelized. How sad.

Snickers Cake: The non-cake parts were the only things eaten, but hey, that part was still good.

The Show:

The saddest part was that there wasn’t any bar service in the theater. There was only theater that holds about 550 people at a time, much makes sense considering the boat only holds about 2000 people.

The theater was empty pretty early on, but got full closer to the show time. I’m so used to showing up 30-40 minutes earlier to grab a good seat in the larger ships I’ve been to.

It was 80’s and the show was pretty good. I thought one of the singers was an actual recording. The dancing was good–I wish it was more rock and roll though.

Because MSC is more of an international cruise, every announcement was said in multiple languages. The theater show was also partly in Spanish for Spanish songs from the 80’s.

The show was very sexual. One girl was really on the floor, flashing her ass and touching herself. Sir, this is a family show?

The After Party:

Grabbed a corner couch section, grabbed a drink, and just enjoyed the game show and the dancing. Not much here to add. I love larger ships because it seems as if there’s always a greater turnout, but if only ~5% of people show up to these non-theater events, on a boat of 2000, at most 100 people show up. But on a boat of 6000, you’ll get 300. Life is what you make of it, and we were determined to have fun on this ship.

Pizza:

And as my cruise traditions go… I always end each of my nights with some pizza. No complaints here. Pizza could be better, but pizza could be worse. At midnight when you’re coming down from drinking, it really takes a lot for pizza to not taste great.

Stay tuned for the future updates! Next will be Day 2, another sea day. As the posts progress, there will be less about the mundane issues, so they will get shorter and shorter. I wish I could promise more pictures, but let me not make a promise I cannot keep.

Our MSC Adventure: A Video Series

And I’m back! Pretty quick turnaround from my last post, eh? For those of y’all who follow me on the ‘Gram, you’ll see I was out living my vacation life. I’m still living it, except now I’m sick. Aweessoommeeee.

But, I wanted to give you guys a preview of my week aboard the MSC Armonia. Somehow, I fit hours of video footage from a week of non-stop action into a 3 and a half minute long video.

Adventure time!

Check back often as I post the longer day-by-day adventures so you can live and re-live some of our favorite memories.

Bottomless Mims & Rooftop Reds: A Sh*tty Video Journey

Yes. You read that correctly. A shitty video journey. As in I tried to make a video by myself (my free subscription expired and if I don’t decide to pursue videomaking… well I didn’t want to pay for it) and the video, sucked. You can even say that the video is shitty. Trust me, you can see for yourself later. But hey, here’s a picture of the interior of Boqueria. Tres chic, oui?

Can my basement bar look like this?

Tres cool, non? Parlez-vous francais? Non? Ok. Back to me. What had happened with the video was… I forgot to take pictures. And videos. I forget I can just take a million and filter through them, instead of 5 and making them work for EVERYTHING. So, I apologize in advance for my “pictures.” It’s been stressful, y’all. If you cut me some slack, I PROMISE I’ll update more frequently. Pinky promise. I think this is the first promise I made, right?

Good food, shitty video. Welp.

Studying for the bar exam and job searching… and boy and friend issues? Whew. Alexa, play “Jesus, take the wheel.” Anyways. You’re not here to read about my life (I mean, you are, but who wants to read a sob story about my life? You? Oh, ok. Later.) But let’s be real, you want to look at subpar pics of food. And who am I to deny you such simple pleasures?

Did you watch the video… Hahaha. Haha. Ha. Yeah. I’ma work on it. Let’s break it down.

Boqueria:

4 tapas, 2 brunch plates or a paella, 1 dessert, unlimited brunch drinks. Yeah, sis, we talking about mimosas and red, white, and rose sangria. Uh, don’t try the white one. Please. Abeg. Don’t. It tasted like banana liquor. I just- Please don’t. I mean, maybe you’ll like it. Or maybe I had a bad batch. But… I can still taste it *frowny face.* But the mimosas were superior. But if you are looking for a good bottomless sangria place… I got you covered. Check out for my La Tasca post.

So our four tapas–
1) Albodingas: Lamb meatballs and goat cheese? You honestly can NEVER go wrong.
2) Pan con Tomate con Jamon: I don’t normally like bread, but man this bread slapped.

