Wednesday, April 6, 2011

London Bridge is Falling Down

 London was fantastic! It was honestly a nice break from language barriers! although their english is spoken very differently and at times hard to understand, it was still wonderful to travel and be able to ask for directions or read a menu and order alcohol. London is Beautiful! It puts manhattan to shame. It's CLEAN, so clean. Public transportation runs smoothly and is very helpful if there are any changes.The people in London are REALLY nice and funny which is a stereotype I don't think they get enough of!
    The coolest area was camden town with all the vintage markets and ethnic food! I  bought the coolest high top nikes, sun glasses and crop top. The areas was so cool with crazy store fronts on building and shopping for miles and a canal the runs through the middle. We also go to explore the city with someone who lives there. A guy friend of Becca's lives there  and showed us an amazing FREE night out ... it was quite the adventure!! 
 my favorite part of the trip sadly was enjoying ethnic food again. Italy is a  culture in itself that is very uninviting/accepting of other cultures so... there is not chinese or thai or mexican food really.. there are a couple of sad attempts but nothing worth the time or money.  So we ate WONDERFUL Thai and  Vietnamese and  for the last night we went to an amazing restaurant called Three Crowns which was fantastic where I got mussels. we also for lunch one ay went down to the borough market which was a fresh food market with every type of food you can imagine! I took full opportunity to try fish and chips which was delicious!!!!
   Our hostel was alright. I was in a room with 6 people the three of us and three random guys..  one that we called Hong Kong ( from Hong Kong)  one we called jesus ( there was a STRONG resemblance )  and  one was invisible  he came home late and left early we never saw him.  Glad to have my first group room hostel experience and hopefully my last. It just wasn't my thing. Call me a snob, whatever but I need my space and somewhere to look forward to come home to after an exhausting days of travel. Fun experience and glad I had it But not something i'm running back to do again.

 Also I forgot to say WE SAW THE QUEEN!!!!!!!! We walked up to buckingham palace and they were setting up for "someone" to exit and so we were like whose coming and everyone around was like I don't know and then all the sudden everyone was screaming "They are coming, they are coming" and low and behold .. they = the queen!! It was pretty cool!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Been Quite The Month

A lot can happen in a month! I turned 22 whoop whoop! It was a wonderful and relaxing day! I went to lunch with Katie O'Hanlon at my favorite bagel place in florence (actually it's the only bagel place in florence)  and then went out and bought some WONDERFUl vintage italian leather boots. Came home relaxed and caught up on my sappy ABC TV. Then later that night went to dinner with the people that make me happiest here in Florence and out to drinks with a few more of my favorites. All in all it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. I remember growing up how much emphasis everyone puts on a birthday. When I was younger and invited my whole kindergarden class to the skating rink and it was this big to do but, as i'm getting older I realize more and more your birthday is what you make of it and a quite relaxing day with a great purchase and a table full of close friends was the perfect way to bring in the new year of age! 
 I also went to venice for the second time. We went with some of the carabinieri and majority of them had not been to venice yet ( which is strange I know).  We didn't do much just walked around enjoyed the scenery and ate gelato and other fatty foods! 
 My latest distant place was Morocco!! Boy was that an experience. This entire year I have been traveling to all these foreign countries but I had never felt so far away than I did in Morocco.We arrived and found out our reservation was lost and so we were invited to stay in the rooftop hookah tent for the night. It was so cute and fun! They gave us like 20 blankets and we all piled up together. It was actually quite comfortable. We had a room the rest of the time there but honestly I secretly missed the hookah tent.
While in the souk I got my camera stolen by these little boys. I was not happy for a good 4 hour span. The souk was really neat you can seriously get lost down there. There are miles of endless shopping; I was in heaven. The selection was so large and I am the most indecisive person I only ended up buying a little  hookah. which I like but jewelry probably would have been more practical. ha 
we also went camel riding. It was a fun but we were so sore so we book massages for the same day. The BEST massage I have ever had!! Anyways while we were riding camels we got to stop in a little village  and have a light snack and tea which was so cute and nice!  the next day we also did a cooking class which was amazing. This awesome guy  moved to morocco from paris because he was tired of being stressed for no reason and wanted to live a more natural and simpler life. He built a beautiful facility for us to learn to cook a traditional moroccan dish called fish tagine. It was so easy and was absolutely delicious! Although Morocco was an amazing experience I was ready to return to a more familiar way of life after 3 days. The way women are treated in Morocco is just ridiculous and can get pretty tiring. So if you want to go bring a male figure it will completely change the entire tone of your trip!                                     

