Category Archives: Food

Love Albany 

I spent Valentine’s Day with one of my many loves… (making) money.  I worked.  I ended up in Albany, NY and had a full 24 hours to catch up on some sleep & explore a little.  

Before this trip, I was not aware that Albany is the Capital City of New York.  So, when my hotel concierge told me that we were near the Capitol building, I knew I wanted to get out and walk around a bit, even if it was 30 degrees. 

By the time I got settled in, ate & changed, I had about an hour before sunset.  So, I stepped out to walked around the cute, quaint area.  
I was stunned by the State’s Capitol and I spent some time seeing it from every angle.  

Near the Capitol, I noticed a unique building, which I later found out is a theatre, called The Egg.  


There was a large ice skating rink near by & I could hear music playing.  I imagined quite a few skaters were couples, celebrating Qupid’s day.  

After a little bit of exploring, my hands were so cold that my phone wasn’t even responding to my touch.  (I forgot to pack gloves).  So, I decided to pop back into my hotel room to warm up.  That’s when Twilight started playing on TV, and I had to decide between a single gal’s Vday with a movie & wine, or an evening meeting locals.  This is usually an easy decision, but today, it took a little work… 

Considering my long layover – and words my cousin, Johnny, shared with me recently – “Come on, fool.  Go out.  You know you never have a hard time making friends.”  I went to to a local beer hall.  

City Beer Hall was busy, but still had room at the bar.  Perfect.  I took a seat & the lovely bartender, Beth Anne, came my aide.  She helped me pick a local IPA & left a food menu for me.  

When my beer arrived, it came with a raffle ticket.  The ticket was redeemable in the kitchen, for a personal-sized pizza.   This was not a Valentine’s Day special.  They do this everyday, folks! 

After meeting a few locals, tossing back a few local brews, and nibbling on free pizza, I was informed by a gentleman named Steve, of a speakeasy that was located right downstairs.  You have to  exit the beer hall, knock  on the door, and hope they let you in. We got lucky. 

They had a live jazz band, dim, romantic lighting, snazzy dressers, and a busy dance floor.  Steve ordered us some drinks.  One was served with a single, globe-shaped ice cube & set on fire.  Cheers! 

There had been dance lessons earlier in the night & the instructors were still there, pulling people to the dance floor.  There were guys dancing with girls, girls dancing with girls, and guys dancing with guys.  I got spun around a few times, which, those who know me, know that that’s all I need.

I made friends with the bartenders & host and I promised I’d be back again.  Then, I spent my morning resting in my warm, comfy bed, as I watched fresh snow fall.  Albany surprised me.  I really enjoyed my time there.  Thank you, upstate New York. 

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Sisters in Paris 

As I mentioned in my Amsterdam post, I got to enjoy a little vacation with my sisters in Paris this time, last year.  It was their first time in the city and we had a long list of things to do. 

We started our trip with a train ride from Amsterdam.  After hopping on the wrong train & transferring, we accidentally ended up in first class.  It was amazing! 

Our hotel in Paris was right near the Eiffel Tower, & we could peak at it from our window.  My sister & I made sure to walk over to the tower as soon as we checked in.  We took lots of photos. 

   
    
   

The next two days were filled with activities.  We visited The Louver and checked out the Mona Lisa, we stopped by the Eiffel Tower more than once, we ate delicious food, drank lots of wine & wandered the romantic streets of the city. 

  
One of my favorite events was when we took the train to Versailles to see The Palace.  Here’s what the royal estate looked like…  

  
  
  

   

The bedrooms, the carpets, the lighting fixtures, the drapes… everything was so beautiful!

 
  
 

I stopped to touch up my makeup in one of the royal mirrors, as I imagined being a princess, just hanging out at home.


 

Speaking of mirrors… here’s a shot in the famous Hall of Mirrors. You might recognize it from Rihanna’s Dior commercial!

  
  

  
 

Once again, pretending to be a princess…

 
  
  

My blogger bestie and her husband also joined us on the trip.  You saw them in my Amsterdam post, as well.  We met for drinks & bites at the highest view point in Paris.  Here’s a shot of our gorgeous view, from HautePinkPretty.com.  

