Valencia: day trip


The first time we visited Valencia was not what we had expected so we left with a sour taste and not willing to come back never again. Then our good friend Ivan told us last week he would be going so we decided to give it a second try. (Spoiler alert: in the end…we had a blast!)

First thing first: café con leche in the nearest coffee shop and then some touristic walks around Valencia’s city center.

We stumbled across the Mercat Central or Mercado Central (you guys know how much I love a farmer’s market) and we tried some Jamon Iberico and Manchego cheese. 

Time for some modern architecture: The City of Arts and Science was breath-taking.

Since we had a car (not like last time) we visited two beaches and considering it was late Summer, it was rare to have all the beach for us. We stayed two hours in each one and had a very relaxing time. I got to take my arm brace off and sun bathed a little being very careful not to fall since my arm is not  100%  ok…yet. (Can you spot my very thin arm? Well I guess it will take a lot of crossfit to gain my muscle back) 😦

What’s inside my makeup travel bag


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I don’t know about you, but I love seeing posts of what people carry on their bag (little creepy right?). In my defense it is just kind of fun to take a peak and see if they are organized, what products do they carry around, what can’t they live without. It is fun.

I have shared the “what’s in my bag” post and “what’s inside my travel carry-on” post and after taking a look at those two posts I need to add some similar posts with more appealing pictures. Let us called them the “updated” ones.

Next week I am going to be out-of-town for a small business/pleasure trip and (obviously) I am going to share it the week after with you guys so you can see how lovely the place I am going to is. It is a short trip so I try to fit as little makeup as possible in my toiletries bag.

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  1. Smashbox photo finish primer water
  2. Duo lash glue
  3. L’oreal Infallible 24 h-mat (20 sand)
  4. Make up Forever full cover (waterproof)
  5. Too Faced “Better than sex” mascara
  6. Tarte “The sculptor” contouring crayon
  7. Brow brush from E.l.f
  8. Concealer and eyeliner brush from M.A.C
  9. Morphe M433 Brush
  10. Collistar black kohl pencil
  11.  Stila “Stay all day” waterproof liquid eye liner
  12. Maybelline lip liner (20 nude)
  13. Face brush by E.l.f
  14. L’oreal color riche matte in 640 (all time favorite)
  15. Catrice matt bronzing powder
  16. Ardell demi wispies (you know I can’t live without lashes)
  17. Make up Forever Step 1 primer
  18. The beauty blender
  19. Make up Forever Pro sculpting palette
  20. Revolution ultra contour palette (I used it as eye shadow too)
  21. Dead Skin Origins under-the-eye patches

This makeup bag is fantastic because it’s small, practical and has plastic coverage so is something spills, it won’t ruin my things (let’s add that is cute too). I bought it from Forever 21 two years ago.

I would love to know, what’s do you guys put inside your make up travel bag?

And we made it to the final round!

I am absolutely and extremely happy to announce that we made it to the semi-final of SRF Switzerland Eurovision song contest! WE DID IT!  Thanks to all of you who voted we made it to Zürich to the live shows and (drum roll………..) we also made it to the final that is going to be held on February 13th, 2016! Can I hear a whooooooooooa!

I want to thank William Luque for including me in this project and believing in my song writing. He is an amazing producer and I can’t be prouder to also have him as my friend. I also want to thank Jimmy for making such a cool video in such a short period of time, Stanley Miller for having that strong and powerful voice and also to the Zürich Gospel Choir for accompanying us, making the performance even cooler!

I had such an incredible time in Zürich; the city is beautiful and I had the chance of meeting wonderful people like Peter and Tony from the Zürich Gospel Choir. They were so nice with us and so kind that it made my trip even better. Also the rest of the choir for making us feel like home: Fabio, Chrissa 1 and Chrissa 2 and Sarah. Juan Lopez and Joseph for being part of the journey and all the crew of SRF behind the contest for treating us so well.

I didn’t bring along my camera so here are all the pics from my phone. 

 

 

 

June photodiary: Greece

Aw…my lovely Greece.

This trip was definitely an exciting one! I got to spend my birthday with my family and got to work with amazing people. We laughed, we bickered and we laughed again.

I polished my skills as a translator for Jimmy when people talked to him in Greek. He learned new words like “fovero” that means “amazing” and “akrivos” that means “exactly”.

