Monday, February 27, 2012


After getting back from Rome yesterday around 6:30 I was surprisingly not as exhausted as I thought!  My lovely roommates whipped up a healthy salad with chicken and balsamic/olive oil dressing for dinner, a nice break from all the carbs I consumed this weekend!  This morning I was woken up at a mere 8a.m. by our neighbors downstairs that decided to blast "Turn me on" as loud as humanly possible.  Not to mention that there is already enough noise with the roof construction and jack hammer?  Who knows why API put a group of girls in this apartment, I mean don't get me wrong its a cute place, but the inhabitants in this area concern me.   The other day after a night on the town we headed back to our apartment and as we approached the door a man tried to follow us into our building and was banging on the door yelling at us to open up!?! Scary stuff I know.
                  Anyways, after tossing and turning for a while I decided to start my day and go for a jog by the river.  It was such a beautiful day today, just another reminder of how blessed I am to be in Firenze!  On my way back I stopped at the Conad grocery store to pick up the week's necessities: some fresh baguette, tomatoes, wine, ham and cheese, some yummy apples, and my absolute favorite blackberry jam that I will have withdrawals from when I go home.  The grocery stores here are actually very stressful because of how fast-paced the paying process is and the fact that you have to bag your own groceries.  They are, however, environmentally friendly in that most Italians bring their own bags for their food versus using the plastic ones.  Of course I always forget to bring my bag and sometimes I feel the cashiers glaring at me as if I'm destroying the planet or something.  Come to America honey where one person uses twenty plastic bags and see how that feels!  On my way back I passed through a popular piazza with lots of street vendors where one guy hollered at me "Can I come over for dinner??!?" in reference to my grocery bags I'm assuming.  The men here have no shame in yelling at you weird/creepy things and making disgusting kissy noises every time a girl walks by.  It is "the desperate girl's haven" Amy refers to Florence as far as the dating scene.  Next I came back and got dressed for the day and made myself some caprese salad for lunch.  During this time I realized that I actually needed to do a country report on France that is due tomorrow, so I completed about half of that before Julia convinced me to go hunt down some cilantro with her.  Unbeknownst to us, Mexican food is absolutely impossible to cook here because they don't have the following key ingredients: sour cream, black beans, and cilantro.  NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!  We went into about five different stores before giving up the search and settling for some gelato at GROM, which is absolutely amazing.  I got my typical chocolate and caffe combo and thoroughly enjoyed every bite of it.  Then we headed back so I could get back to work (unfortunately) on my homework.  Overall, it was a great and pretty relaxing day for me and it is really starting to feel like this is my home.
                 I also wanted to talk a little bit about the fashion here in Italia.  It is mind-blowing how different Florence is versus UGA in terms of fashion choices.  Prior to coming here, I thought I was a pretty well-dressed person with a diverse array of looks.  No way hose.  The amount of crazyily interesting and unique combinations I have seen here has really opened my eyes to the endless possibilites of outfits.  To my surprise I have to say that the most fashionable women I have seen are the Asian tourists.  Although some of their choices are way too out-there for me personally, I truly respect the risks they take.  The absolutely are obsessed with these puffy downcoats!  Thankfully its getting warmer every day and coats aren't really necessary anymore but I wish I had known before I arrived how many cool coats they have here!  On the other hand, the Italians have much more of an effortless chic to them that the Americans here will never be able to master.  Even walking around with wet hair is a sign that you're American because an Italian woman would NEVER do that.  Black is the most popular color, another reason why we stand out because we love patterns and neon and bright colors.  The women often don sleek knee-length coats with varying buttons, tights, and some heels/heeled boots.  How in the world they manage not to face-plant on the cobble-stone streets is beyond me...My feet are STILL recovering from the weekends walking marathon.  They typically wear minimal make-up and go for a much more simplistic look.  Lucky for them, most of them have straight hair that is easily manageable, not me of course I have a head of messy curls to style.  It seems to me that they value quality versus quantity, which is the complete opposite in the U.S. where forever21 specializes in making fashionable clothes as a great price but only lasts two washes before the shape is completely deformed or shrunken.  I have never seen so many louis vuitton purses in my life.....the other day a girl about my age was carrying a brand new snakeskin hobo gucci bag, freshly purchsed outside of the store.  Soooo casual?  This would not happen in a million years where I'm from because high fashion is considered to be Tory Burch.  Going back to what I mentioned earlier, they invest in staple pieces and wear them until the end of their lives.  This might be a better concept for me to adopt because then I could fit all of my stuff in my suitcase to go home instead of sending a big box home beforehand.  Shopping addiction has flared up, help!!! I need a little more high fashion in my life and a little less disposable in my closet.
                 Lastly, I was so sad I couldn't watch the Oscar's last night!  I was able to check out the best/worst dressed of the evening on though, and I have to say that my favorite was Angelina.  She is so confident and is the definition of a strong woman, she never seems to go wrong these days!  I'm also recently intrigued by Rooney Mara, who looked very chic and edgy so I'll have to keep an eye on her in the future.  My favorite appearance was definitely Natalie Portman not only because she is one of my role models, but becuase she and her husband are such a cute couple!  I mean, how many women can graduate from Harvard, be an actress,pull off playing a professional ballerina, and be a momma?!  Only Natalie.  Well it's getting late here in Florence so I'm off to bed so I can get up to head to the studio to get some sewing done.  Ciao tutti! xoxo
How adorable are they?
Vamped up always

