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Thursday, November 3, 2011


Just got back from the most amazing trip to Barcelona! I was there for longer than I've ever visited any place in my life that doesn't involve family and I would happily go back and do twice the time. So many pictures and stories and sangria-fueled memories that I can't wait to share!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

weather or not

If I have ever complained about Italy being too hot, I take it all back right now. The past few days have been lower sixties and rainy and it's absolutely killing me! It's literally gone from 80s and sunny to that basically overnight and I'm dying over here. I've totally forgotten how to dress warmly and have retreated to my winter wardrobe of men's flannels that I find at thrift stores and leggings or skinny jeans. Save me please! The only bright spot in my unbearably cold future is my trip to Barcelona next week which I absolutely cannot WAIT for! My roommate from last year and I are meeting for a week of adventure in Spain and I could not be more pumped for it. I've been reading just about every travel guide I can find for Barca and have been making a list (and checking it twice) of all of the museums and restaurants I want to try while I'm there. Does anybody have suggestions? I've never been to Spain before and I'm driving myself crazy trying to come up with a packing list.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

desktop woes

Am I the only ones who hates using other people's computers? Your fingers can never find the right letters on the keyboard, all the icons are in different places and none of my passwords are saved. My laptop had been acting up for the past week and I have no idea what's wrong with it. It keeps going to a blue screen where it tells me that it's doing an  "information dump" and making a terrible grinding no computer should make a noise like that. Until I can figure out how to fix it, I'm posted up on the family desktop and it is not nearllly as comfortable as lying in bed watching the new "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." It is, however, mucch more conducive to actually getting my schoolwork done so, like, ya win some, ya lose some, right? It is the beginning of my midterms after all and I have two ten page papers due by Tuesday that I just got the prompts for today...wish me luck!

I'll just leave you with this throwback. Is it too late for NSYNC to get back together?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

i'm ragin'

...but not in a fun way.

Driving in Italy makes me so angry. I feel like all the stereotypes you hear about Italian drivers are actually 100 percent true. They drive fast, they can park anywhere, they use the horn too much, ALL of it. I'll be honest...I'm actually pretty new to this whole "driving" thing. I only got my license the summer before last and didn't have a car at school so my driving was limited to time I spent at home during vacations. All in all, that's maybe about 4 and half months of actual solo driving experience. Now take that and throw it into the craziness that is Italian driving and it's no wonder that this ish makes me shout at everybody who darts into space in front of me at the roundabout or at people who make two lanes out of a one lane road.  Okay fine...I'm being slightly melodramatic (jk I'm not) but there's something fairly nerve wracking about cars getting frustrated with you and passing you on a itty bitty tiny country road when you're already going 25 kilometers over the speed limit just to try and fit in. But you what what? If I can drive here, I can drive anywhere and you better believe that I'll be that girl honking her horn and driving too fast when I get back to the states.

plus it sounds way more badass to say "I'm driving 120 kilometers an hour" than to say "oh yeah...65 miles an hour. i'm craaazy."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

turn up the bass

I have been loving Italian radio lately! I drive to and from post at least twice a day so that's a good hour a half in the car everyday and I go crazy if I don't have music playing constantly. I have like three favorite radio stations here and I go between them constantly. They all play a good amount of songs that I would hear back in the states, along with more Italian songs. My favorite part is that radio here has a bit more of a club-y, electronic sound than the stations I listened to in Maryland. Here are a few songs that I've been hearing everyday on my way to pick up the bro-seph from school. I feel like I'm going to get back to the States and have no clue what all the cool hip new songs are!

Cinema | Ben Benassi
Stereo | Stereo Touch
Still My Baby | Wolfgang Gartner ft. Omarion
The Golden Age | The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Get Back | Alexandra Stan

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Soooo I've taken to reffing flag football in an attempt to bolster my (nonexistent) cash flow and it's actually really fun. I've spent a significant amount of my life scheduling my life around tackle football games due to being in marching band in high school and a cheerleader on top of that so it wasn't too hard to learn the rules and when to throw flags and all that jazz. And, not going to lie, it helps that I worked in the Intramural Sports department in college although reffing flag football then was more about bringing popcorn and beer to the football field behind my house and watching the SAEs and Kappa Sigs run around with no purpose while I got paid. Reffing now is some serious shit. I even have one of those official referee jerseys! And a hat! And a whistle! It's like I'm a professional or something! I do games twice a week in the evenings which hasn't been a problem...until now. If I have ever complained about how hot Italy is I take it all back now. It's finally dipped into Arctic levels over here (okay...below 70) and I was sooo super cold out of the gridiron today (see! I know football lingo! I MUST be an expert!). Not even the little running I did up and down the sidelines could warm me up and all I wanted to do was to change into leggings and a flannel. Luckily though the flag football finals are next weekend so I only have a few more games to go although I am seriously considering doing this again when I move back to the States. It may not be glamorous but it's easy, it's fun and I get paid twenty dollars a game. Oh and the best part? Instant referee costume! You plan the party and just tell me when to be there...

