My post on the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is DONE. Get ready for some pretty, people.

Positano gets two thumbs up from this dork.

The first night we were there, we had a reservation at a family-owned restaurant called La Tagliata. It was way up in the cliffs, so the restaurant actually sent a van to pick us up at our hotel, along with some other people who had reservations. I have to say, it was a completely touristy experience, but the food (served family style) and the view were amazing. There was even entertainment and dancing at the end of the night!

We stayed at the beautiful Villa Rosa, and yes, every room had an awesome balcony and a delicious breakfast served every morning. I don’t know why we left.

Can we talk about the color of that water? There are no words. Except maybe BLUE. In all caps.

Positano is just a small fishing town, so we spent most of our time there relaxing on our balcony, exploring and eating. And the scenery was amazing everywhere. I think it’s officially my new “happy place.” (My old one was eating my way out of a giant vat of Kilwin’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream.)

Read more of my Italy posts here:

Cue Alicia Keys and Jay-Z

‘Cause we’re going to New York City, baby!

Will and I decided book a little getaway to NYC in September and I am pumped. I haven’t been there since I was about 15 and we did all the touristy stuff like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, etc. This time, I’m hoping for a more low-key experience. I just want to eat some good food, explore some neighborhoods, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and have a picnic in Central Park (weather permitting). I think we might also try to hit up the 9/11 memorial and perhaps MoMA… ok, there is way too much to do in this city!

The point of this post is that I’m looking for recommendations. Know of a good place to eat or stay? Or fun things to do? Let me know! I actually don’t know too many people who live in New York, so I’d love to hear some first-hand advice.

And speaking of travel, one of my goals for this weekend is to put together my post on Positano. It WILL happen!

Images from here

Weekend in St. Louis

So, more about that wedding I gave you a peek at earlier:

Last weekend, we headed back to our old stomping grounds in St. Louis for the fantastic wedding of Ben & Beth, two of Will’s friends from law school.

Highlights included:

  • Laying around our hotel room on Friday morning by myself (Will had to go to court for work), catching up on blog reading and posting photos on Instagram. So relaxing. The only bad thing was waking up to the horrible news from Colorado.
  • A fun rehearsal dinner at Vin de Set that included darts, shuffle board, pool and the coolest cake ever made to look like a record player.
  • A delicious lunch and catching up with an old friend at Bailey’s Range (my lamb burger and espresso milkshake were phenomenal)
  • A hilarious and touching wedding ceremony at the old St. Louis courthouse. Ben and Beth each wrote vows–for the other person to read. Awesome idea, and seriously the most entertaining ceremony I’ve ever witnessed.
  • A unique and very St. Louis-y reception on a riverboat that cruised the Mississippi. SO much fun.
  • A quick brunch with Will’s parents that was way too short.
  • A couple of hours in the airport fighting our hangovers.

That last photo of the record featuring The Hulk was thrown in out of order and I don’t feel like trying to figure out how to fix it. The groom is obsessed with collecting records and gave his groomsmen and ushers vintage records that reminded him of them. The whole wedding was full of funny, personal touches like that.

Wedding season is in full swing, and the only bad thing about that is sometimes you get double-booked. Unfortunately, we had to miss another wedding in St. Louis last weekend that sounds like it was a blast. So congrats Ben & Beth AND Julie & Roger!

Looking forward to our next wedding… this Saturday! Love is in the air…

Pompeii and Herculaneum

Let’s visit some ancient cities buried in ash, shall we?

While we were staying in Sorrento, we took the (very crowded) train over to Pompeii and Herculaneum to check out the ruins of these ancient cities that were buried in ash when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but that was a crazy long time ago, and it’s amazing how much has been preserved. It was a very cool day.

Our first stop was Pompeii, the most well-known of the two cities we visited. Our guide, Carolina, was amazing and really knowledgeable. The trip definitely wouldn’t have been the same without her. (Thanks for the recommendation, Sara!) It was really cool to see the frescoes and foundations and walls of buildings that were still intact. There were even ruts in the streets from the chariots that rode through thousands of years ago!

