The Reason I Dressed So picture it, we’re in Lisbon with a 5 year old, a 2 year old and a 6 month old. We’ve already done a few cultural attractions and we decide that the kids really need a day to do “kid’s things”….what do we do? What do ALL families do when they are …
I tried. I really did. I tried to condense our entire week in Lisbon to a simple 5 point post with a title like “things to do in Lisbon” and 4 photographs, but you know what? I failed. That’s just not me. You see, there is a problem with those types of …
You may have heard that I was in Lisbon for a week visiting my sister. She still lives in Canada with her family, and 6 months ago gave birth to my beautiful niece. I went to Canada two times last year, so this year a trans-Atlantic flight just wasn’t in the cards. Instead, we we …
If you happen to read yesterday’s post then you know about my envy/obsession with put together women. Specifically, the put together women I often see at the Bologna Airport as we head out on our European adventures. This time, I decided I would be one of those women (here’s what I wore), and at …
I’ve always envied those women at the Airport who look so put together before a flight. Makeup, coiffed hair, nice accessories and all of the details that say “I take travel seriously”. For our trip to Lisbon I vowed that even though I was waking up at 5 am after three hours of sleep that …
This blog is a work in progress, but if you’ve been following along you know that I work in fashion for my husband’s family business and they are exotic leather belt artisans. Technically, we make some of the world’s most absolute luxury products but don’t make luxury money! I’ve written a bit about what it …
I have a confession to make. I wore this outfit THREE WEEKS AGO. three. weeks. ago. In blogger-land, that is like saying I wore this outfit in the 1970s and I’ve just decided to blog about it now. I’m realizing that putting together a post takes me a lot of time. I have …
On days like today I really hope that my husband isn’t reading my blog! The house is a DISASTER, I have to finish packing…no wait, I have to START packing. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, I have to iron, prepare the travel sized versions of everything in the washroom, print maps, itineraries, walking tours, …
Real Mom Street Style – Dr. Marten’s Before I went away on vacation in Romagna with my son I really didn’t feel like grocery shopping and cooking!! I was already in a vacation mode, and since my man was often working late, my two year old and I would head out by ourselves for late …
A few months ago when went to Mantua for an evening walk, I noticed this Missoni bag in a fancy shop window. I fell in love INSTANTLY. I wanted this bag. I loved everything about it, the multi-coloured plexiglass chain (otherwise known as Methacrylate), the way the raffia was woven, the color, the …
I over packed for my trip to the Riviera Romagnola. I didn’t mean to, but there is really no way that I needed three hats, 5 different bikinis and something like 7 different cover-ups for a measly ten days at the BEACH. I was at the beach for God’s sake! I could have gotten away …
I’m not going to complain. First of all it’s not me and my diet that is being influenced but my 2 year old’s…..which actually makes it so much worse! It seems as though my skinny little baby, who has always been on the rather small side, is really starting to eat! A lot! …
I think you’ve heard by now I’m on vacation with my son in Cattolica. I wrote about why we’re on vacation alone here, and what a day in the life of the Riviera Romagnola is like here. Basically on Friday night we drove from Modena to Cattolica as a family, my man stayed until Sunday …
As you know I’m on vacation, hence my slightly burned shoulders! Even though I’m here for the rest of the week alone with my 2 year old, I still really want to blog and share a bit of life (while he naps!) In case you’re wondering about what the Riviera Romagnola is I’ve explained …
Today is Friday and I am going to the BEACH!!! The Riviera Romagnola refers to the long strip of sandy beach along the Adriatic Sea Coast. I’ve enlisted the help of a google image search to help me explain (aka, I lifted this map off of www.welcometuscany.org!) The Emilia Romagna region is the bright green …
The Reason I Dressed We had planned to go to Ferrara last weekend, the beautiful and historic city that has its Centre protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We kept our plans, even though we had spent the morning at an unexpected funeral.
