Surviving Weekly 38 {7.19.19}

Ole From Spain
It has been more than a while since I’ve sent out a newsletter.  There was so much going on between end of the year and a few projects I have been working on.  I have missed you all.  

One of the bigger things going on was preparing for our big summer trip to Spain.  My husband and I had always talked about living in another city for a while, and we finally decided this was the summer to do it.  So I am currently writing to you with my hair blowed out, in a cute little dress, in an adorable little coffee shop in Madrid as I sip on espresso and eat tapas.  I’m kidding.  I’m just in Spain- nothing else has changed.  I’m wearing workout clothes, drinking coffee from a mug and my hair is a bun.  

We have been here for two weeks, and been through it all:Jet Lag Stomach BugsTantrumsOne child didn’t like something at a restaurant and threw up, on her plate, (we obviously had to leave a ridiculous tip)One child farted so loud and big that he showed me Sharts are a real thing
It doesn’t matter the continent- raising kids is always fun.  We even had an unexpected birds and bees conversation yesterday in the park which you can find on my Instagram Story.  

In all seriousness, it’s been amazing to be here.  My husband and I had never been to Madrid.  Being able to come for this amount of time, and share it with our kids has been nothing short of magical.  

I have gotten a few questions about the who, what, how of this entire trip.  I have answered most of the questions HERE on the blog. 

However there is plenty to get to below including Mariah Carey and Meth Gators. 

Thank you for sticking around and reading! 

xx
Cristina 

In My Feelings 

This summer’s internet challenges are kind of, hmmm how do I say this? SO LAME! Are we out of ideas?  Last summer we at least were able to watch everyone do catchy dance moves.  This summer we have people kicking off bottle caps and aging themselves with an app.    

What am  I talking about?
Bottle Cap Challenge: I admit I was intrigued briefly when I first I saw John Mayer sloppily kick a bottle cap off a bottle on Instagram, but he’s kind of out there and clearly still drinking vodka out of a plastic bottle (which I am super judging).  Then Kendall Jenner did it and the internet exploded: 

How it Started: Apparently Farabi Davletchin, a taekwondo instructor, posted a video on Instagram doing the move and challenged Connor McGregor (MMA champ) Jason Statham and Jackie Chen.  Unfortunately for all of us Jackie Chen has not responded.  Here is the original video: 

That was it.  You see? Underwhelming.  One is supposed to do a slow-mo video of themselves kicking a bottle cap off a bottle.  It has led to some mildly entertaining content.  Check out some of my favorites: Blake Shelton, Ryan Reynolds and Mariah Carey

Speaking of Mariah Carey we are moving onto…
Face App Challenge is having our feeds filled with our friends, influencers, and celebrities alike showing us how they will look when they age.  

I’m not particularly vain, but why is this a thing? Not just that, you want to see yourself at around 85 I can almost understand it BUT why share it?  How does this involve Mariah you may be wondering? 

Yes Mimi!! Check out other celebrities and see MImi break it down again HERE.

Forget the notion that over 100 million people sharing their aging faces is kind of weird there are actual security concerns. 

Forbes reported that because of this challenge Face Tune App (which is a Russian company) has collected over 150 million different faces, which may actually prove to be dangerous for your security.  As the app does have permission to access other photos and even your location.  A way to protect yourself is to change permissions, either delete the app, or go to app settings on your iPhone or Android and change what data tools are allowed to access.  Click HERE for the article. 

So I will end where I started, can we please bring back simple challenges like dancing on the street or dumping iced buckets over our heads?  Or if we are going to face tune ourselves can we do it in reverse? Ain’t nobody got time to be seeing my face covered in wrinkles. I pay a lot of money to make that impossible. 

Standouts of the Week 

Emmy Nominations were announced this week, and Game of Thrones was the leader with 32 nominations including one for Kit Harrington for Best Lead Actor.  Shout out to Moira Rose for her first Emmy Nomination for Schitt’s Creek (see TV Addict update) Full list of nominations HERE.  Anyone want to invite me over to watch?

Summer Movies It may be hard to believe, but there are other movies coming out this summer besides the live action remake of The Lion King.  I found this list from Polygon that breaks it all down along with release dates.  Check it out HERE.

But While we are Talking About the Lion King… Can we talk about Beyonce and Blue Ivy at the premiers?! See it HERE– I want to say it’s so adorable but with that many diamonds adorable just doesn’t seem appropriate. 

