Louisiana

April went in a blink of an eye! And I have a pretty good feeling why. I've been lucky enough to have been up to many different adventures that that has made me loose track of time. Making me not blog as often as I want! So without further ado let me get cracking on todays post.

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Rødder

This week I had the chance to go to my first ever CreativeMornings talk. It was awesome!

Incase you don't know what that is, CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community all over the world. Basically a TED talk type gathering but in a more informal creative environment. 

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Infectious Happiness

Hey you! So it's officially been two weeks since I've moved to Copenhagen. But wait, you might be thinking, how did you end up there? I was offered an internship as a design intern! After jumping up and down from excitement, I grabbed the chance immediately.

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Perspective

Green! Isn't it just a beautiful colour?

It's definitely my favourite and the reason why is probably due to the complete immersion of greenery Singapore has to offer. The rich chlorophyll is almost always all around you. To me it's a breath of fresh air. Most of the time we see these beautiful tress from ground level.

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Strip

Gerhard Richter is hands down one of my favourite artists out there. His art is the kind I dream about having in my future living room - big, inspiring and refreshing. I first saw his Panorama work at the Tate Modern with my dad in 2011 and we've been fans ever since. If you're not familiar with Gerhard Richter here's a quick mini recap of him: German visual artist that is considered to be one of the leading pioneers in the New European painting that has increasingly emerged in the 20th century.

The other day as I was scrolling through Instagram and found out that he was having a solo exhibition at the Marian Goodman Gallery. After a bit of Google Mapping I put this at the top of my weekend to-do list. I invited all my birthday brunchies and naturally ended up going with my design besties, Mary and Charlie.

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The works we saw were his latest art pieces all based on the idea of deconstructing a photograph of his own abstract oil on canvas from 1990.

His work process explained well on the Marian Goodman website explain that Richter "divides the work’s surface into two vertical sections, then halves those halves, and so on, subjecting them repeatedly to a premeditated procedure he described simply as ‘dividing, mirroring, repeating’." He then gathers a large amount of vertical sections of his work and repositions the colours to his desire.

The outcome is absolutely mesmerising.

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And the scale of his work is jaw dropping. This piece is 10 metres long.

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By naming these unique works ‘Strip’ paintings, Richter is referring not to those lines, but both to the minuscule vertical strips they represent of their source and to the sense of physically ‘stripping’ – taking apart and dismantling his original painting. He not only reinvents a new piece of art but completely abstracts his original abstraction piece.

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What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon your two best friends?

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If you have the chance to hop over to the gallery I seriously recommend the trip. It's hypnotising.

Happy days!

Maria

Twenty Two Years

I had the chance to live in London since late August and it's safe to say I've fallen in love with that city. Lucky for me I turned 22 in it!

Here's a mini recap of what the birthday weekend celebrations looked like:

This was my first official working birthday, which I was pretty excited about because I had been loving what I was working on and the people at the office that make the working space feel incredibly home-y.

During my lunch hour I whizzed off for lunch with the amazing camera shy, Jen, to have one of the best cuisines in the world, Mexican food!

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We then popped over to Charlotte Street Hotel for some bubbly to continue the celebrations!

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At the office there is a huge tradition when it comes to birthdays. I received an outstanding applause and amazing birthday song which made my cheek bones sore from all the laughing and smiling. I absolutely loved it.

Then it was time for cake!

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After work I was surprised by my brother from Lancaster and my aunt that travelled all the way from Mexico to come and celebrate my birthday. A delicious dinner accompanied with even better company.

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On Friday my brother popped over at the office and we went to LEON to try the infamous fish finger wrap. Absolute killer.

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My bestie, Binkles, arrived later that day ready for the weekend celebrations. We got home and started getting ready for a fantastic night out.

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Having had a crazy night out we woke up slightly later than planned and had to rush out the door to hop on the tube!

But whilst we waited for the DLR we had to take some cheeky snaps.

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Once we arrived to our location, The Providores and Tapas Room, I was thrilled to see and have my beautiful friends celebrating with me.

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I ordered what got me to pick this restaurant in the first place. Behold: Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline AKA heaven in the brunch world.

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The whole gang!

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I believe that all cities around the world can be independently stunning and beautiful but what the fundamental difference is the people that you surround yourself in it with. When my birthday came around I realised how blessed I was to have friends that I could call my London family.

