Friday, May 31, 2013

San Antonio Trip

I've always heard about how pretty San Antonio is. How it's the Venice of United States. Well, finally I got to see it.

Day 1 (May 24): Our flight to San Antonio started in Philadelphia Int'l Airport at 6:03 AM on a Friday. It was a long weekend (Memorial day) and the hubby and I both decided to take Friday off to stretch our San Antonio vacation.

Our flight was Philadelphia (PHL) - Houston (IAH), then IAH - SAT. We arrived in San Antonio at 11:24 AM and after getting our luggage we hopped on a shuttle that would take us to the Enterprise Car Rental office so we could rent a car for 4 days.

Valencia Riverwalk Hotel
We arrived at our hotel at around noon but didn't get our room until 2:00pm. Usually, the check-in time is after 4:00 pm but fortunately we got our room earlier than that.

We wanted a hotel by the riverwalk that's why we decided to stay at Hotel Valencia, which was our temporary home for 4 days and 3 nights. It's a nice hotel with interesting interiors, nice ambience, a fine restaurant and they even have some tables facing the river walk, a bar, a swimming pool and a courtyard. They have a valet parking that costs $35/day and the staff are all very friendly and genuinely helpful.

Since the hubby and I both didn't get enough sleep (we left for the airport at 3am) the first thing we did was take a nap. We woke up at 5pm, took a quick shower then put on some semi-formal clothes for our dinner at the Towers of the Americas revolving restaurant called The Chart House.

But since our dinner isn't until 8:00pm, we first tried their Skies Over Texas 3D (it's actually more like 4D). I suggest you do this when you're at the Towers of the
Towers of the Americas
. Then we had our photo taken before we went up the viewing deck for the 360 degrees view of the city. After which, off we went to our dinner.

The hubby and I like to have dinner at restaurants overlooking the city and so far we have tried Boston's Top of the Hub (it soars 52 floors above the Back Bay), New York's The View NYC (it's a revolving restaurant but the view is disappointing because all you can see are walls & windows from the tall buildings), Restaurant Ciel de Paris at Montparnasse in Paris, Vivere's Sky Lounge in Alabang, Philippines and now, the latest is The Chart House of San Antonio. We're hoping to try Seattle's SkyCity restaurant, which is right on the Space Needle, next time.

The food is very good and the view is spectacular during sunset (FYI: sunset in May is around 8ish).

sunset view at The Chart House revolving restaurant

We didn't want to go straight to bed after dinner so we walked along the riverwalk. Most of the places were closed already but it was still an interesting walk, plus I got myself a new cowboy hat, haha (the one I brought with me got mangled up during our flight to San Antonio).

riverwalk at night

Day 2 (May 25):: We went to Natural Bridge Cavern for our day two activity which is only a 30-minute drive from downtown San Antonio (it's $19.99/person). I also tried their ziplining
inside the natural bridge cavern
 activity which I enjoyed thoroughly ($17.99/person for two zip lines). I have enjoyed my first zipline experience back in the Philippines when my friends and I went to Cagayan de Oro for our Canopy Walk/Pinoy Rafting experience, so when I saw they have this at Natural Bridge Cavern I didn't think twice and bought a ticket. The video below shows me ziplining on the second line. You'll have to "zip" through 2 lines.

ayeen ziplining in san antonio - day 2 from bluemarlinfish on Vimeo.

the capitol building
We then went to see Austin, Texas. We really weren't supposed to go there until the day after for our hot air balloon ride but the hubby wants to check the place because we have to leave very early in the morning (4am) for that and he just want to get the feel of where the location is.

We just visited the Capitol building and the famous 6th street. Then we had lunch at Salt Lick at RoundRock for some real Texan food. The hubby like their brisket very much. I like my meal too, and the sauce, O-M-G! There's regular and hot, both are good! The bread they serve is good too. I used that to make my pulled pork sandwich, too yummy!

inside texas capitol building
my meal: combo plate - bbq ribs, pulled pork, beans, potatoes, coleslaw

Day 3(May 26): We woke up at 3:00am in attempt to get to Austin by 6:00am. Problem is, it's been raining on and off and come 5:00am the hot air balloon people called to tell us they can't fly the balloon because of the weather. Oh well, I guess we now have an excuse to go back to San Antonio. It's a good thing the hot air balloon booking never expires so we can always just use it anytime we're ready to go back.

We were in Austin when it was still a little dark and decided to loop around the downtown area again so I could take some pictures of the buildings (I like buildings and interesting architecture).