You’re probably wondering what the deal is with the above photo. Look closer. Do you see the outline of something? I’ll be frank here–it’s a penis. And it’s pointing to the brothels. Subtle, no?

This is the outline of a real person who got buried in the ash. Insane.

After Pompeii, Carolina took the train with us to Herculaneum, another city that was buried by the same eruption. Herculaneum was a little different than Pompeii. It was a resort town on the ocean, so the houses there were more opulent and had some incredible frescoes that were still visible. This city was actually even better preserved than Pompeii. It made it easy to imagine what it must have looked like when the streets were filled with Romans relaxing on their vacations.

Visiting these ruins was the next best thing to going back in time, and a really amazing experience.

My next Italy post will involve a little less history and a lot more scenery. Get ready for Positano!

See my previous Italy posts here:

Pure Michigan

Just taking a break from my regularly scheduled programming (posts about Italy) to bring you a few photos from another little vacation we went on.

Back in June, we packed up the car with beach gear and a corkscrew and met up with Sarah, Todd, Megan and Amit in one of my very favorite places–Michigan! (Beach gear and a corkscrew are pretty much the only things you really need in Michigan. A change of clothes is recommended, but not a necessity. The same applies to your toothbrush.)

For the optimum experience, I would suggest playing the music from these commercials and inviting Tim Allen to come over and narrate as you look through these photos.

Just in case Tim Allen wasn’t available, here’s a rundown of the highlights:

  • The first several pictures are from the annual wine festival at Fenn Valley Winery. I’ll be honest–Michigan wine isn’t exactly the highest caliber vino. But it totally redeems itself by being alcoholic.
  • We stayed at a super nice B&B on the harbor in South Haven called The Carriage House. Free cookies and popcorn in the afternoon and breakfast was deeeelicious!
  • We did a little bar crawl in South Haven, which is a really cute town with bars and restaurants all along the harbor. At one place, Will ordered a drink called the Chumbucket. And it was a lot tastier than it sounds.
  • Beaches in Michigan are the best. You can actually go in the water without worrying about bacteria levels. Imagine that.
  • Michigan blueberries. One word: CRAYMAZING. Especially in pie form. (Ever since I used it in this post, I’ve been trying to make craymazing happen. It’s totally going to be the “amazeballs” of 2012. Tell your friends!)

It was a craymazing trip to a craymazing place with craymazing friends. To sum up: Craymazing!

See my post about our last Michigan trip from Gatsby’s point of view here.


And now for the next installment of our Italian adventure: Sorrento!

On our third day in Italy, we took an early train from Rome to Naples and hired a driver to pick us up and take us to Sorrento. It was about a 45 minute drive with lots of scenery – definitely the way to go if you’re traveling with a group and can split the cost. I’ve heard the buses in this part of Italy are cheap but also crowded and vomit-inducing for those who get car sick easily.

We stayed at the Hotel Plaza, which was really nice and modern–it kind of had a South Beach-y Miami vibe.

After settling into our hotel, we headed out to find something delicious to eat for lunch.

Mission accomplished.

Awesome thing about Italy #2026 (there are a lot of awesome things about Italy): Many of the restaurants we went to brought out complimentary limoncello at the end of our meal. Salute!

After an amazing lunch, we rode our buzz over to a lemon tree grove and got free samples of–you guessed it–more limoncello! Loved this place.

By this time, we were feeling good. Prett-y, prett-y good. So we wandered around, somewhat aimlessly, and took in the sights that Sorrento had to offer.

Travel tip: Maps are generally more helpful when you’re not seeing double.

Later that night, we were enjoying a nice, relaxing dinner outside when we suddenly heard cheering and minor explosions nearby. Then we almost got blasted by a rogue firecracker as we were walking back to the hotel. Relaxing evening = over.

