Sleepless in Seattle.

Seattle is one of those places in the world that I fell in love with without even stepping foot in. Honestly, it’s probably because a few of my favorite movies & shows are set in this city. (I’m looking at you, Grey’s Anatomy.) But also, one of my dream jobs is based in Seattle. I’ve stalked this city madly in hopes of moving there in the near future. I’ve gone as far as looking at real estate and rental apartments. It’s pretty embarrassing, but I have been known to move my whole life in a brand new place without thinking of consequences or repercussions. It has been pretty okay so far, but that mindset has sort of prepared me into understanding how nothing stays the same forever. I could just now easily let go of places, material things, or even people. But before delving deeper into my psyche and how it works, lets go back to the topic at hand: Seattle.

Oh Seattle; the skyscrapers, the sea, the markets and the art. Everything about this city, just had a way of drawing me in. I went there to meet up with three of my favorite people in the world; Ryan, Anna & Pierre (my Vegas siblings) because we haven’t seen each other in a long time, and we’ve always wanted to travel together, but it’s never panned out. I’m so glad it finally did, and in this hip city of all places!

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AirBnB with #staywithvioure IG: @coffeecityglam for inquiries.

I didn’t quite get enough of Seattle as I’d hoped, but the few short days we were there was enough to convince me that it’s definitely a place I’d consider a future in. Granted, we were there on probably three out of the only few days of the year that it didn’t rain. We got pretty lucky that it was all sunny days during our trip, which somehow kind of tells me something, because I have this memory of an old lady telling me about this belief that if it rains the first time you visit a certain place, it means you are coming back.

Traditional customs aside, I definitely feel like I will be coming back to this colorful city!

In the first stop of our “Top Places to Visit in Seattle” tour. We went to a breakfast place highly recommended by locals. We had to wait in line a little bit before the place opened, but it was definitely worth the wait! Pike Place Chowder deserved all their “#1 Awards” plastered all over their restaurant. Their Seafood Bisque & Seared Scallop Chowder we’re both really top notch. There’s a reason why they’re the #1 Chowder in the US. I really can’t describe it any better! Also, I could probably only count the times I’ve had chowder in my life in my two hands, so I don’t really have a lot to compare it with, but out of those few times, I’d agree that this was the best!

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One of my favorite places we went to was the Pike Place Market. We had a conversation about how much the fish stink was very nostalgic. It felt like home somehow, because you could smell the ocean, and it just reminded me so much of the wet markets in the Philippines that I remember I never really enjoyed going to. It was funny, I never appreciated the fishy smell back home, but being away from it for such a long time and experiencing it again in the US is definitely something that felt almost bizarrely exciting. Aside from the fish that gets thrown around and caught by fishermen/vendors, Pike Place also sold a variety of fresh things around the wet market, like flowers, vegetables, and organic jams. 

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Underground was where they had the dry area where all these really eccentric, amazing shops were located. It was very colorful and fun just going in and out of shops, boutiques, pharmacies and libraries. Each place had it’s own personality, and it was just very amusing to see everything.

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We spent a lot of time in the stores just wandering aimlessly feeling like there was no concept of time whatsoever, and that we were almost in a different world. As we went up and out, that’s when we realized that we were back in gloomy old Seattle, back in the real world, and our adventure resumes.

The next stop, in an alley just outside the market, was where we discovered the Seattle Gum Wall. Not as exciting as everyone makes it out to be, but it was very entertaining to be there.

It was literally the most disgusting yet colorful display I’ve ever seen in my life. Imagine being around thousands of people’s combined spit, and you’re standing a feet away from it. It does feel as gross as it sounds, but it was such an awkwardly hilarious experience. I will not go further into the depths of  what we each did to get a great picture, so I’ll have you just enjoy them.

Most of the day we spent just walking around, eating and shopping and just generally enjoying each other’s company. We decided to rest up a little bit so we could meet Ryan’s friend for dinner, and see the city at night.

As beautiful as Seattle was in the day, nothing compares to what it looks like at night. We went to a place called Kerry Park where we had a full view of the city lights and the iconic Space Needle in between all of it.

