Saturday, June 8, 2013

Head to my new blog for my new adventures!

Hi readers!

If you haven't already, head on over to my new blog, Love and London.

You'll get caught up on my crazy life, including my attempt at moving to London, and what I've done since then...

Trust me. You won't be bored.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Exciting Life Updates.... And Where You'll Find Me Next

Ok, ok. I know I've been super MIA and completely all over the place. You'd think I'd move back to the US and finally have some time to tweet and blog. I even promised a blog series on living and working abroad that I've almost failed at completely. Except for that one post. But I've been waiting for the right time to reveal to all of you my plan for the next few years.

So to update you….

My life in the US has been fairly boring.

I've been working 40 hours a week making smoothies at a gym-- just to get some money back in my bank account-- so my free time has been somewhat limited. And on top of that…

I started a new blog!

And it's not about me. But it's where I am sharing my knowledge of all things study abroad, so check it out and pass it along to anyone you know who is or will be abroad. It's called The Abroad Guide. I've been working hard at it and am already getting a great response from readers and followers, and have even gotten some interest for potential partnerships! 

You should also keep an eye out, because I'm starting yet ANOTHER blog. Wanna know why? 

It's cause….


So this blog's title will no longer make sense :)

Yup, I'm moving to London. Should have guessed, right? The US just doesn't do it for me anymore.

But here's the story. Remember this guy, who I met during my weekend in Prague a few months ago?

Well, it turns out we're head over heels for each other. 

We met up in Paris before I moved back to the US, and after countless Skype sessions, he came to New York for New Years and we had an amazing week together. 

But that week wasn't enough, so I'm moving to London (where he lives) in 40 days. April 12th is my official departure date, but I wish it was tomorrow. I've always loved London and think it will be the perfect place for me to start a new life (and be with Tom!)

In order for me to work and live legally as an American in the UK, I need to have some kind of visa, which really wasn't an option for me-- work visas are almost impossible to get, and even if I studied there, it would still take a while to get that visa. So I did some research and found that I could apply for Italian Dual Citizenship through my great grandfather, which would let me live and work anywhere in the EU for as long as I want to. 

So I started that process a couple of weeks ago, and I hired a company called ItalyMondo that is helping me get everything together and done as quick as possible. The process typically takes two to three years, but since I am able to fly to Italy and apply there, I should have my Italian citizenship by October (if all goes well, fingers crossed!) 

Then my new life officially begins.

It's all new and exciting, and I couldn't be happier.

Me in London during my study abroad semester in Fall 2009

Keep an eye on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for info about my new blog, where I'll be writing about my new life and posting amazing photos right along with it. And we already have some big plans for the next few months that you won't want to miss out on, including two trips to the south of Italy (to apply and receive my citizenship), a vacation in Ibiza, and quite a few music festivals (um… Creamfields anyone?)  

40 days till London!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012, You Rocked My World: My Year in Review

A little more than a year ago, I started this little ole blog as a way to document my journey to Florence; all the ups and downs, the lessons learned, the mistakes made, and the experiences gained. It feels like so long ago, and yet, it feels like just yesterday that I was packing up my life just days before heading to Italy, with no idea just what was about to begin.

I originally moved to Florence thinking I would be teaching English. Little did I know that I would take a completely different turn and end up working in nightlife, for a student travel company, and running bar crawls. But this is why I love life-- you never know what (fun and exciting) curve balls it's going to throw at you.

And so, because I love lists, here's the run down of my 2012 in list form:

Places I traveled:
3. Rimini
8. Prague
9. Rome
10. Paris

What I did:
1. Worked some great jobs, which let me party and travel the world for a living
2. Shared amazing experiences with my "Florence family", who will be some of my best friends for years to come, no matter how far we live from each other
3. Gained great work experience and learned first hand just how effective good networking can be
4. Became much more confident in my Italian speaking skills, even if they didn't improve as much as I would have liked
5. Figured out how to be happy just being single and on my own... and then fell in love
6. Learned more about myself in twelve months than I have in my entire life
7. Grew into a stronger, smarter, kinder, and even more confident person than I was before

2012 was better than I could have ever imagined, and hopefully 2013 will be the same. I'll be home in New York for at least a couple of months while I figure out the next step of my journey, whether it be in the US or somewhere else in the world.