Come 6:30am we headed back to San Antonio but before we went back to our hotel we wanted to try this hole in the wall Mexican place for breakfast called Grumpy's. We learned about that place while overhearing a conversation from one of the visitors at the Natural Bridge Cavern. We wanted to go there for lunch after the caving but it was already closed when we got there (they close at 2:00pm and opens at 8:00am). So we went back there the next day on our way back to San Antonio from Austin.

I love my fried chicken steak but it's just too big. I think I only got to eat just 1/8 of it. The hubby liked his order very much too, it's called huevos rancheros con carne guisada w/ beans, hashbrowns and tortillas. He specially liked it with their hot sauce.

riverwalk cruise tour

Since now we have the whole day free, we decided to finally do our river cruise tour ($8.25 per person, available from 9am til 9pm). The hubby kept oohing-aahing. It's obvious he likes San Antonio very much. He thinks it's better than Paris, I don't. I mean, I like San Antonio too, and wouldn't mind coming back but no, it doesn't compare to Paris. When I pointed this out to him he then explained that he's compairing our River Sienne cruise with this riverwalk cruise tour. I think I kinda get what he meant. You won't see restaurants and shops along the river Sienne. In San Antonio, on the other hand, are rows and rows of restaurants and shops and the river even goes through a mall. I still like Paris better though, no offense San Antonio fans.

alamo nga e.
hindi ko nga alam e.

After the tour we walked to the Alamo site. I'm not a history buff and I just wanted to go there just for the sake of going there but the hubby on the other hand liked the history and the story behind the Alamo walls. We paid for the guided tour which lasted for an hour then we went in the Alamo museum to explore on our own.

By the time we're done it's past lunch so we headed back to the riverwalk to find a restaurant. I have just one requirement though, a restaurant that serves those HUGE margarita, lol. A friend of mine suggested it and I thought that would be cool to try and so we did.

our margarita after 15min (it was
actually filled to the brim)
We went to this restaurant called Dick's Last Resort. It's called that because the servers are trying to be "that". They will yell at you, they would sound obnoxious, they would throw your check at you. But they will give you a warning in advance that it's just all for fun. They're just living up to the name, lol. So anyway, since it's a HUGE margarita the hubby and I just shared. I don't want to eat too much so I just ordered their crab balls. I didn't like it. The hubby ordered fish and chips, that, however, is good. Oh, and yes, the margarita is soooo good! And we got to keep the big margarita glass.

Then we head back to our hotel for some nap and woke up around 5pm to get ready for our dinner cruise. It's nothing fancy, just some chicken or beef fajitas and dessert. We booked the dinner cruise thinking it would just be a barge floating on the river while we're having dinner but what a pleasant surprise! It's actually a riverwalk cruise tour too. I highly recommend a dinner cruise riverwalk tour  instead of just the regular riverwalk cruise tour. We booked our dinner cruise through Cafe Ole and paid $37.50 each plus tax. Don't forget to try their Daquiri Margarita, it's good!

bluemarlinfish on Vimeo.

San Antonio isn't just about Riverwalk, they have lots of interesting buildings too and some unusual stuff like the one on the picture below.

cinderella-ish horse carriage ride
Day 4(May 27): Nothing to share except that this was the day we had to fly back to Philly. I did, however, tried to wake up early for some quick stroll so I could take photo along the riverwalk with my travel gnome (pinky st:).
my travel gnome (pinky st:), sacheen

all photos by yours truly, please do not use without permission.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nothing Changed

nothing changed.

i still love charlize theron.
i still love maria sharapova.
i still love keith urban.

i still love tiramisu and pana cotta.
i still love CPK and jollihotdog.

nothing changed.


ok, maybe i lied.

maybe i did change.

my age starts with a 3 now.
and my metabolism is slower.
i have extra wrinkles on the corners of my eyes.
i have white hairs dotting my mane now
and i swear yesterday i saw a hint of sagging cheeks.

i run more often now (not everyday but more than before).
i drive better now.
and i drink alcoholic drinks now.
and i love malibu baybreeze, mojito and bahama mama.
i can tolerate beer now too, but only if its coors light or landshark.

i also now know what's more important.
i choose my battles more carefully now.
i love more deeply now.

but nothing changed.

i'm still the silly girl who loves to laugh.
who makes goofy faces.
who tells goofy stories.
who loves to hold hands and kiss.

most of all.
i am still me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cape May, my happy place

It was our 1st year anniversary last May 12 so we went to Cape May for two nights with our greyhound Chloe. We didn't go to Cape May just because it's my favorite beach in the U.S. but because this is where we got married (the civil wedding, our first wedding, which we consider the official).

along Jackson St.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, which was spent waiting for Chloe to settle down in our room (we stayed at Marquis La Fayette, they're pet-friendly with beach front rooms) and early dinner at Mad Batter. We liked walking around in Cape May and we did exactly that too.

