J A N U A R Y
birthday celebrations in Vegas
F E B R U A R Y
the best tour guides + the best pizza in Chicago
M A R C H
feeling fancy at NWA fashion week + the first of many trips to minneapolis
A P R I L
the month of amazing concerts – radiohead + blink 182
M A Y
always one of my favorite months of the year – mother’s day + weddings + anniversaries + beer festivals
J U L Y
someone turned 30 (not me) + fun family reunion in portland
A U G U S T
a mother-daughter trip to pioneer woman’s ranch + my favorite puppy turned 5
S E P T E M B E R
labor day weekend NYC fun + polo in the ozarks
O C T O B E R
a work trip to virginia with some pretty sweet views + won halloween (again)
N O V E M B E R
the best girls weekend in LA
D E C E M B E R
celebrating the season’s best with my favorite people
[Monterosso – adorable winding streets with beautiful street art]
[The pictures that follow are from our favorite night of the trip, on Angelo’s Sunset Boat Tour. Boat + guide Sammy pictured above. Seriously, if you are ever here, this is absolutely worth every penny!]
[Boat views of the towns = all the praise hands] [Stopped for tapas in Vernazza – these mussels + anchovies were TDF … and I don’t eat mussels or anchovies!] [And this is right before we saw the dolphins and I cried. But for real, this night was so surreal and felt like a dream.]
[Final night in Cinque Terre – Vernazza Wine Experience with sweeping views that I failed to capture, except for the views of the wine + food]
CINQUE TERRE: We love love loved these adorable coastal towns. This was a very close second behind Siena for our favorite place. We actually stayed in a little town called Levanto (not one of the main touristy towns) and it was wonderful. Less touristy, yet still beachy and charming. We also had some super fun, not pictured, patio nights with Limoncello, Despacito + strange Asian men.
[Piazza at night + another delicious dinner – look at those shrimp!!]
[Peggy Guggenheim Museum was phenomenal. We were so excited to see some Modern art at this point after all the Renaissance art. Love this picture of Husband taking a picture of the water with a Jackson Pollock right behind him!]
[SO much fun on our Venetian Pub Tour – we drank so much wine, went to hole-in-the-wall pubs and learned a lot (that we didn’t totally agree with) from our tour guide] [Day trip to the islands of Burano and Murano were totally worth it. Look how beautiful these colored buildings are! I took the second for my Mom – because I know if she were there, she’d totally be taking an art class like this!]
[Perfect final night in Venice with these beautiful people, and very fitting my last meal would be with more TRUFFLE!]
[We loved the bar across from our hotel! We made it a habit to end there every night. They played American Pop hits and served the “best” pina coladas + the best prosecco.]
VENICE: I had a love/hate relationship with Venice. I’m so glad we went, because it is so unique and incredible that there are no cars and the only transportation is by water taxi. (We even got to the airport by water taxi – how cool is that!) However, I’m not sure I’d go back – it was expensive, pigeons were everywhere, and I got eaten alive by mosquitos.
Hope you enjoyed re-living our trip through photos! I certainly did! Now, who’s ready to go back!?
R O M E
[Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and a lot of walking around cute streets]
[Stumbled upon the famous Giolitti … so of course we had to have gelato, round 2. Successful first day in Italy!]
[Lunch stop pre-Vatican: Bonci Pizzarium – highly recommend this place. Tons of unique pizzas to choose from by the slice!]
[Pictures of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica don’t even do it justice – wow! Unfortunately couldn’t take pictures of the Sistine Chapel, but it was breathtaking – if only there weren’t so many sweaty people crammed into one place!]
[This wine + cheese pairing class was seriously the best – definitely our highlight of Rome. We learned a lot, drank some unique wines, ate some amazing cheeses and even got to see the thousand year old wine cellar, and Handi the sommelier was incredible! If you’re going to Rome you must make time for Vino Roma.]
[Final night in Rome: somehow found Husband’s dad and stepmom at the Spanish Steps, ate some delicious cacio e pepe and went to the best pub in the world (not really … but we did get this awesome picture from a stranger, ha!)]