You may not find me in Florence, but the adventures will still continue!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My last days in Europe via Instagram

After my life-changing weekend in Prague, I had one week left in Florence before returning to New York for the holidays. I was done with working, so I was able to do a little bit more traveling (a night in Rome and a trip to Paris to see Swedish House Mafia again) and get to spend time with my "Florence family" before leaving this amazing city.

Christmas Markets in Piazza Navona during my brief visit to Rome

Christmas lights on Via Corso


Swedish House Mafia in Paris.... yet another unreal experience.

Christmas by the Duomo in Firenze

My Swedish roommates gave me this AMAZING going away present... I had wanted to get one of these charms but didn't get a chance to before flying home. It's the city symbol of Florence!

So thankful for the friends who have become family...

In my next post, I'll update you on my life and travel plans for the next few months, so check back!

Oh, and follow me on Instagram !

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Crazy Weekend in Prague with Swedish House Mafia

One of my all-time favorite cities in Europe is Prague. I've been twice, once in the winter and once in the summer, and I've walked around in awe of the city's beauty both times I visited. Earlier this fall, I thought it would be nice to try to get back to this amazing city after Thanksgiving so that I could experience the holiday decorations and Christmas markets again.

So when trusty old Facebook reconnected an old friend and I, a friend who happens to be living and working in Prague, and who just HAPPENED to have one extra ticket to see Swedish House Mafia the weekend after Thanksgiving, I just could NOT pass up that opportunity.

I jumped on a flight from Milan the night before the show, took out some Czech money at the airport, and arrived to Matt's apartment around 10:30pm to meet his two friends from London. Little did we know what the next few days had in store for us...

After a spontaneous first night out at Retro Music Hall, the four of us became super close. While Matt was at work on Thursday, Tom, Kate and I walked around Old Town a bit and did some shopping, and we of course picked up some mulled wine-- a spiced, hot red wine that you can usually pick up in cold weather cities and in Christmas markets around Europe.

Once we shopped, grabbed some food, and got back to Matt's flat, it was time to get ready for what we had all been waiting for-- the Swedish House Mafia show. If you don't know who Swedish House Mafia is (which I'm really hoping is NO ONE), they are the biggest DJs in the world and this is their "One Last Tour". They will only be performing together until March, so we knew that seeing them in Prague was about to be a life changing event.

As you can probably tell by these pictures, words can't even describe how awesome the show was. This video is a bit shaky since I was on someone's shoulders, but you still get the idea!

When the show was over, we were all on such a high that we went out till the wee hours of the morning. 

In fact, the next morning, I was still on such a high-- guess what I did?

Booked a flight to Paris for the next weekend to see SHM again.

You only live once.

Needless to say, after all of the Paris commotion, that day was a lazy one, although the night definitely was not...

On Saturday, after a delish brunch at Globe, which consisted of chocolate chip pancakes and a Spanish omlet with homefries that somewhat cured my hangover, we intended on doing a little site seeing.

But instead, we ended up at Beer Factory, a bar where each table has its own tap, and the name of the game is to see which table drinks the most beer. 

Do you see a theme to this weekend? No work, all play. I had officially finished working in Florence and Matt, Tom and Kate had taken time off work, so we intended on using this time to the fullest.

That night, we went to a house party at a friend of Matt's place, and had the most amazing time. I think it may have been a mix of the sick house music that was blasting, the deceivingly delicious party punch, and just being around a big group of cool people from all around the world that made us the happiest kids on the planet (see picture below...) 

Later in the night, we ventured to Retro for the third night of our four night trip. If you are looking for a good club to go to, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you are into house music. The DJs are SO good, the drinks are cheap, it's a local spot, and it's even free to get into. GO!

What a crazy, fun, awesome, sick weekend. 

