Sunday, November 29, 2015


Thanksgiving weekend has been great.  On Thursday we headed to Chatham, Virginia to spend the day with my grandmother.  She always throws down for Thanksgiving and this year was no exception.  Last year I went up early and spent Wednesday with her to take notes on her recipes for the stuffing and other sides.  This year I just marveled at how much I still need to learn!

obligatory family photo 
My siblings, my brother's fiance Lisa and her daughter, Audrey

Friday was ridiculously awesome.  Monkee's was having 25% off of everything, starting at 9am.  It was nice to get to "sleep in" on Black Friday.  I got there right at 9 and it was definitely crowded, but in a fun way.  I splurged and got a pair of Tory Burch Minnie leather flats and Frye Ethan double zip ankle boots.  I can't believe how much I love the Frye boots.  I'd been looking online for some ankle boots for quite some time, but the best things really come when you're not expecting them!

Then I met my mom, sister, cousin and aunt at Belk for some more shopping - window shopping for me, after I spent all my money.  Then I got the best text of my life - Congratluations, you've won a $500 giftcard!  I won a Black Friday contest I had signed up for.  The mall would send you a text between 6-11am and you had 15 minutes to get the mall service desk to claim it.  By the grace of God, my text came at 11 when I was actually there.  I was being silly when I pulled out my phone announcing we all needed to check to see if any of us had won, then lo and behold I did! Cha-ching.  

grainy photo, here I am taking some paparazzi shots

On Saturday, we went to the last State game of the year against UNC.  Unfortunately we lost but that didn't taint the tailgate.

when will I decide I am too old for flip cup?

I'm finishing the week off with night float at the hospital.  Only 3 nights in a row and the perk of being a third year is seeing some extra moolah for every inhumane hour they ask you to work.  Not bad at all.  Hope everyone is having a great holiday too!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wild Wonderful West Virginia

Last month Aaron and I visited Charlie and Lillian in West Virginia.  Lillian has a baby on the way!  West Virginia was beyond beautiful.  For anyone who has never been, I highly encourage you to visit WV in the October, it's just stunning.  No need to stay in a fancy resort, just pick a bed and breakfast and enjoy a state park.  Here we are at Sandstone Falls.  That night we did a haunted coal mine - riding in the carts through the damp mine was so creepy.  The state is definitely underrated.  It's just as beautiful as the song implies

Country roads, take me home to the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Travel Tips for London, Positano & the Amalfi Coast

So, as you saw, our last night in Italy was positively amazing--but the next day, our last morning in Italy, was not.  We missed our flight!  For reasons that can be basically summed up as being irresponsible.  Hey, it happens.  From that morning and our trip as a whole, here are some travel tips for traveling abroad.

-arrive to all airports 2-3 hours earlier.  No matter what!  Add more time if you need to return a rental car
-find your gate before shopping or eating, just to gauge how far away it is 
-when booking your flight, remember that if you book 3 flights home and miss one, 3 change fees will occur multiplied by your number of passengers.  It may be easier just to pay a little more for a direct flight when planning your travel
-in foreign countries, try to speak their language.  This is really hard for me because I get really embarrassed.  However Aaron is pretty bold and always tries hard, which everyone appreciates
-to check bags versus carry-on is up to you.  Sometimes checking bags is nice to be able to bring souvenirs home

Travel tips for London
-stay  as close to the historic areas as possible - Tower of London, Westminister Abbey, those are a good area to stay in.  London is a huge city, much bigger than NYC, so just staying in the city is not enough
-I found the bus pretty easy to navigate so don't shy away from it.  The subway was okay too but the bus just seemed to be so straight forward
-everyone talks about fish and chips, but London also has fabulous Indian food so eat that too!
-British people have a very dry sense of humor.  Good Morning Sacramento wasn't having it when they interviewed Cara Delevingne
-I never figured out how to order coffee in London.  Apparently "coffee" isn't clear enough like it is here.  Drip coffee worked for one place, but as for the others, I still have no clue.  People eventually just make you an Americano because "you're American after all" but in America, Americano isn't our go to coffee.  Our go to coffee is coffee and the Brits don't understand that. I still like them though :-) 
must do: Tower of London, British Parliament or Westminister Abbey (both buildings are pretty similar)  