The weather was kinda cold and we suffered a little when we jumped into the freezing water, but hey…cold water is good for your skin (and also for having a minor heart attack once you touch the water).

 

Short trip to Barcelona

Almost a year ago I posted 5 places that I wanted to visit and Barcelona was in that list.

I am happy to tell you guys that finally I met this wonderful city. My brother-in-law accommodated us in his lovely apartment and we spend New Year’s Eve with him. It was a very relaxing short trip and I really can’t wait to see Barcelona in the summer one day.

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From Paris with love (Part II)

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Last week we went on a brief and short trip to Paris with Jimmy. My mother-in-law was going to be there with a friend for a week, so we thought it would be a fabulous opportunity to jump on plane and meet there. My brother-in-law was coming from Barcelona and we all got together for a small family reunion.

I can’t emphasize enough how much we laughed and had a very lovely (and freezing) time. Although I missed my sister Stefi so much because every street and every corner reminded me of the last time I was in Paris with her. My little travel companion.

I think this is the first time in twelve years with Jimmy that I got to share and have so much fun with his family. His mother is the sweetest person you will ever meet and his brother is absolute fun. I rarely got to see him back in Caracas but I am really happy we got to share this trip together.

The view from our room

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Breakfast and lunch at Laduree

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I have a small obsession with postcards

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I am finally here!

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Dear Madrid, I have officially arrived!

I am still looking for a place to live and it has been a little hard, but I am getting there. I found some interesting places and some terrible crack-house style apartments but I have the feeling that we will find something we really like. I can’t wait to share new photos of our trip so far and I believe this is going to be a very interesting adventure.

May you all have a wonderful week!

 

 

5 things I loved about Las Vegas

Last week was all about traveling. While I blogged I was actually in Las Vegas. This was my first time there and Jimmy and I had a nice vacation. Our experience was not as you may expect. There were no crazy nights out or pool partying. But there was a lot of walking, shopping and eating. We experienced a total different Vegas vacation. (On our second day Jimmy was rushed to the E.R. He had kidney stones and was experiencing excruciating pain. After two days he felt better though.)

I want to share with you guys five things I loved about Las Vegas. There are also many things I did not like, but that I guess would be a total different post.

1) Let me get this out of my chest: I have been a Britney Spears fan since a little girl. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but I do love her so please don’t hate. One of the main reasons of this trip was going to see her Vegas residency show. It was AMAZING. This is the first time I see her up close and she is beautiful. Best night of our trip. (Sorry Jimmy for dragging you to the concert, but let’s admit we did have fun!)

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2) We stayed the first five days at the MGM Grand and the last ten days at the Cosmopolitan. The last hotel was spectacular and they gave us a fantastic room with a breath-taking view.

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3) We are early risers, so you can imagine how peaceful the mornings were with no one around in the streets and the pools. Those were our relaxing moments.

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4) We usually woke up at 6:00 am. Some mornings were really cold so we had coffee while walking in the streets. (From time to time we saw people from the night before returning to their hotels and some healthy runners.)

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5) I got to spend quality time with Jimmy. This trip would not have been the same without him. He made me laugh everyday.

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What’s inside my travel carry-on

I hate to have tons of things in my carry-on bag every time I travel. It’s uncomfortable, annoying and normally you end up bringing things you don’t need. That’s why I like to keep it simple and practical. I am going to give you a peek inside mine.

I always carry my handbag with the essentials for the airport and a small square travel case that is practical and fits under the front seat in the airplane. When I travel overseas I usually add black sweatpants and a cozy long-sleeve sweater inside my carry-on that I use as a “pyjama” because I hate sleeping in jeans or pants. I always change before landing.

These are the items I normally take with me. I didn’t add them to the picture but I also take a small purse with travel documents, my Kindle and a travel-size makeup bag.

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1) You really need these. Sometimes you arrive at the airport with a fabulous face other times with a no-friends-face after a long flight.

2) My purse and my travel documents purse.

3) Sleep mask. I can’t sleep if everything is not pitch-black, so these don’t leave my bag.

4) My Iphone.

5) Planes get chilly, so I learned to a-l-w-a-y-s bring a shawl.

