Category Archives: Adventure Tuesday

Adventure Tuesday // Key West!

at-kw-sightsLast month, Casey and I traveled to Florida to attend a friend’s wedding. The wedding was the weekend before our anniversary, so we decided to extend our trip and spend some time in the Florida Keys.

at-kw-convertible Casey has always dreamed of driving Highway 1 over the ocean to Key West, so we made it happen! We rented a convertible, which seemed like a bit of a silly splurge, but ended up being
so. much. fun. It definitely made the loooong drive feel less tedious!

Since it was just a quick trip, we didn’t have too many plans or expectations. We mostly wanted to relax, catch up with one another, and explore a new city. We spent a lot of time wandering around, people watching, and browsing in fun little shops.

at-kw-tandemOne day we rented a tandem bike and pedaled all around town. We were surprisingly good at it (I give all credit to Casey, who did the majority of the steering/balancing) and a bike is totally the best way to explore the island. It was a blast!

at-kw-pieAnother day we skipped lunch and tried a slice of Key Lime pie at the three most famous places (according to a couple locals we polled). All of them were delicious, but the hands down winner was at Blue Heaven – a mile high and covered with fluffy meringue.

at-kw-jollyroverFinally, we enjoyed a Sunset sail on the Jolly Rover – an old and immaculate tall ship. It had been SO LONG (too long!) since we sailed, and it was so nice to get out on the water again. Casey helped hoist the sails, we saw a double rainbow, and witnessed an incredible sunset (they’re famous for a reason!).

at-kw-sunset1All in all, it was a great trip – we found a long weekend to be the perfect amount of time to enjoy Key West.

Adventure Tuesday // il Pizzaiuolo

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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! 

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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. 

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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 :(