Thursday, July 31, 2014

Italian Adventure 2014: Venice

At the end of May we enjoyed twelve wonderful days in amazing Italia

One of the greatest perks of living overseas is being able to travel parts of this earth we never imagined we would. We are so very grateful for the opportunity and sure do not take it for granted. God created such a beautiful world.

It is so hard to put into words how much I love this country. The food, the language, the rolling hills, the wine, the love....I could go on and on. 

Our first stop on our Italian Adventure was one that Roberto (we will use his Italian name for these posts. hehe.) and I were "iffy" about...Venice. Before our trip we heard two different opinions. One, people really did not enjoy it, said it was too stinky and too crowded. And Two, people loved it, said it was one of the prettiest and most romantic cities in the world. Our thoughts? We LOVED it. We have even gone as far to say it is our favorite city in Europe so far (although the Tuscan countryside is right there with it- more on that later). 

It truly is so romantic and beautiful. From the beautiful water (we didn't even notice the stink!) to the tiny paths to get through the was quaint, lovely and truly breathtaking

We were in Venice for 3(ish) days. I will summarize at the end of this post our must-see sites, eats and stays in hopes that it will be helpful to those of you planning a trip to this wonderful country.

Some friends suggested we stay in Lido, a little beach town about a 15 minute boat ride from Venice. And I 100% can say it was one of our best decisions. This little town is the epitome of a beach town. It is casual and lively. It has tons of low key restaurants, lots of gelato shops, bike shops and it is lined with miles and miles of beach. After about a 40 minute boat ride from the airport we arrived in Lido(!) and checked in to our hotel, Hotel Pannonia.

 Of course, our first stop was gelato! And some of the best during our whole trip, although ALL gelato is ah-mazing. We then hopped on the boat (make sure to purchase the Venice Rolling Pass if you are under 29 for much better boat ride prices and some other great deals) and made our way to the main island! 

This night we just walked around and soaked in our surroundings, basically we walked around with our mouths hanging open. The only "touristy" site we hit up this night was Rialto bridge- truly one of the most beautiful places in Venice!

And we enjoyed some of the best pizza at Anitco Forno, sooo good. 

We spent most of the next day exploring and relaxing in Lido. We enjoyed the beach in the morning and explored with bikes in the afternoon. It was so nice and super relaxing.

This man sure does make traveling a blast. I couldn't ask for a better travel buddy.

The rest of our days were spent exploring all the sights like Piazza San Marco, St. Marks Basilica and many more beautiful bridges and sights (see below for complete list). everywhere you look. Venice is the perfect place to get lost. There is not one street you turn down that is not less charming than the last. We loved spending hours and hours exploring the city and  popping in and out of beautiful places we would find. 

 St. Mark's Basilica. Incredible.

One of my favorite parts of Venice was the water. I love that it surrounds the city, I think that is one reason it is so romantic.

 There were definitely crowds, they are everywhere in Italy, but here, we never fealt overwhelmed by the amount of people.

 Traveling is the absolute best and absolutely exhausting. I crashed, and I means crashed, during one of our boat rides. Thanks for the pic Roberto:) Most days we would enjoy a fun-packed-filled day in Venice and then head back at night to relax and enjoy calm Lido. 

Now, Our Suggestions.

Where to Stay: 
Lido. Again, I cannot recommend this place enough. We loved staying here. We stayed in Hotel Pannonia, which we highly recommend. 

Where to Eat: 
We tried not to spend a ton of $$ on food. 12 days of eating out can really hurt the wallet for newlyweds:) So lots of places I recommend are on-the-go places, where we then would find a beautiful place outside to eat, or reasonably priced restaurants.
- Antico Forno. Amazing pizza. 
- Alfredo's. A great variety of Pasta to-go and so yummy. 
 - Try a Panino Napoletana at Rossopomodoro.
- Try a Fornarina at a Bakery...chocolate pastry goodness, you do not want to miss. 
Be aware that restaurants in Venice can be very expensive, especially in St. Marks square. So if you are going to eat on the go somewhere this is the place to do so. 