I cook. Not all the time, BUT most of the time. It wasn’t always this way, but at some point, shortly after moving in with my then Italian boyfriend, it happened. Not only is he a MAJOR foodie, but he also has NO IDEA how to cook. This doesn’t stop him …
I’ve had vintage on my mind all week! Maybe it is because I’m preparing to go to the Adriatic seaside, and that is usually where i find most of my favourite vintage finds, or maybe it is because I just recently bought a few great things from the antiques Market in Modena’s Piazza! Not only …
Italy is famous for it’s antiques and vintage markets, and if you can figure out when they are happening, it is a wonderful way to spend the day. Browsing through 1800s furniture, Murano glass chandeliers and artisan tools is not only fun, but it gives you a peak into Italy’s history without being in a …
The Reason I Dressed Last week we strolled to the Piazza and we happen to come across the Antiques Market that was happening! I remember, going to the Antiques Fair in Toronto once with my older sister. At the time, I was 17 and living with my parents way out in …
It is getting HOT here, and by hot I mean, I am literally melting out of my own skin. Two weeks ago, however, the weather was perfect. A slight breeze, an evening sweater, a fun sunhat and makeup that didn’t sweat off. But alas, the Spring is officially over in Italy and the summer …
The Reason I Dressed It was Saturday last week and we spent the ENTIRE DAY INSIDE CLEANING. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and there we were – washing floors, doing laundry and tidying. I was so sad, but I guess this comes with the territory when you’re married to …
If you are a North American woman planning on marrying an Italian, PREPARE YOURSELVES IN ADVANCE!!! I always thought that Italian guys in Canada were bad, and by “bad” I mean stereotypical things like Their Italian moms make their beds for them Thy are used to good home-cooked meals ALL THE TIME They are spoiled …
You know when you see someone for the first time and your first thought is just “Yes.”, that was me the other day in the grocery store. I saw this mom with her man and son walking the aisles and I literally said to myself “YES, she knows who she is”. Being creative, …
The Reason I Dressed I don’t really remember ever wandering in Toronto. I usually left my house because I had somewhere to go. Toronto is not dense, but it is expansive, and usually you plan out how you are going to arrive somewhere and then ….go there! Now that I’m a “tourist”, when …
The Reason He Dressed We like to check out every single park that Modena has to offer, so a few weeks back we found a Native American themed park we’d never been to before. It’s actually strange we’ve never been, since it’s beside our favourite ice cream spot.
Today, I want to talk about differences. I’m becoming more and more aware of them. What is normal in North American culture is totally strange in Italy and would never work here and vice versa. In Toronto we have a “White Night” called Nuit Blanche, have you heard of this? I think there is a …
The Reason I Dressed On this particular occasion I “dressed up” for last week’s White Night in Modena called Nessun Dorma. If you want to read all about this event, where all of the city’s museums are free and open late I wrote about it here. I also wrote about how kids in Italy stay …
The Reason She Dressed I met this mom last week at the playground and just HAD to share her awesome look. Kimonos are totally trending for this Spring and Summer and this mom wore the trend well! This is one of my favorite playgrounds in Modena, but I have to admit, I usually …
One of my dear friends asked me what she should get my son for his birthday. I replied “nothing”. He has SO MANY toys that I buy liberally from the Used Toy Sale here in Modena, that the thought of her paying full price for a toy just seems strange. Besides, we took him to …
The Reason I Dressed We spent the day at a Fattoria Didattica and Agriturismo! I explained all about what a Fattoria Didattica is here, basically they are Italy’s teaching farms and are a great way to spend a day with the family. On this particular day we went to the Agriturismo La Falda, in Campogalliano …
Wondering what a Fattoria Didattica is? Well, if you’re visiting Italy with kids you will definitely want to visit one! Ever heard of The “Teaching Farms” in Italy? #fattoriedidattiche A must visit for you family…Click To TweetPowered By CoSchedule Le Fattorie Didattiche “Le Fattoria Didattiche” are the Italian words for “The Teaching Farms”, which are …
Crop tops are EVERYWHERE this Spring, and I’ve been following the look on my Pinterest SS2014 Trends board. I’ve been looking for ways to wear this trend without revealing too much skin and feeling uncomfortable, and so far my favorite way is under a blazer! I’m in shape, but I’m not 13. Even …
Yesterday I introduced you to my new friend Morena and her super cute son. We met for a weekend play date so our two red headed toddlers could continue their bonding experience! Modena has MANY beautiful public parks, so we met at Parco Amendola and it was a beautiful, hot and sunny day. I …
I’ll be the first to admit “I’m not normal”…. I’ve never been. So I don’t think it’s strange that I’m still a little odd even now as a mom. Why am I saying this? I was grocery shopping and saw the lovely Morena with her man and their CUTE LITTLE RED HEAD TODDLER. My …
I love this new series on the blog. I love sharing my son’s outfits! I have so much fun dressing my little man and I manage to do it on a very tight budget. The closet in his room is already FILLED with clothes separated out by age that I buy in advance and then …
So picture it, we’re in Lisbon with a 5 year old, a 2 year old and a 6 month old. We’ve already done a few cultural attractions and we decide that the kids really need a day to do “kid’s things”….what do we do? What do ALL families do when they are in a Capital City and they need a sure fire kids day? They go to either the zoo or the aquarium. On this particular day we opted for the aquarium!