My last small little vacation was to Pescara for the weekend. After midterms and some unnecessary caious that has been going on within the program it was a much needed vacation away from everyone. Pescara is gorgeous. It's mountains and beaches on the Mediterranean sea. it's unreal. I really wish I had a camera so you can see the sunsets and the cloud  over the mountains. it was seriously a fairytale. We did try to go buy a camera but they wont let you try the ones on display so, I didn't really know how to choose one with out seeing how it works. I just ended up getting overwhelmed and left. But It was a wonderful getaway all in all. I tried Rustelli which is sheep on a skewer. It was very good and I also  was able to have some homemade italian dishes which was AMAZING! I was so comfy in the cutest little studio apartment I could have ever imagined. Great weekend and I am hoping to go back before the year is over!

us in 55 years! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paris Round Two

We just got back from Paris and it was actually not quite as bad as I thought it would be. Usually on school trip you have so many industry appointments and running around the worlds largest cities you don't even have a moment to realize YOUR IN THE WORLDS GREATEST CITIES!  But this time we did despite the crazy schedule. We  started the week with Texworld and première vision which are two of the worlds largest and best fabric trade shows. Basically the "whose who" companies of the fashion industry are there looking for fabrics for upcoming lines. We had two pretty cool meetings there with the event creative staff for texworld who planned the theme and creative inspiration for the show and then the trend forecasters from promostyl giving up a detailed powerpoint of the trends for Spring 2012. The Texworld guys gave us a card and said if anyone is interested in a summer internship in paris to let him know which would be awesome because creative events is definitely something I am very interested in but living in paris alone for the summer is quite the commitment, so we'll see. 

We also got a meeting with OCDE which is a international organization that basically has built this communication layer among countries where they can feed off each other and use their cultural differences to find common ground and create rules and solve differences on topics such as economic, education, environment, tax, trade and social. It was very interesting to listen and discuss what they are about. They are having a world conference with influential leaders such as Hilary Clinton and I am thinking about attending. The women said she could get a few of us in if we were interested.,3675,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

 We also had a meeting with Louis Vuitton. We went to the flagship store and got an in depth tour about the visual and conceptual thoughts behind how the store is merchandised and designed. The amount of thought and creativity behind that store is incredible. The louvre was also pretty neat.  I saw the Mona Lisa and Aphrodite but unfortunately I am not a huge art history person (which is really a shame). I realize that because Florence as well as just europe in general is full of incredible works. I can appreciate them but, I just don't gain a lot of excitement or desire to walk around a museum for 3 or 4 hours. It's just not my thing, Oh well maybe someday. 

Other than that we were just in random fashion museums and listening to random speakers. We fortunately stayed at an awesomeeeee hotel! We had gorgeous apartments since we were there for so long. Luckily we were able to buy groceries and things to eat because you can literally spend your entire semester allowance on eating out in paris.The food is AMAZING in Paris. When Kelly, Molly and Katie and I were there in November we honestly ate our lives away!  

We ended this long week with an AWESOME night out with my good friend Florian that I met while at Oktoberfest. There was a group of guys that had studied abroad in graduate school in Taiwan and they meet in Munich every year for Oktoberfest. This year we were so fortunate to have joined their table and we have stayed friends with the majority of them. I actually stayed with one of the guys when we went to Amsterdam. You can see pictures of him as well as his really cool apartment in my amsterdam album.  Every time I go to paris I try to see Florian so I was very happy we were able to make it work this time as well. We had a great night out thanks to him and one of his friends!


I dont know why but i fell in love with this song that night...The entire club in Paris went crazy over this song!

