ITALY

As I may have mentioned, I recently graduated from college (!!!). So, to celebrate, my incredible parents took our family on a 12-day trip to Italy. It was the greatest gift, and I am so thankful that I got to spend time with them as we explored Venice, Florence, and Rome, with a quick trip to Lucca, Pisa, and Vinci in between.

I really, really love Italy. I’ve been to a few of these cities before during the summers of 2007 and 2008, and it was amazing to go back to some familiar spots and find new places that I missed the first time around! After spending years looking at all of the photos I had taken and longing to go back, I finally had the chance.

We packed so much into that week and a half: going on gondola rides and visiting glass factories in Venice, shopping at open-air leather markets and taking cooking classes in Florence, walks down quiet alleyways in Lucca, posing with leaning towers in Pisa (as well as a few other cities…this country loves their off-balance architecture!), checking out tiny museums in Vinci, learning the history and venturing out for 7:15am trips to the Vatican in Rome, and, OF COURSE, eating pizza and gelato everywhere we went. It’s difficult to pick a favorite part of this trip, and after seeing these photos, I’m sure you’ll be able to understand why. It was the perfect way to start off my post-grad adventure.

And here are a few tips for if you ever find yourself traveling to Italy…

  • Download DuoLingo before you go and brush up on your Italian!
  • If you have the chance to climb some steps to the top of this-or-that church or bell tower, do it.
  • Be sure to eat as much as possible…vacation calories don’t count, especially when pizza and pasta are plentiful.
  • Talk to people! You can learn a lot about a city’s history from your cab driver during a short ride across town.
  • Stroll down side streets, take a peek around your hotel’s neighborhood, and just get to know your surroundings a little bit better. Knowing where you are can make you feel less like a tourist and more like a badass world traveler.

Venice

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Florence

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Pisa

Rome

arrivederci!

I’m off to Italy today! I have been looking forward to this trip all year and now it’s finally time to go. I can’t wait to be back in Venice, Florence, and Rome for the first time since 2008. I am so excited and feel incredibly lucky that I’m about to have this experience with my family, and I can’t wait to share all of my photos and stories (and perhaps a recipe or two) on this little blog when I get back in June!

Have a wonderful 2 weeks!

what i’m listening to: ray lamontagne

Does anyone else listen to those excellent playlists that Spotify puts together to suit any and every mood? I pulled this song, “Airwaves” by Ray LaMontagne, off of their Sunday Stroll playlist, which is pretty perfect, considering I walked all over this city today with my best friend from high school. We started on 85th and Broadway and ended up on 9th and Avenue A, so I guess “stroll” is putting it mildly. We stumbled upon a handful of street fairs over on Amsterdam, stuffed our faces with Rice Krispie treats at Treat House, and grabbed dinner at S’MAC with some more good high school buds! It was a sweet little reunion, and it was really wonderful to see how much has changed while so much has stayed the same, ya know?

Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of Ray LaMontagne’s music, and “Airwaves” is no exception. It really is the perfect song for a nice weekend stroll. This song actually comes off of his latest album, “Supernova,” that came out a couple of weeks ago! Hurray for new music! Even though it’s Monday, maybe you can close your eyes for a quick second and think back on the awesome day you had yesterday (or brunch you ate or movie you saw or whatever). Ease your way into the week with something mellow and enjoy the rest of the album after you check out “Airwaves”!

 

love-dani

weekend reading + a bit about motivation

In the past 7 days, I have traveled from Boston to New Orleans to Florida, and will be on my way back to New York City (for the first time since January!) in a few hours. It’s been pretty crazy week.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and the day before that we recognized the 1 year anniversary of my grandparents’ deaths. Yes, they both died within three days of each other, which was devastating, but also kind of romantic. Anyway, the end of this week has revolved around these powerful and inspirational people, and being in the presence of all of that strength just makes you that much more reflective of your own life and impact on those around you. It actually came at just the right time, as earlier this week, I had been trying to find motivation. Motivation to continue job searching, motivation for blog posts, and the usual motivation to get myself up and moving in general. These people, my mother and grandmother and grandfather (as well as my father and aunts and sister and friends, of course) are and were constantly motivated, and I’ve come to realize that that is motivation enough. Knowing that I am surrounded by people who already recognize their own potential and are motivated by it is motivation enough for me, if that makes sense. It’s inspiring and makes me want to be just like all of them.

But what about you? What motivates you? What kinds of things do you look forward to every day, or who do you try to think of or channel when you make important decisions or even little ones throughout the day?

After you ponder all of those serious questions, check out these links!

