Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rome Highlights

During my time in Italy, I got to spend a couple days in Rome. Although my time was short, I managed to see a number of sights [mostly the popular ones]. I ventured to the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, & Spanish Steps. 

The Trevi Fountain was my favorite spot in Rome. Apparently some renovations had just been completed and this historic site looked incredible. My favorite time to visit was night time--it was glorious. 

What would an Italy post be without any mention of food? Giolitti is the spot to check out. Their nutella gelato is the best. It basically tasted like whipped nutella mousse!

Please let me know your favorite spots in Rome. I definitely plan to take Joe in the future!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bonding with Buffalo in Italy

Another favorite stop on my Italy trip was visiting a Buffalo Farm on the way back from the Amalfi Coast. Prior to our trip, our professor went on and on about the luxurious lives they buffalos lived. They spend the day with their buffalo friends, they eat when they want, they choose when they want to be milked, and they even listen to classical music. The best part: they have massage machines!

These buffalo have the best lives. This is thought to be the reason why their milk is the best in Italy. The farm actually only produces fresh cheeses and products to be consumed within the same day. 

Our group stopped at the cafe after. I opted for the chocolate pudding (it was INSANE). I also picked up their version of nutella. Who can say no to buffalo nutella?! [funny story: it was almost confiscated by airport security!]. 

This visit was amazing. I highly recommend checking out Vannulo if you can!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Parmigiano Reggiano in Parma, Italy

Our first day trip in Italy was spent visiting Parma. We toured a prosciutto di Parma factory [I'll spare you from the raw meat photos], the Barilla factory and--the best portion of the day--we saw parmigiano reggiano production. 

We saw the process--from the cows to the finished product. The cows fed on grass and specific hay is shipped in during the colder months, as it affects their milk and ultimately the taste of the cheese. It was crazy to me to learn that they don't add anything to the cheese; it is just made from milk. They separate the curds and whey--they make ricotta as well and don't waste anything. 

The coating on the outside is literally made from the cheese but is exposed to the outside environment and looks like a firm plastic coating. It is edible, although, I've avoided it.

This cheese [the authentic version] can get quite pricey in the United States. I was able to purchase a generous portion from their shop for 6 euros--one third of the price in New York [at Eataly]. Joe and I are still savoring our cheese and sprinkling it on our favorite dishes at home!

If you are visiting Italy in the near future, bring home some cheese. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

One Year in New York City

Yesterday marked one year since I stepped on a plane and moved to New York City. I remember how sad I felt leaving Joe at the airport in San Francisco. I boarded an early morning flight with my mom, headed for the east coast. We landed in the afternoon in Newark, New Jersey and took a car to our hotel in Long Island City. I instantly felt like I was on vacation and we hopped on the subway into Manhattan. 

The next few months were a whirlwind. I dealt with a fractured toe [made the move so fun], found and settled into my first apartment, I started graduate school, and Joe moved across the country to live with me. Things settled down after the holidays and with less than ideal weather, I spent a lot of time indoors. Once summer hit my life went full speed--I traveled to Italy and Portugal, I spent a week in California planning our wedding, I started a two month internship, I took an online class, and I maintained my social life. Needless to say, life has been busy and exciting this summer. 

Over the past month or so, I started to think about this day. August 15th. The day I moved to New York City. The day I took the biggest leap of my life so far. I am a completely different person than I was a year ago. Do I have it all figured out? No. Will I have it all figured out in another year? Probably not. Have I learned a lot? Absolutely. 

As per my old New York City life updates [if you're curious--one month update & six month update], I figured I should share what I've learned in my first year living in New York City:

You Can't Do It All: Fear of missing out [FOMO] is a real thing. It is still something I struggle with. New York City is a mecca of things to do and people to see. Unfortunately, you can't see and do it all. Luckily time is on my side. I've been learning that I can't see it all in a year but next year I'll do some of the things I haven't managed to fit in before. 

Less Is More: I've struggled to fit it all in to a tiny one bedroom apartment. Along the way, I've learned that I don't need as much as I thought. I'm still working towards minimalism. I think this skill set will get me far down the road. 

Have Fun: New York City has so much to offer. Enjoy everything this city has to offer its locals. 

Most importantly I've learned that things don't have to be perfect to be great. I'm really enjoying living here while dealing with struggles of my own. My challenges don't take away from how great it is to live here and experience this city!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

PopSugar Must Have Box | July 2016

I am a huge fan of subscription services & was thrilled when PopSugar sent me their must have box to try. This lifestyle box offers a variety of different products every month. If you want a peak inside the June box, take a look here.

PopSugar offers two options--a full size box: $39.95/month [$100 value] with full sized products and they offer a mini box: $19.95/month.

This month included a Michael Stars porcelain skinny scarf, House of Pom emoji cocktail napkins, Sachajuan Hair in the Sun, Sunnylife inflatable swan drink holder, European Wax Center Oh My Brow! highlighter (+ card for a free brow wax), Joe Chips classic sea salt potato chips, and a $20 Trove gift card. The total value of this box was over $150--such a steal at $40!

If you are interested in getting your own Must Have Box, you can get $5 off your first box with the code SHOP5. Grab your box here!


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Our Engagement Photos

When Joe and I visited California last month, we took our engagement photos. We will have the same wonderful photographer for our wedding too. 

Today I shared my tips for a successful engagement shoot. I am also sharing a few of our favorite photos.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

5 Apps All New Yorkers Need

Moving to New York is no easy feat. From getting around to finding things to do, I sought out ways to make these areas of my life easier. I've found a few apps that are necessities for any New Yorker. Here they are:

Gett: I've found Gett to be just as professional as yellow cab at a fraction of the cost. I love just paying through the app and having the ability to rate my driver--which gives me more confidence in my experience. To get your free ride for free, use the code: GTZYLOD

Time Out: This app shows you what is going on and where to eat in the city. You can find absolutely everything going on from free things to do to the hottest restaurants in town.

Postmates: This is probably one of my most used app [yes I'm lazy]. Postmates delivers takeout straight to your door. Gotta get my Chipotle fix. They also regularly do freebies [I've gotten pizza for free before!]. Get $10 off your first order--use the code: JBNFXY

TodayTix: I love Broadway shows but hate the high prices! I recently discovered the app TodayTix, which sells discounted Broadway tickets up to a week in advance. TodayTix also sells tickets for shows in Boston, Philly, and Connecticut as well! You can get $10 off your first order with the code: BWFKN

Instacart: My broker showed me this app when I moved here and I used it to stock my fridge on my move in day. Instacart is a quick grocery delivery service. My favorite way to use Instacart [before Joe moved here with a car] is for Costco runs. Who wouldn't want paper towels, water bottles, and fresh fruit [in bulk] delivered to their kitchen directly?! The best part is: no Costco membership required! You can get $10 off your first purchase by entering the code: GUSERDA31

Are there any crucial apps I'm missing?

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