Monthly Archives: March 2013

Europe :: Rome – The Spanish Steps

Our original plan was to head up to Verona today, but since we couldn’t find a good train/bus to get us there and back in time that was worth it, we decided to stay in Rome until our flight Friday. It was a beautiful day (we even wore shorts! Which was ok for the morning but we froze in the afternoon), so we decided to buy another bus pass to be able to get around the city. We first headed back out to Vatican City since we had seen lots of cute cafe’s which are great for breakfast and are we ever glad to have made that decision. As our bus was coming up to St. Peter’s we noticed that there was a large crowd and cheering, then we noticed screens and …. The pope! We didn’t get very close, but we did see him from afar, at St. Peter’s in Vatican City! That is very cool.

After this we found a nice looking breakfast spot, maybe too nice, and the menu had no English. We should have known to run. But we stayed, enjoyed, and then got our bill….. Um 72Euro, oh shoot, not what we expected. So since we used up our food budget for the day, it was good we were full.

Once the shock wore off of breakfast we hopped back on the bus to head to the Spanish Steps, which is another important place to see in Rome. It was quite busy down there, so we opted out of going up them, but instead roamed around the markets. I was excited to find a new charm for my bracelet to represent Rome!

I’d also like to mention that while riding the bus, I’ve realized that there are no road rules in Rome. No parking rules (as seen in the photo), there are no lines on the roads, traffic circles may have 2,3,4,5 lanes of traffic, Vespas and bikes sneak in wherever, buses use the gas full throttle, and the breaks just as hard too (must be careful of whiplash

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Europe :: Vatican City

First off, Katie reminded me of a funny encounter I forgot to post in Rome day 1.
While walking I set off a car alarm, Katie quickly ran away from me, laughing historically. I’m sure no one suspected anything.

So, yesterday, we went to Vatican City. First I should say that when we got ready it was nice, so, we obviously decided a) to wear canvas shoes and b) not bring our jackets. Brilliant. I think that since we decided not to dress prepared we tested the weather. We got on the top of the double decker bus, and about 10mins into our bus ride it started to rain. No big deal…. Until it started to pour. Our next thought was this wasn’t going to be so bad because once at the Vatican most things were inside.

Well, it wasn’t. We found a ‘skip the line tour’ that we had to walk 6 blocks to get our ticket in the rain. We did decide to buy an umbrella for the tour as to stay a little dry. We also though the most of the tour would be inside, since we were seeing the Sistine Chapel & St. Paul’s cathedral. But again, the joke was on us, because there are a lot of outside balconies where neat stuff is. But even though it rained, and we weren’t prepared for the 15000 steps we would take in a short time, it was amazing.

The Vatican City is its own little country. Has its own schools, hospital, stores etc. you even have to go through security to get in, the Swiss guards are there to guard all the entrances. The Vatican City also doesn’t pay taxes, me is one of the richest countries! Not like anyone can move there though, popes, their families, etc. We saw pope Benedict’s apartment from before he was elected pope, which was right across the street from the Vatican.

What I didn’t know, was that the collection of art in the Vatican was originally simply for the pleasure of the pope, including the Sistine chapel. Popes back then weren’t so kind as we see them today, Michael Angelo actually tried to refuse the job because he had never painted, but the pope made him come, the first time he was there he lived in the chapel for 5 years completing the ceiling. The second time was 4 years completing the painting at the front of the chapel. Each pope after would add to the collection, statues, old artifacts, marble sculptures, tapestries, and every detail is thought of. The floors are marble mosaics the walls are beautiful. Everything is incredible.

You see a lot before you even get to the Sistine chapel, and the anticipation grows. Once in there there is no talking an no cameras. And all I can say is it is amazing. It is impossible to take in all that is there and the beauty of it, and how amazing the techniques are especially for that time. It is huge, and amazing. We stayed in awe for quite a while, just admiring from everywhere you moved. Imply beautiful.

After the Sistine chapel, we went to St. Peter’s cathedral. Again, every detail is amazing, the walls, floors, ceiling, statues, everything, it was amazing to see in person. It is the biggest church in the world and the 2nd biggest dome in the world. The 2nd biggest church is the Santa Maggiore which we saw on Monday.

The bus ride home was much dryer – well it wasn’t raining, the bus was still wet, and the floor was flooded, which caused me to sit with my legs up. Katie thought it was funny, but my feet had been through enough, so she felt it was necessary to document this.