But it turns out that Naples had just won some big soccer game and everyone in Sorrento was pretty jazzed about it. Apparently when Italians are excited, they like to drive around, blast techo music, chant, fist pump and set off smoke bombs. It was quite a show.

It was pretty cool to see such an exuberant, spur of the moment celebration. Italians like to have a good time! And when it comes to soccer (excuse me, futbol), those guys are batshit crazy.

The next evening in Sorrento was a bit more subdued. We got back from touring Pompeii and Herculaneum (the subject of my next Italy post!) and had drinks on the rooftop of our hotel at sunset before heading out for a fantastic dinner.

(Sorry, Mom)

As a final thought–it’s just so completely unfair that my life can’t be like this everyday. I wish I was even more spoiled than I already am. Somebody slap me in the face.

More Italy posts you may have missed:

Rome, Day II

Well here we are, back in Rome again! This post covers our second day in the city. (Like how I used Roman numerals in the post title? It’s all about the details, folks. )

Of course we couldn’t go to Rome without visiting Vatican City. I’m not very religious (except about watching Mad Men), but I have heard of the Pope before. Mostly because I’m not an idiot. And there are seriously a lot of cool things and gorgeous architecture in that weird, tiny country.

Just as a disclaimer – we did see the Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo’s ceiling was huge and amazing. But there were no photos allowed. So I strongly suggest that if you have the means, get over to Rome to see it for yourself if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

Rosella, our tour guide from the day before, decided she hadn’t quite tired of us yet and graciously agreed to teach us a few things about the Vatican as we walked around and gawked at everything.

And there was a lot to gawk at.

As you can see, my mom (lower left hand corner above) really brought her A game when it came to gawking. Well done, Debbie.

I’m not a perv! He’s wearing a fig leaf.

So I may not have photos of the Sistine Chapel, but I do have photos of St. Peter’s Basilica. And that’s almost just as good.

After the Vatican, we moved onto the Pantheon. We were basically just going from one historical landmark/architectural wonder to another. That’s pretty much what you do when in Rome.

The Pantheon is the oldest building I’ve ever stepped foot in. It’s from ancient Rome. Even before all of that Jesus stuff. Crazy.

After the Pantheon, we wandered around Rome, checked out the Borghese Museum and walked down the Spanish Steps.

There were a lot of huge knockers in Rome. Yeah I just said that.

Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Emily (shout-out to SF!), we ate dinner at a restaurant called Cul de Sac off of the Piazza Navona. Best caprese salad I’ve ever had in my life!

After dinner, we strolled home by way of the Trevi Fountain. And I spectacularly failed at getting a good picture of it.

And that’s it!

The next stop on our trip is Sorrento. Hopefully I’ll have that post up within the next week or so.

You can see my recap of our first day in Rome here if you haven’t checked it out already.

Rome (if you want to)

I don’t know if you read this blog because (1) You’re entertained by my writing; (2) You enjoy looking at my photos; or (3) You’re that creepster boy who used to stalk me in 3rd grade now you’ve found me on the internet and you just read my blog instead of hanging out in the bushes in my front yard like you used to. (And by the way, that experience is why I had an extreme distaste for suburban shrubbery in my adolescence. And boys.)

All of that to say – this post includes a LOT of photos. So hopefully you picked option #2. And if you don’t visit this blog for the photos, feel free to thoughtlessly scroll through as you please. That’s why I added the parenthetical “if you want to” to the title. It had absolutely nothing to do with wanting to reference the B-52’s song from the 80’s. Nope, nothing to do with that.

So Rome!

It was fabulous. And maybe my favorite city we visited in Italy. I’m not going to try to describe everything pictured here, so if you have any questions about what’s in these photos or where we went, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

We had gorgeous weather the whole time we were in Rome and made sure to take advantage of the cheap beer and wine charming al fresco dining options.

