Feelin’ Rosy

Pantone Color of the Year: Rose Quartz Styles (Just In Time for Spring!)

With spring on the horizon (I am currently writing this outside in the 70 degree NYC weather) it is time to revamp our wardrobes with fashion-forward and eco-friendly pieces! So, we thought we would embrace the April showers and May flowers while sporting fabulous finds in Pantone’s color of the year Rose Quartz!

Over at H&M you can find great pieces in their Conscious Collection to ring in the spring! This Chiffon Top comes in a fresh light hue that can be either dressed up or down!

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Image courtesy of H&M.

Mata Traders, a fair trade brand founded by three best friends, strives to end global poverty and unethical practices one artisanal piece of clothing at a time. Additionally, Mata Traders works with artisans in India and Nepal to create original, inspiring designs. Check out these Rise and Shine earrings to add a pink punch to any outfit.

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Image courts of Mata Traders.

For a more laid back look, check out prAna’s Hildi Tee! This organic cotton top is one of the many sustainably produced pieces by prAna, so check them out!

TOMS, a fan favorite also has excellent sustainably made sneaks that are great for a casual outing. Grab your own pair of Petal Grosgrain Women’s Classics and hit the pavement.

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Image courtesy of Toms.

When you’re decked out in Rose Quartz you’ll bring the spring-time cheer anywhere you go. So, shop on and keep these responsible brands in mind!

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Peru: Machu Picchu

After a whirlwind of flights and touristic explorations, my family and I took the Peru Rail from Pachar* to Aguas Calientes in order to begin our ascent to the mountain. Because we decided to visit Machu Picchu in early January (during the rainy, off peak tourist season) we were able to make reservations on Peru Rail’s Vistadome and watch the scenery transform as we inched closer and closer to the Andes.

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View from Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.

When we arrived in Aguas Calientes, the hub for backpacking hikers, we explored the surrounding markets and eventually made our way up to the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge for the evening. The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel directly located on Machu Picchu and offers an unforgettable view of the mountain with five-star accommodations – apparently this hotel is also a great spot for honeymooners, so take your lover(s)!

After spending a night recuperating from our travels, we woke up the next morning to the sound of POURING RAIN. While some mountain-goers were initially dismayed at the rain, I was ready to take on the day- I had packed some intense ponchos bought at R.E.I and had plenty of extra socks in my back pack. Fortunately, by the time the mountain opened for the first round of hikers (promptly at 7 am) the rain had dissipated and left the mountain in an eerie, almost magical haze. Before setting out on our hike, my mother had warned my twin brother and I to stick the main route in order to see the ruins.

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View from the Inca Trail (going towards La Puerta del Sol).

While we did try to stick to the two-hour circuit of the mountain, Max and I had taken a slight detour and hiked 2 hours up the Andes in the opposite direction and made it to La Puerta del Sol. Although we had ventured far from the ruins we were rewarded with a magical view of the mountain chain that enhanced our experience on the Inca Trail. This portion of the trail was largely untouched by the hordes of tourist groups – probably because of the extremely difficult terrain…really one misstep and you’re down the mountain- which allowed us to feel one with the mountain. I know this sounds cliché, but it really did feel like were connected with the mountain because we were the ONLY ONES hiking on a semi-forgotten trail that ancient peoples, explorers, and tourists had been treading on for centuries.

Max

 

Our hike towards La Puerta del Sol was hands down my favorite time in the mountain because we were able to feel the grandeur of the Inca’s palace from a unique vantage point. After realizing our mistake; however, Max and I retraced our steps and found the proper route through the ruins, which was exciting! At this point the sun was beaming on us (we have the sun burns to prove it) and the energy radiating off of all the enthusiastic hikers inspired us to keep on trekking!

While on the designated two-hour ruin circuit**, we passed by the iconic guardhouse, saw the terraces, the Intiwatana, and various sacred locations. Words cannot express how I felt while hiking through Machu Picchu because it is a one in a lifetime experience that leaves you speechless. Retracing the steps of Hiram Bingham, the Yale professor who rediscovered the Inca citadel in 1911, was incredible and being able to share this time with my dad (who’s one dream in life was to visit the mountain) was magical.

