twin in the city

twin in the city

Monday, April 30, 2012

one. more. month.

twin kindly reminded me today that we have just one month left until we fly home. our brother patrick comes to visit us in two weeks, and our parents are coming shortly after that. we honestly can't wait. it's felt so strange being apart from everyone for so long. it's going to be amazing to show our family all the little restaurants, shops, cafes, and corners of florence that we have discovered and fallen in love with. 

these last four months have been a whirlwind, and let me just say...i'm ready to come home. i've realized how blessed i am to be from america. and that's all i'll say about that. 

i don't want this to be taken the wrong way, because my time here has been nothing short of amazing, and i wouldn't take it back for anything in the world. it's just tough being away for so long, that's all. visiting italy and living in it are two very different things.

i'm so happy and proud of myself for doing this. for coming here. i know how differently i will see and appreciate things when i get back home. little, simple, daily things i once took for granted are going to stick out like purple elephants in a room. the thought of seeing certain people again, and visiting my favorite spots at home is something i can't seem to fathom. it's just unreal. it's like i can't believe i get to go back. i feel so lucky. (is that weird?) i guess i'm just really thankful for my life, and everyone who has been warm enough to be a part of it. 

there are many things i want to do and create at home in my lifetime. some things with others, some things by myself. some things for others, and some things for myself. my time away has allowed me to imagine these things, and dream up new ideas as well. i'm so excited to put these dreams into action, and do whatever i can to make them come true someday.

i still have much to do before may 30th, and one unbelievably exciting trip left. i know it will come incredibly quick, and when i leave this place i will miss it. so i'm promising myself to not waste another minute here. there's still so much to do. see. taste. touch. 

so, off i go.

{and this is me, a couple months back on an unforgettable night in paris.}

Thursday, April 26, 2012

(another) little vacation.

so, guess what?
tonight some of us girls are heading south to the amalfi coast! 
twin actually went a few weeks back when her boyfriend was in town, but now it's our turn to go together (in beautiful weather, i might add), and we are just over the moon. :) since before i came to italy, this was one of the destinations at the top of my list. 

between the caves, goats, beaches, volcanoes, and world famous blue grotto.... i am just so excited. this is exactly what i need right now too, in the midst of all of this end of the semester work. 

so i guess i should start packing? 

see you sunday! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

shhhh! (it's a secret.)

last night my friends and i found 'the secret bakery.' we had heard rumors about its location for months now, and decided it was finally time to find it. it's pretty cool... because you can actually sniff it out! with a little help from some friendly fellow american students, we followed our little noses down a couple streets and around a couple corners and...voila! a group of people were standing outside, patiently waiting for their turn to make an order. 

apparently the kids we asked for directions were regulars because we got to cut the line! i'd have to say i was a little scared though, there was a constant 'shhhhhh!' humming through the mass of people, because this bakery really has to stay a secret. we even heard that if you make too much noise, the workers dump water on your head from nearby windows! i wasn't going to take that risk. so i stayed perfectly silent, anxiously waiting for my fresh chocolate pastry. and let me tell you, it was good

we will be returning very soon, secret bakery. and don't worry...
 your secret is safe with us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


my roommates, twin, and i have collected magnets from all the places 
we have visited since being abroad.

 it's sort of our conversation piece when we have guests. 

and we are maybe really proud of it :) 

Monday, April 23, 2012


 one word for eze?


 this medieval village located along the french riviera quickly became my favorite spot during spring break, and quite possibly my favorite spot ever (excluding disney world). i've come to the conclusion that walt disney and i have a lot in common. his love and belief in magic, his never ending imagination, and his passion for such an irresistible place. it is said that walt spent a considerable amount of time in eze, and even helped to shape what the village is today. 

with the mediterranean sea as its backdrop, four-hundred-twenty-nine meters in the sky sits this quaint village, resembling a castle from a distance. walking up the narrow cobblestone paths and passing cute little shops build into 14th century stone was a feeling unlike any other. shops with local jewelry, hotels full of honeymooners, and galleries with their artists present all seemed to pull me in, with every mystifying turn i took. 

although the sun wasn't with us this day, i believe the beauty of eze shines through ;) 
 eze, pronounced by the french as 'ez,' used to be pronounced 'eza,' 
the way italains still pronounce it.
 map of eze. 
 the very top of the village was home to an unbelievable number of cacti. 
very, very happy to have made it to the top!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

the little ones.

being a sister to someone who is twelve years older than me has its perks...i'm an aunt! gabriel xavier (five and a half) and lylah isabel (fourteen months) are the cutest little ones, and i am so proud of all their little accomplishments. being away from them for four months now has made me a little sad, especially seeing pictures of lylah with a head full of beautiful blonde hair, and videos of her taking her very first steps. 
and gabe is just getting SO big! witnessing their very first moments on this earth is a memory i will always treasure. to my sister sarah and her husband dan- you made two very darling children. i wouldn't mind if you kept going... ;)

{and i can't wait to see you all again.}

...and a few of my favorite photos of the little ones:
 gabe when he was just a little little one, picking apples.
 lylah and gabriel in their father's childhood bedroom (which he painted!) how incredible?
{sorry about the explosion of pictures, i just sort of love them... a lot.}

Friday, April 20, 2012


after greece, the next stop on my spring break was the french riviera. my sister laura, her boyfriend ben, and our friend hilary stayed in one of europe's best hostels, a place ben had stayed before, too. 

here are some photos from our wonderful seaside trip to nice:

this was the view from our room.
 twin and teal.
 twin and me with seashore smiles.
                           france's largest flower market. and climbing up to 'castle hill.'
an afternoon nutella crepe, obviously. 
 how incredibly gorgeous is the water? the airport was inches off the beach, so we got to watch the planes land as we hiked to see greater views.
 how funny that this castle hill reminded me of the one at home.
one distant little sailboat. talk about bliss.

xo, m.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

the 'big apple' of my eye.

i know that i should continue my spring break posts since i still have a bunch of pictures and a few magical stories, but today...i just really miss new york. so i've made a little list of the things i miss most, as a sort of therapy. 

what i miss/love about new york city:

1. brooklyn bagels. to my usual weekend whole grain bagel toasted with olive cream cheese, i don't know how i've gone this long without you. italy only believes in pastries for breakfast, and i'm tired of it.

