Tag Archives: birthdays

best week ever

After writing two posts this week, you’re probably wondering where this consistent blogging was during the majority of June and the first half of July.  Well, this post is here to answer exactly that question… or at least attempt to.

Two weeks ago, I had the best week ever.  In fact, it was so great that it made my amazing friend Jackie decide to stay to finish her senior year in Spain.  Even though I will miss her incredibly this fall, I’m glad she made the decision to stay because I know it’s what she really wanted and I know she’s going to have one million more of these best weeks ever in the year to come.  Congrats, Jack!

And I digress… anyway, here’s a photo list of all of the reasons why two weeks ago was the best week ever.  Hopefully I’ll get around to a blog post each about these events, but for now… I hope this will suffice.  Buen finde, amores:)


No hay dos sin tres. Spain makes history by winning the Eurocup final, having won the previous Eurocup and World Cup (& remember where I was all day before the game?)

Most successful Fourth of July picnic, celebrated at the picnic tables in Parque Oeste with many American and European friends.

Celebrating Nadine’s birthday with 6 for 3€ beers and then a picnic in the park the next day.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers Concert as part of Rock in Rio Madrid 2012. Life goal, check.


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NEU en Barcelona

When Jackie’s cousin Caroline and her boyfriend Brian were here visiting they had the opportunity to see Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona all in one fellow swoop across the country.  Upon their return to Madrid after visiting both of the cities I loved hearing all of their thoughts about the two very different Spanish cultures they had seen.  Since I lived in Sevilla for a month (over two years ago now!) and had already been to Barcelona during the fall semester, it was really fun with all of us already being familiar with the cities themselves.

But when we got to the topic of La Sagrada Familia, Caroline and Brian stared at us with shock and awe when we told them we had rented bikes, and thus not wanted to spend time waiting in the long line to go inside.  We had been contemplating the idea of heading back to Barcelona during the summer to experience La Barceloneta and the beach anyway, so when they told us it was the most beautiful thing that had seen in their entire life, we were sold on going back again.

I bought tickets online to enter inside the Sagrada Familia and we completely avoided waiting in any lines at all, definitely worth it.  I highly recommend purchasing tickets online here, since you have a one hour window in which you can enter, with unlimited time inside.  I thought the outside was impressive, but since it’s still under construction you can’t take in all of its beauty just yet.  On the other hand, the inside of the cathedral is absolutely incredible.  From the stained glass to the intricate ceilings and beautiful stone work, not one detail was left out.

Other than that reservation, we had no other plans for the weekend.  Since we had already had the opportunity to explore la Boqueria, las Ramblas, Camp Nou, Parque Guelle and the Guadi houses during our previous visit to Barcelona in October, we had a lot more freedom this time around.  We spent two long days at the beach and two long nights out experiencing the wonderful nightlife of the city.


We spent the first night at Shoko, a typical club of la Barceloneta neighborhood, located right on the beach with a terrace and the option to escape from the club to relax on the beach, which I of course took advantage of.  Since it closed early for our Madrid standards (3:30am), we slowly made it back to our hostel by walking along the beach and going for a late night swim.  We spent Saturday night at a huge festival/party/I’m not even sure what to call it at El Poble Espanyol.  El Poble is a village built during the Barcelona Olympics to showcase the unique cultures, architectures and foods of the different regions of Spain.  We didn’t get to explore the whole village, but we did see the huge Plaza Mayor and the Andalucian neighbourhood, which really did remind me so much of the small winding streets of Sevilla.

We ate amazing seafood, like garlic shrimp and seafood & chicken paella, vinegar mussels and fresh calamari, only fitting as we were finally near the ocean.  Before getting on our train back to Madrid on Sunday night we also enjoyed sandwiches from Bo d B, recommended by a friend of a friend who had previously studied in Barcelona.  For American tourists the sandwiches are nothing special, but I assure you that after a year without access to anything remotely resembling a deli, Panera, bagel shop, etc. it was the best sandwich I’ve had in a while.  Study-abroad students in Barcelona, I highly suggest visiting this place!

We returned to Madrid sunburned and exhausted, but so content with the wonderful weekend we had just had.  What made it even better is that we met up with friends from Northeastern, some that we hadn’t seen since we left Boston last year.  It was great to see you guys and I hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration, Bridget!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  Ciao, amores:)

{buenos días, barcelona}

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feliz cumpleaños, teddy!!

Here’s a little video we made to wish Dan’s dad a very happy 60th birthday, all the way from Spain!!  Hope you had a great time at Dusal’s last weekend and that you have a great day, Teddy!


I promise updates on my trip to Paris last weekend as soon as possible!  Ciao, amores:)

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celebraciones para mi cumpleaños

I’m here to finish the story of my birthday weekend.  I know, I left you guys hanging by saying there was more to come, and then never updating you, but the thing is, with 30+ hours of class this week, I just couldn’t quite find the time!  Anyway, back to the birthday!

