» sangria
Sunday, June 9, 2024

Our fabulous tour manager (Nelson from Gate 1) surprised us with sparkling wine on our way to our last city. I forgot my Beats on the tour bus on the last day, and he had the bus bring it back the next day (classic Mayan—I’ve left them on a plane before and paid $40 for the airline to ship it back to me 6 miles to my apartment in LA, because I wasn’t gonna endure the hell that is LAX to pick them up for free). He’s from Barcelona, and has spent his entire life in Spain, except for one year he decided to try out London. He came back the next year because, ‘People are just so ugly in the UK. Do they not have dentists???’ I mean, where’s the lie? LOL ¯\_()_/¯

I’ve never been to Europe or done a land tour before, I usually like to be on my own time when I’m on vacation—visit the places I wanna go, eat where I wanna eat when I wanna eat—but I liked it more than I thought I would! Our tour guides in each city were funny and super charming (Pedro in Portugal, Elena in Seville, Andrés in Ronda/Málaga, Rocio in Granada, and José in Madrid), I got to see places I never would’ve gone to myself, we had transportation to each city, plus we got free time everyday to do/eat where we wanted to. The only downside was being stuck with these obnoxious people on the tours. It’s like being held hostage in a group text you can’t get out of 😅 IYKYK.

These bus tours tested relationships. You’re stuck with the same group of people for 10 days. This old ass couple was fighting in Italian the entire time. I only understood when the wife told her husband, ‘Worry about yourself. I’m not a baby!’ and ‘Leave me alone!’ because she said it in English LOL. Another couple, the wife was asking the husband ‘Why are you smiling like that, I’ve never seen that smile before’ and this other couple, a gypsy was talking to the husband trying to sell him rosemary branches and read his palm, and when he came back, the wife was like, ‘Do you still have your wallet? Did she put a curse on you?’ LOL same couple when we were in Gibraltar, the husband was like, ‘It’s technically England, but all the waitresses are Spanish and they cross the border to work every day.’ His wife was like, ‘How do you know that? Were you flirting with the waitress while I was in the bathroom?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, we’re friends on TikTok now.’ 😂 I’m over here like 😴 Whenever people are arguing in front of me, I get super uncomfortable and pretend I’m sleeping LOL 😆

vacation braids

This old lady on our tour got her hair braided at the beach in Costa del Sol.

monica friends braids gif

Her husband even went ziplining while we were in Toledo! Retired life is wild 😅

Nobody was my age (they were either in their 20s with their parents or in their 60s or older). This lady asked me what my husband’s name was, and I was like, ‘He’s my dad, not my sugar daddy’ LOL. She was like, ‘Oh okay, I didn’t want to assume.’ 😆 Another lady asked me if I was in school, because she thought I was a teenager! I was like, “I’m 42, ma’am.” She was shocked! She had her daughters with her, and they were in their 20s. I was closer to her age than to her kids 😆 My dad thought her daughters were teenagers, too. I was like, ‘They’re drinking sangria. They’re at least in her 20s’ and he was like, ‘But you were drinking vodka in high school’ and I was like, ‘Not in public!’ 😆

This group of six obnoxious people (three couples) were on the entire trip with us. They were super loud (lots of eye rolls and other people on the tour shushing them), always had something to say/complain about, in their 80s, Italian and from NYC. They had me questioning if I’m ageist, racist, or just don’t like people from New York LOL.

I met three ladies who are married with children, but traveling alone because either their husbands hate traveling or their husbands have bad hips LOL. I would never travel alone. I do a lot of things by myself—go grocery shopping, eat dinner in my apartment, go to John Mayer concerts LOL—but I know I wouldn’t like traveling alone. It’s like watching a movie in a theater alone. I’ve only watched Fever Pitch and Made of Honor by myself in a movie theater, because no one wanted to watch these romcoms with me LOL. I want to be able to look over at another person and be like, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?!” Like in that movie, Shall We Dance?, Susan Sarandon says, We need a witness to our lives…You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’

Can I get a witness?


Our trip started in Lisboa, Portugal, and it was gorgeous. The weather was much like San Diego, so it was really nice. Felt like home.


