Friday, January 27, 2012


One of my biggest resolutions this year is to do more of the things I always say I want to do but never get around to for one reason or another.

There's nothing I value more and nothing I'd rather spend my money on than experiences.

When I think of my life, those are the things that my memory references.

I've contemplated my bucket list but the thought of doing things before you die gives the impression (if you're on the younger side) that you have a lifetime to check things off the list.

Therein lies the problem, at least for me. Too much time can be a bad thing. I need a deadline!

I also used money and travel as an excuse.

It's definitely challenging to be active in NYC when you're trying to save your pennies, but there are things that won't break the bank.

And it can be challenging (and annoying) to venture into the city from SI, but there are things out there waiting to be experienced...if I'm willing to get out there and make it happen.

There's a long list of things I've been wanting to do for years...learn to ride a motorcycle, visit Maine for some lobster, take a hip-hop performance class, drive cross country.

I recently heard the term leap listyoung cousin of the bucket's a compilation of things you want to do earlier in life, preferably before you "settle down."

My new philosophy is there should always be a list. It keeps us excited, inspired, and focused on the things that we're passionate about in this life.

And it forces us to stop and ask questions like, "What do I enjoy doing? What's fun, relaxing, interesting to me?

So I decided it was time to silence the shit-talker in me, and actually put effort into checking more things off my list.

And just like that, the next day a friend called to invite me to a Russian bath house.

Who knew there were bath houses in NYC? Uh, not me.

Wednesday night at a Russian bath house? Had a scandalous ring to it for obvious reasons. 

It wasn't the first time I got the invite, but it was the first time I really considered going.

I was about to go into my story about why I didn't want to trek into the city and wasn't prepared for a last minute thing...and then I stopped myself.

It was a perfect opportunity to do something new and different and fun...exactly what I said I wanted.

I wanted to be adventurous but I was a little squeamish at first...

ME: "Is it clean?"

HIM: "Yes, it's clean. It's not a traditional spa but I've taken germaphobes there and they've been fine." 

ME: "What exactly is it and what goes on there? 

HIM: "Don't worry, I've seen Victoria's Secret supermodels and Russell Simmons there."

ME: "Well, I guess if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me."

So I decided to be spontaneous and jump on the invitation. I had no plans that Wednesday night, so why not?

I got bathingsuit-ready and met my friend at Wall Street Bath and Spa downtown on Fulton Street.

I wasn't sure what to expect. It definitely wasn't your typical spa but it was less intimidated than I expected.

There were different areas for different things.

I changed into my bathingsuit, and found my friend sitting in a room of men in their bathingsuits. They all congregated at tables, sipping everything from beer to tea. Interesting.

There was a healthy mix of man candy among the general population, and I suddenly thought this wasn't such a bad idea.

We got started right away and my friend walked me through each phase of the process.

1st: the sauna. DRY. HOT. REALLY HOT. SWEATY.
2nd: the freezing cold plunge pool. COLD. REALLY F-ING COLD!
3rd: the freezing cold shower. EVEN COLDER!

Rinse & repeat the cycle...3 more times. Crazy!

Russian sauna

cold plunge pool


Rinse & repeat:

Turkish sauna
(umm, my bucket of cold water experience wasn't nearly as seductive)  



The idea is to raise and lower your heart rate and ultimately equalize it. At least that's what my friend said.

He also said the experience would be better than sex. Not sure what kind of sex he's having but I wouldn't go that far.

I would say it was an amazing experience that was strangely exhilarating and relaxing at the same time.

After, we chilled out and drank tea at the tables.

Things I saw but didn't try: a huge pool, jacuzzi, restaurant and tanning salon. There was also a lounge area that looked like the VIP section of a trendy club.

A few similar places exist in the city but not sure what their stories are.

This one charges $32 for all day access. There are also packages and yearly memberships.
My friend had a pass for me so my entry was complimentary...score!

Not sure if or when I'll do it again, but I'm glad I can say I actually did it.


Thursday, January 19, 2012


God didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?  
~Author Unknown     

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
~William James  

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.  
~John De Paola

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.  
~Aesop, Fables


So, I've been feeling a bit guilty about my inability to be consistent with my posts. 

I sat down last week and the travel thursdays draft I scheduled to post was gone.... %@(#.*_@!!! (fill in your favorite expletive)

Today I sat down to write and life happened once again. I lost half my day to a stressed state of mind and was tempted to put it off yet again.

Then I remembered that life doesn't run on my schedule, so why should my posts?

In an attempt to find the balance between becoming more disciplined and accepting what's realistic, I'm changing the name of my travel posts from Travel Thursdays to Traveliscious

With that adjustment you can expect them any old day of the week. 

