Travel | Windy City Round Up

Hello lovelies! I feel like a horrible blogger because I skipped a post last week. But do not fret – I will be posting twice this week to make up for it. In the meantime, I am dying to share our mini vacation we just came back from with you!

I’m coming to find that one of my favorite subjects to write about is travel. The hubs and I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago and let me just tell you…it blew me away (figuratively and literally). Shahin and I are big fans of tradition and although we’ve been together almost 7 years, we’ve only been married 7 months and have wanted to implement customs in our marriage. One we have established is an annual trip with one of our favorite couple friends to an uncharted area (or at least for most of us). Last year, we took on New York City, which was ridiculously fun (will touch on that trip in a separate post), and this year we chose Chicago. Why? We’ve all heard remarkable things about the “Windy City” between the places to see, activities to do as well as the cuisine and social scene. None of us had been there before except Shahin who had only visited when he was much younger.

The hubs and I have discussed many times before that it is not often you find a group of people you can comfortably travel with. Let’s be real for a moment: think about all of your friends. They’re amazing and you love them dearly but consider spending several days with them at a time…how many could you travel with without eventually wanting to pull your hair out? I can assure you, it will probably just be a handful. Erich and Rachel are the perfect travel buddies, we always have the best time together. Even more, we each play an important part in the planning and execution of our vacations. Erich always tracks down the best deals (without fail) while Rachel and I research and choose our activities, restaurants and watering holes (priorities). I like to consider Shahin a “game day” kind of guy. He’s not one to do any initial planning but he will be the spontaneous life of the party when we get to our final destination as well as our GPS (he has an amazing sense of direction).

Here’s a run down of what we did with some notable places and moments:

Thursday
• Had Chicago style pizza at Lou Malnati’s. It was quite delicious but really heavy. In fact, I was almost sick after eating one slice. Glad I gave it a try but I will stick with NY style all day, every day.
• Visited the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), which is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,353 feet. We stepped out onto the glass box, which extends out about 4 feet from the skydeck – totally worth the sweaty palms!
• Ate dinner at an oyster bar across from our hotel that had a very old school/1920’s Chicago vibe called Shaw’s. We enjoyed oyster shooters and listened to live jazz.
• Found the most talked about new hot spot in Chicago for 2014: Three Dots and a Dash, a tiki style speakeasy in a back alley with no signs on the door indicating where it is with just a bouncer out front. It was essentially an underground playground for adults/secret society of the most beautiful people in Chi town. Lively, vibrant and a very happening lounge with heavenly concoctions in unique tiki glasses.

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Friday
• First thing in the morning we walked to Intelligentsia and had the best cappuccino I’ve ever tasted.
• Stopped at Glazed & Infused and picked up some Maple Bacon Long John donuts on the way back to the hotel.
• Visited beluga whales, dolphins, penguins, and fish galore at the Shedd Aquarium – one of the largest aquariums in the world.
• Took in the most breathtaking view of Chicago seen from outside of the Adler Planetarium.
• Ate Chicago style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches at Portillo’s, which was recommended by a friend (thanks, Mike). Oh and the chocolate cake shake we ordered to go along with it…sinfully good.
• Did a little shopping on Magnificent Mile and hit up the holy grail (AKA Topshop).
• Dinner and margaritas at Frontera = wowza. The Meyer lemon margarita from the special Spring menu was divine.
• After shutting the place down, we decided to continue with the tequila (rule #1 of tequila drinking: you should never mix it with anything else) and popped into Mercadito, where I consumed passionfruit margaritas with a smoked paprika rim…and it was the most glorious drink I’ve ever had.

