Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mexican (Mini) Smores

Would you believe me if I said I have never eaten a s'more? I've had s'more bars, s'more poptarts, and s'more cupcakes, but never the real thing. Now, since Graham crackers aren't available where I live I had to improvise and make my own Mexican version (in honor of September being the National Holidays month) and also because summer is ending.

I snapped a chocolate bar in many pieces and with three marshmallows cut in thirds (they were very long) I made nine mini s'mores, which is enough for two people as a light dessert (I got plenty of cookies and marshmallows left in the package for another time).

To heat up the marshmallow I put it through a fork and heated each one separately on the stove top, then transported it with the help of the cookie on top of the chocolate piece and covered it with said cookie, resulting in these tiny and delicious messes. The perfect way to end summer and welcome Pumpkin Spice Latte season :)

Think you will try the Mexican version of s'mores?

ps. I think these would be easier to handle with regular size Galletas Marías.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A New Series

My cousin is headed to study a Master at The University of Sheffield, just as I did a few years ago. I can't begin to express how happy it makes me that his dream is coming true, but also, the fact that he's gonna be walking the same streets as I did!!! 

It's not that common that someone you know (let alone as close as a family member) goes to college in Sheffield, as it isn't as popular as other European Master destinations as Barcelona, Madrid or even London, so I'm really excited to have this to share with someone I love. 

I've talked about writing a series about my time in Sheffield for a long time (since I never did while I was there) and now I have the perfect excuse! Except, instead of it being all about my adventures, I thought it could become some sort of guide for anyone heading there whether for school or just for a fun British getaway.

This will be an opportunity for me to share some knowledge about a place I called home for a year. To reflect upon the amazing experiences I had, but also on missed opportunities. All in favor of those who are coming after me, in the hopes that when they get their turn, they get to live the adventure to the fullest, no regrets.

They say 'to remember is to (re)live', so join me in (re)living this amazing experience! I'll start next week with a 'before you go/what to pack' post, so come back and check it out! :)


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Nuevo Vallarta

The airport is in Puerto Vallarta, which is actually in a different state, Jalisco.
Back in June I had to travel to Riviera Nayarit, more specifically to Nuevo Vallarta, for a project 229 is currently working on. I took a bus to CDMX on Monday afternoon and then headed there early the next day.

After spending most of the afternoon touring the site and taking measurements and pictures (without any sort of protection against the sun, I may add), I wanted to go out and explore. 

All the houses by the water give me major 'The O.C.' vibes.

Not a real pyramid, but the entrance to a hotel.

I first headed to a ‘mall’ which was kind of a letdown. However, I found a super market where I was surprised to see all the international products they carry (none of which I had seen before in stores in CDMX, Puebla or Veracruz). Orgasmic peanut butter, anyone?

Pumpkin pure, Sloppy Joe Sauce (Del Monte???), Marshmallow Creme and Orgasmic Peanut Butter.
I wanted to grab a bite to eat since I hadn’t eaten since way earlier, before my flight in. I decided to head into the Hard Rock Hotel, as I had seen they had 6 different restaurants (none of which I ate in). I gave myself a tour of the hotel, even taking a stroll down the beach and just hung there for a while, wishing A was there with me. 

This one was my favorite for its views of the beach and swimming pools (plus its name).
Loved all the music inspired details :)
Postcard from Nuevo Vallarta.
Tidal waves they rip right through me :)
Baywatch moment.

Sunburned and hungry, I headed back to the condo where they were lodging me and took a dip in the pool to freshen up and curled back on one of their chairs where I lounged and read the book I bought earlier at the airport (The Choice by Nicholas Sparks). 

Relaxing after a long day's work.

Even hungrier, I changed back and headed next door for dinner. I chose to eat dinner on one of their patios. I had a caprese salad, a creamy pasta with salmon and large sangría. The food was really good and the overall atmosphere of the place was nice, it being 9 pm and still NOT dark was a bonus. I skipped desert and headed back to the condo to call it a night.

