Monthly Archives: August 2014

Adventure Tuesday // il Pizzaiuolo

italy

Let’s face it – about 90% of these posts about Italy are going to revolve around food. I can’t help it! It’s just too good to ignore. I have to tell you about the amazing meals we had. And this restaurant.. it’s a gem. A favorite is putting it lightly! 

italy-grid-pizzaiuolo2010

When Kallie, Natalie and I went to Florence in 2010, this restaurant was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. In fact, the night we went there has become almost legendary! Natalie randomly found it on a website of the best restaurants in Florence, so we trekked across the city to check it out. There was a long wait (always a good sign!); we put our names down and skipped off to enjoy a glass in a nearby piazza while we waited. Finally our table was ready and we excitedly ordered a pizza each (and more wine, obviously). When the pizzas arrived, we were immediately transported straight to heaven. It was incredible. Perfect doughy and crispy crust, flavorful but simple sauce, and excellent topping combos (to this day, arugula on pizza is one of my favorite things ever). We finished every bite, which was a total feat. After dinner there was a small limoncello incident (namely me drinking too much of it because Kallie and Natalie wouldn’t man up), and I think there was also some tiramisu? Regardless, we left stuffed in the best way possible, with a reservation in the books for the following night (and we didn’t even feel a little bit bad about it!). 

Needless to say, when Casey and I arrived in Florence, dinner at il Pizzaiuolo was at the tippy top of my list of things to do. I couldn’t wait to get back – not only for the best pizza ever, but also to prove to Casey that it would live up to the hype. 

italy-pizzaiuolo2013

And it didn’t disappoint. The pizzas were just as heavenly as I remembered, and we loved watching the pizza makers toss dough behind the counter. I tried to convince him to go again for second time, but it didn’t end up working out. I guess we’ll just have to go back! 

Friends, if you are ever in Florence, definitely get yourself over to the Santa Croce area and have a meal at il Pizzaiuolo. You won’t be disappointed! 

Adventure Tuesday // The City of My Heart

at-italy1-firenze

Do you have a place in the world that you love more than anywhere else? Maybe your hometown, or the place you went to college, or maybe even where you live now (lucky!), or perhaps there is somewhere in the world that you feel completely, inexplicably drawn to, even if you’ve never been there before? For me, that place is Florence, Italy. 

italy-grid-2008

I studied abroad in Florence when I was in college and oh man, it completely captured my heart. Italy as a whole is amazing and incredible and wonderful. I loved everything about my summer there – the cobblestone streets, the open air markets, the tomatoes, the gelato (oh my god, the gelato!), the language, the history, the people, the evening passeggiata, drafty stone churches, wine, leather sandals, nutella for breakfast (and lunch and dinner), the museums (oh, the museums!), the scenery – everything. But there was something about Florence that just drew me. It had an indescribable brand of magic that spoke directly to my soul.  By the time I got home, I was already trying to figure out how to get back.

italy-grid-2010

Fast forward two years – my sister was studying abroad in France, and I was about to graduate college and freaking out about what to do with my life. I offhandedly suggested visiting/backpacking in Europe after graduation to my friend Natalie and she totally made it happen. We spent two weeks city bopping, including an amazing 3-4 day stint in Florence (which included the best meal of the whole trip – in fact, we ate there two nights in a row and didn’t even feel a little bit bad about it!). 

Casey and I talked about an Italian honeymoon when we got married three years ago, but ultimately decided that it wasn’t the right time (due to both a lack of vacation time and funds). I was disappointed, but we promised each other that we would get there someday. 

at-italy1-guidebooks

Finally, about a year and a half ago, I got so itchy to get back to Italy that I started dreaming about it. I must have read Under the Tuscan Sun about a billion times that winter. On a whim, I bought a bunch of guidebooks and started pouring through them. I mentioned to Casey that we could charter a sailboat and sail the Mediterranean and he was immediately onboard (what?!! ahhhhhh!!). We realized that we could totally swing it if we went in shoulder season (late September) and booked our lodging through Airbnb (instead of staying at hotels). Casey even convinced two of our friends to meet us on the boat (for backup/safety). It was actually going to happen! Picture me jumping up and down and dancing around and singing/yelling and then making a thousand and one packing lists.

italy-grid-2013

So last September, we did it – we spent the most amazing two weeks traveling in Italy. I know it’s kind of weird to write about it now, since we’re smack dab in the middle of a brand new adventure, but I want to make sure that my favorite parts of this trip are recorded forever. 

I can’t wait to share the amazing little details and highlights that made this trip so incredible. Today I just wanted to share a quick overview of my love affair with bella Firenze and a brief itinerary that shows where/how we spent our time. I’m going to share more in depth stories every Tuesday – so come back and check it out! Reliving it has been almost as much fun as actually going. :)

I hope that this inspires you to plan a trip to your favorite place, or to that place you’ve always wanted to go! It’s possible! Take the time! Go!! Do it!!


WEEK ONE // MAINLAND

Sunday, September 15 – Tuesday, September 17
Rome

Tuesday, September 17 – Friday, September 20
Florence & Tuscany

Friday, September 20
Livorno

Saturday, September 21
Ferry to Olbia (Sardinia) 

WEEK TWO // SAILING

Sunday, September 22 – Friday, September 27
The Mediterranean
(Sardinia: Santa Teresa, La Maddelena, Palau // Corsica: Bonifacio)

Friday, September 27
Bus to Olbia

Saturday, September 28
Ferry to Civitavecchia // Bus to Rome

Sunday, September 29
Fly home :( 

27 x 27

27x27

Last year, I joined the birthday bucket list bandwagon. I have always loved making yearly goals and resolutions, but I realized that I love them so much more when they correspond to my birthday – a day all about me! 😉 When better to do some reflecting and figure out what you would like to accomplish during your next trip around the sun?

