Thursday, July 9, 2015

The day of 29,000 steps

This was not intentional but I'm actually really proud of that number! Though I feel I have now set an unreasonably high standard so that when I only hit, say, 18,000, it will feel like I need to walk more =x
I started off with plans to climb Diamond Head for the beautiful views, relatively simple climb, and beacuse it's a mile from where I'm staying. I took off pretty early, paid my $1 to get in- though now I can go back for free with my student ID!- and began. It's a steep path that winds up until you reach a long set of steps up to the lookout deck. From there you get beautiful views of the ocean, all of honolulu, and the crater down below. Photos soon!

My plan was to go to the Diamond Head beach park so I took off towards that, not realizing that you have to circle the entire mountain to the other side. Having the same name does not mean they are anywhere close together, so I was tired and ready to lay down by the time I got there. I read for about 30 minutes but ended up not staying long because the beach is too rocky for swimming since it's more of a surfer's beach. Afterwards I walked about 2 miles back so I could get lunch and clean up before going to the campus with Carol and a Japanese student she had just picked up. We wanted to explore and find our classrooms so that we wouldn't be lost Monday morning. UH is a beautiful campus! Well, really, it just fits the whole Honolulu scene, full of flowers, Asian inspired architecture, and open green spaces. We are actually in some temporary buildings the first part of the day, then Moore Language Center for our labs. I didn't realize it before, but UH has some amazing language and interpreting programs and quite the reputation. I feel a little more special having been accepted!

Afterwards I had Carol drop me off in China town to walk around that area and the downtown for a while. It was a little quiet since it was a Sunday but still fun. I love China towns! I replaced my jade bracelet from Beijing, which unfortunately broke a few months ago. I like the new one but not sure it's as well made as the original from the jade factory. I picked up a mango from a market- not that cheap but better than the insane 6.99 a lb I've seen it for everywhere! I walked by some historical sites because everything was closed, but then ended up talking to some really nice Hawaiian guys who were playing eukelele outside of these historical homes. I like the vibe here, everyone is friendly and welcoming :) I ate another food court dinner at the mall before taking a bus back. I know my food on this trip has been really boring! I usually love to explore the local cuisine and try new restaurants and cafe's but with these prices I'm trying to stick to the basics, not to mention traditional Hawaiian entails roasting an entire pig or spam filled sushi!

I'll get school updates on here soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Arrival plus July 4th or really just day 2 in Honolulu for me

Let's get this down before I forget! I have been walking, walking, walking and setting new unreasonable standards for my step count on my iPhone!

After settling in and unpacking on Friday, I walked to Waikiki beach to swim in both the more family friendly beach near me, and the further one where they have the surf lessons. As I was told, Waikiki is the rich area so I walked around the shopping center past all the Versace, and Gucci, and fancy names before finding a grocery store and finding similiar Gucci level prices there so I ended up walking further to the safeway that was slightly better.
Saturday morning I walked about a mile to the community college where they have a huge farmers market. I loved it! The prices are actually not bad and I got a bag of purple sweet potatoes and a baby watermelon. There are also a lot of free samples and food vendors. From there I took the bus into town to go to the 24 hour fitness. It's an impressive gym! 3 floors of weight machines and free weights, plus some punching bags in a boxing ring I may use ;)

 I'll have to compare it to the school gym this week in order to decide where to go. Most things were closed for 4th of July so I ended up walking to the shopping mall, not for shopping but for eating. My $12 meal from the food court might be the cheapest it's going to get, it may become a go to place.  Afterwards I tested out the Ala Moana beach park. It has a little enclosed cove where everyone had set up tents and were grilling and cooking food, looked like fun! I chose to set up on the beach side for the extra breeze, though it was just as packed. I read for a while, spoke to a couple from Arkansas, since I recognized the familiar southern accent. Is it weird that I miss things like that? I miss spanish even more, I'm so used to being surrounded by it in Houston and it made it harder that Argentina vs Chile Copa America finals were on and there are no bars that play soccer games here....(edit) we lost anyways :(

