Spain

Weekend Recap: Bites, Sips, & Splurges

I had such a fantastic weekend that I wanted to share it with all of you!  Yes, Saturday gave us an unwanted spring snowstorm, but Sunday made up for it with the sunshine.  Here’s what I did last weekend:

Saturday, I made plans with my friend Chelsea to meet at a new donut shop, Blackbird Doughnuts.  This place is insanely popular and we had to wait in line that wove around the shop while a new batch baked.

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I tried the cinnamon sugar stack of three mini-donuts while Chelsea went for the lemon coconut.  I was head over heels for mine, and Chelsea enjoyed hers as well!  I will definitely be making a return trip to Blackbird Doughnuts!

Sunday, since it was such a beautiful day, I made some last minute plans to walk around Boston’s North End with my cousin Amanda and her roommate Marisa.  We got sidetracked walking through Faneuil Hall when we stumbled upon Uno de 50.

Headquartered in Madrid, Uno de 50 has unique pieces hand-crafted by Spanish artists.  Each piece is slightly different because they are all made by hand!  The store only gets 6 pieces of each item, so it’s unlikely that you’ll see someone walking around with your jewelry on.  I was slightly disappointed to see that they have a website, but still, the hand-made differences make, for example, the ring I selected look nothing like the website’s version.

We had a great shopping experience with super friendly staff who wasn’t afraid to pull the store apart so we could try on anything and everything.  They poured us wine while we shopped– a sparkling, fruity blush.  There was also a promotion going on where we got a free bracelet, tote bag, and journal with our purchases.

I chose an adorable skull bracelet & cool key wrap ring!

I chose an adorable skull bracelet & cool key wrap ring!  Amanda snapped the wine while we shopped!

What we loved was that each piece has a two-year warranty and can be brought in for free cleaning once per month!  We each left with two pieces!

Off our wine and shopping buzz, we took to the waterfront and the North End enjoying the sun and warmth of the day.  We, of course, stopped by my favorite place, Mike’s Pastry, for a couple of canoli for the Cassaro girls and a zeppole for Marisa!  After enjoying our desserts in the park, we headed home.

more photo credit to Amanda for this shot of me in front of the water.  Nautical + Italian = perfection!  That's the North end.

more photo credit to Amanda for this shot of me in front of the water. Nautical + Italian = perfection! That’s the North end.

I can’t even explain how nice this weekend was!  It definitely felt like spring, even though it’s snowed twice in the last three days…  How was everyone else’s weekend?  And what do you think of my new jewelry?

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Amazing Race Recap: Hei Ho Heidi Ho

Teams leave Seville, Spain for Liverpool, England. There, they make their ways to Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool FC, to score two goals each against a goalie.

Leo and Jamal take a detour and make it to Anfield first.  Jamal’s knee is still messed up from the bullying bulls.  They finish up as Dave and Connor arrive.  “I hope Dave and Connor go home!” says one of the Afghanimals.  Me too, buddy.

Jen and Caroline are terrible at soccer, but the Brenchels are pretty good!  They finish up next, just as Dave and Connor take the field.  You’d think Connor has a bad knee too from his kicks.  Oof.  Jennifer and Caroline manage to make their goals before the father-son team.

The next clue takes them to one of my favorite places I’ve ever been, WALES!  The drive shakes up the order of the teams, but at the aqueduct the teams encounter the Road Block: Poetry in Motion.  On the 15 minute boat ride, a teammate must learn a Welsh gypsy poem and recite it for a language specialist on the other side of the aqueduct.  If you didn’t know before, Welsh is a crazy language!  I really loved this challenge and found myself trying to recite the poem along with them.

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Here’s the poem:

Y Sipsi!

Hei ho Heidi ho!

Fi yw sipsi fach y fro

Carafan mewn cwr o fynydd

Newid aelwyd bob yn eilddydd

Rhwng y llenni ger y lli

Haf neu aeaf waeth gen

Hei ho Heidi ho!

