I haven’t finished blogging about Spain, (which I can’t believe was already a month ago), but I just came back from another trip, this one a mini one compared to Spain. Sugarface had a work meeting in Toronto and I joined him for the weekend. Two days were only enough to whet the appetite. I plan on writing a weekend recap, but I had a handful of photos from the Ripley’s Aquarium I wanted to share and thought it deserved its own photographic post.
It rained all day on Saturday. Staying dry in an aquarium was the perfect rainy day activity! Ripley’s is a moderate size aquarium with a wide array of sea creatures. Most impressive were the long shark tunnel and the jellyfish room, both magnificent in their own way. It’s also located adjacent to the CN Tower, so you can batch those two sights together when you’re in town. We enjoyed watching the piranhas feed on shrimp and the eels being feisty. I included the video of the latter at the end of this post. If you have your sound on, you can hear the bystander’s Canadian accent, which made me smile.
Later that night, back at our hotel room, we rewatched the “Under the Sea” scene of Little Mermaid. Because of course.
Hello! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared some of my internet finds that made me feel feelings. The last couple of weeks have been a bit busy work wise for me. Is it just me or is this year going by so fast? Is this just a sign of being older? The acute realization that there will never be enough time? Well, I hope you take some time this weekend to breathe and look at your life with gratitude. Enjoy this week’s Friday Feels!
I had only one site in mind for my trip to Barcelona way before I started planning and fleshing out our itinerary and it was the Sagrada Familia. I knew it is glorious from the photos I’ve seen but seeing it in person still took my breath away. Sugarface and I spent an afternoon there listening to the audio tour and detail hunting. The abundant intricacies and majestic grandeur were a feast for the eyes. If you only see one thing in Barcelona, make it the Sagrada Familia! Here’s a list of ten facts to further entice you.
10 Facts about the Sagrada Familia
This cathedral is regarded as Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece. He spent about 40 years designing and building the Sagrada Familia. It’s scheduled to be finished in ten years, around the 100 year anniversary of Gaudi’s death. (Many are skeptical about this deadline being met but I am optimistic!)
The first stone was laid in 1882.
Gaudí lived on site and dedicated the last years of his life to this project. He was unpaid!
Only the apse, crypt, and the Eastern facade dedicated to the Nativity were completed before he died. I learned what an apse is with the audio tour; it’s an semicircular recess covered with a semi-dome.
Gaudí was hit by a tram and due to his shabby dress and lack of paper identifications, the hospital mistook him for a beggar and neglected care. He died three days later.
He was buried in the crypt in the cathedral.
After his death, his assistant Domènec Sugrañes took over for 12 years. Since then a handful of architects and sculptors have collaborated on the finishing of this project, some of whom worked closely with Gaudí.
Construction was and still is funded by visitors and donators.
Occasionally, masses are held at the cathedral, but it is invite only. You can stalk the website for details on how to acquire invitations once there’s a mass scheduled.
Their Twitter account gives frequent updates on the construction and also provides more fun facts!
Sources for my list of fun facts: multiple guidebooks, the Sagrada website, the audio tour onsite, and our fun bike tour guide from Fat Tire Tours.
Buy tickets online to save time from waiting in long lines.
Access to towers and spiral staircases are not included with general admission. We learned this the sad way.
You can buy discounted combined tickets if you purchase admission to both the Sagrada and Casa Museu Gaudí, located adjacent to another famous Gaudí creation, the Park Güell.
The following shots are from Sugarface’s phone camera!
So much has happened in August that I almost forgot how wonderful July was too. I spent the first few days of the month with Sugarface and our dogs visiting his family (which also included 3 other dogs) in Arkansas. I’ve adored his family immediately upon meeting them last year but also come to relish all the time we spend visiting them in their home state. It’s pretty and serene and even the lack of cell service was a welcomed reprieve. I saw the stars, a vision I don’t get in my everyday urban life, enjoyed being both in and on the blue lake water, and laughed at our silly dogs. Bob the dog, as far as I know had never been on a boat or in Arkansas and he took to the lifestyle.
We came back to Austin and commemorated being together a year and a half by eating at Barley Swine. And immediately after that celebration and just a week after our trip to Arkansas, I went on another weekend trip to Houston, where I dropped off Bob at his grandparents’ so I could travel to Spain later in August. In Houston, my good friend and photographer Thomas and I crossed off a Houston photography bucket list item and visited the gorgeous BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple.
Speaking of photography, I shot another portrait session of an old friend of mine and then decided to take a leap and against my financial judgement, splurged and bought myself a photography website.