see how legit i look with my flag?

just tryna get an action shot

Monday, October 10, 2011

Florence aka Firenze aka Flo-City aka Firendizzle

Hooray! My annotated bibliography is officially done and has been submitted! Can I just say, though, that I HATE APA style. I did MLA all through high school and then Chicago in college (those footnote citations do wonders for the length of your paper) so the last thing I want to deal with is a whole new format. I feel so sorry for people like my roommates who have been dealing with that ish for way too long.

But onto FIRENZE! Like I said, I went with one of the girls I cheered with and her 5 roommates and had a fun, super touristy time. Florence is only about an hour from Bologna by train and it was my first time dealing with a train ticket that assigned me a seat and...wouldn't ya know it....I was the only one in the group who got put on a different car than everyone else. I just sat in their car anyways and pretended I was asleep the whole time in case I was in someone's seat. Whoops. Since none of us have ever been to Florence before, we didn't know what stop to get off at and ended up on the very fringes of Florence. Thank GOD for a guide book with addresses and the Map app on my iPhone because after some minor stressing we were finally on our way, doner kebabs in hands. First stop was the Duomo, which is a super important church in Florence but I'm just not sure why. Churches in Italy are super strict and won't let you in if you're wearing shorts or they can see your shoulders. I, of course, had both. But at least this time so did one of the other girls so we had to wait for the rest of the group to go through and then borrow their scarves to cover our naked flesh.

We didn't really have much of a plan so we wandered across Ponte Vecchio, a super old bridge that leads across to the more historical section.

graffiti on the bridge. Vanessa
carlton's messages transcend borders

We eventually ended up at an old castle of the da Medicis which was super exciting to a history lover like me. It was also huge and crowded with people so I definitely didn't enjoy it as much as I could but all of the artwork was astounding. I still don't understand how paintings that old can look SO realistic and the marble work on the walls must have taken ages and ages.
no pics in the building but here's
an awkward kissy statue from out front

More wondering back across the bridge, bought some beers from a grocery store and settled into a little park we found to listen to a guy play the guitar and sing (#college) before attempting to find a restuarant for dinner.
i love the open container laws here

Even though, it wasn't your typical tourist trip to Florence since we barely saw any sights I had such a good time just wandering the streets and eating gelato. Definitely something I would love to do again so if anyone feels like visiting me and going on a trip to Firenze just say the word!
interpreting statues

we stumbled on a reenactment of some kind

il Duomo...beautiful even with that
awkward restoration scaffolding

couldn't leave without at least ONE picture
of a fleur-de-lis. sorry. it's the kappa
in me

Sunday, October 9, 2011

my bologna has a first name

I might have mentioned that I have a few friends studying abroad in Bologna, Italy this semester. If I didn't, well now you know. A few weeks ago I decided that I was done with having no contact with anyone my age and hopped on the train to go see them bearing 2 five gallon jugs of wine as gifts. It. Was. A. BLAST. Literally, the most fun I've had since I've gotten here which, granted, has more to do with my current status of bored than how many exciting things we did. Thursday night, I spent the night with one of the girls in my sorority and went out on town. I'd like to tell you more but that's about all I remember...whoops. I do know that the waiter from the restaurant fell in LURVE with Juliana. And I do know we stopped by the apartment of one of the other Kappas studying over here and hung out and played drinking games with a bunch of people. Annnnnd that's when things get fuzzy. Don't judge! I'm out of drinking practice!
waiter putting his number in juliana's

happy couple
Friday I met up with one of the girls from the cheerleading squad and we went shopping in the market with some of her roommates. We were all looking for the college staple: a short, tight, black skirt which the market didn't have to offer so we had to hit up some real shops. After that, it was nap time o'clock. That night we went out the discoteca and got our groove ooooon. I think the DJ was going through some sort of time warp phase though because the majority of the songs were from like 8th grade but I dug it. Who gets tired of dancing around to Blink-182 and No Doubt and Good Charlotte?

SIDENOTE: omg like whyyy are guys here SO super forward? It's like "Hi nice to meet. Mi chiamo Taylor. You can move your hand out from under my skirt now thanksssss."

we aren't sweaty or anything...nope

Saturday was off to Florence for the day...or Firenze as the Italians say. And as much as I'd love to put off this stupid annotated bibliography I'm working on for another..oh...forever...I really have to go finish it like now. But don't worry! The sun'll come out tomorrow....on pictures of Florence

Saturday, October 8, 2011

i am a bad bad blogger

i have been SO busy lately so I'm super sorry for abandoning you..AGAIN. When I finally get back to you guys (tomorrow maybe? keep them fingers crossed!) I can tell you all about my trips to Bologna to visit friends studying abroad, Slovenia to see some horses, getting lost in Florence and castle climbing. If you want, I can even tell you all about my super exciting grad school classes I'm taking online (hint: they're not exciting AT ALL). I promise I'm still here.

oh ps! I just got my g-little and I'm super excited about that too! I wish I could have been there for big-little night but I know the turtle fam will make up for it once I'm finally stateside.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

wherefore art thou juliet?