3) Pimientos de Padron: Haven’t had shishito peppers before. Would have switched it out for the meatballs, but my body needed some greens.
4) Tortilla Espanola: No. The garlic aioli was good though.

The Paella– thick, just how I like it :). Except could have done without the over medium eggs on top. But we were so full by the time it came out, we snacked on it. It made a great post-brunch-hangover snack though. The chicken and pork belly were just… *chefs kiss*

[User error: Photo unavailable. Please refresh browser.]

The Dessert– OK I AM SORRY NO PHOTO AVAILABLE. I totally blanked. This is hard. How do real food bloggers do this? It was a sundae with churros and a sparkler. It was real cute. But. I forgot. So we’re just going to move on real quick.

Brooklyn Reds:

So first off, the hike to Brooklyn Navy Yard was not fun. The guard asked us if we had a barcode to get in. She must have taken pity on us because she let us in anyways. We had to walk around to find a weird lil building, go up a couple flights of stairs, and then we finally got to the top. Perfect weather, beautiful views, not even pictures. So enjoy one of me, say cheese.

Brooklyn Reds brews all of their wines on their rooftop. Let me just say, overpriced wines if you’re drinking it on the rooftop. Literally double. NY really is trying to get your money in any way possible. They have a hammock: I fell off. Swingy chairs: got a cute IG pic. Cornhole: my 4 years of training at a southern school went down the drain. All in all, would do it again*

*ask for tips though because those prices weren’t it, sorry not sorry.

So take away tips… More videos. More pics. Better quality. Less drunk? Thanks for checking in!

One Year Anniversary: The Sun Dial

Can you believe y’all have been on this journey with me for the past year? Through the ups and the downs… Climbing up and down the coast, and even going over seas. And yes, the disappointment of me not posting as often as I should.

viewssss

BUT! I’m reinvigorated and I am here for y’all. Work (read: slavery trial) has been a little rough and I am in the process of signing up for the Bar exam. I even took the MPRE (multi-state professional responsibility exam… y’all know lawyers have ethics?? WILDT!). And to celebrate a couple of months of hard-work, I took a trip to Hotlanta to see one of my bestest friends. Yes, you can have more than one. And yes, I will fight you over my grammar usage.

Since brunch is my ~aesthestic~ and my friends know my oh so well, homegirl knew we HAD to brunch. AND we went to a cute place, The Sun Dial, with overpriced basic cocktails and food. $13 for a sticky bun? I didn’t buy it. But we were ~232 meters (if I remember correctly) off the ground in one of the tallest buildings in the southeast. This is what our waiter told me. No, I did not fact check.

They started the table off with 2 muffins: banana nut and chocolate. Uh. Chocolate wasn’t great but the banana nut was pretty good. Could have had a little but more moisture, but the butter (which my friend thought was ICE CREAM!!! I really should have let her eaten it omg) helped with the moisture. Could have done without the muffins, but since I wasn’t going to buy a $13 sticky bun, the muffins worked.

The water was nice too. I’m only saying this because they charged $1 for the water automatically, so I feel the need to comment on the water quality. But the peach iced tea (not mine, but my friend’s) was good too. Now, it would have been bomb with some champagne… or tequila… but at $18 a cocktail? Like a basic basic cocktail? Like a moscow mule but with peach or whatever? And not even at a cocktail bar to get fancy drinks? Y’all got my lack-of-income ass really confused. But anyways. Enough of my complaints, you’re here to read about food!

Remember when I said I was going to try to incorporate videos? Wellllllll, here you go. Somebody please PLEASE remind me to start taking my videos horizontal because vertical is not the move honestly. Don’t hate me. But uhm, look at the food??? Delicious??? Non??? By the way, I got the Surf and Turf Burger, cooked medium rare (which, was definitely more rare than medium, but alas).

These videos WILL get better, once I have more time whilst I study for the Bar exam (yes, you did read that correctly). They will also get better once I upgrade this site plan AGAIN to incorporate legit videos. Until then, you’re stuck with me, kid.

Ok ok ok, let’s just look at the burger definition… again. My goodness gracious. The cheese over the lobster, sitting over some sirloin beef burger? And crispy parmesan fries? *mouth watering* My friend ate the bun and she said the bun wasn’t the best, so I’m glad I skipped that part, even though I rarely ever eat the bun. 2 reasons: 1) I have a personal vendetta against burger buns and 2) I’m actually gluten intolerant and if I’m going to f- around my intestines, trust me when I tell you it’s NOT going to be over a burger bun.

