City Living

I’m back!!

So I have taken a long break from the blogging, and I must say, I have really missed it! This past year has been quite the crazy one and I am bummed I didn’t blog about it cause I’ve had some great stories…

Quick recap:

  • Went back to University of Arizona for my senior year…
  • Had the best year of my life.
  • Lost phone once = Facebook hacked.
  • Lost wallet twice = Cabo Spring break problems.
  • Ran a half marathon!
  • Went to New York City for the first time.
  • Went to Cabo San Lucas for the first time and survived (please see above issue ^)
  • Met Luke Bryan while grocery shopping at VONs during Stagecoach, life complete.
  • Graduated from Arizona, depression kicks in.
  • Got a paid internship at an advertising agency in San Francisco…success!
  • Moved to SF!

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So that about brings everyone up to speed. Arizona gave me some of the best four years of my life but I know when it’s time to say goodbye to the Dirty T and my home away from home, Dirtbags, and start a new chapter in my life. After 10 days back in lovable Lodi, which consisted of binge watching Law and Order SVU on Netflix hanging with my fam, I packed up my belongings and moved to the beautiful San Francisco.

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I love living in the city, there is so much to do and see, and there is really no excuse not to be outside (unless you are hungover). I am so excited for the many adventures that this city has in store for me. Stay tuned for posts about my new life here in SF.

Ciao for now πŸ™‚

 

 

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Eat fresh and local!

So if you have been keeping up with my blog you probably saw in my last post that I have been in the cherry selling business this summer. Well, I guess selling cherries at farmers markets doesn’t really count as “getting into the business”, but never the less I was really into it! I worked at four different markets a week, my favorites being St. Helena in Napa and Danville.

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in St. Helena. red truck, red tent, red outfit, red cherries!

While working in farmers markets I really learned to appreciate locally grown produce. The people working the stands around me devote their lives to making the best quality fruit for their customers and they take pride in their work. I have never been worried about eating organic or stuff like that but when it comes to eating locally grown foods, now I think that is something we can all try to do.

trying peaches, yum!

trying peaches, yum!

 

I challenge you to buy a basket of locally grown strawberries at the farmers market and then one at Safeway and tell me which is better. I guarantee it will be the one from the market.

fresh tomatoes, doesn't get better!

fresh tomatoes, doesn’t get better!

Not only will the produce taste better but it is also safer for you to eat, even if it is not organic. When eating locally grown foods you do not have to worry about the unknown questions such as what pesticides are used, how the produce was shipped and what countries it had to pass through to get to you. The produce comes straight from the farm to you and the farmer is usually there so you can ask all the questions you want.

success!

success!

Farming is becoming a career of the past, because people would rather go buy their produce from a supermarket than go to the local farmers market. Buying locally will not only help keep the agriculture business alive in your area but will also benefit you and your family.

my locally grown and fresh dinner! plus a little Tuscan Chianti

my locally grown and fresh dinner! plus a little Tuscan Chianti

The other night after shopping our local farmers market I made a locally grown and fresh dinner. The pesto was made from the basil in my mom’s garden, the mozzarella for the caprese from our local cheese store, tomatoes and squash from the market, Β and organically grown chicken from our local grocery store. Here is the link for the balsamic chicken recipe!

If you want to read more about why eating locally can benefit you and society visit this blog and website!Β Also if you are from the Northern California area then use this website to find a local farmers market closest to you!

 

Fantasizing about Amalfi

So I have been back from the fabulous continent of Europe for the past 2 weeks and 3 days. My time at home has consisted of working cherry stands at farmers markets and trying not to eat any carbs (since we all know i had enough for a lifetime these past 4 months). Keeping busy at home has helped me from becoming depressed about having to leave my favorite city in the world, Florence.

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my little helper

But whenever I get any down time I constantly find myself fantasizing about the amazing trips I was able to take while living in Florence. And one of my favorites, without a doubt, is Amalfi coast.

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being touristy at Capri

When I was 16 my grandparents took my sister and I to the island of Capri and I fell in love with it. So I jumped on the opportunity to go back. The Amalfi Coast is in the southern part of Italy in the region of Campania. It consists of multiple coastal cities such as Positano, Sorrento and also the island of Capri.

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swimming in green grotto 5 years ago, is that really me? yikes.