Went to Verona on Tuesday and took waaaay too many pictures! The city is only about a 45 minute train ride from Vicenza and it was only like 10 euros round trip. If you guys ever go down to Juliet's hood make sure you purchase a VeronaCard which for 15 euros gives you access to about 13 museums, churches and other attractions, along with the use of inner-city buses. We didn't get to go to all the places that were available because we got tired of walking around (couldn't figure out the bus system), maybe about half, but it was totally worth the money. Even just 3 of the places on their own would have cost more than the 15 euro fee. Some of the places were beautiful (Chiesa de Annabella), some more painful (climbing the thousand steps to the top of the highest point in Verona) and some were totally overrated but fun because of it (Juliet's balcony). Stopped by some random cafe for lunch where I had delicious tortellini ragu (with meat sauce) and a glass of moscato. I probably won't go back on my own anytime soon but would LOVE to take friends there when they come to visit.

view from tallest building in verona

molesting the juliet statue...
apparently its good luck to rub them boobies


juliet's tomb...sans juliet.
must be hard to bury a fictional character

graffitti in juliet's tomb


juliet's balcony. so much little space

creepy painting from the 1700s

locks of love at juliet's balcony

wall of love at j-cap's place
(j-cap is juliet capulet...duh)

Friday, September 2, 2011

i can haz (goat) cheez?

Like I mentioned in my last post, on Monday I went to a goat cheese farm which was about as cool and smelly as one might imagine. I loved seeing the animals and sampling the different cheeses (which I forgot to take pictures of...whoops). We were able to try cheese from both cows and goats that had literally been made two days before along with fresh yogurt, which was surprisingly sour to my Yoplait-conditioned taste buds.

little baby cows

i watched this cat eat the entire rat...tail and all.
 it was surprisingly blood free

milking machine

cow with a nose ring amuses me more than it should

oh heyyyy goat


Thursday, September 1, 2011

go shawty itz yo burthday

happy belated birthday toooooo ME haha. Monday was my twenty-second birthday and I can't even believe I'm that old already. Like wasn't I just dancing around to the Spice Girls and watching Lizzie McGuire while wearing tie-dyed t-shirts...oh wait...that was last week? I didn't really do too much for my birthday given the fact that I'm still somewhat lacking in the people-my-age department (but I have made a few new friends so never fear!). It mostly consisted of a field trip to a goat cheese farm with my Italian class (pics to come...promise), babysitting and going out to dinner.

ALTHOUGHHHHH my parents totally threw me a surprise birthday party last Wednesday and I was actually totally surprised! The best part? I actually made my own birthday cake without even realizing what it is for. I tried making a cake from scratch for the first time ever and it actually turned out really well. I made that rainbow cake that's been doing the round on the interwebz and used this recipe from Martha Stewart and it turned out really well...even though I used containers of frosting instead of making that from scratch too (I'm only so ambitious alright?). They invited most of the people and families that we've met while in Italy and it was a really nice time, in a chill, family friendly environment that has come to define my time here.

hey batta batta batta

yum yum yolks layer burnt in the oven

ruh roh

ahhh i'm sorry! i have no idea where time has gone and i totally apologize for this mini blogging hiatus.

We will now return to your usual bloggy programming

Friday, August 19, 2011

it's the little things really

For those of you who don't follow me on twitter (aka like everybody), our car finally got here from the States! My dad picked it up and it was like being reunited with an old friend. I know walking is really good for your heart and all that jazz (and it's not like it's totally necessary to get around post since the base is so small) but sometimes I just want to get in my car and drive. We drove to go pick up our usual Friday night pizza today just because we could and it was glorious.

sidenote: brie and bacon on a pizza = om-nom-nom. like seriously.

sidenote part two: sorry I said the word "like" more than five times just now. Talk about words to cut back on...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

moves like jagger

oh. my. god. never have I ever been attracted to Adam Levine until I saw this video for Maroon 5's new song, "Moves Like Jagger." Not my usual type at all but he should just never ever wear a shirt again...ever.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

dream on

Just finished reading The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfield who wrote Prep and I'm just not sure how I felt about it. I really wanted to like but I just felt like it was lacking some crucial element. The novel follows protagonist Hannah as she spends about a decade and half trying to "find the answers to love's most bewildering questions," as the inside jacket so delicately put it. It was really interesting seeing how Hannah's relationships with her abusive father, perfect sister and flighty cousin, among others, created the foundation of her experiences with others. I found Hannah's interactions with her not quite unrequited crush to be the most poignant scenes mostly because most of us know what it's like to have that awkward "more than friends because we like each other but things are just weird" kinda deal going on.