What to See: 
- Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square)
- St. Marks Basilica
- Rialto Bridge
- Ponte dell' Accademia Bridge
- Relax on the beach in Lido for a morning or afternoon
- Gondola ride. We opted not to do this. It is about $100 and we felt like we enjoyed some beautiful boat rides on our way to and from Lido (especially at nighttime, on the back of the boat outside) that we did not want to spend the money. 
- Shops. There are so many fun and unique shops to pop into, here!

Other Tips:
- purchase Venice Rolling Pass, if between the ages of 14-29, for much better transportation prices.
- great walking shoes!
- Venice is smaller and has less tourist "sites" than Rome and Florence. So this is a great place to just walk and enjoy. You can see all of Venice with your own two feet, so GET LOST and explore it!

Lastly, a thank you for getting through this long post with lots of pictures. A little funny thanks to Roberto...
So, so true:)

Venice, we ADORE you! Next stop...Florence!

Planning a trip to Italy? Have any questions? Please feel free to shoot me an email!

Also, be sure to check out my Travels Page to see all our travel adventures!

Linking up with Treasure Tromp for Treat Yo' Self Thursday and Home of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday. 
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

DIY: Etching!

While I was in Kansas, Roberto's mama taught me a really great DIY project...Etching! Y'all. This is fun, easy and a great way to personalize gifts. I made a candle holder for myself and then personalized a few wine glasses for a wedding gift. 

(it is hard to see clearly in a picture, but it turned out super cute)

- piece of glass you want to etch
- latex gloves
- circle sticker paper
- sticker letters
- tape
- Popsicle stick
- armour etch (wear gloves while handling this!)
-newspaper (a surface to work on)

First, in the circle sticker paper there will be little slits, tape those slits together so the armour etch will not soak through. Next, place the circle sticker on the piece of glass as well as your sticker letter. Then, press the sticker down with the popsicle stick (you want to make sure the stickers are down tight).

Now, put those gloves on! Then, place a generous amount of armour etch in the center using the popsicle stick. Make sure it is completely,  covered. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, head to the sink and wash the armour etch off with warm soap and water. Once clean, peel the sticker off and admire your work! (When wet it will look a little splotchy, but give it time to dry and it will be all set!)

Now your turn! Have you ever etched before?? You could do this in so many different glasses, vases, coasters, picture frame glass, drinking glasses, there are so many options!

Thank you Julie for teaching me this wonderful DIY!

And congratulations to Jennifer C.- the winner of the Printable Wisdom and  Target gift card Giveaway! 

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Fun!

Linking up for some Friday Fun with Oh Hey Friday and Friday Favorites

I have been wanting to make a quinoa dish for a while now. I pinned this recipe on my Pinterest and I think it looks delicious. Maybe a weekend lunch??

Y'all. If you have not seen this video, stop what you are doing and watch it now. It is just too sweet. Of course, I bawled like a baby.

I've decided, it has been long enough. We went on our Italy Trip TWO months ago now and it is time I document it before I forget all the details! It seems like a daunting task because of the amount of pictures, but I want to do it and will be so glad I did. So come back next week (promise) for the beginning recaps of our Italy Vaca 2014! Also some tips of amazing places to eat, must-sees and incredible places to stay.

Need a dessert for this weekend?? A couple weeks ago, I shared this delicious Oreo Layer Dessert from Nap Time Creations. Check it out here! A perfect weekend dessert.

Giveaway time! If you missed it yesterday, no worries...enter today! This is such a fabulous giveaway. A beautiful print and a Target gift card?? It doesn't get much better!

That is it for today! Have a wonderful weekend, ladies!
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Giveaway!

Hello, friends!

Today is Thursday which means it is almost...Friday! That deserves a "wahoo!".  And what better way to start the weekend than with a giveaway?? I am pairing up with some lovely ladies to give you the chance to win something really great.

  Today’s giveaway was made possible by the lovely Ashley from Printable Wisdom. Let me just tell you how talented this woman is! I have loved looking through her shop and checking out her awesome designs!

