we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us

Miami Adventures: Wynwood Brewing Block Party

December 11, 2016

One of my favorite places in Miami is Wynwood.

 It's just so cool. And yes, it *might* be hipster, if you've been to other hipster areas, but I don't know. To me, hipsters are pretentious and think they're better than everyone else, but I think in Miami, pretentious is commonplace so actually maybe hipsters might just be normal people here. 😛

So, this Saturday was Wynwood Brewing's Third Birthday Celebration. It's one of the only breweries we haven't been to in Wynwood, and I love their La Rubia beer (a blonde ale).

So, they had a block party and a beer truck, beer trailer, and then the beer inside. My favorite was La Mami with Strawberries! I also had La Rubia, The Nutty Blonde, and some watermelon one. Felipe's favorite was the Ghost Fox - which was a beer with ghost peppers in it. He loved it, but unfortunately they're not going to be brewing it regularly for awhile.

Anyways, the real point of this post is to share pictures from Wynwood - which never ceases to disappoint with all the street art!

Happy Sunday!

Cruise Time! : Norwegian Sky from Miami

December 4, 2016

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Ship: Sky
Room: Balcony/ 10th deck
Time: 3 nights (Friday to Monday)

So, over the Thanksgiving Holiday, Felipe and I decided to go on a little mini-cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. It was three nights. We left Friday and returned Monday morning. It actually worked out because we got on the ship around noon on Friday and then Monday we were still able to go to work. Even though it "worked out," I think in the future I'd want at least a day to recover. The problem is always that I'm lazy . . . aka I don't like doing stuff. I like to do, nothing. When it comes down to it, I can (and will) work hard, but given the choice, I'll choose being lazy . .. sleeping/ reading/napping/etc. errry day. But, I feel like I need to make sure Felipe is having fun, so it adds an unnecessary amount of stress on me. And it is unnecessary because Felipe likes to be lazy too, so there's no reason to feel like this.


So, Friday we got to the ship around noon. Even though it doesn't leave until around 5pm, you can get on, drop your bags off at one of the restaurants, and then start enjoying the OPEN BAR + Food! 

We got a balcony room and I was really happy we did. I have been on a cruise two times before - once when I was 17 and we had an inside room, and once when I was in my mid-twenties and we had an ocean view room. I wanted a balcony so that if we got seasick we could sit on the balcony, because I feel like having a breeze on you always helps. I was pleasantly surprised with the room, and yes, it was small, but the bed was a queen (two twins pushed together), and we had enough room to move around. The idea --of course-- is that you're not spending a ton of time in the room. 

After we set sail, the sun was setting, so, of course, we went on a mission around the boat to get the best sunset pic. Overall, nature never wants to cooperate, so the sunset was okay, but I've definitely seen better when I'm just like, driving down the interstate and can't stop to take a pic, yanno?

We went to dinner in the main dining room; we got there right when it opened around 5:30 so we got a good spot right by the window. I like how Norwegian does its dinner time whenever you want, and you're not at a table with a bunch of randos (which can also be a good thing, depending on what you're looking for in a cruise). 

After that, I think we went and took a little nap. Of course, it was around 7pm so Felipe didn't think I'd get back up (can't say I blame him!), but, we did! We went back out around 8 and we ended up spending most of the night in the piano bar, singing with some old peeps, but it was fun. We did go to the "dance club" after that for a little bit, but at that point it was like 1am, and I'd been up since early in the AM, and I just didn't have it in me to stay out any later. 

DAY 2 & 3

Day 2: Nassau
Day 3: At Sea (supposed to be on Norwegian's private island). 

Not gonna lie, I was hungover when we woke up on the second day. I had wanted to get up and watch the sunrise, but that didn't work, but I did manage to snap a good pic from our balcony before the other cruise ships started coming in. 

I wasn't too enthused about Nassau, I was more interested in the private island. The last time I was on a cruise from Port Canaveral, we stopped in Nassau and Bridget & I took a ferry (?) to Paradise Beach? TBH I don't even remember how we got there and if that's where we went, but I remember we were on the beach next to the Atlantis Resort. So, we could've done something like that on this day but Felipe is not really a huge beach person (and neither am I, tbh), and I thought we were gonna have a big beach day on Sunday. 

We didn't end up getting off the boat until prob around noon and had to be back by 4:30. We went to Senor Frogs for a drink and then were heading back to the ship when we stopped in a cool, pirate-themed brewery and watched the end of the Michigan / Ohio game. 

When we got back on the ship we ate dinner and then had a low-key night. I think NCL was trying to punk us though because all the movies they were showing were like movies about shipwrecks - In the Heart of the Sea, The Finest Hours, etc. 

The last day, like I said, they cancelled the private island day. They said it was too rough to tender over, but, tbh, unless we're going over in a little zodiac boat (we're not), no it wasn't. I am a little cynical of everything and I felt like, I know they're doing renovs on the island and I just felt like they didn't want us over there. 