Afterwards, I wandered back through the Hilton and noticed the beautiful pool, as well as the fact that no one stopped me from walking in. This was really nice and has been noted for future occasions. The Hilton also has an entire shopping center inside so I charge my phone and myself at starbucks while catching up on the internets. By that point it was only 5 and I felt like I was ready for bed, and also if you recall from the last post, I was getting kind of lonely being so alone among everyone who had gotten together for the holiday, I miss you guys! I'd planned to watch fireworks on the beach but with no one to share it :\
So I wandered back almost the entire way down Kalakaua Ave, the main Waikiki drive, picked up a few food items, then had to uber it back because I was exhausted. We had a nice view of the fireworks at the house, so we watched then hung out for a bit until I went to bed with big plans for Sunday morning!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Do I dare come back? I'm older, maybe wiser, and still traveling....Aloha from Honolulu!

Hello there friends!
I decided my travel blog would be the best way to keep everyone up to date on my Hawaii experience without having to repeat myself several times over. It also serves the dual purpose of being something I can look back on and remember great memories. I was debating wether to restart this blog or start a new one...It feels really strange after 5 years of not keeping an online journal, so much time gone by, so much life having happened.
I could have started a brand new one, but then I read through all the archives and I think it's really interesting to go back and see where I was in 2009 and 2010. Some it is funny because I can see ways in which I've matured and laugh at my 24/25 year old self. But then some of it left me wondering-  why do I still have these same worries, is that feeling of "never good enough" that is so pervasive in those old posts just a part of who I inherently am? It left me feeling sort of melancholy, though that was probably compounded by the fact that I've been doing everything alone this weekend and it was a little lonely for 4th of July while wandering around seeing families and couples and friends celebrating together.

Anyways, onwards and upwards! Let's start from the beginning and how I arrived in Hawaii. Since 2010 I have become a full blown interpreter and part business owner! It has gone really well. I never did get that legal certification but I took over all of our focus group interpreting along with other things as they come up, and my work has kept me so busy I have not felt an urgent need to go study a lot of things I am not too interested in. However, it is still a stepping stone to all the other jobs I want to do and will give me the vocabulary and speed I need to do more conference interepreting. I did interpret my first conference for the Red Cross this last March and while it was fulfilling in so many ways, it was also terrifying. That's when I realized maybe investing in some formal interpreting training would give me the confidence I need to immerse myself into conference world. I'm not a bad interpreter, but I definately lack confidence in my skills, and that translates into me getting stuck or very flustered under pressure. So I started my search for short term interpreting programs and stumbled upon the Summer Intensive Interpreting program and the University of Hawaii in Honololu. It seemsd perfect! 6 weeks specializing in preparing me to become a certified conference interpreter, reasonably priced as far as further college education goes, and....Hawaii. I dove right in! After meticulous research and analysis, Gaby style.

I admit it was hard, is still hard, to leave for a month and half. I'm hoping to get more used to it. I'm also hoping everything I had is waiting for me back home when this is done. Part of me is now wondering if I was sort of looking for an escape back in March when I planned this. I felt the pull to get away and re-evaluate for a while, especially focus on my career and myself. Then as things happen when you finally focus on your own happiness and self reliance, stars align and things fall into place- well, I found myself really really content with where I not just content, a deep down in my core feeling that things are just right, hopeful. Clients I interpret for have become super loyal, and it's flattering. I've been allowing new people in who bring me joy, reconnecting with my yoga group and old friends (that I'd spoken so highly of in my old posts! How could I forget this?), a new apartment bringing a fresh start and new positive energy with it, and the best neighbor I've ever had who happens to be my brother. He's grown up to be a pretty cool guy.

Now here I am in Honolulu, and I'll admit, though it was bittersweet to leave, being here is an incredible opportunity and I plan to do everything I can to LIVE it! As you can see, my inability to write concisely is still here and I'm sure you're done with hearing about all the feel-y emotional stuff.
After leaving at 7 am Friday and flying about 9 hours I arrived at...12:30pm Friday? That time change is funny. A fellow classmate doing the French program named Carol picked me up from the airport and I was greeted with a traditional lei made of real flowers that smelled amazing. She then took me to my airbnb via the scenic route. She was super friendly, a British woman who has been living here for 4 years. She is even bringing me an unused bike she had lying around today! I will be mobile! At least faster than my feet have been taking me.