The island of Capri is really small, it consists of two little towns, Capri and Anacapri. Pretty simple, which is what makes it so beautiful. If you have noticed in my previous posts, my friends and I enjoy to take the more complicated routes on our trips, so as usual we decided to hike up to town from the port instead of taking the funicular (a little tram thing). So after getting a little sweaty, our first stop in town was to get a yummy lemon iced slushy. After the first one, we became obsessed.

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yummm, strawberry & lemon

Anacapri is just a short bus ride up a VERY steep hill above the town of Capri. Capri, like the rest of Amalfi coast, is famous for lemons and limoncello but Anacapri is specifically famous for handmade leather sandals. Howerever, they are a little too over priced for what we wanted to pay.

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view from Anacapri

Our next day trip was to the coastal town of Positano, famous for its colorful houses stacked on a hill over looking the beach. In the summer, Italians flock to this small town for the beautiful weather and beach but luckily we beat the crowds and still had amazing weather and an even better time.

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view from our boat cruise

Positano consisted of relaxing on the beach, a little corona and then cliff jumping!

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the cliff where everyone jumped

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and then where we jumped…

So yes, we did jump like 20 feet lower than everyone else BUT it was still a great thrill and everyone else was doing like back flops, which we did not want to do. We jumped around 5 times and it was amazing (by the way everyone else only jumped once)!

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So. Much. Fun.

To anyone who is studying abroad or will be studying abroad in Europe, you MUST visit the Amalfi Coast, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world and you will not regret it!

I miss all of my adventures that I had while studying abroad in Florence. Living in Europe for 4 months taught me so much more about myself, brought me life long friendships and memories that I could never forget! I look forward to the next time that I will be able to travel to Italy because it was never goodbye it was just ciao for now!

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See you soon Italia!

Under The Tuscan Sun

I was a very happy girl a couple weeks ago because my boyfriend of four years was able to come visit me in the wonderful country of Italy! We had an amazing time visiting Rome, Pisa and exploring my home away from home, Florence! For his last Friday here we were supposed to take a day trip to Siena with a tour group, unfortunately our trip got cancelled the day before due to not enough people signing up. We were all bummed but decided it wasn’t going to keep us down! Instead we decided to hop on a train and take a spontaneous trip to the small hill town of Cortona!

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my handsome bf and I on top of the Duomo

We start our adventure by barely making it to the train station on time, but of course still finding time for a necessary cappuccino. Running to the train, avoiding gypsies along the way, we jump on what we hoped would be the train taking us to Cortona.

Luckily, the train drops us off at the small town of Camucia, which is at the base of the hill that Cortona sits on. Naturally I had Rick Steves by my side to guide us along our trip, so we referenced him to see how to get to Cortona from there. He recommended that we take the bus that comes every hour and NOT to do the steep 4 mile hike up the hill. Being the smart people that we are, we decided to do the hike.

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sweating, and half way there

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the amazing views were a great distraction from the pain

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WE MADE IT

We were starved by the time we made it to town so first stop had to be food and wine! Instead of listening to Rick Steves we decided to trust our instincts and pop in a little place off of the main piazza.

As we walked in we were greeted by a man who only spoke Italian and two little kids running out from the kitchen, I automatically knew I was going to love this place. We were the only ones in the restaurant besides two older gentlemen seated right next to us. We quickly ordered wine and bruschetta before deciding what to eat.

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where we found our little restaurant

I am not exaggerating when I say that this one was of the best meals of my life, my mouth is watering as I am typing this.

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my spinach and ricotta gnocchi, perfection.

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the wine was amazing too, as usual.

Ari and Cassie were advised to order the famous wild boar spaghetti and they were not let down, it was incredible. No words were spoken while we ate each of our pastas and we all cleared our plates. As we were obsessing over our dishes we were too busy to notice the older gentleman next to us who had been eating alone and smiling while sipping his wine. Ari pointed him out to me and as I turned to look behind me I caught his attention, he took that as an opportunity to start conversation with us.

I have never been more grateful that I have taken Italian for 7 years because he didn’t speak a word of English. Luckily, I was able to hold enough conversation in order to find out that he had lived in Cortona for 30 years, he was 92 years old and he ate at that same restaurant every day for 30 years. It took everything in me not to burst into tears and bear hug him. As we had been eating, another small family had sat down to eat lunch as well. The two little boys were messing with each other and giggling, the old mad just smiled at them and laughed, he turned to me and told me they were his brothers great-grand children, I almost cried again. He enjoyed the simple things, such as sipping his chianti, watching us enjoy our tiramisu while telling us why Italian products are the best and laughing at his crazy great-grand nephews. We spent two and half hours in that restaurant and I never wanted to leave.