Dinner for one (I may have over done it, just maybe).
Patio goals.
The next morning was uneventful. I had breakfast at a place nearby (never let it be said that I watch what I eat when on 'vacation') and went back for my luggage to catch a ride to the airport, heading to CDMX, then home by bus.

View from my room.
Breakfast of champions.
On the way back to the airport.
Flying home.
It was a super short trip (24 hours) but I definitely enjoyed having some well deserved down time for myself. Hopefully next time we visit as we work on the project, A will come along and we'll stay a weekend at the very least.


Friday, August 05, 2016

Ghosts of Summer Pasts

I’ve always associated summer with two things: vacations from school and traveling. At least that’s what it was like when I was growing up. I wouldn’t see my friends for three months and our family would take a week or two off to go somewhere, usually the beach. My dad used to say if he could travel somewhere every summer he’d go to Cancun and Orlando. If only!

But it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed summer in the same way I did when I was a child. Gone are the three months off from usual activities (school) and family trips. No more summer camps at the club or sleepovers at friends houses. If I’m lucky these days, I’ll go home and the weather will be decent enough for me to spend a couple of hours at the beach.

Actually I can’t remember what summer it’s been like the last years since I stopped studying and started working. I guess when you work, summer is just a season, as opposed to a holiday period. One doesn’t get three months off, hell you barely even get a week, and that’s after a year’s work at best, depending on your company’s policies. Some people are luckier and have way more vacation days every year, but it’s never been my case. 

And so I decided to reminisce on some of my favorite summer memories from the past years since this one didn't exactly make the books:

Summer 2005 / Orlando, Florida. Having fun on a day off from working at Disney, at Universal Studios with my best girl friends.
Summer 2007 / San Juan, Puerto Rico. Roadtripping all over the Island of Enchantment with my Puerto Rican friends from Disney ICP.
Summer 2008 / New York City. School field trip with my classmates and friends, and my first time in NYC.

Summer 2009 / Miami, Florida. Beach days, touristy afternoons and club nights (plus mandatory shopping sprees).
Summer 2010 / Mexico City. Spent this summer traveling from/to Mexico City to spend time with A, falling in love :)
Summer 2011 / Euro trip. Sheffield, Dublin, Paris and London with my best friends from home :)
Summer 2013 / Acapulco, Guerrero. Got to spend a weekend there for my friends wedding.
Summer 2014 / Veracruz, México. Got to play tourist in my hometown when a couple of Disney friends were there for another friends' wedding.
As you can see, for me, summer is about spending time with loved ones, preferably in cool places. Beach/pool days, roadtrips, outings to eat, touristy activities like sightseeing, and of course lots and lots of pictures to prove it.

I was bummed to realize I have no records of last summer and this one is pointing in the same direction, but more of that next week. What are your favorite summer memories?


Friday, July 29, 2016

30 Day Challenge Wrap-up

So, it took 60 days, but it happened. I finished the 30 day challenge!!!

I think I did a pretty good job considering I had a work trip and then spent some time in my hometown where it is virtually impossible to get anything done. Of course, getting not one but two puppies, visiting every family member I hadn't seen in months, going to the pool and out for coffee with friends and my parents also had a little to do with that.

But hey, better late than not at all, right? Here's what I learned in the process:

This challenge is hard. Not in that the things you have to do are hard kind of way, but in the fact that writing a post every day, really takes time. I get that many if not most of the blogs out there post every day, but also, most of the bloggers out there are dedicated full time to it, which is not my case. Finding the time during my day to write was hard most days, but others, I was able to write three posts. It really depended on how busy my schedule was, which varies from day to day.