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#findgizel Anna version in Seattle

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#findgizel Pierre version in Seattle

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Also, the Escape Room virgin in me did my very first escape room experience and had so much fun. I was literally halfway out the door because I thought it was one of those interactive scary kidnapping experiences. I still don’t understand why people pay for stuff like that, but, that’s them. Anyway, we did a witch themed escape and managed to solve the puzzle just 3 minutes before the timer! Pretty proud for my first time. Thank you to The Escape Artist for such a great experience, and the free winner’s pin!

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We went to a carnival themed bar called Unicorn on Capitol Hill, and had this really fun drink. I already forgot what it was called, but that’s one way of saying that I definitely enjoyed it! The bar was very whimsical, and the people in Seattle were very interesting in a fun, eccentric way. This definitely explains why everything in this city is very colorful and almost magical. (at this point, I’m running out of adjectives to describe this city.) At the end of the night, there’s no one else I’d eat grimy sidewalk hotdogs with, other than these three.

On the last day of our trip, we squeezed in a couple of food places and a bunch of city walking and people watching before our collective flights in the airport. Every street or building has such a character that it was fun just walking around despite the cold.

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Myself and Anna sneaked a little donut date(breakfast) from Mighty-O Donuts, because the sign has been calling to us and we’ve been talking about it non-stop ever since we arrived, and we just never really got the chance to come in the first few days. They had really great organic donuts and coffee, and we had a great view of hot men falling from the sky (No, I will not explain this sentence.)

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Then, just before heading to the airport, we had a quick lunch at Pier 57 in a place called The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar, where we had great fish & chips and even greater service.

The flight back home made me very sad because I was saying goodbye to a city that I really loved spending time in, and three people I really love spending time with.

See you again soon, Seattle! And to my three siblings: I wish we go on another trip soon!

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#findgizel in her future home, Seattle.

xx Gizzy

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Holidays 2018

As a girl growing up in the Philippines. I’ve been accustomed to an “All-out-Christmas” which is quite frankly just a regular celebration back home. It is what you would define as: Christmas decorations (and songs) in malls and households as early as September; Going to, no-joke, twenty different events during December, and spending a lot of time with your family until you get sick of them. I remember always having to put a lot of thought and effort into gift buying, because that’s just how everybody did it. I also remember much of the weird traditions in our country, as well as the ones in just our family.

When I moved to the US, I discovered that Christmas is not such a big deal. I mean, obviously they put up the Christmas trees and lights and stuff, but the day itself, is just pretty much a normal day. My friends would go to work, maybe go out for dinner, and that is it. The “Christmas-person” in me was heartbroken. However, we discovered something that we’ve never experienced before: Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is more of what’s celebrated in America. It’s not something my family and I traditionally do, but we’ve always been known to jump at any chance of spending time with each other. We love any excuse to travel together. 

My dilemma ever since I’ve started working, was not being able to request the holidays off. Now that I live in a different state, it’s even more difficult to celebrate with my family who live miles away. So when I found out that I had the Thanksgiving weekend off, I told my family to drive down to Aspen, and I’m so happy that they said yes.

This year, like the past few years ever since we’ve stopped celebrating the “all-out-christmas,” Our family decided to schedule our own celebrations. Myself and my older sister split the holidays so I had the family for Thanksgiving in Aspen, and she was with them for Christmas in Vegas.

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It was their first time in Colorado, and it was my little nephew’s first time experiencing snowfall. It was honestly such a surreal experience watching a toddler discover snow for the first time.

I might have possibly given them the worst tour of Aspen, because I’m honestly just not good at giving tours, and my cold ass just wanted to stay inside the hotel and play with my nephew. I also did not realize that Thanksgiving was still part of the town’s off season, so the non-skiers that we were pretty much had absolutely nothing to do. Luckily, they didn’t complain, and it was still such a great few days because we had fun spending time with each other, even if it was just driving or walking around town looking at the view, or staring at the snow fall from our hotel room window.

