My Effortless Trick To Live The Life You Deserve

"...I would rather drink the ocean, again and again—celebrate being madly alive..."
Janne Robinson 
how to live a better life

I don’t know all the secrets on how to have a better life, but I definitely would love to offer some advice. I see a lot of people who are down and out. They’re strung out, disappointed, feel helpless and stagnant in life. But instead of feeling sorry for yourself, ask yourself... What makes you feel alive?

For me, it's travel. There is something so exciting and exhilarating about travel, being in a new place, in a new environment, and feeling ALIVE. Because of that, I fill my life with plenty of it, near or far places.

It’s no secret that travel is a guaranteed way to discover yourself and make you happier. However, traveling is costly and not financially possible for everyone. Even if you can’t jet off to Europe or bask under the sun on the British Virgin Islands, there is still hope for you. Taking the family to the nearest large city is a great idea for a vacation. And vice versa, if you live in or near a major city drive a few hours outside of the city to a secluded little town. Even taking a day to staycation helps to recharge. Getting away for a few days lets your mind and body recuperate and take a break from life. 

But, maybe travel isn't what makes you feel alive... 

One guaranteed way to answer the question how to have a better life is to smile! It's seriously that simple.

Have you ever heard of the theory of what you put into the world is what you get back? In other words, if you put out negative vibes, you’ll be greeted with negativity at every turn. Create the change you want in your life by being positive, cheery, and happy -- if it’s not what you’re feeling on the inside.

I am naturally a happy person that is always smiling. I can't tell you how many times, people have told me that my smile is contagious... and guess what, yours is as well! Soon enough, you’ll see the people around you change for the better and what you’re projecting on the outside will translate to lighter emotions on the inside.

Now that you know my effortless trick to living a better life, I want to know... what makes you feel alive? Share it with me on Instagram - @valereifidan!

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Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Tasting the Sea at Urban Hotel's Glass Mar

...I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus's garden in the shade...

This was undoubtedly the Beatles tune in my head, as I walked into the dining room of what I thought was your typical run-of-the-mill luxury hotel bar. 

Was I wrong about Glass Mar?

This was far from your typical hotel bar.

Wonder what the sea taste like? This lovely presentation of a marine bite of cockles, algae, and plankton in all presented in a tin of caviar is just that.

Wonder what the sea taste like? This lovely presentation of a marine bite of cockles, algae, and plankton in all presented in a tin of caviar is just that.

Little did I know that I was in for an under the sea surprise. Just one glance up above would have been a given, as a giant whale skeleton hangs from the ceiling and a wall filled with jars full of algae and plankton as a laboratory of sorts. 

Glass Mar, located inside of the five-star Madrid Hotel Urban, is a seafood restaurant revival from Ángel León, the chef of the busty Aponiente restaurant and also knowns as the El Chef Del Mar for his seafood-focus avant-garde cuisine. In my recent stay in Madrid, I was fortunate enough to dine as a guest at Glass Mar thanks to Chema and my dear friend Diego Cabrera of Salmon Guru

Glass Mar
Urban Hotel Glass Mar Madrid Diego Cabrera

The menu at Glass Mar is one with the thought to share and is made up of various culinary creations based on ingredients from the sea. But, if sharing is not your thing in tapas format, you can also order in hearty dishes. 

The menu is made up of three parts: A Wave of Starters, Fish the Main Dish, and There Are Plenty of Desserts In The Sea.

glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid

The under the sea experience begins with a wave of starters. And as the name implies, it was truly a wave of starters that only got better and better as they were brought out.

The starters consisted if plates such as green plankton garlic; smoked sardines, creamy oyster meringue, plankton 'ajoverde' with prawns; pickled mackerel with carrots, sea urchin royale, jalapeno foam with mussels; a tribute the Madrid icon tartare squid on a soft bread that hides a potent stew of cephalopod; a marine bite of cockles, algae, and and plankton in all presented in a tin of caviar. 

glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid
glass mar urban hotel madrid

The second part is the fish the main dish includes dishes such as plankton creamy rice or tuna steak, classics of a revolutionary chef. 

There are plenty of desserts in the sea. About 11 courses later, to finish is dessert: melon with vermouth. Sweet, light and refreshing.

Throughout the dining experience, three types of sherries were presented to pair with the various courses. This experience is something worth writing home about. It is one that will excite your senses, and leave you blown away.

Glass Mar. Hotel Urban. Carrera San Jerónimo, 34. Madrid; From 30 to 45 euros.

Let's Regale was a guest of Glass Mar; as always, all opinions are my own. Main cover photo credit: Glass Mar, Urban Hotels. 

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Off The Beaten (Tourist) Path

It's time to out the travel guides down, and skip the tourist trap attractions and experience a city like a local.

Off The Beaten (Tourist) Path travel tips

First thing firsts, if you want to experience local culture when traveling, stay away from tourist sites and tourist attractions. We all know that those experiences are far from truly experiencing local culture. Sure, you may want to explore the Colosseum in Rome  or visit Boca in Buenos Aires--but think about it this way...when you visit New York City, do you really get a New York experience by staying in Time Square? Do as the locals do. Travel with as few plans, commitments and reservations as possible. Be your most uninhibited self.

Easiest way to get the local knowledge is from the locals. This is true. Most people are proud of their home and love to tell you about it. One trick is to go to a restaurant early, like so you are the only customer - the staff will talk to you; sit at a bar and talk to the bartender, the always are in the know.

Ask your waiter.

Ask your cab drivers (use discretion here - cab drivers often get kickbacks for nightlife type activities).

Ask people you meet at the bar, or the cafe, or people you run into in the lobby of your hotel.  

Ask random people on the street.  

Rent places via AirBnB or Couchsurfing and ask your host.

As long as you are polite and use good judgment on when you are asking someone (i.e., don't interrupt people) usually people are happy to help and make recommendations.  Almost everyone wants visitors to enjoy their city/country and leave with a good impression.

Don't be intimidated by language barriers. Explore other forms of communications. Bring postcards from home to show and share. Draw pictures. Pantomime.

Be willing to try (nearly) anything. Food is a good example. Local "delicacies" may be intimidating, but you can pretty safely assume they aren't killing anyone.

Lastly, smile! People will respond best if you are approachable and polite. Well, at least this has worked for me!

Share your tips on Instagram!