I'm staying in an ideal location, halfway between Waikiki beach and Diamondhead National Park. I'm about a mile from both of those, and 2 miles south of UH campus. I love how active I'll by biking around everywhere! Right now I am living with a Japanese lady named Rika, and her 6 year old daughter. Her older son, Remy, is the airbnb host. He is a model/ dancer/ hair and make up artist and is traveling for work right now. I can't wait to meet him next week. They both seem like cool, eccentric, and interesting people. The house is interesting, it's a little bungalow that is filled with stuff. Like piles of stuff but she says she's having a garage sale soon. The doors are constantly open, they don't even get closed when she goes to sleep because I got up to grab my water bottle from the kitchen at around 2 am last night and noticed she had not closed the front or back doors. There is no AC. Oh and there's also dogs, two 12 year old chocolate labs who are bascially smelly blobs on the floor most of the time, and also have accidents so I have to watch for puddles. So much for the playful labs I envisioned walking! Then there's a little Chihuaha who is kind of sideways all the time because she was bitten by a big dog years ago and her neck never untwisted. She's my favorite! She's little and cute. Thankfully my room and bathroom are clean and have AC! I am so happy about this AC unit. The king size bed takes up almost the entire room but it's not the worst place to sit. I'll probably still have to study on campus a lot.

This is already lengthy enough and I start classes tomorrow. I'll continue the updates and the absurd amount of things I've done in 48 hours in the next post.

Buenas noches amigos y queridos!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Merry December-Time friends! I hope you're enjoying your holidays, whatever those may be. My family does both Hanukkah and Christmas, though both as just another excuse to get together with family, but I love it nonetheless, and I love the holiday spirit that takes over everything this time of year! Unfortunately for Hanukkah, I did not have one free night this year to celebrate it, so my family kind of skipped right over it. That just means we'll have to make a bigger deal out of Christmas and I'm really looking forward to it! 

How is everyone celebrating this season? 

Mostly my life has been PACKED with work work work. But that does include yoga internships, tons of interpreting for  an array of topics you wouldn't even believe if I told you about, meeting new people, and hanging out with friends when I get the chance. 

Though none of this has involved traveling, I have actually been really enjoying my time at home, despite not literally having much time to chill at my apartment. I love jet setting back and forth but sometimes I need to take a breather, and focus on the life I sometimes miss out on. So now that I have a little bit of down time, I'm doing my best to take some vacation time for myself. 

That doesn't mean I don't stop dreaming about far off places though! And last week my mom gave me a gift that will help me travel everywhere without leaving my couch. She gave me a 6 month netflix subscription!! I"m so excited to catch up on movies, I'm never up to date on what is out or what's good, so I've been playing around and building up my queue and I wanted to share some of my favorite "destination" movies. Some of these are great for the plot itself, and some I just find really pretty or intriguing to watch as they make me want to go visit their countries. 

First- a classic L' Auberge Espagnole I admit I haven't seen this one in years so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but I love seeing the scenes in Barcelona and it's such a good depiction of different cultures, clashes and all. 

Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)- A fantastic, witty, and intriguing movie from Argentina. Argentina has some of the greatest film makers in the world, and this plot will leave you guessing until the very end with all it's crazy twists. This is really fun to watch! 

El Mar Adentro (The Sea Within)- Directed by the famous Almodovar, he's a hero to most Spaniards. This movie is thought provoking and well written. The Mediterranean sea is of course beautiful but you'll probably end up too busy crying to notice. Still, I don't want to deter anyone from watching this because it is a wonderful movie and touches on some heavy topics that should be addressed at some point. 

Hotel Rwanda- Another heartbreaking movie, but I think a must watch for the African History. It's one of my all time favorites but I only watch it when I'm prepared to bawl my eyes out. I've always been fascinated by African culture and finding ways to better the current situation has been a very important cause for me for a long time. 

The Number One Ladies Detective Agency - For a happier side of Africa! This is an HBO series based on the books of the same names written by Alexander McCall Smith. I've read all the books and highly recommend both the books and the movies. You'll fall in love with the main character, Precious Ramotse. 

