Just a Little Breather

Hello 2017!

Let me start off saying I apologize for being so MIA from this blog. Originally I created this as a way for me to stay creative and share my experiences, but then I started getting stressed out by it. So naturally, the postings became less and less. I think this year I’m going to focus on writing and sharing things that I am inspired by/ inspire me. The other part of that is that I work in retail currently, and at my old job, it was consuming me and leaving me extremely drained. I made the decision to switch companies and so far I couldn’t be happier so that’s definitely a positive change. WE ARE PUTTING GOOD VIBES INTO THE UNIVERSE.

On that note, I was able to get out of the city for two days, after working through holiday and it was so lovely.

 

 

Hope you guys enjoyed!

NYC Street Art

One of my favorite things about New York is that every corner you turn, there’s always something interesting. There are days where I just go on a walk, with no destination in mind.  Sometimes it’s a beautiful walk, sometimes it’s a walk filled with garbage, slush, pigeons, and maybe a rat sighting.

Check out the pictures below of what my walk was like!

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All Aboard!

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Hey guys sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A…  life happened… ha ha ha…(still debating if I should start a new section called “Gia Adulting”)
Aside from my life being a bit of a hot mess, I wanted to share my recent trip, well, cruise to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Cruise line! Luckily I was with a few of my closest friends, and with them it’s never a dull moment. We took a plane down to Miami, FL and then headed over to the port, (about a 20 minute drive), boarded the ship, and was ready for four days of all inclusive food & drinks, sunshine, and an escape from our problems- well my problems *sigh*.
Our cruise itinerary was as followed:
Day 1: Miami, Florida
Day 2: Freeport, Grand Bahama Island
Day 3: Nassau, Bahama
Day 4: Great Stirrup Cay (which apparently a cruise line private island)
Day 5: Miami, Florida

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Day 1: We got to the port around 3:30pm which was perfect because they tell you to be there no later than two hours before the 5 pm departure time (probably for those select few who are always late…)
It was an easy check in, for some reason I was expecting a huge line, but it may have been because we got there later in the day. We were able to go right to our room once we boarded and started settling in. Of course after changing into something a little more weather appropriate for the Florida warmth, we headed straight for a drink (duh).
There were a ton of events on board, like Deal or No Deal, Bingo, and etc. You’ll always be entertained if you keep an open mind! We did attend a Deal or No Deal show and totally got way to invested in it screaming “NO DEAL!!!”, even though we didn’t personally participate.
PROTIP: Take Dramamine or grab one of those Sea Bands, incase you aren’t sure if you get sea sick or not. For me I thought it was, but then realized I was just kinda drunk…. but it is good to have, I wore them when I slept (better safe than sorry, right?)
Day 2: The ship arrived at Freeport, Grand Bahama Island in the morning. We decided the night before to sign up for an excursion and chose Beaches & Caves. I suppose I expected totally epic caves, but these were pretty awesome as well. Our bus driver was also our tour guide, he gave us a brief history of the island and the different locations we went to.

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After the two caves we headed across the road to Gold Rock Beach, where they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2. Of course I totally reenacted the moment when Johnny Depp is running across the beach like a mad man (yes I know the clip has a different beach but let me have my moment!!)

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You’re walking down this path to the beach, and it looks hella artsy, then you reach this point where it looks like the cover of a Nicholas Sparks novel.

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You finally step on the beach and it just takes your breath away.

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Then we hoped back on the bus and drove to the next beach.

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There is also a restaurant there, (more shack-esque), be sure to try conch fritters! Apparently I was the only one out of my friends to like it… well that means more for me hehe.

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 Day 3: Unfortunately, our trip was a little rainy… a little was a bit of an understatement. We docked at Nassau as scheduled but ended up docked overnight until the morning. We attempted to get off the island and explore since we didn’t sign up for an excursion.I t was so windy and rainy that we lasted for about 10 minutes off the ship and ran back quicker than a person would run away from their ex. But our afternoon was not ruined! We spent the rest of the day on board, with a drink in one hand, and a book in the other.
Day 4: Since the weather was so bad, we actually stayed docked at Nassau and our last island was cancelled. But the ship did go out to sea during the day and it was so beautiful. We hung out by the pool, sat on our chairs and soaked up some much needed sun!
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Day 5: Back to Miami, Florida and back to reality.
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Food Review:
Living in New York, I’m lucky that when I turn the corner of any street, I can always find something delicious. Since I consider myself as a slight foodie, I was initially disappointed with the food. The thing I had to remind myself was that I was on a cruise, and they’re preparing to hundreds of people. So by the end I was pretty content, no one got food poisoning and it wasn’t like anything wasn’t edible. Overall, not bad!
Final Thoughts:
There is a service charge of $13.50 a day per person… for those of you who don’t read the fine print like I do… luckily my friends do! (insert upside down smile face emoji haha)
What was also nice was that if you get rained out of your excursion, you get a refund!
Overall I would definitely go on another cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. The cruise was a little more couple-ly, and family oriented but if you’re there with your friends you totally could have fun still!
The staff was just so sweet and helpful. The man who tended our room was always so cheerful and would make us towel animals. (Probably the highlight of my trip, jokes, but seriously it was adorable.) On top of that, the ship was quite clean and tidy. It was a wonderful experience!