6) Face wipes. I take my makeup off on long flights and re-apply it before landing. So these are really helpful.

7) A pair of socks. I like to wear them before I fall asleep. Never walk on the airplane with bare-naked feet. Just don’t.

8) Bobby pins, hair clip and ear plugs.

9) Band-aids, toothpaste and toothbrush (missing from the picture above), travel-size perfume, sanitizing hand wipes, travel-size Nivea cream, sugar-free candy, lip balm, face lotion and Tide travel-size.

10) The case where I put #8 and #9.

11) Small hair comb and a pen.

12) My passport (well, obviously).

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Everything fits here. I also have space for some granola, magazines and my camera.

Do you guys have any travel essentials?

Foods to avoid at airports

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You plan your vacation, you get to the airport, then all of a sudden you throw away all your healthy habits and go straight to have that burger with fries. What the heck, your vacation has just started right?

Be aware that sometimes that is not the smartest option. Not in the airport. Certain foods cause bloating, others can have a terrible aftermath.

1) Carbonated drinks. 

Sugar causes bloating and it is not a nice feeling to have on a long or even a short trip. Even diet sodas do too, so try to avoid them.

2) Too much coffee. 

I like to have my coffee when I am traveling in the morning or maybe a late-afternoon espresso. Please don´t over do it. Coffee in excess tends to dehydrate you and cause anxiety. It will not help you sleep if you are planning to do so.

3) Fried food.

Not good for your health and not good for your trip. Anything fried will satisfy your cravings for a brief time but will not nourish you in any way. When something is fried it is stripped from all its nutrients.

4) Alcohol.

I know some of you like to have a drink to soothe their nerves before a flight but believe me there are other natural options to do so. Keep in mind that alcohol dehydrate you and the first thing you need when traveling is to be hydrated. So try some valerian root or have a chamomile. (I am sounding like my grandmother, but you´ll thank me later.)

5) Switch the burger for a sandwich.

You can have it when you arrive at your destination but please try to avoid them before a flight. Have a sandwich instead with some protein and your fair amount of carbs. Thow in some veggies for extra points.

 

Throw back Monday: Easter edition

I hadn`t seen my grandparents for eight years. I live far away and it is very complicated to see them often. So three years ago I decided to book a flight and make a surprise appearance in Greece to visit them.

The only person who knew was my aunt Irini. She picked me up at the airport at midnight and we went straight home. When we arrived to my grandparents house everything was quiet because they were sleeping. So my aunt woke my grandfather gently and said she had a surprise for him. Both my grandparents woke up and went to the living room where I was waiting,excited.

Their first reaction was absolute silence. I knew, from my grandfather`s expression, that he thought he was still dreaming. He gently approached me and touched my face. We both started to cry.

I will never forget this trip.I spent two weeks with my grandparents and I am truly thankful for those days together. That was the last time I saw my grandfather, he passed away eight months later.

I want to share my favorite things that happened in that Easter trip to Greece because it was my first Easter there and one trip I will never forget.  

1) One of the traditions on Greek Easter is to paint boiled eggs red. You have to hold your egg then you tap the end against the end of your opponent’s egg, trying to crack it. It is called “tsougrisma” and it always ends in laughter.

DSC012052) I feel in love with this giant mug to grow flowers in.(Isn`t the Easter bunny lovely?)DSC012113) Spring flowers. I couldn`t stop taking pictures of flowers everywhere. DSC013214) The “Lefko Pirgo” at sunset. This was spectacular. DSC013245) I discovered chocolate euros. DSC011386) Tangerine tree downtown.DSC012317) Had the best “Giro” in town.DSC011088) Found baked Lays in Greek. DSC011999) My beautiful grandmother`s flowers.DSC0125810) I had strawberries every single day. DSC0120011) This happened. I rarely eat fried food but I made an exception.DSC0129612) Here with my papu Kiriakos. This was our last picture together. I will treasure it for the rest of my life.

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“Paris: the good, the bad and the ugly” by Eva

For this Project Friday’s post we will have Eva from Storytotellya.com as our guest blogger. Make sure to check her inspiring and wonderfully written blog. I have to thank the internet for letting me make such nice friends. She is witty, smart and also happens to be an incredible writer. In this post she shares the story of her Paris trip.