Monsoon Wedding - This movie is simply stunning to watch. The colors, the music, the vibrant Indian culture...I loved it. I decided after seeing this movie that I am going to have an Indian style wedding. It doesn't matter that I am not Indian or whether or not my future husband will be Indian. I want my wedding to be this pretty. 

Paris J'Taime - Oh Paris! What can I say about this? The title says it all. I do, I just love Paris, and this movie draws you into all the individual stories and I just imagine what my life would be like in Paris (Amazing I'm sure!) 

There are so many more I could list, but instead I'll just encourage you all to start exploring! I know I plan on using some of my free time to catch up on movies and take advantage of my unlimited supply of dvd's now, but I do want to ask for some help! 

MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS! What are your favorite movies? They don't have to be foreign, though I love those too. Anything I can order from Netflix that you think I HAVE to watch. Send me your list of favorites!

Lots of love and Happy Holidays!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

To show how thankful I am, I'm going to reveal way too much of myself

I know in the past I've wandered a little beyond the "travel" theme of this blog and given a little insight into my life, but today I'm going to take it even further. It's a bit scary for me because I intend to reveal a lot that I don't usually talk about....with anyone...yikes!

But at the same time, I think it's relevant to travel. Exploring the world not only teaches you about your external surroundings; it inevitably leads to so much self exploration and revelation. I tend to have trouble staying present, and have been struggling for so long with really accepting or even knowing who I am and what I want. I've spent years either ignoring "me" or hating the "me" I think I am, or not living up to the "me" I think I should be. But when I'm traveling, I get a huge sense of relief. A mix of happiness and indifference, living in the moment that is so unlike my day to day at home. I went back to New York 2 weeks ago for work, and while every trip is great, this one was particularly enlightening. A big light bulb lit up in my mind as soon as I got home.

By going to work, I of course feel productive and realize how good I actually am at what I do. I meet new people and see friends that remind me that I am loved, and there's just something about walking block after block through that huge city that feels like there's so much possibility and future ahead of me. So coming home, I was already feeling positive when I was welcomed by my family and friends back here in Houston and it finally hit me....I am so, so lucky. I am surrounded by the greatest family and friends in the world. I have the best of the best as my role models. But instead of feeling blessed, this has led me to feel like I can't measure up, I will never succeed, never be good enough to give back what I've been given. And then it all backfires because if I can't be perfect I am better off not trying. Having such amazing family and friends can be overwhelming.

Exhibit #1- my parents. Could they possibly have accomplished more? When it comes to my chosen profession, they are some of the best in their industry. Their language skills and speed are unmatched in the interpreting world.  Now that I've been working as an interpreter for a little longer, I've learned that in comparison to your average interpreter, I'm pretty darn good, especially considering I've been doing it for only a year, but it's hard to focus on that when I expect myself to instantly go from point A to point B and become my parents. Also, let's not forget that they raised me and gave me more than I would have even thought to ask for. I was born into a life resembling a giant open doorway. I have to use this door, I HAVE to be someone they're proud of.

My brother's are both brilliant. David is both charming and probably has a genius IQ, a natural inclination towards politics and the ability to convince anyone of anything. Luckily for the rest of humanity, he was raised by my above-mentioned wonderful parents, so I know he will one day be making a huge positive impact. Michael has been a little inventor since he was still pulling his stretchy pants way too high over his diapers, and he'll probably go on to get PHD's and win the nobel prize. Of course, I fear that I'm not as good, as smart, or high achieving as they are, but more and more I feel an enormous sense of sisterly pride. These are MY brothers, we share so much already, and I'm even more grateful now that we're all getting older and can share on a friend level as well as sibling.

The other half of my vocational choice is yoga. Though it's so much more than that. I'm thankful for how much it has changed my life, my outlook, and the way I treat myself and others. I know that this will be a life long choice for me and will carry me through so many ups and downs. I'm also so excited to get certified to teach and share this with future students! My yoga instructors and fellow trainees are the most inspring people. I knew I was blessed at Yogaone Studios, but by traveling and seeing other studios, I've confirmed it. I feel so warm and welcomed by this yoga family. It's a collection of the most incredible, friendly, peaceful, beautiful and inspring yogis you'll ever find. Not only are they the most qualified instructors that I have been lucky enough to have teach me, they're approachable, inspriational and have made me feel an entirely new side of myself. I still question how I even ended up as part of that family. What did I do to deserve it?  It's been so good for me, and I only hope I can inspire my students half as much as they have me.