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cutest man in the world

If all we did in Cortona was hike the mountain and eat at the restaurant I would have been happy but we figured we should explore the town a little bit too.

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the town was picture perfect

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Β 

Cortona gave us the perfect taste of Italian culture and was exactly what anyone would picture when they think of the typical Tuscan hill town.

I am so lucky that my boyfriend Ari was able to visit me here and I loved being able to share all these new experiences with him. I know we will have many more adventures to come since we both share a passion for traveling πŸ™‚

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I love everything about this picture

Ciao for now!

The Land of God’s Nectar

It is hard to believe that March is almost over. This month has been one the craziest months I have ever had in my life but it has been one of the best! At the beginning of the month we started our 10 day spring break adventure to Munich, Prague and Amsterdam.

Our first stop was to Munich Germany, some may call this place the land of God’s Nectar (aka land of beer). The first day in Munich we had an informational tour around Munich, while pulling a wagon with four kegs of beer…

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our crazy tour guide, Lenny, and his beer wagon

He starts the tour by saying, “this isn’t going to be your typical, boring informational tour of Munich, we will be playing games and things will get crazy.”

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sipping some beer in the Odeonsplatz Square

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First game…GRENADE! We will be casually strolling along the sidewalks of Munich and if Lenny yelled “grenade” then everyone had to drop down and put their hand above their head. Last person to do it had to drink some of their beer.

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grenade in action

Next game, SHARK! When Lenny yelled “shark” everyone had to find somewhere to get higher than wherever Lenny was standing.

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casually standing on a monument while playing shark

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Hofgarten

Other than having fun and playing games on our tour, it was also very interesting learning and hearing about all the different sites. There is so much history in Munich. It was very creepy thinking about what Munich must have been like while Hitler was rising to power. The Odeonsplatz square was a location for many Nazi rallies and it used to be draped in Nazi propoganda.

Our next day in Munich we visited the Dachau concentration camp. This was the very first concentration camp in Munich and is located on an abandoned munitions factory just outside of Munich. It was opened in 1933 and lasted till 1945, in that time there was 200,000 prisoners and 41,000 of them were murdered.

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Β 

After visiting Dachau we were all pretty depressed and drained so it was time to refuel with a little Munich sausages and BIG pretzels

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Β 

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amazingness

After making a quick stop to the dirndl store we were ready to head to the event we had all been waiting for, the Strong Beer Festival! Munich is the city of beer and it does it well! Young and old from all over the world travel to Munich to enjoy one of their famous beer festivals. We were lucky enough to be there for their Starkbierfest.

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Β 

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still politely drinking our lowenbrau dark beer

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After one of these huge dark beers the whole hall went from being quiet and polite to chanting and singing along to the German band.

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things got crazy…

Luckily, we all survived through to the next day…

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some struggling more than others…

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Munich was an amazing city filled with history, pretzels and beer! Loved every second of being there but then it was time to continue our spring break. NEXT STOP, PRAGUE!

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look out Prague the dream team is coming for ya…

CIAO FOR NOW!

When in Paris!

When in Paris was the phrase my parents and I used for the reason behind everything we ate and drank for the entire weekend in Paris…

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but it was also the phrased we used to make sure we did all the amazing things we could do during our 3 days in the beautiful city.

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The lock bridge ❀ where millions of lovers come to lock their love on the bridge and throw their key into the Seine river, so cute

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Paris is an amazing city filled with so much history, beautiful sites, well dressed people and great food and wine! My parents and I had so much fun exploring the city, getting lost plenty of times along the way but this only led us to seeing even more areas!

After visiting the Notre Dame we found ourself in the Latin quarter of Paris. This is a hip and fun area filled with young people in search of bars to get a drink with their friends. Even though this area is filled with the younger crowd it happens to be one of the oldest areas in Paris.

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After having a drink in the Latin Quarter we had dinner at Caffe Flore across the street from our hotel. And this is when my adventurous eating in Paris began…

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trying my first escargo, I swear I am not going to throw up

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macaroon dessert, most amazing thing ever

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I think it is safe to say we enjoyed our meal

My boldest move was trying escargo, which I really liked surprisingly! After a long dinner, bottle of champagne and bottle of wine, it was time to call it a night. Paris was already treating us very right!

