||| useless knowledge of florence | a travel guide |||

Florence Travel Tips & Must-dos

it’s been months since i studied abroad in florence; i’ve had a lovely time reminiscing for this post! it thrills me to be able to share this abundance of knowledge i have of florence. after many facebook message guides to friends abroad, i thought “if only there was a convenient way to collect all my favorite must-sees in florence!”. then i remembered: i have a blog.

the image above includes photos i took of my favorite florentine adventures. from my experience, i’d highly suggest you:

  • climb to the top of the duomo (florence’s cathedral) on a clear morning
    • better than giotto’s tower, in my opinion! the atmosphere is incomparable
  • hang out with the statue of david at galleria dell’accademia
  • browse the galleria degli uffitzi
  • marvel over palazzo pitti & boboli gardens
  • cross ponte vecchio (touristy but fun to see)
    • this is the bridge with all the jewelry merchants
  • visit piazzale michelangelo
    • great views of the city
  • santa maria novella church
    • while you’re there, check out the beautiful officina profumo farmaceutica
  • shop at mercato centrale (i lived near here)
  • take the ATAF bus #7 to the hilltop village of fiesole (gorgeous view of florence & tuscany)
    • it runs every half an hour until almost midnight. the line starts at the santa maria novella train station

…and on to my favorite food experiences:

  • breakfast
    • grab a pastry and espresso at any bar
  • lunch
    • mario trattoria | only open for lunch, so don’t miss out!
    • gusta panino | perfect for a quick sandwich
  • dinner
    • acqua al 2 | great meal with a dessert sampler
    • san michele all’arco | delicious homemade pasta
    • trattoria parione | the restaurant i enjoyed my final italian meal at before my journey home!
    • gusta pizza | grab a pizza and take it to piazzale michelangelo – no use waiting inside for a table when you can enjoy a nice view nearby!
  • apertivo (delicious italian appetizers served with the purchase of a drink)
    • kitsch | begins at 7:30pm | €7
    • negroni | begins at 7pm | €8
    • oibo | begins at 7:30pm | €8

florence is a horrible city to navigate (take it from the girl who wandered three hours dragging luggage on cobblestone streets)… so, I made you a map!
pull the full map (with key) up on your mobile while you have wifi & you can use it around the city!

if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
||| happy travels! | rachel |||

||| ya gotta see the baby! |||

alright, babies are cute. especially when they’re royalty. but at some point, can’t we all agree that babies are not much fun until they’re a little older? why is it a social norm to visit new mothers in the hospital? i feel like i wouldn’t want anyone near me after spending hours – or days- in labor. i digress… in case you hadn’t heard, the royal prince of cambridge was born today:

Royal Baby, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge

okay, they’re pretty adorable! i am far more impressed by kate looking better after giving birth than i did on my way to work today, but regardless, super cute family (and that dress is so sweet!). while going through my typical train ride home routine (bloglovin’, facebook, the usual), i couldn’t seem to stay away from the royal baby-loving.

we’re all like seinfeld today. “ya gotta see the baby!”

||| while you’re in between |||

this post is a response to a post by rachel from last week (here).  acting as mentor/older/wiser cousin, i am responding to the post to help her and anyone who found themselves relating to it.  i suppose the reason why i have these answers is due to the fact that i have been on the earth for three years more than young rachel or possibly because i have thought of myself as an adult since the age of 6 when i told my mom i was pretty sure i could just take care of myself from then on.

-R: I can’t put a clasp bracelet on by myself

  • step 1:  grab bracelet by the claspy thing
  • step 2: lay the bracelet on top of your wrist
  • step 3:  firmly press the bracelet into your body
  • step 4: clasp.

-R: I forget simple things like to button the back of my shirt

  • hey idiot…don’t buy shirts that button in the back.

-R: I can only master my hair, makeup or outfit on any given day

  • planning helps with this, but for the most part, the fact that you are in this family means you are screwed.  pare the make-up down to the essentials and keep it classic.  make a decision on your outfit and go with it.  i cannot help you with hair except to find the right shampoo/conditioner combo and hope your hair will do the rest of the work.