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Needless to say, it was a wonderful opportunity that I will forever remember and cherish as I continue my studies in the hustle and bustle of New York City. I hope to one day return on foot and complete a 4-day hike to the mountain that begins in Ollantaytambo and follows the sacred Inca Trail. Till then I’ll keep my hiking shoes in prime condition and rally a group of friends to share the experience with!

Till next time!

XOXO

SororityShot

 

*If you are interested in taking the Peru Rail to Machu Picchu make sure you make your reservations EARLY and plan according to the seasonal schedule. Peru Rail offers different services depending on whether it is the rainy or dry season!

** Maps outlining the paths to visit the ruins!

Peru: Lima, Cusco

While returning home for the holidays is always a joy, the highlight of my Winter Break involved hiking in the rain soaked Andes and visiting Machu Picchu, Peru!

Over the course of one action-packed week, my family and I visited Lima, Cusco, La Valle Sagrado, Aguas Calientes, and the famous Machu Picchu. While we were running on little sleep and suffered a bit from altitude sickness in Cusco – I highly recommend chewing on Coca Gum or sipping on a few cups of Mate de Coca- we thoroughly enjoyed all that Peru has to offer!

Lima:

After an 8 hour flight with a connection made in Panama City, we arrived at the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Peru and made it to the recently opened Courtyard Marriot located in Miraflores.

Our hotel was centrally located, offered a beautiful vista of the city, and easy access to tasty restaurants where I enjoyed everything from lomo saltado to cebiche. Speaking of food… I particularly enjoyed Saqra, a Miraflores staple where I enjoyed a delicious lomo a la pimeienta molle and divine tres leches treat.

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La Catedral de Lima

After diving headfirst into the Peruvian food scene, I also released my touristic side and was able to explore La Plaza de Armas! In particular, we checked out La Catedral de Lima, El Palacio Arzobispal, and the Palacio de Gobierno del Perú. La Catedral and El Palacio Arzobispal were decked out in gold furnishings and offered a unique insight into Peru’s long religious history. Our walk past the Palacio de Gobierno was also exciting because we made it just in time to see the elaborate Changing of the Guard ceremony, which rivals its English counterpart.

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El Palacio Arzobispal

Cusco:

After spending a few days in the humid city of Lima, we took a flight out to Cusco in order to begin our journey to Machu Picchu. Cusco is the primary starting location for most mountain hikers because there is a convenient national airport and the Peru Rail offers service from nearby like Ollantaytambo (located in La Valle Sagrado) to the mountain.

 

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Ventana azul en las calles de Cusco

While in Cusco, we visited Saksaywaman, a prominent touristic attraction known for it’s Inca-era stone walls. We also visited la Catedral del Cuzco and visited Papapchos, a rock and roll burger-joint founded by Gaston Acurio.

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Cristo Blanco- Sakasaywaman

After treating ourselves to the ruins, the vistas, Papacho’s very own Alpaca burger, we also took a trip to the ChocoMuseo where we learnt about the chocolate making process and sampled a hot chocolate or two. Additionally, we visited the Museo de Arte Precolombino and the Museo Machu Picchu  to prepare ourselves for the great visit ahead!

So with all that said, I’ll be saving the best for last with a follow up post solely dedicated to Machu Picchu!

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Museum Mile: Alberto Burri at the Guggenheim

Last month my father and I took a touristic trek throughout New York City…by this point exams had come and gone and the city was buzzing with the holiday spirit. Our first stop was naturally the Museum Mile and our adventure to the Guggenheim introduced me to the Italian painter and sculptor Alberto Burri (1915-1955). The Guggenheim’s major exhibit focused on Burri and “The Trauma of Painting.” Last month my father and I took a touristic trek throughout New York City…by this point exams had come and gone and the city was buzzing with the holiday spirit. Our first stop was naturally the Museum Mile and our adventure to the Guggenheim introduced me to the Italian painter and sculptor Alberto Burri (1915-1955). The Guggenheim’s major exhibit focused on Burri and “The Trauma of Painting”

In my opinion (and I am no art critic!) the most striking pieces on display were members of the Catrami/Tars and Combustioni Plastiche/Plastic Combustions series. Additionally, the Guggenheim had commissioned a documentary created by Petra Noordkamp that touched on Burri’s land are project in Gibelina, a small Sicilian town that had crumbled and been abandoned after a 1968. The video show cases how Burri used white concrete to create his Grande Cretto and produce art out of chaos.

