2013 Recap

In keeping up with last years recap of 2012, I am proudly presenting (a bit late) some highlights from 2013, my third full year abroad in Argentina.

Shall we start at the beginning? To ring in 2013 my NYC bff came for a three week visit to escape the cold winter and check out my third world life.

I love it when friends come to visit!!  My old world being introduced to my new world.  Muling.  Excitement.  Nonstop laughing.  It’s like Christmas every day!

And thank god they do come, because no one from my family has!

Let’s see how many years that’s gonna take…Come March baby Emma arrived, the newest generation of my novio’s family.

Actually, 2013 was all about the Buenos Aires babies!

Emma, Felix, Julia, Salvador….  Will they be friends for life?!

NOLA continued to feed hungry mouths and luckily some periodistas (journalists) decided to write about us to help spread the word!

Titled- The flavors of life.  Two young adventurers opened a unique spot in Buenos Aires, NOLA, where they showcase their experiences from the Big Apple to their travels throughout Latin America.Some big shot (and super humble) writer that ate at NOLA while in town for a workshop asked to interview me for his new book after dining with us.

He came back a couple of weeks later with his wife and gave me a signed copy of one of his books!

Momo continued to shine and maintain his pear like figure as he does…

Many asados were thrown with friends and family.The tastiest camembert I’ve had in BA so far…

Francisco and Marce (boyfriend + his brother) opened up a legitimate microbrewery in Caballito which is producing 3,000 liters of Broeders Artesanal each month.  At the moment they’re supplying a hostel in San Telmo (Terranova) with three draft options and you can also find their bottles at Baraka Cafe as well as Bodega Cervecera in Palermo Soho.

Congrats, chicos.  Y’all are doing well and I’m super proud.

Francisco and I decided to treat ourselves to our first big vacation since opening NOLA.

We packed up the essentials, caught an overnight flight to Spain and met up with friends.Over the course of three weeks we saw bits and pieces of-  Barcelona, Prague, Croatia, Montenegro and then crossed over to Puglia, Italy where we rented a car for a week and had an Italian road trip!

Let’s not forget how the car was in MY NAME since F’s license was expired.  Now, I haven’t regularly driven since I lived in New Orleans, which was about 9 years.  And I haven’t driven a stick shift since my high school boyfriend taught me when I was 16.  But I love driving!!  Like, a lot.

We took an overnight boat from Montenegro to Bari, Puglia.  Docked around 8am and headed straight to a cafe for espressos (side note- I hadn’t drank coffee in 4 months) and then to the car rental where I had to drive away in a massive (yet fancy) station wagon through the crazy Monday morning rush hour streets of the biggest city in all of Puglia jacked up on a double espresso and very little sleep.

It was amazing!!!

Yes, maybe the first hour we drove in one chaotic circle (I blame my naaaaavigator ) but things quickly settled once we got out of the big city and made our way through the small roads surrounded by olive trees and vineyards while we blasted our music while wearing our fancy new grown up blazers.

The drive from the east to west was so gorgeous!  Highlights-  picturesque mountains, countless tunnels, eating cherries on the side of the road, espressos at gas stations, exploring random caves, the coastal route from Lecce to Otranto…

Eventually we drove around the tip of Puglia, headed back north to Matero, crossed over to the Amalfi Coast, island hopped to Ischi, dropped off the rental in Naples, and finally took a train to Rome where we met up with friends, shopped, drank endless Chiante and ate like gordos for days.

A memorable time you were, Italy!!

By week four F and I parted ways, him back to BA and me to London, Paris and Amsterdam for more play time.  I mean, it was my first time in Europe!  And plane tickets aren’t cheap when coming from Buenos Aires.  I had to get the most of my hard earned pesos!

This second part of the trip I was with some of my best girlfriends.  We all met in Buenos Aires (where we were all living at the time) and now are stationed in different parts of the world.  It was so good to have these international adventures together on new turf especially with such great women!!  Who would of thought?!  I’ve always been a guys girl…

London you were good, rather grey and cold as I expected.  But you fed me well and I got to have some alone Liza time which is always nice.  Beth it was great catching up and the silent film night was soooooo cool, Owen!