My friends from the yoga studio and from other paths my life has crossed, new and old, are all wonderful. They're successful in such a variety of ways; they're fun, intelligent, unique, and beautiful.  . They're there for me even when I've pushed them away. I worry that I am not capable of reciprocating equally. Whether I have that much to share, to give back. If I can be someone they feel proud to call a friend the way I am of them. But I'm lucky to have them, happy for the ones that have stuck around forever, and for the new ones I'm making and hope to become closer with.

So there it is - my Catch 22. I've been burdened with the task of trying to be the best daughter/ friend/ sister/ yoga instructor because it's the least I can do to show my appreciation for the incredible people that surround me. Poor me, right? For now, I still feel stuck, like I'm in limbo, making lots of plans but never really accomplishing anything, never as pretty, never as smart, or SELF CONFIDENT (key word) but I think it's getting better.

In all seriousness, I am totally unbiased... my friends and family are the best. You all would love to have my life. So I'm going to stop whining about it.  I'm going to stop wondering and worrying whether I am worthy of being loved by my loved ones. I need to stop over thinking life and start living it.

Today, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Rally for the sake of ...Rallying?

I'm sure most of you by now have seen the photos, or watched it on TV. Last weekend was the Rally to Restore Sanity and/ or Fear hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. If you haven't heard anything about it, look it up! There were some great speeches, performances, comedy segments, signs, and costumes, and I was one of the lucky 250,000 or so in attendance!

Since I'm normally a very opinionated person and love my politics, I could have a lot to say on that aspect of the rally, but that was not the intention of this blog, and I really feel that this rally was not out to divide us on any serious party or platform lines. I think it accomplished everything it intended to do: bring together peaceful, intelligent, forward thinking Americans who just wanted to get together and have a good time while still letting our country know that we expect change and progress.

This trip was also multi-purpose. I was able to visit my brother who has been working/ studying in DC since August. He's doing a really amazing program through the University of Texas that takes a very select few students from all the UT schools to do political internships while continuing to take classes and it seems like he's getting an amazing experience. I'm a little jealous, but, shucks, I'm just a proud big sis :)  I flew up to DC the Thursday before the rally so before and after, I got to hang out with him, meet his friends, and explore the Capital. I'll keep the words short and just give you a photo recap!

Hey there Abe! I actually had not made it here when I was in DC back in June. 

Me and the parents behind the Jefferson Memorial. It has beautiful fountains! There's also a long waterside walk and park that was perfect to walk through at sunset. 

My little brothers. David on the left is the one working in DC. Michael on the right is in high school here in Houston. This dinner was in Arlington near our hotel. It included some delicious gnocchi that I only got to hear about because they had cheese, but my pizza was delicious as well. 
I had perfect timing on this photo! 5 minutes later when my dad wanted to take the same one on his camera, the sun wasn't hitting it the same way. 

Crazy amounts of people in front of me. I could barely see those screens, I was holding the camera as high as I could here and on my toes! 

Oh the signs, haha. There were so many good ones!

We found fellow Texans!

More people behind me extending all the way down the Mall. 

That was the rally, and I had so much fun being in such a huge crowd of super excited people! And also knowing that all the great performers like Cat Stevens, Sheryl Crow, Ozzy Osbourne, Stewart and Colbert, and so many others were up there in the same general area was kind of cool even though I was no where near close enough to see them. 
Some other things to add to my summer DC guide- I went back to the Museum of American History, and that was a lot of fun. I had two lunches at Sweet Green, where you make your own giant salad. It has tons of fresh options, including the seasonal squash, and you HAVE to get the falafel. I also tried Java Green and tried kelp noodles for the first time. They were a little weird, and definitely no replacement for noodles, but the texture kind of grew on me. The way they were prepared was way too spicy though. It's a cool restaurant but definitely for the more adventurous taste buds, and I did really enjoy the big cookie I took for dessert! I love anytime I can get vegan cookies. My family also tried Obama's favorite burger place. I'm blanking on the name at the moment, but they all really liked it and it's a really popular place on Capital Hill. David, if you read this, what's it called??
The first night I went to the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, and as I mentioned earlier, the park behind the Jefferson Memorial is really nice to walk through. We also went back to Georgetown for a nice early morning stroll down M Street , and that's always a cute area, but most things are closed on Sunday mornings. 
All in all, short trip but I had a good time! 

