We were very lucky the sun decided to come out, but it was still freezing. I am definitely glad that I packed layer able pieces on this trip. We started our morning off by exploring Parc Guell. It is probably THE most famous park in Barcelona and I now fully understand why. Not only is this park beautiful, but its also massive which I didn’t realize until I was trying to find the famous mosaic bench and got lost.
This park has so may perfect spots for pictures that my boyfriend and I got a little carried away with taking pictures (no regrets though).
After Parc Guell we decided to grab a coffee and then we were off to our next destination.
We took an audio tour of Sant Pau Hospital and were literally blown away. First of all, this hospital seems more like a palace and was gorgeous. Secondly, this hospital was gigantic with something like 13 different buildings not including the newer still functioning hospital.
Once we finished with our tour, we headed back to our Airbnb to rest a little. Later on we headed back to the gothic quarter to do some shopping where I picked up a pair of handmade espadrilles to take home. I also convinced my boyfriend to get Melindros and Swiss chocolate before dinner.
We headed to the beach to get some paella for dinner. This was probably my favorite meal and I honestly wish I had it one more time before we left.
We had an early night in because we were so exhausted from walking so much and it was in the 40’s by the time we finished dinner. I had absolutely no objections to turning in early for a warm shower and a cozy bed.
I did so much when I was in Spain that I have decided to break it down and do it by day. I will also create a guide to Barcelona for those of you who want just a highlighted version of the favorite things I did!
The first full day in Barcelona might have been one of my favorites of the trip. There is nothing like wandering around a new place and getting lost in the streets.
We started our day off with an early tour of the Palau de la Musica.
This beautiful concert hall was absolutely beautiful. I loved the architecture inside and it has my favorite ceiling of all time inside. I also love the mosaic pillars on the balcony outside the second floor.
After our tour we wandered around the gothic quarter where we stumbled upon the Barcelona Cathedral. We didn’t go inside but we did spend a good amount of time looking at every Ince of the building from the outside. We then just walked around the narrow streets and alleys looking at all the amazing architecture.
We ended out the day with a trip to Dulcinea for Swiss drinking chocolate and melindros. This is one of my favorite things I ate on my trip and I am still daydreaming about them now. After having these, we went onto dinner at Bodega La Palma where I enjoyed my fist bravas and ham croquets.
The jet lag was very evident to us on our first day and we were exhausted by the end of it. So we had an early night and got lots of rest because the rest of our days were jam packed with activities.
January is the first month of the year, and it usually a month to set goals and get your life together. I have done a lot of planning this past month, as well as cleaning and organizing. One of things I would like to do more of is sharing my Amazon purchases with all of you. I love finding things on Amazon, and I love seeing what other people buy. Here is what I bought this month on Amazon.
I realized I lack a lot of greens in my diet. While I do eat veggies and take vitamins, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I decided to try this greens powder out in a new smoothie (recipe coming soon) and I love it! I also love that this greens powder has probiotics in it too.
VANILLA BEAN POWDER
To go along with my new smoothie I bought this vanilla bean powder. I think its so fun and delicious. I can’t wait to add it to more things like blended coffee drinks and baked goods.
Speaking of smoothies, when the weather is warmer or I can finish one before I get out the door, I love making smoothies. I find they are so easy to prep and put together and they are delicious! However, I really struggle with taking them to-go because my blend jet cups have no lids and I find them cumbersome to tote about at work. I found these very aesthetic smoothie jars and they are a game changer. They have bonus points for being dishwasher safe too.
PISTACIO SYRUP + PUMP
For Christmas I received a Nespresso machine and have been loving it. I especially love making lattes with the espresso pods. Since Spring is right around the corner I decided to get a Pistachio syrup and it is the most delicious syrup I think I have ever tasted. I also got this pump to go on the bottle for quick and easy dispensing.
My closet needs a little bit of updating. Over the past year I did a lot of purging, and I have a lot of holes in my wardrobe now. One area I really want to work on is my dresses. I feel like I only have summer and spring dresses, but none for cooler temperatures. I saw this dress and love how cozy it is. It can easily be dressed up with tights and boots or can be worn by itself with a pair of sneakers. I love having pieces that are versatile.
I honestly love finding things on Amazon. What did you buy recently that you love?
The holiday season at Disneyland and California Adventure is one of my favorite times of year. I love all the decorations, food, and all the feels I get when I walk through the parks.
One thing that is the best, especially for foodies, is the Festival of Holidays in DCA. I love hoping around to all the different carts trying all the food and drinks. I was super excited when I saw they brought back my favorite macaroon– the hot cocoa macaroon. If you plan on eating a bunch of items, I would suggest buying the sip-and-savor pass they offer.
I didn’t realize how much I need to be at Disney during the holidays until the last time I went. My boyfriend and I went for a few hours at night to see the fireworks, and get on as many rides as possible. To be able to stand on Main Street under the snap after the holiday firework show…let’s just say some tears were shed.
With the parks being closed last year and with my family (including myself) having COVID I didn’t get the usual Christmas magic I am use to. Being able to go this year did more for my heart and mental health than I can tell you. I can’t wait to go back in January to get in a little bit more magic before they take down all the decorations.
To say that this was everything I needed and not what I expected would be an understatement. Being back was magical and amazing– everything my soul needed after these 15 months in lockdown. BUT, it was not at all what I had thought I had paid for.
I spent a lot of money on tickets (as everyone who bought tickets did). I was initially okay with this because I was under the impression that the capacity would be around 35%. It was not. Capacity was at 50% – 75% and it was heartbreaking for me. We were not able to do all the rides we wanted to do because every line was super long. Mid-way through the day I was feeling very disappointed, and slightly defeated. It also was unseasonably cold for June (we are talking a high of 66 and drizzling). I was miserable.
