Tag Archives: Amsterdam

Thankful for 32

A little over a month ago, I turned 32. I usually celebrate the entire month of October.  I mean, no one is happier that I’m alive than me.  So, I like to make sure I rejoice to the upmost.  

This year was the first year that I worked almost everyday of the month… But, as most of you know, I know how to blur the line between work & play… 

I finally reached a place in the seniority line-up where I had a set schedule.  I could alter my trips & move my days at my leisure.  Sure, there were still some factors that came into play when choosing my destinations, but for the most part, I was able to create a wonderful working month for myself.  

My work schedule started & ended in the magical city of Amsterdam.  It was nice to kick off my birthday month & celebrate my actual birthday in my favorite European city.  Between my visits to Holland, I had other working trips to Spain, Italy & Puerto Rico, along with some fun musical events and a lot of fun nights with great people.

I’ll share more stories in future posts, but for now, here are some moments from my special day in Amsterdam… 

 

When I checked into my hotel room, I noticed that I had a balcony & a beautiful street view. What a nice little gift from the front desk.

    
    
  

I felt such gratitude in this monent… to be in one of my favorite cities in the world, on my birthday, catching such a beautiful sunset…

  
 
I had such a beautiful day, roaming the streets, taking picture, answering phone calls & reading messages from loved ones. I even found myself back at the Quartier Putain Coffee Shop, where I first imagined starting this blog… Maybe this photo will look familiar to you. 

During this visit, I discovered that this place is not only a caf√©, but it ‘s also the home of the Top Notch Music offices – a local record label. How perfect is it that this was the first coffe shop I ever stopped in in Amsterdam, as well as the birthplace of my blog?!

After all that walking around, I needed some nourishment.  I was in the mood for Wok to Walk & treated myself to a take-out birthday dinner.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating a meal prepared my these artists that stand on display for all, you’re missing out.  

The cooks all work in a window facing the street & prepare your food as you order.  They stand next to each other, moving in synchronization like a fine symphony.  Unfortunately, they don’t allow photos, so, you’ll have to use your imagination…or, pop in your nearest Wok to Walk location. 

After eating my deliciously fresh meal, I danced a few calories off with a local friend of mine.  Then, I felt 32… It was time to head to bed for a good night’s sleep. 

Although I had a wonder time in Amsterdam, I realized one thing about myself:  I really enjoy celebrating my birthday with people I love, at home.  This was my first birthday away from family & friends & I gotta admit, I missed them.  

Stay tuned for more of #30postsin30days. Thanks for reading, everyone! 

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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! ūüėČ
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.

Step Brothers

So, other than traveling & seeing the world, something I’ve always loved and wanted in my life, is music. Music feeds my soul & makes me happy. It was my first love, it will always be a passion of mine.
Because I love all genres of music, it’s always been a dream of mine to take a year off and attend every major music festival. That’s definitely something I know I’ll do in my lifetime…& now, being a flight attendant, that goal actually seems attainable.
While I was in Amsterdam – the trip I mentioned in my last (initial) post – I actually had the opportunity to attend the Rap Mayhem Tour, starring Step Brothers, Evidence & Alchemist, as they celebrated the release of their long-awaited, highly-anticipated album Lord Steppington.
I’m standing at the front of the stage, watching two fellow Californians rock the eclectic crowd of fans from all over the world, & I’m in my happy place. I notice the playfulness, camaraderie and authenticity between the guys as they perform. They’re truly at home on stage & the fans can feel it. As they go through many of their classics, the crowd joins in, lyric-for-lyric and as they share (soon to be) hits from the new album, heads are bobbing & hands are in the air. There’s a profound feeling of unity flowing through the Melkweg (the concert venue) and everyone is enthralled in the music.
As the concert comes to an end, the guys stick around on stage for a bit to shake hands & show their gratitude to those in attendance. This is an admirable quality among artists.
Shortly after experiencing the amazing performance, I purchased the album & I’ve had it on repeat since. The intricate beats & thought-provoking lyrics keep me going back for more. If you haven’t already, buy the album here, you’ll also find upcoming show information. I’d highly recommend any upcoming events from these two masterful performers.

Thanks for checking me out, everyone!

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20140314-164003.jpgThis is Jo, fellow Dilated Peoples/Evidence/Step Brothers/Hip Hop fan. He actually got pulled up on stage by Evidence to perform Mr. Slow Flow! He killed it. I later found out that it wasn’t his first time on stage with Ev. Lucky guy. Loyal fan. He’s also a great photographer…check him out here.

20140222-012838.jpgMy dear friend, Guille. She flew all the way from San Francisco, California to join me at the show. She also assisted me with snapping some great pics!

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Special thanks to Guille Hernandez for assistance with photos

Starting “Starting at 30”

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to fulfill a life-long dream to travel to Amsterdam. It was surreal.
I’m sitting in this beautiful cafe, drinking fancy tea with two of my girl friends, overlooking the city. Just outside the window, there’s a church, a tall street lamp, people hustling & bustling on the darling cobble stone streets, I can also see a canal & some bridges in the background. It’s raining…maybe more of a drizzle, and the water is creating this gorgeous glistening effect on the streets & buildings & causing the water in the canals to dance. This is when I have what is known as an “Ah ha moment.”
Here’s what I got for myself:
For months people have been asking me to start a blog. You see, I’m a (fairly new) flight attendant for a large airline & I get to travel all over the world. I’ve been resisting writing a blog & sharing my experiences, because I haven’t wanted to show the “not so glamorous” side of flying. I’m 30 years old and I’m starting over…
After a 10 year career in banking, I reached my breaking point. I was unfulfilled & unhappy & I knew I had to make a change… I was finally forced to make that change when I was let go.
I knew at that point, there was no turning back. There was no way I was going to apply to some other bank & end up in a similar position. Not to mention, I’m single, after ending a nearly 10 year relationship with someone who was a childhood friend.
So, I chose to move from America’s Finest City, San Diego, CA – giving up my beautiful apartment, all my furniture, & most of my personal belongings- to The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA, to follow my dreams of traveling the world. Becoming a flight attendant meant relocating to a hub and taking a huge pay cut from the salary I was used to making in the banking world (I was even making more money collecting unemployment) but these were things I was ok giving up, in exchange for access to seeing the world.
Even though I made the choice, I didn’t want to advertise it…so, I’ve been withholding that information from friends & family.
I wondered, “Who would enjoy hearing the story of a 30 year old, single woman who is living on a budget & not enjoying all the fine dining & fancy living that foreign places have to offer?”
Then, it hit me…there, in that little cafe in Amsterdam…there are so many people that my story can touch!
So, this is for all of you who dream of traveling & seeing the world, those of you who want to break free from a 9-5 & routine, those of you who are ready to make a change, those of you who don’t live on an unlimited budget, those of you who might think that it’s too late, & for those of you who just want to follow my fun new journey through life…I really hope you enjoy it…this is me, Starting at 30.

20140222-013133.jpgEnjoying green tea in Amsterdam, when I had the breakthrough to start “Starting At 30.”

20140222-013159.jpgMy beautiful, amazing friends, Valerie & Guille. They traveled all the way from two different parts of California, last minute, to join me on this adventure!

20140222-013326.jpgThe Iconic Canal Pic…

20140222-013358.jpgThe beautifully lit streets of the city…

20140314-193537.jpgwith some of the amazing crew members from our flight…

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Photos by Guille Hernandez & Valerie Viramontes. Special thanks to Jo Roth for assistance with photo edits