Florence in One Day

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This weekend we caught up on sleep, and laundry, then walked to our neighborhood gelato shop after church and wished we were back in Italy, ha! In an effort to cure the post vacay blues, this week I’ll be sharing our Italian road trip in the exact order of our stops right here on B&B. We flew overnight and arrived in Milan bright and early on Thursday morning and picked up our rental car, then promptly left for Florence. We opted to drive instead of having to deal with train schedules so that we could really make the most of every minute in Italy, but I should warn you… Driving in Italy is NOT for the faint of heart. Everyone is driving well over the speed limits (despite the speed cameras that are everywhere, Italians do you pay your speed tickets? I’m curious! Ha!) and the tolls are not cheap, but if you’re  up for an adventure, a skilled driver (or traveling with one like me) and are willing to spend a little more on a fabulous Italian car that makes the experience even more magical (more on this in my Tuscany post) then a road trip is an incredible way to see Italy on your own schedule. And getting back to our itinerary, we arrived right on schedule in Florence!

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It was a cloud covered early afternoon in Florence, and the city was quiet. It felt as though we had the whole town to ourselves. We parked on the street across from the Basillica Santa Maria Novella, a small but beautiful church and immediately began exploring Florence on foot. To be perfectly honest we didn’t really “plan” out things to do in Florence. I had some sights and bites pinned to my Italy travel board, but hadn’t mapped them out and figured we would sort of figure it out as we went along.

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We walked the prettiest cobblestone streets and passed by the all big designers you’d expect to see in a high end shopping district… Balenciaga, Ferragamo, Dior, Cavalli and Louis Vuitton. And we passed them all to do some shopping for our boys at Zara where I literally bought one of ALL of the new fall little boy things they had. Back to school shopping, CHECK! Then we had our hearts set on something sweet, a stop at Perché No! was an absolute must.

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Espresso and chocolate. Try it if you find yourself at Perché No! You won’t be disappointed!

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Our next stop was lunch…Can you tell we hadn’t eaten since stepping off the plane? Ha! We stumbled upon this precious little place on our way to Ponte Vecchio. It was so delicious. We had a beautiful meat and cheese platter and the service was divine. I didn’t take a food pic because we devoured it. We highly recommend Osteria Vecchio Vicolo!

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We continued our stroll to Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful bridge your bound to have seen in every Florence guide ever. It was just as lovely as we expected, so we decided a view from the top was in order. And up to the roof of Hotel Continentale we went for cocktails and kisses with a view at La Terraza Lounge Bar.

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We toasted to the beginning of a wonderful trip, we made out like teenagers and we took some elevator selfies I won’t ever be posting, ha! It was just a great time, all around. And when we were done I begged Derek to commandeer this bicycle for me… To which he flat out declined, so rude. 😉 I mean I honestly need this bicycle. Can you blame me? Even the bikes are chic in Italy!

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Since Derek refused to become a bike bandit on my behalf, our walk continued. We decide in interest of saving time and skipping lines that we’d head to the Piazza Della Signoria and see the “fake” version of Michelangelo’s David. Despite not being the real deal, it was still beautiful as were the other sculptures in the piazza.

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We returned to our car to drive out to the Boboli gardens, our last stop before leaving Florence! When we arrived to the gardens they were closing and the woman at the gate could sense my utter disappointment. I couldn’t believe I didn’t check the hours for the gardens, and as we started to turn away the woman gestured for us to come in through the gate and said that while she couldn’t sell us a ticket we were welcome to step in for a few pictures before she locked up. Her kindness was so appreciated, I could have kissed her!  For that I am forever grateful for my few shots of the Boboli garden, and it’s the first stop on my list for when we return to Italy again!

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The first day of our Italy vacation, was one for the books… And it wasn’t even over yet! Farewell Florence!

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A Minimalista’s #NSale Picks

We are back in Dallas, home sweet home from our most incredible vacation!  Before I jump into my Italy recap posts, I thought I’d touch on the one thing everyone is talking about this Friday… the Nordstrom anniversary sale of course!

Over the years my style has evolved so much and my wardrobe seemingly becomes more classic and minimalist with each passing season. With having just seen many of the new fall window displays all over Italy, I am left even more inspired by classic/traditional style with a twist, “minimalista” if you will! So it’s no surprise that I only picked up a small selection of key pieces from the #NSale… Five items to be specific, focusing on additions that would enhance my existing fall wardrobe in lieu of replacing it. Here’s what I picked!

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Faux leather leggings by Spanx, these had amazing reviews saying they were so flattering and easy to wear. Leather leggings might lean more trendy that traditional, so I’m loving how much more affordable they are than actual leather. I believe they will be on heavy rotation come this fall, even though it may not be a “forever” piece it’s fun!

Rose gold lariat necklace by Gorjana, I have been needing a delicate and sweet “everyday” necklace and I am big into mixing metals so I felt rose gold would mix in nicely with my other daily wearables.

Hudson distressed black skinnies, I love how edgy and cool these feel. I will most likely pair them with a crisp white blouse or cozy cashmere sweater, taming them down just a bit! 😉

Nike white tennis shoes, this pair in particular feels so classic to me. The textures and sportiness will be great with denim.

Vince Camuto lace up heels, I actually own the taupe peep toe version of this shoe and I get tons of compliments whenever I wear them, happy to snag a fall  friendly pair of one of my favorite date night heels!