My favorite food of the whole trip was actually in Portugal. We had arroz de marisco (it was a lot like seafood paella, but soupier) and grilled octopus (@ Luzmar, Cascais, Portugal)

portuguese egg tarts

I also ate a Portuguese egg tart every day. I’ve never eaten one back home, and now I never can, because they taste so damn good over here. My mom said they’re way better than the ones they have at Paris Baguette 😅

portugal cork

Did you know Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world? I didn’t. I just picked up this bag in Cascais because I thought it was cute. The “I ❤️ España” keychain was a gift from our tour manager, Nelson 😆


My dad: Slow down, we get more drinks at the flamenco show after dinner.
Me: *washes down my meds with a 4th glass of sangria*

If sangria was on the menu (and it always was), I ordered it.

Spain is on Central European Time instead of its natural time zone, so the sun didn’t set until close to 10pm! The flamenco show started at 9:30pm and I was already so tired and five glasses of sangrias deep 😅 (@ Tablao Flamenco El Patio Sevillano, Sevilla, Spain)

spain - costa del sol

This photo was taken from our hotel at 9:45pm! The days are so long here ☀️

spain ming chinese

Me: What do you feel like eating for dinner?
My mom: Chinese food.
Me: We’re in Spain.

I found a Chinese restaurant that was near to our hotel and actually pretty good considering China’s on the other side of the world! Plus, I’m easygoing and they had sangria (@ Ming 明, Sevilla, Spain)

spain ming sangria

My dad: Another sangria? Aren’t you hungover from last night?
Me: *sipping my sangria* Nah, I’ve been training for this my whole life.

spain churros

Churros con chocolate for breakfast? Sí, por favor (@ Meliã Lebreros, Sevilla, Spain)

Driving from Seville to Costa del Sol, we passed by this beautiful countryside full of sunflowers. They farm the sunflowers for its oil and energy. BRB gonna quit my job and move to the south of Spain to work on a sunflower farm ✌🏼 Or at Google in Málaga (we saw a corporate office there). Plus, Spain has 17 bank holidays a year!

EY madrid

My sister’s old company has a location in Madrid, so I told her she could work there while I work on a sunflower farm 😏 (@ Ernst & Young, Madrid, Spain)

spain flowers

It’s gorgeous here. Our tour guide in Ronda and Málaga, Andrés, said that the south of Spain is so easygoing. People die of heart attacks and diabetes from all the good food, but they don’t die of stress. And he said if we see someone running (exercising), they aren’t from Spain LOL. Sounds like my kind of country!

As I was toasting my second piece of bread during breakfast, I looked out the window and saw this tourist doing zumba outside. As a rule, I don’t exercise while I’m on vacation. I hardly exercise when I’m not on vacation 😅 I damn sure am not gonna exercise when I’m in Spain!


We stopped by this little town in the south of Spain with no traffic lights called Ronda. We visited one of the most famous bullfighting arenas in Spain. I thought bullfighting was bulls fighting other bulls, but it’s a man fighting a bull! And one of them dies at the end (usually the bull). They still do bullfighting once a year in this arena, but it’s banned in other parts of Spain (like Barcelona). I would never 😅


Nelson (who’s from Barcelona) isn’t into bullfighting either, and wanted us to leave that place with a happy memory, so he surprised us by taking us to this nearby horse farm, where the horses are loved and taken care of their whole lives (@ Reservatauro Ronda)

spain picasso museum

Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, and his family built a museum there (@ Museo Picasso, Málaga, Spain)

spain picasso

I had to buy some souvenirs from the gift shop. The left is of his famous painting of prostitutes in Barcelona, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It’s part of the permanent collection at MOMA in NYC, so I didn’t get to see it in person. The original painting of the one on the right is featured in this museum, though, and it’s of Françoise Gilot. Picasso married twice and she was one his many mistresses. She was the only woman to ever leave him ✌🏼 She said, ‘Pablo was the greatest love of my life, but you had to take steps to protect yourself. I did, I left before I was destroyed.’ She was an artist in her own right, and also my hero. She just died last year at the age of 101.