She's mysterious don't you think?

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I just got back from the amazing city of Rome and can confidently say that I haven't been this tired in a longgg time!  I will be getting to bed VERY early tonight and hopefully getting a solid 12 hours in so I can get back to a normal schedule.  Who knew travelling was this exhausting?! Anyways, I absolutely loved Rome!  The architecture and the ruins were mind-blowing and I think that everyone needs to see them once in their life.  After arriving friday morning we got a a quick walking tour to get our footing, even though the city is so big I still couldn't get around on my own without getting lost on day three!  We saw some of the famous sights like the Trevi Fountain, the spanish steps, and a few other things with the group.
Spanish steps
Trevi Fountain wishes

In piazza Navona with the roomies
The Pantheon
 We also picked up a nom nom little pizza (mine was mushrooms and tomato) that was really yummy!  It was weird to me that just casually strolling around you will run into world famous monuments like its no big deal.  I tried to appreciate every moment of it and kept thinking about how dang old all these places are and it is truly unbelievable.  After walking around for a while we stopped at a cute outdoor cafe to grab a glass of wine and some bruschetta.
In Piazza Navona
    It was kind of a rip off because we chose a place right in the piazza navona, a very popular/touristy square.  Nonetheless the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed giving our feet a break.  I've also come to realize that no matter what friggin shoes I wear my feet will be killing me by the end of the day.  I just tell myself to suck it up and that I'm in Rome and shouldn't be complaining and usually it works?  Amy and I bought some adorable white sneakers at a shop near the Trevi  fountain that I wore today, and they were slightly more comfortable than my leather boots.  To my dismay I realized that my brand new leather boots are a wee bit too snug and that I have to "break them in."  Rome was definitely not the best place to try and do that because they were throbbing by dinnertime!  After wine we strolled around and made a reservation at a FANTASTIC restaurant called Antiqua Trattoria that was recommended by API.  When I imagined what Italy would be like before I actually came here, this is exactly what I had in mind.  We sat outside and for 20 euro got 2 bottles of wine, a meatball and bean dish, and steak!  I have to say that is pretty good deal!  The steak wasn't as good as Dad's big green egg creations, however.
Meatballs and beans at Antiqua Taverna
 The whole time I was in Rome I kept wanting to turn to my side and see my family standing there, marveling at all this amazingness with me.  I really realized how lucky I am to have the opportunity to travel the world this weekend because I think I have already noticed changes in myself.  There is so much out there to see that I never even realized was there! Being here has opened my eyes so much to all the opportunities and possibilities that all seem so much more reachable now that I'm living in it.  Sometimes at home I tend to get sucked into my uga bubble and think that the world revolves around date nights and socials, but now I understand how different life COULD be after college etc!
Back to my weekend recap.  So after our delicious dinner we headed over to a place called "Drunken Ship," lovely eh?  After hanging out for a while Sydney and I called it a night around midnight when the realness of my exhaustion finally settled in.  On saturday we got up at 8:30 am (I was not a happy camper because anyone that knows me knows how much sleep I require...) to make it to breakfast and then bus over to see some more Roman sites.  First, we visited castel, not castle, St. Angelo where the popes lived!  There were some beautiful views at the top and we got to see the pope's bedroom which was very grand and neat to see.
Castel St. Angelo

