The grand canal

April 15th
There are no cars in Venice. I love that.

The first thing I did when I arrived in Venice was to go on a gondola ride. So touristy, yet so essential! What better way to view the sinking city than weaving through narrow canals and under ancient bridges?

Best store front ever

Tell me that isn't the coolest store front ever! I would have liked to have gone in, but couldn't just hop off my gondola for a shopping trip... They should offer a gondola shopping tour where you get to make stops at all the cute boutiques...

The only other way to get around Venice is by foot and to look at a map of the place, you could be beyond confused. Fortunately all alleyways lead to squares and all squares lead to St. Marks - and that is all you need remember!

Murano glass and carnival masks are the two major items in Venice, and it took me a day of hunting around little shops of handmade glass goods before I finally chose these purple glass earrings for €6.

I loved exploring all the alleyways of Venice. I suppose there is nothing more boring and common place than an alleyway for someone who lives there, but to me -- Ah I was enamored!

Looking up at Venice

This is my absolute favorite shot of the day, and I literally got down on the ground to take it. Worth it.

I was also in love Venice's Winged Lion, he was everywhere, and I think I've got about two dozen shots of him, because is so awesome!!!!

The winged lion looking so badass

Day in Venice

I probably should have had on one more layer that day - while it was so warm and wonderful in the sun, the alleyways had quite a chill to them.

Floral cardigan Gap - Blue skirt TJMaxx - Black sneakers Converse - Scarf Taken for Granite - Cammi Urban Outfitters - Tights TJMaxx - Sunglasses Simply Vera - 'Diamond' studs Aldo - Bag Avon

Cute couple of the day

Cute couple of the day in Venice
Don't these two just kill you with their cuteness??

Cute guy of the day

Venice was amazing! I wish I had more time there, so I must go back someday!

Lake Garda

View from Lazise

Lake Garda is a really huge fresh water lake, and is surrounded by quaint little towns full of shops and restaurants and alleyways.

Our hotel in Garda was only a two minute walk from the lake, and all the lake towns could easily be traveled to by foot, bike, bus, or ferry boat.

April 14th
There is a traveling open air market, and on Wednesdays it is at Lazise, a 15 minute bus ride from Garda.
The town is built around a huge old castle and surrounded by walls. The market spanned the length of the water front and was similar to that of Florence, but the atmosphere was much more relaxed.

Castle walls around the town

I finally bought some stuff!!!

The Desigual Skirt
Desigual is a Spanish clothing company known for making apparel that is like no other. They use bold patterns and bright colors and make some really nice clothes. Really expenisve too. Nothing I could ever afford, even if we pretended the prices were in dollars and not euros.

I was not surprised when I saw lots of skirts and dresses in the market that were clearly Desigual knock-offs. Not that they weren't cute, but you could tell the fabric was thin and cheap and I wasn't interested.

Then I spotted this skirt. 

The tags and branding looked authentic. The material was thick and soft, and of yes, the skirt was adorable! Only €32 (okay, so it wasn't like they were giving it away, but hey).

Now that I've had a chance to check out their website, I found this in the spring collection. A bit shorter and with tricolor stitching on the bottom, but essentially my skirt.
So I'm not quite sure how this one came to be. Factory reject or high end knockoff, I don't know, but it's authentic enough for me.

Then I found this olive dress with a cool hemline, that I would describe as the asymmetrical bubble hem. It was €15 and I only had 14 so I tried to haggle and was unsuccessful so I had to go and borrow a euro! Everyone told me I could haggle at the markets, but the merchants never seemed to accept my offers.

The grey fedora was €12 and the yellow scarf was €6. I also couldn't find any country of origin on the fedora, which is suspicious. Generally when something is made in Italy they make it nice and obvious. A tremendous number of things in the market were made in China and India, I had to check absolutely everything, because really, why go to Italy and buy stuff made in China?!

I also got this straw hat for only €5 (photographic evidence of 'made in italy')

Day outfit
Taken in the mirror of a cool little shop;
Striped shirt Gap - Mustard cords Gap - Denim military jacket NY&Co. - Floral scarf Avon - Bag Avon - Shoes (oops, can't see them!) Black converse

Evening Outfit
Lake Garda
Striped shirt Gap - Floral Skirt TJMaxx - Black blazer Khol's - Black flats Steve Madden - Black bag Bandolino - Yellow Scarf Market in Italy

Hot guy of the day

Cute couple of the day
(they really were adorable, they begged at tables for food like dogs!)
Cute couple of the day in Lazise



April 13th
To break up the eight hour drive from Rome to our hotel in Garda (which is about a half hour drive from Verona and a two hour drive from Venice) we stopped for a few hours in Florence.