For actual Christmas, I celebrated with my extended family in Colorado. I went to an Argentinian celebration on the 24th with my co-worker which felt very close to home considering our Christmases are very Spanish influenced. We had a “noche buena” where you basically just pig out while waiting for midnight, and anything that involves food makes me very content. To be honest, I felt a little awkward in the beginning because I think I was the only one who didn’t know how to speak Spanish, so I busied myself with all the great food that I was experiencing for the first time. After the countdown, they decided (in Spanish) to go outside. I was so clueless as to why we were putting our boots and coats on but I just went along with it. We all went outside and had a big snowball fight. It was so much fun, and I hurt my stomach just laughing at how silly us adults were acting. I did learn something new though, “mucho frio” which is pretty much just all I said until the end of the night.

On Christmas Day, I took a gondola ride up the mountain with my friend Aimeeh and we had Christmas-day-lunch while everyone else was doing “Christmas-day-Skiing.” We had an amazing view, great food, and had a lot of fun feeding the birds & doing our little gift exchange. Afterwards, we went to Snowmass to see Nenita and I had a nice Filipino-food dinner with her in my old place.

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#findgizel @ the peak of Aspen Mountain

The day after, we had another (late)Christmas dinner at Aimeeh’s with a bunch of her friends and co-workers. Like every single time I’ve spent at Aimeeh’s place: good food,  good wine, and good company. We ended up playing games & watching movies like actual old people that we were. haha!

On New Year’s Eve, I met up again with them to ring in 2019 at the St Regis in Aspen. Yet again, another “mucho frio” night in town, I honestly felt like my toes were going to fall off, but it was so much fun watching the fireworks display and just celebrating with a lot of fun people around.

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All in all, despite being away from my family, I’m so happy I’m able to celebrate festivities with my friends and feel a little less homesick. It’s exciting to look forward to a new year with a new place and a promotion, and just having more new people in my life.

Like every year, instead of a resolution, I’m making a promise. 2019 will be a year of more travels and uhh- finding myself. So hopefully, more Find Gizel’s in new places! Also, because of that, I promise to focus more of my energy into writing. Maybe at least 2 entries a month, we will see. For now, I’ve just got a lot of exciting adventures lined up for 2019, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!!

 

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#findgizel welcoming 2019! Happy New Year!

 

xx Gizel

interesting finds in an interesting city

Once in a while you discover new things about a place that’s considered as somewhere that’s “always just been there.” You ignore it without realizing how beautiful and actually great it is. That’s my relationship with Denver. I’ve always seen Denver as a place to layover when I’m headed home, or when I’m leaving home. Despite the many different times I have been in this city, I’ve never actually gone past the airport. I almost somehow have it memorized better than any other airport in the world. Landing and taking off, I would often think how ugly and empty Denver seemed.  Turns out, the actual city proper is a half hour or more away, and I’ve just been viewing the almost secluded “ugly and empty” landing strip.

One of my best friends(ew) Ricardo, decided that he is turning himself into a “traveler” and will now be going to places he’s never been to; and because we’ve missed being assholes to each other in person, we’ve missed each other(ew, again) and none of us have ever really spent time in Denver, we decided to come “travel” the city together.

The city is such a fun and colorful place with a lot of hidden gems everywhere, even in the alleys! It’s one of those places that’s very artsy-funky, and historical but also kind of modern at the same time with a gorgeous mountain view surrounding it.

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We spent most of the time we were there just walking around Union Station and discovering something new around the area every single day.

 

 

 

We paid a visit to the Denver Art Museum and had so much fun watching the exhibits. Although, to be honest, I think we probably weren’t sophisticated enough for Rembrandt because we seemed like two fishes out of water compared to all the guests inside that gallery. The museum had so many interesting art displays that we must have spent hours literally just getting lost in there.

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When we left, the outside actually felt like an extension of the museum. Almost every building-wall was painted with cool murals; a lot of the alleys had interesting interactive installments; random areas in the streets and outside some of the buildings were a couple of weird-but-cool statues; and pretty much everywhere else was a random street performer a mile away from one another.

 

 

 

The food places we’ve been to eat were also nothing short of amazing. I have no complaints with every single place we went to. It might’ve possibly been the other way around though, since at one point, we went to an all-you-can-eat Korean restaurant and REALLY got our money’s worth. The waitress looked at my tiny frame and probably assumed I ordered more than I could handle. She was wrong. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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On the nights that we went out, we had such a great time because the Denver night life is actually pretty exciting. All the bars are walking distances from each other, and we pretty much went inside each one of them for one drink or just to warm up. They all had good local beer, funny-named drinks, and were just all-in-all really great places to chill in.