Technically, in Lisbon it is called the Oceanario, and it’s located further out of the city centre, along the waterfront in an area called Parque das Nações, which was where the Expo’ 98 was.
I’m going through a bit of a phase where I’m reflecting on what I really think about Aquariums and zoos, I’d be interested in your opinions.
I LOVE seeing animals too, and having my son learn about them and see them in person.
I will say that one of my favourite things about visiting an aquarium are the beautiful pictures afterward. Even a totally amateur photographer (like me) can get a few decent shots because of the beautiful blue light provided by the tanks.
The aquarium in Lisbon is one of the nicest I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve even been to the aquarium in Genoa! It is the largest in Europe and had a very cool glass floor that you could walk over. Underneath our feet was part of the sea turtle tank. Of course the sea turtle spent the whole time in the corner immobile, probably because the vibrations from the thousands of feet walking on top of its tank make it a little edgy…but what do I know?!
What I Wore
It’s official. Living in Italy has made me paranoid about entering into places with Air Conditioning! Italians fear air conditioning on their sweaty, just come in from a hot day, bodies like no one else! My husband caught pneumonia (aka a cold!) and passed it onto our son the last time we went into an aquarium with a tad bit of air conditioning. So, this time I was WELL PREPARED.
It was HOT on this day, but I decided to go with tights and a simple light cotton tunic. This tunic covered my shoulders, arms and neck pretty well (all areas that can be affected by air conditioning), but it was also light enough to wear outside without getting uncomfortable.
OBVIOUSLY I packed three light scarves (one for each of us) in my purse to protect our necks from the dreaded draft. Yes this is totally a theme in my blog! I’m not making it up, Italians hate drafts!!
I also had a light cotton tunic, wool vest and bandana for my son! Was he well protected from the air conditioning? Yes. Did he look chic? YES! Win and win.
If you remember my travel ensemble for this vacation, I had approximately 2 inches of suitcase space to myself. So my strategy (as outlined here) was to basically wear simple clothes updated with a few accessories.
My big chunky stone yellow necklace (this has a story, told here), was a pretty good match for my tunic, tights and sandals.
I tried to condense our entire week in Lisbon to a simple 5 point post with a title like “things to do in Lisbon” and 4 photographs, but you know what? I failed. That’s just not me.
You see, there is a problem with those types of posts when you are REALLY trying to plan a vacation with kids. Often, they just don’t give you enough information.
As soon as the author starts to say something interesting like “pack water when visiting this tourist attraction”, they leave out “because there will be NO WHERE to buy it and your kids will scream from thirst and you will have to send your husband on a 20 minute hunt for water in a country where no one speaks English and he will return with only a Coca Cola and then you will fight all day because the baby had to drink Coke”….. but I digress.
Here I present to you our day at the Saint George Castle in the stunning Alfama area of Portugal’s capital Lisbon. Here I’ve written about my first impressions of Lisbon and why I don’t recommend staying in Alfama if you have young kids, but why you SHOULD pay it a visit!
This post will INCLUDE NO researched facts about the Castle! I am going to straight up tell you how the day went and admit to the few things I learned.
Castelo de São Jorge
As is now the case when I vacation, I spend so much of my time planning how I’m going to get somewhere, packing provisions and making sure we survive the day, that I really have no mental space or energy left to absorb any significant facts about the cultural destinations I am visiting.
My husband, 2 year old and I were in Lisbon with my sister, her husband their 5 year old and my 6 month old niece.
I diligently printed out a few pieces of paper from this fantastic tourist site about the Castel’s history, a potential walking tour and things to look out for.
THE ONLY THING I remembered from what I briefly read (fine….. I just glanced at it with one eye closed as I was falling asleep) the night before our visit was that there would be peacocks running freely through the grounds. That was enough for me. That was all I needed to know.
I thought, “Perfect, worst comes to worst at least I have a peacock distraction that my son will like”
You see, vacationing with kids to cultural destinations is not always easy. I love going to galleries, museums, castles and churches, but it isn’t always fair to think there will be adequate amounts of down time for the kids, or exhibits/spaces that will engage them.