 

It was a magical moment to share with the girl I once worked with at a bank.  We always dreamed of traveling & talked about following our passions.  Now, here we were, toasting in France! 
I also had the pleasure of taking my sisters to the famous Ladurée, for macaroons and tea.  It was an early birthday present to my big sis.  It filled me with joy to celebrate with her in such a beautiful city. 

  

In a couple of days, my sisters and brother-in-law are joining me for my 2016 vacation… In Colombia! Stay tuned for the post.  I promise to not make you wait a whole year for it. 

Sips, Stories & Selfie Sticks 

Yesterday I returned from another amazing Barcelona trip.  I was flying with one of the recruiters who hired me.  We spent the day on a gay (nude) beach.  It was awesome! 

Note: I haven’t taken the plunge & gone fully nude on the beach, yet, but I love being topless & people watching! 😜

 

Tuna is life-changing in Spain… here’s a shot of my delicious lunch – my crew member’s treat. In flight attendant life, sometimes senior crew members take us newbies out & show us a wonderful time on their dollar. It’s such a great perk of the job and I look forward to the day that I’m in that position.


We made friends with the guys next us after jumping in on their conversation.  They were travelers from Tijuana & Los Angeles – my neighbors in San Diego.  The guys had beautiful smiles, beaming personalities, fun stories & a full itinerary of travels ahead. 

We decided we needed a group picture. Alex said he had a selfie stick, and heres the first of many shots. Roberto might be joining our flight crew someday soon. Bob was recruiting…

We couldn’t help but bond & be entertained by the transgender (in transition) woman on the opposite side of us.  She seemed to know everyone on the beach and she kept insisting she was “leaving after this drink.”  She left around 8:30pm… 

Anyway, after bathing in the sun & the Mediterranean Sea, we were all hungry.  We changed & met at one of my favorite pinchos spots, Bilbao Berria.  Our party had grown & wine was flowing.  It was a lovely evening with new friends. 

After such a night and working an eight hour flight, I got a group text from my friends in Philadelphia. They were heading to Center City Sips & even though I needed a nap, I was going to join them. 

After a quick costume change, I hop on the metro to meet my crew.  My final destination, a beer garden/al fresco dance party surrounded by tall buildings in the city.  My friends hand me a drink as soon as I walk in & we hit the dance floor.  

It came as no surprise to me that there were fellow flight attendants lingering in the crowd.  It’s always fun when were together.  We play catch up & our conversations sound ridiculous… 

“I’m beat. I just got in from Barcelona.”

“Tell me about it, I just got in from Amsterdam and I have Lisbon tomorrow.”  

“Where’s (insert name)?”

“Oh, he/she got called to Tel Aviv…” 

Lol… We sound ridiculous & I love it!  

 

Here’s a shot of some of us… some flight attendants, some just Philadelphia friends. Eduardo is like 6’6″ & with friends that tall, you don’t need a selfie stick!

 
We danced & drank & enjoyed the perfect weather.  After a beer garden, a historic bar & $1 tacos, I was exhausted.  I had to call it a night. 

I just wanted to share this quick post with you to say that I am so grateful for my life and the wonderful people I get to go out & play with.  I’ve been so busy living, that I haven’t taken much time to write.  I need to work on that… 

This morning, I woke up with a smile on my face as I reflected on the past few days, and I wanted to put something in writing.  Here it is & I hope you enjoyed it.  

For more up-to-date stories, follow me on Snapchat: CcTheStar 😘

Carnevale in Venice

After much self-inflicted internal debate, my flight attendant friend, Ali, and I decided to chase Carnevale in Venice. We had the same days off & needed to ditch the upcoming snow storm in Philadelphia. Italy was a dream.
After a few days working, we were both exhausted & didn’t know if we wanted to put in the “effort” to go to Italy. Luckily, our intuition (& my roommate, Courtney) spoke up.
We were suddenly reminded that we should “not be lazy” or “settle for the easy way out.” We should seize the moment & fly to JFK, to Milan, catch the train, & to the boat, to Venice to celebrate Fat Tuesday.
The idea clicked like a lightbulb & we were off. Escaping the snow storm for 50 something degree weather & delicious pasta was a no-brainier. We were excited!  