2. highline park. there's just something about the way you linger over the lower west side of my favorite city. the people you attract. the sunsets i catch from your incredible views. the smiles i've had on you. the way you bring me from midtown to the meatpacking district in what feels like a blink of an eye. you really are something.

3. the park. you are one of my favorite restaurants in nyc, with your eggs benedict and serene atmosphere. the way birds hang out in your indoor trees. oh, and you are located on 17th street which makes you that much more amazing. 

4. chelsea piers. bringing my books to your patches of green grass and taking in the views of near boats  will always be something on my 'favorite things to do' list. 

5. chelsea market. grabbing a milkshake, checking out local sample sales, and browsing the sale room at anthropologie all make for a wonderful weekend afternoon. i can't wait to visit you... every weekend when i'm back. 

6. just salad. you satisfy my cravings for buffalo chicken with your scrumptious wraps! twin and i talk about you at least once a week here in italy. we think you'd go over really big here. 

7. the brooklyn bridge. whether i'm photographing you from a nearby park, catching a nighttime glimpse of your bulbs from across the east river, or walking across you... your overwhelming beauty amazes me. watching the sunset from you isn't too shabby either. (especially overlooking pier 17)

8. fifth avenue. you were the home of my first internship (for an italian designer, how funny) and my first job in nyc. walking your crowded streets to meet twin for lunch or to take a sunny stroll through central park are some of my greatest memories in the city. 

9. taxis. oh how i miss your bright yellow paint and the sound of your obnoxious horns. in italy, people are big on walking everywhere. and biking on the sidewalks. i dodge bikes, cars, buses, and especially vespas on a daily basis. i'd just like a nice comfy and affordable ride to my destination once in a while. 

10. rockefeller center. whether it was running past your ice rink to make it to work on time around the holidays, or bumping into twin while she's on a garment run, you are truly a marvelous place. and you have a just salad. just sayin'.

i can't wait to make more magical memories, and discover new little places in the wondrous streets of nyc. i haven't come across another place that has made me feel the way new york city does. 
{and i sort of hope i never do.}

{this is a room in the standard hotel, located in nyc's meatpacking district. i was reading a few articles about the city last night when i came across this picture. it mesmerized me. how gorgeous is this room/view? maybe it's just me. click to enlarge, and you be the judge.}

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"the sandwich lady."

for those of you who don't live in florence, i'm terribly sorry that you are not familiar with "the sandwich lady." 

found in piazza mercato centrale, this woman, who might very well be an angel, works at this little sandwich shop, in which she creates the most delicious, out-of-this-world sandwiches. i may or may not have gone three times this week. but the way i see it is, if i'm going to eat a sandwich, it might as well be one that she makes.

my sandwich of choice is the "american student," (how funny) which includes spicy salami, pecorino cheese, tomato, balsamic, lettuce, and rocket sauce, all on a huge piece focaccia. the rocket sauce is some sort of mayonnaise creation that i just don't question. it's that good. this sandwich shop is literally a hole in the wall, without even a sign out front. this means it's never busy. (good news for me)

thank you to my friend gabriella for introducing me! 

{it was love at first bite.}

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

cinque terre.

it may have rained (and maybe even hailed) during our two-night stay in the "five towns," better known as cinque terre. BUT, we tried our absolute best to not let this unfortunate weather ruin our too-short visit. cinque terre consists of five stunning little towns, tucked into elevated rocks, all nestled along the coast of the mediterranean. 

this location leaves these quaint villages vulnerable to ruin, especially during  bad weather, which is the reason two of the towns are still being rebuilt after last fall's mudslides. we expected this news to affect our visit, but are very happy that we were able to step foot on all five of the towns. from right to left, in the order we visited, the towns are: riomaggiore, manarola*, cornignia, vernazza, and monterosso. 

perhaps the one thing that sets these villages apart from others along italy's coast are their coordinating attention to color. each building is painted a different shade, ranging from vidid teal to mustard yellow, and from a distance, are beautiful enough to take your breath away (no kidding). these towns are connected by trail, boat, and most accessibly by train.

{*manarola is the town we stayed in. we believe it was the most beautiful, and recommend it!}

here are a few photos i snapped during our stay:

the view of manarola from our balcony.
our bed and breakfast came with the cutest breakfast which included nutella and croissants! 

this was the second best spaghetti dish i've had since living in italy. (first is at borgo antico in florence)
the path connecting riomaggiore to manarola, via dell'amore, was covered in locks, said to "lock in love" of all the lovers who have visited the villages. how sweet, right?
laura and her boyfriend ben, two little lovers on lover's lane.

the pigeons were even in love. i swear, this place...
and then twin made a fashion statement with an umbrella.
looking at manarola from corniglia.
me on the left, laura on the right. twins loving cinque terre.
and then...the sun came out!