ROME: we actually really enjoyed this city! For some reason, none of us had very high expectations, but we were all pleasantly surprised. It was very walkable, fun, safe and great food. There is so much history here that we did not get the time to really explore so I could definitely go back.
T U S C A N Y
Our home base was Siena, which we ADORED, then we traveled around a bit from there.
[The best pizza I’ve ever had – everything was so incredibly fresh, including the burrata on top. Il Pomodorino was one of our favorite spots with the best views. We actually ate there twice!]
[Our favorite meal of the entire trip! This place was so amazing and romantic. My risotto with FRESHLY GRATED truffles was literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. Truly a remarkable evening.]
Day trip to Florence
[Very cool market we stopped in for breakfast – bottom floor was fresh meats, cheeses, veggies and fruits like a farmer’s market; top floor was cafes and restaurants – this cappucino and ham + brie croissant was delicious.]
[David, David, David, you truly are a masterpiece. I cannot get over how surreal and amazing it was to see this work of art. I’m so glad we went to Florence if only for this!][And this! Birth of Venus by Botticelli was amazing.]
[Uffizi gallery with these views was fantastic – though by the end of the day, we were so ready to get back home to Siena …][and we did eventually make it home, but with a crazy story to tell (best told in person). This was us cheers-ing to Josh making it back alive.]
FLORENCE: in full transparency, we really did not like Florence very much. It was crazy packed with tourists everywhere you turned. Maybe we didn’t go to the right places and should have spent more than a day and done more than just the touristy things, but we were not impressed. (Except for David!)
Wine tour to Montalcino + surrounding wineries [Montalcino was an adorable little town! We only got 30 minutes in town before heading to the wineries, but could have spent several hours wandering around. Of course, even in those 30 minutes husband found a pair of leather shoes to buy!]
[Second stop had the best views by far and incredible lunch + wine in a gorgeous home. I could seriously move there tomorrow!]
[Final stop was definitely the most unique and produced our favorite (albeit most expensive) wine – this winery is super modern, entirely biodynamic, and started by the very wealthy brother of Illy coffee (who we happened to see leaving for holiday in his Porsche while we were there)][Finally back home at Hotel La Villa for our final night in Siena – we did not want to leave!]
SIENA: hands down our favorite city. We seriously discussed finding a property to turn into an AirBnB so we could go visit whenever we want. It was charming and beautiful and just felt magical. I could spend so much more time here, using Siena as a home base then traveling to differing wineries and small towns nearby.
Hopefully you enjoyed the first round of pictures! This was only a tiny taste of what we saw, did, ate and drank.
Watch for Part 2 (Cinque Terre + Venice) in the next week!
- Never, ever, ever, hold a wine glass by the top, only by the stem. Or get seriously called out by a sommelier.
- Italians only drink with food. They don’t go out for a drink at happy hour without something to snack on, and they certainly don’t just sit on their couch binge-watching tv shows with wine. Hmm…..
- Ciao is hello, not goodbye. Americans incorrectly turned it into goodbye. (According to our very opinionated bar tour host)
- Under no circumstances should you get off of a train, unless you want to stay off of that train. Not to smoke a cigarette, and certainly not to get a taxi.
- I CAN get sick of pasta + pizza. (Actually surprising) But I can NOT get sick of good wine. (Not really that surprising.)
- And I DO like seafood when it’s extra fresh – like mussels and scampi and anchovies and scallops and swordfish
- Spontaneous tears of joy are a real thing.
- A meal or even just a cappuccino is not something to be rushed through or as “take-away”, but to be enjoyed leisurely. The 3-hour dinner was a common and wonderful occurrence.
- Air conditioning is non-negotiable. Especially when you’re walking 10 miles/day in 90+ degree humid heat.
- Travel can make or break a friendship. Luckily, ours was the former and only made us even closer.
Picturebook posts of our amazing Italian vacation to come soon!