A Trip to Puerto Vallarta with my Boyfriend

Fun Times at the Vidanta Resort

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Hello November in Mexico!

Friends, I went on a mini vacation with my husband and upon arriving, the man I’ve been married to for eleven years suddenly became my boyfriend again… Awwww.

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 Paul and I were due for a getaway.

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We needed to take a few days to reconnect and escape the many stressful factors that accompany demanding jobs, small children, general adult responsibilities and the ridiculously fast-paced Los Angeles life.

My sister and parents agreed to take care of the boys and off we went.

When we found ourselves inside a gorgeous tropical paradise with piña coladas awaiting— after having sat next to each other on the plane while laughing together and flirting— we knew we had made the right decision to leave everything on hold and focus on each other. It took a little adjusting because, let’s face it, we’re used to disagreeing on many things, but after a couple of nights there, I felt like his girlfriend again… it was so perfect!

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Our friends Connie and Ricardo

own a timeshare at the Vidanta Resort in Puerto Vallarta and they invited us to travel and enjoy the many indulgences of this extraordinary complex of hotels, restaurants, shops, bars and swimming attractions. We stayed at the Grand Mayan Hotel within the Vidanta Resort.

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We had a one-bedroom suite with a

soaking pool in our private terrace, a huge bathtub and a spacious kitchenette. Not too far was a fantastic “Shark” Bar, a Cantina-style restaurant that served steak Chicharrones (to die for) and held a nightly water show. In our building we had an arts & crafts room where guests could learn to make Mexican art pieces or pose for pictures like me :)

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We met face-to-face with iguanas,

raccoons and hawks in a tropical jungle setting that featured a lazy river, beautifully designed pools with a view of the ocean, gorgeous shows and lively nightly entertainment.

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The food was great,

the ambiance was perfect and even though we missed our boys on Halloween night, we enjoyed taking the time to remind each other why we got married to begin with… he’s my better half!

Getting away from everything was necessary and something I recommend to all married couples.

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The Vidanta Resort is beautiful, friends.

Reservations for non-members start at approximately $700/night for a one-bedroom suite at the Grand Mayan.

A brand-new, state-of-the-art Cirque du Soleil Theme Park is currently under construction and the first phase will be inaugurated in 2020…. I can’t wait to return!

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 Thanks Connie & Ricardo…

we had a blast. Love you guys!

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Lovin' Life at Laughlin During Labor Day Weekend!

Fun in the Desert Sun!

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Laughlin, Nevada for the Win

Nothing beats getting away for a weekend without going too far.

What I mean by that is–– while we'd be thrilled to visit Tokyo and Sao Paolo and Oahu, a vacation with kids is, well, hardly a vacation for mom and dad. It's a lot of work and stress and round-the-clock snack requests and bathroom trips and while seeing the little smiles on their faces makes it all worth it, returning home usually calls for another vacation just to give us a chance to decompress! We've ventured on several international trips with Benny but when Toby arrived we decided to keep things muuuuuuuch simpler and hassle-free.

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These days,

a dream vacation means a road trip to San Francisco, where we make multiple stops along the way; or a train ride to San Diego where we end up at the Marina and enjoy arcade time and ice cream cones. Most recently, we were invited to hang out in Laughlin, Nevada, with some good friends who own a home & a boat near the Colorado River.

 Our friend   Laurie   who's been enjoying the Mohave Lake since childhood!

Our friend Laurie who's been enjoying the Mohave Lake since childhood!

It sounded like a perfect destination:

close enough to drive back home if an emergency occurred, but far away to feel the joy of being on family vacation-mode. The trip was so, so fun.

We hung out at Lake Mohave for two straight days-- cruising on our friends' boat, swimming for hours, enjoying adult beverages and letting the kids eat all the chips, snacks and juice they wanted (we actually had sandwiches, fruit and veggies too).

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There's something about venturing off into the water

that is very relaxing. For one, there's no internet service in the lake, located in the middle of the desert.  That completely removes you from the tendency to check your phone every few minutes.

 Fact: I still don't know how to swim! But life jackets are plentiful. There are even loaners for guests to use before heading out to the lake.

Fact: I still don't know how to swim! But life jackets are plentiful. There are even loaners for guests to use before heading out to the lake.