Travel tips for the Amalfi Coast
-don't ignore the small places.  Neill booked some bed & breakfasts in Italy I would have never considered - they were so small and something about being in a foreign country made me nervous.  However they were awesome!  So was their food.  At home, when I think of hotel restaurants I normally don't think much, but the hotel restaurants in Italy were top notch.
-driving in Naples is very scary.  I made Aaron do it as I insisted on getting pizza from L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele but he was really frazzled  and possibly traumatized from it all.  I don't think he would ever recommend it!  
-in Positano, we just parked our car for the entire time.  However it was nice to have as we used it to travel to Herculaneum
-Going to Positano in the summer: I debated this one a lot.  I was really worried about the crowds, but I also really wanted to swim in the Mediterranean.  Positano was pretty crowded, but we really didn't mind.  I attribute this to our hotel, La Fenice.  With air conditioning (key!), our own pool and private beach, it was heavenly.  If we hadn't of had those amenities we would have been battling the crowds at the beaches or restaurants all day.  The water was so warm and pleasant in July, a summer trip was definitely worth it.
-going to Capri: as I said in my original post, Capri is like an Italian Fifth Avenue.  It was just full of shops and nothing else.  If I did it again I think we would have just paid for a boat tour along the coast instead.  We loved seeing the sights along the boat and swimming in the sea
must dos: boat tour + swim, Path of the Gods

enjoy your travels and comment with any questions!  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The last night in Italy

The last night of Italy, we stayed in the sweetest, most special, quiant bed & breakfast ever.  Domus Agricolae Corallina.  It was a tiny family owned place in Torre Del Greco.  We were actually the only 4 people staying there that night.  Our hosts were so sweet!  They cooked us the best dinner I had my entire time in Italy.  That night their family and friends came over and we all bonded, laughed, listened to music and enjoyed wine.  It was such a special place and truly a wonderful ending to the trip. 

down a trail is where they kept their donkeys! <3

View from the roof: on the left, Mount Vesuvius, on the right, the Mediterranean  

enjoying the teeny tiny plunge pool :-)

<3 <3 <3

simple, delicious pork chop

 the best dessert ever.  no clue what it was! 

Selfie with our amazing Italian family :-) thank you for such an amazing night!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015


As soon as we agreed on Italy, Neill asked if we would mind visiting Pompeii or Herculaneum, towns that were destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.  Neill ultimately decided Herculaneum would be preferable as it is better preserved than Pompeii.  I would have never picked it for myself so I am really grateful Neill suggested it because it was awesome.  Visiting Italy and England made me realize how many things in America are just imitations and homages of splendor from the past.

Herculaneum was buried by the eruption and then later Ercolano, a town on the outskirt of Naples, was unknowingly built over top.  Much of Herculaneum still remains still buried underneath but there isn't money available to uncover it.  

Alison and I at the ladies' bath house

The ornate tile floors of the bath house

Fertility symbols on the bath house floor

A beautiful city with a tragic ending.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Path of the Gods

I am ready to blog again which means I finally had to throw up the last of the Italy posts.  I created them all today and set them to autoblog through the week.  Then I can blog on my current life again, yay!

On our last day in Positano we hiked the Path of the Gods.  This day was one of my favorite days of our vacation.  The Path of the Gods is a beautiful and scenic trail between the Amalfi towns that was used in the past for travel and trading.  I was nervous about being able to follow the path so I arranged for us to have a guide, Zia Lucy.  I am so happy I did!  Lucy was so kind and knowledgeable.  We hiked with about a group of 10 total.  We took the bus Bomerano, a town of higher elevation and then hiked back to Positano.  If you are thinking about hiking the path-it is suitable for novice hikers like Aaron and I, as long as you are able to handle rocky steps it should be doable for you. 

Starting the hike, Lucy in the peach 

Once Italy began to tax the Amalfi Coast some people retreated into the hills
 and lived in hidden houses like this one. It was unlikely government officials 
would have the desire to hike up here, to find and tax them.  

Another centuries old house

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Prayers for Paris

Thinking of the pain and panic in Paris weighs heavy on my heart.  I really hate to think of the dark side of humans.  Prayers for Paris, their people, families, friends, anyone shaken by this event.