Nol-GradWell this clever lad just graduated (by “just,” I mean in July, but you know…) so now we are officially a family with a doctor in the family, and isn’t that pretty great? Sadly no amount of persuasion could convince him to become the plastic surgeon kind of doctor, but we’re pretty proud of him nonetheless. We got to go celebrate at a VERY fancy and fun graduation party courtesy of the many rich parents of this year’s graduates from the Instituto Tecnol贸gico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, amen. A party which, I would like to point out, I reluctantly left at 3am… along with my nearly 80 year old Grandma (because apparently I can’t party like I used to, and she can party like never before).

IMG_5574I mean I don’t know if I’m overstating this, but it was probably the best party I’ve ever been to: next to a lake, at Monterrey’s Parque Fundidora, dancing to the best band I’ve ever heard/watched at a party (for 6 hours with no break! they were incredible). And the food was even good. Aaaand the weather was amazing, which I didn’t fully appreciate until later in our trip when I realized what the weather could have been like (HOT!! so hot.).

We were pretty terrible about taking pictures of the rest of our trip, but it mostly involved eating our way through Monterrey of course. Other highlights: a boat ride through Paseo Santa Luc铆a, a visit to the Museo de Historia Mexicana, and a visit to the cuuuutest little town of Santiago, NL, where Josh had his first taste of the area’s famous goat meat and we all almost died of heat stroke (seriously, I live in Phoenix but I was sweating from places I didn’t even know you could sweat, like my eyebrows and my forearms…).

As vacations go, this was one of the greatest.





Remando en el lago de Central Park 馃檪

隆Se帽ores y se帽oras! A continuaci贸n les presento algunas fotos de nuestro聽viaje聽tradicional de mayo.聽Este a帽o se nos juntaron las razones por la ida: en un solo fin de semana, celebramos el aniversario de bodas #40 de mis suegros, 聽el cumplea帽os de mi suegro y la graduaci贸n de mi cu帽ado Mario.聽Desafortunadamente no tengo ninguna foto de la fiesta de aniversario porque soy re-mala聽fot贸grafa de eventos, pero mi prima Kristy anduvo de fot贸grafa oficial esa noche as铆 que tal vez al rato aparezca una foto por aqu铆.

Hablando de: ten铆amos todo un super plan para que Kristy y su esposo Devin vinieran a la fiesta en New Jersey y se quedaran a dormir con nosotros en casa de mis suegros, pero el d铆a de la fiesta Devin amaneci贸 enfermo. Cuando Kristy nos mand贸 el mensajito de que Devin hab铆a estado vomitando, pero que si quer铆a ir a la fiesta (“I think I can go, what if I just sit in the corner?”) por el WhatsApp familiar, mi prima Carol no tard贸 en observar:

-Uyyy con eso convences a Vanessa… con el v贸mito.

Lo cual me caus贸 mucha gracia porque聽ES TAN CIERTO. No hay nada en este mundo que me provoque聽mas miedo que el v贸mito, propio o ajeno. As铆 que Kristy vino sola a la fiesta y despu茅s聽se regres贸聽con Devin para que no estuviera solito. Y como pueden ver, si los pudimos ver un par de d铆as despu茅s en NYC 馃檪 (en la foto de abajo estamos en frente de Strand Bookstore, y el se帽or que nos tom贸 la foto era un Dominicano que despu茅s particip贸 en nuestro taste-test de dos galletas que ya ni me acuerdo de d贸nde eran, pero si me acuerdo que yo me com铆 casi toda la galleta perdedora (parece que mis gustos galleteros no son muy refinados…)).



隆Felicidades, Mario!

隆Los queremos, familia! Nos dio mucho聽gusto poder compartir con ustedes tantos logros ese fin de semana.



Mama and me 2013So my mom came to visit last week. She stayed for six days and we did all of the usual things: got a pedicure, went shopping (she procured a fabulous dress to wear to my brother’s graduation in July but I, sadly, did not), went to the Easter Pageant at the Mesa temple, and stuffed ourselves with ALL OF THE FOOD. I loved having someone to pal around with all day and it was pretty much wonderful.

But then she left, and all of a sudden, things were terrible! I was lonely! Food was no fun with nobody here to invent strange and delicious combinations, and there was nobody who would spontaneously decide that we NEEDED a root beer float, immediately right now! I had piles of work to do and no motivation to do any of it! It was getting to be altogether too much.

So after a couple of days of moping around and generally being very unproductive, I decided that this was no time to be stoic and pulled out the big guns: the Nora Ephron guns. 1/4 of the way through Sleepless in Seattle, I began to feel a tiny bit better.