Get ready for round two when I go see SHM again in Paris!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe Time: the famous Pear Ravioli

If you've kept up with my blog for a while, you'll be aware that my all-time favorite restaurant in Florence is Coquinarius, a small restaurant that barely anyone has ever even heard about. Absolutely everything that I've ever eaten there has been delicious and so authentic, but the dish that the restaurant is best known for is its pear ravioli. A more popular restaurant called La Giostra has a similar dish, but I've tried both and think Coquinarius does it better. 

After having the ravioli a few times (and quickly draining my wallet of its precious euros in the process) I decided I needed to learn how to make this masterpiece of a dish. So I found a recipe and made it from scratch. Boy, was it worth it. It came out absolutely amazing. The perfect amount of sweet and savory. Just divine.

So I'm passing along the recipe for my readers to try. It's actually really easy to make... the hardest part is making the fresh pasta, but you can always just grab some pre-made dough from the store and the rest will take less than twenty minutes.

Pear Ravioli 
Serves 4

What you'll need:
3 Pears (the recipes that I've found have told me that pears that are not too ripe work best. To be honest, I have no idea what a ripe pear looks like, and my rav came out fine.)
8 oz of Pecorino cheese
1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of butter
Extra Pecorino to sprinkle on top of the finished ravioli

First, grate the pecorino cheese and the pears

Then combine the pecorino, mascarpone, pears, and egg yolk all together for the ravioli filling.

My friend Monique made the fresh pasta since she had just learned how to in her cooking class. I've taken a class on how to make fresh pasta as well, but I let her take the reins on this part of the recipe...
Here's a tutorial on how to make your own pasta.

After you've rolled out your dough with a rolling pin (or with a wine bottle, like we did, since we didn't have one available), cut it into pieces -- as big as you want your ravioli to be. 

Use a spoon to put the pear and cheese mixture onto one piece of pasta, place another on top of it, and use a fork to seal the pieces together, just like we did (see above photo).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the raviolis for 3-4 minutes, a few raviolis at a time.

While the raviolis are cooking, heat up the butter in a skillet. Once all of the raviolis are all done, pour the butter over the top of them and serve! 

Leave the rest of the grated pecorino on the table so that you can top your dish with it.

The couple of times that I've made this recipe its gotten rave reviews. If you're ever in Florence, I recommend trying the real deal at Coquinarius, but if you don't plan on being there anytime soon. definitely give this dish a try.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hooters wings and a 200 foot free fall in Switzerland

On my second day in Interlaken, I felt a rush of YOLO come over me. I figured that this weekend could in fact be my last time in Switzerland for quite a long time, so I decided that I needed to do something a little crazy....

Like canyon jumping.

But before that could be done, it was mandatory that we stopped at Hooters. For some chicken strips.

So worth the 15 francs. 

At three pm, our Outdoor Interlaken guide picked us up from Balmer's and drove us 25 minutes to a town called Gimmelwald-- the most picture picture Swiss town that you could ever imagine.

When we arrived to the canyon we would be jumping through, I walked to the ledge and looked down... far. Very far. That's when I started shaking...

Before we were weighed and strapped into our harnesses, the liability waiver was read aloud to us. I wish I had recorded it-- it made us all laugh a bit. My favorite part was where it stated that you will not jump if you are pregnant-- because it would be twice the price. 

I originally told myself that I would go second or third because I didn't want to go first and I thought I would get too scared if I waited for too long. But some of the students from the Bus2alps trip asked if I could take pictures and videos of them jumping, so I ended up going LAST. It worked out for the best though-- by the time I went, I was so excited, and knew that I would have to just GO, and not think about it too much.

It was almost dark by the time that I got to jump, but here's the video! 

Like my scream? The feeling was absolutely crazy. Falling 200 feet for four seconds-- almost indescribable. Did I love it? YES. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat-- but I'm thinking skydiving over the Swiss Alps is next !

Once I got back to the hostel, I emailed the video to my parents, who had NO idea of exactly what I was up to in Switzerland... the reaction when I called them later that day was priceless.

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