Louisville, Kentucky

Perhaps one day, I’ll have cute titles for my posts. That may also be the day I also post consistently… so maybe that’s not happening anytime soon.

You’re probably wondering “Hmm, so what’s in Kentucky outside of derby season, sis?”

Here’s 5 Things You (Yes, You!) Can Do In Louisville, KY:

  1. Go to Museums! Louisville has so many fantastic museums you can visit including: Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum, Science Center, Muhammad Ali Center, 21c, Conrad-Caldwell House Museum… A lot of museums.
  2. Visit Churchill Downs! The renowned race track that hosts the famous Kentucky Derby. What to do outside of derby season? Unsure! I didn’t go, but I hear it can get rowddyyyyy, and fun 🙂
  3. Visit Louisville Waterfront Park! Lots of things to do here in the great outdoors, located right by downtown Louisville. You can even cross the Bridge into Indiana! There’s a series of bridges that take you from Kentucky to Indiana. One of them is a walking bridge, over the river that divides the two locations. You can also take the Belle of Louisville to travel down the Ohio River. Skip the pre-dining events for the Belle, though.
  4. Go Distillery Hopping! Kentucky is known for the derby… but it’s also known for Whiskey Row and the Bourbon Trail. Even if you aren’t a bourbon enthusiast, learning about the history of alcohol, and tasting it, is very very cool.
  5. EAT!!! The hub of UPS is local to Louisville, which means… Louisville gets fresher food than most places since most routes go through KY. And with a cute food scene… definitely take advantage of eating at some fan favs. The food will not disappoint.

Now you’re probably wondering, “Okay, but why did you go, especially outside of derby season?”

10/10 badge icon, all future identification pics must look great too

I never told y’all my remote job is based out of Louisville? Which, btdubs, is pronounced “Lou-uh-vuhl.” I def felt like a local pronouncing it correctly and stuff. Spent a whole 8 days, 7 nights as follows: wake up, get ready, go to work, kiki with my chain of command, cry in the work bathroom, cry at my desk, go back to the hotel, eat food, sleep. Rinse and repeat (well, from M – F). Saturday, I just drank all day, self-moped, and ate a whole lot of food.

But let’s back it up a little to fully appreciate the rise and fall and my week in Kentucky.

The story starts a bit over a year ago when I decided to switch from in-house pharma to in-house healthtech. That is a whole other story/drama/complaint/saga in and of itself. As y’all know, I’m Maryland based, so being able to be remote, or find a Maryland-based job (but also still being remote, lol) definitely sat high on the top of my list for jobs. The culture switch was honestly shocking, like someone dumped me in freezing water. It absolutely took a whole while for me to finally start warming up. For anyone who has had the [pick one: sad/unfortunate/fortunate/honorable/joyful] opportunity to hear the work saga x career crisis x drama… you’ll know how rough that transition was.

And then to top it off… I’m remote, away from my managers and colleagues (like, duh, what did I think would happen choosing a company outside of my state and being remote?) So career crisis also felt like professional development crisis. ALL DURING A PANDEROSA WITH MS COVID. LOVE!!!

When the opportunity to visit Louisville arose, I absolutely jumped on it. I was giddy! Excited! Then I got covid. And had a string of bad luck in Montreal. Then that luck carried over… Into Louisville.

First 3 outfits I tried… boob issues because what is the beef between boobs and buttons? This dress… great… until I sat. And the crinkles STAYED.

I started off my first day in-office with several wardrobe issues and an IT issue. Natural response? Cry! But everything was able to be fixed. Didn’t do much on Monday because, well, there was nobody in office. Got lunch with my manager and found an isolated work cubby (crying in private is so much better than crying at your actual cubicle) to finish my day.

It’s the type of cry that starts off because you’re frustrated and can’t seem to verbalize your words. Where you feel people are blaming you for events that are outside of your own control.

Cheered myself up at Proof on Main, because food always makes me happy. I don’t mind doing things alone, but I really did feel lonely after such a mentally tough day, and then just going out to eat on my own. But the octopus??? Best thing I’ve ever eaten. Unfortunately, would not endure another tough day just to end it with super amazing food. I want my cake and I want to eat it, too! Back to this octopus though… perfectly charred, melt in your mouth, tossed in some pesto and lime… Best octopus I have ever eaten in my whole entire life, and ya girl LOVES octopus. And it’s connected to the 21c hotel, which has a museum inside of it! My lil dose of culture in the 5 minutes it took me to walk to and from the bathroom hah.