Getting Kids Engaged
Even though kids may not be able to remember (or care about) historical facts, they are able to engage with cultural destinations in a different way. It is important to allow them time, space and freedom to let their minds wander and for them to soak up what is important TO THEM about whatever it is you are visiting.
To engage my 5 year old nephew and get him really excited about our visit I tied the Castle into a story about a good knight and a bad knight that I was reading to my son. All of a sudden, cool things like Castle walls, canons, the moat etc, all started to take on a life of their own. As we walked through the castle he would use his own imagination to TELL ME the story of “what was going to happen to our good knight!”
Let Them Be
As important as it is to engage kids, I think it is equally important to just let them be. More often than not (I find) parents loose interest in being somewhere quicker then their kids. Bring a few toys and plan to hang out in an area for a bit, even if it means you see fewer things in one day.
Bringing a few animals, cars, and cool new gadgets can provide the right amount of down time for kids to let them hang out, relax and expel some energy. I brought a blow stick. You blow into it to raise a foam ball and make it float!
If you’ve been in the same spot for 15 minutes and you are ready to move on but they are still playing think about reconsidering and letting them have their breather time for another 10 minutes.
In planning for this trip I planned for some breather time, but never planned enough! I quickly learned that my 2 year old and my 5 year old nephew behaved better when they got plenty of time to just be silly. Plus this vacation was also intended as a way for us to spend TIME together, so what better way to spend it than hanging out, having fun!
Don’t Underestimate the “Cool”
As adults, I find that we’ve seen and done so many things that we may not appreciate how cool something is.
Here are some Cool Things for Kids at the St. George’s Castle, that I was happy to elaborate on and explore with my nephew and son.
Wells are COOL! There is WATER under the ground for God’s sake, and if you dig a deep enough well you’ll eventually get to this water! This fact has never ceased to amaze me, and you know what? My nephew and son were both fascinated by the wells as well!!
There are two beside each other, and if you whisper in one you can hear the person at the other side. You can come up with all kids of stories of being stuck in the well, and tie this into many a well-based fairytale.
Time spent at the well? A good 10 minutes (in children’s time that is like 2 and a half hours! )
Castles protect from enemies. Enemies attack! This castle was besiged by the Moors and Christians and a great way to get the minds of children engaged is to think about what actually happened “IN THESE VERY WALLS”.
Walking Along the Walls and Overlooking the City
One of the most incredible things that the St. George Castle offers kids (and adults) is the view. The terrace offers panoramic river and ocean views. Once inside the Castle walls, you can also go up the narrow (no guard-rail) stairs and walk all along the Castle walls viewing the entire city in each direction.
This experience was incredible but also a little scary. My tips:
1) No strollers or elevators here, you must leave strollers in the Courtyard where you enter. I have a portable stroller lock and locked mine up!
2) Carry your small kids. My Carrier can carry up to 20 kg (45 lbs), so I threw my son up on my back and he stayed there for the entire time we were walking along the walls
3) There are no guard rails. Many of the walls’ sections are not protected so hold your kid’s hands. Have them behave and stay close. There are also a few stairs that are quite steep, so you’ll want to keep an eye out.
4) Wear shoes with a RUBBER SOUL and not flip flops or leather soled shoes. You’ll be more comfortable with a shoe that grips well!
5) Take pictures. The view is stunning and worth the visit!
Falcons and Owls
Another cool thing about the St. George Castle were the falcons and owls that you could hold and have your picture taken with for money. I’m personally scared of big birds pecking out my eyes, so I stayed far away! However, someone out there must think this is cool!
All in all this was a fantastic morning for the entire family. We were there before lunch and in about 2 hours saw the whole Castle. Here are my tips if you plan on visiting:
Stroller: To get to the Castle you have to walk up a steep hill and sidewalks are not always available. Bring a very light stroller that can be closed easily. Leave nothing underneath and put all of your provisions in a backpack so you can carry it easily.
Back Carrier: As mentioned I found having my 2 year old on my back made me much less worried!
Water and Snacks: Bring them both! There is a place to buy them, but it closes for breaks. If you happen to be thirsty when it is closed you’ll end up sending your husband on a hunt that may take 20 minutes!
Lunch: Right outside of the Castle there are many places where you can have lunch. If you need a highchair you must do your research and call in advance to book it.
Pack a Surprise: For each day of our vacation I always had on hand a wrapped small surprise for the kids. I didn’t see it as spoiling them because it is their vacation too! When I saw they were getting bored I would make a big deal about it and give it to the both of them….instant mood changer and a perfect distraction for a meal or to have some uninterrupted adult conversation (as IF that actually ever happened!)
