Wednesday, December 18, 2013

last minute gift guide.

last minute gift guide

 With only a few days left until Christmas, now is the time to get all of the last minute shopping done.  I don't know about you, but I have been quite busy trying to find the perfect gifts for my friends and family.  Luckily, there are always a few tried and true presents ideas that I know I can fall back on if all else fails. 
A nice candle or a sweet-smelling soap are perfect for practically everyone, as they add a lovely touch to any home.  A patterned tea cup is also a great idea for all the coffee or tea drinkers out there.  For the nail polish addicts, try one of the many great holiday sets out there.  As for stocking stuffers, holiday socks, phone cases, and scarves are easy and inexpensive ways to make smiles on Christmas morning.  Finally, if you really can't think of anything, there's always a Starbuck's gift card!

I hope this helps with the gift search!  Let me know what you rely on for last minute gift ideas in the comments!



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Friday, December 13, 2013

return to roma.

The best pasta place in Rome.  Fresh pasta for only 4 euro!

The Fendi store with Natale decorations!

As my time in Italy draws to a close, I've been trying to relive my favorite experiences and take advantage of the time I have left.  One of the things I knew I had to do was to go to Roma one more time.  This weekend I went back to my favorite city in Italy with a few friends and had the most amazing time.  We hit all my favorite places, including Giolitti for the best gelato, Pastificio for fresh pasta, and Aristocampo for amazing panini.  We also spent a lot of time just wandering the streets and checking out all of the decorations for Natale that currently cover the city.  Oh Roma, how I'll miss you!



PS.  Follow me on Bloglovin for all the latest posts!
PPS.  Did you miss my blog series from my first trip to Roma?  Check them out here, here, and here!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

a view of venice.

This past weekend I took a trip to Venice, which has been one of my dream destinations ever since I saw the Thief Lord movie.  The city is beautiful in an unreal sort of way.  It was amazing to realize that there are no cars or vespas zooming around.  Instead, there are dozens of boats, bridges, and canals.  I visited some gorgeous churches, crossed countless bridges, checked out an amazing musical instrument display, and ate quite a few pastries.  I also may have stopped for a cup or two of cioccolata calda, which is hot chocolate.  As in literally hot chocolate.  I don't know how I'll be able to go back to SwissMiss.  The crowning moment for me though was when I saw the winged lion statue in the middle of a piazza.  All of my Thief Lord dreams were realized and I was content to spend the rest of the day just wandering around the city.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

the latest bites.

Sugar cookies with homemade butter frosting and dark chocolate shavings


The most amazing apple cake ever with pears, hazelnuts, and dark chocolate in the center

Pasta with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and garlic

Apples stuffed with a brown sugar and butter crumble

Antipasti plate of taralli, Gorgonzola, and pomegranate seeds
One of the best parts of living in Italy has been cooking with fresh produce and local ingredients.  I love having weekly dinners with friends.  We always manage to come up with something new and delicious.  The apple cake above is possibly my favorite recipe of all time.  I learned how to make it in a cooking class and have been obsessed with the combination of apples, pears, hazelnuts and dark chocolate ever since.  Another favorite of mine is tiramisu, which, lucky for me, my Italian friend knows how to make perfectly.  I will definitely post recipes soon!



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

art in ravenna.

Like Parma, Ravenna is one of those beautiful, small Italian cities that have the power to instantly charm you.  I spent the day here recently and was amazed by the gorgeous buildings and artwork that the area had to offer.  Both of the churches I visited were extremely ornate and well-preserved.  However, my favorite stop was at Dante Alighieri's tomb.  The inner literary geek in me was freaking out the entire time.  Basically, it was just another amazing day in Italia. 



PS.  Next stop Milano!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

love for verona.

An amazing horse show in the center of town

A lovely depiction of Romeo and Juliet's story

The arena!

I could not believe I actually got to see Juliet's balcony.

Juliet's statue was gorgeous.  It's a tradition to touch her chest for luck.

Of course I needed a gelato break!

My flavors: tiramisu and stracciatela

First Christmas/Natale display I've seen in Italia!

View from the top of Castelvecchio

I learned of Verona's existence in sixth grade when my English class studied Romeo and Juliet for the first time.  Since coming to Italy, I have wanted to take a trip to the famed city, even if it was only to see the statue of Juliet.  This past weekend, I finally made the visit and am so glad I did.  The city is lovely and visitors can find hints of Shakespeare's story throughout it.  My favorite spots would have to be La Casa di Giulietta (Juliet's house) and CastelvecchioCastelvecchio is an amazing castle on a hill that overlooks the entire city.  While the climb to the top was a hike, the view at the end made it all worth it. 



PS.  More travel and food posts coming soon!  Follow me on Bloglovin for updates!