Beyonce has clearly been the big draw on this movie- I mean I just heard her and Donald Glover sing “Can you Feel the Love Tonight” and I was covered in goosebumps (catch a glimpse of that HERE).  Say what you want but Queen B is life. 

Don’t believe me? Watch Seth Rogan explain it to Jimmy Kimmel HERE right around the 2:35 mark- the woman gets an ovation for being alive. That entire interview is also pretty hilarious (BTW).  I leave you with Beyonce’s new Spirit video, which she made with Blue, and is inspired by Africa. 

In Case You Were Sleeping Well At Night, I Bring you Meth Gators! I am not sure why this has to be said, but stop flushing your Meth down the toilet as the gators are going to get it.  I feel that is is always implied however, nothing surprises me anymore.  Check it out HERE.

TV Addict Update  

As we have established, time and time again, I watch too much TV.  Here in Spain, it’s been a little more difficult for me to live up to my TV Addict reputation.  I’m working on cracking my VPN in the mean time,

What’s on my list to watch next?  The Hills Reboot- judge away but the second I touch back on US soil- it’s on.
Have a suggestion? Let me know

Fleabag – (Amazon Prime) It’s on Season 2 and comes highly recommended by most trusted TV source who would like to remain anonymous (for now).  About a lady who just can’t seem to get her life together.  I heard season 1 was a little slow but Season 2 picks up big time.  

Schitt’s Creek: I don’t know where I had been.  Moira Rose is my spirit animal and I can listen to Alexis tell stories about how she had been tied up and kidnapped by a Saudi Prince all day.  You all tried to tell me and I didn’t listen- and for that I am sorry. When I’m wrong- I say it, and I was wrong.  This show is so funny and I would absolutely suggest you RUN to go catch up on Netflix.  

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:  Back for its 11th Season today!, Jerry Seinfeld is riding with Eddie Murphy, Seth Rogan, Jamie Foxx and more.  I wouldn’t say go back and watch every single episode of this series (but you could and you would love it) just pick your favorite comedians if you want, and it’s just so light and hilarious at times.  Great for a pick me up. 

More Summer TV: Orange is the New Black (July 26 Netflix), Stranger Things (Season 3 is out on Netflix), Younger (Season 6, TV Land),  Big Little Lies (Season 2 just finished HBO), When They See Us (Netflix), and Veronica Mars is back! (July 26 Hulu)

Summer 2019 Internet Challenges are LameAF- There I said it.

This summer’s internet challenges are kind of, hmmm how do I say this? SO LAME! Are we out of ideas?  Last summer we at least were able to watch everyone do catchy dance moves.  This summer we have people kicking off bottle caps and aging themselves with an app.    

What am  I talking about?
Bottle Cap Challenge: I admit I was intrigued briefly when I first I saw John Mayer sloppily kick a bottle cap off a bottle on Instagram, but he’s kind of out there and clearly still drinking vodka out of a plastic bottle (which I am super judging).  Then Kendall Jenner did it and the internet exploded: 

How it Started: Apparently Farabi Davletchin, a taekwondo instructor, posted a video on Instagram doing the move and challenged Connor McGregor (MMA champ) Jason Statham and Jackie Chen.  Unfortunately for all of us Jackie Chen has not responded.  Here is the original video: 

That was it.  You see? Underwhelming.  One is supposed to do a slow-mo video of themselves kicking a bottle cap off a bottle.  It has led to some mildly entertaining content.  Check out some of my favorites: Blake Shelton, Ryan Reynolds and Mariah Carey

Speaking of Mariah Carey we are moving onto…
Face App Challenge is having our feeds filled with our friends, influencers, and celebrities alike showing us how they will look when they age.  

I’m not particularly vain, but why is this a thing? Not just that, you want to see yourself at around 85 I can almost understand it BUT why share it?  How does this involve Mariah you may be wondering? 

Yes Mimi!! On top of the idea that over 100 million people sharing their aging faces is kind of weird there are actual security concerns. 

Forbes reported that because of this challenge Face Tune App has collected over 150 million different faces, which may actually prove to be dangerous. for your security.  As the app does have permission to access other photos and even your location.  A way to protect yourself is to change permissions, either delete the app, or go to app settings on your iPhone or Android and change what data tools are allowed to access.  Click HERE for the article. 