Btw. I’ve mentioned before that I am a very excited person. I’m known to listen poorly, move around frequently and I have the attention span of a 4 year old. It could possibly be that I know how to get a child engaged because in many ways I am still one!
If you plan on visiting St. George’s Castle I hope this post helps! Visitor info can be found here.
You may have heard that I was in Lisbon for a week visiting my sister. She still lives in Canada with her family, and 6 months ago gave birth to my beautiful niece. I went to Canada two times last year, so this year a trans-Atlantic flight just wasn’t in the cards. Instead, we we decided to meet up in Lisbon!
My sister did a three week tour of Portugal and the family and I joined them for the Lisbon portion of their vacation.
Before this vacation I didn’t really know much about Lisbon or Portugal, but I knew I wanted to go! A brief google image and pinterest search for “Lisbon” had me swooning over the landscape photographs of the city, the old-world charm and of course Portugal’s yummy custard tarts, Pastéis de Nata (which I now know should be eaten with a sprinkling of cinnamon!).
I find the most difficult thing about planning a vacation in an unknown city is deciding which area of the city to stay in. I never want to be too far away from the tourist attractions (especially if I am there for under a week), because I don’t want to spend my precious time commuting (aka GETTING LOST).
I also never really count travel days as real days to explore the city, so even though we were there from Thursday to Tuesday, we really only had 4 days to see the city. If you want to see what I wore to the airport (dressing for travel is a thing in Italy!) I did a post about it here.
**As a side note, we ended up leaving on Wednesday and not Tuesday since TAP Airlines CANCELLED our direct flight home two DAYS IN A ROW! I will blog about this eventually, but for now let’s just say that I ended up having 5 full days of sight seeing, one day of normal travel and one day of nightmareish travel! #neverflyTAP
I began my internet research and discovered that the Alfama area is Lisbon’s oldest and many would say most beautiful quarter. It survived the 1755 Earthquake that destroyed much of the historic city so its buildings are covered with beautiful Portuguese patterned tiles in blues and whites that are very different from the rest of the city. It also has spectacular views with many public terraces where you can stop and take a photo.
I decided that if I was only going to be in Lisbon for a few days, I wanted to maximize the amount of time I spent seeing beautiful things, so I searched for an apartment in Alfama.
As I continued to research, I found that the Alfama area is not the easiest for strollers because the streets are narrow, they are cobblestone, many parts are MISSING sidewalks and they are all up or down hill….we’re talking 90° hills here people! So then I started to research how I would/could get around the city.
If you happen to read yesterday’s post then you know about my envy/obsession with put together women. Specifically, the put together women I often see at the Bologna Airport as we head out on our European adventures.
This time, I decided I would be one of those women (here’s what I wore), and at the airport, I kept my eyes open for the “Italian Flyers” so we could exchange glances of “oh my, don’t you look great”!
It wasn’t long before I noticed not one but TWO very put together ladies.
I was heading into the washroom and noticed the woman on the right as she entered. I really wanted to ask her if I could take her picture for my Real Mom Street Style series so I waited for her until she came out of the washroom. That’s right, I WAITED for her outside of the washroom….I have officially entered into creepy, stalker, street style blogger territory! While I waited I noticed the stylish and mature woman on the left.
Her jaunty Burberry scarf, her modern yet not too young for her age t-shirt, her cool but not over-kill sneakers and OF COURSE her “piumino” meaning puffy coat! The Italian JULY essential, especially if you want to avoid getting a chill!
She was so nice that she let me take her picture and, as I was taking it, the woman on the right came out of the bathroom. And, you know what? They are mother and daughter!
“Good Taste” – Taught or Genetic?
I can safely say this is a typical “good taste” Italian family. Not only is this older woman looking totally stylish for her age, but her daughter has obviously inherited some of her style genes. I love her shiny, glitter loafers, her rolled jeans, mirrored sunglasses and of course her 5preview top!
I recognized this top because a friend of mine owns a little boutique here in Italy that is filled with the trendiest street wear out there and he carries 5Preview! You can find the brand online here.
I’ve always envied those women at the Airport who look so put together before a flight. Makeup, coiffed hair, nice accessories and all of the details that say “I take travel seriously”. For our trip to Lisbon I vowed that even though I was waking up at 5 am after three hours of sleep that THIS TIME I would be one of those put together women.