Although the Alberto Burri exhibit is no longer showing, the Guggenheim currently has on display “Peter Fischli David Weiss: How To Work Better” until April 27th! So, grab a friend (or your dad) and explore the Museum Mile!

In the Holiday Spirit: Dominique Ansel Bakery

It’s that time of year again. Advent calendars have popped up, Columbia set up all the lights along college walk, and students are in Butler bracing themselves for finals….

Before diving into the marathon that will be finals, my friends and I decided to treat ourselves to a day of baked goods and SoHo exploration. We naturally went to the famous Dominque Ansel Bakery and admired all the artfully created deserts (which I highly, highly recommend).

Our journey began up on 116th and after a few transfers and general wandering – the day was bright and cheery and prime time for holiday festivities – we made it to 189 Spring Street. We unfortunately missed out on the morning craze for the cronuts and had arrived before the daily cookie shot extravaganza (these are available daily after 3 pm), so we went for some of the bakeries holiday staples!

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I chose the Santa Religieuse, which is “a classic French religieuse that consists of a double-decker cream puff filled with milk and cookies ganache” and was not disappointed. The treat was decorated in both red and white frosting and topped with a meringue that was styled as a Santa hat. I paired my religieuse with a steaming cappuccino….if there’s one thing I believe in it is a solid treat and hot coffe, and or chocolate beverage. My friend tested out the famous Frozen S’more, the bakery’s “signature honey marshmallow wrapped around a Tahitian vanilla ice cream with chocolate wafer crisps” and from first glance it was mouth watering.

The treats were decadent, well crafted, and full of holiday spirit….additionally the shop had installed and decorated a Christmas tree in the back, which added to the December mood. Little did we know…we had actually sat down at a table right next to the man himself, Dominique Ansel. Unfortunately for us it was hours later when we realized that we had completely passed the chef without even complementing his work or asking for a picture. So, that just means that we’ll have to go back for more…and trust me, I will in the upcoming months to try the Chestnut Cassis Rose Mont Blanc (a vanilla meringue and salted butter cookie base treat) that I enjoyed in Paris this summer!

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Inside of Dominique Ansel Bakery. Courtesy of their lovely website.

For more desert options peruse the menu here and treat yourself this holiday season. Or check out Dominique Ansel’s online shop and have some holiday goodies delivered straight to you (24k Gold Macarons anyone?)

Stay tuned for my latest father- daughter museum outings to the 9/11 Memorial + Museum and to the Guggenheim where we checked out “Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting”

 

 

Bloomingdales: Christmas Treats and Le Train Bleu

With the holiday season right around the corner, my godmother and I took an early trip to Bloomingdales to check out the holiday displays and pick up a present or two for our family members!

At this time of year Bloomingdales is naturally packed, so weaving in between the ornately decorated Christmas trees was a challenge in itself. After we perused the ornaments, I settled on a few pieces- for myself I picked up a Kurt Adler Paris City Ornament … to commemorate my study abroad over the summer and potential return next fall! I also picked up a few treats for my roommates as well (but those are a surprise I will reveal later!).

With our early holiday shopping round completed, we decided to go up to the 6th floor and have a lovely Sunday brunch at Le Train Bleu (a “secret” restaurant that looks like an antique train car).

Pop by the 6th floor to enjoy all day brunch on Saturday/Sundays!

Pop by the 6th floor to enjoy all day brunch on Saturday/Sundays!

Brunch at Le Train Bleu is always exciting because there’s a plethora of shoppers and tourists looking to enjoy a mimosa or two and the restaurant’s signature omelet. For our meal, I chose the Steak & Eggs and Morelita went with the Eggs Benedict. Both dishes were filling and tasty and the mimosa/rounds of cappuccino were welcomed after a day of dodging fanatic shoppers.