France, mon amor, how I fell in love with you!!  Paris you are magical.  And Lea!!  Sending me from the train to Port O’rleans, I could’t have felt more at home!  Our road trip to the North (another stick shift rental + Lea who had gotten her license 3 months prior) was so special and such a beautiful part of France!  Thanks to you I know how to properly shift through all those circle intersections and throw a badass picnic. I think of you every time I wear my feather necklace from Honfleur.  Thank you for having me in your Parisian world.  And Nacho Martinez too, what an added bonus you were!

And Amsterdam!!  With my favorite Californian who is like a sista from another mista!  We have so much fun together.  It’s like our energies beam off one another and people are just drawn to us without any control.  It’s extreme and exhausting!!   I have a feeling our paths are going to cross again, Tez.  And I can’t freakin’ wait!!

Alexandra!  Your family and friends, thank you for including me.  Your mom’s ossobuco and your cheesecake were such a culinary highlight!  And of course jumping trains, Boris and his hip hop stories, the eiffel tower and the lawyer’s aka jokesters lunch.  Every minute I’m thankful for.

I’ll never forget Europe 2013.  Como las amo, chicas!!

It really was such an unforgettable trip.  And the shopping!!  My patient two years in BA without ever shopping was totally worth it (being in Paris during their massive summer sales, f’n dangerous!) and I may have formed an obsession with long skirts, blue eyeliner and headbands…

Nacho & Tez, I will never forget our packing session before I took off for the airport in Paris.

Luckily as soon as I got back to BA one of my favorite people in the world came to visit for a couple of weeks which made it a bit easier to get over the vacation blues.

August was cold and I celebrated my last twenty something birthday.

At first I was a bit anxious about 29.  Not that numbers scare me or anything, but the fact that I realized I was half way to 60 kinda messed with my head a good bit.  There’s still so much to do, so much to see.  Am I doing enough with my time?  Am I living each day to the fullest?

So I worked through all those emotions with cheeseburgers, martinis and a dance party.  FUN TIMES.

However the best bit of August was when my Dad decided to fly me home for a NOLA visit!  That was awesome and I’m so grateful.

2 weeks of family overload, seafood, New Orleans magic, sister and my NOLA bff.

I muled SO much stuff back with me from New Orleans.  I’m talking 3 bags totaling over 300 pounds.  Yes, outrageous fees for excess heavy baggage, but totally worth it!  The guy at the airport was so funny, ‘they don’t have pots and pans in Argentina, Miss?’ and I’m like, ‘Oh honey, if you only knew…’.

But before coming back to BA I took a quick trip to NYC to play with friends.  It was one of the best weeks of my life!

I love New York.  Each time I’ve been back since I moved to Argentina I find myself asking why I ever left.  The energy, the people, we’re a good match.  But as soon as I get back on the plane I know I made the right decision and I have zero regret.

We’re accomplishing so much here in BA!  The potential this city has is endless, especially in the culinary world.

I know a lot of my family and some friends can’t understand it so well, mostly because of the unstable Argentine economy and the ‘why would you ever want to leave the greatest country?’ attitude, but man I’d love it if they could really just sit back and see things from my perspective.

The quality of life doesn’t even compare.

And the day to day challenges are making me someone I’m really proud of.

I’m out of my comfort zone yet feel like I fit in.  I don’t want to just grow old pissing away the days.  I want to explore, get bruised up, see as much of this big planet as I can!

So I’m ready to keep working hard.  Trying to stay focused.  Not let the negative in and try to break me down, because that’s just so easy.

2014 is going to be about bettering Liza.

Inside and out.

I’ve started doing acupuncture which is making a big impact on how I treat myself.

Within the first couple of sessions I noticed a massive difference.  Now I’m going weekly and the focus is to get things balanced.  I’m all for the rejuvenation and feeling energized yet rested.  I’m taking Chinese herbs, eating with the season and am constantly bathing myself in essential oils and have even stated making some of my own blends!

With acupuncture I’m learning so much about my body and how it responds to everything.  Diet really is the most important factor.