As per ushe, I didn’t finish my food (this is why my friends hate taking me anywhere), so it’s packed up, waiting to be eaten as I waste my time away at the airport. My dumb ass thought taking a 9:30 flight would be the move. Well, it wasn’t.

I’m looking forward to 2019. It’s been good so far, and I can’t wait to keep you guys updated here on out :).

Izakaya by Sushi and Robata

This was my first stop in London. After the most stressful traveling 12 hours–stranded on the runway due to bad weather and waiting almost 2 hours in the immigration line to enter–I finally got to London.

sushi4488

So, my international plan did NOT kick in, so when I first landed, I was confined to only the wifi. Which was shitty as hell. And then trying to figure out the Tube to get to my sister. And then trying to get to her. And then my parents were like “So, listen, you only have $175 for the week.” HAHAHAHAHA. Surpassed that day 3 into London. They were wild.

And then when I finally got to my sister, she told me that she had to take the Tube to go to a group meeting. So after napping for 3 hours, I ventured with her. We went into Whole Foods, where I had my pick of restaurants. I was feeling some raw fish, so the cute, expensive-looking Sushi restaurant ran by French men was obviously where I had to go. Partly because I really wanted sushi. Partly because my parents told me not spend money.

sushi4477

Eating alone alone (so not doing any work while eating) is not a new thing for me in general, but I have not eaten alone since… freshman year college? So… 6 years ago? Sometimes I would eat alone and do some homework or catch up on emails. But I haven’t sat down and been conscious of my surroundings while eating alone. So this was a first, and it was pleasant.

sushi2544

The aesthetic was pretty adorable. I loved the cherry blossoms paired with the more “modern” look of the place. I learned that “Izakaya” is a term for a Japanese pub, so I’m guessing that a traditional Sushi and Robata is more formal and less… izakaya-y.

To conserve my parents’ money, I decided to be kind and get the 2 courses for 15 pounds. My math is horrible and the conversion rates change, so I won’t even begin to figure out how many American dollars I spent.

sushi0497

I got the dragon roll. It wasn’t on the actual menu, but it was on the pick-2 menu. It was… avocado, cucumber, topped with salmon. That’s really all I was able to get from that. It was a little spicy and very refreshing. Normally, I like my sushi with tempura flakes for a little bit of crunch and texture, but my paleo-ish self is opting out of tempura for the time being.

sushi9753

I also got some spicy beef dumplings. Usually, I get them gyoza style, so this was the first time having an open top dumpling, and I really enjoyed it. Yes, dumplings made out of wheat. Yes, I’m supposed to be paleo-ish. Oh well.

I did learn how to use chopsticks better, so that was exciting. I always just used to eat sushi with my fingers, but your girl is learning! One day, I’ll be able to flip omelettes with chopsticks. Probably not, but we will see.

A friend told me a story about how one of her friends only posts pictures of empty plates. And I like that concept. An empty plate is a happy stomach. So watch for those end-of-post pictures with my empty plates.

sushi0597

London, United Kingdom

Finals are over. Not only did I survive another year of law school, I also survived a year of my bioethics masters program. So to treat myself, I obviously had to travel.

I’m very much a beachy person. First choice definitely is somewhere in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. But beach town was just not in my finances. Want to know what was though? Crashing with my sister and her 2 roommates* in a one bedroom for a week while she was studying abroad in London.

Sad thing was? Sis was in the midst of finals. So, you’re going to get a lot of mediocre quality pics of everything¬†except¬†for me. Too bad I didn’t bring a selfie sick. Too bad I also didn’t trust people to take picturesque pictures of me. I miss my Cleveland food crew taking the greatest pics.

Anyways! I spent my first two days in London just sleeping. I was exhausted from finals and jet lagged. But once I started getting up, that’s when the exploring came in.

I really didn’t care much for exploring London places and sightseeing. I’m not a huge UK history person. I enjoy Italian, French, Spanish, and Greek history though… And Catholic history. I just wanted to walk around, find food places, drink craft beers and ciders, and chill, chill, chill. What I didn’t do? Drink lots of craft ciders.

So you’re going to get lots of food pictures and lots of random pics from around London.

