a year's worth of wanderlust II

This time of year always makes me reflect and one of the things that I'm most grateful for are the opportunities we've had to travel. We set out to live internationally for many reasons but traveling was/is priority numero uno. Looking back, I think we did a good job a sticking to our plan even though some days it feels easier to just veg out at home! Here are my fave moments, sights, and thoughts from our 2012 travel adventures....

Breaking away from Europe and landing in Marrakech. High hopes and expectations were met with a chaotic Medina with a character all its own.IMG_9915

Passed Berber Villages in the Atlas Mountains and seeing nothing but beautiful vistas. And snow. Who would have thought Africa had snow?!IMG_0120

Sipping on fresh mint tea while picking out our new/old Berber rug...the perfect souvenir!rug shopping

Our first LA visit together and indulging in three things: In N Out burgers, Mexican tacos, and fresh American donuts. This photo was from our morning binge session while doing loads of laundry next door.LA day _ weekend_3

Re-discovering the cool designs and colors found in LAgarage design, manhattan beach los angeles

Taking a quick break from LA to Anchorage, Alaska for a visit with Joe's parents. It was so awesome to be in the house he grew up in and see his childhood town.walking on a frozen pond

a day-trip to Oxford - LOVED it there. For you Hogwarts fanatics - their cafeteria is just off to the left.weekend_oxford_4

Stopping in Florence en route to Chianti. It's so true that the entire city is a museum.

enjoying an impromptu lunch overlooking vineyards near Greve Chianti. Hands down my fave meal of the trip...for sentimental reasons, mainly, because the other meals were aawweesooomme.italy_2

a "booze and chocolate tour" of Brussels with some sight-seeing on the side. A flea market was also involved - this one was one of the most legit I've been to.

brussels brussels

Leaving our love-lock in Paris as we wrapped up our time in London.paris

Our first trip after moving to KL: Penang. So colorful and vibrant.penang by Ana Maria Munoz

and with charming old character everywhere you look.penang by Ana Maria Munoz

Piggy-backing on one of Joe's business trips to Bangkok and exploring by boat.bangkok long boat

Visiting Singapore for the first time and wishing we had moved there instead since it was so clean, organized, and seemingly perfect. It was during a rough point in my new-home adjustment but now love and appreciate the imperfect and real character of KL.

singapore singapore 7

The beach holiday that ruined it for any other ones in the future. Con Dao, Vietnam was utter perfection. Honeymoon is done and done. Untitled

Going back to LA to give these little ones hugs and kisses and begin research on my new venture. Untitled

Making a long-weekend out of Joe's business trip to London. We'll take any amount of time there, no matter how long the flight. Plus, Joe needed to stock up on his favorite Whisky and you can pack more with two people + checked bags than you can with one ;) Image 1 Image 3

The unexpected layover in Abu Dhabi from London. I did my best to make the most of my 48 hours there despite major jet-lag (I was only one week back from LA!)Abu Dhabi

Getting to know and love the bits of Melbourne that give it it's reputation as a hub for good coffee shops and interesting street art.

grace cafe in fitzroy melbourne street art

Hanging out in Bondi Beach where I used to splash around as a toddler. Can't believe that we used to live just down the road. Part of me wonders what it would have been like to grow up there and be a little beach bunny...

bondi beach

... or just dance around The Opera House all the time...sydney opera house at night

...and with Australia, that brings us to a wrap!

But we won't be idle for too long. With the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa covered in one year (that is cray cray!) it's only fitting that we kick off 2013 with South America in February. Yep, I cannot wait to visit my parents in Colombia and say our "I Do's" with family, friends, and buñuelos!

I'm so thankful for this beautiful year....and to you guys for sharing it with me. I'll stop before I get all sappy but know that interacting with you via this blog, twitter, instagram, email is such a joy. And if you just joined me this year, you can catch up on where we went in 2011 by clicking here. Oh, the places we will go......

a year's worth of wanderlust

It's almost Easter and that means one thing: four day weekend! We're taking advantage of the time and jaunting off to Florence and Chianti to get to know my little obsession, Italia, a little better. I've been studying Italian using Rosetta Stone but since I've been a bit inconsistent with it, I'm just barely at the point where I can ask "where's the bathroom?", "how much?" and all of those other simple phrases that will hopefully be enough to get us by! During the past year's travels we've gotten by with our english, broken french, and my fluent Spanish. Joe speaks a little bit of Spanish but he learned it with the Castellano accent that turns every "s" into a "th" sound...it drove me crazy for a while but I've warmed up to it. I had to.