So! Here is the list of 27 things I would like to do before my birthday next year:

  1. Update kaciedesmond.com
  2. Revamp blog layout/design
  3. Run the numbers and make some big self-employment goals
  4. Become fluent in Spanish
  5. Volunteer at the art museum
  6. Invent three new traditions
  7. Go kayaking in the bioluminescent bay
  8. Organize/host a girls weekend/trip
  9. Catch a wave
  10. Take a Puerto Rican cooking class
  11. Learn to salsa dance
  12. Blog twice a week
  13. Explore town and find a favorite coffee shop
  14. Try stand up paddle boarding
  15. Go to a baseball game
  16. Finish the office
  17. Run 275 miles
  18. Drive a convertible
  19. Doodle/sketch/draw for at least an hour every week
  20. Create a signature cocktail
  21. Get our photos into albums
  22. Research grad school (is it worth it? take GRE?)
  23. Sign up for a “fun” class/lessons
  24. Explore the caves in Rio Camuy
  25. Complete five sewing projects
  26. Dream/plan our next adventure
  27. Finish paying off my student loans

This year is about tiny moments and big dreams. It’s figuring out what celebrations and holidays look like when we’re away from home and family and weather. It’s diving deep into island culture and soaking up life here and now. It’s digging in and doing the work and chiseling away at my definition of self employment. Let’s do this, 26. I feel like I’ve been waiting for you. 

26 x 26 // Recap!

Today is my 26th birthday! Last year I set 26 goals that I hoped to accomplish before today. Here’s how it turned out:

  1. Sign up for an art class (or two!)
    Pottery Class
  2. Organize and back up all files
  3. Read 26 books
    1. Perfect by Judith McNaught
    2.—8. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
    9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
    10.—12. Fifty Shades series by E L James
    13. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    14. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
    15. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    16. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
    17. The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
    18. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
    19. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
    20. The Art Forger by BA Shapiro
    21. The Witness by Nora Roberts
    22. Paradise by Judith McNaught
    23. The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett
    24.—30. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
    31. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    32. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
    33. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
    34.—36. Divergent/Insurgent/Allegiant by Veronica Roth
    37.—39. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    40. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling
    41. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    42. Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor
    43. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
    44. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane
    45.—47. Inn Boonsboro Trilogy by Nora Roberts
    48. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
    49. The Collector by Nora Roberts
    50.—55. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
    56.—59. Heroes of Olympus (1-4) by Rick Riordan
    60. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
    61. The Magician King by Lev Grossman
    62. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg
    63. Inferno by Dan Brown
    64. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    65. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
    66. The Giver by Lois Lowry
    67. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
    68. Messenger by Lois Lowry
    69. Son by Lois Lowry
    70. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
  4. Go to Italy
  5. Complete 26 personal, “just for fun” projects
    1. Wings Over Vermont
    2. Elephant in the Room
    3. Pottery!
    4. Un-beal-ievable
    5. Decorating Our New Place
    6. Bookworm Bridal Shower Invites
    7. Do Your Best Banner
    8. Reading Inspired Art
    9. Andiamo Block Print
    10. Gold Foil Valentines
    11. Soap as Me Card
    12. Awesome Posters
    13. Love You – Said it First Print
    14. Power Through It Koozies & Tees
    15. Surprise Party invites
    16.-17. Christmas Cards x2
    18. Adventure2013 Minibooks
    19. Moving Announcements
    20. Birthday Calendar
    21. Cornell Mafia, et al Buttons
    22. FashionABLE Design Contest
    23. I’m Just Not Feeling It Card
    24.-25. Mothers Day Cards
    26. Fathers Day Card
  6. Take a piano lesson (I have always wanted to learn to play)
  7. Blog (at least) once a week
  8. Refresh my website and update my portfolio. Related: jazz up this space too!
  9. Complete 75% of things on our seasonal lists
  10. Have a conversation in Italian
  11. Research and start Italian citizenship process
  12. Start a daily journal
  13. Shake up my fitness routine (Learn a new sport. Do a real pull up. Run more races. Take a yoga class. Find something new & get out of the post-marathon slump)
    Triathlon // PiYo // ExerStreak2013
  14. Buy a new couch
  15. Floss
  16. Find a hairdresser and get a cut that I love
  17. Be brave and lay on the floor of the Sistene Chapel (I wanted so badly to do this when I studied abroad, but was scared out of my mind to actually do it! This time, it’s happening.)
  18. Visit/host friends who don’t live in town
  19. Host a girls/craft night
  20. Run a sub 6:30 mile (my high school best!)
    I got close – does 7:20 count?
  21. (Finally) See a shooting star
  22. Visit a National Park
    El Yunque counts, right?
  23. Surprise someone (in a big–but good!–way)
    A surprise party for Mom & Dad’s Anniversary
  24. Quit my weekly (twice a week if I’m being honest) Starbucks habit
    (moving to a place where there is no Starbucks totally nipped that one in the bud!)
  25. Organize/file paperwork and create an emergency kit
  26. Do something spontaneous (I am terrible at this. I like to have a plan!)
    We moved to Puerto Rico! That is totally spontaneous.

 


 

I didn’t really expect to hit all of them, so 71% is totally good with me! The purpose of the exercise is to put my goals out there – if I say them “out loud” they are so much more likely to happen! I loved having this list to turn back to when I was looking for a personal project to complete, and I already made next year’s list (which I will post tomorrow). Cheers to another amazing year!