Attraction #1 on our Rome itinerary was of course the Colosseum! Our tour guide Rosella was fantastic, and I really learned a lot about the history of the ruins. I also learned that getting zero hours of sleep the night before turns my short term memory to crap. So all I can tell you about the Colosseum is that it’s super cool looking. Find it on Wikipedia if you really want a history lesson.

Did I mention our parents were our travel buddies on this trip? Both sets!
Rosella also took us to see the Forum, Palatine Hill and some of the other ruins scattered about the area. I don’t know if you knew this, but Rome has a lot of ruins. And all of the buildings are so old and beautiful, which of course prompted me to be all, “Hey look at me, I’m a photographer!” and take an obscene amount of photos.

And  of course it wouldn’t be a trip to Italy if we didn’t gorge ourselves on gelato on the first day. And everyday thereafter.

And at the end of one of the longest days of my life (yes, this was all on our very first day!), some wine. Because I wanted to be just a bit more comatose than I already was.

So that was Day #1 of our fantastic Italian journey! Stay tuned for Day #2 featuring the rest of Rome, including the Vatican where I discovered a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church and embarked on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs and deserted cathedrals! All in my mind, of course. Angels & Demons, anyone?

Bon voyage to me

Your attention, please.

Tomorrow I will be boarding a flight to Rome, armed with my camera, iPod, brand new Kindle, and an inappropriate amount of luggage that I will deem as “traveling lightly” while everyone else groans and rolls their eyes. I will also be wearing leggings as pants. Comfort is key in international travel, and I have a  fear of deep vein thrombosis. I’m pretty sure constrictive non-legging type pants will increase the odds of all of the blood vessels in my legs violently exploding in a bloody mess all over my fellow passengers. I believe this is a medically accurate description.

But, assuming I survive, I will return with (hopefully) amazing photos, happy memories and perhaps a few Italian luxury goods! And then I will tell you all about my exotic travels and you will be equally entertained and jealous.

I’ve managed to throw together a few weak-ass posts that are scheduled to go up while I’m gone so you don’t forget about me completely. Yes, they are mostly pictures. Sorry I’m not sorry. I’ve been busy. In a contest of who is the busiest person in the world, I would win based on my dramatic diatribe listing all of my exhausting obligations. But not because I’m actually busier than everyone else. I’m sure Barack Obama is busier than me. And also probably Kim Kardashian.

So I guess I’ll meet you back here in June! I hope the rest the month of May is as good for you as it is for me. (HA, there’s no way that could happen – mine is going to be AWESOME! Unless I die from deep vein thrombosis…)

Ciao for now!


The American Club

Last Friday, Will and I jaunted off for a last-minute weekend getaway to The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin.

As you can see from the photos, it was a cozy, relaxing, indulgent trip to a snowy winter wonderland. As soon as we got there, it started snowing and never really stopped the entire weekend. Luckily, when the storm hit full-force, we were safely inside and watching it from our window while toasting with the complimentary champagne given to us at check-in (my kind of place!).

If I were to sum up the weekend in three words, they would be: Eat. Drink. Relax.

Does it get much better than that?

We did take a break from those three things on Saturday afternoon when we walked over to the Kohler Museum and Design Center. There, we learned about the history of the resort, which was originally built in the early 1900s as a village for workers at the Kohler factory. We also saw some pretty awesome sinks, toilets and bathtubs. My favorite part was walking through the luxury (non-functional) bathrooms, each one presented by a well-known designer. If I was a homeless person in Kohler (which probably doesn’t exist), I would visit the Design Center pretending to be a tourist and find somewhere to hide. Then, when they shut down the place for the day, I’d go relax in one of those incredible bathtubs all night long.

Is it weird that I think these things?

Anyway, since we were in Wisconsin after all, we also completely and utterly OD’ed on cheese. Cheese plate, cheese curds, beer cheese soup, cheese fondue – we ate it ALL. Within the course of 24 of hours. Now whenever I eat something without cheese in it, it feels wrong. I’m not sure if my digestive system will ever be the same. But it was so worth it.