Since most of my day was spent seated, I wanted to dress comfortable and went with my go-to leggings and jersey dress. It was also freezing, so I wore my new denim jacket (this got so much use this trip, I'm so happy I bought it!) and my scarf. My feet were unfortunately cold in my sandals, but oh well.

Pink dress TJMaxx - Brown leggings Poof - Denim military jacket NY&Co. - Snake sandals Naturalizer - Bag Avon - Scarf Avon

Open air market in Florence

 I sort of refer to this day as the power walk through Florence. There was a huge open air market with booth after booth of leather bags, leather coats, leather gloves, and scarfs. Repeat to infinity. A good deal of the items were the same, and the owners of the stands were quite aggressive in trying to get a sale. The prices there were also the best, you could get a cute leather bag for €15 that would be €24 everywhere else. There were tons of €5 scarfs that would be €10 + elsewhere.

Sadly I didn't end up buying anything there, I was about to get a scarf but the person working there was rude to me so I left. Then I wanted to go and find the fake David, and by the time I was finished getting lost it was time to leave.

The fake David

 But that's okay, I enjoyed my taste of Florence - it was much better place to stop for lunch than a highway rest stop, and I had the best pizza there -- it had artichoke hearts, olives and mushrooms - yum!

Oh, and here are some hot guys I took stalker photos of. That sort of became a habit, so I've got many more for you to look forward to, heh heh.

Some hot guys.


It's almost strange to be home again. April 9th feels like it was months ago, and Italy was really beginning to feel like home. I think somewhere around the 21st I resigned to the idea that I could just be happy to stay forever (if I had my dog and my computer, of course). And I while I was staring out the window at the airport in Milan, I was feeling a bit sad, since I hadn't actually gotten to see any of Milan...

But I'm home, and it's time to get back to things, and share stories and photos - lots of photos.

April 10th
Straight off the airplane and into a bus headed to the Colosseum. I can't say I learned much while I was there, since every time I got a chance to sit on a rock, I started to fall asleep.


I did learn the reason the Colosseum is full of holes is because rather than constructing it with cement that would crumble during an earthquake, they used steel pikes which would allow the stones to shift and not fall. But, when we reach the point in history that people start to cannibalize the Colosseum, they dig out all the metal pikes to make weapons, since that is easier to do than mine for metal. And now, there isn't really anything holding it all together.

Far too jet lagged for an outfit post, but here is an adorable couple getting married!

Newlyweds, getting their photos taken

April 11th
Trevi Fountain II

Touring the city on foot and seeing the Trevi fountain, the Spanish steps and the Pantheon. I loved the fountain, it was unbelievably beautiful. Apparently if you toss a coin in over your left shoulder you will someday return to Rome. I didn't have any euro coins, so I tossed in a dime from the year I was born.

Spanish steps

I didn't climb the Spanish steps (I know, so lazy, right?) But with the intense population of tourists, it was hard to move at all. I can't even imagine what Rome is like during the peak tourist months!

The Pantheon was really interesting as well - there is a hole in the top of the dome that was designed so that no water would come through it when it rains.

Entering the Pantheon

Day Outfit
First day walking around Rome
Floral cardigan Gap - Grey Tank Urban Outfitters - Jeans Kohl's - Sneakers Converse - Scarf Taken for Granite - Earrings Taken for Granite - Bag Avon

Evening Outfit
The fountain at the top of the hill
Dress Urban Outfitters - Lace Cammi TJMaxx - Belt Nine West - Red pumps Nine West - Bag Bandolino

Favorite shop window

Black, white, and red; stripes and polka dots -- I love these looks! Fun thing about all the shop windows in Rome - The prices of the items were listed on little cards so I would know straight away if I should even bother going in to torment myself.

April 12th
(My Birthday!!)
My last day in Rome was spent on a tour of the Vatican, where is such a tremendous amount of art and beauty - I could have easily spent a couple days there, the collection is so expansive.

My Birthday present from my Mom is the nOir Jewelry porcupine ring (which I think is actually a hedgehog and therefore have named him Sonic) In the interest of being Chic on the Cheap, you can find him at HSN for $50.

Hedgehog ring

In the plaza outside, I spotted this cute boy, who's name is Marcus


I loved this girls outfit

And how cute are matching couples?

Day outfit
Birthday at the Vatican

Yellow coat Vertigo Paris - Jeans Kohls - Snake sandals Naturalizer - Scarf Taken for Granite - Bag Avon - Pink top Avon - Ring nOir

After seeing the Sistine Chapel (where you are not allowed to take photos) I went to St. Peter's and actually attended Mass (and almost fell asleep a few times, haha).