It’s also encouraged me to practice yoga which I’m doing almost daily and considering whether I should get yoga certified! Is that crazy of me?  I think I can do it.  And it’s so insane how strong my body is feeling!  I’ve actually started slowing down the yoga.  A) because I’ve been so tired lately.  Seriously sleeping til noon almost every day!  And B) because my body is getting buff!  Too buff.  I’m not a fan of the super muscle shoulders and all of that, not on my small frame.

But it’s nice, my little Liza improvements.

It’s really making me excited for 2014.  Turning 30.  Starting a new business (details another time) and letting go of 2013.

I’ve made some new friends which has been really nice.  And all three of them are running their own businesses.  Empowered women making a name in Argentina!

One of them gives the best facials I’ve ever had!!  Praise to you, Cassandra.  My skin and I are very happy you’re in BA.

In a matter of weeks one of my BA friends will be heading back to the states indefinitely.  I’m happy for her, it’s what she wants and it’s her time.  I wish you all the best, Kelly!

In exchange I get one of my best NYC girlfriends.  She arrives in March and plans to stay a year!

I’m a bit nervous to be honest.  I never imagined a friend would come here to stay.  I feel like it’s going to be a big responsibility on my end.  And I’ve got a full plate and need to stay focused on my projects.  But I also don’t care!!  I’ll do everything I can to help her get situated and feel comfortable.  I’m beyond excited that she’s coming.  My little NY partner n crime and I taking on Buenos Aires together.  I’m excited and scared but mostly happy for her new beginning.  The start of a new chapter.  I love those moments!

Did I mention that I saw Ray Liotta while at Baraka Cafe in Palermo?

I was sitting next to the window watching them film and he turned and we made eye contact!  I said, ‘Hey, Ray!’  a bit spastically and he waved back and smiled.

He was looking sharp in his suit and fake tan.  I wish I could of fed him at the puerta cerrada.  It’s like the best place for celebrities to come to while in Buenos Aires and avoid the public eye.

I remember last year there was  a moment when Halle Barry and Tom Cruise were both in BA.  And one night as the clients were arriving to NOLA I thought, what would I do if Halle or Tom walked in?  Would I be star struck?  Would I not care, because after all, they’re ‘normal people’ just like us?  Now I want a celebrity to come to NOLA!  Preferably a musician, like Lady Gaga or Karen O…

But for now I’m more than happy to be serving our international mix of clients here at NOLA.

In 2013 we added Craft Beer Night to our weekly schedule.  That’s on Thursdays and it’s really fun.  We play hip hop and are frying up a lot of chicken in our new deep fryer.  And biscuits!  Baking biscuits, not frying biscuits.  We’re bringing the biscuit to Buenos Aires, people!

We also hosted some Pop-Up events with Naiara of Aipim and Alan from The Office.  Those were good fun and we hope to host more this year!

2013 you were a good year.  A really good year.

3 months of travel.  I’m so grateful!!  There are so many places I hope my journey takes me to…

Friendships.  No matter the distance these people are in my life and I love them to the bone.

My relationship with my novio.  I picked a good one!  It’s been 3 and a half years and we’ve done so much.  I”m aware and try to remind myself so I wont forget just how lucky I am.

Projects.  Lots of ideas, some work, some don’t make it to life.  But I like that the wheel’s spinning!

B, I swear to God if you don’t come visit this year I’m not buying any more copies of The Casquette Girls!  (It was also a big year for sister, she wrote and self published a book, it took 3 months to arrive to Argentina!  It’s all about New Orleans and a voodoo urban legend, it’s gonna be huge.)

2014, I will try to be a better person.  Full of love, kindness and positivity.  Not sweating the small stuff.  I think I want to give The Power of Now a second try.  Holding on to negativity is just not in my deck of cards.

And I’m gonna stick with yoga!  I’m not sure if I’ll take on the certification just yet but at least make yoga part of my routine.

This year I’ll be faced with some big challenges and the more grounded I am the better the outcome.  I hope!

So here’s to a good 2014!

I wish you all the best and look forward to sharing my adventures with you.