The flight to Milan brought about new flight attendant friends. They took care of us & invited us out. This is pretty common among flight crew. We really do stick together.
It took about 13 hours of actual travel time… 2 planes, 2 trains, a bus & a boat. 





 After a long day of travel, we finally made it to our hotel – which we booked at a Mc Donald’s cafè, thanks to wifi and Booking.com





 We each indulged in a long, hot shower, got primped & dressed, and stepped out for the night.
What I must say is that, in this case, the journey was truly more important than the destination. We made friends with our fellow flight crew on the way over. We met the most amazing young woman on the train from Milan to Venice who talked to us about everything from growing up in Europe, to education, to politics, to young love & so much more…she even shared her mother’s homemade, & Venetian trademark, tramezzini sandwich with us. All of these people fed us, loved us, made feel right at home, and engaged us in the stimulating conversations.
We made the trek to the car-less city to partake in the largest Carnevale celebration on the continent… & when we arrived at Saint Mark’s square, we had a real-life “womp womp” moment. The ground was covered in confetti & the crowd was clearing out. We missed the festivities that we’d traveled so far to see… 





 It was ok, though. After the experience we’d had to this point, we were optimistic… We knew there’d be plenty of after-parties. So, we walked the winding roads & stopped for some of the best spaghetti bolognese I’ve had in my life. Maybe it was the best… or maybe I was famished from our busy day.
We stumbled on the cutest local bar – Devil’s Forrest Pub – where the bartenders seemed to love us. They gave us free drinks & beads all night. They even took shots with us. 





They also pointed us in the direction of the biggest party of the night, “Arsenal.”
After what felt like a journey through The Labyrinth, we finally made it to a long, straight path along the water. The path lead to a historic-looking warehouse that was in the distance. 



This is when I turned to Ali with my fear… Maybe we were being lead to the large, annual feeding of local vampires. Maybe this was the part where all of us unsuspecting fools were fed to the blood-thirsty beasts…. But, man, what a way to go!
We continued on until we made it the huge night market/rave. With food, drinks & multiple rooms of music & flashing lights, we joined the masked & costumed guests on the dance floor. We did Arsenal! 



 Needless to say, we were absolutely exhausted after our big day. When we decided to leave the party, we discovered a water taxi that would save us about an hour of walking (that is if we could find our way back). Side note: Venice is a city with no cars, which means no cabs to drop you off… We hopped on the boat & got off at the stop that we thought was the closest to our hotel.
We wanted to get a good night’s sleep, so we could take advantage of a full day in Milan. It was a nice concept, anyway. A few hours would have to suffice.
In the morning, we enjoyed our free, breakfast at our hotel. The sun was shining, the day was gorgeous, and our view was overlooking the Grand Canal. Boats & gondolas rode by us as we enjoyed the most important meal of the day. 









 We prepped for the day & started our voyage back to Milan… or, at least we thought. We ended up running into some of the crew members from our flight, & joined them for drinks & (inevitably) lunch along the water. We knew it would be a voyage back to Milan, & we couldn’t do it on an empty stomach… Spaghetti bolognese was definitely in order. 





 After soaking up the sun, we took the boat, to the bus, that would take us to the train, to get to Milan. We met with a couple other flight attendants from our flight for dinner. We’re all pretty new to the industry. We had a lot in common & a lot of stories to tell. It was nice getting to know each other.
Although I wish the night could’ve gone on forever, and we could’ve seen more of Milan, time was a factor. We needed sleep & we needed to catch our flight home in the morning… A shuttle to the airport, then two plane rides would have us back home in Philadelphia.
Four days to travel to Europe & back may seem crazy to most people, but to us, it was normal. “No time wasted,” is often our motto. So, when we have days off, we make the most of it… Do you?

Thanks for reading along, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this post. How do you spend your days off? Have you ever taken a spontaneous trip? 

 *Special Thanks to Alyssa Muckey for assistance with photos. Also to my bestie, An Dyer , for her ongoing love & support of my life, my blog & my dreams!

