Posts filed under ‘italy’

Florence Love Walls

I was introduced to this new blogger through another fabulous blogger and absolutely love her site. The images bring me right back to my days in beautiful Italia. Especially the one shown below.

This I presume is in front of Palazzo Strozzi, as the stones look very similar to the facade of that building. I guess it’s a fairly common practice for lovestruck teens and twenty somethings to gravitate towards these public benches to show themselves and the rest of the world how much they adore eachother.

The below photo is one I took for my final photography project in my Photography I course. It is not in front of Palazzo Strozzi, rather in front of Palazzo Medici near San Lorenzo, a spot I passed daily to get to school. I did a series on the people of Florence and walked around with my camera and snapped a lot of images of locals going about their everyday business. I got some really good ones. Including this one, which kind of breaks my heart as I imagine they’re breaking up…or crying about how the pasta they had for lunch wasn’t al dente.

August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm 2 comments

The Sunshine State

Alex and I have just arrived back home from a lovely stay in Florida. A state that wouldn’t have been our first choice for a summer vacation (we tend to choose cooler locales than our home state of TX for the summertime) but we were attending a family reunion there anyway so we decided to make a vacation out of it.

After two days in Orlando for the family reunion we were both ready to hit the road two hours north to beautiful St. Augustine. Orlando was way too commercial, chain restaurant dotted, and theme parky for our taste. Not to mention that the full humidity in 95 degree heat actually made my body hurt.

St. Augustine was recommended to us by fellow blogger Erin. She and her husband Chris share a home on St. Augustine Island and spoke very highly of their hometown!

We knew why as soon as we entered the downtown area (which is still said to be owned by Spain). The architecture was lovely and almost made me feel like I was walking around a small Spanish town rather than one in north eastern Florida.

We stayed at The Carriage House which I hands down, wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who’ll be in the area needing a place to rent. It was chock full of history and Americana nostalgia and was sooo adorable. As soon as we pulled into the long driveway we immediately gasped. The house was nicely set back about 25 yards from the main road and had a giant 200 year old oak tree with Spanish moss hanging from its branches looming overhead. The mossy green home had a charming balcony in the front as well and it reeked of southern charm. The house got even better as you walked through the front door and discovered its three spacious bedrooms, two baths, fully stocked kitchen, a parlor, large dining room, and a spacious terrace. And thankfully the homeowner had the AC cranked so it was a comfortable 74 degrees throughout our entire stay!

During the four days we were in St. Augustine we were able to do a lot of sightseeing, shopping, beach going, watching of the World Cup :-), and EATING. We ate really well there. Our favorite restaurant of the trip was The Tasting Room, a Spanish fusion tapas bar with great ambiance, live music, and fantastic food. We feasted on spinach and pine nut empanadas, mussels with a Thai curry broth, and seafood paella! They even had a psychic walking around that was “on the house” that entertained us while we waited in between courses.

Besides eating in many great restaurants while there we were lucky enough to visit Erin and Chris’s home on the island where they made a proper Italian meal for us. Alex and I were insanely impressed with their mad pizza making skills. Having recently returned from a special trip to the island of Ischia they brought back a recipe they sampled while there. The pizza that I will forever refer to as Ischia Pizza was FABULOUS and I’ve vowed to make it this Saturday for our late Father’s Day celebration (I’ll blog about it in detail then)! Also on the menu was a tasty arugula, corn, and tomato salad, and a scandalous dessert of homemade brownie topped with lemon marscapone and candied lemon slices. So impressive!

I was spoiled even more the next morning when Chris made me a marocchino, an Italian coffee I’d never sampled before. You can read how they make it here. The process was a bit tedious, but oh man the end result was fantastico. I literally felt like I was back in Italy sipping in a small cafe. Bravo! Moments later I was out their front door on the two block walk to St. Augustine Beach where I enjoyed some AM waves before traveling back home. Oh to live by the beach, I can’t imagine how great that would be…

With full bellies, heavy suitcases, and slight tans :-) we headed back to Austin this past Monday.

We were so excited to see Saci who had been staying with my parents the entire week (thanks Mom!) and get back to our normal grind. The week prior to going to Florida I was in Denver for a conference while Alex was in Ohio for work as well. Living out of a suitcase was growing old and we missed the comfort of our own bed. The house was EIGHTY THREE degrees when we walked inside. Yuck. But soon cooled off and we’re settling in for what may be a gruesome summer of 3 digit heat. Eek.

June 24, 2010 at 7:46 am 3 comments

Ever heard of a yarn bomb?

Well thanks to the city I call home I do.

Towards the end of April we noticed random signs and poles in our beloved city being wrapped in fantastic knits. Confused? Yeah I was too at first, take a glance below to see what I mean…

Austin newcomer Magda Sayeg has been yarn bombing all over town lately and I absolutely love it. Of course whenever I come across the crafty masterpieces I never have a camera on me. So alas I’ve had to grab some pictures from online.

I’ve read articles about her here and here. But just today was scrolling through one of my regular photo blogs and saw that there was something similar going on in Rome.

“Hmmm.” I thought and then something inside me just knew that they came from the same place. I love when my two worlds collide, that is my Austin world and my lovely Italian world :-)

My intuition proved right and after some light research realized they were indeed the work of Magda.

photo courtesy of Jessica Stewart, an expat photographer in Rome.

I adore the juxtaposition of old, monochromatic structures mixed with the bright colors and soft texture of the yarn.

Brilliant…keep an eye out for this gal in your hometown…

May 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm 6 comments

Spaghetti (err Penne) con Vongole

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cook one recipe out of each of the cook books I own. We only have about a dozen or so so it shouldn’t be toooooo hard.

I’ve only cooked out of one up until today and just because I want to be counter productive I decided to cook out of that same cook book today.

So not much progress made on the resolution front but I really adore that cook book and sometimes it’s hard to break away.

I made spaghetti con vongole (clams). Well that was the plan at least, of course the only thing we forgot at the store was spaghetti. oops. The penne worked fine but it wasn’t quite the same of what I remembered from a seaside trattoria we ate at in Positano.

Also a note to those who wish to try cooking this recipe, scrub your clams before using them rather than just soaking them. There was a bit of sand in the sauce…not my favorite. But the flavors were delicious at least.

May 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm 5 comments

loved the book…will probably love the movie.

Alex just sent me this link and now I can’t wait for the movie to be released!

March 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm 2 comments

Spooky Beautiful

Picture 2My good friend sent this picture to me today. Florence is and probably always will be my favorite city…after seeing photos like this I am always reminded why.

October 16, 2009 at 7:42 pm 6 comments

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

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