But, we had a relaxing day. I sat on the balcony and worked on my book for awhile, drank several mimosas. We went to watch football in one of the bars at one point (FYI, they didn't show any college football on Saturday which I thought was really surprising/annoying, and I'd be interested to know if all their ships are like that -- for Felipe, not me, obvi). I also went to the spa and got my hair blown out, which, on the advertisement it said $35. When my check came it said $49 (long hair). That was really annoying to me, because they should definitely let a person know that it's going to be a different price than advertised. But, it was worth it to me bc my hair is so thick that if I'd had to do it myself in our room it would've taken me hours (not joking). 

We also spent some time in the Casino, which never ends well for me, but Felipe won a couple hundred bucks on roulette! And I lasted awhile on blackjack, so that is always surprising!

DAY 4- Debarkation

Monday was our debarkation day. The agenda we had (oh yeah, they give you a print out of all the stuff happening at all times on the ship! Super helpful!) said that we could get off starting at 7:45. This was a little late for us because Felipe has to be to work at 8, and me around 9. But, they ended up announcing at 7:30 that we could get off and it was super quick to get off and clear customs. From there, we both took taxis to work and I was exhausted for the whole day! haha!

I had a really good time and I'd definitely do another cruise, especially if we could find one for the same length that has a good deal. I'm definitely gonna be on the lookout during "slow" times because I bet we could get it really good deal. It was also good because neither one of us got sea sick except for a little bit on the last night, we could "feel" the ship moving, but it wasn't too bad. 

Have you ever gone on a cruise? Would you? 

Art Basel, Miami, 2016

Apparently this weekend in Miami was a big event called Art Basel. It takes place in Miami Beach and Wynwood, with a few other venues between those places. 

Today we went to Wynwood for some drinks and to explore a little. They said that they did new walls, but I only saw the old ones so maybe we weren't in the right place. 

It was really cool! It's like an outdoor open-air space with a fixed bar in the middle, and then food trucks all around. They also have live music every day (Sunday is for Reggae!), a little dance area, and did I mention the food trucks?

We had a few beers, and then I waited in line FOREVER for this "world famous" House of Mac. I got the buffalo chicken mac & cheese (obviously) and Felipe got the lemon pepper wings. Okay, it was legit, but not sure it beats NYC's SMAC. And I waited over an hour for it because people literally lined up for this food truck for 30 minutes before it even opened, and then they would order like 12 orders of food. 

Can we talk about how Felipe is this guy brought to life?
After that, we walked around a bit. I wanted to check out a brewery and maybe this taco place (Coyo Taco, FYI), but it was a madhouse on the streets! Reminded me of NYC except not as good because Miami is not really built for large crowds on the sidewalk!

Next up: 

Season Finale!


Honeymoon, Day 4- Elephant Nature Park

November 19, 2016

 Ok, so wow I really need to get this stuff blogged so I don't forget about it. You have a year to write thank-yous for wedding gifts though, right? So I still have time to write about our honeymoon, amiright?

You can see she's missing an ear 😔
Day 4. Day 4. Let's remember.

Okay, Day 1 - arrival, Day 2 - Bangkok, Day 3 - Chiang Mai and exploring, Day 4 - ELEPHANT NATURE PARK.
look at front left leg 
I'd also just like to note that this was a really special day for me for two reasons. Number one, we were interacting with rescued elephants, but number two, it was on August 4. August 4 is (was) my Aunt's birthday. She passed away in 2010, and my sister and I were very close with her so we have a trip every August on over her birthday to celebrate and remember her. This year, obviously, I wasn't with my sister, but it meant it a lot to me to be doing something like this and remembering her. [past trips: London -2011, Ireland - 2012, Iceland - 2013, Turks & Caicos - 2014, St. Pete - 2015 (weird year bc of wedding!), Vienna - 2016 (March - we moved trip up because of honeymoon and I was over there for a law school thing anyways)/ Thailand]

Fortunately, in the past few years my eyes have been very much opened to the terrible existence that is animals in captivity. Unfortunate because I want to spend my life interacting with animals (I might still visit animals in zoo without meaning to (busch gardens, anyone)) but after watching documentaries like The Cove and Blackfish, I just knew it's not in me to pay money to torture animals anymore. There are a lot of blog posts on why you shouldn't ride elephants or swim with dolphins, so I don't feel like I need to elaborate here, but needless to say - DONT DO IT. Please, don't do it. And if you are considering doing it, please comment here and I will do my damndest to convince you otherwise.

This is especially true in Asia, where animals (elephants + big cats), I mean, their lives are just horrible. So, I started researching alternative animal excursions and was so relieved to find that we could visit an elephant sanctuary and still interact with the animals and see them up close, but not perpetuate the industry.

Elephant Nature Park rescues elephants (and dogs and cats). The elephants have been formerly used for riding, logging, circuses, painting, etc. Did you know elephants can be blinded by bright lights? And then they are marched around crowded Thai cities at night, being blinded by car lights. It's horrifying.