No flip flops, no oversized backpack, no bed head top-knot, no bags under my eyes…. I wanted to be the woman that the attendant at the check in counter would take seriously, I wanted to be an “Italian Flyer”.
The Reason I Dressed
So last week we headed to Lisbon in Portugal to meet my sister and her family. If you happen to read this post you know that my sister has a baby girl (now 6 months!!) whom I’ve never met. To avoid going back to Canada, we decided to meet her for a week in Lisbon and join their family vacation in Portugal. Lisbon is not the most stroller friendly destination (but I’ll get to that later this week), but certainly a beautiful city that I would love to see again.
My deep desire to be one of those put together mom travelers was paired with my desire to also be comfortable. So, I aimed for a look that combined pijama wear with chic accessories!
What I Wore
I paired this long sleeved, cotton t-shirt, bought for under 10 euro here with a pair of grey tights. I was trying to go for that “on the couch at home watching tv” look, but WITHOUT heading into the yoga pants + t-shirt + crocs no man’s land of travel wear.
I’ve been known to curl up into a ball on an airplane and fall fast asleep, being under 5 feet, those tiny airline chairs are just the right size for me to get comfortable. There are some perks to being small! I may never know what is on the top shelf, but I can get comfortable anywhere.
Since I have the tendency to freeze while flying, I wore this beige and blue scarf to ensure that I didn’t catch a draft (I wrote here about the Italian fear of drafts), and a wrinkled Zara blazer. The blazer (I thought) gave me a more put-together look and also kept me pretty warm on the flight.
Since stylish sports sneakers are all the rage in Italy (you may remember stylish dad), I went with my red Nike trainers. To be honest, I wore my trainers because I knew that I would need running shoes in Lisbon and my luggage was already TOO FULL to pack another pair of shoes. I only had these trainers with me and a simple pair of flat, thong sandals with leather soles (which, incidentally I DO NOT recommend for Lisbon because on the cobblestone sidewalks they become too slippery!!) So basically these Nike’s saved my vacation!
I’ve learned to pack the BARE NECESSITIES for myself because I seem to severely over-pack for my son. His stuff occupies all of my luggage and that of my man’s.
Now that he’s on a strict gluten free diet (I wrote about that here) my luggage contained (and I’m absolutely not kidding):
Gluten free pasta, gluten free bread, 4 boxes of different gluten free snacks (muffins, cookies, cereal bars and twinkies)
Canned, fresh tomatoes, shallots, a big piece of parmigiano reggiano cheese, olive oil (just incase I needed to make tomatoe sauce while in Lisbon….which I DID END UP MAKING!)
This back Carrier, which is good for a toddler up to 20 kg (45 lbs)
Rain gear for the stroller, umbrellas and rain hats
Diapers, wipes and his extensive toilettries!
Plus, our two luggages contained all of his various toys and books, gifts for my niece and nephew and a wide selection of my son’s wardrobe, after all I can’t be a fashionable mom traveler if my SON isn’t a fashionable traveler!
Somehow, my husband and I managed to fit in a few articles of clothing each and some shampoo and conditioner!
I decided to rely on accessories to update the simple clothes I had packed, since they occupy very little space in my luggage. For my debut “travel like an Italian” ensemble I wore this plastic chain link necklace (that you’ve seen here), an Ann Klein hammered, gold-plated cuff watch, and I used this leather travel document case for our boarding passes and passports (made by my father in law and given to me as a gift!)
To actually feel “put together” I woke up early to shower and then managed to straighten my hair, put on the necessary make-up and give myself a full manicure and pedicure. Needless to say this was the MOST put together I have ever been for travel (especially an early flight), and I will admit I felt great! Tired, but great none the less.
BLQ – The Bologna Airport
In Europe we have the discount airline RyanAir. RyanAir offers cheap flights to many destinations because they often fly to and from the smaller regional Airports, in this way they pay fewer Airport fees and pass that savings onto their clients. This is great (sometimes), but if you don’t pay attention you may end up buying a ticket for a city and then paying for a cab or taking an hour long bus ride to your actual destination. Paris, Barcelona and London are all cities to be aware of!
The Bologna Airport has benefited from all of the increased flight traffic and recently the airport underwent a huge transformation, updating their terminals and adding shops and services. One of the things I love about the transformation is that instead of just adding in the usual big box stores they made an effort to include things that really represent the territory.
La Terra Dei Motori
This part of Italy is known as “La Terra Dei Motori” Land of Motors, because it is home to the Ferrari, Ducati, Maserati and Lamborghini! So I was so happy to see this great display of Lamborghini Cars!