So I will end where I started, can we please bring back simple challenges like dancing on the street or dumping iced buckets over our heads?  Or if we are going to face tune ourselves can we do it in reverse? Ain’t nobody got time to be seeing my face covered in wrinkles. I pay a lot of money to make that impossible. 

Family Trip to Madrid

My husband, Bobby, doesn’t know this, but a couple of years ago he lost his official vote in helping plan what our family does for vacation.  He shouldn’t be surprised, considering the last time he proposed and planned a vacation, THIS happened: 

However, this year, was the year he found redemption.  Since our oldest, Blake, was a baby (almost 9 years) we have been talking about (dreaming about) spending a summer somewhere else and just living life there.  We would talk about it incessantly in private, discussing what would make for the perfect scenario. What cities could work? What scenarios wouldn’t work at all? How old would the kids have to be?  Some of the fundamental conclusions we came to were: 

  • Time: For us it had to be at least two weeks up to one month.  We want to be in another city and really get the feel for what it’s like to live there and we felt this time period would accomplish that.  
  • Kids Age: We wanted our youngest, Tristan, to be at least 4-5.  We wanted to be able to send the kids to camp. We feel more comfortable sending the kids to a new environment knowing they will be able to clearly communicate what had gone on in the day.  Also didn’t want them to be so young that they would forget this experience entirely.
  • Language: the first time we do this (we hope for more), it had to be a place we felt comfortable speaking the language.  English is preferred but it could be Spanish, as we are both fluentish. We definitely wanted to be able to handle any situation that arose. [This really helped us narrow it down.]
  • Camp: There had to be a camp that all three kids could attend and wasn’t too pricey.  I wanted to live somewhere else, not referee my children all day in another city.
  • Work: I can write from anywhere, but Bobby.  Luckily he had started a business that allows him to work remotely from anywhere.  
  • Location:  After an RV I realized real quick that city life, is the life for me. Also we wanted to be able to have access to great food, grocery stores, gyms, and culture.  No offense to smaller cities, but a girl’s gotta eat.

Back to Bobby’s Redemption Story.  This past January, Bobby came home and had found the key to making all of our discussions and dreams come true.  He found a camp the kids could attend in Madrid. This hits two of our requirements.   After all the talks and all of the day-dreaming, it was time to put up. We had never been to Madrid, were we really going to do this? Hell yes! So we booked it! 

It was one of those things that I was so excited for, but also could not believe was happening.  We had three kids, our lives are chaos personified, how was this going to work?  How would our kids take the news?

Our kids were not thrilled. Blake is already old enough to say things like “you’re making me leave my friends for the whole summer?”

Dylan was saying things like “But I don’t want to learn Spanish on my vacation!”

Tristan’s concerns were along the lines of, “how many toys can I bring? But won’t the toys that stay behind miss me?”

We had a few big talks leading up to the departure. Easing nerves about taking such a long flight (their first), about how long we were going to be away, and how it is ok to feel sad or that they are going to miss their friends and family. If you are considering a trip like this, I would definitely have a plan about how to talk to them about it and give them space to express their concerns. As much as this was our dream, we definitely wanted it to be something they could be excited about as well.

It’s hard to believe that we are 14 days into this incredible adventure. The kids transitioned so well! Tristan however has asked to FaceTime his toys, and asks how I think his Colossal T-Rex is doing almost every day.

I’m so happy to share with you some of the details of how we made this happen: 

Camp

We are in Madrid for 4 weeks, and decided to send the kids for the last 3 weeks we would be here.  We spent the first week battling jet lag, and spending time together being tourists. This also let the kids get used to this new city and way of life before sending them to meet all these new people.  The first day they were nervous, but the teachers were all so sweet and patient. My kids literally ran to camp on Day 2 they were so excited to go back. 

The camp we found for the kids is called LAE Kids. It’s run by a lovely woman, Natasha, and she helped guide us through the process.   It’s a family based camp where the emphasis is on fun, immersive Spanish and getting messy whenever possible.   The children are a mix of nationalities from all around the world. We decided on a language camp, because for being children of Cuban descent, our kids could barely string together a sentence in Spanish.  This camp appealed even more because besides learning Spanish, the kids would meet different kids from all over, and do different activities like science experiments, art, and more daily.  