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you, what women are looking for: pecs and a cute butt.”
“What, you mean like, ‘He has the cutest butt?'”
“Where did I hear that recently?”

You should also know that I have Dance with Me ready to play at a moment’s notice, so don’t be too concerned.

“He can pick me up any time he wants to.”
“Take a number, sister.”

I mean, if 1990’s Chayanne and Vanessa Williams don’t cheer you up, nothing will.



Blossoms-3.14Well, hello there! So… I disappeared right after I resolved to post more frequently… my bad. It’s just been an odd and fast few months since I was last here. I mean, we did stuff and went places鈥擨 even took pictures!鈥攂ut for whatever reason I never made it back to this space. I think the main problem was the uncertainty I felt, in January and February in particular. We were anticipating some life changes, but couldn鈥檛 really control what was going to happen or when.

To be perfectly honest, it still kind of feels that way. We did decide to renew our lease on our apartment, which means that by the end of this lease we鈥檒l have lived here three times as long as we鈥檝e ever lived anywhere else, hooray! However, both Josh and I started new jobs (and during the transition I鈥檓 working two jobs; I鈥檝e realized I can鈥檛 complain about not having enough free time, because at this point it鈥檚 met by responses like 鈥測ou do this to yourself, friend鈥 and 鈥渨ell, whose fault is that?鈥 (um鈥 mine. oops.)). The new job makes me happy, but also crazy, and all of the quality time I’ve been spending on my computer definitely isn’t translating to time on MY blog. So there鈥檚 that.

Just imagine, as you do with all bloggers, that in my bloggy breaks I’m busy being happy, being afraid, being in love, fighting, redecorating my house, hanging out with Josh and learning. This will make me feel ok about the fact that the images I share here and, especially, what I write here, constitute a very small, very edited piece of my life- partly because I don’t have time for more and partly, let’s be real, because apparently I only blog when I feel 100% on top of life. Ha!

Of course it hasn鈥檛 all been uncertainty and stress, not even close. Helloooo, it was winter in Phoenix, which means citrus, sunny days, desert flowers and gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous weather. Now that we’re officially into spring, allow me to unload my camera for a minute in the spirit of spring cleaning, with (as always) the best of intentions to show up here more often. 馃檪

Tombstone^^^We finally made it to Tombstone, AZ! ^^^

It's all fun and games until you turn into a hostage situation.

It’s all fun and games until you turn into a hostage situation.

We also went to visit my parents to run in a charity 5k my mom organized with her students, and were lucky enough to catch the peach blossoms. We coordinated well enough that all seven of us were able to be there on the same weekend, which was pretty awesome indeed. (I can’t figure out a way to write that so it doesn’t make it seem like there are seven kids– no. Only five of us including spouses!).

We’re accidentally developing a little collection of pictures in this exact same pose.

Probably my favorite recent picture, because Sebasti谩n Rulli. :)

Probably my favorite recent picture, because Sebasti谩n Rulli. 馃檪


They are so wonderfully photogenic



la maestra



A algunas personas no les gusta hacer la lista de resoluciones, metas y cambios que se acostumbra hacer en a帽o nuevo. 驴A m铆? Me encanta. Me apasiona la idea de mejorarme poco a poco, y soy feliz haciendo miles de metas e inventando formas de medir mi cambio.

Sin embargo, el a帽o pasado hice una sola resoluci贸n: terminar mi tesis. La idea era enfocarme completamente en ese proyecto, porque la mera verdad pensar en escribir lo que termin贸 siendo un libro me causaba angustia y estr茅s. Ya estando aqu铆, del otro lado del a帽o, 煤ltimamente he dicho cosas como 芦Fue muy dif铆cil pero nunca se me ocurri贸 dejar la tesis sin terminar禄 y 芦Si, 隆me encantar铆a empezar un doctorado!禄; pero luego me acuerdo de las noches de sufrimiento y no dudo que una sola resoluci贸n de esas fue bastante.



En la segunda ceremonia de mi graduaci贸n, el presidente de la universidad coment贸 en su discurso que solamente el 8% de estadounidenses han terminado una maestr铆a (y s贸lo el 3% un doctorado). Ya de eso hace casi un mes, pero sigo pensando en esa observaci贸n. Me acuerdo haber pensado en ese momento que no estar铆a ah铆 sentada con mi toga y mi birrete sin antes haber aprendido, vez tras vez en el 2013, qu茅 tan ciertos son estos dos dichos:

“I can do hard things.鈥


芦El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta禄.