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Europe :: Rome ~ day 1

After 23hrs of travel, 16 hours of flying and 7 hours of layovers, I arrived in Rome, Italy. I’ve never traveled internationally so the trip seemed a little daunting, I also had to find my cousin in Rome. But to my surprise, everything was smooth! Those of you who know my flight history, I am happy to report, I had no delays, missed connections, or any other obscure problems, but safely arrived in Rome on time, as planned. I had a moment of fright when most of those who were on my flight had collected their baggage and I was still waiting, but just when I was starting to worry, my suitcase came around the corner. I came through to arrivals and Katie was waiting for me! Hurray, I made it.

We took a bus back to our b&b, Maison du Julie, which took about an hour, we settled in quick, then went out for dinner. Italian pasta & wine was the perfect ending to a long travel day, and as we sat, it was surreal that here we are in Italy!

This morning, we were up early, so started our day. We decided to find a cafe for breakfast, I had my first caffe latte and it was tasty. After breakfast it was time to start roaming the city. First we saw the colosseum, it’s incredible! The architecture around here is amazing. We then went to Plazzo Venezia there is a tomb of the unknown there, but we didn’t see the changing of the guards, and at churches here you can’t sit on the steps (Katie tried yesterday and they whistle at you to get up). We wandered around some more until we came to the Trevi Fountain. After that we found somewhere for lunch and came home for a little rest.

Post rest, we checked out the Santa Maggiore Cathedral. The intricate design is absolutely amazing inside, there are carvings and details everywhere. It’s quite neat to look at, floor to ceiling art! When we came out it was starting to rain, so we decided gelato was in order. It was delicious! Then we headed back our room for a siesta!

For dinner we found an Italian restaurant, it was quite unique, it had the most random and eclectic selection of decoration. Including, but not limited to, Christmas lights, lot up deer heads, a pig hanging from the garland, photographs, toys, Disney, wine bottles, and giant vats of oil. We laughed when our dinner arrived, Katie’s pizza took up half the table! After dinner it seemed right to try another gelato place so get a true sense of it, again, it was so tasty.

Tomorrow, we are going to the Vatican City, so now, we rest!










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Europe :: pre-trip

I can hardly believe that my Europe trip is nearly here. Last summer, my cousin, aunt and I discussed how fun it would be to travel together during my cousin Katie’s spring break. At the time I thought it was a great idea, but didnt think much further than that.  In January we started planning, and I couldn’t believe that I was actually going.  Planning a trip to Europe.  I like the idea of traveling, but don’t have a travel bug and didn’t see myself doing this. A friend of mine recommended that I get a countdown tracker on my phone and when I set it up it was 79 days away.  Now I anticipate that in 1day and 15 hours and 42 minutes, I’ll be boarding a plane to Italy.

Those of you who know me, know this is out of my comfort zone, out of my realm of control, and puts me on high alert with my anxiety.  But, I am so excited, I truly think that this experience is going to be amazing for me and will be life changing…. And I can’t wait!

I hope to blog along the way, to keep track of what I do, experience, to help me remember this trip.  So, check back and join me as I journey through Europe!



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DIY: CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint

I’ve fallen in love with the new Chalk Paint that you see all over Pinterest, on vintage looking refinished furniture and at 2 of my favorite stores.  I’ve been reading all about it for months, waiting for the perfect project to use it for.  I studied how to make my own (which seemed like the cheaper option), but on my last trip to Langley, I was in one of my favorite stores Spruced Collective, and decided to take the plunge and buy a litre of CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint!

I could hardly wait to get home and start my project…. our bedroom furniture!  I have my childhood dresser, which my mom painted white about 15 years ago (with a marine paint I’m pretty sure), a cheap dresser that was given to me in highschool, which I had painted brown when we got married, and my favorite piece, my vanity, which actually belonged to my mom, it was the 1st piece of furniture she purchased.  I used it in my room from the time I was 15 until I got married and moved out at 21 and last year my mom gave it to me. Oh how I missed it.  So, I had the perfect pieces to finish.

The great thing about chalk paint is …. NO PREP WORK!!!!! What?! I know, its amazing.  I was truly skeptical painting over marine paint (which is oil based) and not prepping it.  But I figured I should try… and Voila!

I did 2 coats on the long dresser because it was brown, but only did 1 coat of Vintage White on the vanity and little dresser.  I decided to add a little grey accents to those 2 pieces and am thrilled with how it turned out.

First is the vanity after I put on a coat of Vintage White.


The Drawers were painted Pittsburg Grey.  This is after 2 coats, I distressed, and then was sealing them.  I used the Satin Finish instead of wax because these pieces get a lot of use.



The Finished Vanity.





The finished Dresser. I wanted to co-ordinate, but not too matchy-matchy, so decided to paint the top grey. I’m very happy with the outcome.


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