I’ve been thinking a lot about Joy in my own life. I’m happy, yes, but I’ve been questioning if I’m experiencing real Joy in my daily life. I’m not sure? At least, not enough of it. What do you do to bring Joy to your daily life?
It’s amazing to think our National Park Service has turned 100! In order to celebrate, I’d like to share some pics of my favorite National Park, Muir Words National Monument.
If you’re ever in San Francisco, take the time to drive out to Muir Woods and experience these majestic Redwoods in person. They’re absolutely breathtaking.
It’s been almost 4 years since we went to Spain. I feel it’s time for a trip back possibly next year? What do you think?
This Travel Tuesday, has me thinking about places I’d love to go back to. Have you ever been to a place and know once wasn’t enough? I feel that way about New Orleans! The food, the music, the culture of the city is unlike any other U.S. city. Where would you go back to?
I was recently diagnosed with PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. What is PCOS? I found out I have PCOS because I kept gaining weight, became prediabetic, and finally with an ultrasound it became clear that my ovaries are surrounded by cysts. Along with that joyous news, it was determined I have a 3 mm tumor in my head. Seriously. Not to fear, it’s not cancerous, thankfully. It’s a pituitary gland tumor aka pituitary adenoma. The pituitary gland is a master gland below the brain that controls many things in the body, but mostly hormone related. This was diagnosed after discovering I had elevated Prolactin levels in my blood. I’m currently on medication of Metformin and Cabergoline. I was originally on Bromocriptine, but I had such adverse side effects from it I stopped taking it. My endocrinologist has since prescribed me Cabergoline. So far so good.
How do I feel? Physically, fine. Emotionally, depends on the day you ask. Right now, I’m okay. Plus, I think I’ve had enough time to process the news.
What does this mean for children in our future? A number of things, mostly, we don’t know if we’ll be able to conceive a child naturally. I hope and pray that we do. If not, adoption is definitely and has always been an option for us. Which reminds me, I stress the importance of talking about infertility before marriage. I’m grateful that it’s something we had discussed pre-marriage in great detail. Especially since we are in a place now in our lives where it hasn’t been easy trying to conceive due to my health issues.
The only reason I’m sharing this news is because I know we’re not alone. However, many friends and family members are ashamed or scared to share their stories. It is what it is. I can’t sugar coat it. It sucks. It sucks because I finally got to a place in my life and heart where I’m ready and want to become a mother. Then to hit this roadblock this huge is hurtful and frustrating more than anything. I’m thankful we found out what is going on with my body. It feels unnatural to not be in control of my own body. To know that my issue is greater than what I can control on my own is at times overwhelming. It’s manageable, but not curable. It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. I don’t know how I would’ve handled this news without the unwavering love and emotional support of my husband and our families. It’s not easy and there are lots of times I questioned myself as a woman and wife. Why is this happening to me? Why isn’t my body normal? Why can’t I get pregnant right away? When will I get pregnant? When will I have control over my body again? When do we start looking into a fertility specialist? There are so many questions and yet still uncertain answers. The only thing I can do is continue to take my medications.
The biggest lesson I’m taking away from this is to be kinder to myself. I need to accept this is what’s happening right now. I will be okay. Life will be okay. My marriage will always be okay. If anything, it has brought my husband and me closer. He has seen and heard me cry. He shares in my prayers. He has experienced first hand my frustrations and side effects from medicine. It has forced me to share with him and others how I’m feeling. Sometimes, I don’t feel emotionally strong. As someone who has always been an optimistic and happy person, these feelings of sadness or frustration are new to me. I’m learning that it’s normal.
I wasn’t able to predict what’s going on with my body, but family genetics has a lot to do with it. I have family members with PCOS and Pituitary Gland Tumors, that I’ve only recently found out about. This is why it’s important to know our family history. I know I’m not alone in this. While my husband insists we are going through this together, which we are, I still feel this is very much my own journey. That’s because it is happening in my body. Even that feeling of alone is normal. It’s most important to remember none of us are alone. The difference between me and most is I’m willing to share what’s going on. That’s because I believe we can all learn from one another and help each other when we are in a place of the unknown in our lives.
