When in Rome…

Picturesque seaside scenery, unique natural beauties, tantalizing wines, and carb-free pasta dishes…

…this is how Blake and I plan to spend our vacation this summer.

That’s right, B and I are going to Europe. Italy and Paris, to be more specific. We booked our flights last week and will be arriving in one of the most marvelous places on Earth come the end of May. For two weeks we’ll be witnessing breath-taking views and soaking up the rich culture. We’re fortunate enough to be traveling with another fun and wonderful couple.

I’m very excited for this adventure, and even more blessed to be sharing it with the love of my life.

My friend Megan and I have been anxiously planning the destinations, while Blake and her husband are busy studying for med school. Essentially, this is B’s last summer for the rest of his life and we decided to do it BIG.

In the beginning, our hearts were set on going to Greece, too, but apparently Greece isn’t doing well economically and are on strike. We were disappointed, but understood it wouldn’t be feasible. Tentatively, Megan and I have come up with the following destinations. 

We fly into Rome, but will take the train to Sorrento, located along the Amalfi Coast. A thirty minute boat ride will lead us to Capri, where we’ll spend the day bronzing in the Mediterranean sun.

Peaceful landscape full of serene rolling hills, olive groves, cypress trees, vineyards, and medieval towns and castles is what attracts us to Tuscany. A wine-tasting tour is a must.

Cinque Terre is the unique part of our trip because it’s one of those “Back Door” destinations that not many tourists know about. A seven mile hike (including a “Lovers Lane”) will lead us through unforgettable views of it’s National Park. There’s just something charming and romantic about these “Five Lands,” which is what Cinque Terre translates to.

What is there to even say about Paris? I think it speaks for itself.

With it’s infamous architecture and as a home to Romeo and Juliet, our trip would not be complete without Rome. It’s an Eternal City; a cultural icon filled with secrets and romantic sneak-aways. Love is everywhere in Rome.

…do as the Romans do.

My question to you is: Have you been to Italy or Paris? Do you have any suggestions, ideas, regrets? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Ciao, Bella

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Star Struck

As a lot of you know, I went to the Michael Buble concert this weekend, but what you (and I) didn’t know was that Blake surprised me with FLOOR SEATS!! He kept it a secret for months and surprisingly I didn’t badger him to tell me where we were sitting. I knew they had to be good seats if he was keeping it a secret, but I didn’t know they were going to be this good:

This is without zooming in!

Something you may not know about B is that he’s pretty charming and can make friends with a wall. So it came as no surprise when he made friends with an usher (as soon as I calmed down from finding out we had floor seats). Some of our family members had been at his show a few days prior and informed us MB comes out into the middle of the audience and onto a small stage to sing a couple of songs. He asked the usher exactly when and where he would be doing so. Of course she told us. He’s good like that. *In exchange for this insider information he promised to take pictures on her camera phone

We had to let the couple sitting next to us in on this little secret, so they wouldn’t be alarmed when I trampled them when the moment arrived that MB would be singing RIGHT NEXT TO US! Our seats were just a small leap away from where he would be performing. 

The sweet usher told us exactly which song he’d be making his way towards us. As soon as I heard the song, my game face was on! We saw the stage being propped up, MB walking down the stairs of the main stage, and we bolted. Good thing too, because other people caught on and were running our way. There were security guards around, but they weren’t going to stop a crowd of screaming girls, cougars, and their man friends snapping pictures!

Can I just say that if I were watching myself from afar, I’d probably be making fun of me. I was screaming his name and jumping up and down just trying to get a grab at him. Well, my friends, persistence and making a fool of yourself pays off because that cute crooner reached down and grabbed my hand…. AND his sweat particles landed upon me! 

It made my night. For sure. And I couldn’t be happier that my wonderful boyfriend was there to capture it all on camera. B was scared for a moment I wasn’t going to return. Here are some pictures of how close we were: [I was touching the stage unbeknownst to the security guards]

*yes that’s me…bottom right… right after he grabbed my hand… and the salt ‘n peppered-haired security guard no longer in front of me*

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend, and has a very blessed week!
P.S. Let me know if you can’t view the videos. This is my first attempt at being tech-savvy. I used iMovie for the first time today and impressed myself! ha!
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#5. Be Serious About Play

To catch up, scroll down to My Happiness Project in my archives.

The subgroups in the Be Serious About Play topic, from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, are:
* Find more fun
* Take time to be silly
* Go off the path
* Start a collection

“One way to feel good is to make time for play–which researchers define as an activity that’s very satisfying, has no economic significance, doesn’t create social harm, and doesn’t necessarily lead to praise or recognition.”
When it comes to “fun” & “play,” I, like Gretchen, tend to “stick to the familiar.” I usually do things I already know how to do or have done before. I’ll admit I don’t normally like to go out of my comfort zone.

