The most confusing part of our Italy vacation was our trip from Florence to Rome, as the Florence train station is crazytown and culture shock in itself. There is no one to help you and no one to ask questions to… well except for the Italians, but considering we only learned how to say wine and tomatoes, we didn’t even attempt it. There is of course the huge train schedule board but it lists final destinations, not the stops between. Since the Napoli train had our train number, we went ahead and hopped on. And who would have thunk it… we ended up in Rome.
Similar to Florence, we planned tours almost every day. Since Rome is much bigger than Florence, we decided to do a bus tour vs. a walking tour to see the entire city. I also think it had something to do with JD not wanting to hear me complain anymore. I’m not fun to be around when my feet hurt, but who is… right?
We also did a few other group tours, including one of the Coliseum and Roman Formun. JD and I were super excited for this tour, so much that we even watched Gladiator the night before on the iPad. I know, I know, we’re total geeks. Appearance wise, the Coliseum was pretty much what I expected, but I can’t explain the sense of evil I felt while we were walking through it. As interesting as the history of the building is, it’s hard to get over the fact that innocent men and animals were killed for entertainment. I can’t even watch gory parts in movies and to think hundreds of thousands of people came here to watch it live is insane to me. Crazy Romans.
The next tour was a 1/2 day trip to the Vatican and definitely my favorite tour in Rome. We started with the Sistine Chapel and words just can’t explain how beautiful it is. I was already floored by how talented Michelangelo was, but after seeing this, it’s hard to believe he was even human. I think what surprised me the most about the paintings were how vibrant the colors still are. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pics as they have super strict rules against photography (even though I totally saw a guy sneak one with his phone!) I just didn’t want to risk it… especially in front of 20+ paintings of Jesus.
Next was a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and there is no way I can even begin to describe how amazing it is. The walls, the art, the alter, the dome… every piece of the structure is breathtaking. As if that wasn’t enough, we then learned that this is the burial site of Peter.. yep, Peter as in one of Jesus’s twelve disciples. Maybe we should of known that before this visit, but we didn’t.. so just imagine how amazed we were!
The Spanish Steps have to be the hardest monument to find in Rome. I honestly took 3 pictures of buildings we thought were it. Below is the real deal and since these were uhhh… just steps, we maybe spent 20 seconds looking at them. I didn’t even pick up their significance as I was distracted by two lovely Italians… Missoni and Ferragamo. I walked in Ferragamo with shorts and crocs on and totally got mean-mugged. My bad, just wanted to touch a fancy shoe. They didn’t even have price tags and I didn’t think the clerk would appreciate my Italian vocab, so we quickly left.
Speaking of pooped, after every tour that’s exactly what JD and I were… exhausted! And since this was our vacation, we tried to squeeze in some down time every day. We are both highly entertained by people-watching, so every afternoon, that’s exactly what we did, alongside two beers and something sweet.
Although I haven’t posted any food pictures from Rome.. trust me when I say it was amazing! JD and I even found a restaurant that we liked so much, we ate at twice! We were so hoping to find “our” spot.. you know, one that wasn’t recommended and one that we just stumbled upon. One that our kids can go back to and say, “mom and dad loved this spot!” Ok, Ok, I totally took that from a Kodak commercial. Anywho, here’s a picture of us at “our” spot, La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali.
In summary… Rome was amazing and Florence was even more amazing. By far, my best vacation ever!
What a flippin week, man. I’m starting to think mother nature is seriously pissed at a sister. I know that we suck for not always recycling, buying old crap with lead paint on it, and never carpooling but does our punishment have to be an earthquake and hurricane in the same week?
Since Tuesday’s quake we’ve felt 3 aftershocks in Bumpass (~10 miles from epicenter in Mineral). The worst was definitely Tuesday’s – there is something about waking up in a dark room with your whole house shaking that just scares the crap out of you. Also, what’s up with this happening in Mineral? Riddle me that Batman. Louisa has never been the center of anything and now it’s mentioned on the front page of the NY times. Yessss, we’ve made it! I wonder if our house value has gone up any? haha doubtful.
So all complaining aside, we’re so very blessed that we only lost a TV and perfect picture placement. JC was totally looking out for us!
How about you…any earthquake damage to share?
Hey there, Happy 4th! How was your holiday weekend? Ours was full of fireworks, sunshine, grilling out and of course some DIY projects. I desperately needed to start on several projects so I don’t turn into a furniture hoarder. My side of the garage (honestly, there is a line down the middle) is quickly getting full of furniture – I’m calling it my “DIY Queue”. So on Saturday I started the hard, sweaty, make your back hurt prep phases on several pieces. On weekends like this that are very “preppy”, I like to squeeze in some instant gratification projects (i.e. cut trees down and make new pillows).