If I can be of help and support to someone else and have another woman become more familiar with her body, then it’s all worth it. I want to let other couples know that fertility issues are extremely common. It wasn’t something we expected or could have predicted. Even though we’re currently experiencing this new challenge in our lives, we’re not going to let it stop us from enjoying our lives or marriage. We’re going to continue to travel. We’re going to continue to pray. We’re going to continue to enjoy the full lives we have created with our friends and family. We’re going to continue to show other couples that our love is enough to get us through anything together. If you think you have PCOS contact your doctor asap, especially if you are trying to conceive. The struggle is real, but it doesn’t have to be the end all and be all of our happiness and life together.
Lima was full of surprises for me. First of all, it’s a much larger city than I ever expected. It’s home to some of the best restaurants in the world. It has ancient ruins in the middle of its modern day city. Which for me, puts it at the top of one of my favorite cities in the world.
We stayed in Miraflores for 3 days. Upon our return from Machu Picchu, we stayed in San Isidro for another 3 days. Even with 6 days total in Lima, it still was not enough time to do and see everything. This city and country can easily keep you busy for months.
Lima is the capital of Peru. It was founded in 1535. It resides along the Pacific coast in South America. It was about a 6.5-hour flight for us from Houston, TX. It had been on my bucket list for years. Our Lima itinerary consisted of 2 special reservations at Astrid & Gaston and Central Restaurante. We also had reservations at Maido, but we became so ill we had to cancel our reservation. That was thanks to some ill prepared burgers we ate at lunch one day. We paid for those burgers for days. Ugh! I don’t ever want to relive that experience again. We also visited 2 ancient ruins of Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca, Larcomar, Museo Larco, and Parque de la Reserva for the night light and water show.
Can you imagine a modern day city with ancient ruins in the middle of it? Because that’s what you can expect in Lima. It’s pretty cool! Our 1st full day in Lima we visited Huaca Pucllana.
Both of the ruins are great for a half day trip. It’s a great reminder how Lima is an ancient world meets modern day city. I appreciate that Lima has made the effort in preserving its history. In fact, while we were there they were excavating. I read in the newspaper later that they actually uncovered bodies that had been buried hundreds of years ago on the site. How cool! They are still discovering stories to their past.
They also have a lighthouse that we walked to and enjoyed the views along the way. Here you’ll find people walking and running along the Malecon. You’ll also see families enjoying a picnic on a nice day. Oh, and people bike riding.
We walked all the way down the Malecon and right into Larcomar. Larcomar is the large shopping center located in Miraflores. Here you’ll find everything you could ever need from clothes, shoes, and luggage. It rivals any huge and modern mall, the only thing is this one is incredibly beautiful and overlooks the Pacific ocean. Also, here is where we purchased our Peru Rail tickets for the train ride to Machu Picchu 4 days in advance. They have a kiosk and it was the perfect place to reserve and purchase our tickets ahead of getting to Cusco. I highly recommend this.
From Larcomar to Museo Larco, from shopping to one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. First of all, Museo Larco is just as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside with all of its ancient artifacts and history of the Americas.
My only regret is we didn’t stay to eat something in the beautiful garden museum restaurant. It was not within walking distance from our hotel, therefore, a taxi was necessary to get here. There also were plenty of taxi’s waiting outside when we were ready to leave.
We had a perfect date night while visiting Parque de la Reserva. This park has one of the most extraordinary night light and water shows we’ve ever seen. The show was fantastic, the park is huge, and it was wonderful seeing so many couples and families enjoying the evening and the show together.
This was not walking distance from San Isidro or Miraflores, therefore, a taxi cab was necessary for the trip. We paid our taxi from our hotel a little extra for him to come back and pick us up after the water show later that night. It was worth it as it’s not located in the safest neighborhood.
There is still much left to be seen and experienced in Lima. Before we left, we promised ourselves we’d return. I truly loved everything about this modern day city next to the sea. Until next time, Lima, I Love you!
Happy Bastille Day!
In early 2012, my husband (then boyfriend) invited me to Europe for the first time. He asked if I wanted to go to Paris? We were in the early stages of falling in love and I think he was surprised I didn’t want to go. Who doesn’t want Paris in the Springtime with their lover? Isn’t it the most romantic place on Earth? Isn’t it the city of love?