[*Note: I am citing from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. The following are my own thoughts based on what I read in her book. I am in no way taking credit for her research, writing, creativity, and opinions.]
Find more fun.
Not to sound like a PSA, but are you someone who does a lot of activities that you realize you don’t enjoy? (Okay, that totally sounded like a PSA–sorry!) My problem is that normally I’d rather do more quiet activities, whether it be by myself or with someone else. Don’t get me wrong though–I do enjoy things like water activities (when it’s not cold!) and having game nights. However, my idea of fun doesn’t involve going to a club until all hours of the night and getting obliterated like other people my age. Sometimes I wish I wanted to stay out later and have a drink, but it’s just not me. Even in college… I lived in my sorority house for two years and given the option I would rather stay in then go out to the local bars. Of course I did once in a blue moon, but I was pretty studious and would get paranoid that if I went out I’d be too hungover for class the next day. Looking back though, I wish I would have gone out more. So what if I was tired the next day? But, I can’t think, “I wish.” That won’t get me anywhere. I can only look forward. Gretchen tells it perfectly: “I need to acknowledge to myself what I enjoyed, not what I ‘wished’ I enjoyed.” I need to take this advice, but I must admit it saddens me a little to think I won’t ever be one of those people that live in New York, or sporadically jump on the next flight to who-knows-where. I wish I could be different than I am sometimes. A great quote by an unknown blogger: “I can DO ANYTHING I want, but I can’t DO EVERYTHING I want.” So true. I must accept that some things I want to do just aren’t going to happen. And I’m okay with that. Sometimes.

Take time to be silly.
“Taking the time to be silly means that we’re infecting one another with good cheer, and people who enjoy silliness are one third more likely to be happy.” If you know me personally, you know that I can be pretty silly, although I’m shy at first. B probably knows this the best. I’m constantly doing silly things, and he’s pretty good at it, too.

Go off the path.
Oh boy. Something I’m terrible at! Like I said before, I like to stick with the familiar. But Gretchen suggests doing things that would put you in unexpected scenes and situations, as well as new people. Honestly, I’m not really sure how I can do this. I’ll get back to you on this one. And I’m open to any ideas!

Start a collection.
Gretchen asked a lot of bloggers if they collected anything. They collected things from Barbies, birds, vintage items, etc. Personally, I don’t college anything. Never have, really. I don’t like a lot of clutter. I don’t see how collecting anything could make me happy. I understand it’s the “chase” for some people, or the sharing with a family member, but to me, it’s just a lot of “stuff” around the house. 

So, to sum it up, I’m trying to accept that other people’s ideas of “fun” aren’t necessarily my idea of fun (and vice versa). I’m going to continue being silly because it makes me happy, and next time I have the opportunity to go off the path I’m going to take it!

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Yep, that’s right! I went to Taylor Swift’s 1st concert for her Fearless 2010 Tour! Woo hoo!! I had so much fun with my best friend & sorority sister, Lauren, and of course, B =) I’m a huge country fan, and was so excited to see Gloriana and Kellie Pickler open for her. 

I will say that I felt a little old cheering for someone a few years younger than me, especially surrounded by screaming and crying tweens. BUT I HAD FUN!!!! She puts on a great show–even stopping in the middle to hug anyone and everyone around her. 

Next up…. 

Mmm… I love me some Michael Buble! B and I are going to see him next week and I can’t wait! He won’t tell me where we’re sitting, so it must be some place good 😉

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What a Weekend!

So this weekend has been one of the best weekends in a long time. 

Friday night: B and I met up with a couple for drinks. We stayed at the bar so long, they kicked us out; and we went to a 24-hour Starbucks till almost 2 in the morning. (What did we do without 24-hour Starbucks?!) 

Saturday: Even though I only got 3 hours of sleep, I still managed to make it through work. I took the kids I nanny to Barnes and Noble for “Story Time” and they were absolutely adorable, as usual. I had a half-day at work and went to my friend Marissa’s daughter’s first birthday party! She was so cute in her pink tutu and couldn’t stop smiling! 

After the party, B and I sporadically got a couple’s massage. We had been wanting to do this for our Anniversary, but with me working all the time, and him being in Med School, we never got around to planning/executing it. 

It was this hole-in-the-wall type of place, but boy was is amazing! The people were so nice and it was absolutely relaxing. Now, it wasn’t as nice as when we got massages in Mexico, but in my opinion, I don’t think you can really go wrong with a massage?

Sunday (today): I got an iMac!!!!!!! 

I have a MacBook, but I’ve reeeaaallly been wanting the desktop (21.5-inch) because of it’s large display. My eyes hurt looking at my 13-inch laptop. It was a hefty purchase, but I worked very hard to earn it and I’m very pleased with my decision. 

[BTW, I cut back on my hours at work. I was having such a hard time keeping up at home. Six days a week/eight hours a day was too much. Now, I have every other Saturday off, and when I do work Saturdays, it’s for four hours instead of eight. I think I’m going to be a lot happier with this schedule.] 

It’s a bummer it’s almost Monday, but I have lots to look forward to this week:
My best friend is coming in town and we’re going (along with B) to see 
TAYLOR SWIFT in concert!!!!   
I’m super excited, y’all! I’ll be rockin’ out in my cowboy boots and sundress =)

I hope everyone had a safe and happy weekend! 

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