beach

Weekly Favorites 19/07/2017 (and a tiny expose of my plant-loving neighbor)

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I hope this isn't too weird, but I'm going to set the scene from where I'm writing this. I'm sitting here in my apartment, looking out of my big living room window to the apartment across from ours. My neighbor is currently spritzing a tree of some sort, wearing what I believe would be a "house dress", which, in true Italian fashion, is something she wears only at home.  I can hear her yelling at a pigeon that dared step foot on the side wall. This is her territory. She's put in a 10-hr day of work on her balcony; my guess is she had her son and grandchild over to her apartment and put her son to work pruning and cleaning everything up and that's who I've seen out working all day. She has so much love for her plants and has a seriously rocking terrace to show for it. Early mornings and late nights are spent watering and caring for her plant babies, something that I just cannot manage to succeed in. This woman is a serious inspiration for having greenery in our lives. I'm not sure if this tiny piece of my life in Rome is at all interesting, but I'm sharing it because even the most mundane things in Italy are fascinating to me.

With my trip to the States coming up exactly one week from now, it's put me into a mindset of thinking about American and Italian cultures and their differences. Whenever I go back home, it's such a culture shock from living here and it's quite unnerving at first. From the food to the people, the smallest things in Italy are so "other" than those in the U.S. but as time goes by, I'm starting to lose that outsider perspective here. Life moves at a different pace, so while it's exciting to go home, visit bigger cities and talk to people who grew up like myself, it's always a tiny bit of a relief to come back here, and look out my window at my dedicated gardener of a neighbor.

la vita roma

la vita roma

la vita roma

la vita roma

la vita roma

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Weekly Favorites 12/07/2017 - Life Update from Rome and Amalfi Coast

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To catch everyone up with what's been going on here the past month or so, here's a photo roundup of my time in Rome, my recent trip to the Amalfi Coast and some other fun things!

Amalfi Coast

My friend Jess came to visit last week and we definitely fit a lot in. The morning after she got in, we left for a weekend trip to the Amalfi Coast. I booked a hotel in Praiano, Casa Colomba, which is along the coast between Positano and Amalfi and it ended up being the perfect spot for us. It was nice to be a bit more removed from the crowds in either location and also have easy access to the entire coast. Our room had an amazing view and we actually spent our first day lounging on the rocky Praiano beach, followed by a great seafood dinner in nearby Atrani.

amalfi coast

amalfi coast

We spent our second day exploring Positano and hanging out on the water there. I love shopping while I'm in Positano because there are so many beautiful clothing boutiques and ceramic shops. I bought a couple of things as gifts and also had to make a last-minute bikini purchase as I left mine back at the room. Thankfully I found one on sale because the prices in Positano are notoriously high!

amalfi coast

amalfi coast

We rented a boat for a few hours and took it out for a ride along the coast. It was such a fun way to see the area that I hadn't done before and we had a lot of fun. The water there is absolutely unbelievable, so swimming and boating was incredible. We didn't reserve anything in advance; to rent the boat we just checked at a few stands around Praiano and Positano, eventually taking one out from Positano because it seemed easier logistically. Prices run from €100-€300 for a couple of hours to a full day and it was relatively easy to drive without much experience!

amalfi coast

American Holidays in Italy

It's always somewhat strange to celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and the 4th of July in a foreign country and can sometimes leave you missing home more than usual. Depending on the holiday, I'll try to do a fun event with friends and family, while this year for the 4th of July, I actually worked at an American ex-pat event. I helped out at a booth for the company I'm currently doing social media for and ended up having a fun day talking to Americans living in Rome, eating burgers and being surrounded by festive decorations. Thankfully I also had my America-loving boyfriend and my American friend visiting to make it even better.

amalfi coast

Beat the Heat

With temperatures in the high 90's in Rome, it's a struggle to go out in the middle of the day. I've been regulating my body temperature the Italian way, with cold caffe "shakeratos" (coffee shaken with ice), midday spritzes and plenty of gelato breaks. We do have airconditioning units in our apartment but compared to being back in the States, here it feels as though you'll never cool down completely. I guess it's just a great excuse for an all-ice cream diet ;)

amalfi coast

amalfi coast

Italian classics

With visitors I roll out all of the Roman classics and we end up eating out quite a lot. Last week, I made it back to da Enzo 29 and got a plate of Amatriciana and Coda alla Vaccinara. It didn't keep me cool at all but at least we were seated outdoors and I made a reservation 2 days ahead this time. We also heard people asking for the next available reservation and it was ONE WEEK OUT. So people, call ahead at this famous Trastevere spot.

amalfi coast

amalfi coast

Luckily I can learn lots of Italian dishes from Edoardo's mom, Franca. Jess was very excited to try her hand at gnocchi with pesto and I don't think she was disappointed. A little background though— gnocchi making takes a lot of physical strength and it isn't for the weak of heart. Franca assured us that it's a little easier if you mash the potatoes when they're freshly boiled. It was such a great afternoon and we learned how to make a pretty delicious dish by the end of it.