We've definitely accomplished what we moved here to do: travel. There are still so many places on our list but I'm beyond thankful to have been able to check off the ones below and leave with beautiful memories.

Here are some of my favorite moments, places, and thoughts from our European adventures...

shopping at my first European flea market (in Paris) and seeing a different type of vintage and market sceneparis flea

stumbling across the Louvre at night and having the square all to ourselveslouvre at night

walking along Pont Des Arts in Paris with my mom, oohing and awing at the romantic gestures and inscriptions of the love locks. we even witnessed a couple throwing their key into Le Siene followed with a passionate embrace and kiss. must go back there with Joe!pont des arts

cheering on team Atletico with Joe's college buddies in Madrid. we sat in a section called "Vomitorio"..."vomit" is spelled "vomito" in Spanish so it felt a little icky at first. the funny thing was that not even the locals could explain the name.club atletico futbol

finally understanding Joe's love for simple Spanish meals. I could eat like this every day now.spanish snacks

searching for the vista point for the Toledo bridge but instead happening upon our own little corner. we somehow managed to avoid the crowds and feel as if the entire town was ours that day.the famous toledo bridge

walking up to the awesomeness of the ancient aqueduct in Segovia (no mortar!) and then geeking out over the decorative walls and doors all over the place segovia aquaductsegovia patterns

witnessing a modern marvel being built, aka La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelonasagrada familia

and being even more impressed/amazed by what's insidesagrada familia

watching my mom enjoy "the best paella of my life!" while I cooled down with a chilled beercerveca y paella

watching the sunrise and looking for seashells on the beach with my mom in Barcelonabarcelona beach

our first week-long European holiday in Sicily. we stayed in the countryside, Ragusa...it was heaven as you can telllounging poolside at relais parco cavalonga in ragusa, sicily

but we did take a dip in the Mediterranean! this was a total locals' spot that we came across while looking for a place to eat lunch in Syracuse. i'll never forget the views from the water looking back at the city.swimming dock, syracuse

having coffee in front of Check Point Charlie in Berlin and learning about Joe's uncle who was stationed there during the Cold War. finding the perfect German pub/restaurant, Sophien 11, with my friend Caitlin. the bar tender fell in love with her and gave her free beer mugs as souvenirs.

checkpoint charlie sophien 11

seeing Christmas come to life in Brugge, Belgium. i felt like i was in the original Disneyland the entire time. what a beautifully preserved medieval place.so festive at night

giving into a guided canal tour in Brugge and going under stone bridges from the 14th century. i mean seriously? taking it all in (love the step peaks of the buildings to my right)

finding moments to look around and capture the details in Marrakech amidst the craziness of the Medinamarrakech

visiting a Berber market in the Atlas Mountains. this was the parking lot...it was pretty muddy but i loved it. atlas mountains

sipping on sweet mint tea and drooling over too many rugs in Marrakech. i wanted so badly to go through the piles myself and pick which ones I wanted to see. unfortunately that's not how it works. it's a full on presentation and very ceremonial but i was happy to oblige. we left very happy with our new magic carpet in tow. rug shopping

We've left every place very happy, it's hard not to. I can't wait to see what we come across in Italia this weekend and where our magic carpet takes us next!

paris is for lovers + {brilliant beats} kisses

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDC9Mjpe7Ks?rel=0&w=640&h=25]

Kisses - Lovers

pont des arts pont des arts pont des arts pont des arts pont des arts

Imagine walking along the Seine in Paris and seeing a bridge from afar with little gold-like specs all over it. Are they lights? Strips of confetti? Nope, they are locks (of love) and they are all home on Pont Des Arts. I had read about something like this in Germany but of course it made perfect sense to have one in Paris too! My mom and I were so enchanted by the find that we spent nearly half an hour reading inscriptions on the locks and searching for the oldest ones. We even witnessed a young couple add their own lock of love to the fence, throw the key into the river and immediately fall into each others arms and end with a passionate kiss! I totally teared up. It was so romantic. So Paris.