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My favorite must’ve  been the place called 1UP. It was this really cool bar that’s partly an arcade. The whole place was surrounded with a lot of different vintage pinball machines and arcade games with the full bar situated in the middle of the whole thing. People pretty much just casually took turns playing games while drinking and mingling. Not a lot of mingling from my part since I was mostly just playing and I was being a little competitive.

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Towards the end of the night, we randomly walked into this bar called Ophelia’s and ended up staying there ’til closing time because we had so much fun people-watching and surprisingly enjoyed ourselves dancing to 80’s music.

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During our last day, the weather decided to match with our feelings, because it was suddenly too cold and gloomy. It was scheduled to snow the night we were both leaving, so the city was a little dark and empty. Not a lot of people were walking around the streets because the weather was around 20 degrees.

 

 

 

We also just bit the bullet and braved the freezing weather to do the full tourist experience and just walk from landmark to landmark in the city hall and the civic center.

 

 

 

 

 

Our uber driver suggested for us to visit Larimer St before we left, and we were not disappointed! Despite my frozen fingers and Ricardo’s swollen ears, we managed to still do our dumb photoshoots and enjoy ourselves. Larimer St was amazing! They had a great festive Christmas display(and if you know me, you know how much I love Christmas!) They had all the christmas lights turned on in the middle of the day because it was such a gloomy morning, but that just made it  even more interesting to look at.

 

 

 

The whole time I was there, I just felt happy and unfazed by my version of real-world stresses. It made me want to commit to making it a habit of visiting Denver as much as I possibly could. I know there will be a lot more to discover, and I can’t wait for more adventures.

Til next time!

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#findgizel in Denver, Colorado

xx Gizel

 

Heading Home.

This is the first time I’ve been home in three years, and despite having a lot of things change, there are also a couple of things that I’m glad has remained the same. 

My family, that is living in three different states, decided to all come home together to celebrate mine, my nephew’s and my mom’s birthday. In the two weeks that we are all back in the homeland, we’ve managed to spend every single day in the places we loved, with the people we loved. 

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Things that have changed: Cleo’s hair
Things that remained the same: Korean BBQ dates 🍱🍱
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Things that have changed: This girl is now a celebrity
Things that remained the same: She is still my langka Dani 😎💃🏻

 

Things that have changed: SM CITY BACOLOD
Things that remained the same: My love for this boy.
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Things that remained the same: My best friends.
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Things that have changed: This girl is now a dentist!
Things that remained the same: Our bond since we were 12 years old. 👯‍♀️💕

 

 

Things that remained the same: KARAOKE!!

 

 

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Things that have changed: We all have adult lives now.
Things that remained the same: Our friendship since 3rd grade.

 

Things that remained the same: Bacolod City Traffic
Things that have changed: This boy is now here to experience it. #babydriver

 

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Things that remained the same: The laughter and excitement of seeing each other.

 

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42335823_10155721490838639_1311388098269020160_nThings that have changed: These new coffee shops in my city.
Things that remained the same: Coffee dates with these people.

 

 

Things that remained the same: The fake laughter poses and the real laughter afterwards.

 

 

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Things that have changed: Possibly everyone’s waistlines.
Things that remained the same: Amazing Negros Occidental food.

 

42249253_10155722205893639_6503703405343539200_nThings that have changed: This girl.
Things that remained the same: This girl.

 

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Things that remained the same: Drinking buddies.
Things that have changed: We have better taste in alcohol now.

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Things that remained the same: Family & Food.

 

 

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Things that remained the same: my adorable grandmother.
PS. Please never change!!