Tomorrow early early AM I'm off to NY again! I'm living on airplanes these days, but I can't wait to meet up with more bloggers and do some more work networking this week. That means I'll be checking in soon with more fun in the city!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The American Dream

Back in September I got to visit New York City for work. I get to go to the Big Apple frequently enough, though I'm hoping it becomes more frequent and eventually permanent! I went for a work conference that I really only had to set up for, so then I had the week to do as I pleased. I did some business networking for both our interpreting company and also visited some yoga studios hoping to make connections for my future teaching jobs. The rest of the time I walked and ate and walked and ate, enjoyed the city life, and spent time with amazing people. Since I've been to New York many times, I don't really see the tourist sites every time. My favorite things to do are just regular city people stuff, a lot of walking that I can't do in Houston, people watching, trying out all the great restaurants and just being in the middle of "it all". I'd like to give you advice on both ends, the city life and the tourist spots, too, because you HAVE to do them at least once. And even I like to go back to the museums every so often because it makes me feel artsy and inspired. 

I started off my week with a speed networking event through NYCgo I was invited to because we are company members, but even if you're not going to do business with them, the website is probably the best place to go to find things to do, see, and eat. It may even help you do it cheaper!

My first night there, I took myself on a wonderful dinner date at Josie's East Side. There were about a dozen things I wanted to try on the menu but ended up with the Veggie Deluxe plate. They also bring out the greatest bread and a pumpkin hummus to hold you over! The food was amazing and abundant and I felt like a scene straight out of "Eat Pray Love", and if you haven't seen it, it was me, myself, and I, in a bubble of food induced bliss. I give this 5 stars! Unfortunately I didn't have room for dessert but they had many dairy free options I would like to go back and get. 

This is straight from Veggiegirl's website. But hers appears to be missing the fried rice mine came with. So picture this + fried rice + grainy bread and hummus = fullness. 

My dad met me there and we went back to our hotel, Murray Hills Suites. I travel to NY a lot, and always stay here. It's a fantastic location and all the rooms have little kitchens. Quite the ideal situation. This place was recommended to us by an Argentinean friend, and I've noticed in my stays there that half the clientele are visiting from Argentina. I guess this place has just been recommended by word of mouth or through Argentinean travel sites. I just find it random and funny. 

I made sure to visit Chelsea Market this time since I had never been. I really liked it! It has a bunch of little shops and coffee places, a mini grocery store, Italian specialty store, a couple of cupcake places, and restaurants. Not to mention free Wifi where I played with my new to me, but oldest version ever made of the I-touch. 


Directly north of Chelsea Market, there's a staircase that leads you to The High Line. This is a beautiful park and garden on a raised platform. It was originally built for freight traffic in the 1930's to allow trains to go over the center of city blocks rather than the avenue. You can read all about the history and view more photos on the website. It's all very interesting and I actually did not know any of this at the time. I did still enjoy it and am very glad that Kate, my blogger turned "in person" friend, recommended I go see it after the market. It's a long walkway lined with a variety of fauna, and has large wooden benches and "recliner" type seats for locals and visitors to lay out in the sun and relax. Quite pleasant! 

Rocking my city style boots on the High Line

Speaking of "nature" type places in the midst of the big city, we can't envision New York without talking about THE park. I mean Central Park. This is one of the most important trademarks of the city- known worldwide, exhibited in, probably hundreds, of movies. And it's huge. And beautiful. And fun. It has anything you could want, gardens, food, trails, the New York Zoo, tennis courts, and a variety of other fitness options, playgrounds, museums, lakes, etc. September provided me with the perfect weather for getting lost on its trails, but I've also been in summer when everything is in bloom, and in winter when we were able to sled down the hills. Many of the museums can also be found on the upper East side of the park. The only one I stopped into this time was the Museum of the City of New York to see an interesting exhibit on the most notorious women of the last century. I'm not sure how long it was supposed to go on, but it's worth checking out if you have any interest in history and culture. 