One thing that really helped, was the fact that I didn't need to think about what to write, which is really the beauty of the challenge itself. Honestly I don't know how full time bloggers do it, come up with original content ALL THE TIME. It takes time and patience and a lot of work. Not that I didn't appreciate it before, but I got a small taste of what it's like to be a full time blogger, and it is indeed a lot of work. Plus all big shot bloggers have partnerships and sponsors and go on book tours and meetings in other cities, so my guess is their plates are pretty fool too, which makes me appreciate their work even more.

Overall, I really enjoyed doing this, mostly because I got to write a lot, but also because most days I really had to think about my answers. It made me reflect upon many things, reminisce about others and discover a few I more. It is really a personal exercise that I recommend vastly for every blogger out there.

What do you think? would you take the 30 day challenge? If so, do let me know, I'd love to read some answers!


ps. All #30daychallenge posts are in the June & July archive :)

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Day 30: Why did you start blogging and what is the origin behind your blog's name?

I started blogging in 2004 after spending some time in Mexico City with my boyfriend. I had never spent so much time in a city like that one and was instantly amazed at all the great things to see and places to eat and visit and shop... I was really inspired. I guess that blog started as a way to share that inspiration, which I don't think ever actually happened.

Moreover, blogging for me has always been about sharing bits of my life. How I'm feeling/dealing with certain things more so than sharing DIY projects or outfit inspiration, although there were the occassional posts on that subject.

But as everything in life, times change and so do a few other things. When I started this blog, I felt different than I did when I started the first one. I'm just in a different place in life and I'm hoping that is reflected here.

Also, I've always liked writing, although never for the purpose of it. I used to write stories with characters and situations and jokes and drama, loads of drama. But now I just enjoy writing for the pleasure of it. 

I guess unlike every other blog out there, mine does not have a specific theme or topic. I'm not really into fashion. I'm not dedicated to the kitchen. I can't share tips on parenthood or marriage cause I'm neither a parent nor a wife. I don't have the resources or the time to become a full time DIYer or party planner (as much as I'd like that). I'm not going to share architecture tips cause that would just be boring. 

So instead I share things about my life and favorite things. Some people might find it boring. Others might find it interesting and may even be encouraged to try/visit some places. It's like one friend said 'I may not be perfect, but I never try to be anything I'm not and I am not here to impress anyone else'.

The name of the blog has naturally everything to do with my name. Picking a blog's name is really hard. There are a lot of blogs out there with 'name formulas', but I could never come up with any of those (chocolate&musicals doesn't sound great). And then there are those that describe what the blog is about, but 'I share everything I can think of' didn't have a nice ring either, so I figured 'including' my name so to speak (Gris=Gray) and then the word project (cause I'm an architect and architects work on projects) had a nice ring, since the blog is well, my life's project. I know, right?


Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Day 29: What are some of your fears?

This is as personal as it gets, at least for now. I don't think I've ever spoken out loud about the things I'm going to share here, but something tells me a lot of people share some of these too...

1. Death. I know this is inevitable and the only thing that is certain in life. However, I'm terrified at the thought of it. My own, A's, family, our dogs. Losing someone unexpectedly has got to be the most horrible thing that can happen to their loved ones. I can't imagine going through something like this, moreover, recovering from it. And on the other hand, going through someone else's sickness, watching them suffer as they try to fight it? such impotence, I just can't deal. As for me,  there are so many things I want to do and experience in life before I go, that dying scares the crap out of me, which leads to my next fear.

2. Time. Not having enough time for things I want to do or enjoy. Not spending enough time with my parents, grandparents, family, friends. Not doing things I can, while I can (travel before having to worry about a car, a house, kids...amongst other things). They say there are times in life for everything, but we get so caught up in the day to day sometimes (working, paying the bills...) that we don't realize how time flies. I see it even more now with the puppies. They are getting so big and gaining weight and developing their own personalities. Where are my tongue sticking out puppies?

