Monday, June 20, 2016

Pink and White in Positano

The Amalfi Coast is such a dreamlike place to visit, and Positano is the most beautiful spot along the coast. This was our first stop after Rome, and between the view, the beach, the weather, and the people, it was such a lovely few days (although it couldn't top what was to come ;)).

The drive from Sorrento to Positano is an incredible experience. The road is built into the side of the mountain, and is full of narrow twists and turns. While it can be anxiety-inducing, the view more than makes up for the nerves, and the adrenaline rush gets you even more excited to arrive.

Positano is nicknamed "The Vertical City" since all of the houses, shops, and hotels are built into the steep cliff of the mountain. While it does make for a unique and beautiful city, it can be somewhat challenging to get around. We made the mistake of staying in a bed and breakfast that was above the main part of the city, and while the views were incredible, it wasn't as easy to get around as we had hoped. There were 1500 steps getting from our hotel to the city center, so we mostly relied on the local bus to take us to and from Positano. The busses are easy to find, but are small and only run once per hour, so it can be frustrating if you don't make it on a bus, or if you are crammed in with lots of other people. If we go back to Positano again, I would definitely choose to stay in one of the hotels or apartments in the center. There are so many beautiful options!

As soon as we arrived and unpacked, we were determined to find a beach. Our host recommended the Fornillo Beach, which is a 10 minute walk from the main beach in Positano center. We loved the day that we spent here! We rented sunbeds and ordered drinks and read until the sun went down. The other days were spent exploring and eating our way through the city. The Amalfi Coast is famous for lemons, and our favorite treat was the lemon granita, especially at the stands where it was made fresh with bits of the candied rind left in. For just a couple euro, we had this refreshing treat multiple times a day. My next mission is to learn how to make this at home, and this recipe looks like it might do the trick.

Between the bright blue ocean, the many colored homes and the beautiful flowers blooming everywhere, Positano is a color-lover's paradise. I knew I wanted to wear something bright and summer-y to match the scenery. I found these white pants at Zara right before we left, and knew that I would find a million ways to wear them this summer. This Elizabeth & James top, which you may recognize from an older blog post, is still in stock at The Real Real in a small ($45) and a large ($65). You may notice that I had it altered a bit. I found that I wasn't wearing the top very often due to the fly-away back, so I had the back sewn together by my tailor. Now, it's one of my go-to tops, especially on this trip!

Because both of these items are older, I've included links at the bottom of this post to some of my favorite pink tops for summer, and the best white pants, skirts, and shorts to go along with them. There is a wide range of price points and many of them are on sale! I'm sure you will get a lot of use out of them this summer and in summers to come.

Monday, June 13, 2016

One Day In Florence

I studied abroad in Florence during college, so when we decided to come to Italy for part of our trip this summer, I immediately started planning a day trip there. After spending 10 days in Rome, Florence felt like a charming small town in comparison. We started the day at the San Lorenzo leather market, followed closely behind by the Santa Maria Novella Profumeria and Farmacia. Santa Maria Novella is in the ancient monastary right next to the train station, and I especially love their melograno bath soap. I picked up a few bars to use during this trip, and I've found them extremely useful to stash in my suitcase so my clothes always smell clean! Both the leather market and the SMN Farmacia are must-stops on any trip to Florence.

One of my best friends helped me pick out this Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress for several events I had over the past couple of months, and it's already become a favorite in my closet. The wrap style dress is a classic for a reason. The v-neck and cinched waist is very feminine, while the sleeves and straight skirt make it appropriate for both work and fun. The washed silk fabric doesn't wrinkle and is breathable, perfect for this warm day in Florence and for the Texas heat I have ahead of me! I love this blue and white print, but I'm already planning to add the solid black version to my wardrobe once business school begins.

Florence is a great stop for shopping, but it's an even better stop for food. After so much walking during the first part of our day, we stopped for a long Italian lunch at La Giostra, where our favorites were the risotto (mine) and the steak Florentine (Jesse's). For dinner, we recreated the first meal we ate together when Jesse came to visit me in Florence during my semester abroad, at the always incredible Gusta Pizza. After having pizza in every stop on our trip (Rome and Naples included), we wholeheartedly agree that the pizza at Gusta Pizza is the best in Italy.

(Note: if you love pesto like I do, you can ask for it on your pizza, even though it isn't on the menu.)

One of my favorite things to do in any new place is to climb up to the top of a tower or walk to a vantage point in order to see an aerial view of the whole city. It's great to do at the beginning of a trip to get an idea of how the city is laid out and the overall scale, or at the end of a trip to appreciate everything you've seen in one place. There are several great spots to do this in Florence, but I love the Piazzale Michelangelo the best. It's a lovely place to take a picnic or a bottle of wine and hang out with friends, and it's also where all of the perfect postcard pictures of Florence are from. The only downside to getting an aerial view is that it usually requires a LOT of steps or a strenuous uphill climb. The Piazzale Michelangelo is on the edge of the city, and does take some motivation to get to the top, but it's so worth it once you do!

Speaking of strenuous walking, let's talk shoes. The shoes I pick time and time again for walking and traveling are from Børn, and I brought two pair with me on this trip: these sandals and an older pair of leather loafers. Although I only packed flats for this trip, I also have this pair of wedges that I wear all of the time at home. I love the look of more stylish sandals, but the Børn sandals I'm wearing here are super comfortable and great for walking around in all day. We took over 22,000 steps on this day alone, and I never had issues with blisters or pain. I'm very impressed by the chic Italian women who walk around on the ancient cobblestones in high heels! That may be the most impressive thing I've seen on this trip so far.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Magical Days In Capri

If you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen the news.
After eight blissful years together, Jesse and I are engaged.

The last few days have been such a whirlwind of love and warmth from family and friends, so I wanted to take a minute to share about our magical time in Capri and everything leading up to the proposal. 

We arrived in Capri on Thursday, after spending five days in Positano. While I was in love with Positano when I visited in college, this time our stay was more like than love. Arriving in Capri was a great change.

Jesse found the villa we stayed in on Airbnb, and we weren't completely sure what to think of it from the pictures. The location and price were great, so we took the chance and were completely blown away when we arrived! The villa had a huge balcony with an incredible view of the Marina Grande, and the rooms had so much charm. There was a supermarket right next door, so we spent a good amount of time practicing our Italian with the darling (and patient!) Italianos in the deli. With their suggestions, we picked out a big selection of meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, several bottles of prosecco, and plenty of delicious snacks for our two days on the island. All we wanted to do was spend our time enjoying the incredible view. I kept telling Jesse that this was the best part of the trip so far.

The next day, we were both looking forward to going out on the water for a tour of the island (and I couldn't wait to wear my favorite bikini!). It was raining when we woke up and for most of the morning, so Jesse was worried that it may not be a great day to go on the boat. Magically, as soon as we walked outside, the weather changed completely. The sun came out and there was a lovely breeze as we walked out to meet the boat, picnic in hand. The entire boat ride was incredible. We spent the first hour or so going around the island, stopping in different caves and grottos to see the coral and different colors of the water. About halfway through, our driver pulled into a calmer place and we jumped out to have a swim. Once we were well away from the boat, Jesse and I were looking at each other and talking, and a ring* emerged from the water.

To say he caught me off guard is an understatement. Yes, we've been together for a long time, but we've been talking for months about not getting married until after business school, so I did not expect a proposal on this trip. I was completely shocked and surprised and still cannot believe that it happened! What a lovely ending to the most magical days in Capri.

*This ring is a stand-in for the one we are going to pick out together when we get home. It is a beauty, but not real, hence Jesse feeling comfortable enough to bring it out into the water ;)