I do intend to continue...hell, just scratched the surface with my trip. But maybe the posts will be shorter and more frequent, or shorter and less frequent. 

And I think I'll throw in a mix of other things as they come up. I'll probably keep myself guessing as much as you, but c'est la vie. 

In a perfect blogger world, I'd be posting the same time consistently...that's what builds an audience, according to the experts. 

That would be amazing, and it is the ultimate goal, but it's also key for me to figure out what works for me over time, and at this point I'm still experimenting. 

I'm not an inside-the-box, play-by-the-rules kind of person anyway. 

I'll just continue to write about whatever comes up when I sit down to write. I'd rather write authentically than on a timer. 

Are you a slave to your schedule? A slave to your stress? 

What is your stress really about? The need to get it all done? The need to get it done right? 

Are you losing passion for something you love because you're attached to some perfect picture of how it should be? 

Whatever IT is, try loosening the reigns a bit. Sometimes things occur differently than we imagined...but the important thing is that they occur. 


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Travel Thursdays (6): Las Ramblas y La Boqueria

Happy 2012!! Hopefully your new year has been as eventful as mine. I had my first date of 2012 on Monday, my first day of work at my new job yesterday, and my sister got engaged!!!

Mucho blessings rolling around. I have a really good feeling about this year...good thing considering some people think it's our last on earth.

Your next installment of Travel Thursdays awaits below. If you missed any and would like to catch up, check out the last segment or start at the beginning. Enjoy!

Part (6): Las Ramblas y La Boqueria

I slept like a baby my first night in Barcelona.

The next morning, I met my new friends and we headed out to La Boqueria. I didn't know much about it before hand...might've seen a blurb in the guide book about it.

We walked from the hostel to Las Ramblas, the most famous street in Barcelona. It's actually a series of tree-lined streets almost a mile long, cutting through the heart of the city.

It was jam-packed with people, vendors, and street performers that clearly took pride in their craft.

The endless shopping, restaurants, and wide pedestrian walkway make it popular for foot traffic....and some other traffic.

It's known for being a tourist hot-spot during the day and a shady hooker haven at night...or so I heard. I also heard about pick-pocketing and petty theft, a common occurrence at every hour.

We got to La Boqueria and I didn't know where to look first. It's a huge open-air market selling every food-stuff imaginable.

I know, some people might wonder what's so great about a market. I love them in general, but this one was special.

Every last thing at every stand was placed perfectly.

It's a famous spot for photographers who come to shoot the amazing rainbow of colors. Wouldn't be surprised if someone's job is to design and regulate the displays.

I got some shots of my own with the new camera - took 50 or 60 shots - ambitious considering all the people around.

Never thought I'd be that enamored over a fruit display, but it was pretty incredible.

Never quite figured out the deal with these giant jars of goop. Looks like something Willy Wonka would've conjured up.

Not sure how one would eat these ginormous many licks would it take?

These were a little more realistic.

We decided to eat at this little breakfast stand where Karina - a very cool, very tall redhead from Cali - had come the day before. She'd been in Barcelona a few days already and knew the drill.

She also spoke fluent Spanish which definitely came in handy. I let her order me a breakfast sandwich...some kind of egg frittata thing. I barely knew what was in it, but it was tasty.

The real discovery was the cortado...espresso cut with warm or steamed milk...sooo good! It became my staple drink in Spain. The Spaniards typically drink it in the afternoon. I drank it all day long.

The guy behind the counter was a staple in his own right. He danced around with a huge smile on his face, shuffling out sandwiches in his plaid vest and bowtie. Seemed like people were there for him as much as the food.

After breakfast we walked around and sampled a tasty little treat or two. Mostly we took pics like all the other annoying tourists.

I wondered if the locals got frustrated with the crowds the way New Yorkers do around Times Square or the Empire State Building.

The treats were pretty pricey...or maybe it was the backpacker budget kicking in...was worth it either way. I had the best dates I've ever tasted in my life. Delicious!

La Boqueria quickly became one of my favorite places in Barcelona. I went back once or twice after to snap some more shots and try some more food.

I wouldn't call myself a foodie or a photographer, but I exercised my love for both just by being there.

If you really wanna learn about a culture, explore the local food. It's just as important as it is to see the sites. And to me, it's so much fun!

Stay tuned for the next installment.

But first, a little new years note...

Hope you're having a great first week of the new year, staying true to your resolutions, and not guilting yourself to death if you aren't. Doing your best doesn't mean being perfect.

These two mantras have worked for me and seem to stand the test of time...EVERYTHING IN MODERATION & BABY STEPS. Whatever your goals are and wherever you are in the process, keep the faith and just keep'll get there before you know it.