That's about it! It's definitely been busy around here recently, but everything is starting to slooow down for the hot summer months in Rome. Hopefully this means that I can get back to posting more frequently. Edoardo and I are both really excited for our trip to the States and a little beach getaway that we have planned for August, but I have a lot more to share about summer in Italy before heading out!

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Weekly Favorites 13/06/2017

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Summer in Rome is weird. It feels a little like being back in middle school, with everyone waiting for June and looking forward to summer vacation. Because everyone takes time off in August here, sometimes for the whole month, the summer doesn't feel like having a full time job usually does. I'm going back to the States for about three weeks and then have a beach holiday planned for the end of August. And this situation isn't strange for Italians. EVERYONE takes at least a couple weeks off in the summer. Stores close, buses don't run as often and aside from tourists, Rome starts to feel like an abandoned city. This is all to say that the summer vacation feels are kicking in and it's hard to focus on work when the weather is hot and beach time is so close. These are some of the things I've been up to this past week, and a small guide to summer in Rome. la vita roma

Taking plenty of breaks during the working day, going on fun weekend trips, and having aperitivo on the beach as often as possible all help make the summer more fun. Edoardo and I head to Fregene often for drinks or a meal because there are lots of restaurants and beach clubs with seats on the beach, but Ostia is also nice and accessible by train.

la vita roma

Gelato breaks are one of my few motivations during the hot summer days here in Rome. There's nothing better than a lemon or raspberry sorbetto when it's past 90 degrees F. Check out my favorite gelato spots in Rome.

la vita roma

While I have to go to the center of Rome for work, it's best to steer clear in the summer months. Because everything is so hot and there are SO MANY people around, it's definitely not as much fun to visit the monuments in July or August. But if you do have to go, get out early in the morning to skip the crowd.

la vita roma

I also enjoy checking Facebook and other event pages for outdoor events in Rome for the summer. Going to concerts, food festivals and other events is such a fun way to spend time in a city.

la vita roma

I hope everyone has a great week and has at least one summer holiday to look forward to :)

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Weekly Favorites 17/05/2017

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Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week! I like to share my favorite activities, reads, listens and anything in general that I found interesting on a weekly basis. la vita roma

Beach Days

Last weekend I finally made it down the coast to Sabaudia, a small town between Rome and Naples. I've always loved this area (including Gaeta, Terracina and Formia) for its laid-back beach vibe, lack of crazy crowds and beautiful beaches. While we've taken weekend trips here in the past, Saturday I went down for lunch and some time on the beach with my boyfriend and Italian friend who is from the area. We had lunch with his family, which was VERY cool because most of the food came directly from their farm. They're surrounded by greenhouses and fields, growing their own produce to eat and sell. Of course, lunch was delicious, but it was so nice to meet some people who are from rural Italy and hear about their life on a farm/near the sea. So often I'm surrounded by city people, while I'm missing my home in the country.

la vita roma

Our beach day was beautiful, but windy. We lounged, talked, got mojitos from a beach shack and my brave friend took a swim in the cold water. I love days like these where I have nothing crazy going on but I can be outside the city, hang out with friends and eat/drink all I want.

la vita roma

Gelato Season

I'm back to my gelato-a-day lifestyle and not mad about it. This year I plan on taste testing even more gelaterias in Rome to find the best gelato in the city, but more often than not, I grab a quick cone between lessons around my neighborhood. A couple of my favorites are La Romana, Gutilla, and Fatamorgana.

la vita roma

Instagram

I listen to a lot of podcasts about online marketing (like Smart Passive Income and Hashtag Authentic) which are really interesting for me. I studied communications and do a lot of work with social media in my day to day life and educating myself about it is always fun. If you haven't seen my Instagram page, check it out here or at @abbiestark in the app.

la vita roma

la vita roma