Recent Posts

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!

Friday, August 12, 2011

video killed the radio star

A new weekend always means a new playlist for me. Here are some of the songs that have been on repeat on the pod all week long....perfect for lounging poolside, running a few laps or driving with the windows down

I Know How to Say |3OH!3 (this album was basically all I listened to last summer)
Taylor's Beach House | Yoni
Cry (Just a Little)  | Bingo Players (radio mix)
#whitegirlproblems | Hoodie Allen (his entire new EP is available for a free download)
Perform This Way  | Al Yankovic (sorry I'm not sorry that I love Weird Al)
Summer Girl  | Leighton Meester
Shake | Jesse McCartney (Jesse will never be not cool to me)
Knee Deep  | Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett (if this isn't the ultimate in summer then I don't know what is)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

party and bullshit

Kind of in line with my previous post, I'm in the mood for a party. I'm talking like music so loud I can barely tell what's playing, crowded keg rooms, red cups littering the floor and that glorified exchange of germs fondly referred to as "pong." Anybody know where I can find one of those on an Army base in Italy because, if so, let me knowwww!

Actually, I'm just kind of starved for company at this point. Military bases, especially overseas, aren't exactly known for their large populations of recently graduated college least not ones that didn't sign up to wear that oh so flattering camo pattern. I have yet to meet anybody my age who's over here with their parents. I hope I don't sound ungrateful because I know that I have been given SUCH an opportunity but I do wish I had somebody to go museum hopping with that isn't in high school or already has children of their own. 

Although, you know, there is something to be said for exploring Europe on your own...

Monday, August 8, 2011

desecration of school property ftw

I found this image on tumblr a while back and it summed up my feelings so well. Is it too soon to say that I miss college? Or maybe it’s not college that I miss so much as everything that it stood for: independence, freedom to make mistakes, lack of real responsibilities and usually a perfectly ordinary day as an excuse to day drink on the quads. I just feel so unprepared to start life in the real world with rent, cell phone and utility bills, car payments and trying to figure out how to repay student loans. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take this “gap year” abroad but will living with my parents while I’m over there make the eventual transition easier or just that much more difficult?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

sick moves brahhh

ugh woke up this morning feeling like complete crap bleghhhhhh. My little brother's been sick for the past few days and, of course, he feels great today and I can barely move from bed. You never realize how often during the day you swallow until those days when it feels like your throat is lined with glass. I've been guzzling tea all day and I'm hoping that I feel better tomorrow because I have Italian class bright and early which, by the way, is going so well! There's not a second level offered where I am but I'm seriously taking this beginner class over again in the fall...can never be too good at the basics!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In Vino Veritas

I have already discovered my favorite thing about living in Italy. They have these little bitty shops that only sell wine by the liter. And I don’t mean just boring bottles of wine, these places literally have HUGE metal vats lining all the walls with a different type of wine in each one. It kind of looks like a gas station for super small cars, that’s how big the vats are. You can bring any sort of canister or container and they’ll fill it up for you right from the vats on the wall. I actually brought an empty 2 gallon bottle of apple juice there the other day and they filled it up for €3. And if you don’t have your own container, no worries. You can just buy one there in pretty much any size you want. And I do mean any size; I’ve seen things that were like keg sized. Literal casks of wine. It’s like heaven. Only problem (and it’s not even a real problem) is that the bottles actually cost more than the wine. A reusable one liter bottle to fill with wine was €2 and the wine it was filled with was only €1. I’ve actually never really liked wine but Italy has managed to change my mind in less than 3 weeks.

Something I was really surprised to learn: Italy’s legal BAC to drive is actually almost of America’s (.04 and .08, respectively)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Last One There's a Rotten Egg

I hate working out. Okay wait...that's not fair. I hate running. I've tried to like it, I really have, but it's just not something that I've ever really gotten into. Until recently. The last semester of school really took a toll on me, physically, what with the drinking every night (and a good portion of the days), late night drunchies (drunk munchies), and the ending of my cheerleading career and even though I literally lived across the street from the gym, I avoided it like the plague. I'd managed to avoid the Freshman Fifteen but ended up totally making up for it three years later. Lately, I've been making a real effort to work out, partly to get myself back into my favorite jeans and partly just to fill up some time in my obnoxiously open schedule. I downloaded the Nike Training Club app for the iPod or iPhone and it's actually super helpful. You can choose from a variety of workouts that are all prepared according to your level of activitu and ultimate goal (weight loss, toning, strength training, or just a targeted workout for a certain body part) and it has a voice over that literally walks yoou through the exercises. You can even listen to personal playlists and watch videos that show the proper way to execute the different moves.

 I also started training for a 5k race in Bologna, which is about an hour and a half from me. I know that 5k, or 3.1 miles, may not seem that far for some people but that's quiiiite a bit further than I'm capable of in one go...for now anyways. There's a track just down the street from me that I've been going to every night in an attempt to condition myself up to the necessary distance. I'd love to go for a run around the neighborhood but people aren't really into that here in Italia. It's not that it's frowned upon so much as just never even considered. The race isn't until September so I still have plenty of time. I've found that running is actually really calming for me and it's kind of nice to just zone out and not really have to worry about other things during however long I'm out on the track. It's actually way better than using the elliptical for me because I can't get distracted by the readout on the screen or by people I might know coming into the gym. There's a 12k run to Pisa (yes, as in the leaning tower of) coming up in late October...maybe I'll even try my hand at that one too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Digital Digital Getdown

I just got an iPhone! WOOO! I've had a BlackBerry for pretty much all of college so I'm pretty excited to explore this whole new iWorld. I've already started my search for the perfect case haha. What are some must-have apps? So far I've just downloaded the basics, like Facebook and Twitter. Oh and WhatsApp so I can text people back in the States. Any other suggestions?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Birthday Gurl

 It's hard to believe that I'll be twenty-freaking-two in less than a month (27 days but who's counting?). Not that I'm biased or anything but I totally believe that August is the best month to have a birthday. It's perfectly balanced between all major present recieving holidays, after all. I would hate to have a birthday in like December, close to Hanukkah or Christmas or something because I bet people would pick just one of those holidays to observe and that's just not fun. Plus, August is the one month that is lacking in national and federal holidays so my birthday fully gives people something to celebrate...right? These are the things on the top of my birthday wish list

A new wallet and this one is perfect to hold my euros
A DSLR camera like this Canon Rebel

Plane ticket to Copenhagen and a hotel room for when I go to Sensation in Denmark

Apparently in Italy, when going out for a birthday dinner, the birthday girl (or guy) is the one bringing little gifts for their friends. What sort of goodies would you guys want?