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Saturday
• Shahin and Erich stayed in their rooms (recovery mode) while Rachel and I picked up some coffee and stopped for a peanut butter cup donut at Firecakes. WIN!
• Did a little more shopping.
• Met the boys over at the Navy Pier where we rode the Ferris Wheel.
• Visited a 2-story Italian market called Eately.
• Ate dumplings and #hotasianbuns at Wow Bao.
• Had pre-dinner cocktails at CH Distillery, Chicago’s only distillery cocktail bar. This place makes their own alcohol and they’ve created a very chic and trendy atmosphere around it. Let me just start out by saying…they completely NAILED it with the drinks. The Moscow Mule Rachel had was ridiculously good and my unique beverage called The Baron Takes Tea (Earl Gray infused CH key gin, lemon, simple syrup, egg white and soda) was unbelievable.
• Had a 10:15 reservation at Girl and The Goat which every food blog, Chicago magazine, social media outlet and local Chicagoans rave about. Not to mention it was rated #1 on Urbanspoon Chicago as the hottest restaurant in town. Done and done. It’s tapas style so each couple had about 4-5 menu items each and we all did some sharing.
Here is what we tried:
o Seared tuna: Incredible.
o Diver scallops: Sweet and delectable.
o Goat carpaccio: Served with smoked trout roe and olive maple vinaigrette – I cannot even deal.
o Ham frites: Served with beer cheese…need I really say more?
o Onion bread: With tarragon butter and pepper chutney alongside it – holy hell.
o Tortone bread: Served with rocoto cream cheese and pepita salad – also amazing.
o Wood oven roasted pig face: Yes, you read that right. And no judging allowed because you never know unless you try. It tasted like the most tender BBQ you’ve ever had in your life – so surprisingly delicious.
o Fried pickles: The only one I was not head over heels in love with. They were tasty but let’s be honest…we are all from the South. Call me biased but they just simply cannot do it like we do.

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Sunday (Our last day but we made it count)
• Walked around and took in some last minute views.
• Enjoyed brunch at The Purple Pig – another one we’ve heard so much about. They don’t take reservations but we waited in line to get in before they opened (True life: we’re not in North Carolina anymore).
This eatery was also a tapas/shared plate restaurant and we had some appetizing bites:
o Meatball slider with parmesan and arugula: YUM!
o Razor clams with oregano, olive oil and lemon: Can you really go wrong with any clam?
o Chicken thigh kebabs with fried smashed potatoes and tzatziki sauce: An excellent combination.
o Octopus with green beans, fingerling potatoes and salsa verde: My favorite item we had.
o Fried pig’s ear with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers and a fried egg: Made my taste buds dance.
o Fried petit basque cheese with membrillo: Basically a fancy mozzarella stick – so obvi it was delicious.

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What an incredible four days and three nights in the Windy City! It’s clean, beautiful and there is too much to see and do in just a short amount of time…you truly need a lifetime! We definitely painted the town red and made every minute count. On our way back to Charlotte, we were discussing what our next adventure would be! Of course we’ve created a bucket list of places to go but we’re thinking an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Mexico is a must. Who knows what 2015 will bring but it’s safe to say that we will have many years to come traveling with these two because they’re tying the knot next year. This means there are many couple trips together in our future – yippie!

Our list of places to visit include (but not limited to):

  • Seattle
  • Portland
  • Washington D.C.
  • Boston
  • San Francisco (we can’t get enough of it)
  • San Diego
  • Austin
  • Arizona
  • New Orleans
  • Maine
  • Paris
  • London
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Amsterdam
  • Prague
  • Oktoberfest in Munich (sounds like trouble)
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Machu Pichu
  • Brazil
  • Buenos Aires
  • Istanbul
  • Greece

We may need to start doubling up on trips each year! Definitely cannot wait for our many adventures to come! What are places you’re dying to see or have been that are ridiculously amazing? Do share in the comment section below!

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#FestivalDreaming

Flower crowns, long dresses, crop tops, ankle booties, big sunglasses, warm weather, incredible jams…it means only one thing: festival season. I have to admit, seeing all of the Coachella posts on Instagram have made me incredibly envious! It’s one of those things that has been on my bucket list for quite a few years now. In fact, going to any music festival has been a top priority. I couldn’t tell you why I haven’t yet (being the music junkie that I am). Maybe it’s because the genres of music I listen to vary so drastically and I just cannot make a decision and commit! I remember vividly in high school and in my early years of college wanting to go to Bonnaroo in Tennessee and then it became Floyd Fest in Virginia and then Moog Fest in Asheville and then Coachella in California and then Hang Out in Alabama and then Forecastle in Louisville and most recently, Outside Lands in San Fran. Even still, the list goes on as there are so many music festivals out there that I am dying to attend. See my dilemma?

I’ve been to more concerts and shows than I can count but I promised myself that by sometime next year: a music festival (or two) is a must! So since I have no plans as of yet to attend one, I would like to dedicate this post to #FestivalDreaming – because that is currently my state of mind. What does this entail? Accessories and apparel that could make great signature pieces in your festival wardrobe, a pretty sweet playlist full of artists playing at the various shows this summer and if you’re just as indecisive as I am – a little 411 on a few of the festivals that I’ve had my eye on. Enjoy!