-R: I’ve never spent more than five minutes paying bills

  • easy.  open a whole bunch of credit cards. (ok, that was a joke…but it would solve this problem)
  • i must say i have owned my own home for more than 3 years and i don’t spend time paying bills.  auto-pay is a must in the adult world.

-R: I haven’t been to a class reunion

  • i would advise against them anyway–especially the 5 year.  believe me, it will not make you feel anymore like an adult.

-R: I still consider three Oreos a proper meal

  • add in some skim milk to bring protein/vitamin D into the mix. boom, meal.

-R: I don’t pack appropriately when going home and assume my mom will figure it out for me

  • the problem is that your mom will figure it out for you.  spend a week at my parent’s house and then try coming home without a bra.

now you no longer have to be an awkward teenage-adult.  you’re welcome.

disclaimer: no one turns into an adult overnight.  the fun part about being an adult is figuring all this stuff out.  i typically just pretend i know how to do everything and assume i will somehow make a breakthrough along the way.

||| tara |||

||| not britney spears | not yet a woman |||

to clarify: this post is not to compare myself to britney spears, although that gives me an excellent idea for another post. i recently referred to myself as a teenager, which i’m not. then it hit me – why don’t i consider myself a ‘woman’? Below are the reasons I’ve come up with so far:

-  I can’t put a clasp bracelet on by myself

- I forget simple things like to button the back of my shirt

- I can only master my hair, makeup or outfit on any given day

- I’ve never spent more than five minutes paying bills

- I never dress appropriately for the weather – ever

- I haven’t been to a class reunion

- I still consider three Oreos a proper meal

- I don’t pack appropriately when going home and assume my mom will figure it out for me

if this hits home, know that you are not alone in being an awkward teenage-adult.

||| rachel |||

||| summer in chicago | taste of randolph |||

okay, i’m a little behind… but still had to share. how could i not with all of these amazing restaurants? below are our top pics from the taste of randolph this past weekend: thyme & oregano kettle corn from the tasting room, chips & and a hefty helping of quac from de cero, spinach arancini from marcello’s , tacos from belly q & a gorgeous view on the patio of city winery.
Taste of Randolph Chicago collage

||| mel brooks | lifetime genius |||

today is a special day in the comedy world. today, mel brooks accepts the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. basically, i’ve wanted to marry mel brooks since i was 8. what? you wanted to marry johnny depp when you were 8? fair enough. anyway, mel is amazing. tara and i often speak in movie quotes, and at the top of the list is Young Frankenstein. he’s a genius.

here are some cute mel-inspired prints by Funny Face Art:

Young Frankenstein Poster

The Producers Artistic Poster

Spaceballs artistic postercongrats, mel, you’ve changed an industry.

||| memorable movie moments | wedding dresses |||

The wedding is pretty much the only thing I can think of at the time.  I am getting so excited and actually feeling very calm about the whole affair thanks to the helping hands of my superwoman mom and amazing maid of honor, Rachel (not to mention I am marrying the best guy who ever existed in the entire world–you should see him, he is totally cute).

I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for quite awhile now–the nature of my job usually allows for only one hobby at a time and for the past 4 months, the wedding has been my hobby.  Can’t wait to share the details :)!

Rachel and I are having a wedding movie marathon next Friday while finishing up a last minute project (folding napkins into bows!) and while I was researching what we should watch, I just had to share these memorable wedding dress moments from the silver screen.

Memorable Movie Moments - Wedding Dresses

check out more on our ||| memorable movie moments ||| pinterest board here.

||| what a beautiful day |||

well, here in the midwest with the rainy & gloomy springtime i can’t necessarily say it’s a beautiful day in the traditional sense, but each day brings something beautiful. it may take some digging to find. breathe, and enjoy the life you have. a while back, i took this picture of a businessman playing chess on his lunch break with a (presumably) homeless man. it was a lovely moment to see such a simple act change a person’s day.

this is a new song from Joshua Radin’s new album, Wax Wings. it kind of makes me want to frolic through a field of flowers, i’m hoping it’ll brighten your day:

Businessman playing chess with homeless man