Could not have asked for a better time. Thank you for making it incredible famalam!

Maria

PS. The celebrations did not stop there - stay tuned for the cultural side of this amazing weekend pronto!

Day 214

Day 214 of this year has definitely been my favourite so far! And for that very reason, I want to share it with you today.

It all started in Mission Viejo, California. When we visited my great aunt (Grandad’s sister) that lives there.

Please say hello to the incredible Tia Emma (Aunt)!

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The day started off with some delicious organic cereal from Trader Joes (my one true love along with WholeFoods, can’t help but love both of them. Dangerous love triangle) topped with fresh blueberries from the biggest box I have ever seen.

Look at the size of that!

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My brother was jetting off home that day, which meant my mom was driving him to LAX. This immediately had me set off a bright light bulbthat spoke to the voice in my head asking, why don’t we take advantage that we’re driving to LAX and make a wonderful day out if it filled with culture, art and food?! Best combination ever.

I then proposed the plan to mother dearest.

She said yes!

Walking around the house with a little more bounce I quickly showered and got ready to tackle the glorious day that was ahead of us.

Saying goodbye for now to Tia Emma we set off to the airport. The drive over to LAX was filled with singing and jokey chat.

We wished my broski a safe flight and said we’d see him in a few days.

It was time for the escapade to kick off with my one true partner in crime, my beautiful mother! She cranked up the engine whilst I set up Google Maps. The dynamic duo was ready for action.

We whizzed through LA traffic and arrived at our beautiful destination:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA for short.

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LACMA is the largest art museum in the West of the US with a gigantic collection of over 120,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art.

This museum had been on my bucket list since I read about James Turrell’s Ganzfeld light exhibition that was there showing earlier in the year. The exhibition was over when we visited however there’s a permanent installation by Turrell that is a glance into what his full show is all about.

Once we arrived we were greeted by the famous Urban Light sculptures sculpture piece by Chris Burden. We instantly pulled out the camera and our huge smiles!

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This art space has been an on going LACMA piece since 2008.

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And whilst we were there I couldn't help but unleash my inner yogi to rock a couple of postures in this beautiful space!

All time favourite pose, backward bend.

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But after a while we needed to have a shot of the both of us!

Currently my favourite photo.

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After our photo shoot, we went over to the ticket office and reserved a spot at Turrels installation.

We explored the first building that we came across and looked briefly at some art.

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But as we were (ahem, myself) anxiously waiting to go to the Turrell exhibition we decided to embrace our inner keen beanness and wait until it was our turn to go in.

In the mean time, we sat down and read all about the other exhibitions and got a good grounding as to what to see next.

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Around five minutes later we were called into the room where we were given some very sexy shoes to wear inside the room.

Working our inner foot model-ness.

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When we stepped foot in the room, the walls were white and the wall we were facing was the light that gradually kept changing colour. The room was on a downwards angle along with having curved walls that made it hard to estimate how big the room actually was. Once we stepped into the bright white light both my mother and I felt like it was like stepping into heaven! Truly magical.

The duration of each visit lasts 10 minute however once you’re there time really does slow down in a strange sense and you start to appreciate the different reactions you get from the colour changes from the light.

Sadly we weren't allowed to take photos inside the space so I cheekily had to take a snap from the outside of the room to show you how it looked like!

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After having had a breathtaking experience we continued exploring LACMA and its beautiful architecture.

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Sucha beauty!

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We then decided to step into some incredibly huge spaces with really interesting curved shaped sculptures.

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And some of us decided to play peekaboo!

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As we were in the kiddy spirit the next art piece was perfect for us hyper gals.

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But as the hyperness died down, our stomachs began to rumble.

It was time to hit the road again and go find our gem of a restaurant.

Cafe Gratitude on Melrose Avenue.

I had heard and read about this restaurant for ages due to my love for health food.

I was so excited once we arrived! We both couldn't stop smiling.

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The main idea of this restaurant is to celebrate everything in life in the best way and to produce 100% organic vegan dishes that honor the earth and ourselves, as we are one and the same.

This is a part of their mission statement that I LOVE:

"Our food is prepared with love. We invite you to step inside and enjoy being someone that chooses: loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for. Have fun and enjoy being nourished."

How amazing can a mission statement get?!