This blog is a work in progress, but if you’ve been following along you know that I work in fashion for my husband’s family business and they are exotic leather belt artisans. Technically, we make some of the world’s most absolute luxury products but don’t make luxury money! I’ve written a bit about what it like to work in luxury without making luxury money here.
Working in the world of the rich, when you yourself are normal, means getting creative. Creativity in dressing isn’t always easy because the stitching on a poorly made top is always going to be bad, and fake leather anything doesn’t cut it with clients who are decked out in the real deal. I try to seek out unknown designers, Italian artisan brands and of course vintage finds so I can recreate a certain look without looking too cheap.
I’ve found a lot of cute things online but one of my secret weapons are the stalls at the Market!
In Italy “Il Mercato” usually refers to a weekly, or monthly temporary market where vendors sell housewares, clothes, vintage items, toys and everything else!
Not to be confused with the vegetable and fruit market!
Note if you are looking for one or the other be specific when asking for directions, for example “il mercato di frutta e verdura” for fruit and vegetables and if you are looking for clothes you could say “il mercato dell’abbigliamento e indumenti” and for housewares you could say “il mercato di casalinghi”.
I’ve written here about Italy’s Antiques and Vintage markets, but these are focused on antiques and authentic vintage items and not necessarily sell-offs, cheap, discontinued or used items. At “Il Mercato” you can find brand new kid’s clothes from big brands for 10 euro a piece (they are probably from the collection from two years ago), retro and vintage finds for a few euros each, bras for 7 euro, and scarves for 3!
MANY ITALIANS SHOP HERE! In many ways “il mercato” is how you survive in Italy, sifting through the stalls until you find a brand new, name brand top for 5 euro, or last seasons winter coat for 30! Not everyone admits to shopping at the market, but you’d be surprised who you run into!
I took a BIG BREAK from blogging last week but I’ll be honest and say it’s nice to be back. I have a lot of blog reading to catch up on and in many ways this blog is now a little piece of my life so I really missed writing while away. But sometimes breaks are necessary so I can concentrate on real life and just enjoying the moment, which I did fully!
Sharing is Caring – What I Wore
If you read this post about my blue Kimono, you know that I’m a lucky girl when it comes to receiving free accessories and gifts. Now that I have the blog I also get a few more “gifts” in exchange for mentions on the blog, but not always. Often, when you work in fashion, gifts come with the territory. A girlfriend of mine is a fashion journalist for one of Italy’s major fashion magazines and her closet is FILLED with gifted designer pieces (I’m not quite so lucky), but I did get this great pair of earrings for free!
I wanted to share the love, so I’m giving them away!! This isn’t a sponsored giveaway, it’s more like a “pass it on” sort of thing. My readers have become new virtual friends, so I thought this would be a fun way to pass on these earrings. I’ve only worn them once (to take this outfit shot!!), they came from a friend’s designer jewelry boutique and retail for around 130 euro. I’m opening up the giveaway worldwide and will personally pay for shipping, just to say thank you. I may start doing this more often in the future along with the sponsored giveaways, but closet is pretty full so why no pass along things I don’t wear? What do you think?
I wore this outfit THREE WEEKS AGO. three. weeks. ago. In blogger-land, that is like saying I wore this outfit in the 1970s and I’ve just decided to blog about it now. I’m realizing that putting together a post takes me a lot of time. I have to edit the photos, watermark them, upload, write the post, add in all of the tags, tweets, and everything else that goes with publishing something online that I actually want people to see!
I really love blogging, and I have about 40 different posts I’d love to share but just can’t seem to churn out fast enough. So, my confession is that I’m going to share them anyway, even if they are old news!!
The internet is FOREVER, and if the Kimono is back again in 2015 maybe, pairing it with cut offs and thong sandals (not that original, I know!) will inspire your own outfit.
The Reason I Dressed
Before we went on vacation to the Riviera Romagnola, we spent a lot of time packing, washing clothes, and generally getting things ready, as all parent do before they go on any “get away”. Since I exclusively watch Zeno, the poor little guy was stuck indoors with me while I prepared everything. The weekend came and so, as a family, we spent a good 5 hours outside going to the park, buying some fruit at the market and breathing some fresh air so he wouldn’t get cabin fever.