Apartment

After finding the camp, we researched the best areas to stay in Madrid.   Then we took that list and tried to find a place on Air BNB that was walking distance to the camp but still in a good neighborhood.  

The camp also had a relocation department. They recommended a few apartments, but saved us with their extremely helpful advice, FIND AN APARTMENT THAT HAS AC.  I would also suggest an apartment with a washing machine.  

There were some great options (another perk to bigger city).  In a long term rental you also get better pricing, and are able to negotiate somewhat with the owner.  Our rental so far has been amazing. The location is fairly central, and walking distance to a lot of great food and to Parque Retiro which is a park similar to Central Park in New York, and covered in trees making it about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the city.  

Transportation and Getting Around

A lot of walking is done in this city.  I mean having lived here for two weeks, and seeing the amount of bread that is fed to you at each meal, I get it.  Cigarettes and walking seem to be huge here. Diet of champions. 

  • Walking is a great easy way to get around the city.  For the most part you can find a great restaurant, pharmacy, supermarket, fruit stand, or really anything within walking distance.  If you want to start venturing out, there are so many options here.  
  • Taxi: There are taxi lanes on most major streets, and it has not been difficult at all to grab one when you need it.  They do accept credit cards. 
  • Uber: Uber works and is just around the same price as the taxis. 
  • Subway: we have been using the subway almost daily and the kids love it.  They are in excellent condition, and I would dare even say clean. We had one mishap where we ended up going the wrong way (for a long time), but besides that it’s been really straight-forward and easy to get around with. 

Nantucket Family Vacation

Nantucket is exactly what you see in the pictures. It’s quaint, idyllic, and serene.  There are flowers growing in every corner, each coordinated and hand picked to match the color of the front door.  Each home is made from the same wood which eventually grays, giving each it’s own shape but same nautical aesthetic.  All the homes display a clever name that tends to have something to do with the island or the island’s vibe. There are warm smiles, cool air, and wine flowing

Nantucket is one of those towns that you don’t find litter.  You know what I mean? It is Disney caliber landscaping and upkeep but without any of the crowds.   The island is magical.  It’s as if you arrive on the island, your collar suddenly pops up, you’re drinking wine all day, and saying things like “fabulous darling”.  Ok, that’s just me. Everything minus the popped collar. It just ain’t my style.

I had only heard about Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket growing up.  I would read about it in books or a headline about the Kennedys. I had never been, as Miamians don’t typically go north for the summer. When our best friends invited us to go, I didn’t see how we could pass up the opportunity.  Shout out to our best friends who are the best humans, and truly know how to vacation.

This summer was our second experience in this magical town.  Both trips were jam packed with amazing spots for both families or just some adult time. If you are on the fence about visiting, I would definitely say bucket list worthy.  It’s a little piece of history, but perfectly mixed with modern luxury. Here are a couple of suggestions from a wine guzzling, mom of 3, and self-proclaimed foodie, and keep we did most all of this with our kids:

Galley Beach:  this beach side restaurant is one of my absolute favorite places. You can grab a drink before you dinner reservation, and watch the sunset.  If you have never seen a sun set in Nantucket, this would be the place. Of all the sunsets I have ever seen, I have never quite seen the sky look so picturesque.  Shades of pink and purple fill the sky as you finish your first cocktail, and head in for dinner after all your selfies (obviously). The food here is delicious, and changes seasonally.  They currently accept reservations 28 days in advance. Check it out HERE.    

Children’s Beach: a small sandy beach off the marina with a huge playground attached.  The best part? There is also a huge grass area with picnic tables so you can sit on the grass as you watch your kids run around and not get full of sand [unless you’re one of those parents that like to play with your kids on the playground- no judgement].  There’s a little shop where you can get snacks or you can bring your own. 

Something Natural: A little house, set on a beautiful green open space, and makes the most insane sandwiches.  Think daily fresh baked bread, freshly cut meat, and the best pasta salad- hands down. You can eat there or pick it up to go (take it to Children’s Beach for a picnic).  We have tried a few of the menu sandwiches, and the specials they have daily.  All delicious.  I also dream about their pasta salad, and may take down a container solo at least 3 times each trip.  There is space for the kids to run around, and even a beautiful trail you can take over a lilypond if you’re up to walk off all the bread.