Friday night after being in Segovia for the afternoon, I had plenty of time to relax, eat dinner and get ready before heading over to Kathryn’s house.  A few friends came over, and we sat around drinking champagne and playing my favorite drinking game. We then went to a really fun club called Coco right near Puerta del Sol for the rest of the night.  A few other friends met us there, and it was a really fun time.  Dan, Gabby and I even got Churros at San Gines when we left the club, and they were so amazing.  I don’t think I even looked up from the churros & chocolate until I had finished all of mine!

Saturday afternoon, I had an amazingly delicious brunch at VIPS with Gabby, Lauren and Kathryn.  We were all so hungry (despite the late night churros), and I was so happy that we were all awake and awake enough to make it over to VIPS together.  I relaxed for the rest of the day, watching movies and lazing around at Dan’s.

Kathryn and I made a delicious Earl Grey birthday cake (click for recipe) before I headed back to Dan’s for absolutely delicious fish francaise, homemade rice pilaf, and my favorite broccoli.  The rice pilaf was so easy to make – and who knew that classic rice pilaf flavor came from buttery-toasted spaghetti?

Kathryn and Gabby came over for champagne at midnight when I officially turned 22, but I actually popped the bottle 1 minute early, hehe.  Some other friends came over, and we just hung out and talked until it was too late for us to leave to go out.  It was a really relaxing night though and was perfect, especially after the long night we had the night before.

Sunday afternoon Dan took me out for a surprise birthday lunch to a great sushi place right around the corner from both of us.  We haven’t had sushi since we got to Spain, and I have been craving it so much lately.  We got a few different rolls and another crazy concoction of salmon filled with avocado and cream cheese and then tempura fried (read: absolutely amazing!).

Everyone came over for a little party afterwards to enjoy all sorts of cakes and sweets.  We had the Earl Grey birthday cake, cupcakes with Nutella buttercream (made by my roommate, Bea), bizcocho (made by my roommate, Eva), banana bread (made by Kathryn), and an assortment of different cake slices from Corte Ingles (thanks to Gabby and Lauren).  The birthday cake was sweet with just a touch of Early Grey flavor in every bite.  I think next time I would follow the Earl Grey method but use on of my favorite vanilla cake recipes instead though.  The bizcocho was definitely my favorite though; I’ll have to get the recipe from Eva!


All in all, it was an absolutely perfect birthday weekend.  There was a great balance between crazy and relaxing times, perfect for celebrating my birthday and taking advantage of the break between final exams and the new semester.  I’m so happy I got to spend time with all of my friends here for my birthday, and I even skyped with my parents and a few friends back in the US too. Thank you all so much for everything!  It was absolutely fabulous to spend my birthday weekend with you, and I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.  Gracias, amores:)

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feliz cumpleaños, dan!

Dan’s birthday is so close to Christmas (it’s December 23!) that it usually gets celebrated the week before or nearly forgotten in all of the holiday travel mayhem.  Last year we made the most of it by staying in to have a great homemade dinner, cake, and presents in Boston, and I hope he had just as much fun celebrating this year with our families and friends!

{Mom in front of the carousel and christmas markets; Plaza Mayor}

We took my favorite walking tour of Madrid, starting at the Templo de Debod & Parque del Oeste, seeing the Christmas lights in Gran Vía, Puerta del Sol, & Plaza Mayor, and having a snack of jamón and queso at Mercado de San Miguel with our families before having dinner at the oldest restaurant in the world, Casa Botín.  The atmosphere was great inside and the food was excellent, as well, though I think there may be too much hype over the place.  Of course, we enjoyed ourselves, but I would have to say I’ve had better meals in Madrid, and though I’m glad I went once, I don’t plan on going back.

That wonderful time with our family was followed by homemade chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting (by me!)  and presents at our friend Kenny’s apartment.  It was great to hang out with everyone for the night before we all went our separate ways for Christmas.  Dan and I had flights early the next morning to Prague, so we decided against going to the club in efforts to call it an early night.  Another post coming soon about spending the Christmas holidays in Prague, which I started on just four hours of sleep… so much for going to bed early!

¡Feliz cumpleaños, amor!  Espero que te hayas disfrutado:)

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cumpleaños de las gemelas

Friday night I threw a party at my apartment for the twenty second birthdays of my two friends Kathryn and Lauren.  They were born one minute apart on the same day in the same year!!

We had a dinner of stuffed shells and spinach artichoke bread (you can find the recipe here for the dish, which I also made for Gabby’s birthday).  We also gave them their gifts, bracelets from a Spanish jewelry store, Uno de 50, which sells all sorts of interesting and unique bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc.  Check it out here!

After dinner, some more friends came over, including German and French friends from class that we were excited to see, Lauren & Gabby’s Spanish roommates, and Lauren’s host brother from when she came to Madrid during high school.  It was great to have such an international  party as Rina calls it, haha… but really, it was a lot of fun!!  We enjoyed an amazing cake (click here for the cake recipe, frosting recipe, and homemade buttermilk recipe… since that’s another thing we can add to the list of ingredients Spaniards don’t use) and tequila sangria (read: instant hangover) before heading to Cats, a discoteca near my house that was a ton of fun!