33 walking miles over the course of 5 days. Enjoy! Every Tuesday, I’ll add greater details and photos for each location in a separate post. So stay tuned! And don’t worry… I’ll keep you updated every week.

Izakaya by Sushi and Robata:

Cute and quaint Japanese pub located right above the Whole Foods in Kensington. Sushi was great, but the dumplings were phenomenal. Really wish I had more of the dumplings. Only regret? Not getting a signature cocktail and some dessert.

Leon:

I could probably be vegan if I lived in London, at least in Central London. I wasn’t planning on being vegan in London, but I did try to be vegan as often as I could. Most places had sustainable vegan options, and for that, I applaud them. But Leon caught my eye, so I decided to give it a try. The meatless meatballs? Very good. Although, I think I’m slightly allergic to eggplants.

Pizza Union:

So my sister said that London is not good for pizza. I’m inclined to believe her. I didn’t hate Pizza Union, I actually enjoyed it. The gluten-free dough sucked, but I’m glad they had the option. The goat cheese and tomato combo was great, as per usual. And sprinkled the pizza with spicy oil and basil, which did give it some flavor.

The raspberry mojito though? Great. Too bad it wasn’t on the rocks instead of frozen.

Borough Market:

My sister said to check out this place. And I loved it. I LOVE markets. This reminds me of the West Side Market in Ohio City, Ohio. Lots of vendors setting up shop to sell you their goodies. It’s a farmer’s market… but cooler? More urban, if that makes sense. Honestly, if I lived in the area, I would probably come here at least once a week, even if just to grab some of the street vendor foods.

Fish!:

Okay, so, they had a sign outside saying that they won several awards for best restaurants. Obviously, I HAD to try it, for the blog of course. Stupid me confused the street vendor for the restaurant. The vendor (still part of Fish!) sells actual fish and chips. The restaurant serves higher end plates. I tried out a new dish: deviled whitebait, and I am a fan.

London Bridge:

I didn’t take the history tour or lesson, so enjoy the pictures. Also… didn’t realize the River Thames was so mucky. Shoutout to the two girls who saw me struggling with my selfie and decided to take a picture of me. That was the first day (of the rest of the week, ugh) I experienced the London cloudy and rainy temperature.

Tossed:

Like I said: Easy to be vegan here. I love the “technology” aspect of it. You place your order at one of the iPads, then you wait to pick it up. Took like 5 minutes. It’s like a salad place, but better. I would actually eat at Tossed at least once a week. Move over Chipotle.

I actually really want a Leon and Tossed near me…

Covent Garden:

All the high end restaurants and stores all located within walking distance? Thank goodness I’m personally broke and had no space because your girl would have been STRESS buying EVERYTHING. #TreatYoSelf #SelfCare. Ended up going to grab a late lunch at a burger joint and a speakeasy-esque basement lounge where happy hour is from noon to 9pm. Didn’t take pics. Sorry.

Honest Burgers:

A burger place is a burger place is a burger place. The rosemary “chips” were great though.

Dirty Martini:

Who doesn’t like all day happy hour, ¬£10 bottles of wine, and half-priced martinis? By the way, the hibiscus martini? Amazing. Sorry for crappy photos. My phone did not like the dark lighting? I just really enjoy the picture of me…

Dishoom:

By far, my favorite (and priciest hahaha) restaurant in London. Always packed–I’m honestly surprised I was able to find an open spot without a reservation during peak lunch hours. The food was meant to be shared, but the person who I went with wanted to get his own plates instead of ordering a lot and splitting it. Regardless, my food was bomb. And kachumber is now probably my new favorite side.

Overall, London, you’ll be missed. But also, not really. Managed to get a sinus infection and an upper respiratory infection. BUT I’ll catch ya when another one of my friends are staying in London. Maybe next time, I’ll check out more of the nightlife.

Oh, I also got lost in London. Took a bus to Shoreditch, ended up napping, ended up in Zone 6 of London. Woke up confused as heck. Since the buses don’t loop, I had to get out and find the next bus stop. Then I had to trek all the way back to Shoreditch, only to be severely underwhelmed when getting off the bus in Shoreditch. So just walked the 2 miles back to my sister’s and drank some cider and went to sleep.