 

Things that have changed: How we look.
Things that remained the same: How we feel about each other. ❤

 

42504783_10155730867038639_3231440845555105792_nThings that have changed: Braces
Things that remained the same: He is still guapo.🙄

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Things that have changed: Bea is very successful in her career choices.
Things that remained the same: Our height difference! hahaha😂😂
42611770_10155732515778639_8476204897384005632_nThings that have changed: We are not twins anymore. 😦
Things that remained the same: Émile’s size since high school. HAHAHA! 😂

 

Things that remained the same: Our lasting friendships. ❤

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Things that have changed: Our experiences.
Things that remained the same: The pain in our stomachs from laughing everytime we are together.

 

I am very grateful to have been given the chance to be back to see all these changes, and enjoy the nostalgia of what has remained the same, it made me realize how I should keep coming home as much as possible.

Until next time, Philippines.

xx Gizel

 

Digital Detox

I recently came across the phrase “digital detox” and it resonated with me on a deep level. There was a point in the beginning of my (adult) life that I was unknowingly going through my first digital detox experience; It was after I graduated college and wanted a clean slate. I deactivated my facebook, changed my phone number, cut my hair and travelled around the country. It made me feel good. It was a great and humbling/freeing experience to not depend everything on technology and social media, but then it also felt that I was basically cutting off everyone and everything in my life. If you know me and understand how my brain works, you’d know that whenever I tend to decide on one thing, it would always be one of the extremes.

So instead of getting either too in your face everyday that you’d get sick of my shadow, or falling off the grid completely, I decided to now try and find the perfect balance. I know. Seems easy enough, but such an arduous task for someone like me. (Why can’t I just be a normal person?)

Starting today, Im gonna try this social media hiatus. I am not gonna be gone completely, but I will definitely be online a lot less. I’ve already deleted my facebook app (not the account, coz I still need to talk to my family and best friends that are continents away) so I don’t have as much things to waste my time on. I’ve found myself more invested in the relationships of other people rather than the ones I have, and I grew tired of making comparisons and unnecessary judgments. I honestly don’t think me deleting anything makes a difference to the people around me, but it will make a huge difference to myself and the way I perceive things.

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The plan is to decrease a significant amount of time staring at my phone as the first step. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I’m not on it as much as every other person. Its almost impossible to set it down because somehow there’s always gonna be content that I would unashamedly devour, no matter how nonsensical it is. It also already proves to be such a challenge considering how working in the fashion industry, I’d always have to be well versed and know about whats going on around it. I literally get emails of runway shows from my manager that I have to watch and share knowledge about. Giving myself a limit on media time is a smart way of prioritizing what I need to look at, and what I shouldn’t even bother concerning myself with.

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Step number two is to reconnect with the earth. I’ve found that I personally always get a sense of balance whenever I do nature trips and the like. It’s somehow a sort of reset button that whenever I go up to the mountains by myself or go to the lake with my friends, I always “come back” to the world with a renewed sense of energy.

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Going up on little hikes without any phone service actually helps you look a little less at your device and a little more at what surrounds you. Spoiler alert: its beautiful.

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A few days ago I went floating with a couple of my friends and just looking at the scenery or listening to the river and to the birds was such a calming experience that it made me not want to leave that state of mind.

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With that said, step three is to spend more time with people. Actual physical people that you get to have conversations with right in front of you. I want to make a habit of just being in the moment with my friends and family without any worries of what the rest of the world will think. I want to be there and be present instead of being in their company, but occupied with some other people’s curated lives on their pages.

Buying plane tickets to go to places and see my friends and family, just so I could be physically present in their lives is something that I found very important. I had the realization that I didn’t really mind spending money to travel because that’s what I was saving up for in the first place. To see the people I care about in person instead of through a screen has proven great benefits for my mental health.

These little steps are the beginning of my so called digital detox. Cleansing myself from the negativities of the internet, and trying to get a break from it every once in a while.

Less screen time, more nature time, and more people time. It would make me become a better person, and it would give my poor phone a chance to rest. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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#findgizel @ Maroon Bells, Colorado

xx Gizel

Hello, 2018!

South Rim Trail – Snowmass Village, Colorado
Miles: 6.60
Ascent: 1,212
Temperature: 32F
Steps: 4,104
Playlist: Today’s Top Hits (Spotify)

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On the very first day of 2018, I decided to go for a hike.
I wasn’t trying to do a “New Year Hike” or a “New Year, New Me” thing. I’m not planning on making this a regular habit, like how everyone wants to start the year by doing something healthy, although I really should.

