Hello Iowa!

It has been a long time! I’ve been so busy over the past month with work and getting settled in Iowa. Although my walls are still bear I am completely unpacked which feels really good. I only posted a few photos of my bedroom and closet – more are on the way! I picked an apartment with a walk-in closet which is my favorite thing about the apartment so far. I will also post more photos of my closet when I get a chance.

It feels pretty weird being out of college. As most of my friends get settled back in at Madison I do feel sad that I won’t be there this year. But, I am only four hours away and I do plan to visit often (next weekend!). I’m also only three hours away from Minneapolis so I can visit my family whenever I want. In the meantime, I have found quite a bit to do in Ames.¬†There are a few running routes near my house so I’ve recently been spending a lot of time exploring my neighborhood and the Iowa State University campus. Ames also has a farmer’s market every weekend and I was finally able to check that out yesterday. More to come…

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Weekend: Goodbye Madison!

I can’t believe my last weekend in Madison is actually here. It really is bittersweet leaving Wisconsin – I’m so excited to move to a new place and begin an exciting job doing what I love {writing!} but it is going to be hard to leave behind a place that just began to feel like home. This weekend I plan to consume as many cheese curds as possible, stock up on my New Glarus favorites, spend some quality time at the terrace and stay up late with good friends. I’m going to miss this place ūüė¶

Wednesday Wishlist: Cold Treats

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It is scorching hot in Madison. My hair curls from the humidity almost instantly whenever I go outside and I haven’t been able to bring myself to wear anything other than light cotton dresses all week. While I’ve taken relief from the heat indoors for the past few days {I saw the new Harry Potter movie again yesterday and have spent a lot of time reading at cool coffee shops} I decided today to venture out into the thick air to run some errands. The heat wave that continues to expand over the midwest might keep me inside for the next few days but I’ve decided I will need to stock up on some refreshing treats before I crank up the air and begin packing {and cleaning} up my apartment. Only two weeks till I move!

Design: Reusing Maps

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Since getting back from Europe I’ve had some time to think about how I want to decorate my new apartment in Iowa. After looking on Pinterest at a number of DIY projects, I settled on this easy project from Everything Fabulous. I used a few maps I have of Minneapolis and Madison and printed out one of my home city – Boston. I’m really excited to put these up in my new kitchen which I’ve decided to theme with colors from this palette¬†from Design Seeds {see my post about Design Seeds here}. This project was really simple – I picked up a few $3 frames and three different shades of matte light green cardstock from an art store near my apartment in Madison, traced the maps with a cutout heart and used rubber cement to put it all together. I’m excited to have a little piece of every place I’ve lived with me in my new home!

Apartment Ideas: Kitchen

After deciding on a new apartment last weekend {I’m moving to Iowa for my new job} I’ve had some time to think about how I want to decorate each room and most importantly, how to make the most out of my new tiny kitchen. I love to bake and cook and was somewhat disappointed with the kitchens in almost every apartment I toured. The apartment I settled on has nice wood cabinets but not much else – I won’t have room for a dining table and will have to use every inch of wall space to hang, store and organize all my kitchen supplies and pantry goods.

During college I became a pro organizer. I shared a bedroom every year and became really good at finding efficient ways to store all my clothes and shoes in small closets and under my bed. This kitchen will be a new challenge but I’m getting a head start on thinking of creative ways to utilize the space. Here are some ideas that caught my eye:


New Favorites: Souvenirs and new must-haves

{Arturo Chiang heels, Pull & Bear python sandals and mocha wedges from Madrid}

While I was abroad I did a bit of shopping. I bought a number of scarves, bags and pieces of jewelry for friends but also picked up a few souvenirs for myself. I kept to a pretty tight budget but was able to pick up some things that I will remember the trip by. Although almost all the women {men, and even children} in Italy were dressed impeccably, it was difficult for me to shop without spending my entire budget on one piece of Italian-made clothing or boots. I did find some cool Marimekko wall hangings and a coin purse and splurged on a beautiful raspberry-colored dress in Sorrento, but ended up making almost all my purchases in Madrid and Barcelona. Since getting back to the United States I’ve had a little bit of time to unpack my things and do some thrifting and scavenging for my new apartment. Here are the things I picked up abroad and some of my new favorite items since returning home:

{Three new shades of Essie nail polish}

{My new favorite chocolate treat: milk chocolate Skinny Cow dreamy clusters}

{New additions to  my ring collection: heart and swirl rings from Madison, bird ring from a boutique in Florence and vintage dueling elephants ring}{Evening dress from a Sorrento boutique, Anthropologie outerwear, giraff shirt from Madrid}

Memories from Spain

After a long two and a half weeks in Italy, my brother and I spent a little over a week traveling in Spain. We started out our trip in Madrid – we stayed at a hostel and met a brother and sister who were doing a trip similar to ours and a number of other students and young people on summer vacation. We LOVED Madrid. The people were very friendly, we had a mix of traditional Spanish ¬†cuisine (paella…yum!) and international fare, and I was able to spend a bit of time with one of my college friends Isa who now lives and works in Madrid.