All the teams had to repeat the Road Block, but Brendan was the first to complete the challenge, followed closely by Caroline.  Jamal and Connor struggle a bit longer, but finish up in that order.

Now the teams are back to England for the Detour: Shoot It or Boot It.

In Shoot It, teams shoot at clay pigeons.  They must hit 16.  Caroline is surprisingly great at this!  The beat Dave and Connor through this side of the Detour.  In Boot It, the teams fill up a pair of Welly boots with water and throw them.  (I’m… not sure why…)  They must use size 9 or 11.  It actually looks pretty fun.  Brendan’s throws get the Brenchels through this pretty easily, until they realize that they’ve used size 10 Wellies instead of 9 or 11.  Jamal and Leo finally arrive as they are restarting.

The pit stop comes next, which determines the three teams racing for the million dollars.  The teams finish in this order:

  1. Dave and Connor
  2. Jennifer and Caroline
  3. Brendan and Rachel
  4. Leo and Jamal

So, arguably, the strongest team was eliminated!  The navigating ended up doing them in.  I’m going Brenchel all the way in the finale, but really, anyone but Dave and Connor would be great.  (Can he please. stop. mentioning his achilles?)

Who do you think will win it all?!

Amazing Race Recap: Bullying Bulls

I’ve now watched their original season plus Unfinished Business, and my love for Jet and Cord has reached its peak. I was totally Team Cowboys going into Sunday’s episode.

The teams left Zurich for Seville, Spain. Since last week was a non-elimination leg, the last place team, Jennifer and Caroline, have to complete a Speed Bump along this leg. They seem to actually have a skill set in Spain, one of them having lived there in college and speaking enough Spanish to get around.

Roadblock:

Paying homage to The Barber of Seville, (and a song that instantly brings me back to the intro scene of Mrs. Doubtfire,) one teammate had to shave a balloon covered in shaving cream with a straight razor within 60 seconds. If the balloon popped or they could not remove all of the shaving cream within the allotted time, they’d have to start over. A man belted out songs from the aforementioned opera during the Roadblock, just to help improve concentration.

Speed Bump:

Jennifer & Caroline’s Speed Bump was to deliver six hams to a shop in Seville. While this slowed them down a bit, the Cowboys were having trouble with directions and were slowed down as well…

Detour: Spanish Steps or Running with the Ballz

Both detours were visual joys for me! In Running with the Ballz, teams slide themselves into these adorable, cartoon-y, inflatable bull bumper balls. What happened next was not so adorable…

Picture 1 As “bulls” the teams had to run through alleys looking for posters with the motto, “A matador never thinks about his own death.” While looking for these words, other bumper bulls play human bumper cars at full force. They sent racers flying, rolling, and one (Rachel) whining! It was quite hilarious. The Brenchels, Afghanimals, Cowboys, and Dave & Connor chose this Roadblock.

In Spanish Steps, the teams had to learn and perform a flamenco dance. Jennifer and Caroline chose this, and the Cowboys were U-Turned by the Afghanimals and had to complete it too.

These outfits totally work for them! …who knew this did it for me?

Well, that U-Turn sealed the fate of my beloved Cowboys.   I’m officially bad luck, because I declared my allegiance to Jet & Cord right before the episode in which they were eliminated. I’m so bummed at the results:

  1. Dave and Connor
  2. Brendon and Rachel
  3. Leo and Jamal
  4. Caroline and Jennifer
  5. Jet and Cord

I just though that Jet and Cord really deserved the win. They’re the least drama-filled team I’ve ever seen on the race while still being exciting and endearing. “Can I ride your horse?” Cord asks as they make it to the mat in Seville.

This horse was great.  It bowed!

This horse was great. It bowed!

I’ll miss these guys a lot for comments like that, and this, their final sound bite:

“Oh my gravy, I’ve been around the world three times!”