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Festival Dreaming

1. Heart Sunglasses, $14 {from Threadsence}  2. Folklore Print Shift Dress, $78 {from TopShop}  3. Aztec Print Crop Top, $60 {from TopShop}  4. Festival Coin Headband, $28.22 {from ASOS}  5. New Look Rose Hair Garland, $11.27 {from ASOS}  6. Light Brown Tassel Trim Ankle Boots, $90 {from River Island}  7. Black Trim Western Ankle Boots, $90 {from River Island}  8. Braided Flat-Sole Sandal, $59.90 {from Zara}  9. Fortunate Lace Pants in Sand, $62 {from Spool72}  10. Rock On Word Cuff, $32.50 {from Threadsence}  11. Rising Sun Native Shorts, $42 {from Spool72}  12. Black Jersey Pleat Maxi Skirt, $70 {from TopShop}  13. River Island Black Leather Chain Detail Fringe Bag, $75.26 {from ASOS}  14. Folk Embroidered Bralet, $40 {from TopShop} 15. Straw Fedora Hat, $28.22 {from ASOS}

 

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Travel | Paradise Found in the Amalfi Coast

At last, we have reached the last portion of our 3 part honeymoon in Italy! We’ve experienced the art, cuisine and wine of Florence + Tuscany and made our way down to Rome – the beautiful and historic old city. But now…we’ve saved the best for last (and it happened to be the last place we stayed prior to heading back to the U.S.).

Let’s be honest, you probably cannot go wrong with anywhere you visit in Italy. It all depends on the experience you wish to have. But if you know Sean and me, we do not like to do anything in moderation and wanted to have it all…is that really so wrong? When deciding on a final location, we wanted it to be somewhere that was not only relaxing but ridiculously breathtaking as well. Going into this, we knew that we were going to be exhausted from traveling and bouncing around from city to city. Not to mention, everyone else typically chooses somewhere calm and serene for a honeymoon destination and we did not want to miss out on that aspect. We saved the peaceful and “real honeymoon” portion of our vacation in Italy for the end – and I have to say, I am so glad we did because had we started with this place, I would have never wanted to leave…and the feeling was quite mutual. To put it bluntly, Sean and i fell madly in love here and even began brainstorming ways to relocate permanently. From a surf shop to a bar…we exhausted all options. Before you ask – no, I am not joking – if there was a place that I would describe as “perfection”, this place nailed it.

The location I speak of? Positano which is a village in the Amalfi Coast. Now, I’ve heard people rant and rave about the Amalfi Coast all of my life. It’s one of those places you have to see before you die from a bucket list perspective. There were several areas within the Amalfi Coast that were appealing and I do not think you can go wrong with any. However, I did quite a bit of research before booking our trip and Positano was always described as the most picturesque town in the Amalfi Coast where the rich and famous vacation. This was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities and we just couldn’t pass it up.

Before you scroll down to see some of our highlights of our 3 day stay in Positano, I am going to go ahead and warn you: after seeing this, you will want to move there. Like, tonight. You will also probably dislike your current place of residence – even if you live in the most beautiful of cities. So there’s your notice – now let’s keep it moving.

We took a train from Rome (business class again, of course) to Naples. We were told that we would then need a driver to take us about 45 minutes from the train station to the Amalfi Coast – which is basically the only way to get there. We called our resort while we were in Rome and they set us up with a private driver. We heard this was the way to go because a.) Naples isn’t exactly the safest place and tourists can be easy targets and b.) it was much better to get a driver that provided an up front cost versus a cab driver who could end up taking advantage of us financially.

We budgeted appropriately for our hotels in Florence and Rome but definitely splurged here. We stayed at Hotel Marincanto, which was ranked #7 of all of the Positano hotels on Trip Advisor. It was more than I could have ever imagined – wow, just wow.

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{ The lobby of our hotel. }

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{ We were greeted with prosecco + treats while we waited on our room. }

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{ Lemons are a big deal in Positano – the resort had lemon trees everywhere. }

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{ Anddd this was our view from our hotel terrace as we waited on our room. }

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{ Fresh squeezed lemon juice from the hotel’s lemon trees. }

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{ The view from our room – ahhhmazing. }

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{ And the sun goes down on our first day in Positano. }

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{ This sunset: unreal. }

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{ A gourmet breakfast with the best view in the world. }

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{ Forgive me – but did I mention how amazing the view was? }

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{ Beauty. }

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{ Exploring Positano. }

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{ Our hotel sat high on a cliff. }