After having read the menu three times we were ready to order.

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Mother hadn't tried Kambucha so we ordered a glass of that each.

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We then ordered two main dishes.

A quinoa pasta bake bowl.

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Absolutely delicious filled with only goodness.

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Aaaaaand a Detox Kale Salad that was just beyond this world.

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Trust me on this one, we those fresh green goodies were like heaven in our mouths.

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After having had the best mom and daughter talk we were ready to order a chocolate 'milkshake' as dessert for the long trip ahead!

Having said goodbye to the lovely waiters I took one last snap of this little piece of heaven.

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If you happen to have a chance to go to LA soon I seriously cannot recommend enough LACMA and Cafe Gratitude.

Throughout the whole day I felt a pure feeling of happiness. I think it's always great to reflect and reflecting back, this day was golden. When you realise you've had a chance to live a golden day it's best to hold it tight and have it saved with you forever.

I am grateful for having the chance to experience this day with my best friend and having the chance to share it now with you.

Your turn! What are you grateful for?

Maria

Gliding Through Interlace

Today I want to take you on a tour and show you a magical place I am lucky to call home.

Nope it’s not Disney Land but it does have that resort-like feel you get whilst being at there. I’d say that this place is a cross between a holiday destination and being in an Inception dream (you’ll understand why in a few minutes!).

It inspires me on a different manner every time I visit but we’ll get into that in a bit.

It’s an amazing apartment that recently opened up. Having lived in it for a couple of weeks now, I thought you deserved an insiders guide through my perspective. It had to be more original than a walking tour so I buried through my old stuff at home and got out my bad ass roller blades. I skated a lot during high school but that’s another story for another day.

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Whilst I tie my shoelaces, let me ask you, are you ready for your tour?

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Lets start exploring The Interlace! 

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This is where it all starts. The main entrance shows you an outline of what the building is going to show off to you with a  minimalist branding.

The map can be a bit confusing…

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But lets not worry about that and gowander!

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The Interlace was open for sale in 2009 and was completedin 2013. The designer behind this building is German Architect, Ole Scheeren partner of OMA that is a group with leading architects around the world.

The architecture really does take your breath away.

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It has in total 1,040 units that vary from one bedroom studios to three story house apartments and covers 170,000 m² of gross floor area.

The open spaces this place has is what really makes me love it as much as I do. 

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And who wouldn’t like a little spa area for when you need to be rejuvenated?

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Dipping into the jacuzzi is always a good idea!

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Like I said, it is a bit of a resort.

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But the extraordinary spark about Interlace is that it doesn’t feel packed like most resorts/apartments.

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The spaces are divided into an incredible manner that make you feel like you’re the only one that’s in the Inception dream.

But lets spin our token and realise we’re in reality.

I wonder what the Pandas are up to!

Race you there?

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Found them!

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These Pandas are super friendly. They are by a contemporary French artist called Julien Marinetti.

A little art around the flats never hurt anyone! Plus I think their pose is very calming.

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But after a while of catching up with them it was time to skate on.

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As the sun set, I caught the last rays soaking in Interlace in all its glory.

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In Singapore, this place has different types of nick-names. My favourites are Jenga, Lego gone wrong and building blocks.

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The Interlace has gotten both positive and negative feedback on an architecture perspective from the public. I believe this is because it has never really been seen/done anywhere else before. The newness of the design scares people and makes them think that it won’t work. Some say that the Feng Shui is completely wrong but I don’t feel that when I’m there. I think it shows an incredibly futuristic way of designing peoples homes. Showing uniqueness instead of just the standard tall building. This to me seems more genius than crazy and it takes a risk taker to go forward through his vision and implement it into reality. So hats off to Mr. Scheeren for creating something like this.

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Interlace gives off three main characteristics core values to me:

Freedom

Ambition

Boldness

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Most tour guides wouldn’t give you a challenge but today I dare you to incorporate these three attributes into your life to add a new dimension to it. I too try to practice these characteristics every time I am tested with a new problem whether it be in my design work or in my personal life. Interlace is a place where it inspires me to be different. A space like this bold architectural piece does a lot more positive than we can imagine.

The world needs more optimistic people to create spaces like this. 

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I hope you enjoyed your tour!