kermit directions

As I was exiting the museum, this guy mistook me for a local and asked me for directions. I’m wondering if he understood my broken Spanish or if he’s still wandering the streets of Málaga 😅


Fun history fact: Gibraltar was taken from Spain by the British in the early 1700s, so it’s technically in England. We needed our passports to get in and out. From the coast, you can see Spain and Africa, but it was cloudy today, so we couldn’t see Morocco.

gibraltar - roy's fish and chips

When in England (@ Roy’s Fish and Chips, Gibraltar)

gibraltar - taco bell

I low key wanted to eat here, though (@ Taco Bell, Gibraltar)

gibraltar - monkeys

The Barbary macaques roam free in Gibraltar, and you can find them living their best lives and stealing ice cream bars from all the tourists.

gibraltar - cave

These caves were wild and reminded me so much of Antelope Canyon in Arizona (@ Saint Michael’s Cave, Gibraltar)

gibraltar - ramsons

💯 (@ Ramsons Watergardens, Gibraltar)

granada - alhambra

We toured this palace, and it was so beautiful and smelled so good because of all the rose gardens and jasmine (@ Alhambra, Granada, Spain)

granada - alhambra

There were these ceramic bowls placed all around the palace, and I thought it was to feed water to the dogs (it was hot as balls this day), but the tour guide told us they were just beautiful trash cans 😆

Waiting for Wyclef Gene to appear (@ Restaurante Arrayanes)

real madrid stadium

BRB, looking for Cristiano Ronaldo ⚽ (@ Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid, Spain)

Real Madrid played Dortmund in the final while we were in Madrid. The actual game was at Wembley in London, but 90,000 people gathered at this stadium to watch it on the big screen. Real Madrid won the championship, so it was crazy in the city. The team had a big party at the stadium the next day, but it didn’t start till 10 o’clock. At night! On a Sunday! 👵🏻

madrid prado

No pictures were allowed inside the museum, but we got to see incredible works from Goya, Velázquez, Greco, Picasso, Rembrandt and more (@ Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

museo reina sofia

I went to this other museum specifically to see works from Salvador Dalí, but was delighted to see some Picasso and Gris (@ Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain)

My mom: I’m not really into art.
My dad: Who’s Salvador Dalí?

I can’t with these philistines 😅


It was impossible to get a photo of Picasso’s Guernica without a gaggle of tourists in front of it, but I picked up this postcard in the gift shop. I wanted one of Dalí’s most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, but they didn’t have it because the original painting is also at MOMA in NYC. I will have to go to that museum the next time I’m in New York, so I can see more works from Dalí and Picasso.

jamón ibérico bocadillo

I’ve only ever seen jamón ibérico on Food Network, and I finally got to try it at a Starbucks in Spain 😅

jamón ibérico

These prize pigs are fed acorns and live on free-range grass pastures in the Iberian peninsula. I guess it’s similar to Wagyu cattle in Japan, except jamón ibérico is harder to find in the US (it’s against the law to import jamón ibérico – the hind leg of an Iberian pig, hoof attached, swaddled in fat – because Spain does not have a single slaughterhouse that conforms to the regulations of the US Department of Agriculture).

jamón ibérico pillow

I still regret not buying a jamón ibérico pillow from the souvenir shop across the street from our last hotel 😆

museo del jamon

I kept seeing this Museo del Jamón everywhere. I thought it was a museum of ham, but it was just a bar/resto that specializes in ham 😆

la casa de las carcasas

There was also a La Casa de las Carcasas across from our hotel. I was disappointed that it didn’t mean ‘house of carcasses’ like I thought it did and didn’t see any dead bodies. I google translated ‘carcasas’ and it meant ‘casings’ in Spanish. I thought, ‘Oh maybe it’s sausages!’ so I was double disappointed when I saw it was just cell phone cases. I really gotta brush up on my Español. How embarazado. JK. ‘Embarazado’ means ‘pregnant’ in Spanish. I’ll never make that mistake again 😅