On days like today I really hope that my husband isn’t reading my blog! The house is a DISASTER, I have to finish packing…no wait, I have to START packing. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, I have to iron, prepare the travel sized versions of everything in the washroom, print maps, itineraries, walking tours, download, convert and upload to my iphone new episodes of my son’s favourite shows, find my camera, charge it…ahhhh the LIST GOES ON.
And I only have one kid! What would I do with two? What would I do if I was working full-time out of the house? How do other moms do everything?
Here I am blogging, so shhhh don’t tell my man.
Tomorrow I see her face.
Her sweet, beautiful, familiar and yet unknown face. The face of my new baby niece. The niece that was born a few months ago that everyone else in my family knows, and has held and has smelled and knows how to make giggle – in Canada.
I know I chose to live overseas. I’m the one who decided to go away, who got involved with an Italian, who decided to “abandon” my old life, my family my country, my city, my everything in search of something that was missing.
My husband reminds me (often) that I CHOSE to come to Italy every time I want some sympathy for every birthday, Christmas, Easter, Picnic or family day at an amusement park that I miss. How can I complain if this is what I chose??
Before I went away on vacation in Romagna with my son I really didn’t feel like grocery shopping and cooking!! I was already in a vacation mode, and since my man was often working late, my two year old and I would head out by ourselves for late evening walks and street food dinners alone.
The Reason She Dressed
I was at one of my absolute favourite Tigella places in Modena (I have yet to write a tigella post…sigh) and we were having our “fast food” dinner together when I started chatting with this mom.
She embodies the coolness I know I have in my soul but just can’t seem to channel. Her straight cropped hair, her bangs, her big smile (that she is shy about!!) and her awesome style. She is married to an equally cool man and together they have two boys that my son really enjoyed playing with. Oh, and you may have noticed her tattoo, a dagger she got AFTER she became a mom that bares the names of her two boys – love that.
What She Wore
You may remember, way back when, in mid-December when I was researching this summer’s biggest shoe trend the “ugly sport Sandal” (here is the post if you missed it). The chunky Teva sport sandal was all over the runway, and at the time I was shopping the online SALES trying to find a look that would be in-style for the summer. I ended up going with these Asos leopard sandals (this is how I’ve styled them).
Later, in April, I did a “Trend Update” since at that point every blogger and fashionista was sporting a pair (pardon my pun!) This look is really starting to grow on me and now I am eating my words about the trend being “ugly” because you know what….THIS TREND LOOKS AMAZING ON THIS MOM!!
I wanted this bag. I loved everything about it, the multi-coloured plexiglass chain (otherwise known as Methacrylate), the way the raffia was woven, the color, the fact that it screamed SUMMER, the chicness, the relaxedness ….everything that is, aside from the 300 euro price tag
I live with a budget, often preferring to do things like eat, have a roof over my head and TRAVEL instead of buying luxury items But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of luxury fashion, especially since I am surrounded by them all the time for work. I didn’t buy this bag, but I did keep my eyes open for items that would help me recreate this look and low and behold my search paid off.
After a VERY LONG “buy nothing” shopping ban you can read about here and here, I caved at the local Antiques and Vintage Market in Modena’s Piazza Grande. I’ve written about the Antiques Market here, and about how to find a market the next time you’re in Italy here. I found a marbled cream and brown plexiglass loop necklace and a vintage, rattan purse that I really liked, and have since worn all the time.
I was in the Riviera Romagnola last week, if you’ve read my standard daily itinerary while vacationing on the Adriatic Coast, you know that each evening’s dinner is followed by a passeggiata aka walk. I stayed in Cattolica’s Port area (which I’ve written a bit about here) so my walks were along the boardwalk, out onto the pier, through the Port area or into the city’s centre.
Look N°1 With Shorts
I love pairing this necklace and bag with simple clothes like a white tank, teal shorts and thong sandals. My belt is tan python leather made by my husband and my bracelet was bought for a few euros from a street vendor.
Look N°2 With Skinny Pants and a Short Sleeved Cardigan
I reused all of the same elements and swapped out the shorts for skinny rolled pants on a chillier night. I threw a yellow, big polka dot scarf and thin, cotton knit, short-sleeved cardigan in my purse so I could layer once the sun fully set. I’ve you’ve read this post, you know that Italians kids stay up LATE. Usually my evening walks would begin around 9:30 p.m. and end around 11 p.m., and since the port area gets breezy I always like to have something to keep the breeze off my shoulders and neck.
I’ve written here about how much Italians fear that their necks get a chill, hence why you’ll always see people in the evenings with light sweaters jauntily tied around their shoulders!