We were sad to leave Madrid after only three nights but were happily surprised by the beauty of Barcelona when we arrived to this busy beach city. We took a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter during our first full day, visited the Picasso museum with a guy we met from Washington and spent a fair amount of time people watching on the various beaches. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our time in Spain:


Memories from Italy

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Although I’m a little late posting these photos I do have an excuse – since getting home on Monday I’ve been extremely jet lagged and completely consumed by apartment hunting! A lot has happened in the past month – I accepted a job offer, went on a month-long vacation to Italy and Spain and am now frantically searching for a car and all the odds and ends I need for my new apartment.

My family trip to Italy was amazing. We drove down and back up the eastern coast, spending a week in the sea side village of Tropea, a day in Pompeii and a few in Sorrento, Florence and Rome. We had beautiful weather for the entire trip, split our time evenly between touring and relaxing by the beach and ate wonderful meals each night. Every pasta dish I tried had some sort of fresh eggplant, mushroom or basil addition and I have never had a more delicious assortment of breads and wines in my life. I really enjoyed spending so much time with my family – since being away at college we’ve rarely all had much time to spend together as a family. This trip was the perfect balance of family time and relaxation which are things we’ve all needed for quite a long time.

My favorite part of the trip was Florence. My dad and I ran along the Arno river at sunrise a few times while we were there – seeing the Ponte Vecchio and all the piazzas without the daytime crowds was really a treat. We all loved spending one of our mornings at the Uffizi art museum, going out one night to the Be Bop club and eating some of the best gelato we tried at Vivoli. Here are just a few of the 2,000 photos we took during the trip:


Off to Europe!

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{Tropea}

I’ve been so busy this week preparing for our family trip to Italy and Spain that I had to take a short break from blogging. Unfortunately, I am taking an even longer break for the next month because I’m not bringing my laptop along with me on the trip. I may try to do a few brief updates during the trip if I get a chance but don’t know how often/when I will have any internet access. Here are some of the plans we have for our month abroad:

  • June 12 – June 18: Tropea, Italy: After we land in Rome we’re driving south on the Autostrade to Tropea {a seven hour drive to one of the most southern parts of Italy’s mainland}. For six days we are going to spend our mornings at the beach, afternoons on day trips and our nights out in the local town. Our first week will be full of relaxing on the beach and enjoying a coastal culinary experience unlike any we’ve had before.
  • June 18 – June 20: Sorrento, Italy:¬†Sorrento is located on the Amalfi coast, with Pompeii and Naples to its north and Sicily to the south. My family is excited for the seafood and small coastal towns in the area and I’m excited to see some of the old churches and do a little shopping once we arrive.¬†The city specializes in creating Limoncello, a speciality after-dinner drink that my family already loves. I’m really excited to try the authentic version of this sweet drink! I’m also excited to visit Napoli {mainly so I can eat delicious pizza} and hopefully Pompeii!
  • June 20 – June 24:¬†Florence, Italy:¬†In Florence we have quite a few “touristy” but necessary activities scheduled such as visiting the Uffizi gallery¬†{which includes collections from da Vinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli, among others}, il Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, the Accademia {to see the David}, a number of restaurants recommended by friends who studied abroad there last year¬†and Piazza¬†Michelangelo.
  • June 24 – June 27: Rome, Italy: Our last stop in Italy is Rome – we’re staying in pretty tight quarters in the heart of the city but we hope to spend most our time out and about touring and eating as much gelato as we can handle. My friend Signe gave me a number of tips about nightlife in Rome, where to eat in the Trastevere, which piazzas are a must, and the locations of a few “hidden treasures” in the city. I’m really excited to see the Vatican Museums, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum but I’m also excited for some of the lesser known spots such as the Protestent Cemetery.
  • June 27 – July 4: Madrid and Barcelona:¬†My brother Nick and I are spending a week in Spain after the rest of our family leaves for the U.S. – we’re spending three nights in Madrid where we plan to visit with my friend Isa, tour a few museums and see the Royal Palace. From there we head to Barcelona for the very last leg of our trip. We’re staying at a hostel on the beach and hope to spend a lot of our time trying lots of tapas restaurants, doing a bike tour of the city and eating and shopping on Las Ramblas. My friends tell me Barcelona is one of the biggest cities for pick-pocketers so my biggest hope is that I don’t lose my passport or ID before we make it to the airport!

That was a realllllly long post! Look for pictures when I get back!