You’d think the second day would be better… My laptop decided to stop working. And this follows my laptop breaking the week before, too. AND we were moving work stations. This time, I cried in the bathroom. Four times. And once at my new station. By the end of the day, I really started feeling better because I had been chatting with my chain of command and met some people in office. But then, we had a little group meeting, where I felt absolutely and positively horrrriibbbllleeeee. I was sitting there and I felt stupid and I couldn’t even figure out how to even feel better or become more of a value add.

It was the type of cry where you genuinely feel you won’t amount to anything and you’ll just be stuck in your situation, forever.

I make rash decisions when I’m absolutely upset and feel utterly devoid of all future hope. Almost really quit. Almost called up old connections to help me get placed elsewhere. Like I said, I felt horrible; stuck in the middle of a dark tunnel with nowhere to go.

I might have felt lonely the day before eating out alone, but I felt hopelessly lonely on that second day, eating out alone (again). But hey, at least Louisville was killing it with the food. Day 2, went to Seviche, and had some amazing chimichurri sauce. Words cannot explain how everything in the dish went together so perfectly. I’m not a mashed potato girl, but goshdarn, it was really hitting the spot. The steak was good, not the best I’ve ever had, but something about the steak with that chimichurri sauce… Match made in heaven. Heaven! And the avocado ice cream? Genius. The avocado-lemon-chocolate truffle combo? Mmhmm.

By day 3… I was definitely chanting to myself in the mirror “Honestly, it can’t get much worse :)))))))))).” While, mentally, I felt better, because I decided to do makeup and curl my hair… My direct supervisor said something funny… while I was drinking a green smoothie… and I spit it out in his supervisor’s office. Yes, I cried. Stayed to myself all day, except when I was running around looking for blankets because I was so cold?? I found some.

look good, feel good, fake it til you make it, or whatever they say

OF COURSE, I got to treat myself, and this time I went to La Bodeguita de Mima, and had what is possibly the strongest pina colada I have ever had. I couldn’t even finish it! The food was good, but what really made the restaurant was the atmosphere. I couldn’t explain it, but I really did feel as if I was in a Cuban bodega sippin’ on drinks. The “escape” really felt nice.

Luckily, by day 4, I had completely given up on having even an okay day at work. I went in. Did work. Got lunch with a coworker and had a therapeutic rant session part 1. And left early so I can go to Old Forester and the Repeal with my team.

While no pics were taken (I didn’t want to come off as being a weirdo, so I didn’t take pics. I really was just trying to survive), I did feel a smidge better, just being able to hang with my supervisors and… observe. Old Forester was fascinating to visit — it was the first bottled bourbon, and because of the Dr backed marketing, it was also one of the few alcohols that were allowed during the prohibition, as medicine! Work depression? Go get your Rx for bourbon, and the doctor knew just what I needed, because I really was feeling a bit better. Repeal is an amazing steakhouse. Absolutely try the NY Strip. It’s grilled over some oak and… *chef’s kiss.* It won’t disappoint.

Day 5… I wasn’t even planning on coming in, but my supervisor scheduled a meeting, so I felt I should go in person, considering I was in proximity and all. I came in, did the meeting, and left. I actually got lunch with a coworker, who is also a foodie! I also had a therapeutic session part 2. I really had a lot to get off of my chest, hah. But, I really was feeling better by the end of the work week.

I was superrrr excited to go on the Belle of Louisville for a Bluegrass and Bourbon dinner and then tour on the Ohio River. Y’all… Not me stumbling onto old people’s heaven!! Not me also being the only single person there, either! I barely ate (the food sucked) and then I went upstairs to the boat deck to sit and enjoy the views of water, the bridge, and Indiana. Hated the pre-dinner portion. Didn’t hate the boat tour. Would do it (the tour) again, but with a friend, partaking in shenanigans.

By the weekend, I was utterly exhausted. Drained. Fatigued. I wanted to go out and visit the museums and hang out by the water. I wanted to go try out more restaurants. I just wanted to enjoy myself outside. But I found enjoyment in staying at the hotel and starting, and finishing, The Lincoln Lawyer (TV series), while eating food and drinking.

By that Sunday? I was ready to go home. And home was much needed by then.