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{The best part: you can sunbathe and look out into the ocean. }

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{ Dinner out at a lovely restaurant that sat on a cliff – our view was ridiculous. }

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{ Fresh seafood – oh ya know, caught just moments before. }

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{ Homemade panna cotta drizzled with chocolate sauce. }

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{ Beautiful passageway during one of our walks. }

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{ *Le sigh* }

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{ I can never get enough of this. }

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{ The freshest bruschetta we’ve ever had. }

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{ Nomzzz for days – fresh orange juice + fresh seafood = match made in heaven. }

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{ Our last sunset in Positano – but not forever! We will be back one day soon! }

This was the most unbelievably surreal experience I’ve ever had. Not one complaint. All I can do is rant and rave about how perfect Positano was. If you ever have the opportunity to go, do not, I repeat, do not hesitate. If you are planning a trip to Italy – this is not a place you want to miss out on.

Overall, our honeymoon was more than I could have ever possibly imagined. It was the perfect mix of art, culture, history, cuisine and serenity. This country will forever have a piece of me. Arrivederci, Italy. We will meet again one day soon.

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Travel | When in Rome…

So my very first travel post was about Florence which was Part 1 of 3 of our honeymoon back in October. As mentioned, Sean and I had decided to take on Italy for our first adventure as a married couple. Since there were so many places to choose between, we each picked a city that we were dying to visit and then one that we agreed on together. There was a method to our madness regarding our itinerary – we started up north and worked our way down south. Florence was our first stop (my choice) and next was Sean’s choice – Rome! I have to be completely honest here, I was very skeptical about Rome. Not that I didn’t think it would be fabulous, but there were other cities in Italy that were further up on my list of places to see. However, we made a deal and if Rome was where Sean wanted to go, that’s where we would go!

After two incredible days in Florence, we caught a train and traveled down to Rome. Prior to leaving for our honeymoon, I remember my dear friend, Amy, telling me how amazing the train experience alone is. In fact, one of her most vivid memories while traveling in Italy was looking out the windows of the train and taking in all of the beauty around her as all five senses were ignited. Ever since she described this to me, I longed for that same experience. Sean and I booked two “business class” tickets to Rome which provided us with comfortable leather seats and some extra room. The pungent aroma of coffee beans lingered throughout the cabin and the train attendants came around to pour us a fresh cup of joe while serving up delicious, crisp biscuits (a fancy term for cookies).

As I sipped my warm cup of coffee in my cozy leather chair, I gazed out the window of the train as beautiful Italian hillsides passed us by. I remember looking across the little table that Sean and I shared and took a few minutes to take this moment in. Here I was, someone who was constantly wrapped up in my own world back at home – between my career, school, social life, bills, pleasing people…all of these things began to seem so insignificant. Sure, it’s a part of our every day lives and how can we not get immersed in the monotonous day-to-day rituals and responsibilities we have? But having this moment to breath, collect myself, see the beauty of the world around us and actually look at this man sitting across from me, my new husband whom I was sharing this adventure with as I enjoyed my delicious cup of coffee, I was suddenly reminded of why I work so hard in life. It was to enjoy moments like these. It sounds cliché but it’s the little things I live for. And I knew at this very instant that this would be an irreplaceable memory forever engrained in my mind.

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{ An adventure in itself – the train ride on the way to Rome. }

We arrived in Rome in the early afternoon. We took a cab to our adorable little Bed and Breakfast, Navona Governo Vecchio, which was centrally located in the city and in an apartment building. This was a really neat concept because we were able to immerse ourselves in the life of a local. Rome was the longest leg of our trip (5 days) and goodness did they fly by! However, we were able to do a great deal of exploring (especially our first evening there when we decided to get lost on purpose and wander around with no map). I have to admit, I was extremely impressed and enjoyed it so much more than I had initially anticipated. I mean…wow.

First and foremost, Rome is an incredibly lively place. It had the hustle and bustle of NYC but in a very historic and beautiful old city. There was a hodgepodge of people – all ages, shapes and sizes, ethnicities, backgrounds – truly a melting pot of cultural wonder.

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{ A man at one of the piazzas playing the violin. }

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{ An endless assortment of fresh flowers for sale at a piazza. }

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{ Our first dinner in Rome at a vibrant hookah bar and lounge in one of the piazzas. Our appetizer: fresh prosciutto + buffalo mozzarella. }

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{ A fresh seafood pizza pie. }

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{ Enjoying some vino + brown butter/sage ravioli. }

Our next few days we did so much exploring (and walking). The best part about this was that we were able to work off everything we ate! So many incredible sites to see and take in. Since we photographed so many moments, below are just some highlights from our 5 day stay in Rome.