I can't believe that we almost missed this. Our first of two days in Paris was surprisingly cold and rainy so after a full day of walking around, my mom's leg pain (a joint problem) was too much to bare. So, we decided to stay in at night, ordered pizza, and rented a movie (I know, I know). A phone call spanking from Joe made us realize that we couldn't miss seeing Paris at night - especially since it was my mom's first and only night in the City of Light. Some rest and pain meds later we were walking along the Seine and taking the elevator to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. It was so beautiful and special...I'm so glad that we made it out. Thanks, hunny for 'sometimes' being right ;)

Happy Friday!

My camera battery is fully charged and I can't wait to see what attracts my eye this weekend. When we were in Paris, everything was beautiful but nothing piqued my interest more than these ornate doorknobs. Can you imagine coming home to something so beautiful?

Here's to seeing the beauty in the things that surround us, wherever you are. And to all of you moms out there - happy Mother's Day! Wish I were going to be with my mama and sis in LA (the two most beautiful moms in the world) but at least we've got Skype to keep us connected.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Happy Friday + Vanves Flea Market

IMG_2573IMG_2586 IMG_2591 IMG_2593 IMG_2600 IMG_2601 IMG_2606 IMG_2611

It's Good Friday with Easter on Sunday and here that means two Bank Holidays for Joe! We're going to take advantage of his four-day weekend to stay in the city and do some exploring, a stay-cation if you will.

Above are some photos from our first European flea market, Vanves in Paris, France. There are several big options for antiquing in Paris but we chose Vanves for its smaller scale and reputation for quality and enthusiastic vendors. There were so many pieces that were real treats due to their age, unlike anything you could find at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in LA. In a nutshell, everything was so interesting that even Joe turned into a flea-hunting enthusiast. He usually just comes along for moral support but items rarely catch his eye.

Here's what we found with more here:

1. Me in my "habitat" looking through wood block letters

2. Could be a vanity of an elegant Parisian woman in the late 1800's

3. Solid aluminum baking tins that make me wish I was a bona fide baker, or any kind of baker for that matter

4. A well-traveled suitcase overflowing with tales from near and far

5. Old books always look so beautiful, especially when different volumes and collections are colorfully paired together

6. Rolling piano sessions, yes please! The cigarette in his mouth is classic

7. Tiny rolls of film...wonder what sorts of magic they contain...

8. Pretty Parisian textiles primed for great sewing projects. I should have stocked up but I'll leave that for the next trip. Perfect excuse, right?

I hope to have more flea market inspirations next week. Until then have a wonderful weekend, enjoy!!!

paris at night

Hi everyone. I missed yesterday's post due to a lack of internet access but I'm happy to say that we now have a beautiful new iPhone! I spent most of the day at Westfield London with my new Apple store friends Nick and Nic. It feels so good to have instant access to the world once again. Google Maps, how we've missed you!

Anyhoo, I want to share some photos from our night out in Paris...the city is even more stunning after dark. Joe had heard a lot about the Latin Quarter so we ventured out there for dinner and drinks. It was vibrant, charming, and packed with locals. Definitely the place to be.

After a second round of drinks (and an amazing slice of upside down apple pie) we decided to walk along the river, La Seine, to soak in the night instead of taking the metro straight home. I'm so glad that we did because we stumbled across the Louvre. I'm telling you, we had no idea. We just saw an impressive looking entrance to something and when we got in further and looked to our right, there it was in all its glory, lit up and with hardly anyone else in sight.

After taking in the grandness of the Louvre's exterior we continued walking along the water towards the Eiffel Tower. It was striking enough while aglow but then something magical happened: the lights turned white and they started twinkling in the most celebratory way. The light show went on for five or ten minutes before the entire tower went dark at 1am...what a grand finale! The night seemed filled with surprises like that. I guess that's Paris, the one and only.

More photos and descriptions are on the flickr page!

je t'aime paris

Bonjour! We are back from Paris and everything I'd ever heard about it is true: it's beautiful, inspiring and if you like pastries, it's delicious. We did a week's worth of walking in two and a half days and saw everything from the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame to the charming cobblestone streets of Le Marais. It was mind boggling to be around buildings that were so rich in history and character.

More details and photos to come this week!