View from the Castel
  Next we headed over to Vatican City, which was definitely my favorite part of Rome!  Pictures simply do not do the Basilica justice.  The place was a monstrosity and I still don't understand how they managed to construct something so magnificent with their level of technology.  Modern buildings do not even compare to the grandiosity  of the pillars and paintings that decorated the walls.  We spent a long time marveling at at the basilica and then headed over to the Vatican museum.  I was a little confused upon getting there because I stupidly thought that the Vatican was a church, when it is actually an old palace that is now turned into a museum.  On display are thousands of Roman relics, sculptures, tapestries, and paintings that I had no idea what their significance was because we had no tour guide, but nonetheless it was unreal to be in the presence of all the famous artwork.  We finally made it to the Sistine Chapel, which was much smaller than I expected and we were unfortunately not allowed to take pictures because the flash ruins the paint colors.  Of course there are always the girls in my group that think they can beat the system and do it anyway.  Little did they know there are guards in every room that will run over and yell at you in Italian while simultaneously embarrassing the s*^& out of you in front of the entire museum.  Lesson #1, don't try to take pictures of Michelangelo's stuff.  It was fun to picture him up on a scaffold at the top of the wall with his paintbrush working away.  At the same time it is crazy to think that he can work on a small section but be able to connect it all and see the bigger picture to create one massive art.  Very cool.
After finishing up in the chapel Kelsey and I wandered into a courtyard, sat on a bench, and basked in the sun to wait for the others to finish the museum.  We all walked back towards the hotel to shower and get ready for our next delicious Roman meal.  This time we made a reservation at a place called Maccheroni that was to die for, but for some reason I didn't have a big appetite so I mostly just sampled everything.  We ordered two traditional pastas to split amongst the three of us (Amy, Julia, and I), Pasta cacio e pepe that was phenomenal, and another one with black truffle sauce.  Every time I try to be adventurous with my food choices it backfires, so let's just say I only had a few bites of that one....After a leisurely dinner with my roommates, we went for a stroll down the street with all of the ruins before heading to a pub called Scholars.  It was spectacular to see the sites all lit up in different colors, it felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world!  The pub was a ball, and we all ended up meeting some great characters.  I met a guy named Sal from Argentina...random?  and Julia and Kelsey chatted with two Roman boys who kindly drive us over in their sweet benz to the next bar called Anima.  Everyone here has super fancy cars, and let's just say his car made my little toyota camry look pretty sketchy in comparison. This was a smaller bar, but still had a cool crowd and we dragged ourselves home at the wee hour of 3:30 am.
Getting up this morning was even more of a struggle than on saturday because of the buildup of lack of sleep, dehydration, and exhaustion in general.  We got breakfast and then attempted to go to a market a few bus stops away, but we were sadly dissapointed at the lack of vintage things we expected to find.  It was mostly tacky costume jewelry and cheap clothes on tables with hectic Italians shoving at each other to get their treasures.  So we headed back to the hotel to do a bus tour that lasted about 45 minutes, which showed us more of the city and sites.  Then we hopped off the bus to do the famous Colosseum tour, which was insanely cool to see and picture the gladiators fighting with the people in the stands.  We snapped some pictures and then broke for lunch where we found a cute little place that had DELICIOUS Margherita pizza!  Sadly this is where our trip to Rome came to a close as we headed back to the buses Florence bound.  Overall I enjoyed Rome immensely and highly recommend that everyone take a visit there.  I'm glad I chose to study in Firenze, however, because the city is much more intimate and way less intimidating than a huge city like Rome.  Next weekend is our trip with API to Venice, so I need to rest up to be ready for our next Italian adventure.  Arrivederchi tutti! xoxo
St. Peter's Basilica