Back Where It All Began

My first blog post was about my first trip to Amsterdam, which was a total dream come true. I wrote about my revelation of wanting to share my journey with the world, hence “Starting Starting At 30.” A year later, I found myself back where it all began…
No place (other than San Diego) has ever made me feel like Amsterdam. I’ll share it with you the same way I share it with everyone else:
After landing at Schipol Airport, my friends & I rode the train into the city. I’ll never forget that moment when I stepped out into the streets for the very first time. I looked around at all the bikes, the buildings & the people, and my soul whispered to me…
“Ceci.” It called.
“Yes, soul?” I asked.
“We’re home.” It said.
“I know.” I replied.
And just like that, I experienced love at first sight.
After that description, I guess it’s no wonder why my friends & family are all intrigued… since my initial encounter last year, I began planning this vacation with two of my sisters, Monica & Angie, my bestie, An (Haute Pink Pretty), my brother-in-law, Chris, & my bestie-in-law, also Chris (Superman Dyer). The five of them are very influential people in my life. Sharing my flight benefits is my way of finally doing something great for them!
The flight from Philadelphia was great. We bribed the gate agents with chocolates to be seated together and we bought an entire pizza for the crew. Feeding flight attendants will only result great service. Take notes, people! 😉
Once we got all our luggage together, we shared a taxi into the city. We parted ways for a bit to check in to our neighboring hotels to get ready for the day… I’ll spare you the details and jump into the fun stuff.
We started our first day walking around Leidseplein Square, popping into random spots for drinks & quick bites.

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IMG_9392Though I love the city, I must admit, the food in Amsterdam doesn’t really excite me. I prefer hitting grocery stores, like Marqt & snacking on local greens, cheeses & fresh bread.
We eventually made our way to the famous I Amsterdam letters, where we took turns posing & snapping shots.

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It was a beautiful (cold, but clear & sunny) day out, so, we spent time just walking around the city. We admired the adorable architecture, the beautiful bridges, the charismatic canals and, of course, the lovely locals.

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We attempted to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the land to make a game plan for the next day’s activities. We ended our night running for cover from the rain in the Red Light District. We were all exhausted & ready to turn in when the weather took a turn for the wet…

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Day two started with a hunt for a beautiful sunrise.

IMG_9273 An and Chris wanted to capture the beauty of this colorful act on film & I wanted to see them at work!

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My younger sister, Angie, joined us. We thought walking toward the I Amsterdam letters would be a great way to start. Because it was early, we figured it wouldn’t be so crowded. We stopped at the Rijks Museum for a few fun shots before taking full advantage of the lonely letters & capturing moments around the park.

Amsterdam Winter Street Style*Above photo by Chris Dyer, courtesy of HautePinkPretty.com

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Soon, it was time to meet with my sister, Monica & her boyfriend, Chris, to check out the Van Gogh Museum. Photos were not allowed inside the museum… So, if you’re ever in Amsterdam, please go see the amazing pieces for yourself.
We quickly made a plan for the rest of the day that included a canal tour by boat & the Heineken Experience. The boat ride was amazing. The weather cooperated & we got to take in the beauty of my favorite city.

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The Heineken tour was so much fun. We played games, learned about the entire beer-making process, took some fun pictures in front of green screens & of course, we drank lots of beer!

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We all split up for a few hours and regrouped in the Red Light District. We met at a favorite local lounge of mine, where learned about sugar water & local grape candies (inside joke). Then, we walked the trademark territory & took in the “scenery” before saying goodnight.
We knew we’d have to say “doei” to A’dam in the afternoon… We had a train to Paris to catch and we all wanted to take advantage of our morning, so we needed a good night’s sleep.
This visit was a wonderful reminder of why I love this city so much…

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for more posts about my vacation that include Paris, Dubai & Abu Dhabi!

*Special thanks to Angie Salcedo, Monica Salcedo, Christopher Thompson, Chris Dyer & An Dyer for assistance with photos.

Read more details about our trip here and here, on An’s fashion blog, HautePinkPretty.com.