I did end up turning my mood around, and honestly just accepted the circumstances because there was nothing I could do to change them.
On the the good things…
We did a decent amount of rides and ate a decent amount of food. I had two churros which made me very happy. I started my day off with the tea cups and it honestly made me emotional sitting in my blue cup struggling to spin it. There were lots of character sightings including my absolute favorite, Stitch (who said he loved my ears). We also were able to secure a pass for Rise of the Resistance, and it was an amazing ride.
I spent a lot of time sitting and soaking in the sights and the sounds of my home away from home. It felt so good to be back and I can’t wait to go again.
On September 11, 2018 my boyfriend and I traveled to Portland, Oregon. This was the first trip we took just the two of us and it honestly was so perfect! In SoCal it doesn’t get very cold in the fall and I always crave that crisp Fall air being bundled up in a cozy sweater. We decided early on in the year that we wanted to take a short trip to Portland. Why Portland? It was just a short flight and a place neither of us had been before…did I mention the cold weather?!
We stayed at this super cute Air BnB which admittedly was a lot smaller than we expected but it was so cute! We really only needed a nice place to sleep as we were out in the city pretty much from 8am until 11pm. So honestly, it was just what we needed.
I loved all of the thoughtful details the host put into the decor like all of the books on portland as well as local chocolate for us to eat and a mini fridge filled with local spirits. This place was also very Pinterest worthy! It was ideally located right next to a public transit line.
Since we were only there for a short amount of time we tried to do as much as possible off our list. My boyfriend was mainly interested in food places while I wanted to do all the sights!
WHAT WE DID
Powell’s Bookstore | this was a non-negotiable must do especially since we are both avid readers and honestly we spent 3 hours in this gigantic bookstore. We planned it out well and did it the first night we arrived right before dinner. If you love bookstores I would plan out a large chunk of time to explore the 5 floors.
Ground Kontrol | If you grew up playing in arcades this is heaven! We had such a fun game night after Powell’s with a few rounds of tetris and time crisis. There is a bar inside that serves only local beers and ciders.
Japanese & Rose Garden | The second day we trekked on up to Washington Park to go explore the Japanese gardens and they did not disappoint. It definitely was a workout going up into the mountain and all through the garden but the view was definitely worth it. There were so many gems we came across while walking the paths. The rose gardens are located just below and they are beautiful.
Pittock Mansion | On the mountain opposite from Washington Park is where this gorgeous estate is. It was quite the hike and I honestly had to take a few breaks on the way up. By the time we got to the top, the sun started shining and I started sweating…profusely. We initially went just to walk around the grounds but after sitting on a bench drinking water we decided to pay the admission and go inside. It was totally worth it! On the way down though, it completely poured on us.
WHERE WE ATE
Por Que No? | We went here straight from the airport (on the way to our Air BnB). The tacos were so good and we loved sitting outside in the gloomy weather. It was such a good start to our trip.
Mothers Bistro | This one was my pick! I had heard a lot about it from Pinterest and was insistent that this would be our splurge breakfast spot. It was soo good. I ordered the frittata (ah-mazing), my boyfriend ordered the salmon hash, and we both split a Belgium waffle with locally grown blackberries. We ordered a french press for coffee and sat at a table with a view of the city. I honestly still dream about this meal; it was perfect.
VooDoo Donut | While we were there we had to try this place because I mean…everyone talks about it. It was a really cool donut stop but we honestly weren’t too impressed with the donuts.
Blue Star Donut | This place on the other hand was our favorite! We actually stopped at one on our way to the airport and ate them on the plane. They were all so delicious and we loved how they leaned more on the pastry side than the donut side. Luckily one opened up near us in Los Angeles so we can always go get some without the use of a plane!
Poisons Rainbow | This was the main place my boyfriend wanted to go to so of course we did it the first night. The ambiance was really cool but sadly it no longer is in business. This bar was owned by the founder of Modest Mouse (my boyfriend’s favorite band) and it leased out the kitchen to a pizza place called Ranch Pizza. Honestly, the pizza was amazing! We both crave it all the time and have even tried to recreate it! The pizza place still exists if you are ever up there.
Salt & Straw | We loved the ice cream here and is definitely a must if you go. We actually lucked out because it was pouring rain when we got there and waited out the storm with scoops of peach cobbler ice cream. We recently got one of these in Downtown Disney so we pretty much go there all the time when we are craving a good artisanal ice cream!
I hope you enjoyed walking down memory lane with me! This was one of my favorite trips in the U.S. thus far. It was so much fun and I loved exploring a new city that was very different from where I live! Have you been to Portland before? I would love to hear about your trip in the comments below!
I love Love LOVE Mexican food! I also love a good healthy Mexican option that I won’t feel guilty binge eating. I found a recipe years ago for veggie tacos that I have made my own. Every time I make these my entire (picky) family loves them and never leave any leftovers.
1 can black beans (drained + rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can corn (drained)
1 red or white onion
2 medium zucchinis (diced into cubes)
1 round of quest fresco (crumbled)
salt + pepper to taste
cumin to taste
combine tomatoes, corn, beans, zucchini, onion, and spices in an oven proof baking dish. Toss to combine ingredients. Preheat oven to 425 and cook for 40 minutes stirring half way.
While veggies are cooking, start heating up corn tortillas by warming them (one-by-one) in a skillet on the stove. Warm until each side is slightly golden brown. Place on a plate for serving. If tortillas are done before veggies, I keep the plate on the stove to keep warm.
Once veggies are out of the oven, squeeze the lime over the veggies and stir. Serve a scoop of veggies on a tortilla and sprinkle with queso fresco and/or cilantro. Enjoy!
I hope you guys try this recipe out and love it as much as I do! I think it is such a great healthy swap for traditional/takeout Mexican food.