Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The August Project - Day 1

Self Portrait...

This is me on the terrace of our hotel in Sorrento. I should have taken a new picture today, but I woke up late and didn't have much time to put myself together...And I also pulled a muscle in my back over the weekend, and don't much feel like posing at the moment...So this will have to do! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August Project

I am giving myself a project for the month of August... I found this cute idea on Pinterest (of course), and I'm excited to try it! I need to get better at taking pictures of every day life, and I'm hoping that this will help me get started... Day 1 coming up tomorrow!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Adventures in Italia...Part 1

Getting Our Passports Stamped!

 We departed Los Angeles for Italy on Saturday evening at 7... We arrived in Venezia Sunday evening at 8 - covered in plane grime, a little cranky, but so excited to start exploring and taking in the sinking city. We instantly looked like mega-tourists with our cameras flashing and our 20 giant suitcases (20 might be a slight exaggeration - but just barely). Our water taxi driver asked us if we were staying for a year! After finding our appartamento, we dropped off our bags and set out to have our first Italian meal... pizza in the piazza. Afterwards, we found a gelateria and had our first scoop of Italian gelato. And we vowed then and there that we would have a scoop of a different flavor every day of our trip! (Today's flavor: Pistacchio - YUM) Then we came back to relax and get rested for the long days ahead.
First Glimpse of the Canale Grande
Our first full day in Venice, we walked. And walked. And then walked some more. All of the guide books we had read and the locals we talked to had said we needed to just "get lost" in Venice, so that's what we did! We explored every alleyway, nook, canal and staircase we could find. We came across a little cafe where the sweetest Italian man we met gave us free strawberry wine, margherita pizza and tiramisu. He also gave us chalk to write our names in the street...
We Were Here!

Little Canal

Resting Our Feet

Getting "Lost"
Amazing Fruit Market
Ponte di Rialto
Once our feet were too tired to carry us any further, we returned to the apartment to take a siesta before dinner. This became a tradition for the rest of the trip. When in Rome (or Venice) - right?!
That night we decided to venture in the opposite direction for dinner, which was more pizza and pasta of course! Then we made the super intelligent decision to keep going further away from our apartment without our street map, in the dark, in the hopes that we would just be able to circle around when we got tired of walking and find our way back. Bad choice. We gave the term "getting lost in Venice" a whole new meaning! And we learned that Venice really has zero nightlife - the entire city shuts down at about 10pm. So we were the ONLY people out roaming the canals that night, and I'm sure we woke some folks up with our voices shouting directions at each other when a couple of us would take a wrong turn and wind up in a dead end alley. We finally had to resign ourselves to the fact that we were not very good navigators, turned around and re-traced the entire night's path to find our way home. A good night was had by all! (Today's gelato flavor: Coconut - Favorite of the whole trip!!)
Piazza San Marco
The next day, we decided to give our feet a rest, so we took a water taxi over to the little island of Lido and spent a relaxing day at the spiaggia - aka, the beach! We had our daily gelato there (Flavor: Melone - tastes like canteloupe, and is oh so good!), and saw some topless sunbathers as well as many, many speedos, which made me even more thankful that most American men embrace board shorts as the swim suit standard! That night, we stayed closer to home, eating dinner right alongside the grand canal and then returning to the apartment to get ready to leave for Rome the following morning....

Sisters in our cute new Italian bikinis!
 The adventure continues in part 2...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Italian Curiosities

I thought I would share some of the things I learned about Italy/Italian people before I dive into the posts about our travels...
In Italy:

  • Everything costs money. Water, public bathrooms, chairs at the beach. Even sitting down at a table in a restaurant will cost you a service charge. However, the servers do not expect a tip more than the extra change from your pocket. (We were surprised to see other people leaving 50 cent tips for a nice dinner.) The water charge was the hardest thing for me to swallow (pun intended). Tap water is never served at restaurants, only bottles of sparkling or still. However, there are fountains with free-flowing drinking water found all throughout each city we visited.. By the end of our trip, we wised up and just held on to our water bottles, filled them up in the fountain and took them to the restaurant with us! Trashy? Nope. Resourceful.

  • It is HOT in July. It's hot here too, but it's the kind of heat that I love: dry, desert air. In Italy, you leave your air-conditioned hotel room for more than a minute and you will need a change of clothes because yours are soaking wet. 
  • The roads are mainly made of cobblestones. Italian streets were not made for high heels. I brought 3 pair with me - I wore 1 pair, 1 night, for about 20 minutes, then I had to go back to our room and change into flats, because I almost broke my ankle 6 times. The widest road I saw was on the Autostrada (freeway) and it was 3 lanes, and that was only for a few miles (kilometers there, of course), heading into Rome. All of the streets inside the cities are narrow, and many of them do not even have lines painted on them, so you really have to know where you're going or else you will get seriously lost and/or in several head-on collisions. There are alleys EVERYWHERE, but there, alleys aren't ominous and sketchy like they are here, they are simply a smaller street.

  • The drivers are CRAZY! Everyone drives vespas or smart cars, and they squeeze those things into the tiniest spaces possible, zipping around buses and pedestrians like mad. I'm sure there are driving laws, but the drivers there sure don't seem like they follow them. They go where they want, when they want. And I don't think I saw a single car there that didn't have dings and dents in both front and back fenders. It's like a giant game of bumper cars. 