A las personas que me apoyaron (en persona o a la distancia) el d铆a de mi graduaci贸n y durante los dos a帽os y medio del programa de maestr铆a, se los agradezco de todo coraz贸n. No les puedo decir cu谩nto me alegr贸 la existencia el tener a tantas personas que quiero ah铆 cerquita por un par de d铆as. Si prometen volver a visitarme en Phoenix, 隆renuncio a las listas de mil metas y me dedico a un proyecto enorme y espantoso todos los a帽os! Los adoro.

The picture on the right pretty much sums up our whole household dynamic during the fall of 2013: I was tired.

The picture on the right pretty much sums up our whole household dynamic during the fall of 2013: I was tired.

vuela vuela




The 鈥渞eal鈥 bloggers (you know, the professionals) are so good at faithfully chronicling their activities on their blog in a timely manner. I鈥 am not (obviously). In typical fashion, now that everyone else is sharing their Christmas recap, I鈥檓 only just getting around to posting these pictures taken at the Arizona Balloon Classic a couple of weeks ago. I really wanted to go last year, but we had other plans and couldn’t make it. Happily, this year my in-laws (who were visiting) and Josh were good sports and let me drag them up at zero dark thirty to catch the sunrise launch. A hearty thanks to all the enablers that allow me to feed my hot air balloon obsession.

As far as recaps go, oddly enough, I didn鈥檛 take ANY holiday pictures this year鈥攏ot at Thanksgiving (which we spent in Chihuahua with my parents) and not at Christmas (which we spent in Jersey City with my in-laws)鈥攂ecause we kept forgetting the camera at home. Oops. So! One short graduation recap to come and we shall be perfectly posed to keep that annual resolution: 鈥淏log about things less than one month after they happen.鈥 Wish me luck, y鈥檃ll.


en Europa: Roma




we spent a lot of time looking at maps on this trip.

we spent a lot of time looking at maps on this trip.

Because all roads lead to Rome and stuff, here we are at last, at the end of this very extensive vacation recap. Huzzah! This is kind of how I felt by the time we got to Rome, too; like “Well, it’s been fun, but I’m pretty much ready for it to be the end.” The last time I went to Rome was also in November, but it must have been later in the month because whereas last time it was pretty chill and empty, this time it was PACKED with tourists. This is probably because we were there for All Saints’ Day on November 1st (a national holiday), but I’m positive the unseasonably fabulous weather also contributed.

We visited the Vatican on Ognissanti (All Saints’ Day) knowing it would either be crazy and amazing, or crazy and horrible. I’m happy to report that for us it was the former: we attended mass at Saint Peter’s (I’m not Catholic but I absolutely cried during the procession- so beautiful), and we were exiting the Basilica at the exact moment that Pope Francis, who I love, waved from his apartment window to the huge crowd in St. Peter’s Square! We didn’t see the wave, but the crowd’s reaction was exciting enough.



Our last full day in Rome we went to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, where we once again waited in a long line with many tourists. Worth it, obviously. 馃檪 That day, Josh also fulfilled his lifelong dream of getting a shave (ciao, barba!) at a barber shop conveniently located right next to the famous San Crispino’s (which does have the best gelato, in case you were wondering).

The next day we packed our treasures, sighed wistfully as we prepared to give up our diet of French bread, pastries, gelato and pasta, and embarked on the longlonglong flight(s) home (via Newark airport, where we met up with Josh’s family on our layover). Not to idealize twelve days in which we had our share of blisters, stomach aches, and sleep-deprivation-induced grouchiness, but this really was a dream vacation. We feel so blessed and grateful to have gone.


Arrivederci, Roma! Ci vediamo!


en Europa: Firenze



Mini-post about Florence! Here we go!

So here鈥檚 how our Florence day went down: the night before, Josh and I were sitting in our Venice hotel room wondering where we should go next. I crowd-sourced among my family members and friends who had been to Italy, and the overwhelming response was that we couldn鈥檛 miss Florence. So we marched ourselves over to the train station, got a couple of tickets, and that was that. We were only there for about a day, which I thought was just enough time. Enough to see the David, do a quick tour through the Uffizi Gallery, and eat at Trattoria Mario鈥檚 (tiny, cheap and goooood; we split a table with two guys who had come from Napoli to watch the Florence-Naples soccer game).

And while we鈥檙e on the subject of food, Florence is supposed to have some of the best gelato in Italy. Did we sample three offerings in a 24-hour time period? Well, yes. Yes we did.

en Europa: Venezia




Three more cities to go, faithful readers of my vacation recap! So, Venice. I mentioned before that I planned the Paris part of our trip to my little heart鈥檚 content, but Josh鈥檚 one request before we left Phoenix was that I allow for, you know, spontaneity and stuff. So with that in mind, we adopted a very loose planning policy for the Italy portion of our trip: It Will All Work out Somehow. At the very end of our stay in Paris all we knew was that we had a hotel in Venice for one night and that we were flying out of Rome a week later. So we boarded our overnight Paris –> Venice train and prepared to have an adventure. That train ride was pretty great, by the way– we shared a compartment with two Russians who spoke no English/Spanish/French/Portuguese, so all we could do was sit and smile at each other. Only they were not that friendly, so basically I was the only one smiling. Let’s just say we all went to bed reeeeally early.