Until next time,

Maria

Mercado Roma

Mercados (markets in Spanish) play a really important part in Mexican culture and Fernanda my cousin wanted to take me some place where the original term of Mercado had pushed its boundaries. Welcome to Mercado Roma. The coolest market you'll ever see.

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The moment I walked out of the car and saw the signage, I knew I would love this place. Fernanda knows me well.

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 The architecture was done by two famous Mexican architects called Gerardo Salinas and Michel Rojkind that are from the Rojkind Architects studio. They are the ones responsible for the personality and space Mercado Roma has today.

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The branding is what struck me as fantastic. It was solid from the outside and it followed through consistently all through the inside of the Mercado. The man in charge of this was none other than Mexico's top leading designer, Ignacio Cadena. After reading more about him on this interview from DesignBoom I can safely say he's now been added to my list of favourite graphic designers.

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Fernanda gave us a tour around the whole place and I couldn't stop taking snaps of each stall!

The first floor had bits that included the following:

The branding for the stall, Germina, is so minimalist yet incredibly effective. Love the typography used.

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Being an ultimate cheese fanatic, this stall was definitely an eye catcher.

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A juice bar (my second home)! Where I definitely ordered a freshly made green juice.

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Mexican Chocolate *Heart Eyes*

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A few tables for people to sit down and have a chat whilst eating/drink their good goods.

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A set of stairs led us to going up stairs to a intimate second floor.

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Which was filled with even more exotic stands like this spice stand that had some spices that I had never heard of in my life!

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Along with a delicious salsa stand that had mouth watering tasters!

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And back down to find the second set of stairs to reach the roof garden!

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We found that the staircase is also doubled as an artistic chalk board to leave your mark.

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We couldn't resist not to.

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Once we got upstairs the view of the infamous Beirgarten was beautiful.

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We quickly grabbed a spot and soaked up the hipster vibes.

But once the camera was out we couldn't resist to opt for the classic smile pose. Whoops!

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Looking around the Beirgarten I spotted a beautiful detail that I thought was brilliantly done.

Etching on the walls. To make it look like tree branches.

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So simple yet effective!

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This Mercado is more than just a place to buy your fruits and veg. This place is for your groceries but more importantly to meet new people, grab a bite to eat and enjoying a fresh beer soaking up the atmosphere.

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If you happen to be in Mexico City soon I recommend you go and pay a visit to this amazing new place. It has a range of stands that will meet everyones needs. Promise!

I enjoyed this trip socially with my family but I also learned a lot from it through enriching myself in a space that has been so carefully thought through and designed to a top standard. It not only inspires me to do better in my work but also makes me proud to see Mexico City having such an fantastic place to go and chill out for locals. I believe this was a great way to see Mexicans take on a European market style and mix it in with a little bit of Mexican flavour to give it more of a spice.

It definitely managed to have that kick.

Maria

Mayan Adventure (Part 2)

When I last left you, Scar and I were drying up from the cenote dip. We explored the little village around it until we saw that it was time to hop back on the bus to bring us to lunch. Did I mention we tried the tequila the locals made there?

Scar even got a bottle of it with our faces printed on it!

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This specific tequila was sweetened with the local honey they grew in that town.

Very different to the type of tequila most of us are used to.

Once we got to lunch our minds and bodies were too busy hungry/eating/chatting with the rest of the table to whip out our cameras so I apologise for not being able to show you the delicious food we ate. However the photos up next will probably make it up for it.

Chichen Itza!

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The view from every angle was phenomenal.

And as we walked around Fernando started telling us the history behind this magical place.

Here are a couple of really interesting stories he shared with us that I'll now share with you.

1. For anyone interested in the design and architecture of the pyramid, it is known that Chichen Itza represents the blend of a number of architectural styles, right from the Mexican styles to the Puuc styles. Mayans really outdid themselves!

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2. It was voted one of the world's new seven wonders and since then no one is allow to climb the stairs of the Castillo anymore in order to better preserve the monument.

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3. The Grupo de las Mil Columnas (Group of 1,000 Columns) is an arcade in Chichen Itza that shows the Mayan warriors that achieved something that was considered fantastic at the time then. Their faces and bodies were engraved to the stones. It comprises of a series of columns and is spread over an area of 110 sq. meters (363 sq. feet).