3. Not being able to have babies when the time comes. Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. I know times have changed, but by the time my mom was my age, she had two kids and one more on the way. I'm not married, not even enganged. Not that I have to be in order to have babies. However, I don't think the time is right in my life to start pro-creating. I really want to be a mom, and I'm terrified that by the time we decide the time is right for that, it will be hard or dangerous or maybe even impossible. And if I get to have them, back to fear number 2 (not having enough time with them) or fear number 4:

4. The end of the world. How fatalistic, but seriously. I love movies about this topic (Armageddon, Deep Impact, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, etc), but coincidentally the leading characters always have just the right skill/profession/acquaintance they need in order to be saved/save the planet. That however is not my case. If the world came to an end, neither my architecture degree nor my master would save me from such catastrophes. Every time there was an earthquake (when I was living in Mexico City), small as it may have been, I was terrified. Just the thought of the world ending used to give me panic attacks in a 'waking up sweating in the middle of the night' kind of way. I can't imagine having to witness how humankind ends, whether it is via an asteroid, earthquake, tsunami, alien invasion, zombie apocalypse or mass murder. And so, even if death itself terrifies me as well, I'd rather die before this happens.

I've had these for a long time. Some more than others, obviously. But that's not to say that I have stopped living due to worrying about them. It's just like that quote on the cover image says. You can't stop living. Life's too short to live in fear.

How about you? do you agree with any of this? or is it just me?


*Cover image via here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

All Time Faves: Bands

Day 28: What are your top 3 favorite bands?

What does it take for a band to be considered a favorite? do I need to have every single record they ever made? been to at least one of their concerts? like ALL their songs? If that's the case then I don't have a favorite band, but here's three bands I love:

1. Blink 182. The obsessions started when their hit album Enema of the State came out in 1999 (I'm all about the 90's). After that, I looked all of their older stuff up and continue to follow their career up to their self tittled album. I'm actually really excited that they are releasing a new album this year (California), but before I get that, I need to catch up with what came in between: Neighborhoods. I've seen them live once (they came to Mexico ages ago) and I don't have all their records nor do I like all their songs.I think what I like about Blink 182 is their music over their lyrics. Usually I'm more of a lyrics person, but despite what their songs say, their music just makes me happy. (Image via here)

2. The Ataris. Remember that time (in the 90's, of course) when you'd make friends in online chat rooms? Well, back then I met this guy named Sam. He introduced me to The Ataris and many other bands of the sort. That's how I started listening to punk rock music, when I was in Secondary school. What stood out from The Ataris over the other bands was also their music and occasionally their lyrics too. I felt like their music had messages of love, friendship and family and over all, it made me happy to listen to it. I don't have all their records (just a couple), I've never seen them live,  and I stopped following their career. But we'll always have San Dimas High School Football Rules. (Image via here)

3. Maroon 5. There's more to Maroon 5 than just how hot Adam Levine is. I love their music AND lyrics, possibly more than the music itself. I don't have ANY of their records but I've seen them live once. (Image via here)

Other bands I really like include Imagine Dragons, Mumford and Sons, Green Day, Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Sum 41, All American Rejects, Simple Plan, Unwritten Law, MxPx, Mest, Coldplay, Keane, One Republic, Lifehouse and Florence and the Machine, amongst many, many more. 

What are your top 3 favorite bands?


*Cover image via here

Monday, July 25, 2016

Messy Pants

Day 27: Are you messy or neat?

I think for housing stuff I'm quite messy (like changing clothes and throwing them around the house, leaving shoes downstairs and things of the sort). On the other hand, I like to keep professional stuff on the neater side (like the office, important documents and stuff).

Here for example: what is a PetCo bag doing on my coffee table along with my makeup bag and a hyacinth bin? oh, and back there you ask? just some Lego Architecture sets I bought TWO YEARS AGO and A's sweatshirt thrown over my chair. But look further and see all those books organized by color, how pretty :)

So what about you? Neat freak or Messy pants?


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ten Cities

Day 26: Name 10 places you would like to visit

I love traveling, but then again, who doesn't. The choosing where to go, researching where to eat and what to see, the nerve wrecking experience which is buying plane tickets and booking hotel rooms online... 