Truth be told, I never bought into all that Paris mumbo jumbo. I didn’t dream of going to Paris as a little girl, teenager, or adult. You would think, me, of all people would. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. Because of all of my hopelessness in all things romance, the idea of Paris seemed so cliché and cheesy, for our first trip together.
Fast forward to 2015.
We were trying to decide where to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. After traveling…
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I was looking forward to going to New Orleans, LA, for the 1st time. Then, I landed up getting Vertigo. It is some kind of crazy, dizzying, off balance, and at times nauseating sickness. It comes from out of nowhere and no one knows how long it will last. Mine lasted about a whole week. I haven’t had it since thank God!
I called the doctor and she prescribed me some pills that mostly put me to sleep. I took those and got on the plane. Luckily going to NOLA for us is only an hour flight. When I say, I was out of it, I mean I was OUT OF IT. I wasn’t going to let Vertigo ruin my first NOLA experience. Thank goodness, for my husband, who was extremely patient with me. I couldn’t have made it on the plane or enjoyed anything without him taking care of me.
We stayed at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. It was fantastic! We had an extra large room and away from Bourbon St, which is exactly what we were looking for. It was peaceful and quiet, but close enough to be able to walk to the party scene in the French Quarter. We had a view of the river and the French Quarter from our room. I would definitely stay there again and recommend it to others, as well.
La Vida Sunshine’s NOLA Musts:
Gumbo Shop was our 1st stop to fill up on gumbo and jambalaya. For those unfamiliar with Creole food, it is a beautiful mix of African, French, Spanish, and Caribbean styles of food. This is what we come to New Orleans for, to discover this piece of history and culture that is exclusive to NOLA.
Johnny Sanchez the baby of famous chefs John Besh and Aaron Sanchez. 1 word: Awesome! It was such a delicious and flavorful Mexican taqueria in the middle of New Orleans. We went back to eat and drink there twice. This has to be my most surprising discovery in NOLA. It’s also outside of the French Quarter, but still walkable in the downtown area. It’s worth the walk and reservations are accepted. I’ve been telling everyone about this place. It’s become my top recommendation because it’s completely different and unexpected to New Orleans cuisine.
NOLA Restaurant gets a big Yaaaasssss, from me! One meal here and I remember why Emeril Lagasse is a world renowned Chef. We had an unforgettable dinner here. The portions are more than generous and left us wobbling out the door. The wine list was extensive and the service was fantastic. I highly suggest reservations.
Saints and Sinners probably more famously known for its owner, Channing Tatum. Yep and we were told every time he’s in town, he’s usually enjoying the party. I’ll forever remember this place as the 1st place I tried Crawfish. A Southern staple. Since living in the South this was my first, but not my last time enjoying crawfish.
Pat O’Briens is the place to be to start the party since 1933! By the time we got here, I was feeling better from my Vertigo and was ready for a Hurricane or two. What’s a hurricane? Well, it’s Pat O’Briens signature drink, a mix of Rum and their own famous Hurricane mix.
Gordon Biersch Brewery my husband is a beer enthusiast through and through, meaning anytime we can stop and enjoy a pint or two we do. This place is a great mid day or evening stop for a late night beer. They also have food, but we never ate there as it was only a stop on the way to wherever we were going next.
Cafe Fleur De Lis usually has a line out the door. I promise it’s worth the wait. It serves only breakfast and lunch. It doesn’t take reservations. I don’t suggest going with a big group. It’s pretty tiny on the inside. It’s a great way to start the day with a big ‘ol Southern breakfast!
Cafe Du Monde has been in NOLA since 1862! It’s open 24 hours a day. We enjoyed our beignets late at night on a walk around the French Quarter. It’s a NOLA must and easy to understand why it’s been around for generations. The one, the only Cafe Du Monde…
We celebrated Easter Sunday in New Orleans. We went to mass at the famed St Louis Cathedral.
First of all, I’ve never seen an Easter mass as I experienced it in NOLA. It was bright, colorful, and every single person was dressed to impressed. There were several parades throughout the entire day. They were all full of music, beads, and plenty of costumes. I love a good old fashioned NOLA parade.