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4. Chichen Itza also has an arena where the Mayans played their historic ball game. They used a rubber ball, about 20 inches in diameter, to play the Game, which was played on a stone "court" whose measurements varied.

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The goal of the game was to pass the ball around, without having it touch your hands, and then get the ball to pass through one of the rings. Since the rings were so high and players were not allowed to use their hands, it was extremely difficult to get the ball through a ring. In fact, when a player did manage to get a ball through a ring, that usually ended the game or when the ball touched the ground.

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The winners of the game were treated like Gods but then were considered to be too Holy to be alive so they were sacrificed to the gods! All in all it was a very extreme game in all senses.

After Fernando finished his speech all about the history Chichen, Scar and I had to played our tourist role well and take as many photos as we could!

Starting with the Classic Selfie Tourist Photo:

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The Play On Perspective Photo:

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And lastly the Classic Happy Photo:

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As the first post said, this was my third time I visit Chichen Itza and every time I go I find something new that really inspires me in so many different aspects.

This will definitely not be last you see of me Mayans!

Until next time or should I say, poc-chuc! (In Mayan)

Maria

Mayan Adventure (Part 1)

Chichen Itza! It all started in 750 and 900 AD.

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But don't worry, this isn't a history lesson. It's more of an owed to the beauty that is Chichen Itza.

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Isn't she stunning?!

During my time this year in Cancun I had the opportunity to go and visit the incredible Kukulkan Pyramids known as Chichen Itza for the third time (!!!) with none other than Miss Scarlett Roland-Jones.

Our day started off a little too early for our liking as we had to catch an early tour bus in the AM. Murphy's law plus a little Mexican way had the best of us as we sat there waiting for the bus for around half an hour behind schedule but after a few deep conversations, it arrived! As our hope was restored we got on the bus and started listening to the enthusiastic tour guide, Fernando, talk about the itinerary for the day. Here's what it looked like:

1. Take a dip at a Cenote in Valladolid

2. Traditional Mexican lunch filled with Tacos de Cochinita (local dish) at a small town next to Chichen Itza

3. Explore and soak up Chichen Itza

Straight forward plan that had us on the edge of our seats from the start.

Fernando explained to us what a Cenote was and for those of you that don't know what it is here's the definition; a natural pit, or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. The most notable Cenotes can be found in Mexico, Belize, Canada, USA, Australia and Zimbabwe.

They're incredibly beautiful and completely natural. The one we visited was breath taking with the depth and colours it had.

Take a look!

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As we started going down some of us tried not to slip!

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But once we managed to get to the bottom I couldn't wait to take a dip!

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The water was a perfect fresh temperature and the depth was unknown to me as Scarlett and I had to keep our legs moving the entire time we were there.

The view from above was amazing, but I think the view from below was on a whole other level.

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After appreciating the view from below we saw a lot of people jumping from a ledge on the side.

There was a four metre jump from the side and I immediately thought I needed to go for the challenge.

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I'm the one between the red and blue/white trunks. It took me a good while to actually talk myself to jumping (Sorry Scar!).

But eventually, I took the plunge.

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And showed everyone my best canon bomb.

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The rush of adrenaline I had in me was immense. The feeling of a free fall is something else.

We then dried up and explored a little more before leaving for a much needed lunch.

If you're planning a true Mexican adventure, put this day trip at the top of your to-do list.

Up till this point it truly is an adventure of a life time. You'll love it!

More Mayan adventures tomorrow!

Maria

Say Hello To Rachel!

Should've introduced you to her sooner but better late than never, right?! rachel

Rach is the friend that got me my beloved birthday present. Not only is she incredibly cute/smart/awesome but we've been friends since grade three. We've grown up together. This week I knew I had to share with you this amazing challenge she pledged herself to do. Rach has always had a real passion for helping others - UWC background maybe? She's showing some incredible self discipline because she has vowed to Live Below the Line.

The cause Live Below the Line cause is explained perfectly in the video below. Well worth a watch!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45kX7YSvVDs

If you're interested in joining the Live Below the Line challenge sign up here!

You can have a read about her progress or donate if you click here or you can check out her team page here!

I think every one taking up this challenge deserves a huge pat on the back as I am certain it is not easy however the effect it will have on others will be life changing! I am so proud of you Rachel - you're almost there.

Glad you've been properly introduced now!

Love,

Maria