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the eiffel tower is even more amazing than we thought

Good weather was in our favor for our next day in Paris because we woke up and the sun was out! Perfect for our day at the Eiffel Tower.

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trying to pretend like I am not dieing

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Since we didn’t want to wait in line to climb the Eiffel tower like everyone else we decided to take the stairs to work off all the croissants we ate for breakfast. Climbed 669 stairs and we made it to the second level of the eiffel tower and the views were breathtaking!

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We spent the next couple of hours touring through the city of Paris.

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yes that man on the right with blue beanie and black backpack is my tourist father

The best part of our trip was my “surprise” dinner in the Eiffel Tower. “Surprise” is in quotations because my dad casually gave it away the other night while going over our schedule for the weekend. BUT whether it was a surprise or not it was still one of the best nights of my life!

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our amazing table overlooking the Trocadero.

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not too sure what the deal was with this plate but I liked it cause it was fancy!

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enjoying my lamb, with artichokes and of course more wine

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The Eiffel Tower during the day is spectacular but seeing it at night is unreal. I feel so blessed that I was able to see it from 3 different perspectives; during the day, at night and from the inside looking out over the city of lights.

Paris has so much history and it is one of the most spectacular cities I have visited.

Luxembourg gardens

Luxembourg gardens

Dad finally got his euro scarf, so the obsession with scarves begins...

Dad finally got his euro scarf, so the obsession with scarves begins…

The Louve! So much art..so little time

The Louve! So much art..so little time

Finished our Paris trip with a little snow!

Finished our Paris trip with a little snow!

I think it is safe to say we did, saw, and ate all that we could while in Paris. I am so glad I got to share all these memories with my amazing parents!

Now it is time to take my parents back to my wonderful city of Firenze!

Au revoir Paris!!

 

 

 

Rachel and Melissa visit Italy!

Last weekend was the weekend we had all been waiting for, Venice Carnevale and our good friends studying in Barcelona, Rachel and Melissa, were coming to visit!! We heard the amazing things about Carnevale; the wine fountain, chocolate deserts, huge parades! Unfortunately, it turned out that the day we decide to go to the famous carnevale festival, hurricane Venezia decided to roll through…
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what I looked like for most of the day in Venice

Other than the interesting weather we were able to make the most of our trip with the girls. We had to take them to all of our favorite restaraunts in Florence, which meant a weekend full of eating and lots of wine as usual.

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gusta pizza…no words.

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braving the windstorm at the beautiful piazza Michelangelo

Our favorite place being piazza Michelangelo, with the best views of Florence, was our second stop, after purchasing two bottles of wine and prosecco of course.

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my bestie Rachel and I at the piazza.

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Β Our night began at Kikuya for the infamous dragoon beer…

dragoons, one will get ya...

dragoons, one will get ya…

Then of course to lions…

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The next day we had to wake up super early to get on the bus to venice…and so the adventure begins.

matching umbrellas & heinekens

matching umbrellas & heinekens

then rachel's umbrella broke

then rachel’s umbrella broke..

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trying to get lost in Venice

still living it up in the rain

still living it up in the rain

The next day back in Firenze we finished their trip with the last minute touristy things including shopping at the leather factory.

rubbing the snout for good luck

rubbing the snout for good luck

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Ponte Vecchio

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CHEESE!

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WINE HEAVEN!

casual jumping pic at the duomo

casual jumping pic at the duomo

We took on the storm of Italy and we CONQUERED it!!

Amazing weekend with great friends, making memories we will never forget!

Cheers to another great weekend in Italy, falling in love with this place even more every day!

What adventure will it bring us next?

CIAO FOR NOW!

My New Home, FIRENZE

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Florence is even more amazing and beautiful then I could have ever imagined. I have been here for exactly 3 weeks now and I can already call it home. I love the people, the food, the history, the culture, my school, the friends I came with and the friends I have met. I have had some pretty amazing adventures since I have been here and cannot wait to make even more as my trip continues.

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Il Duomo which is right outside of our school!

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the Arno River during the day

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and the Arno at night

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The wine and food never stops!

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This is only the start of my blog so keep checking for more posts! πŸ™‚

Ciao for now!