Posts filed under ‘Florence’

I’m going to let you in on a little secret!

Picture 1There is a cereal out there that is so incredibly fabulous that you all must go out and buy it. It however, is only found in Target stores, so if you don’t have access to one of those, punch me for mentioning this.

It’s by Archer Farms (which I love so much) and is of the granola variety. I know I’ve mentioned on this blog that cereal is one of my all-time, hands down favorite things. But did I mention that granola is my favorite type of cereal…so woah! Just listen to this, the only flavor I’ve tried of their many varieties is called “Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Biscotti.” When I saw it on the shelf I almost started crying at the brilliant word play. Upon getting it home and adding milk, bowl, and spoon there were alligator tears of joy and excitement…I had finally found THE American version.

Let me explain that…while studying abroad in Florence I came across a brand of granola that had chocolate chunks in it (much like the Archer Farms granola) and it was just the best thing since sliced bread. Besides the fact that the box was the size of my pinky toe and I could get only three full bowls out of it for a whopping 4 euro a box. On our return to trip to Italy last year I bought and consumed no less than 5 boxes of the stuff. I would pass up cannoli in the morning for a bowl of this magic. But after returning to the states with oat crumbs still sticking to my upper lip I could never find an American equivalent…until NOW!

This stuff too is also on the pricey side, it’s $4.99 per box (but before you stop reading) just give it a try, there are multiple flavors like French Vanilla and Sticky Bun. And the packaging is so fun and eco-friendly!

uh…you’re welcome!

May 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm 3 comments

exploding polenta.

So the evening of our anniversary was…good. I came home and Alex had already mowed the yard and was cooking dinner in his apron that says “Alex” on the front. It was adorable.

Unfortunately we didn’t anticipate our recipe of beef ragu and creamy polenta to take almost three hours to make. whoospie. When it finally came time for me to prepare the instant polenta I failed to read the mention on the box that said, “Be careful, if the temperature of the polenta gets too hot (which it will since we’re asking you to BOIL IT) because it will turn into an erupting volcano of corn meal goo.”

Which is EXACTLY what happened. It was so very frightening. Huge, thick glops of molten polenta lava were spurting all over the place. At first I though, crap, this is going to be such a pain to clean (and it was), and then I started to fear for my skin. Because as it spattered onto my hand and elbow the skin immediately melted away. It was horrifying and I’m still waiting for my wounds to scab.

See that’s why you come to this blog…to hear about my wounds not scabbing yet.

Besides the food exploding everything else tasted good. Except the panzanella salad which we will not discuss…because it was a disaster and I wasted half a loaf of delicious ciabatta bread while making it.

BUT Alex found mini fruit tortes that were identical to our “wedding torte” at our wedding dinner. I have pictures that I will post tonight of them…but they were so delicious and so very perfect. He did well. AND I found a bottle of inexpensive Chianti from Montepulciano (a Tuscan town) that was sooo YUM.

Next year though…I think we’ll go out to eat. Because if this is any indication of what’s to come in our future anniversaries, well then I need to stay away from the kitchen.

April 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm 5 comments

Un Anno

Happy One Year Anniversary to us! We’re exchanging our gift of “paper” tonight and cooking dinner from our Florentine cookbook. Perhaps I’ll add onto this post sometime tomorrow with pics of our future fabulous meal. I hope…


April 24, 2009 at 3:25 pm 4 comments

Last year this time…

…we were here. on the Ponte Vecchio taking pictures of the sunset…pretty sure of it. Down to the minute I wouldn’t be surprised. Alec calls me a memory ninja and I totally agree!


And I once again long to go back and traipse about my favorite gelaterias, ristoranti, and monumenti. Today I was speaking with a man that works in my building whose son I went to high school with, he was telling me that his wife and him just went on a “small trip” to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Sounds like an amazingly huge vacation to me…but I’d go on a vacay like that any day.

I need to get my passport renewed with this new name I have so taking international trips can once again be possible…

April 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm 1 comment

travel itch.


It was almost exactly last year this time that Alex and I were jittery with excitement and anxious with anticipation for our upcoming 3 week long Italian adventure. It’s gotten me in a mood of nostalgia, I’ve been going back through online albums lately of our time there last year and how it was more perfect than I had planned. And holy crap did I plan. If you’re ever at our house ask me to see “The Binder.” In this binder I created tabbed sections and logged each and every detail of our trip. I had hotel and apartment details down to the renter’s middle name and favorite gelato flavor. I had restaurants in every neighborhood of every city that we were visiting that I was told by the Travel Channel and other bloggers that we should try. I even had key phrases I may have to utter at particular instances jotted down in there for the “just in case” scenarios. I’m getting organizing thrills and chills just thinking about this epic binder. BUT BASTA (enough)! This is about me wanting to travel…again and more.