Well now I am back in Florence and it is warming up and it's making me really excited for the months to come. We booked our trip to Morocco! So I'll be in africa in 2 weeks. really sad that I can't go to Egypt but Morocco is not a bad alternative. This saturday we are going to Carnevale which is a HUGE masquerade festival in Venice. Your supposed to have these elaborate costumes but I don't think I will have one. Then next Tuesday is my golden birthday which my whole life I have been so excited for and now it is here I don't want to plan anything or really acknowledge it at all. I don't know what's going on with me !?! but I am very excited to turn 22!! I wish I could stay this age forever. I also have plans to visit Pescara in March as well as thinking I'll do Spain for spring break!? hmmm!? we'll see! one vacation at a time anyways i'll give you and update from the Birthday and Carnevale celebrations!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Set Fire to the Rain

Last semester I know I tried to keep a blog but, this semester I'm hoping I will be better!  Spring is near and usually I get in these great moods to work out and eat right and read more so I'll have to tack on updating my blog as well. With the personal journal I keep as well as facebook, the blog just gets pushed off and pushed off until it's just way too late to write!

 Leaving the states was a bit harder this time.. I think I  may know why ;-) But, I am back in florence and finally ready to take on this semester. I have a pretty good group of professors. We have a cute little italian women for sales management  who will teach us the same material we have learned for the past 3 semesters (F.I.T can be repetitive). Then  MadKap,  as we call her, who I have grown to really really respect and enjoy. Her class is mostly projects which is my strength. Anything that involves creativity I am all in! We have the same italian teacher as last semester which is great because I know and understand her. I feared that I would come back from the long holiday and not remember a thing but, I have actually gotten better( I'm still unsure how that is possible). I have two male teachers for a change.  One for intercultural communication which I think is going to be a very cool and interesting class. The teacher seems like a really cool guy .. I think we will get along quite well. and lastly our most interesting teacher  not because of his material but just because of him. He is really goofy and not all there but I think I might actually like him . I pay attention for the pure fact that I have no idea what he is going to do or what is going to shoot out  of his mouth next.  He is half Indian (from india) and half italian so his english is a bit amusing in itself. Thats what I love about our program is that we have teachers from all over the world that really bring a cool dynamic to every classroom.

I know I told some of you I was nervous about the new six girls that are coming this semester that could shake up the dynamic of our program. But I rest assured they are all really great girls who each bring something to the table. I am actually really excited for the semester together! I do miss the ones we lost but, we will see you again in 6 months back at F.I.T NYC! Anyways now that we have all of our syllabi  we need to sit down and plan our our semester trips. I know I want to go to Spain, Africa , Greece, London, We have to go back to paris in two weeks  and if I can fit it in I would love to go back to Amsterdam as well as really get to explore southern Italy and lastly we will go to skydive  in Interlaken, Switzerland to wrap up this amazing experience. We will see how much of this I can knock out!

There has been a song that I have fallen in love with. You may have seen me post it on a wall or two  on facebook and I was unsure why because, I didn't think it pertained to how I felt at the moment but after some thought  I realized  it unfortunately does. As I have returned to Italy a friendship has changed but only for the better, I think.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Been A While!

It's hard to imagine that things get busy in Italy, but it actually does happen. The past two weeks, along with the next two are full of activities, loads of school work and random adventures! Let me start by trying to catch up on the two biggest trips of last month.


    Milan was absolutely amazing! I could write a whole chapter on Milan alone.When we first arrived we were whisked off to appointments immediately.Unfortunately we were running a bit behind schedule because one of our professors and fellow students got their wallets stolen while we were in the train station.They luckily got things settled and we were able to make it to the trade show. The trade show was Overwhelming. It was very neat to see all the collections for fall 2011 and actually talk to the designers about heir work. Our next stop was the antique market. It was about two miles of vendors selling antique/vintage goods! I felt like I had reached heaven on earth.
     Our second day was quite early. We started at 5:00am on a bus to Lake Como(One of the most beautiful lakes in the world). There, we visited the silk factory where we saw future prints for Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and many more while they were in the works!  We then went to the  fabric archive that had famous fabrics from the 1800's it was insane! After all of our industry appointments we were able to have a little free time to eat lunch and enjoy the views of the lake.When we returned to Milan our next visit was Corso Como 10.  Corso Como is one of the most famous stores in Europe. It's a concept store that tries to sell an entire lifestyle. It included a bar, bookstore, art gallery, rooftop lounge, retail store and small hotel. We did spot Taylor swift picking out a few items  to be sent to her hotel. After Corso we were free for the day. A small group of  us decided to do a little retail therapy and grab some "appertivo," which is an appetizer buffet and drinks at a small quaint little bar.
    Our next day, we went to the Dali exhibit, which was AWESOME. Then we had a meeting with the Rinascente  (one of the most incredible European department stores) executives and a store tour. After that we went to the Gucci headquarters and met with their executives.It was very interesting to look at their business structure and listen to their ideas behind their brand image. We were also able to offer our opinions and suggestions on how to better build their brand. We then got tickets to see the original painting of "The Last Supper" which was extremely cool! That night was our night to go out and boy was it an experience, to say the least. That's the most detail I am going to give on that subject.
    The last and final day we spent climbing the Duomo and shopping in the Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is poison for a shopaholic's wallet. Lucky for me I'm not a shopaholic so I am proud to say, I came very close but, did not purchase anything!  Although Milan is a lot like Manhattan, I was happy to return home to quiet, quaint, little Florence.