Critter Cruise:  an hour long excursion on the Monomoy where you and the kids capture different kinds of sea creatures and fish, and learn about each before releasing it back into the harbor.  The kids absolutely loved this cruise and the staff and captain were wonderful and were so patient as they taught the kids about each animal. Check it out HERE.          

Jettie’s Beach: Jettie’s is a family favorite.  It’s a casual beach bar and grill on the beach with a mustard, aqua combination out of your Nantucket dreams.  You can have a delicious lobster roll, Bloody Mary and then just spend your afternoon laying on the sand by the water.  We have also been lucky enough to spend a sunset here with a bottle of rose and that afternoon did not suck. An absolute must.

Juice Bar: homemade waffle cones are not something I take lightly.   They have so many different flavors of ice cream, plus cookies and smoothies for those who don’t like ice cream (or soul).  It is worth the line that goes around the block.

Cisco Brewery: Beer and rose on tap, food stands, and live music what else do you need? My daughter would say a Ring Toss, and guess what?! They have one.  We have spent a couple afternoons here, and each time had to drag the kids away screaming and crying to stay.  The vibe is chill and easy.  You can grab some locally sourced seafood or some quesadillas at another stand and just take in the music.  It’s an easy uber ride away.  

The White Elephant: Another Nantucket staple.  It is set on the marina with a beautiful grass area.  In season they set out corn hole and the kids can play and walk around the greenery as you eat and obviously, DRINK.  The food here is not the best on the island, but it does have a great ambiance. There is an aggressively large white elephant here by the water, and if you don’t take a picture by it- did you even go?  

Maria Mitchell Association:  It is a small quaint aquarium, filled with the animals that you found on the Critter Cruise.  It’s just a couple of small tanks, and two rooms with some fish tanks and microscopes, but it has a great staff and the kids get a real hands on experience.  Your paid entrance also brings with it access to Nantucket’s First House Tour and the other museums in town. Across the street there is a coffee place called, The Handlebar Cafe, and it has the most delicious iced coffee and a secret garden for the kids to check out.

 

Bike Ride: To be clear, I did not take a bike ride.  Exercising on vacation is not a thing I have traditionally done.  However my husband and our friend went and rented bikes at, Young’s Bicycle Shop, and took a 14 mile trip down the island.  Even caught some sea turtles on one of the beaches they went to. They used a great app called The Strava App, to help guide them through.

Walk Through Town: This place is so lovely, that you could have a lovely day just by walking through all the cobble stone streets and going in and out of all the shops.  There are no big chains, just small mom and pop stores that have been there for years or newer stores with locally sourced items. My husband picked up a Nantucket Red Sweater at Murray’s.  The kids loved Nantucket Bookworks, and there is a toy store called The Toy Boat that is charming and fun for them to wander around.  Here I am pretending I like to walk around town.

A Few More Restaurants:

The Nautilus: One of the most delicious meals I’ve had in a while.  You can only make a reservation for this one day of, and you do it by standing in line around 11 and hoping you get a seat.  Sounds like a huge pain in the ass, it is, but totally worth it.  The half chicken was so good one of us actually licked the sauce of the plate, and the wine list was also 100%.  This place becomes a little more of a scene with music and people crowding around the bar.  I would not suggest going with kids.

Cru: A gorgeous modern nautical restaurant theme restaurant on the marina.  The food here was out of this world, for both brunch and dinner.  It’s a little sophisticated but still kid friendly (at least for brunch).  The oysters were so fresh, and the fish and chips were stellar. For reservations click HERE

American Seasoning: it’s an older more classic restaurant just outside of the main square. The menu is a little more rustic than the other restaurants we ate at, but delicious.   

Slip 14: Casual spot located off the marina.  Very kid friendly.  The clam chowder was so good, I wouldn’t share it with my husband.  Also the calamari was a sneaky delicious treat. 

Greydon House: a hotel in the middle of town that has been modernized and is absolutely beautiful.  

Windowsills and Corners:  a few of my favorite corners of Nantucket

Lodging:

Both times we visited, we stayed in the home our friends rented for the week. Information available upon request.

There were the loveliest chicest hotels that you could look into if you would prefer:

The White Elephant, The Galley, The Nantucket Hotel, Greydon House, Harborview Nantucket, The Beachside on Nantucket, The Wauwinet, Cliffside Beachclub and more.