My other favorite New Orleans must is actually away from Bourbon St and the French Quarter. It’s a short cab ride away called, Frenchmen Street. This is where the over 25 crowd hangs out. It’s abundant with live music, signature cocktails, and plenty of art to be experienced. It’s the grown-up version of Bourbon St. I enjoyed it so much more than I expected.
I took away that this city is proud of its history. Seeing how far they have come from Hurricane Katrina is uplifting. I would suggest don’t just visit New Orleans, experience New Orleans. Eat as much as you can. Drink as much as you can. Sing and dance as much as you can. Just make sure not to step in a bourbon puddle.
Did your favorite NOLA eats or sights make the list? If not, let me know where you love to eat, drink, and hang out in New Orleans? Cheers!
In honor of my blog turning 2, here’s my 1st blog!
It means the way I try to live my life. An eternal optimist. Crazy, I know. Especially in today’s world, but someone has to find a reason to smile. I believe it’s possible to spend more days happy than sad or angry. I was given the nickname, “Sunshine”, which is another reason as to why I named my blog, ” La Vida Sunshine.” My belief is you can find joy in any situation, rich or not rich, coupled or single, CEO or stay at home wife. Happiness has always been a choice for me. If it’s something you want and believe in, you work at it like anything else.
I’ve thought a lot about happiness and what makes me happy. I recently married the most wonderful person for me. Everyone wishes you a lifetime of happiness on your wedding day. I know, I couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear…
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Since I was in High School and first learned about Machu Picchu, from my Spanish teacher, I’ve wanted to go to Peru. She was Peruvian and had shared with us about her people, culture, and history. Being raised in a proud Mexican-American family, I was fascinated with this other group of Latino history. Life went on… but I always thought about Peru, and especially Machu Picchu. I figured it was one of those places that I put on my bucket list and go to before I die. Whenever someone asked, where do you want to go? I would always without hesitation answer Machu Picchu.
Imagine my surprise when it became a reality before I was ready to visit the Almighty. We originally had planned on going to Germany for Oktoberfest in Sept 2015. We landed up buying a house and had to cancel that trip. Then, our very good friend told us she was going to Peru for Thanksgiving in November. That’s when we invited ourselves on her trip home. We had to jump on the opportunity to experience Peru. I have to admit, other than our wedding, there was never a trip I was most anticipating in my life.
We landed in Lima on Friday. We flew to Cusco on Monday. I took the pills to help me acclimate to the altitude, which I highly recommend. We also drank plenty of Coco de Mate, which helped me immensely. We took the 2nd train to Machu Picchu on Tuesday morning. It was a 3hr, slow train ride to Aguas Caliente.
Aguas Caliente is the town directly below Machu Picchu. After getting to Aguas Caliente, we had to buy bus tickets to get up to Machu Picchu. Then, we had to go to the Tourism office for our admittance tickets to Machu Picchu. Yes, it would be easier if it was in the same place, but it’s not. They only accept cash, which is also important to know, as my husband had to find a cash machine when we found out they don’t accept credit cards of any sort.
After that experience, we had to wait in line for the bus. There is only one station for this. The winding bus ride up the mountain is about 25 minutes. Everyone is excited and scared to death going up this narrow and steep mountain. It’s even scarier going back down.
I think I prayed the whole way down the mountain. Alas, we arrived at the entry of Machu Picchu, and we didn’t see anything initially. They have a station where we could stamp our passports with a stamp of Machu Picchu, which has become my favorite stamp on my passport to date. We were approached by several tour guides. We found one that spoke in English, as we were with a non-Spanish speaking friend. He was an accredited tour guide, knowledgeable, patient, and knew where to take all the best pictures. He was well worth what we paid him. I felt he enhanced our experience because he was able to walk us through and explain everything to us about the history and the Inca Empire.
Machu Picchu is truly magnificent. There are really no words that could accurately describe it’s majesty. It has breathtaking views in whatever direction we looked.
I’m truly thankful my husband and I experienced this once in a lifetime experience together. It taught me, it’s never too early to pursue my dreams. Life is short. Life is unpredictable. It was not only an adventure of a lifetime but a spiritual awakening in knowing anything is possible. I felt on top of the world at Sun Gate. Now, excuse me, while I go update my bucket list and proudly scratch off my number 1. Mission accomplished.
I’m living proof that dreams do come true!