The rest of July was spent eating a lot of ice cream and seeking out green tea desserts. My friend Jennifer tormented me with photos of her green tea parfaits on her social feeds. So when my friend Michelle asked where she could treat me for my birthday, I said I wanted the only green tea parfait in town I knew of, the one at Kome. She so sweetly obliged me and it was such a fun-filled evening. We requested the parfait to come during dinner instead of the end and it had us laughing like children. We then followed that meal by walking across the parking lot to a famed and classic donut shop, Mrs. Johnsons’ Donuts, where Michelle had her first fresh from the fryer donut.
That green tea parfait only inflamed my green tea dessert craving. I went to a couple of more places and still have green tea dessert friendship dates on the calendar. I celebrated and shared my birthday at the end of the month with Neva the dog. On the day of, I lunched with one of my besties during work hours, had another ice cream date, treated Neva to a cheeseburger after her birthday shoot, and Sugarface and I ate one of our favorite things, noodles. He made me feel very special when I came home to pink purple roses and a book he saw I was ogling back in May. Among some of kind surprises received from afar was a funny and beautifully shot cookbook by Chrissy Teigen.
And that was my sweet July. How was yours? What did you do for the Fourth?
This was my first week back from Spain and it’s been a doozy of a week. My calendar is brimming and my email inbox is a beast that needs to be tamed. Expect some posts next week about my trip. I started posting on my food blog. You can see the first post listed under my personal plugs in this week’s list of things that made me feel things. I’m heading to Houston after work today to visit my parents and also to pick up Bob the dog. They’ve been babysitting him so we could travel. I’ve missed him! What are you doing this weekend?
Some of the first things I pack when I leave on a trip are books. I get more reading done when I’m on vacation then generally in my everyday life. I guess not having a laptop with internet connection to distract me helps! I’m heading to Barcelona this week and in an effort to reduce the weight of my carry-on, I’m taking advantage of the new Kindle my sister bought me. I also made sure to accommodate my budget by only bringing books readily available to download from my local library. These five books made the cut!
Have I told you one of my biggest travel regret? I try to visit a bookstore at every travel destintation when possible. I was roadtripping through Nashville and planned on visiting Ann Patchett’s bookstore. I had a small window of time one morning before having to drive to Kentucky. What did I do instead? I got sucked into a Scandal marathon on Netflix. Oh the shame!
I’ve seen this title around last year but never investigated. Then Lisa listed it as one of her favorite books read in 2015. We had a lot of books in common so I figured I should give this one a try too!
I only heard of this book because of the movie released this year, which I haven’t seen either. Downloaded in hopes that it’s a fun and light read. I’m not particularly excited about this book but just curious enough to peek.
Happy Friday everyone! I had a great week and felt loved. It was my birthday week and I shared my birthday with one of my puppies, Neva. She turned 3 and I turned 33. I loved spoiling her yesterday and she might be hungover on joy today, wondering where all her special treatment went!
Please enjoy the links that made me feel things this week! Tell me what you’re doing this weekend!
Truth be told, I haven’t seen Andrew regularly in a while. I first met him New Year’s Eve 2007 and we celebrated every New Year’s together with the same group of friends for years. Our friendship has spanned almost a decade now and in my mind’s eye, I had him frozen as the fun life of the party I used to see dance and sing at clubs.
During our portrait session, not only did I get to catch up with him, but also with the help of these shots, I realized how much he’s grown since I met him. He’s an ambitious professional thirty-something. I was awed by how much he’s changed and grown and pleased that I’ve been his friend this long. If you look closely, he’s still got that boyish charm and grin though.
And that’s a wrap on the work week! I spent a lot of it in the car driving to events during rush hour and to a friend’s house to help him with his yard while he’s on vacation. I’m looking forward to a slower weekend with more time on the couch. Maybe with the two books I’m reading. But first, I’m excited about a double date tonight with lovely people! I plan on asking them how they feel about eating dessert first.
Here’s this week’s list of links that made me feel feelings. Hope you enjoy! Tell me what you’re up to in the comments!
I loved this longish read about David Chang’s philosophy on deliciousness. He applies what I already believe about life to his food. The sweet spot of life is somewhere between the excitement of novelty, to remind you of what’s out there to explore, and the comfort of the familiar, to ground you in the blessings you already have or had experienced.
I ate ramen twice, which is a lot as it has been about 100 degrees in Texas lately but I don’t regret either bowl. I made dinner for my friend Julie and she gifted me pretty purple tulips that inspired me to photograph them.
Sugarface and I ended the month road-tripping to Arkansas with Bob and Neva to celebrate the Fourth of July with his family. I love that shot of Neva window-gazing during the eight hour drive. Both our puppies are so good during long car rides!
Not depicted on Instagram was a media event at McDonald’s that tickled me. There were chicken nuggets being passed out as appetizers, a doorman, DJ, and photo booth. It went down in my book as the weirdest visit to McDonald’s I’ve ever had.