Mexicali Taco & Company

This past weekend I finally had the pleasure of eating at LA’s famous Mexicali Taco & Company. I hopped in the car with a couple of my friends & made the forty-minute drive (in Los Angeles traffic) to satisfy our craving for Baja style tacos.
When we arrive, we’re greeted by my good friend (& owner), Esdras Ochoa and his huge smile.
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I’ve known Esdras since we were in junior high school…before he mastered the culinary arts & was still experimenting with some questionable combinations. Haha! Now, I see his face on TV & get to read all about his success.
Esdras clears a table for us and when he hands us menus, I insist that he surprise us. He’s a great sport. He’s considerate enough to ask a few questions about diet restrictions & then he heads to the kitchen. He sends out a variety of delicious options of carne asada (beef), chicken, and pork…
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We tried every salsa available & devoured every bite of our food. The famous flour tortillas (which are exported from tortillerias in the Baja region) added undeniable authenticity to our meal. It was amazing and I’ll definitely be back next time I’m in LA.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you have to stop by 702 N. Figueroa Street to try these tacos!

For more information (including menu, hours, location and contact) visit MexicaliTacoCo.com.

*Special Thanks to Esdras Ochoa for a wonderful meal, for your kindness, warmth & generosity…and for being such a great friend. Congratulations on all your success. I’m so proud of you!

Thanks for reading, everyone. Happy eating!

Yesterday Germany, Tomorrow Italy

I was talking with my best friend one night & she asked me where in the world I was. I told her I had just gotten in from Puerto Rico after being in Germany yesterday, then I’d be heading to Rome tomorrow. The simple fact that that’s what my conversations sound like now is just ridiculous to me… & I absolutely love it!
My crew to Germany was amazing. We were all pretty junior and we wanted to go out & see the city. This was my first time there & I was looking forward to schnitzel & bier!
We stay just outside of Frankfurt, in Mainz. The city is gorgeous. The hazy weather added to the beauty around us.
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After some congregating at our hotel, we head out for some food at a restaurant that’s a crew favorite. The crew & our waitress all suggested schnitzel, so, after plenty of thought, that’s what I order… Schnitzel & dark bier. Yum.

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At dinner, we run into another crew member & his partner, who is a local. Our group grows & we set off to explore together.
Everything is so beautiful, from the streets, to the buildings, to the trees. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It feels like I’m on a movie set! I stop occasionally to touch trees & buildings just to make sure they’re real.

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We spend the day frolicking & making stops here & there for a drink or dessert… It’s Sunday, so there isn’t a whole lot going on.
We all get to know each other better & have great laughs as we close the day by the river.

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A couple of us head out for some late night exploring, where we meet some interesting locals along the way. When we stop and ask for directions, one guy says he’ll walk us. He’s carrying 2 duffle bags & a backpack… He’s just getting in from Berlin. He’s spent all day on the road, in traffic, and now he’s showing us around, while lugging his baggage.
He had the most wonderful attitude & was so sweet, I just has to mention him. That was my impression of Mainz… & Germany. A beautiful city with nice people, good food & great bier!

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When I returned to Philly, I got called for a quick turn to & from Puerto Rico. It was an easy work day…those crews are always fun. Then, I had a few days off…
That’s when my friend, Anabel ( who you met here) invited me to Rome!
I was debating on visiting a friend in LA & going to a show… I even asked a few people about it. The answer seemed obvious to everyone but me. So, at the last minute, while standing at the gate, I walked away from my LA departure & headed towards the gate for Rome!
Anabel was surprised (& excited) to see me. I was pretty excited myself. This would be my first time in Italy…& to do it with a friend, who was willing to share her (free) hotel room…I mean, yay!
When we arrive, Anabel needs to rest. I was able to sleep on the flight over, so, while she naps, I get ready for the day. I love our hotel. It’s cute & quaint. The decor is exactly what I think of when I imagine Rome. There’s a vanity in the room with a darling little chair. The mirror is old & misty. There’s doors (with long windows with wooden panels and shear white curtains) that lead to the terrace. It’s adorable.
Anabel has been here before, so, she has a game plan. When she wakes, we hit the ground running. Here’s how we saw Rome in a day…

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After a day of walking around the entire city, we were pooped. Anabel hailed a cab back to the hotel & even though I wanted to go out & see Rome’s nightlife, I ended up falling asleep in the cab. It was a wonderful day & I was ready for a good night’s sleep.