I went with medium rare on the steak- this combination is quite tasty.

I went with medium rare on the steak- this combination is quite tasty.

This boneless chicken breast/mushroom risotto dish is hands down one of the best at Le Train Bleu.

This boneless chicken breast/mushroom risotto dish is hands down one of the best at Le Train Bleu.

Interior of Le Train Bleu. Sit window side to enjoy the view!

Interior of Le Train Bleu. Sit window side to enjoy the view!

Not only is the food delicious at Le Train Bleu, but the décor also makes the dining experience fun and unique! The interior is modeled after a train car and they really are committed to them theme — they even have the train style bathroom in the back.

 

So, needless to say Le Train Bleu is a must go to restaurant if you’re ever near the Bloomingdales area. If you’re a midweek shopper, stop by for lunch and try either the Smoked Salmon Benedict or enjoy their Chicken/Mushroom Risotto!

If you're not full already- go for Challh French Toast.

If you’re not full already- go for Challh French Toast.

Penn Plates feat. My Love of Arepas

With fall quickly approaching (although it doesn’t feel like it in my AC- free room), it is prime time to do the final sweep of New York City’s open-air food markets.

So, with an eager appetite, I went down to One Penn Plaza with a few of my sorority sister to check out the variety of stands that Urban Space NYC set up at Penn Plates. Luckily, it was quick and easy to get to Penn Station and to walk from there to the market – it’s located between 7th and 8th avenue and has entrances on both 33rd and 34th street. The Penn Plate location is also open daily from 11 am and 9pm until November 15th, so there is plenty of time to stop by each stand.

Penn Plates is open daily from 11am to 9pm till November 15th!

Penn Plates is open daily from 11am to 9pm till November 15th!

This year’s vendor line up is full of American, Mexican, and Japanese delicacies. At Black Iron Burger you can pick up an antibiotic/hormone free burger with a side of onion rings and a massive milkshake. But, if you’re not in the mood for burgers, Taco Bono is right next door serving up classic burritos and enchiladas.

Because I’m half-Venezuelan (my mother was born and raised in Caracas), I naturally went to the Bolo Arepa Bar for a taste of home. Arepas are a staple in both Venezuelan and Colombian household because they are hearty and delicious. Typically, arepas are made out of ground and baked maize dough and filled to the brim with anything from cheese, to chorizo, to fried plantains – one of my personal favorites.

Bolo Arepa Bar's pabellon arepa (so good I had to save half of it for later).

Bolo Arepa Bar’s pabellon arepa (so good I had to save half of it for later).

After careful thought, I settled on the Pabellon arepa, which consisted of short ribs, plantain, chimichurri, and plenty of cheese. Without a doubt this arepa is one of the most delicious and filling that I have ever had – I had to take half of it and a side order of fried green plantains home with me to share with my friends! The dough was baked to perfection and the combination of plantains and short ribs brought out traditional flavors from home.

I also enjoyed speaking with the women who were stationed at the Arepa Bar and watching the cook work his magic on arepa crafting. Through chatting with the women, I found out that Bolo Arepa Bar is actually an offshoot of the well-known Macondo Taperia Latina (now I can go whenever!). This Latin restaurant has locations in both the East and West  side of NYC and their menu contains a variety of arepas, empanadas, tacos/tortillas, and grill items.

Because an arepa wasn't enough I also had to order a side of Bolo Arepa's fried green plantains.

Because an arepa wasn’t enough I also had to order a side of Bolo Arepa’s fried green plantains.

If the arepas aren’t enough to entice you to check out Penn Plates, you can also grab one of Uma Temakeria’s signature sushi burrito or enjoy hand rolls filled with tsumi tuna, salmon, or crab. One of my sorority sisters chose the spicy tuna wrap and could not stop raving about it- so it’s a must try for when I go back. Penn Plates also has fantastic desert options, thanks to the lovely people at Dulcinea Churros & Co. and to those running Gelato Ti Amo. Thankfully, the stands at this food market all have brick and mortar restaurant home bases, so if you find a dish you love (in my case anything made by the Bolo Arepa Bar), it’ll be easy to find in the city!