Here's my list of 10 places I would like to visit, in no particular order:

1. Chicago. The windy city. Chicago is one of those cities filled with great architecture. It's home to buildings by Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan and Helmut Jahn. Hell, it was home for Frank Lloyd Wright and where the Prairie School movement was born. As an architect, how could I not want to go there? (Image via here)

2. San Francisco. Maybe it is the kid in me who wishes was a part of the Tanner family or maybe I've just been watching too much Full House lately, but San Francisco has always appealed to me. It's just such an iconic city and for once, architecture has nothing to do with it (except maybe the Golden Gate Bridge): Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Lombard Street... It seems like the kind of place you could take the time to really see the city without having to worry about missing stuff. (Image via here).

3. LA (and everywhere around it). Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Anaheim...  God, I think this is the place where I want to go the most. Being such a tv freak, walking around any of the aforementioned places would be like a dream come true, like living in movies and tv shows I've loved for years. Seriously, just walking around Rodeo Dr pretending to be friends with Kelly and Donna would do it, but there are so many great things to do and see in LA: Disney Concert Hall, The Broad, LACMA, and a whole lot more of architecture based picks. Plus the food scene and latin vibes and basically everything. Earth, swallow me now and spit me in LA. (Image via here)

4. Positano. Ahh, the Amalfi Coast. It is one place that seems to be thriving these days, but of course, why woulnd't it? It keeps popping on my instagram feed implanting on me the idea of going there asap. The whole place just looks so romantic and laid back, like the perfect place for a honeymoon or an anniversary trip. (Image via here)

5. Paris. Because no one ever said 'Veracruz is always a good idea'. Although I've been once before, ever since I read that Jordan and her family moved there for a year,  I've been obsessed with the idea of spending a long time there, as in more than four days (like last time). It's the kind of city that has more to offer than touristic attractions. I've run around Champs Elysées and done the eternal lines to climb the Eiffel Tower (not that I would mind doing it again), but I'd like to really spend time in Paris. Sit at cafes, peruse flea markets, drive a vespa around the city, the true Parisian experience. (Image via here)

6. Amsterdam. When I was studying in Sheffield, Amsterdam was supposed to be part of a summer holiday but fell through at the last minute. I'd still like to go some day because I think the Netherlands has such a rich culture and Amsterdam seems to be a beautiful city with the canals and clogs and... windmills? (Image via here)

7. Tokyo. So exotic, right? As you can probably tell by now (except maybe for Positano up there), I'm more of a big city kind of tourist, way more into going to places where there are many things to do and see, over laying by the pool reading (not that I don't enjoy that as well). Plus, again with the culture and the architecture. (Image via here)

8. Shanghai. Those sights, that skyline... that's all I got, but seriously, big city, architecture, what more is there to it? well, of course, Shanghai Disneyland :) (Image via here)

9. Sydney. At some point in my life I was obsessed with the surfing culture (And the Olsen's twins unrealistic traveling movies). But taking that aside I feel like Sydney is a very cosmopolitan city, and one which has it all: beaches, great architecture, culture, art, and the Sydney Harbor Bridge & the Opera House. (Image via here)

10. Rio de Janeiro. A was the one who actually planted this seed on me, but what attracts me of visiting Brasil, other than food, is (you guessed it) the architecture. Actually a trip to Brasil would need to include other cities like Brasilia, Sao Paolo and maybe even Curitiba to check out Oscar Niemeyer and Lina Bo Bardi's work, not that the beaches of Copacabana wouldn't be enough for me ;) (Image via here)

So basically my picks depend completely on architecture and things to see (aka landmarks) which result in quite busy holidays, rather than relaxing ones. Oh, well! Live while you're young!

Other cities I'd love to visit include: Copenhagen, Beijing, Perú & Machu Pichu and everywhere I've been before, except now with A :)