The first thing we did in Venice was get separated from each other when I got off the vaporetto to validate our tickets (I had read lots of horror stories of crazy fines for not validating and all of a sudden realized that鈥 oops鈥 we hadn鈥檛). The boat left with Josh on it and I was stranded with no money and no idea where our hotel was, while Josh was on the water bus with no ticket and potentially about to receive the very fine that I had tried so hard to avoid. Ha! We totally kept our cool though, it鈥檚 a small island and we found each other eventually. Thank goodness we were backpacking is all I can say鈥攖he Italy part of our trip included lots of schlepping our bags around!


venice-murano-glassAnd after alllll those words, what I really want to say about Venice is that it is so lovely it made up for the heartbreak of leaving Paris, which in my world is the highest compliment a city can get. The combination of beauty and decay is absolutely breathtaking, and the awesome part is that the thing to see in Venice鈥 is Venice. We stayed a couple of nights and did lots of walking, took too many pictures, went to Murano to see the blown glass and ate LOTS of pasta/seafood. We even tried the spaghetti nero (squid ink pasta) at Trattoria alla Madonna, which came highly recommended and was delicious (though really kind of gross to look at鈥擨 couldn鈥檛 think about it too much as I was eating).

I think some people complain about the way Venice is touristy and smells questionable at times, but to me? It鈥檚 a dream city. If you鈥檙e going to Italy, I wouldn鈥檛 miss it for the world.

Venice by night, with all those lights shining into the water, is breathtakingly beautiful.

Venice by night, with all those lights shining into the water, is breathtakingly beautiful.

en Europa: Paris (segunda parte)


IMG_4526Ya habiendo estado algunos d铆as en Paris, se nos antoj贸 salir de la ciudad y fuimos a Versailles. Al parecer mis gustos no han cambiado mucho porque igual que la 煤ltima vez, mi parte favorita fue el Hameau de la Reine, un pueblito con un molino en donde Marie Antoinette se hac铆a la granjera. Siempre me han gustado mas los jardines de Versailles que sus cuartos.

Hameau de la Reine

Hameau de la Reine

Y siguiendo con el tema, que interesante c贸mo las cosas sensillas suelen provocar m谩s placer que las espectaculares. Por ejemplo, aunque me encant贸 estar en el Louvre y todo eso, una de mis experiencias favoritas fue cuando est谩bamos en Rue Montorgueil y se solt贸 un aguacero. Como no tra铆amos el paraguas (de milagro porque lo llev谩bamos cargando tooooda la semana), nos metimos r谩pido a un restaurante tailand茅s que ni siguiera vi c贸mo se llamaba. 隆Y no que esa comida fue de las mas ricas de todo el viaje! Igual casi terminando la semana, fuimos a lavar ropa cerca del hotel y mientras esper谩bamos afuera en un parquesito (comi茅ndonos un pan por supuesto), sali贸 una se帽ora mayor con su perrita gorda. A pesar de que los parisinos tienen fama de geniosos, era la se帽ora m谩s alegre que he conocido en la vida, y yo creo nosotros tambi茅n le ca铆mos bien porque platicamos un buen rato y terminamos super amigos.

Moraleja, todos vayan a Paris. 馃檪 (Y si van, no se pierdan ir a donde van los enamorados, el Pont des Arts. De pasada buscan nuestro candado鈥 ya se que es una cursiler铆a, pero no me importa porque fue una noche tan rom谩ntica que casi muero de la emoci贸n.)





end of week = we were kinda broke = in Josh's words, "Big love... little lock." (the lock salesman was NOT impressed)

End of week = we were kinda broke = in Josh’s words, “Big love… little lock.” (The lock salesman was NOT impressed.)

P.D. Algunas recomendaciones por si les interesa / Some Paris recommendations in case you鈥檙e interested:

  • Bateaux-Mouches your first evening there鈥擯aris is gorgeous from the Seine and it gives a good introduction to the layout of the city
  • Paris Museum Pass (worth every penny)
  • Rue Montorgueil (the whole street. I loved every shop.)
  • Musee Rodin + museum caf茅 for lunch
  • Crepe stands at Trocadero (touristy but they鈥檙e the best + the view ain鈥檛 bad either)
  • L鈥橝s du Fallafel in the Marais
  • Merci is an awesome little store, and the caf茅 is really good too