A guy I used to date when I was sixteen responded to my Museo del Jamón story on instagram, and this was our convo 😂 I’ve either gotten more morbid in the last 25 years, or I was better at hiding my freak flag when I was a teenager 🏴


It’s so hard to find iced coffee in Spain. One of our tour guides said people here like to buy a tiny cup of espresso and sit in front of it for hours. We were walking by a cafe, and he was like, ‘Remember these faces. They’ll still be sitting here when we walk back this way in a few hours.’ 😂 He said Starbucks hasn’t been super successful here because people don’t take their coffee to go. Luckily, they have these chilled coffees to go at the rest stops for all the tourists, complete with a straw you can pierce the lid with Capri Sun-style 😅

seafood paella

I ate a lot of seafood paella (or arroz de marisco). It takes like half an hour to prepare, because it’s made to order, but it’s so worth the wait.

spain - mcdonald's

Same Mayan, different country (@ Mcdonald’s, Granada, Spain)

Sometimes you don’t want anymore paella and just need to UberEats a McDouble to your hotel 😅

cascais tourists

Spot the tourists (it’s my parents).

My dad was so worried we’d get pickpocketed, yet he was the one walking around with a big ass selfie stick, carrying multiple bags, and misplaced everything (our luggage locks, his glasses, his whole ass luggage—he left his luggage on the curb in front of the airport and didn’t realize it until we were checking our bags!). Like, should you be the one holding all our passports, my guy? 😅 I’m the one over here getting mistaken for a local LOL.

toledo spain

We spent an afternoon in Toledo before going to Madrid. It’s one of the oldest cities in Spain, but I can’t remember much else of what the tour guide told us. It was a lot of information. One of the ladies on our tour, Denise, was like, ‘Is there gonna be a test at the end???’ 😅

madrid metro

Yes, I took the metro in Spain (@ Plaza de España)

madrid metro

Yes, it was just like the metros in NYC and LA (crowded and smelled like piss).

ice cream gif

There were heladarias on every corner. If I passed by an ice cream shop, I had to stop for a scoop (I don’t make the rules).

madrid tupac

And I thought my outfit was fire (@ Plaza de la Armería, Madrid, Spain)

spain filipinos

The only Filipinos I saw in Spain 😆

ka-boodle madrid

JK, we found a Filipino resto in Madrid complete with karaoke (@ Ka-Boodle Bar & Restaurant)

shocked gif

Actual footage of me trying to eat my tapsilog while another customer was singing horribly off-key. Why do tone-deaf people always want to do karaoke???

spain bitter orange

spain bitter orange

These orange trees grow all over Andalucía, or the southern coast of Spain. The fruit is bitter, though, and is mostly exported to make marmalade, so no one eats them off the tree.

I had to take video of this as proof that the parrots followed me to Spain 😅

Nori and I would always be sitting outside Starbucks on our lunch break at the beach, and the parrots would be in the palm trees yapping away!


On top of seeing a Skechers store in every major city, I saw so many tourists wearing them (including my parents). I can’t get away from this fucking place 😅

We stayed a few extra days in Madrid, so my dad booked a hotel for those days. It ended up being a hostel in the fucking ghetto. This is just like when he booked us at this shady ass hotel in Queens with a reggaeton night club at the bottom of it. My sister ended up booking us at the Hilton New York Times Square after that first night. We ended up moving to the Hotel Madrid Plaza España. It’s a Meliã hotel, and most of the hotels we stayed at on this tour were Meliã hotels, so I already knew it was nice. My dad is the kind of person who never checks reviews, and only booked this place because of its walkability to the city center.

I woke up with the worst headache that day. I hadn’t had a single headache since the strokes, and I used to get migraines all the time. I thought it was because I drank too much sangria the night before, or because I was on week 2 of vacationing with my parents 😅 but now I know it’s because I had covid. Needless to say, I was already so irritated this day. It was hard to get an uber because a lot of the city streets were blocked off since Real Madrid won the championship the night before and the city was celebrating. So we had already uber’d to the hostel, uber’d to another nice hotel that was booked and had no vacancies, and schlepped our luggage another few blocks to this Meliã hotel.

in flight movie

My sister (and KD, my favorite 8-year-old LOL) would have loved the in-flight movie selection.

new york homicide

I’m more of a New York Homicide girl myself. Spoiler alert: it was the brother.

