Notre Dame de Paris

Yes I know, I’ve been bad, but December is one of those months that never ends for me. This past December I’ve had way too much going on, and just now things are starting to go back to normal. Hope you all had a great holiday and a happy new year, and hope that the coming year will bring much needed peace and love to our planet. Still have more to share about Paris, so here we go 🙂

Notre Dame is one of those places that I had to see and experience in order to understand what the big deal is. And now that I have, let me tell you, I understand. While I’ve seen pictures of it before, nothing compares to actually walking through those heavy wooden doors and just getting lost inside.


Celebrating 850 years in 2013, the cathedral stood as beautiful as can be.


I felt like I couldn’t take enough pictures, and those I took couldn’t do it justice. Not much to say other than ENJOY 🙂










Needless to say, if you’re ever in Paris, don’t miss out on experiencing Notre Dame.

Nothing Says Paris Like…the Eiffel Tower

Needless to say it’s just as good looking as it appears in all the movies and pictures you’ve seen, if not better. I made sure to stop by during daylight and at night, and since that weekend was the national day we got an extra special view. Here it goes, from all the angles 🙂










I had a video that I can’t seem to post no matter what the file format is, so I guess the pictures will have to do.

More Paris.


Third Stop: Paris

Finally finished processing my 680 pictures that I took in Paris. I know it’s crazy isn’t it? Didn’t think I could take that many pictures in just a few days. I’ll try to organize them and group them for different posts,  and no I’m not going to post all 680 pictures!

Our whole stay in Paris was just great in every possible way. It’s was sunny and warm every single day, and in six days we’ve managed to soak in and enjoy Paris in every way we could. I’d say we walked for 6 – 7 hours every day, and needless to say my camera never left my hand.



I actually didn’t realize how big Paris is, I mean it’s huge. Totally different feel from Edinburgh, which felt a lot cozier.




I took these pictures on different days during our stay there. On our second day we took the water taxi down the beautiful Seine river and got off at different stops.



Souvenir shops lined along the rivers and pretty much around any major land mark or tourist attraction.




Working in Academia, my husband couldn’t help notice the the Sorbonne wasn’t very far from our first stop, so of course we took a stroll there 🙂


We managed to take a peak inside too.



We then wandered back and were caught by a golden bridge shining so bright under the sun that you couldn’t help but walk towards it. Turns out it’s the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge that is covered with locks. Locks that tourist couples have written their names on as a romantic gesture to show their commitment.


I’m not sure what this next building is, but we walked by it as we were trying to make our way to the famous Champs-Élysées on our forth day.  The colored columns made it stand out even more.


Full of famous designer brands and different cafes, the busy street was packed, which I’m sure is a very ordinary sight in Paris.  As many of you know, at the end of it stood the Arc de Triomphe. 


A little Louis Vuitton never hurt anyone 😉 You had to wait in line to get in!


Standing so tall and proud, my little sucker to history self couldn’t help but imagine how amazing it must have been for kings and soldiers to march though it on their horses and carriages.


Later that day we made our way to Sacré-Cœur Basilica to meet some friends. It’s a beautiful church that opened in 1914 and is dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus.


After climbing a long stairway to get to the building, standing by the fence, you had a first row seat to view Paris from above.


Love, Design, and Fashion

The past couple of weeks were extra busy (if there’s such a thing) and I’ve been struggling to make a few decisions, and there’s nothing better than some family love to remind you that everything is just fine.  I’ve wanted to post this sooner, but it’s never too late ❤

At the end of Houston design week, I came home to one of the sweetest notes from my little sister.


Along with this Kate Spade purse..


Probably THE coolest bag I’ve got, and I can’t wait to put all my gadgets and notebook in there and just rock it 🙂

I should also mention that baby sister is officially a blogger now on Tumbler, offering all kinds of advice and product suggestions for makeup and skin care. Make sure to stop by specially if you’re too busy to find out about good and new products out there. Check out her site here.

Edinburgh Castle

Located on a hill in the heart of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle can’t be missed. It is really an impressive structure that has helped in shaping Scotland’s history. Walking towards the castle, this was our view. I had mixed feelings about a stadium built inside the courtyard. While watching a show or a concert there must be an amazing experience, it also doesn’t fit.

DSC_0183It was a very crowded day and we only had a couple of hours to run through the castle.


The castle offered many great views of the city depending on the side you were on. It was a cloudy and somewhat hazy day, but we still managed to get a few decent pictures.


As we all know, I’m a sucker for anything old. It was very hard trying to enjoy the tour while taking pictures, and the fact that it was a full house was a challenge as well.



Many Scottish monarchs resided here over the centuries including Queen Margaret who later became St. Margaret.




Did you know that Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to King James VI here? And that little “palace” of theirs was impressively decorated (of course)






From inside the castle, this is what the courtyard with the stadium looked like.


A few more shots around the castle, it was really fun and worth the trouble given the fact that we had very limited time.




According to the Scots, Private McBain’s wife who had been in winter quarters decided to return home to Scotland. It was at Malplaquet that she handed her infant son to his father who was on parade. Having nowhere else to put him, private McBain fought the battle with the child in his knapsack. Personally I didn’t notice the baby until I read the description.


This another view of the city from the top of the castle.


On our way out, I took one last shot. I would imagine that back in the day, when these were lit with fire and monarchs with their carriages roamed the castle, that it was just amazing!! I know, I’m crazy!