Uma Temakeria's tuna roll!

Uma Temakeria’s tuna roll!

Sarabeth’s : An Experience and Review

With my godmother in town (the one from Spain!), I thought that I would take her to one of NYC’s best brunch spots: Sarabeth’s!

Sarabeth’s is well known for its delicious batches of preserves and cookies, so for a treat-aholic like myself I knew I was in the right place. In addition to the charming boutique bakery set up, Sarabeth’s on Central Park South offers a delicious dining experience. So, after a busy weekend with sorority activities and after reading up on Plato’s Republic, my god-mother, her sister, and I hit Sarabeth’s to treat ourselves to their salmon eggs benedict and sample their famous muffins.

You'll find the highest quality muffins and preserves at Sarabeth's. Image courtesy of http://sarabethsrestaurants.com/upper-east-side.

You’ll find the highest quality muffins and preserves at Sarabeth’s. Image courtesy of http://sarabethsrestaurants.com/upper-east-side.

Because my god-mother and other family members primarily speak Spanish, this dining experience was one for the books. Initially the restaurant was packed with fellow brunch-ers (it was noon, so prime time) and the wait staff appeared to be overwhelmed by the multitude of people and especially by my chatty, sassy Spanish family. Eventually we settled down and after translating orders (allergies included), we were able to enjoy the best Sarabeth’s could offer.

After a few miscommunications and order mess-ups, my godmother settled on the eggs benedict and I, as a college student who only really has time to cook up some eggs, went for the “One Great [Turkey] Burger” and finished off the meal with some coffee and a delicious bran muffin. In addition to chatting about my family’s month long stay in New York, we enjoyed plenty of people watching action.

At Sarabeth’s you will find (arguably stereotypical) Upper East Siders and many brunch fanatics decked out in their Sunday chicest. Aside from the people watching and food, Sarabeth’s location right alongside Central Park is what also makes the restaurant a go to. After having their sweet and heavy almond- crusted French toast, you can take a stroll (to burn off all that sugar) and enjoy the park.

Needless to say, it was an experience. Because I am semi-off the meal plan I’ve begun going out more into the city to find restaurants, treat places, and brunch spots and Sarabeth’s did not disappoint. The food was tasty, the company was entertaining, and the location is charming (however the wait staff was a bit sassy- but that’s part of the NYC vibe?)

Now that I have the family brunch experience down, the next step in NYC family bonding will definitely be a show outing or two (and obviously more restaurant hopping).

Till next time

 

Last Shots: Paris+ London

After finally uploading and saving all of my photos, I thought that I’d share a few of my shots here. Take a look!

PARIS

Tour Eiffel feat. Flûte à Champagne.

Tour Eiffel feat. Flûte à Champagne.

On our first day, Columbia took us out on a Bateaux- Mouche voyage along the Seine. For the tourist and anyone looking to enjoy a sip or two of champagne as you pass by some of Paris’ most iconic buildings this is the boat for you!

L'Arc de Triomphe.

L’Arc de Triomphe.

If you can walk through the masses of tourists and make it to the center of the road you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Arc de Triomphe in all its grandeur. When I visited this monument I went with the intention of finding the name of Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan general who’s name is now immortalized on the walls of the Arc.

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After checking out the Arc de Triomphe, stopping by Ladurée’s flagship restaurant and boutique along the Champs-Elysées is a must. I chose to sample some lovely Guanaja Chocolate gelato with one of their chocolate macaroons.

If you’re a fan of horror movies, Halloween, and anything creepy take a trip down to the Catacombs of Paris. This ossuaries, which are located underground (so beware its chilly and damp) contain the remains of 6 million individuals. Within the exhibit you’ll be able to learn more about the history of the Catacombs and learn about “The Sea in Paris.”

These remains are arranged the shape of a heart.

These remains are arranged the shape of a heart.

Another must see site is Versailles.

