Posts filed under Travel Diaries

Ok, Italia... I can no longer keep you to myself...

Hello, sensory overload!

How hard it is to organize you into coherent thoughts! For three weeks in vain I have struggled to find a clever way to tell you the story of this trip (as evidenced by the complete and utter silence on here...). Oops! Well, it is time we gave it a try. So, here we go...

I thought I would break this down by city visited and spend some time telling you about each separately. That should keep us all busy for a little while, right?

Let's start with...

...the city that gave us this thing called PIZZA. Oh, and the city where you should always keep your eyesight at a good 6-8 feet above ground... Because the waste management company there is always on strike (at least that's what the locals would say lovingly/jokingly)!

What should you do in Napoli, you ask?

Eat gelato. And lots of it. Don't hold back at all! They have the most charming gelato stores I have ever seen, each with its own flavor and decor; each within a walking distance of each other. You can go on and sample for days!  

Visit Pompeii. Because it's impeccably preserved and absolutely stunning. It overlooks Vesuvius and has incredibly luscious gardens that you can walk through for days. Then eat pizza Neapolitana right outside the exit thus effectively avoiding paying for parking. In for the win! 

Stay at a local villa. We used Airbnb to find our villa that happens to be from the 17th century... Of course, with that come certain challenges, such as about a thousand steps to get to your room and very spotty wi-fi. But, hey, you do get the quintessential Italian experience! Oh, and they park your car for you. Which is where you hold you breath and pray that that scratch won't get noticed when you return your rental :-/.  

Eat at C&D in Portici. First taste of Italian food happened there. And it was glorious. I think I'll always remember that place for so many good reasons but mainly, for their seafood risotto.. Yum. And their welcome prosecco treat (Monday nights are rather slow in Portici, as it turns out :). 

Up next on our itinerary... Sorrento, or, the land of the lemons! But not until next week :) 

Happy Saturday and enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Posted on June 18, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.

Off we go...

Ciao, America! 

I am going off to celebrate my dad's 61st birthday. Oh, and I published my first book. Well, not exactly but close enough. I'l tell you all about this little gift I put together for my family when I get back.

Until then... stay warm, Houston!

Posted on May 21, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.

Who knew! A different world, a mere hour away...


The butt of almost every beach joke in Houston. And, historically speaking, not my most favorite place in the world. I have been pulled over on my way there (as I was speeding to not miss my race... yes, the irony is hard to miss :), I have encountered suspiciously large rodents there while chasing impossible to see meteor showers (because of the "convenient" light pollution), I have seen quite a few friends get their cars stuck in the sand there... Ah, the fond memories!

But you know what? All of that is now forgotten! Because a spur-of-the-moment decision sent me that way a weekend ago and I was able to see this historic little town in a whole new light. And it also made me realize that I have not given Galveston the time or attention it deserves. I think a historic tour of Galveston is in order the next weekend I'm around...

Perhaps by then, both Chewie and my car will have finally gotten rid of the pounds of super fine sand we dragged home? :)

Happy Sunday!

Posted on May 15, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.

Work hard, play hard(er)

Well, hello there! Long time no see! Has it really been three weeks? Time flies when you're having fun...

So this last month has been a bit of a whirlwind (hence the slight silence around here). Just to paint a picture, I have already clocked a good 40 hours this week and it's barely Wednesday! New projects, smaller team and a ridiculous amount of pressure to perform seem to have defined work lately. Which is why I was determined to work hard on the life part of the infamous work-life balance equation. And I surely am aware of the irony of this statement :).

Enter, dream-come-true ski trip to Vail, CO!

Words cannot describe how amazing this place is! Especially if you care about ski runs that have incredible scenery, perfect snow and NO OTHER SKIERS. Thank goodness I brought company ;). 

This place is so beautiful that it's a shame I had to try to squeeze some of the images into square thumbnails... So I figured I'd share a few more full-sized ones!

And below is the view from my favorite run - a blue/black combo that was way too much fun (so much so that I did it a good 4-5 times in a row - I think I earned a few "gold" stars on my Vail app for being a "creature of habit", hehe). 

The only word of advice I wish I had given myself prior to leaving for my trip there... Make sure you arrive in broad daylight, and preferably not during a snow storm. I did neither... Let me tell you, there's nothing like driving in the middle of the night through a canyon you don't know, with practically zero visibility and on snow. My heart rate must have been 120 for a good three hours straight :). 

BUT, I am not complaining too much... A little pain for a lot of gain! Evidence above... the best snow I have ever skied on!

Hope you have a wonderful rest of the week! I, for one, cannot wait for the weekend already :).

Posted on April 6, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.

I hate bugs...

But not these kinds of bugs!

Have you been to the Cockrell Butterfly Center? Ah, it's an awesome place to visit. Especially if you don't mind big hair (hello, humidity) and random butterflies landing on you (if you are wearing perfume).  Though the main appeal to this mini rainforest is the presence of hundreds and hundreds of butterflies. Which makes chasing them to photograph them a far easier experience than in the wild.. Check it out:

What butterflies did I spot? Plenty of rice paper butterflies, swallowtails, owl butterflies and a bunch of other species not listed on their website.

Oh, and this guy here... a GREEN iguana...

Right, he is not green.. Well, as it turns out, this 16-year-old guy is apparently ready to mate and therefore rather... orange. 

To close this adventure out, I was dared to eat a bug. For anyone who knows me, that is one BIG dare. I did title this blog post "I hate bugs" after all...

And surprisingly, I have to admit that they are rather tasty. Especially when spiced with bacon and cheese... You call this cheating? Maybe. I did eat a bug after all though :). 

Happy Sunday! 

Why I'm moving to...

... someday.

No, no, I am not moving anywhere yet. But I had this recurring and very tempting thought as I was driving down Highway 1 in California this past week. The scenery is unmatched. The people are (adorably) weird. The food is healthy(-ish). Outdoor living happens all year round. Why haven't I made this move yet?

Ah, right. Because I am not the only person who has thought of this. Far from it. (Almost) everybody wants to move to California. Which renders it prohibitively expensive. Bummer. That does not mean I cannot enjoy a lovely trip there every now and then though!

I was especially reminded of the power of attraction of the famous California landscapes when I had the pleasure to be invited to a conference at the Ojai Valley Spa. I cannot even begin to describe how magical this place is. The city of Ojai is situated in a small east-west valley, north of Ventura and east of Santa Barbara. What is really neat about Ojai is that since it is lined up with an east-west mountain range, it is one of few towns in the world to have a "Pink Moment" occur as the sun is setting. The fading sunlight creates this brilliant shade of pink for several minutes on the Topatopa Bluffs, over 6,000 feet above sea level at the east end of the Ojai Valley. A spectacular moment I could not capture on film, haha.

PS: In case you are wondering... I have not given up on this blog! Life has just been uncommonly and awesomely busy lately. I hope to be able to share some of that with you soon. For now though, adios, and until next week!


Posted on February 2, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.