The week had started off hopeful just for it to turn hopeless. And I’m definitely a person who likes to sit in the sadness for a bit before shaking it off — but it’s always easier said than done. Each day felt mentally more challenging than the last. I wish I had that aha! moment that would have changed my whole life, that moment you see on TV when the protagonist decided to take fate in their own hands. While I definitely felt like I reclaimed that journey, it surely was not as profound as I wish it was — but hey, that’s life.

All in all, it was an okay week. A lot of reflecting, but also a lot of food, and whew was it GOODT! Of course, I’ll be back, but that week surely did put a whole lot into perspective.

Panamá: Days 1 and 2

Nobody: …
Nobody: …
Nobody: So how was Panama?
Me: Pah-nah-MÁH was glorious!

Enjoy 48 hours in 30 seconds. Yes, I will be submitting for an Oscar nomination!

Panamá was an absolutely fun time — even with all the humidity and rain. But, hey, that’s what happens when you travel so dangerously close to the rainy season in the tropics.

I always enjoy listening to what led someone into picking their travel destination of choice. While I picked Panamá because I used Google Flights to see cheap flights during the month of May, Panamá popped up, and I thought “Hmm! Why not? Let’s see the canal,” I’m hoping that you will be choosing Panamá based off of the amazing time I had there — even during the rainy season.

DAY 1

The first thing that struck me about Panamá was how tall it was. Juxtaposing the tallness of the white buildings with the lush green rainforest… I do wish I was able to capture the contrast from my grainy little window seat, but these airlines do not want me to be great!

And speaking of airlines… y’all Delta almost PLAYED MY LIFE. Our (as in, my and my sister’s) flight journey started at 3:45A. To set the scene for y’all, neither of us has had any sleep. Our flight was on a Friday, the last time I slept was Wednesday night. So from Thursday at 6A (when I woke up) to Saturday at 2A, I probably slept a total of 2 broken hours. So needless to say, I was mildly irate. Anywho, our Lyft driver came early (we tried scheduling a ride), and my sister and I were RUSHING to finish packing and head on over to the Lyft before miss ma’am cancelled our trip! And to think Coralie (my sister) almost forgot her passport… hah… ha… ah……….. Imagine. Literally, just imagine showing up at the airport without your passport for an international flight. I’d be ready to cancel and just stay my ass home.

We make it to the Lyft and it’s raining! Happy Friday the 13th!! RAIN to forebode our impending rainy trip. But let me reiterate that it was raining, because miss ma’am was ZIPPING through the empty, dark roads like Dominic Toretto was tryna catch her ass! At one point, so was horizontal in a 3 lane highway because she had to make the exit with a truck coming. Ma’am, all roads lead to Rome. Miss the first exit and the exit 4 miles down will loop you back around to the airport. It’s okkaaayyyyy. Said my prayers and closed my eyes, I did not want to see my death. We did, eventually, make it to the airport, in one piece. We make our way through check-in, show our Panamá pre-customs validation QR code, check our luggage, and make our way to our gate for the first leg of our flight. I even started my nails (while eating a Quiznos sandwich, which I later ended up regretting hardcore), while waiting for boarding.

We board and I promptly take a little 10 min nap, hoping that when I wake up we are in the sky on the way to our next step. Apparently, Delta did not have any direct flights into Panamá that week from the DC area. Our layover was 50 minutes in ATL… So we’re already racing against the clock. So tell me why I wake up, look at my watch, it says 7:30A (our flight was at 7A), and we are still on the tarmac finally lifting off! If your brain is mathing and seeing how we already lost 30 minutes… and our layover in ATL is 50 minutes… I open my Delta app and it tells me that our flight is delayed and that they’ve moved us to a different flight. IT WAS THE WAY I WAS INTERNALLY SCREAMING AND CRYING ON THE PLANE I WANTED TO PUKE!!! That Quiznos really was not sitting well. My sister was knocked out, so I had nobody to real-time cry to. So here I am texting my friends and family, asking them to contact Delta and to check flight itineraries for me. After some kerfuffle, the Delta app finally fixed itself and it showed our original itinerary. We gained some time in the air, but we still only had 30 minutes to run through the ATL airport to get to our new gate. And guess what? We got flagged when boarding, so we had to wait to get our facial recognition, error code, passport issue fixed? No, we don’t know what happened. Yes, it did get sorted.

landed and sweaty

A small sidebar about airplane windows turned into a whole rant about my adventure. Love to see it! But yeah, Panamá is very tall! We finally land and get off the plane, and I almost suffocated in the humidity. I am not even kidding. Hustled through their immigration and customs so that I can grab my suitcase and change from socks, slides, and a hoodie, to just slides and a sports bra. Was still sweating and breathing hard! But part of that was just from all the moving around. Once I finally sat still, I started feeling better. Our other two friends joined us from NY as we made our way on over to our AirBnB.