The first project of the weekend was a little unconventional but what a workout! When the builder of this house cleared the plot, he strangely left 3 trees in the middle of the yard. Although oddly placed, they looked fine until they recently started sporting dead limbs all over, so we decided to chop those suckers down. Please re-read that sentence and focus on the “we”. I can rock a power tool as good as anyone else but this gal’s not operating a chain saw – not-gonna-happen. I still have a lot to learn and with all of the clumsy things JD sees me do on a
daily hourly basis, he knew he had to literally man up to this one. I also think Bo wouldn’t mind the extra room to you know… do his biz.
Special shout out to my hottie of a hubby who worked this chain saw like it was his job. I’m not sure how he knows how to do every project in the DIY book, but he does and I dig it. He’s been such an awesome teacher!
I’m amazed at how big the yard looks now!
After hauling all of the chopped trees into the woods, it was time to get clean. Unfortunately I’m not talking about myself, although I was covered in sap. As clean as primer can make a piece of furniture feel, at the end of the day you will still know there’s mildew, funk or dirt living underneath and that just creeps me out. Chances are if you bought the furniture from an antique store or yard sale it probably needs a good bath! Soap and water usually does the job, but I’m really loving Zep Fast505 Industrial Cleaner. It was a cinch to clean the Adirondack chairs and wicker table – I was even able to catch a few rays in the process, but after it hit 95 degrees, I was ready for some inside projects!
So recently I’ve been feeling like something is missing from our living room. Everyday I look at it, sit in it and just feel like something’s not quite right. While browsing the aisles at Hancock Fabric last week it finally occurred to me what’s missing… COLOR! So I bought 2 yards of 2 different fabrics and made 5 pillows to add a much needed splash of color. I conveniently had 5 old throw pillows that I didn’t like anymore so they were the perfect filling.
After measuring the throw pillow, I cut 2 pieces of fabric adding 2 inches to all sides for the seam. I then simply pinned the two pieces of fabric together so they were facing. I say “simply” but Bo actually made this part a little difficult
Sometime this summer I also plan to make a frame gallery over the sofa. Below is a rough sketch of my plan. I promise it will not be all pictures of Bo, although I think that would be a fabulous idea!
I know eating lead paint chips can
hurt kill you but until recently I didn’t know what limited exposure to lead paint could do to you. Google it and you will not want to come within 50 feet of the stuff. It’s kind of like using WebMD to search “headache” or “lower back pain”. Within 2 minutes, you’ve self diagnosed yourself with cancer and/or a brain tumor. All kidding aside, if you’re working with lead paint, definitely research it heavily and follow the EPA guidelines (which I think recommends hiring a professional)…says the DIYer
Why all the lead paint chatter, you may be thinking? I recently bought a very old (guessing early 1900′s) shutter from an antique shop and plan to strip it, paint it and turn it into wall art. The beauty in a good DIYer is that you can see the beauty in something even when people (or your husband) call it “junk”. Due to it’s age and appearance, I had a hunch this was lead paint but wanted to be certain, so I purchased a lead paint tester from Lowes for $26! Coming from the gal who will not spend over $30 for a DIY project, this was a lot.
As soon as I got home from Lowes, I suited up and tested this bad boy. Results were (drum roll please….) positive. whamp, whamp, whamp….
According to the instructions, if the swab on the tester or the paint chip turns pink or red then lead is present in the paint. This tester didn’t show the exact amount of lead present, but can one guess that pink is low and red is high? Any thoughts here? (As a disclaimer please do your own research/contact a professional for advice.)
So now that the truth was on the table (or in this case shutter), it was time to get down to business. The research that I did, advised against chipping the paint as this causes dust, so I bought one can of Jasco Paint Remover (thinking it would do the job…).
Wearing very thick protective gloves and a face mask, I sprayed the remover liberally all over the shutter. I watched and waited for about 10 minutes, geeking out a little at how it kicked the paint’s butt. Scrapping the paint off had a major cool factor to me because I was totally one of the kids that put glue all over her hands in second grade just to be able to slowly peel it off. (Come on, admit it, you know you did it too!) The not-so-cool part was that the paint remover only took off two layers. Little did I know there were three plus layers of lead paint underneath it.
Needless to say, I’ll be back at Lowe’s tomorrow for another can or 5.
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