Honestly, I just wanted to go up the mountains and just be by myself for a little while. Somehow everything is just easier when you get up there.

I literally felt all my worries physically pulling away from my body and staying down in the ground. The higher elevation I went, the more I stopped thinking about all of the things that has been bothering me in the past few weeks. I wanted to just focus on myself, and that’s exactly what happened.

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I went up to go find the Yin Yang Spiral Point at the very top of the trail. It was somehow symbolical in a way. The Yin-Yang; the perfect balance. Balance of what exactly, I didn’t really know. I sat down on one of the benches overlooking the whole of Snowmass Village and just reflected my past year. I guess this was a “New Year Hike” after all.

I loved having time for myself, and being able to acknowledge what really mattered. I’m thankful to have had this “pause” from the regular world nonsense- I wasn’t even able to think about anything else but the beauty of what I was looking at. All I know is, I needed a breather, and I had one.

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I think sitting on a bench feeling like I was on top of the world put a lot of things into perspective. 2017 was about taking risks, and I’ve jumped in so many cliffs this year, that I feel like, everything I’ve done was a risk at some  point. Some decisions have been “brave” while others have been stupid. Maybe this year will be about, facing the repercussions of my bad decisions, or doing something to make the changes I needed in my life. That part, I still haven’t figured out completely.

I didn’t make any resolutions for this year, because I never really follow through on all of them; and instead of focusing on the failures to come, I wanted to just start the year in a positive note. So even though, I can’t make any promises on resolutions or any of the sort, I decided that this year, I will try my very best to appreciate things that I usually take for granted. It’s not exactly a promise, or a goal, like I said: no resolutions. It’s more of a reminder, to look at the good things instead of overthinking the bad.

Re-shifting my focus for 2018!

New Year Hike from Find Gizel on Vimeo.

Hope you’ve had a happy New Year.

xx Gizel

Have you heard, there’s a rumor in St. Petersburg?

This is not a review.

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Over the course of this trip, my four-year-old self would’ve probably been leaping for joy for having her dreams fulfilled. Growing up, I was obsessed with the cartoon Anastasia as well as the real one. I remembered always researching about Russian history even though I never really needed to learn it in school. I’d get giddy reading about the Romanovs in history books as well as fiction books. I loved learning about Anastasia’s life and family.

I used to have this CD of a collection of songs from the musical cartoons of “my time.”  My mom would play it in the car for me and my sisters and that’s how I was able to memorize the lyrics to even the most random songs such as “Poor Unfortunate Souls” by Ursula from The Little Mermaid or “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” by General Shang from Mulan. One of my favorite songs from that CD was Anastasia’s “Journey to the Past.” There was something about the way she was singing her story that captivated me. I think that started my passion for musicals and theatre.

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When I first found out that they were making a broadway version of one of my favorite cartoons, I just about flipped. I made it a goal to see it live. I never thought that it would’ve even been a slight possibility considering I also made it a goal to watch Britney Spears live and was never able to despite the fact that I lived in Vegas for two years during her residency. I think it began with what was just a random conversation between me and my friend Skippy about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child show that suddenly led us to rush ourselves into buying tickets to New York.

Fast forward to us finally being in the Broadhurst Theatre for their evening performance, watching and falling in love with Christy Altomare and pretty much everything about the show. The best part was me not realizing that my ultimate broadway crush, Ramin Karimloo was also performing. As excited as I was about everything, I did not do research beforehand, so I just enjoyed the pleasurable surprise.

Before it started, I practically had to drag Skippy in with me. He was mostly “Oh this is no big deal,” “These things don’t make sense,” and “I’m not that interested in musicals.” Imagine my surprise when after they ended the first act with “Journey to the Past” I looked at him and realized that both of us were huge emotional wrecks. He told me he’s been crying (in secret) because of how amazing the show was.

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Towards the finale, the crying wasn’t a secret anymore. I have converted my friend into a broadway geek, and finally ladies and gentlemen, my work here is done!

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If you’re ever in New York for a quick visit, I highly recommend watching Anastasia: The Broadway Musical.

 

xx Gizel