1. I’d be down to own every last one of these accessories.

2. Don’t mind me, I’m just gonna be here, swooning over bathing suit tips and waiting for warm weather to come back.

3. …and you know what else warm weather means? Time to obsess over all kinds of lemonade!

4. In preparation of our family trip to Italy next week, here’s a helpful guide to Italian hand gestures.

5. Super high fives to my favorite spot by Northeastern for making it on to this list of the 33 best college bars!

6. This approach to museum tours look like so much fun…I definitely want to go when I’m home!

7. Now that I’m an “adult,” my kitchen supplies should probably reflect that.

8. I love this bracelet.

9. The healthy stuff: spinach and strawberry chopped salad!

10. I never used to be afraid of flying, but lately I get nervous before a trip (maybe because I’ve finally watched LOST?)…these tips might help!

Hope you’re having a great weekend so far!

love-dani

new orleans

I just got back from spending a few days in New Orleans, and if you have yet to visit this vibrant (albeit sometimes hot and sticky) city, get yourself down there as soon as you can! Between the food, the history, and of course, the music, visiting New Orleans is definitely something to add to your bucket list.

My sister goes to school at Tulane, so she was able to show us where all of the best stuff was, from lunch at St. James Cheese Company to the sounds of all kinds of music down on Frenchmen Street, and every praline in between.

Our visit was a bit rainy, but that didn’t stop us from grabbing a bus tour one day and checking out every corner of the city. We stopped by historical apartment buildings, drove down Mardi Gras parade routes, and even stopped in at one of the largest cemeteries in New Orleans! When we were on our own, we found ourselves over at the French Market, followed by a few nice long strolls down Magazine Street. I’ve only been down to visit my sister twice before, and both times were just to see her for a day or two or to help her move in. There was never a focus on visiting New Orleans for the sake of being in the city, so it was nice to take some time to be a little tourist-y. Sometimes I feel the same way about Boston, so maybe it’s finally time to explore a bit of my own town before I move away. As I quickly found out during my few days in Nola, there’s so much more to every city and you can learn something new just by walking up the street.

Have you ever been to New Orleans? What was your favorite thing to see (or eat)? If you’ve never been, what would be the first thing you’d want to see when you get there? (Tip: eat as many beignets as possible.)

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love-dani

 

what i’m listening to: matrimony

Have you heard of Matrimony yet? If you haven’t, you should (and you probably will at some point), because they are several different kinds of stunning.

Last week, they released their latest full-length album, Montibello Memories. Once you hear it, you’ll just want to keep playing it over and over again. If you only have the time or patience to hear a few songs, be sure to check out “Obey Your Guns,” “Southern Skies,” and “How Do You See Me.” If you’re into bands like The Oh Hello’s and Of Monsters and Men, the upbeat, folk-y vibe of Matrimony will definitely be something you’ll enjoy.

So, give this album a listen and feel free to thank me whenever. If you want to check out some more Matrimony goodness, give this Rolling Stone interview a read or head on over to their Facebook and Twitter pages so you can find out when they’ll be gracing your town with their presence.

Enjoy!

 

love-dani

PS. Big shout outs to my awesome boyfriend for introducing me to these great tunes.

weekend reading

what springtime looks like in Boston

what springtime looks like in Boston

So, I’ve been doing this whole *college graduate* thing for a week now. It doesn’t really feel any different, and I honestly don’t think it will until I start working and realize that I won’t be counting down the days until I can go back to Boston in the fall. When all of that finally hits me, I might be a little less excited about adulthood and whatnot. But for now, I’m so happy that I can still spend time with my friends and not stress over things like exams and class schedules.

On a lighter note, here are some fun things I’ve seen floating around the internet lately…

1. I’m kind of in love with Culture Flock Clothing, and these tank tops are great: one and two.

2. Let me brag for a second: my wonderful school (NORTHEASTERN!) is the *most desirable college* in Massachusetts, and number 4 in the country, with over 47,000 applications a year! You can see a full list here of each state and their most popular schools.

3. “The One Where Slate Runs the Numbers on Friends” …or rather, which Friends were the best friends?

4. A terrifying wasp/cockroach creature named after everyone’s fave Harry Potter characters…

5. Have you heard of this book by Stephanie Yoder? It’s officially on my to-read list.

6. Did you know that now you can actually LIVE at Disneyworld?!

7. Here are some valuable life lessons that playing the game 2048 can teach you.

8. A really great article about the power of an apology (“…How can you argue the way a person feels?”)

9. Happy NZ Music Month! Here’s a little playlist full of some amazingly talented artists from New Zealand.

10. I would really love a bag that’s as cool as this one, please.

Enjoy the links and tunes! Have a great weekend!

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