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{ The door to our room at the Bed & Breakfast – so very Rome. }

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{ This is what we woke up to every morning – fresh croissants and bread, cappuccino, tea, orange juice and yogurt. }

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{ We decided to visit the Jewish Ghetto – and the hubs had to point out the “accident” a few birds had that flew over him. He doesn’t have the best of luck but it made for a good laugh! }

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{ Walking around the Jewish Ghetto. }

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{ Doing some exploring! }

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{ So ornate and beautiful – the picture doesn’t do it justice. }

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{ Absolutely incredible – ancient ruins. }

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{ The Roman Forum – it’s hard to believe things like this still exist in the world. }

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{ Antipasto pit stop – someone was happy. }

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{ Oh, the interesting things you will see in Rome – all while eating at a street cafe! }

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{ Colosseum | Take I }

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{ Colosseum | Take II }

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{ Roman aqueducts }

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{ *le sigh* – this sunset + the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius }

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{ The famous Trevi Fountain }

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{ The Pantheon }

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{ We made it to Vatican City! }

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{ Amazing to see in person – there are no words. }

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{ You will never realize how small you are until you visit the Vatican. }

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{ Wowza! }

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{ One of the immense statues inside of the Vatican. }

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{ This incredible pergola. }

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{ We were able to witness the changing of the guards. }

What an enriching experience this was. We enjoyed every moment of our time in this incredible place. From the lively people, to the adorable piazzas, to the boisterous markets and quaint street cafes, to the delicious gelato and cuisine and of course, the refreshing vino…we had the time of our lives. Beyond all of this, being able to walk the old city with my new husband made it that much more beautiful. I will forever hold a place in my heart for Rome. Our last stop in Italy is coming up on the blog next and it was hands down our favorite place we’ve ever visited (ever). Stay tuned! Ciao!

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Travel | Cooking, Art + Wine – Florence, Italy

When choosing a honeymoon destination last year, my husband and I decided that we wanted to go in a different direction than most which is your typical tropical vacation. Not knocking it at all – if anyone loves relaxing by the ocean with their toes in the sand, it’s us. However, we wanted to go somewhere ridiculously enchanting. Somewhere lively with incredible food and a unique atmosphere. In other words, we wanted an adventure. I like to consider myself pretty worldly – I’m open to any experience and am more than willing to try anything at least once. Sean is even more worldly – he’s been to many different places and felt that I needed to experience Europe. He had been to London before and although he was open to visiting again, I wanted us to go somewhere that we would both be experiencing for the first time. After all, a honeymoon is a very special thing two people share – right?

We had originally decided on Paris and a few stops in Italy and we had 10 days allocated for our honeymoon (including travel). But after doing quite a bit of research, we discovered that it would require more traveling than what we had initially anticipated. We didn’t mind moving from city to city, however, we wanted to at least have a few days in each place so we could actually take it all in and enjoy. I mean really…I didn’t want to live out of my suitcase the entire trip. We agreed that we should make Paris it’s own vacation as there is a lot to see and do there and we decided to zero in on Italy…check! Now the next tough decision to make – where do we go? After all, Italy is rather large and there are so many beautiful places to visit. How could we possibly narrow it down? We decided the fairest way to figure this out was to each choose a city that we had been dying to go to and then a third city that we could both agree on. Now, when I say it was really difficult to make this choice – I mean that with the utmost sincerity. I have a hard enough time picking out what I’m going to wear each day much less, choosing an international destination.

Finally we hammered it down – we would start north and move our way down south. First stop: Florence (my choice), second stop: Rome (Sean’s choice) and third stop: The Amalfi Coast (our choice).

I wanted to visit Florence because I am an art nut. Not to mention we both love love love (did I mention love?) food and wine. We decided to throw in Tuscany into the mix as it’s always been on the top of my bucket list.

After several plane rides – we arrived on Wednesday, October 23rd just a few days after our wedding (October 19th – best. day. ever.). We took a bus from the Florence airport to a stop near our hotel. We lugged our suitcases for a few blocks (aye yi yi). But wow…what a culture shock. I could barely focus on walking because all I wanted to do was look around and take in all of the hustle and bustle of the city. So many beautiful people, so much architecture, so many little street cafes, gelaterias, boutiques…you name it. After settling into our hotel, we decided to start exploring immediately.