Preferably it’d be to a European or Latin destination…but Alex and I are lending the American economy a hand during these “shoot me in the face” times and are traveling nationally. On May 1st we’ll be driving to Denver from Austin. DRIVING TO DENVER FROM AUSTIN. Since I’ve already complained to everyone I know in person about the road trip that hasn’t even begun I will complain to you all…again! Any good road trip suggestions? I really wasn’t prepared for these sort of adventures as a kid. If we went somewhere, chances are we flew there.

On the way back we’re stopping in Santa Fe, where we’ve already made arrangements to rent a cute little house that’s within walking distance of the city center. booyah.

I think I’ll be fine, I can do this. I’ll watch some birthing videos before hand and start practicing the breathing techniques. I’ll be fine.

April 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm 4 comments

morning annoyance

I was sitting down with my famed bowl of cereal this morning. I LIVE for cereal. I sadly go to bed the night before excited for eating a freakin’ bowl of cereal the next morning.

Anyway, it’s at this time that I switch from CNN Headline News to The Today Show or even Good Morning America. I happened to be watching mostly The Today Show this morning, and they even had a segment that caught my eye. The segment detailed the group of four hosts taking on a new task each day…each task entailing something that requires them to step outside of their comfort zones. Today’s was painting models in the nude at a famed art school in New York City. Something I could definitely relate to having started drawing/painting live nude models when I was 18 and doing it on a regular basis throughout art school. In college it was no big deal at all…I even had a class with my model from my life drawing class. One moment I’m drawing her naked and the next she’s my partner in glass blowing. No big deal.

The hosts handled themselves very professionally during their painting session…no wise cracks about how it was “weird” or “uncomfortable”…thank goodness. But what pissed me off to no end was when they went back to the live studio where they were to reveal their finished works of art to today’s viewers. Each host revealed their piece of art one by one…when Meredith Veira pulled the red fabric off her canvas revealing the two nude models I was APPALLED. The genitalia and boobs had CENSORS over them. Seriously? Have we gotten to the point where art shown on TV has to have little blurry areas over the “private parts.” We’re not children! And even if children see that, who the hell cares? It’s the human body, we all know or SHOULD know what the parts look like!


It’s become so insanely stupid and silly that my gut was twitching and turning while watching it. It’s dumbing down art for goodness sake and it’s making a mockery out of the human form…especially the female form.

Nudity in television/movies/books has been a topic that I’ve talked about a lot the past few weeks with friends. I forget how it was brought up the first time…but it’s something that I feel the need to argue constantly! I believe Alex makes excellent points when talking about this subject. Why is it okay to see a man’s head blown off on prime time television but the moment a woman’s nipple slips out of her tank top it’s blasphemy?

“Oh Dear God…her nipple is exposed. What distasteful SMUT!”

Alex argues that by turning nudity into taboo (something that it’s not) is what leads to sexual deviance in the first place. People who are told their entire lives that “sex is bad, nudity is smut, and homosexuality is evil” are more likely to rebel in unhealthy manners.

While spending a lot of time in Europe I saw and learned how Europeans handle nudity and sexuality in a way more healthy way than we Americans. On a daily basis I would see flyers and ads with boobs…heaven forbid. And guess what, after which I didn’t have an uncontrollable urge to rip off my clothes and dance around the streets naked. I didn’t even turn into a porn star, I simply went on with my day. Why? Because they’re boobs, sexual or not, they are what they are.

And to The Today Show producers who felt that it was necessary to censor artwork…GIVE ME A BREAK and grow up!

March 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm 5 comments

Snappity Doo – Blog Challenge 2 – College

My college experience was so great.

picture-18Those four years flew by and so much happened within to ever recount. It was a time of new people, new experiences, cold Ohio winters, art projects, studying abroad, and becoming a better version of myself. The person I came to Bowling Green, Ohio as was not the person I emerged four years later as. I came out of college smarter, more confident, more prepared for life’s challenges, and with eyes wide open.

It was also at college where I literally forgot how to study. In high school I studied so dutifully for each and every test and quiz and would come out victorious with my ‘A’. Freshman year went pretty much the same way for me, but come sophomore year and all the art projects and papers I was writing instead of tests that I was taking…I literally could not and would not study. I would pretend to, deem it pointless, and settle for the ‘B.’

It was at college where I said goodbye to old toxic friendships and said hello to friends that allowed me to be myself without pettiness and too much drama. There was still a good amount of drama. It was also the place where I did things that were totally out of character, like put a frozen salmon under some guy’s bed that was the world’s biggest arse. Or go out every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to bars and frat parties (such a departure from who I was in high school and who I am now).