Hope you enjoyed your birthday, chicas!<3


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feliz cumpleaños a gabby

This past weekend, I had the honor of celebrating the most-awaited birthday of the year, the twenty-first birthday of Miss Gabrielle Velasquez!  There’s a little back story to this one.  Last year, one by one all of our friends turned twenty-one, went to the bars in Boston for the “first time,” and had a celebrations with all of our friends.  Gabby sat back and relaxed, waiting until she reached the US legal drinking age while living in a country where the drinking age is 18 (…not that we’re complaining).  Even though it wasn’t as exciting to turn twenty one here in Spain, we decided that there’s no way we could have done anything half as fun in Boston.

Sidenote: ADRIENNE CICERO, my roommate from the legendary 69 Gainsborough Apartment 3, was here for the entire weekend, which automatically brightened everyone’s day.

Thursday night we had Spanish tortillas, pineapple shrimp salads, and spinach artichoke dip bread (don’t worry, recipe to come!) at Lauren’s before heading to Gabana, a posh nightclub that’s free for girls until 3am.  It was really fun and since we had all day to sleep the next day, we didn’t mind at all.

Friday was the big night, we were having a party at Lauren’s, then heading to Buddha Bar with everyone afterwards.  Since Gabby is the queen of champagne, I had a great idea, that a bunch of us girls buy her twenty-one bottles of champagne for her twenty-first birthday.  (See photo above!)


Unfortunately, there aren’t any pictures of Adrienne and I carrying twenty-one bottles down the hill to Lauren’s apartment, but you can trust me when I say, it was hilarious.

We tied a ribbon around each bottle and put one reason why we love her.  It turned out looking adorable, Gabby obviously loved it, and we had a great time putting the whole thing together.

After Funfetti cupcakes, we spent the night at Buddha Bar, which is now my favorite club in Madrid.  It’s outside of the city, about a 10euro cab ride, so I won’t be going very often, but it was still so fun.  There were musicians playing the trumpet, saxophone, and drums live to the music of the DJ.

Saturday was a lazy day of pancakes & bloody marys, touring around Madrid (going on 3 weeks in a row now), and Cien Montaditos.  And Sunday was a sad day of goodbyes to Kate and Adrienne who I’m not even sure when I’ll see again and homework.

How was your weekend?  I’d love to hear!

Ciao, amores:)

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feliz cumple a jackie!

Sunday, September 11 was Jackie’s 22nd birthday!!  Even though we continuously made fun of her for being soooo old, we had a great night and day of celebrating!

Saturday night we cheers-ed while painting our nails at midnight before going to meet some friends for a botellon.  “Botellon-ing” is a fairly loose term that refers to the act of having a few drinks with friends generally outside before going to a more traditional nighttime destination (club, bar, etc.).  We met up at Parque del Oeste, which is very close to our apartments, to hang out for a few hours before going out to celebrate!

Our original plan had been to go to Buddha del Mar, which is in a suburb of Madrid, but we wound up at Coco, one of the many discotecas in Purta del Sol.  We ran into a promoter Dan had already met while walking to the club.  Since it was Jackie’s birthday he let us cut the line, which was awesome!  At 3am the lines are ridiculously long, especially in such a busy place as Puerta del Sol.  After dancing until 5am we decided it was time to go home and had planned to meet for a birthday picnic in Parque del Retiro around 2 or 3 in the afternoon on Sunday.

Well, after waking up at 2pm with no word from anyone else, I gathered the assumption that they were all still asleep.  Nevertheless, I started getting ready, reheating foods to bring to the picnic, and making sure all of our bases were covered for the day!

I guess I skipped a part…  my french friend Lauriane and I spent a good part of Saturday cooking and baking for the picnic!  Lauriane taught me how to make four different French dishes, which I am very excited to try out again.

  • Cake au samon: a light and fluffy bread with dill, tomatoes, and
    smoked salmon baked into it.
  • Shoux: for all intensive purposes, cheese puffs
  • Pastel de chocolate: very similar to a flourless chocolate torte (aka deliciously decadent)
  • Pastel de manzanas: an apple cake


And I digress… anyway, we served these four wonderful dishes on Sunday upon Jackie’s arrival (around 4:30).  It was great to relax in the park after a long weekend and just before our first day of school with old and new friends!

El Retiro is one of my favorite places in Madrid thus far… if it was closer to my apartment I think I would find time to go there everyday.  We had a great conversation with our new friends from France, Italy, and Germany about the different sounds that animals make in different countries… you can only imagine how silly it was!

We also finally got to see “el angel caido,” a statue of the devil in El Retiro.  It was comissioned by the mayor of Madrid a number of years ago and is still a popular tourist attraction.  We also found out that it is the place to be around sunset for rollerblading.


Happy birthday, Jackie! I hope you had a wonderful day:)

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