The desert heat is a whole other level of hot,

which makes you want to stay cool in the water and hug your kids in their adorable little floaties. Toby decided to throw rocks into the lake for about 30 minutes. He laughed every time a rock would hit the water.

Benny decided to play good guys v. bad guys using small water guns and exchanged water attacks with his new buddy Andrew. Then he hopped out of the water and joyfully acted as if he lived in, and owned the boat while we hung out in the water.

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Lake Mohave offers

237 miles of shoreline and nearly 200 sandy beach cove areas that can only be accessed by boat. It's really fun to scope out the different beaches and decide where your crew will settle for the day.

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Once you find a spot that everyone agrees on,

you basically mark your territory by parking the boat and setting up your fun zone, which usually includes tents, beach chairs, tables, coolers, water games and water toys. Those seeking bigger water thrills take their Jet Skis and Sea-Doo's.

 A quick stop in front of this fun mural at a Jerky shop along Route 66 on our way home from Laughlin.

A quick stop in front of this fun mural at a Jerky shop along Route 66 on our way home from Laughlin.

By the time you wrap up for the day

and arrive at your accommodations (we stayed at our friends' super comfy house), you've had plenty of fun in the sun and the only thing left to do is rest and relax some more.

Then if you have time the next morning, you can head over to Casino drive, enjoy a breakfast buffet and try your luck at a slot machine or Blackjack table before returning to Los Angeles.

It's exactly what we did and drove home $30 richer. Lol. It was an overall wonderful escape.

Thanks Alex and Laurie! We can't wait to hang out again!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
The Dim Sum Experience in Hong Kong

Gimme Some Dim Sum!

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Don’t we all love small bites?

I knew my first Dim Sum experience would be awesome because I love appetizers and finger foods. They make me feel as though I’m not eating a lot when in reality, I probably end up eating more than a regular meal.

But I digress.

Dim Sum is a Chinese cuisine where foods are prepared in small bite-sized portions. They generally consist of fried dumplings, steamed buns, rice rolls and sesame balls, each containing a filling, which can range from meat and veggies to sweet cream and fruit sauce. There are also cakes, puddings and tea to complement the Dim Sum Experience.

In Los Angeles, there are plenty of Chinese Restaurants that offer Dim Sum. However, it had never really appealed to me. I probably never gave it enough attention and always associated it with pork dumplings which I’m not too crazy about.

But over the summer, I visited Hong Kong with my little sister.

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There was no avoiding it. If I was ever thinking of giving Dim Sum a try, then I’d better do it in China, the very country that invented it.

We went to Yum Cha (which stands for “Drink Tea” in Cantonese). It’s a fabulously chic and modern Dim Sum café known for its playful, cartoon-themed take on Dim Sum. I wanted to order everything from the menu but opted for only a few items and here’s a little about the experience:

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The set-up was beautiful—

Neutral-toned decor with pastel colored china. Everything about the place was gorgeous. No wonder it’s one of the most instagrammed cafés in Hong Kong! The Dim Sum arrives in individual steamer baskets and small plates.

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The BBQ Pork Buns

were delicious.

These are steamed buns (decorated to look like Piggies) filled with BBQ Pork. It tasted really good.

Dim Sum is not to be eaten, say, like sushi.

You don’t necessarily stick an entire food portion in your mouth at once. Taking small bites and savoring each dish is particularly fun and oftentimes encouraged.

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The BBQ Pork Buns were almost too cute to eat though.

I felt like one of the buns was going to start squealing before I ate it. And, I must add, the buns are actually quite filling. I ate one and-a-half which was perfect to make room for tea and dessert.

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The Hot Custard Buns

had a sweet mango custard filling.

They were heavenly. But it soon became apparent that we had ordered items to appease our sweet tooth rather than to fuel our long hike so we didn’t finish all of them, especially since we were still waiting on drum roll please…..

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The Coconut Red Bean Cup and Cotton Cloud!

This was the dessert that gave us the ultimate sugar rush. Still, we carried on, eating a good portion of the red bean and coconut pudding (which you can hardly see because the cotton candy cloud is so large)… Yum!

So there you have it friends! My first Dim Sum in experience in Hong Kong, was delicious.

Stay tuned for more random posts of my summer Asia adventures!

Thanks for reading,

Xo,

-Anabel M.