    Our next adventure was OKTOBERFEST, Boy was it amazing! We took a bus at midnight through the night and woke up in Germany. We arrived a little late, so finding a tent that would let us all in was a little bit of chore. Eventually we found one but couldn't find a table for thirteen of us to sit. So we split up and put on our American charm to get invited to join strangers tables. It didn't take very long for four of us to find one, but the rest had a bit more trouble which was frustrating. My first table was hilarious. I met my new best friend, Alessandro, in a matter of  five minutes. He was quite the character to say the least. After a while I got a little tired of that table and went to join another table.
     My second table was by far my favorite. It was a group of guys that had studied abroad in tiawan years prior. They are from all over the world  but they manage to meet every year at Oktoberfest and they were so much fun! We got to know them well after eight hours of endless singing, dancing, jumping on table tops and laughing! The guys were planning on going to eat at a restaurant across Munich, so we decided to tag along. The restaurant was great, but we were exhausted after 10 hours of Oktoberfest. We headed back to the park to ride bumper cars, get waters, load up on  memorabilia and head to the bus. All in all it was a fantastic day. If I had to recommend anything that you must do at least once in you life, Oktoberfest is definitely it. Beers are huge and delicious, (and I am not a beer drinker) the music is super fun, and your among thousands of the happiest people you will ever see.


    I am now back in Florence for a little bit. It's been nice to be back for a week but these next few weeks are full of papers, presentations, tests and midterms it's unreal. Unlike most study abroad programs, we are actually full time students. We take 18 hours of school. Most schools send students abroad having two classes that are pass/fail but, we are hanging in there. Somehow we find time to hang out with our Carabinieri friends. This trip would not be same without them. This weekend they are making us dinner at their weekend house outside of Florence and  then we are all road tripping to a chocolate festival on Sunday. We have tried our best to fit in as many adventures as time and money will allow us for this semester. Coming up we have Lucca for the jazz festival,  Halloween,Venice, an Italian ballet and soccer game, Xavier Rudd in Paris and maybe a sick trip to Morocco. I will do my best to blog about all of them!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Buon Giorno! This week has certainly been a crazy one. We are finally getting settled in and starting to get a routine. We started school which was harder than ever. Unfortunately school is located about 2 miles from where most of us lives so, we must leave an hour early for class and have a pretty strenuous morning hike. Our school sits on the top of a mini mountain therefore even when we reach campus we have quite the trek up to class. I must say it is absolutely breath taking once you get up there. The view of the city is awesome as well as the park that surrounds our campus. In my program there are 20 of us and we attend every class together. We have become extremely close and do almost everything together. It's nice for right now but, I think we all know that it will not be this easy for 9 months straight.

The most exciting part of our week was that we all decided to go out on Friday and then wake up and go to the beach all day on Saturday!  On Friday we went to small bar called Shot Cafe, where they serve 10euro pitchers of various mixed drinks.  It was the perfect way to start off the night! We ended up at a dance club called Twice where I have never seen so many amazing looking men in one place in my life! On Thursday night a few of us went to one of our favorite restaurant called Dante's. I have gotten to know the two owners, Eriko and Hani, quite well and they provide us with as much free alcohol as we can handle. Luckily for us the carabinieri happened to be there.  Carabinieri  is like the police except they control the Italian military as well. Needless to say pretty much all of them were very attractive and full of fun. We spent the night laughing, singing and drinking.We made plans to meet them again in two weeks at the same spot but, a few of them were able to meet us the next night at Twice. We had yet another fun night and we are hoping they will become good friends and will help us with our Italian. The most frustrating part of being here is not being able to communicate well!