So, we spent the day at this park. We started off the day by feeding Candy chunks of watermelon and other fruit. It was so cool! Then we our guide took us around to different groups of elephants and told us about their stories. We saw a baby elephant (!!) omg he was so cute. Do you know how hard it is not to run up and hug a baby elephant because you're warned they're much stronger than they look. Wahhh!!  But I WANT to!

A video posted by kim rivera (@kim_wanders) on

One thing, and not really specific to ENP, but damnnn was it hot. I don't think August is even the hottest month to visit SE Asia, because it's "Monsoon" season (I think April/May is the hottest time of year to go), but being dehydrated was a major concern of mine so I made sure to drink tons of water and nagged Felipe about it all day erryday. Luckily, we went through a travel agent so we were picked up in mini a/c-ed vans and provided with water at some of our hotter spots, but phewwww was I sweating!

They provided an AWESOME VEGETARIAN lunch buffet for us (love that it was a vegetarian lunch, even though I'm not a vegetarian because it really hammered home the point that they are about animal welfare.)

After lunch we went to the river to bathe them! How awesome! This was definitely a tricky situation as it was super muddy and rocky on the bottom, but, so awesome. You may have seen a viral video of a man getting "swept" down the river and the elephant chasing after him -- this was at ENP!

shirt here (but I think there's nothing listed at time of publishing)
We also observed them getting some more snacks, and it was so cute with the combo of the baby elephant and the dogs running around (they have rescued over 400 dogs who were abandoned in Bangkok after massive flooding. They also have a "cat kingdom" for rescued cats which we didn't see).

snack time! (baby elephant hidden in there)
At the end of the day, it DID actually start monsooning -- one of the only days it did -- but it was actually a great relief from the heat, and I didn't mind.

Overall, this was an AMAZING experience that I can't say enough good things about. Everyone should consider visiting an elephant sanctuary or risk being judged by me if you choose to ride an elephant.😛 (<<-- omg how long has it been since I've blogged that there are now emojis).

Have you ever visited an animal sanctuary? Would you? Do you research how animals are treated before visiting an "animal" attraction? How do you decide whether or not to do it? (so many questions because I genuinely need.to.know.)


NYC Halloween

Honeymoon Day 2: Bangkok

September 3, 2016

Our second day in Bangkok was our first (and only) full day in Bangkok! We were going on a tour around the city of the big temples. Luckily, this is where having the tour guide REALLY came in handy. I know Bangkok is a hub for travel bloggers and expats, and I definitely think it's navigable on your own, but if you only have one day in a destination, you don't want to be worrying about how to get to places (or maybe you're a masochist and into that sorta thing, who am i to judge?). 

Be prepared and forewarned that they ain't joking about the "covering yourself" thing. It was worse in Cambodia at Angkor Wat (more on that later), but I still had to use a scarf to cover my shoulders. And this will not be the first time I mention how supremely fucking hot it was so just be prepared. To be honest, it was the same temperature and humidity as Florida in the summer, but I don't spend my days in Florida walking around covered from head to toe in 100 degree weather, 100 % humidity. But again, maybe you're a masochist into that sorta thing, so, who am I to judge? 

Anyways, here's some pics: 

i love this pic; it's as if they're all like: "whoa. hold up. slow ya roll. what you talkin bout?"

buddha buddha buddha buddah rockin' everywhere
to be continued

Honeymoon Day 1: Bangkok

So, our first day in Bangkok was all about recovering from that jetlag. We arrived around noon, I believe, and luckily we were met by a tour guide and a/c-ed mini van that took us to our hotel. (We booked our honeymoon through a travel agent, and while I'd never done this in the past, I am now obsessed and will definitely do so in the future for "big trips" that involve travel in non-English speaking countries with lots of destinations). 

We were pleasantly surprised to learn our room had been upgraded to a nice balcony view (a trend that would continue throughout the trip #honeymoonperks). We did take a nap for a few hours which I really needed, and then we took the river taxi to Asiatique -- yes, it's super touristy, but so what. When you only have a few days in a destination, yeah, you're probably gonna hit up the tourist spots. They're touristy for a reason. That being said, def take a pass on Asiatique if that's not your thing (I'm from Florida so I basically thrive on amuement-park-like areas 💁).

Here's some pics, and yes, all my honeymoon recap posts are going to be very pic-heavy. #sorrynotsorry. 
upgraded balcony room

thai beer at lunch

it's just too much. how does anyone cross the street? #nostoplightsnoproblem

the first of many towel animals

views from water taxi ($1)


miss my singhas!

Bangkok's very own lock bridge! 
We only spent that first day and one full day in Bangkok. I'm really not into cities and I knew there was so much other stuff I wanted to see and experience in SE Asia besides a congested polluted city. Definitely do not regret spending so little time there.


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