Here is Eva’s post:

I should have known that when the flight attendant spilled Coke on me on the London-Paris flight, it was an omen that set the tone for the rest of the trip. But who could be angry? I was on my way to Paris for a 5 day trip with my fiancé.

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Even though I learned French in High School and college, I was apprehensive about using it after such a long time. My fears were pushed to the back of my mind when a more pressing matter arose. My luggage didn’t come out on the airport conveyor belt.

I grabbed the first airport employee I saw and spilled my problem in French to him. Judging by his reaction, he understood what I needed and wasn’t appalled by my accent. He pointed me to the Air France office where I repeated my story once again to a very pleasant lady. She started answering to me in English. I kept speaking in French. She answered in English. I stubbornly stuck with French. I got my paperwork and we were on our way to the hotel.

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We spent the evening strolling around Paris even though we were exhausted from the redeye flight from the US. After circling Notre Dame, we decided to get something to eat. A close by restaurant called St. Andre appeared half empty and welcoming. Alas, this restaurant was the devil’s den. The shady waiter was in cahoots with the local pick pockets (as we later discovered) and as we enjoyed real French onion soup, someone reached in my fiance’s bag and stole my wallet with all my money, credit cards, driver’s license and most importantly – my green card.

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Later that night, after the discovery of the missing wallet, I spent hours on the computer in the reception of the hotel trying to cancel my credit cards because the thieves already racked up a $1,600 tab from shops around Champs-Elysees. By now, my French language shyness was fully gone and I quizzed the hotel clerk on how I could get a police report.

Close to midnight, we set off in search of the 13th arrondissement police station based on the map the hotel clerk provided. The map took us to a train station and we wondered around looking for the police office. After a while, we noticed one lit window with bars over it and a policeman standing outside, smoking. I was about to knock on the door when I heard a buzzer. I pushed the door open and almost fell as I stumbled off the step into the brightly lit room. There were three policemen – one about 50 years old, dressed in a sweater and jeans, one around 35 dressed in a workout outfit and a young guy in his 20’s dressed in a full blown police getup.

“Bonjour…” I started my spiel and frantically set on explaining my ordeal. To my chagrin, I didn’t realize that the whole time I was trying to refer to my portefeuille (wallet) I kept saying portemanteau (coat hanger). The policemen figured it out, were very nice and we spent about an hour typing up the report, with them firing questions at me in French and me, surprisingly, able to answer every time.

Around 2 AM, we arrived back at the hotel and I sent several pleading emails to the US embassy because according to their site, there were no appointments available until two weeks from that day.

The next day, we spent the whole morning trying to contact the US embassy and finally, after leaving numerous messages in both languages and sending more emails, I got an appointment for the next day. We were exhausted but still managed to enjoy some of Paris like Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees.

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The next day I was fortunate to get my paperwork started at the embassy despite the online list of various documents I needed to bring and didn’t have. I even contacted my green card attorney in the US and she emailed me some documentation to help me. After an interview with the consul, who turned out to be a girl in her late 20s, I walked out of the embassy with the instructions to come back two days later for my travel document.

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Now we could finally breathe a sigh of at least a partial relief. We went around Paris and enjoyed the typical French breakfast and lunch. Upon the arrival to the hotel later that afternoon, I was greeted by my dusty and battered suitcase. Hooray! I couldn’t wait to change clothes and finally look chic. But, in line with the omen of the spilled Coke, things got more complicated yet.

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During dinner, as we sat drinking our second bottle of wine, I received a phone call from my eye surgeon from NY telling me that my pathology report said that my eye cancer was back. He refused to discuss the treatment on the phone and just hinted at two more surgeries. I was glad I was fairly drunk at that point as this news found me numb with disbelief.

Despite the lost luggage, stolen wallet, stolen green card, uncertainty of getting back to the US, and the cancer re-occurrence, we still relished sitting in the cafes, eating boeuf bourguignon, and drinking in the atmosphere that only Paris has.

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We made it back to JFK and after an interrogation worthy Guantanamo Bay, I was allowed back into the US. Then I waited for eight months to get my green card replaced. But despite all that, I still love Paris. I visited there when I was 5 years old, then when I was 16, and last when I was 35. Hopefully I will return again soon (with a money belt).

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Thank you Eva!  🙂