The next day we left for the beach. the weekend before we went to Cinque Terre. I honestly don't think it's possible to see beaches any more breath taking then the five of Cinque Terre.This past weekend we decided to give Forte Dei Marmi a try. The beach resembled something you would see in southern California. I actually forgot we were in a whole other country until I saw all the nudity. Most beaches here are topless and the children are pretty much nude. It takes a while to get used to the 70 year old topless women but after a while you hardly even notice.

There are 9,000 American students studying abroad  in Florence at any given time. We are everywhere! We definitely stand out as we carry book bags, are extremely loud and travel in packs. Just as athenians are when all the college students are back, Italians at times can be extremely rude! I have never gotten so many extremely disgusted looks in my life. It's of course, mostly from the women. We have gotten doors slammed in our faces, pushed aside, rolled eyes and extreme glares. Honestly you just have to take it for what it is and just pay no attention to it. On the other hand we have met some amazing people who have helped us out so much with italian and directions.

Overall Florence just keeps getting better and better. We are booking up our weekends with amazing trips! This next weekend we planned a wine tour and short trip to Lucca. The following weekend dinner with our Carabinieri friends and off to Milan Fashion Week and after that Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Life is looking pretty good!

***Pictures of everything I have mentioned in my blog so far are located in the "pictures can't begin to describe" album on my facebook page! Love and miss you all!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Moved To Italy?

   I am sitting here in this wonderful apartment in the heart of Florence wondering how in the world I got so lucky. I cannot begin to explain the amount of emotions I feel from minute to minute. I must say that reality is slowly sinking in. I am not on vacation, but living my new life for the year. It has been a big adjustment; from getting lost,trying to grocery shop in a different language, figuring out how to get cell phone service, trying to understand directions and learning the bus and tram systems, walking about 5 miles a day, the time changes, the different food choices...and the list goes on and I am loving every minute of it. The fact that nothing is easy and nothing is the same as it is in America is why I decided to make this journey. This year is going to be filled with insane adventures and stories. I cannot begin to write everything that has already happened in the past week.The challenges are endless and each day brings it's own set!

     My apartment looks like Spain. It is so colorful and fun. The walls are bright yellow with insanely eclectic, seizure inducing pictures all over the walls. Our bedrooms have blue doors and amazing windows. We are on the top floor so we get the most magnificent breeze at any given time of the day. We live in the "Times Square" of Florence. Our neighborhood is extremely tourist filled, which means it is extremely loud at all hours of the night and day. I don't mind it, seeing as how I spent the last year in the busiest city in America: New York City, of course. We are already making friends with local shop owners. We live above a gelateria so they will continue to get to know us quite well! The ice cream here is the best I have ever had in my entire life! We also live right around the corner from the central  market where they sell  fresh  meat, cheese, flowers, spices, handmade pasta and fresh local grown fruits and veggies. My eyes were about as big as my head when we first walked in. All the possibilities! Although it is quite pricey, it's nice to visit for those special spices, fresh vegetables and maybe even a bag of 10 euro pasta or two!

   Our kitchen is probably the best part of our apartment. It is located upstairs; which is the highest point of our entire building.The view and the breeze is so gorgeous it makes you want to cry! Last night I had just finished making an amazing salmon pasta (If I may say so myself), and a side of red onion and blue cheese salad. I took a minute to look out the window and take it all in. The skies are incredible here. For all of you that know me well, know that I am absolutely infatuated with the sky. As I looked up and took a deep breath, I heard live music coming from the streets. I waited and listened a little closer and recognized the song. It was a Dave Matthews cover band. Those who know me well also know that I am obsessed with Dave Matthews Band. I think at that moment, without a doubt, as corny as it may sound, I knew I made the right decision in coming here and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. We all ended up going out to the piazza and listening to them as they covered Dave all night. It was the most content I have felt in a long time.

   Most people think it's insane the way I just pick up and move around so much. I get asked the same question over and over " Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years".  Unfortunately I can not give the answer that many people are looking for because 5 or 10 years ago I would have never ever pictured myself  laying in this bed in Florence, Italy. What I can guarantee is that in 5 or 10 years I will be laughing, holding a huge glass of wine and surrounded by people I love and people that love me.