 We then went to Wildwoods, because I've never been
there. Wildwoods is just 30 minutes away from Cape May and is also one of the many Jersey shores. It is your typical beach with boardwalk, carnival food, carnival rides & games, stores, etc but my favorite is a photobooth called shooters-old-time-photos. See that pic on the right, we were dressed up like from the old wild wild west movies. They have rows and rows and rows of costumes! Not just the set I'm wearing but also the "Southern Bellas" kinda dresses & mafia attires for men. You'll love it!

I like how ours turned out, lol. It was $30/couple/pic and we got carried away and bought a frame with it ($50 total). We're planning to hang the frame on our bar area, which we think is the most appropriate spot, with me carrying a bottle of Jack Daniel's and everything, lol.

Come Sunday, May 12, was activities-packed. I woke up really early so I could do my morning run. Had breakfast then we went to Wellness Center for our couple's massage. After which we rented a bike.

It's been a looong time since I last rode a bike but it's true what they say, if you have ridden a bike before,
posing in front of Peter Shields Inn, our Cape May reception venue

no matter how long it has been since you last rode one, you'll never forget how to ride a bike. We had a blast. I'll say that's the best way to go around Cape May, biking. We were tempted to get those tandem bikes but I'm really missing riding a bike so we opted to get a bike each. We just biked along Columbia, Hughes (see video), Madison, Beach ave. Now, biking at Beach Ave. is tricky because of the wind. We all know biking against the wind is challenging, I'm literally glued on the road while I'm still pedaling because the wind is blowing the opposite direction. Needless, to say, our legs were all sore after that. I wasn't planning to drive along Beach Ave because there are too many cars but the hubby insisted because he wanted to take a photo of me on a bike in front of our wedding venue reception, Peter Shields Inn (see photo above).

ayeen biking in cape may (hughes st) from bluemarlinfish on Vimeo.

After that, we just took a rest then walked Chloe, took a rest again and went out to do my bridal march reenactment, lol.

the same spot where i did my bridal march same time last year...

After that we went back to Wildwoods, only because I don't like my nightshots when we went there the other night, lol, yeah, vain I know.

We were supposed to have dinner at Peter Shields Inn to celebrate our 1st year wedding anniversary, but they were having some Mother's day event that they were not serving dinner that day so we ended up having dinner at Pier House  at La Mer and we were pleasantly surprised. The resto really looks nice from the inside. The first thing I noticed is that they don't have salt and pepper on the table (that's one clue right there that they're a fine restaurant, atleast that's what I was told). Our server even gave us a complimentary champagne when he found out we're celebrating our first year wedding anniversary.

our complimentary champagne

Ofcourse, our anniversary dinner won't be complete without exchanging of greeting cards and gifts. Mine is not the usual gift. It's a coffee table album of 14 pages with my photos on it. Not just some ordinary pictures but boudoir photos. I've been meaning to give him one as a wedding gift when we got married in the Philippines but I didn't have the time and thought it would make for a very good 1st wedding anniversary gift, instead. Photos were taken 3 weeks before our 1st wedding anniversary.

I really, really think every wife should do this. One, because we are not young forever, so you want one for posterity. Two, like I said, it would make for a very good wedding anniversary gift for the husbands (my hubby LOVES it! he keeps saying I look like a Victoria Secret model every time he looks at the "book",  lol). Don't bother about losing weight before you do it, if you find a good photographer he/she would know how to pose you to hide or play around your problem areas (mine is the tummy and my arms). Just do it, and quick before life catches on (having a baby, too many parties, travelling, etc).

Anyway, here are just some of the tamer ones, lol. Nope, I wasn't showing any "inappropriate" parts of my anatomy, I'm just showing some skin and wearing swimsuits or sexy lingerie. Try it. Your husband will LOVE it!

(FYI: i brought props with me, like those autumn leaves, my wedding veil and an angel's wings, and some other outfits
Also, pix have watermarks because I haven't received my CD yet)

Update: I added more, because the hubby is too proud of them and insisted I add more, lol

Anyway, I digress, lol.

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary to us! Looking forward to more wedding anniversaries with the best hubby in the whole wide world!

boudoir shots from