All things considered, I will def be back here again! I loved everything—the people, the art, the culture. I took the rest of the week off because I need some ‘me’ time to wind down before I go back to work, so I’m just gonna rest and get rid of this virus. Or move to the south of Spain to work on a sunflower farm. I haven’t decided yet ¯\_()_/¯

Night Cap.
Wednesday, November 1, 2023

What, you don’t like whiskey in your wine??? 😂

Christine and the kids stopped by last night, but it was after 8pm, so I was already in bed LOL. I usually last till at least 9pm, but that sangria took me out. The kids were up later than I was 😅 Pammie sent Christine home with some candy and sangria and she and Francis sent us this video.

How I Halloween.
Tuesday, October 31, 2023

spooky sangria

As I was pouring the bottle of wine into the Skull Drink Dispenser last night, Pammie was like, “Are we having a party tomorrow?” and I was like, “No, this is just for us.” 💁🏻‍♀️

Spooky Sangria:

  • 2 – 250 ml bottles merlot
  • 12 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • 16 oz orange juice
  • 16 oz pomegranate syrup
  • 1 – 20 oz can pineapple tidbits
  • 2 sliced limes
  • 2 sliced oranges
  • Cinnamon sticks (for garnish)

boo bark

chocolate cake skulls

Happy Halloween, y’all! Same time next year???

How I Holiday.
Sunday, November 27, 2022

jingle juice sangria

Jingle Juice

3 oz merlot
¾ oz fireball whisky
1 oz orange juice
1 oz pomegranate syrup
6 pineapple tidbits
1 lime (squeeze and drop)
1 orange slice
1 cinnamon stick (for garnish)

Christmas Cheers.
Saturday, December 1, 2018

christmas cheers

I’ll have one… one of everything! (@ BJ’s Brewhouse)

Alicia and I drank our way through their holiday cocktail list. The blood orange pom fireball sangria tastes like Christmas in your mouth! It’s def going on the menu for any and all future holiday spreads.

Indigo Grill.
Saturday, October 2, 2010

We had Restaurant Week: Part Deux at Indigo Grill in Little Italy last night. Instead of partaking in their special menu, Christine, Jay and I decided to order appetizers and drink our dinner instead in the form of white sangria. Not only was everything we ordered plated beautifully, it all tasted pretty outstanding, too. We had Pipian Crusted Brie (with jalapeno jelly, honey roasted garlic, grilled nopales, mole negro, and scallion flatbread), Scallop and Shrimp Ceviche (cured in lemon juice with cucumber pico de gallo), and Arugula, Frissee and Radicchio (with cotija-stuffed dates wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, blackened shrimp, and a prickly pear vinaigrette). I couldn’t get enough of the mole negro and bacon-wrapped dates! The salad and ceviche are half off during happy hour, so def try to arrive before 6:30 if possible. The white sangria was ridiculously good and refreshing. It’s $50 for a pitcher, and we were able to get at least 10 glasses out of it. It costs $11 a glass, so if you think you’re going to have a few drinks each (and we always do), then get the pitcher for sure! After an awesome first time, I will definitely be back for seconds! I’d love to see what else this restaurant has to offer.

Das boot.
Thursday, July 29, 2010

el camino south park sangria

Anthony suggested that we all meet up for weekly happy hours till the end of summer (he also suggested that we play glow-in-the-dark bingo, but that’s a story for another time). Chel, Shi and I had our first happy hour at El Camino in South Park tonight (while Antho was out of town, of course). Sangria always tastes better when it’s served in a glass boot!

El Camino’s Happy Hour details:

  • Monday-Friday 5-7pm
  • Free chips and salsa
  • 1/2 off quesadillas and nachos
  • $3 Coronas, margaritas, and sangria
  • $15 sangria pitchers
  • $20 margarita pitchers

Thanks for treating us out, Chel ♥

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