And that’s a wrap! I’m sure I’ll be sprinkling in a few more fall pieces when the weather cools down and my favorite places receive more fall/winter in store, but for now while it’s still 100 degrees in Texas… This is about as much fall fashion that I can muster, ha!

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Going Away Gifts

Being a mother is so very complex. I feel as though I’m constantly juggling self care and healthy “adult time” with the constant demands of mom-ing. I’m admittedly head over heels in love with my little boys, so sometimes it’s hard to strike a balance and take that time to myself.

This New Year’s Eve my husband and I made a resolution for regularly scheduled date nights and it’s been amazing. We’ve gotten to know our city and each other in a whole new way, thus bringing us closer than ever and even influenced us to take somewhat of a second honeymoon… a week in Italy! I’m so beyond thrilled to be experiencing this adventure with my number one guy, and I know that the time off will be great for my mama soul too.

Now, that our boys are well into late toddlerhood we feel confident leaving them with their incredible grandparents for more extended overnight stays, and the boys are pretty excited about spending some quality time with them too! To build on that excitement and to help them understand a bit more about where mommy and daddy will be while we’re away, I’ve put together a little “going away gift” I know they’re sure to enjoy.

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I love books, and often snag a book for many gifting occasions. Our oldest beau is geography obsessed and collects books from the Miroslav Sasek “This is the World” collection, so we had to get him the one for Italy’s capital city of Rome. Expanding on Rome and one of the bean’s favorite story characters, Madeline and the Cats of Rome also was a must have.

And because they will need something to pack those new reads and other essentials for their time away, a whimsical pair of Vespa scoot-cases were simply irresistible! In their favorite colors, red and blue! I am seriously in love with these, so very Italian and fun.

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The evening before our departure we set up the boy’s little surprise and told them all about the plans for the upcoming week. They adored their gifts and Emerson was thrilled to follow along with our journey across the globe and read all about Rome, while Sawyer was happy to just scoot around, ha! Love them so!

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Simple Summer Snow Cone

I hope everyone had a lovely 4th celebrating the land of the free and home of the brave! Nothing feels more American than donning your red, white and blue while watching fireworks and of course sipping on something sweet. My cocktail of choice this Independence Day was of the frozen variety, a boozy snow cone to be specific. Fun, nostalgic and seriously yummy.

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We visited The Grove at Harwood here in Dallas and I settled on a Bourbon Bomber, a snow cone made with Coca Cola and of course… bourbon! For a little twist, I requested the addition of cherry flavoring which was the absolute perfect pairing. These would be so easy to make at home, I’ve included the sweet and simple recipe.

Ingredients:

• Coca Cola Classic (1 cup)

• Bourbon or Whiskey of choice (2 measured shots – I would opt for Bulliet Bourbon, my personal favorite.)

Natural Cherry Syrup (Joe’s Organic Cherry syrup sounds delicious and only a few tablespoons would be enough to flavor to your taste.)

• 4 Cups of shaved or crushed ice

Instructions are self explanatory, simply pour your ice into the blender and pulse until you achieve a shaved ice consistency. Pour your measured liquids over and serve. Literally couldn’t be easier!

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Post snow cones we headed back to our neighborhood for fireworks. It was a warm night and a late show, but the boys did well with the wait… Even our Huckleberry Finn pup! Cheers!

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Red, White & Blue

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We’ve officially kicked off the holiday weekend! Last night we made a quick trip to feed the ducks at the lake before heading to dinner for street tacos and margaritas and it was far too sweet not to snag a snapshot. The guys sported their new Honey Bee Tees that they’ll likely be living in all weekend long, we just love how simple and comfortable they are and matching with daddy is always something they love!

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I also joined in on the Red, White & Blue bandwagon. A crisp white blouse and navy stripe skirt with a fun red satchel felt both patriotic and pretty. I love easy outfits like this one, for me in the summer heat… Simple is best!

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Wishing you all a safe and happy fourth! Let freedom Ring!

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What I Wore: 28

My 28th birthday was celebrated by a day of shopping with my wonderful mama followed by dinner with my three handsome men at Bistro 31 here in Dallas. It was a lovely day all around, but I’m still recovering from a sinus infection so I was happy to keep things simple and sweet. I can’t wait to feel better and really celebrate on our upcoming trip to Aspen next week. Here’s a little peek at what I wore!

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Our dinner was punctuated by a fun sparkler topped dessert…

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Then it was early to bed for the little boys so the husband and I drank wine in front of the fireplace while watching The Holiday, one of my faves. Overall, it exactly what I needed. A cozy night with my loves!

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Fade Into Fall

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It’s a rainy Wednesday here in Dallas so we’re cozying up inside, staying in our pj’s, having groceries delivered and watching Paddington on repeat. Afternoons like these have me wanting to pull out the pumpkins and sip on a latte, but instead of rushing in to full Autumn overload, I’ve decided this year to simply “fade into fall”; Embracing my existing decor of muted greys, soft metallics and aged wood, and keeping my fall touches minimal.

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Birch wood candle holders for the fire place, pale Cinderella pumpkin centerpieces, chunky knit throws and muted colors can all be found on my • FALL • Pinterest board serving as major inspo for how I want my home to feel this autumn. Can’t wait to share a peek at my fall decor here soon, perhaps I’ll get started this weekend… Pumpkin spice latte permitting.

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