Here is a little info about Ashley.

"I specialize in "printable" designs that are an affordable way to bring a little art and some words of wisdom into your home!I started creating printables just for myself and family members. I wanted to have colorful art in my home but didn't want to pay outrageous prices for it. After creating some bridal shower invites for a family friend, I decided to go for it and opened my Etsy shop, PrintableWisdom! While I started out with printable quotes and Scripture, I've since expanded my shop and carry printable stationery, invitations, greeting cards, gift tags, and more! Check back often, as I'm always adding new designs (almost daily!). My newest product line that I'm very passionate about is my wedding stationery and decor line - check it out and let all of the brides or soon to be brides in your life know as well!"

Have a great day!

Make sure to check out her shop! Ashley has graciously given us one of her prints today’s giveaway! I am also adding in a $40 gift card to the one and only Target. Make to enter for the chance to win this great print and gift card!

Thank you Ashley for providing one of your beautiful prints! Your shop is incredible!


Friday, July 18, 2014

It's finally Friday!

Hi friends! 

Robert and I are currently on our way to the beautiful Red River, New Mexico. We are SO excited! We are so ready for a relaxing few days in the mountains and the COOL(er) weather! 

Be sure to head over to Birdie to Be blog today. I am guest posting over there and talking about a few of our travel essentials!

Hope you all have a great and fun weekend! And make sure to come back next week for a recap of Red River and finally...recaps (and suggestions) from our Italy trip!

Happy, happy Friday!


Monday, July 14, 2014

The Delicious Oreo Layer Dessert

Y'all. This dessert is delicious. I took it over to my dad's for dessert one night and it was a hit! Kids, adults...everyone loved it. When you take home an empty pan, you know it was a good one.

Thanks to Nap Time Creations for the fabulous recipe. 

 1 package of Oreos
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
2 pckg. instant chocolate pudding + Milk to prepare pudding
12 oz. container Cool Whip

1. Crush Oreos. Set aside 1/4 cup to garnish top. Mix the rest of the oreos with butter. Press into a 9x13 pan. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
2. Combine cream cheese, sugar, milk and 1 1/4 cup of the cool whip. Spread mixture over crushed oreo layer.
3. Prepare chocolate puddings as directed on package. Spread over layer two. 
4. Spread the rest of the cool whip on top for the final layer. Garnish with the leftover oreos. 

Eat and Enjoy!!

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Fourth of July and a Mountain Trip!

After Robert and I left Kansas, we headed to my Gigi's house in Panhandle for the fourth! We met up with my family and some cousins and as always, we all had such a great time together! I really don't know if there is anything better than family time. It is just the best! 

Fourth of July morning, we woke up bright and early to go run in the Fun Run! It is in memory of my Uncle David so we all enjoy running in memory of him. Even if I have to stop and walk a few times:) 

After the fun run, we got ready then headed back downtown for the parade and activities. Panhandle is a very small town, but their fourth events are always so much fun. We watched little Paisley compete and win Princess in the "pageant", ate a lot, played on bouncers and watched the boys compete in a free throw contest! It was a morning full of fun and one that definitely required afternoon naps. We ate the classic and so American chili dogs for dinner and shot off fireworks that night! Although we didn't get very far, because of the dang wind. So we have lots to shoot off in the coming weeks. 

(sorry for all the grainy phone pics, the camera stayed in the bag this week!)

The next day, we left with my cousin and her family and headed to see more family in Durango, Colorado! I had never been before and oh my it is beautiful! I love a good mountain town. The next three days we totally just enjoyed each others company. We went on a hike to see a beautiful waterfall, the boys went floating on the freezing river, we took some beautiful walks, went to church where my cousin works and ate, talked and talked some more. It was the perfect few days just getting to catch up and enjoy a beautiful place.

We were so sad to leave Durango, but also so glad to be back home for a bit! Thank you Zack and Kelsey for such a wonderful time!

Linking up with Amanda at Meet at the Barre.