I wish I took pictures, it was such a pretty place, but the AirBnb link will have to suffice. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, can accommodate 4 people if everybody wants their own bed, or 6 people, if there was some bed sharing involved. The newly renovated condo has a little pool (that we never got to use!) that is shared with the other condo residents and some of the architecture is outdoors, such as the stairs and the pool, so definitely keep that umbrella handy from the minute you walk out the door.

We had plans to go to dinner and then salsa dancing. We only made it to salsa dancing. We had a small meal when we got to the AirBnb.

We stayed in Casco Viejo, Panamá’s old town, filled with glorious rooftops, cobblestones, historic walls, and a whole lot of restaurants. We got ready and headed out to find our instructor for salsa dancing. We booked through AirBnB experiences to go salsa dancing with Marta and her salsa safari crew. We met Martha and two of her dancers, Nelson and Miguel, who taught us the basics of salsa and took us to different bars with live music where we literally danced the night away. Ya girls were sweating. And guess what? My convertible heels BROKE!!! Imagine me trying to do a cute little salsa turns and I feel my heel twist out from under me. Which reminds me… I need to buy heel replacements for my shoes. At least just the heels broke and not my heels.

Hannah and I dropped Coralie and Karla off at the AirBnb before we went back out to another live music place, where we just got some Panamanian beer, before we decided to go back and walk around to find some food. Word of advice: do not walk around in Casco Viejo (or any city) at like 2 in the morning. A quiet city, stray animals walking around, groups of men lurking in a corner, and taxis following you around to see if you need a ride. Historic buildings being renovated look gorgeous in the daytime… not as glistening in the night when you can see the dilapidated areas.

We finally got back to the AirBnB. I hit a j, washed my face, and took a quick shower. The minute my head hit the pillow, it was lights out…

DAY 2

… until like 6A when my body decided to auto-wake itself up. Panamá is in the central timezone, so it was 7A back home. I tried so hard, I even begged myself, to go back to sleep to even get an extra hour of sleep. No, nay, never. I got up, and just watched some Netflix. When my friend Karla was up and at it, we walked around Casco Viejo to find a small little shop that sold fresh fruit, empanadas, and some carrot-beet juice. My body was REJOICING after I drank that juice. I normally like to pack my Kencko juices with me to ensure I get some fruits and veggies in the start of my mornings, but for some reason, I was utterly “unprepared” for Panamá, even though I had a whole lot of time to pack and prepare! But I was determined to make the most of my own predicament (which in hindsight, was more prepared than I believed, but still fell short of my own self-imposed standards).

When we got back from the shop, we all just laid in bed, watched horror movies, and I did Karla’s nails before we started getting ready for our Day 2 adventure: a food and drink tour hosted by a local Panamanian.

Another thing that struck me about Panamá was the amount of white ex-pats living there, and the amount of white ex-pat business owners who are then hiring Panamanians as employees. So it was nice to see that this tour was hosted by a local native.

Panamá City is a place of fusion. The true Panamanian food resides in the rural area while the city will have more diverse food. Given the location, and importance, of Panamá, it makes sense. Ana, our food tour guide, took us to several of her favorite fixtures, including Fonda Que lo Hay, which does serve as close to traditional Panamanian food as you’ll find in Panamá City. The tour highlighted local restaurants, food, and drinks that make Panama, Panamá.

It was a walking tour — so please wear some comfortable shoes. Ana taught us about the history of the food scene Panamá, which is mainly due to the canal’s presence (which I will talk a bit more about in pt 2 of my Panamá adventures).

Unfortunately, didn’t get the name of the rooftop bar we went to. But the calamari (which they name “spider legs”) were crispy perfection. And they served THEE BEST gin and tonic I’ve ever had, and I’m not a gin girlie! The overcast and sporadic rain damped (pun intended) the atmosphere, but I LOVED how the skies and the buildings looked in contrast.