That being said, though, I just really don't like Sittenfield's style and that totally influenced how I felt about the whole book. I know that's a personal problem but I just really feel like her writing is just so clinical and lacking in personality. I can't ever feel close to her characters because they just seem so bland; sometimes I feel like her secondary characters have more depth than the main ones. She does have another book out so I'll give her one more try before I totally scratch her off my list. It was a nice and quick read, though, perfect to take to the pool or beach because it doesn't require too much focus.

Any suggestions on what to read next? I'm open to anything!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

buon ferragosto!

Monday was Ferragosto, a national holiday here in Italy. Historically, it was a religious holiday as a large portion of Italians are Catholics (it's not called Roman Catholicism for nothing people). August 15th is widely celebrated throughout the Catholic community as the feast of the Assumption or the celebration of the Virgin Mary's ascension into heaven. Even though most Italians do still attend church on the 15th, it's become so much more...particularly this year since the holiday fell on a Monday. Most towns and villages took advantage of this fact by having massive parties with fireworks and craft booths all weekend long. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend any in the area but I bet they would have been super fun.

To add whipped cream to the awesome sundae that is the three day weekend, the entire month of August is pretty much one long vacation for Italians. Europeans get significantly more vacation time than Americans and they put it to good use by closing up shop (literally....a good 75% of stores and restaurants here are closed for at least two weeks of the month) and heading to the beach or tourist towns. Don't even consider going to Venice and Rome during August unless you get off on massive crowds and heat stroke. While it seems a little strange that an entire country goes on leave at the same time, it's also kind of least like this you wouldn't have to worry about missing anything at work or trying to make your vacation time align with your friends just to go away together. File that under "things I could totally get used to."

Monday, August 15, 2011

need for speed

I did it! I'm officially licensed to drive in the beautiful country of Italy! I took my test last week and it wasn't bad at all! Because I did it through the military, I didn't have to do a road test so long as my stateside license was current. I did, however, have to identify about 60 road signs and that was nottt easy, lemme tell you. Signs can have the exact same image on them but if one is blue and the other is red, they mean something totally different. I was only allowed to miss 4 signs in order to pass and I missed exactly four! They grade the tests right in front of you so I was freaking out when I got that fourth red mark!

Honestly though, I'm not sure how often I actually planning on driving while I'm here. I only got my license the summer before last and I didn't have a car at school so I haven't really had that much experience driving and the idea of driving here makes me more than a little nervous. Italians aren't really known for their understanding and patient nature when it comes to the road. Besides, with such a good public transportation system in place (these buses are so prompt and timely...and CLEAN!), I don't think not driving will be an sort of hardship and I'll always have the ability to drive should I need to. Either that or I will become a force to reckoned with on the autostrada, or the Italian highway, where the speed limit is 130 kmph or like 80-something mph!

another sign I just found...I did NOT have to identify this one for my test

Sunday, August 14, 2011


The fam and I ventured out to the Palladio centro commerciale, one of two malls the next town over, for the first time since we got here...well my parents have been there before but it was my first time. Needless to say, it was pretty similar to a mall in the States with a Sephora, electronics store and what seemed like an Italian version of Claires mixed in with shoe stores, several cafes and even a gym. The biggest difference was the lack of food court, although there was a McDonalds upstairs that my brother insisted we go to for lunch. Instead of a food court, there were a few sit-down restaurants, gelato shops and cafes throughout the entirety of the building.

The entire country of Italy has two big sales during the year: one to get rid of summer merchandise in July and August and one to get rid of all the heavy coats and sweaters around January. I'm so happy that we moved here in July because it means that I fully get to take advantage of clothes that are marked down some 70%. There are signs reading "saldi" posted in shops everywhere so I learned that word pretty fast. Unfortunately, I didn't snag anything good yesterday but, no worries, I have plenty of time.

Our last stop at the mall was the grocery store on the first floor where there was an entire aisle of gummy candies (my family and I are gummy fiends) so I picked these up
Gummy Smurfs!

There were also a full 3 aisles just for different types of pasta! Some other cool finds were...
Apparently, here in Italy, Uncle Ben does more than just rice

Case fullll of delicious mini pastries
Hello Kitty sandwich wraps??

I'll try to do another grocery store post again. I just felt really awkward taking pictures with my iPhone while people are trying to decide what kind of cheese to buy and whether they want salmon or pork for dinner...whoops!