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{ We went to a little street cafe and shared a bottle of delicious red wine. NOM! }

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{ Happy hubby }

After enjoying some vino and fresh pasta, we called it a night because we were exhausted from traveling (dang time zone change) and had a very busy itinerary the following day. We booked a really incredible day that included a cooking class followed by a wine tasting in Tuscany which entailed getting picked up by a private van from the cooking school and transferred to wine country. I had done a substantial amount of research to find the perfect excursion and had decided on the cooking class/wine tasting combination with an organization called Vanarium. We were able to choose a menu from an assortment that Vanarium provided and decided on the seafood option. 

The following morning we woke up very early to meet our chef at a local market. Her name was Ingrid and she was just the sweetest woman with a wealth of knowledge. Originally from Switzerland, she moved to Italy and met her husband, an Italian man who was actually our wine tour guide. He would be picking us up later that day. Ingrid took us around the local market that was never really visited by tourists as it was off the beaten path. It was such an experience to be immersed in the day-to-day life of a local.

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{ Fresh fruit from the local market. }

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{ Forget grocery stores, fresh vegetables and fruit at the local market is the place to go. }

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{ Our chef, Ingrid, picking out our seafood from the local fish market. }

After we gathered all of our fresh ingredients, Ingrid took us to the local cooking school where we would be preparing our decadent four course meal.

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{ Our menu for the day – mussel balls, a cuttlefish soup, black ink risotto and cuttlefish and a panna cotta with chocolate sauce. }

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{ Prep station and a little table where we dined after we cooked our meal. }

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{ Fresh, traditional, Tuscan bread – it was delicious and crusty but had no salt in it because you salt the olive oil that you dip it in. }

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{ Sean cooking up a storm – Ingrid taught him well. }

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{ Oh ya know, just stirring some risotto! }

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{ Finished product #1 | Mussel Balls }

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{ Finished product #2 | English Pea Soup with Cuttlefish }

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{ Finished product #3 | Black Ink Risotto with Cuttlefish }

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{ Finished product #4 | Panna Cotta with Chocolate Sauce }

What an experience! I truly learned so much from Ingrid and the food was absolutely incredible. Everything was so fresh and tasty. I definitely learned how labor intensive a four course meal was but was excited to find out how easy homemade panna cotta is! I was super intimidated but it turned out remarkably.

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{ Cheers to our first homemade meal as husband + wife. }

After our extremely filling meal, our wine tour guide picked us up in a private van. He told us about a part of Florence that you could look out from a very high point and see the entire city. He asked us if we wanted to check it out before we drove 40 minutes to Tuscany and of course, we were ecstatic and accepted his offer.

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{ NO words. Completely in awe over this view. }

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{ It was even more incredible in person. }

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{ At the lookout point was an exact replica of Michelangelo’s Statue of David – apparently this was where the original was located before being moved to the Accademia Gallery. It was replaced with this one. }

After our pit stop, we drove through beautiful hillsides to get to our final destination. Our first stop was Casaloste in Chianti Classico. We tried several different wines, learned about them and the entire wine making process as well as the vineyard’s history.

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{ This view: ridiculously amazing. }

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{ Tuscany is truly a dream. }

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{ Grapes growing in the vineyard. }

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{ Delicious wine tasting at Casaloste. }

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{ A few of the different wines we tasted. }

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{ Learning about all of the different wines Casaloste cultivates. }

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{ The hubby enjoying some vino with our new Canadian friends we made in the background. }

After Casaloste, our guide drove us to another winery and vineyard called Montagliari.

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{ Outside of Montagliari. )

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{ Beautiful weather, beautiful place. }

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( Sean exploring the winery. }

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{ The beautiful outdoor area where you enjoy the wine + view. }

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{ Newlyweds }

After we left Montagliari, our guide drove us to a little part of town in Tuscany that was truly a hidden gem. It was an area that was transformed into little apartments. It was indescribable and the views were surreal.

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*Le sigh*. What magical places Florence and Tuscany were. The views…magnificent. The people…warm and friendly. The food and wine…rich and delectable. If I could have a second home anywhere, it would be between here and the Amalfi Coast. I could not imagine being anywhere as naturally serene and interesting as this. Perfection. It was a wonderful adventure but it was time for the next leg of our trip: Rome. So for now, arrivederci, Florence and Tuscany! I’ll be writing about our travels to Rome next. Ciao!

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