Evening outfit
At St. Peter's for Mass

Blazer Kohl's - Jeans Kohl's - Scarf TJMaxx - Red pumps Nine West - Bib necklace Macy's - Earrings Taken for Granite

By the time I was back at the hotel it was 8 pm or so, and my time in Rome was quickly running out. More than anything else, I wanted to take a photo of the Colosseum at night and rather than going out to dinner (cuz I can have a birthday dinner anywhere, but I can only photograph the Colosseum in Rome!) I took my tripod and started walking. Then it started raining. And I stopped, and looked up at the sky and demanded that the rain stop, because it was my birthday, and I was getting my photos!

And it did stop. And it was beautiful.

Colosseum at night

Back at the hotel I had my €2 cake that I picked up earlier, which was a very odd cake, to say the least...


Sorry for the length, but I just have so much to tell!

Because I'm still here

This has been the most surreal trip I have ever taken. It has now been two weeks since I left home and I finally have a flight scheduled for Sunday - for days later than I thought I'd be getting home post volcano.

Wednesday I had to move to a different hotel, still in Garda, but not on the lake. It is a really beautiful resort and the change actually made me feel better about my elongated stay, just because we were in very close quarters in that hotel and this one is much bigger.

More expensive too.

At this point, I can't even fathom the bills that will be waiting for me when I get home. The extra week in the hotel, my phone bill with who knows how many $10 phone calls and dozens of 50 cent text messages. (maybe AT&T will offer a natural disater discount??)

Plus all the fees that will be on my card and the conversion to euros... This trip is costing me far more than I'd planned, not to mention the week of work I've missed!

So today when I went to the open air markets again, and I spotted the sandals I'd been wanting last time I was there, but didn't get because I thought €37 was too expensive...

Well, what's another €37 at this point?
See you Sunday!

Sent from my iPhone

Stuck in Italy!

You may have heard of a volcano in Iceland that has been erupting and causing airports all over europe to cancel flights and shut down.

So rather than flying home yesterday, I stayed put; thankfully in my hotel, which is going to keep us at least until wednesday. Hopefully it wont be too much longer than that, but who knows?

I am very fortunate I get some extra vacation at the beautiful lake Guarda and I'm not living out of my suitcase on an airport floor like some unfortunate travelers!

I am wondering though, staring at my pile of dirty clothes, what I'm going to wear for the next few days! (sounds like a wardope capsue challenge, haha).

Hopefully I'll get home soon, I can't wait to share all my photos and outfits and everything, and have some major blog catch up.

Miss you all,


Caio Italia!

Aurorus Reflectus Colosseo by Stuck in Customs (I love his HDR work, don't you?)

I am leaving for Italy today!
I'm very excited, still worried I forgot to pack something, and not looking forward to the long (most likely sleepless) flight, but none the less, really, really excited!

I will be visiting Rome, Venice, and Verona

Google Maps (like you didn't already know that)

And I will be computerless, so my blogging abilities will be very limited. I will see how iPhone posting goes and hopefully will get a few updates to the blog!
I'll also try my best to keep up with you, but I can be tough on the iPhone, especially when you have to rely on free wifi (I know enough to keep it set to airplane mode while abroad!)

I hope to return with tons of photos, some new fashion, and some amazing memories ---
Caio everyone!

Last look for the pencil skirt

I was hesitant to do a straight forward outfit post today, since I usually let those just default to flickr, but I had to go to a work dinner and I haven't gotten home until just now (almost 10 pm!)

Knowing I wouldn't get home in time to catch any daylight for an outfit post, this photo was taken outside of my office, and you can see the wonderful drive thorough of the walgreens next door in the back ground. I hated to go back in after this, it was 80 degrees and just beautiful out!

I'm happy to have finally fisnhed one of my four items! I do love this skirt, but I'm a bit tired of it now.
I worry I wasn't diverse enough in my looks with it, but here are the other three to compare:

pencil skirt look three

On the town

Pencil skirt - look one

Also, I have received the Beautiful Blogger award from Blessed are the Meek  - Thanks so much!!

Beautiful Blogger Award recipients need to:

1. Thank and link to the person that gave you the award.

2. Pass the award on to however many bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.

3. Contact the blogs and let them know they have won

4. State seven things about yourself.

Seven things, okay....

1. My birthday is monday, I will be 24
2. Chocolate is my favorite food group
3. I am a Canon person
4. Reading blog comments is my favorite part of my day
5. Unless Chuck or Burn Notice is on, and then that is my favorite part
6. I have never owned a PC
7. Coffee is my second favorite food group

Okay, to pass this along to some new blogger friends...
A.Co Est. 1984
The robins
SHOP T.O. Live

Oh, and if you were wondering,
The Rundown 
Pencil skirt TJMaxx - Polka dot top Gap - Green tights Gap - Black slingbacks Dress Barn - Black belt Thrifted - 'Diamond' studs Aldo