Exterior of Versailes.

Exterior of Versailes.

Yes there are lines our tourists, but its moves fairly quickly and if you’re a student you have free access to the palace. It’s also pretty easy to go to and from the city center and Versailles – just hop on the RER A and you’re good to go. In addition to touring the Palace and Marie Antoinette’s unique estate, visiting the gardens is also a necessary part of the trip…if you happen to be a local you can even access the public portion of the gardens and use the spacious paths as your own running path.

Queens Chamber. Versailles.

Queen’s Chamber. Versailles.

Gardens.

Gardens.

LONDON

Because we stayed in Kensington we enjoyed the luscious, spacious gardens and stopped by the Kensington Palace where I took this shot of the gate.

Kensington Palace Gate.

Kensington Palace Gate.

After passing through the Kensington Area, we roamed around Hyde Park and visited the London Eye and Big Ben. We also checked out Wellington Arch which is located in central London.

Hyde Park.

Hyde Park.

The Eye.

The Eye.

Big B.

Big B.

Welling Arch.

Wellington Arch.

Paris Wrap Up Feat. London and Madrid Side Trips

After 8 weeks I think its safe to say that my French did improve…I did have to use my French to ask for a croque monsieur and a macaroon or two every once in a while. While my café hopping did allow me to stretch my restaurant vocabulary here and there, my film and literature classes greatly helped me perfect my French (at this point I’ve been at it for 8 years!) and my time with my host family ushered me into the chic Parisian community.

Through my classes I was able to enjoy and analyze classic texts like Emile Zola’s Au Bonheur des Dames and I had the chance to watch many French and American films that centered on Paris- if anyone’s looking to read an essay on how Disney’s “The Artisocats” display certain Parisian stereotypes I have one ready to go! With all that said, I had a blast going from class to museum to café and can’t wait to go on another study abroad sometime in the future. I hope to go abroad to Europe once again and really capitalize on the easy travel between countries (I highly recommend EasyJet or CityJet if you’re a last minute planner like I was).

While abroad I was able to visit London for a chilly (surprisingly sunny) weekend and managed to hop on a flight to visit my godmother and family in Madrid! While in London, my friend and I went on an 8-hour touristic marathon…we had a very limited window of opportunity so we had to capitalize on the decent weather and whip out our comfiest(/stylish?) Sneakers.

Feat. Big Ben.

Feat. Big Ben.

Luckily we were well situated in Kensington and were in walking distance from the Kensington Palace and the ever helpful Circle Line that gave u s easy access to Big Ben, The London Eye, and many more. As a die-hard tourist (and someone who was sick and tired of the metro) I insisted that we walk everywhere to really see the city.

My favorite part of our adventure was our trip to The British Museum where we saw the Rosetta Stone, admired the Assyrian sculptures, and took advantage of the free, unlimited Wi-Fi. After our walks through the museum we decided to call it a day and headed off to the lively theater district where we enjoyed some Italian food and the pub scene. Unfortunately we were only able to spend a few days in England- our program would not have been too pleased if we had skipped class to visit another country – so we returned back to Paris with hopes of planning future weekend trips.

The Churchill Arms is a well known London Pub located in Kensington.

The Churchill Arms is a well known London Pub located in Kensington.

Because I have family in Madrid I was able to enjoy the sun and the heat in the company of my lovely godmother and her lively dog Tosca. My trips to Madrid this summer were special and particularly sentimental…it had been 16 years since I had seen my godmother, Morelita, so the reunion was a long time coming. Unfortunately I was only able to visit her once in our native Venezuela when I was merely two…since then our family has decided to stay more state-side.

So while I was in Madrid we did the usual godmother-goddaughter bonding and caught up on family stories while we made new memories. We were able to drive out to Segovia, a quaint touristic town, and reunite with Panamanian family members who were in town for a wedding. My trip to Madrid reminded me how important it is too keep in touch (I promise I’ll WhatsApp you more often Morelita!) and made me feel a little homesick…so by the time July 23rd rolled around I was ready to go back home to D.C and spend some time at our island home off of Lake Huron in Michigan.