We went to Mandinga, an amazing rum bar. Panamá, just like my country of Haiti, uses raw sugar canes to make their rum, compared to other countries using molasses. But what I really enjoyed was the Geisha coffee liquor. Smooth and perfectly balanced. I immediately envisioned myself pouring a shot into my daily cup of coffee. I don’t even drink coffee — that’s how amazing it was. Geisha coffee is so expensive due to the unique conditions needed to grow it, and because of that, only a certain amount can be grown yearly. Coralie picked up a bottle of the coffee liquor, but no coffee beans. Neither of us drink coffee enough to splurge on the Geisha coffee, but also, neither of us would recreate the coffee in a way that brings out the natural flavors. In essence, it would be wasted.

We ended our evening with Ana at Casa Catedral, a historic (if you couldn’t tell, everything in Casco Viejo is historic) restaurant where you can dine next to old cars. I’m not a car person, but it was still amazing seeing everybody else ooh and aah over these old cars. Apparently, a very old family collects these vintage cars and displays a handful of them at Casa Catedral. It absolutely contributes to the atmosphere. I felt as what I think I would feel like if I was in Havana — a place I haven’t been yet.

Even though our culinary adventures ended with Ana, the night was just getting started for us. We went back to our AirBnB to freshen up and change before grabbing late night dinner at Casa Blanca. I think most of the food we had in Panamá has been wonderful, but not necessarily stand-out, if that makes sense. Since most of what we had was Panamanian fusion, everything was delicious. My tastebuds were dancing with every bite, but as I look back at the fusion food, nothing popped out as my favorite. Take note I mention fusion food. We did try authentic Panamanian food later on during our time, and those were notable, but that’s a part 2 post *wink.* Yes, that does mean you need to come back and continue reading!

Quick side note… the cocktails were SUPERB. Two drinks stuck out to me: the mojito and a gin and tonic (had at the rum bar, and the rooftop bar). You might be reading it like, “girl… I can make that in my bathroom.” And you’re right, but it would suck. I have never had two super strong, yet alcohol-tasteless, yet bubbly and refreshing drinks in my life. I have been going crazy trying to ask bartenders here to remake them, “No can this have more club soda? Ok but not that club soda. Y’all have sugar cane syrup? No? Just simple syrup? Ok but what types of gins do you ha–just Hendricks? Ok. *scratches head.*” I think they spat in my drink. I gotta head on over to my fav cocktail bar to see if they can scratch the itch.

Ok. Back to our adventure! After dinner, we headed out to experience the nightlife. The night before, we had asked where the pretty black girls like to hang out to an Afro-Latina bartender. She gave us a list of recommendation. We first hit Selina, a cute, overpriced and highly overrated rooftop that charges a cover. Y’all know the vibes! Gorgeous views though (not pictured, sorry). Some random guy bought us all a shot, yum (jk). But there wasn’t any dancing. We could have gone to the main level to dance, but we were ready to try somewhere else. I’m not sure why, but I was tired, irate, sleepy–oh wait, must be because I slept a total of 5 hours over 72 hours? Nah, that’s not it. We walked around Casco Antigua, a place a couple blocks away from the center of Casco Viejo that has club next to club next to club next to rooftop next to club next to rooftop-on-top-of-a-club… The world was our oyster. We walked past each venue, listening to their music to see if we’d vibe. We finally just asked someone where we can go to get some lit black music. We were directed to Rush.

Chile… I was not ready. If I had some club days (and no, Shooters II does NOT count), I just know my club days would be OVER. Miss security guard patted me down and checked my purse. And the music was THUMPING. We tried to get closer to the center, but somebody threw (accidentally, drunkingly) drinks on us as we were walking around. I was done. I stomped, mad as hell, back to the bar. I was ready to leave on my own if everybody else was feeling the moment, but I did not want to leave a girl behind if two of the other girls also wanted to come back. Like, I’d brace it for the enjoyment of my friend, but if somebody else wanted to stay, too, I’d dip. Luckily, Coralie wanted to stay with Hannah, while Karla and I went back to the AirBnB. Part of me wished I did stay, given how Hannah and Coralie were talking about chaotic the DJ was, but I think it was for the best that I went back to bed.

Again, once my head hit the pillow… Lights out! The lack of sleep I got on that trip… whew!

DAY 3

THUNDERSTORMS! We chose a great day to–oh wait. I’m saving this for the next entry! So stay tuned.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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*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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.