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Wynwood Arts District, Miami

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in Art, Family and friends, Travel | 0 comments

One of our favorite stops in Miami is the Wynwood Arts District. I love how they’ve converted warehouses and abandoned buildings into galleries and works of art. It seems that almost every building facade is a potential canvas for artists in the area to express themselves and showcase their talent.

Walking in the area shortly after lunchtime when the temperature was approaching mid-80s, our senses were awakened by all the vibrant and in-your-face images. The girls were mesmerized by a photo shoot taking place in which a heavily made-up woman, foundation almost melting in her face, posed for a photographer. Inspired by the photographer’s session, the girls went around Wynwood taking photos of murals and art as if there were no tomorrow.

If you haven’t been, I highly recommend this neighborhood to visit. A bit off the tourist path in Miami but so worth it.

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52 Weeks, Week 7

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Family and friends | 0 comments

Snapshots of my girls, a week at a time, in 2015

Ines: She always thought of herself as the more creative, dance-y type. She recently started Track and Field and has fallen in love with it. Sprinting is her thing. She just loves to see how fast she can go.

Chiara: She recently started soccer again. Not sure if she loves the sport as much as she loves seeing her friends, many of whom she’s played with since Kindergarten. These girls also happen to be some of her closest buddies in school.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! Wishing you a wonderful week…

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Five Favorite Restaurants in Miami Beach

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in Food, Travel | 0 comments

When we decided to spend the girls’ Spring Break in Miami Beach, we chose it because it was a quick getaway — simply three hours on the plane, and voila, guaranteed sun, beach and warm weather. And while we did do our share of basking in the sun, I felt like what we did most was eat. The restaurant scene in the general South Beach area is so dynamic with restaurants offering cuisines that are just not delectable but also eclectic. We saw a lot of Latin dishes served with an Asian twist, akin to what Filipino food is like.

So, if you’re in the Miami Beach area, here are some of the restaurants we checked out and loved:

1 – Pubbelly – Located in the Sunset Harbour section of Miami Beach. Must not miss the mofongo, probably the best one I’ve ever tasted. This classic Puerto Rican dish made of plantains is cooked with pork belly bits and served with Asian umami-broth. Too die for.

2 – Khong River HouseTop Chef master Patricia Yeo’s newest project. Try the Lemon-Glazed Spareribs, Drunken Rice Noodles and Cambodian Yellow Curry, they do not disappoint. For dessert, we had the mouth-watering fried wrapped pineapple dish.

3 – Tongue and Cheek – Great brunch place. The Cuban Sandwich and Shrimp and Grits were excellent.

4 – Yardbird – Can’t miss the Lettuce and Mango Salad, Chicken Biscuits, and anything with Fried Chicken.

5 – Ceviche 105 – Peruvian cuisine with a Japanese touch. Try the Octopus Ceviche for your entrée and Cuatro Leches for dessert. Their Pisco Sour cocktail drink is just perfect after a lazy morning or afternoon by the beach.

I think I gained about five pounds from the few days we were in Miami but I don’t regret any of my indulgences. Everything I tried was just worth the extra calories.  Now back to the gym!

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52 Weeks, Week 6

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Family and friends | 0 comments

Snapshots of my girls, a week at a time, in 2015

Ines – It used to be so hard to travel with her. But on our trip to Miami, she proved to be a real trooper by getting up at 3:45 AM and staying up until 9 PM. She did not even nap on the plane like her mama.

Chiara – Growing up to be my little foodie. She’ll try a lot of different cuisines and dishes but her favorites are those that have ample red meat in them. This girl is a true carnivore.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

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When We Were Young

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Family and friends | 3 comments

The other day while we were still in Miami, I got a text for my cousin Mida, “Call me, it’s important.” Rarely does she send messages such as this one so I know something bad must have happened. I called her right away and that’s when she told me. Our younger cousin, Johnny, shy of turning 39 years old, passed away.

I didn’t really know Johnny that well when I was growing up. I was closer to his older brothers since they were closer to me in age. To me, Johnny was always part of the younger generation of cousins, who always acted better-behaved and in some ways more mature than the ones from my generation. (I say this endearingly about both groups.)

Johnny’s death had me thinking about the times I spent with him and his family. You see, when I was younger, I would spend summers without my parents at a relative’s house, either with my paternal grandmother or an aunt who lives in the country somewhere. My parents did not want to spend money on sending me to summer camps. They thought the best way for me to spend my summers is at a non-urban setting getting to know my elders as well as cousins who I rarely get to see during the year.

When I was in my teens, I spent two summers with my Legaspi/Mesina/Granda/Cayetano cousins. I hold those summers close to my heart because while those summers were spent not doing much — just silly endless afternoons of teen talk, playing Mario Bros., going to malls and lip-syncing cheesy Lionel Richie songs — I grew up a lot by not being around my parents all the time. We were left mostly alone to our own devices, talking and doing stuff that teens do, enjoying our freedom while trying to respect its boundaries.

Lately, I’ve thought hard about those two summers. I pretend to place myself in those years with a crystal ball and see if I can project to where we are today. Yet, even with my best clairvoyant skills, there’s no way back then that I could have predicted where we all are today. We are all living such different lifestyles, in different towns, doing different things. It’s a curious thing considering all our parents had lifestyles that closely resembled one another.

Yet, here we are the next generation, the heterogenous bunch. Who would have thought we would be so different from one another? Who would have thought back then that fate would one day play such cruel jokes on us and take some of our loved ones so abruptly from us, before we feel that their time is due? I don’t get to see these cousins very much these days. Often, Facebook helps me know what they are up to. But no matter how divergent our paths are today, I know that our familial ties will always be there to anchor me to my past and keep me grounded as I try to go on with my life, with heartaches and all.

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