Tired of the food? Feel free to check out my other random pics of London:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As they say (or do they say?): Cheerio xx.

london9119

*These roommates were the coolest people EVER. They also asked me to talk about them. But they legitimately were some of the chillest people, especially because they let me stay in their one bedroom, me sleeping on their floor, for a whole ass week. That’s cool.

Miami, Florida

I am no stranger to Miami, Florida. One of my really good friends lives there, so this was the third time I was visiting Miami to see her. Outside of her, I’ve been to Miami a couple of times with my family. This post is highlighting the most recent time going to Miami, March 2018.

Now that I’m getting into this whole blogging thing, I need to remember to take more pictures of my surroundings and less of myself. I apologize in advance for all of my face and none of the places I actually visited.

Miami Beach Edition Basement:

Miami Basement

So, it’s a chic hotel and in the basement (haha!) there’s a club, bowling alley, AND an ice skating rink. Unfortunately, we only did the club. Now, I remember why I dislike clubs. I like to sit a lot. And not stand at the bar. Alas, I am way too broke to do VIP tables and bottle service, especially in a place like Miami. Sure, I can shell out a couple for Cleveland, yet why would I do it in Cleveland……………… Anyways, I also hate the layout of clubs. Of course they make lots of money with their tables ($30 of Absolute being upcharged to $250 minimum HAHA), but they put them in the center and sides, which makes sense if you’re at one of these sections, but like I said… I’m broke, so I am confined to the bar, squished, or the random gaps of spaces where people are pushing you to get to other places.

All things considered, Basement was pretty cool, and if I go back again, I would want to go ice skating! Oh, fun fact: somebody asked me to take a picture of their makeup brand. Where is that picture now? Unsure. Let me know if y’all find it.

Miami Film Festival, The Standard:

Miami Standard
My lashes were threatening to pop off and apparently my highlight was too bright, but where?

Do you know the cool part about having cool friends? They have passes to the Miami Film Festival and access to happy hours with filmmakers, directors, and bloggers. Free wine and beer bar, so obviously I got the sangria. Did I talk to anybody there? Absolutely not. Did I look cute though? Absolutely. Did some guy try to use a pick up line of “Oh my, are you an actress? Beautiful.” Yup. Was I like “No I’m a lawyer.” YES HAHA. Did I still have a fun time? Yes ma’am! The backdrop was so beautiful, but I wish the sun wasn’t at it’s peak. Pictures were too bright with bad shading on my face.

Toro Toro Restaurant:

Miami Toro Toro
Truly tried to fix the lighting of this pic, but I failed.

All. You. Can. Eat. Brunch. Now, I’m no stranger to this type of brunch. The DC area is full of this, usually unlimited mimosas with your brunch entree. Some places, such as Toro Toro, do unlimited mimosas (or margaritas and aqua frescas, shout out to El Centro) AND food. I took a break from the seagan lifestyle to feast on some filet with chimichurri sauce, but I mainly ate shrimp, salmon, crab, and cauliflower. I don’t think I ever really eat eggs at brunches anyways. Lots of meat. I gotta soak up all the alcohol I was drinking!

Unfortunately, Cleveland has made unlimited mimosas illegal or something, so y’all won’t find me brunching as often as I would like to. Who really has the money to get drunk off of 10 mimosas? 10 mimosas in Cleveland is more than the unlimited brunch in DC… Anyways, since I’ll be in Cleveland for the foreseeable future, I’ll stop with this slander.

But Toro Toro? 10/10 Recommend. My goal was to drink 10 mimosas, and that I did. Champagne drunk is my favorite type of drunk.

Sugar EAST Miami:

Miami East

Now this is a lifestyle I want to live. $15-$18 craft cocktails. Small plates. Nice skyline and beautiful views. Older crowd. Plush surroundings. You and 2-4 other friends. Sophisticasual. I only came to get my picture (of myself), honestly. But one of these days, y’all will find me rooftop bar hopping without a care in the world.

After our pictures, we ended going to a much more grungy bar. Ladies get free drinks* and they play lots of throwback music. Not my scene, but also didn’t hate it–I got free drinks though!

*restrictions did apply, not sure which since I got all the drinks I ordered, but I’m simple and ordered the house cocktail and tequila-pineapple.

When will I next be in Miami? Unclear. But next time, if I don’t have a picture on a boat, I’ll be sad.