Upper east side, or at least northern Midtown on the east side is also where I found the greatest restaurant ever, Good Health Cafe. It's super simple but delicious food. Very vegan friendly, and was able to satisfy both my healthy vegan tastes and the pickiest meat and potatoes Argentineans. I introduced my other blogger friend Maggie to this place and I think it's become a favorite for her. She's now written a couple of reviews on it, too. I definitely plan on going back since I have to try almost every thing on the menu. Even my parents, who are in New York this week, have gone back! I'm jealous. Maggie also took me to another macrobiotic/ Asian style place called Souen in the East Village. This place was amazing too. 

I'll get back to my New York guide in a sec, but I couldn't talk about the city without mentioning these new great friends Maggie and Kate because they are both talented writers, and awesome people. I realize we have mostly "online" friendships, but they have made me even more excited to eventually move to New York. Unfortunately, life in Houston keeps pushing my moving date back, but I'll get there soon and I'm so looking forward to it! 

So back to New York. There's just so much to do, I'm overwhelmed and can't figure out how to tell it all! Especially without writing a novel that no one will read. I'll get speedier from here on out. 

There's Union Square, right around NYU. I love that whole area. It's obviously very much for my younger age group, has a lot of shopping, coffee shops, restaurants, and so on (what area of the city doesn't?). One of my favorite places of all time is the Union Square Farmer's Market. The produce is pricey of course, but it's just beautiful to look at, and since I don't live there and I'm usually just buying a few pieces of fruit for immediate snacking, I don't mind. I'm also in love with the Body and Soul Bakery stand. This is my second trip to New York where I've stopped by this stand to buy several of their baked, all vegan, all scrumptious, goods. They have savory pies, muffins, cookies, and scones. I had a pear and thyme scone, and a sweet potato muffin with dried apricots. Both were perfect in my opinion, and I'm very hard to please when it comes to baked goods. 

Sorry, the photo is stolen from the internet because I was too lazy to carry a camera. 

From there, I walked through the East Village to China Town so I could cross through Canal Street. There was a street festival going on so it was packed with people, food stands, all kinds of Asian grocery stores, restaurants, stores, and sights and smells. It's chaotic in a good way. 

I was able to try out two yoga studios in the city. One was Mang'Oh Yoga, which happened to be just a few block from my hotel on the East Side. I took a vinyasa class from Randi and LOVED it! The studio is small but nice with a warm and friendly atmosphere, and nice sitting room in the front. Randi was a great teacher and not only guided us through a challenging flow but was really able to tie in some important life lessons to think about. She was really great at seamlessly weaving together the movements and meditation, and that is really the kind of yoga teacher I aspire to be! She recommended I read "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali". So I'm really looking forward to that and may write a recap after. I would definitely go back to this place and even apply for a job if one is available by the time I get there. 

The other place I checked out was Exhale spa's Central Park location. I saw they had vinyasa yoga classes but I actually took a Corefusion class. It was tough but I really liked it! The spa has several locations and I know the Corefusion method has several dvd's that are really popular in the fitness world. I would also come back here and try out all their classes, and spa services. The whole place was beautiful and had all kinds of fancy amenities that I was free to play with. The prices were surprisingly average/ low end for the place/ quality/ and location. If you live in the area you should go! 

After my week in the city, I spent a night in Brooklyn with a friend. I had never been and up until now have been skeptical about the idea of maybe having to live in Brooklyn, but I totally loved it! It's so cute, filled with cafe's, bars, parks, kid friendly activities, a farmer's market, beautiful waterfront views of the city, and really fun arts stores and vintage shops. I really need to go back and explore some more so I'll hold off on too much Brooklyn information, but it's worth the 10-15 minute subway ride. Maybe I'll get my friend to write a special post for the blog :) 

I get another chance to go back to New York in a couple of weeks so feel free to share any of your own New York stories or recommendations! I also always love getting to meet new people so if I haven't met you in person, or even if I have, and you'll be in the area, let me know!