This concludes the hours we spent roaming Edinburgh. Next stop will be Paris 😀

What I learned from Aaron Draplin

Last night I attended a presentation by Aaron Draplin from DDC as part of Houston Design Week. A first of its kind event to take place in Houston and it’s been absolutely fantastic. Organized by AIGA Houston’s chapter, they have done a great job in bringing a variety of events and speakers covering different aspects of design and typography. For me, last night’s presentation was one of the highlights of this week. Aaron was extremely funny and engaging while presenting his story including some highlights of his work, things he loves and hates.


Asides from being a great designer, what made Aaron special was how simple and down to earth he was. He gave real and relevant advice that applies to all of us, and he continued to be funny while doing all of it.


Every bit of it was interesting, and never a dull moment. Sharing personal experiences with such transparency gave this theatre that was full of people a very intimate feeling. Extremely brilliant and inspiring, his presentation included work, family, and a little bit of politics 😉 I believe everyone in this theatre left on such a high note, feeling very happy and determined. Thank you Aaron.

Today, I’ll be attending a logo workshop with him. It is the last event in Houston Design Week, and I’m predicting it will be an awesome experience with great people. Until my next post, I will leave you with some of things I’ve learned from Aaron Drapling last night.


by Alejandro Banegas



Last but not least, always help and support each other.

Well done Houston, well done AIGA, and thanks to everyone -presenters and attendees- who made this a successful and great week.

Second Stop: Edinburgh

Since there’s no airport in St. Andrews, we had to fly in and out of Edinburgh. We had about 7 hours to go around the city, and we used every minute of that time. If you stay in the city center, you can just walk anywhere and find almost everything you’re looking for.


To me, the older the city is, the more attractive is becomes. I’m just a sucker to historic buildings and monuments.


I’ve seen many churches, but this one was unique- specially with that golden tower.


From different angles, the sun light worked its magic and highlighted the tower only to make it look more distinct.


This is some of the gorgeous detailed work on the entrance.


And just around the corner we found the parliament square.


I must say that for a big city, Edinburgh managed to preserve and display so much of its history and culture.



Apparently, witchery tours are very popular there. We ran through a few of them, and this guys was really funny 🙂



I took 156 pictures in Edinburgh and about 1000 total during our trip. I’m still not done processing all of them, but I hope I will be in the near future.


I’m not sure what this building is, I should probably look it up, but I could only imagine the view from one of these windows.


If you want, there are many bus tours that take you around all these sites. You can get off and on from different stops as you please, but if you can walk then I say ditch the buses.


Of course being downtown, there was tons of shopping and souvenir shops. They also love their whisky and cashmere, because every other shop was either a whisky or a cashmere shop!


I was pleasantly surprised at the international food selection that was available in such a small radius in the city, which of course worked to our advantage. With too many choices around, we found ourselves drawn to an Indian tapas restaurant through the delicious smell that lingered across the street from it. So I must say that if you’re ever there and looking for a good meal stop by Mother India Cafe. They have more than one location, delicious excellent food, reasonable prices, and friendly staff. All together it was one of the greatest meals we had during our travels.

Stay tuned for the next post featuring Edinburgh’s castle, isn’t it amazing how much you can do in 7 hours!!

St. Andrews Beach

Just realized that my previous post was the 100th! Never thought I was going this far when I started, but it’s been great connecting with all of you dear bloggers and readers. Thanks for being awesome!

My last post about St.  Andrews is their lovely and gorgeous beach. The water was very cold, but that didn’t stop people -even kids- from swimming.


Our late afternoon walk was very peaceful and relaxing.


Bits and pieces of the town including their ancient golf course, the castle and the cathedral are just off the coast.




There was some kind of worm or crab (I think) that went into the sand leaving behind all these random sand spirals. One in particular caught my eyes 🙂


Of course we couldn’t miss the famous ancient golf course.



For more St. Andrews check my previous posts: First Stop: St. Andrews, St. Andrews Cathedral, and St. Andrews Castle. Guess where my next stop is?

St. Andrews Castle

St Andrews Castle was the official residence of Scotland’s leading bishop (and later archbishop) throughout the Middle Ages. Its scale demonstrated the power and wealth of the bishops, and it was the setting for many important events which determined the course of Scottish history. (From historic-scotland)


In the 10th century, the bishops of St Andrews gained overarching responsibility for the Scottish Church. Bishop Arnold (1160–2) began building a new cathedral on an unprecedented scale, and Bishop Roger (1189–1202) began the new castle as his official residence. (From historic-scotland)


This plaque is located right outside of the castle wall. Apparently Wishart’s story is one of the most famous ones there.


A few feet and just off the sidewalk is where that spot is marked. (Still can’t figure out why I never took a picture when I was there)

During the Wars of Independence with England, the castle suffered significant damage, and had to be substantially rebuilt by Bishop Walter Trail (1385–1401). (From historic-scotland)


Between the 14th and 16th centuries the castle suffered severe damage during many of the wars at that time. It was also rebuilt a few times in between by the bishops who used it as a residence.


Just like the cathedral, being located right by the water, gives all these places a little more charm to talk about.



From the corner, you can see the cathedral.


I know I’ve said this before, but were really lucky to catch that heat wave. Not one drop of rain came down during our stay there.


The abolition of episcopacy in 1592 effectively left the castle without a resident or a function and it fell rapidly into ruin. In 1801 the great hall fell into the sea and further losses continued until the construction of a sea wall in 1886. (From historic-scotland)


I can only imagine how magnificent this structure was before it fell into ruins, when bishops still lived there and it used it to on a daily basis to control the town.



For more St. Andrews check our the previous posts: First Stop: St. Andrews and St. Andrews Cathedral.