Since there’s so much to say about my transformation in college and am now quite sure how to say it I’ll just end this with…it was a good time. A time that I wish sometimes I could go back to. I had at least 20 friends within a 3 mile radius of eachother and pretty much always had something to do. I miss the friend thing. Now it’s a lot more work, a lot more planning ahead, and a lot more expensive. The days of beer pong, flip cup, and corn hole are over.

Being grown up and on your own is good though. Never again will I have to settle for Natty Light or 8am classes or professors that BS their way through the semester. Instead I’ll go to work, make a living, sip my moderately priced wine, and spend time with my husband who gives me whatever I want :-)

February 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm 5 comments

Back to Florence…..and then Farewell Italia

We left Rome mid morning on a Thursday and hopped onto a train to Florence. When we studied in Florence for a semester and were away for 3 or more days I always remember how we’d get so excited when the train would slow and the Duomo would come into view. It just spoke of how much we loved Florence and how it really was our home for those four months.

The same thing happened when we were pulling into the Santa Maria Novella train station for the last time on our three week stint in Italy. After two weeks of not knowing our way around we were once again back in a city where no maps were required and it didn’t take twice as long to get somewhere because we’d get lost. We were back. It was bittersweet in a way though because I knew the next day we’d be waking up at an unGodly hour to fly back to the States.

We quickly found our hotel on via Nazionale….after staying in such great accommodations everywhere else we were stunned by how well…crappy this last hotel was. We knew it wasn’t going to be all grand and majestic but we were spoiled by now and not having air conditioning on the top floor of the hotel was brutal. We did have a great view out our window though of the magical red rooftops of Florence and out our front door we could see the rolling hills of Fiesole.

It had gotten noticeably warmer since we were there two weeks prior and we decided to make the most out of our last full day. First we trekked through the San Lorenzo markets (one of my most hated areas bc of all the tourists and foot traffic) to buy a few tshirts. Then we went to Eby’s a burrito place we frequented during our semester in Florence. The burritos weren’t as great as we remembered but it was a welcome change from all the Italian food we’d been eating.

Afterwards we crossed the river to take one more hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo while the sun was out. On the way through the San Niccolo neighborhood we stumbled upon a Rose Garden that I was sad we had never discovered before. The flowers within the walled garden were beautiful but I couldn’t help but think of how hot I was in my 3/4 length shirt and jeans. Once at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo we sat and took in our city one last time.
We talked about when we would make it back….since our next International adventure will more than likely include other countries we’ve yet to explore. Speaking of not seeing Italy for so long made me sad and even short of breath :-(

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at Chiesa Santa Felicita so we could see my most favorite Renaissance painting! It’s Pontormo’s “Deposition,” and I first fell in love with the painting four years ago when we visited the small unassuming church on an art history field trip. I love that the church isn’t well known and that there are never lines or tourists that you have to fight through. It makes me feel special, like we know a secret that most don’t :-) The colors are vivid pastels that resonate well with me. I love bright colors….they draw me in!

That evening we met Erin from “The Olive Notes” and her husband Chris. I’d been speaking to her via the blogosphere for just about a year and was excited that we were actually able to meet up. We met in Piazza di San Marco and chatted and walked to the Sant’ Ambrogio neighborhood where they introduced us to a great little restaurant where we enjoyed wine and aperitivos. I was even able to sample tartufo for the first time!

Afterwards we waltzed to ChiaroScuro (I was so excited to try this place) which had a wonderful ambiance and so many java combinations to try. I was a little overwhelmed with the options so I opted for the frozen cappuccino that I saw featured on the outdoor sign. It was delicious and I was glad to be able to finally try this place after drooling all over their webpage.

It was the very first time that I had actually met someone in person that I’ve only spoken to online prior. The experience of doing so was great and it was nice to just pick up where we left off on one another’s blogs.

That night we ventured to our favorite gelateria in all of Italy on via Faenza and I ordered “sad gelato” one last time. Cookies and amarena to be exact :-) Alex of course consumed yet another Margherita pizza and we enjoyed a sleepless night of tossing and turning since we knew we had to wake at 5am for an entire 24 hours of international travel.

The trip home was very reminiscent of our first trip home from Italy in ’04. We were greeted in the Florentine airport by hoards of American students returning home……..lovely. And I had instant deja vu’ of what a nightmare that had been for us. With our bags being too heavy and getting charged astronomical fees for it……ugh. We made it through and fought our way through the Charles de Gaulle airport once in Paris. Sprinting through an airport is never fun….it wipes me out emotionally and physically.

In any case we made it home……as Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Eryn Chandler. Looking back at our wedding photos I know that if given the chance we would do it all over again!

It was perfect

June 13, 2008 at 9:19 pm 5 comments


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