  • There is no such thing as caesar salad. Or fettuccine alfredo.
  • They have AMAZING swimsuit stores... Our favorites were Calzedonia and Golden Point.. My sister, mom and I drug the boys to every one we could find... and each ended up with at least 2 new suits. For under $20. Seriously. If you ever go to Italy, find one of these stores. You will be in swimsuit heaven.

  • Their shoe stores - not so good.


  • Don't eat a big breakfast like Americans do. They will have a shot of espresso and a brioche (sweet roll) or chocolate croissant (What we had every day - YUM) and be on their way! 

  • Don't like their cold drinks cold. If you order a soda, water, or even iced coffee, don't expect any ice! It will come to you from the refrigerator, but they even keep their fridges set lower than we do... And in mid-July, when it is 95 degrees with 100% humidity, that can be a problem for us Americans who love our ice.
  • Do not eat bread with oil and vinegar. Bread is brought to the table with the meal, to be eaten with the food. We got a lot of weird looks every time we asked for bread and plates before the food came (even though they do leave an oil/vinegar set on every table...)

  • Are much more laid back than Americans, especially when it comes to customer service. They serve you on their time, not yours. You will sit at restaurants for a good 20 minutes before being brought drinks or having your order taken. And once the food arrives, don't expect to see your server again until it's time to order dessert. At the end of the meal, when we are ready to pay the check and get a move on, Italians will sit and chat for hours, so you probably won't be getting your bill any time soon!

I'm sure I could think of more, but this could get out of control quickly... So for now, I'll say Ciao! Up next, Adventures in Italia, part 1!


I'm going to pretend like it hasn't been 10 months since my last post and just continue right on where I left off.. Sound good?
It has been a whirlwind of a year to say the least. At the moment, I am coming down from a post-wedding/honeymoon high, just sinking slowly back into the weary reality of full-time jobs, bills, and car trouble. The last month and a half have been so exciting and eventful, and I am now in full wedding-withdrawal mode. I was so busy planning, stressing myself out over each detail, and by the end, so excited for the whole thing to be finished, that I didn't realize how quickly it would all fly by, and then in a matter of hours, it was over. No longer a bride, now a wife, all of the wonderful moments of that one day now simply beautiful memories. It has definitely been a shock to my system. I am enjoying newlywed life to be sure, but at the same time, wishing that I could re-live those magical hours again and again...
I have yet to see the photos from my photographer... (Please hurry, I can't wait much longer!) I will certainly share them when they arrive, but for now, here are just a couple...
Me with My Ridiculously Beautiful Bridesmaids
 Moments Before "I Do"
My next couple of posts will be all about our most fantastic honeymoon/family vacation to Italy! Stay tuned... I'm back at the blog! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Habits (The Bad Kind)

Everyone has them, right? RIGHT?
Please tell me I'm not the only one...
I try to cultivate more of the good variety as a rule, but for some reason, the bad ones are just so much easier to keep around. I have many...too many. But the one that I've recently been trying (currently unsuccessfully) to rid myself of is my sailor mouth. To be more clear: sailor mouth = affinity for using foul, offensive, unsavory, and otherwise un-lady-like expressions. I have found that most people who suffer from sailor mouth tend to employ the gamut of dirty words available to them to get their points across. I, however, only have an issue with one - the big F bomb. I know, I skipped the minor leagues and went straight for the pros... You know what they say- "Go big or go home!" Let me explain - I haven't transitioned over into old salt status just yet - I don't go around dropping random bombs into my phrases or conversations with people. No, my bombs are mostly reserved for those special times when my sailor radar is activated. (Special times = at least 19 times a day. Radar = overly active temper. I'm Italian. We're not known for our level-headedness.)
There are 2 major circumstances that activate my sailor radar - and they are practically unavoidable - driving (especially in Utah -where I happen to reside), and my innate clumsiness.
The driving situation in Utah is bleak, to say the least - and I grew up driving on unpaved country lanes where road improvement meant picking the more sizeable boulders out of the gravel - so that is saying something. Aside from the pot holes that can tear a tire off of its rim, you can't leave your driveway without hitting road construction, and the drivers here are just...ridiculous. I could try to explain the phenomenon of Utah drivers better, but it would take far too long, and really, it's something you just have to experience for yourself. I guarantee that the ignition fuse to your own sailor radar would be significantly shortened!
It's true, I could leave my wheels at home and brave the public transportation system, but I have a couple of tendencies that I fear would make me unpopular with the mass transit crowd: The fact that I shower daily and use deodorant, and my penchant for personal space. So, I guess my only other option for now is to petition the state to require everyone in Utah to retake driver's ed.... Except me, of course.
As for the 2nd trigger of my radar... I don't know how I've managed to survive almost 29 years without a ride in an ambulance. I can't go more than 3 minutes without stubbing, tripping, spilling or dropping something. This invariably sets off my sailor mouth, which then leads to even more stubbing, tripping, spilling and/or dropping. It's a vicious cycle. I'm looking into baby-proofing. For adults.
I guess the main point of this post is to apologize in advance to anyone who ever might have the great misfortune to ride in a car with me, or be within earshot when I run into a wall, stub my toe or drop my keys. One day, the most severe words to leave my lips will be "aw, nuts" or "gosh darn it" - but for now? Plug your ears. I'm a work in progress.