 

 

Roma, Italy

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If I could change one thing about my trip, I would definitely have extended my visit to Italy’s capital, Rome. Having only stayed three days there, I can tell you it was certainly not enough time. My Italian adventure began in Venice and I thought, “Venice is so beautiful, I love it!” Then I went to Florence and thought, “Florence is incredible, I may even like it more than Venice.” That was until I arrived in Rome, the ultimate “bae” of my trip. There is something so magical about this bustling Italian city. I think it’s the fact that Rome is a city packed with such rich culture and history yet it runs just like any other modern city.

I walked my way through Italy but warning: it does take a bit of time and can be tiring.

Here’s what I got to see:

  • Ah, the famous Trevi Fountain. It was actually one of the first things I saw and unfortuantly it was under restoration. Regardless, it was stunning because you could still see parts sculptures. I really wanted a Lizzie Mcguire movie moment where I throw my coin into the fountain and someone mistakes me as their ex girlfriend, who is also super famous Italian pop singer. *sigh* I guess that’s what dreams are made of, right?
  • Santa Maria in Travstevere was a lovely church to visit. If you have time, go see it.
  • Pantheon was a classic.
  • Piazza Novona was one of my favorite piazzas. It is just so beautiful!
  • Villa Borghese, which I did not actually get to see. I went on a Monday, forgetting they are open Tuesday– Saturday. But on my way there, I passed by the Piazza di Spagna, and Piazza del Polpolo (which is quite amazing.)
    • Piazza del Polpol is near the garden of Villa Borghese. Be sure to climb up the stairs to the top because you get an a wonderful view of Rome.
  • The best view of Rome, for me, was on the top of Castel Sant’Angelo. It is a must see!
  • I had a whole day dedicated to the Vatican. Protip: Book your Vatican museum tickets online. There is nothing in the world more satisfying than walking right past a long line of people who don’t have their tickets and knowing you don’t have to wait  because you thought ahead. Bamn!
    • The Vatican Museum is amazing, of course. My biggest issue was the massive crowd of people inside. You’re trying to enjoy the overwhelming amount of art while trying not to get trampled over tours or other people. Also being suffocated by those who don’t realize they have bad body odor was not pleasant. I ended up speeding through the beautiful rooms, hardly getting a chance to enjoy them (keep in mind, I’m that type of person where if there is a massive crowd- I get a bit cranky).
    • The museum leads to the Sistine Chapel. I have to tell you, it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I walked in and my jaw dropped. Sadly, it was super crowded but I was lucky enough to snag a seat on the side of the wall and could take everything in from there. It truly is an awe inspiring work of art, every inch of that room.
      • A style of painting I had noticed throughout Italy was fresco painting. The Sistine Chapel was so well crafted that I couldn’t tell if the ceiling actually curved because of the structural formation, or it was Michelangelo working his magic.
      • Basilica di San Pietro is one of the most breathtaking churches I have ever been in. Churches tend to be quite impressive, especially in Europe I find, but this one had me at a loss for words. Not to mention “La Pieta” by Michelangelo is here. Normally, I’m not an overly emotional person. Dramatic, yes, but tears don’t come easily to me. Yet for some reason, in this church, I found myself fighting back tears. It was beyond anything I could have imagined.
      • The church is free to enter so don’t let the guys who try to make you pay for things trick you! They are EVERYWHERE. Almost every three steps, you take you will find one of these guys trying to trick you out of your money. Just wait in line and put your bag through a metal detector.
      • Protip: Most churches in Italy require you to dress appropriately (no shorts). So try to find something that goes down to your knees and to cover your shoulders. If you’re wearing a dress to your knees but have on a strappy top, just bring a scarf to cover up.
  • The Colosseum was so cool! Another classic to add to your list.
  • The Altare della Patria, known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, is located in Piazza Venezia. It physically took my breath away, no joke. I was in awe for a long while and even when I came back to it later. It is a must see that isn’t mentioned in the tour books for some reason but I highly recommend it.
  • Villa Farnesina is lovely, if you have some extra time stop by and go see it! The ceiling artwork is just stunning.

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The Colosseum

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Ceiling artwork in Villa Farnesina

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Piazza Navona

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The view from the bridge to Castel Sant’Angelo

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Castel Sant’Angelo

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A view of Rome from the Castel Sant’Angelo

My Highlights of Florence

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Florence is incredibly charming. Unfortunately, I only had a few days there, so I didn’t get to see all that it had to offer. What I did see, I absolutely adored.

Here’s are the highlights of what I did:
  • Santa Maria Novella and the farmacia, which is around the block. Check out my post about what I picked up there!
  • Mercato San Lorenzo (It’s not that great, it had similar stuff from booth to booth- a bit like the New York street fairs)
  • Il Mercato Centrale was one of my favorite places funny enough! Read about it here.
  • The Ufizzi Museu is massive, but there you get to see, the famous Birth of Venus by Botticelli. among other masterpieces. It was absolutely stunning- a must see! (of course, there is so much more, but I’m kinda basic sometimes, I was looking forward to seeing Birth of Venus the most.)
    • Protip: Get your hotel to book a ticket or book it yourself online, so you get to skip the line!
  • Take a walk along Via de Tornabuoni which has the higher end shops. It’s like the 5th ave of Florence. It’s a beautiful street, really worth going to even if you just window shop.
    • Since I stopped by the Ferragamo store, I decided to go to the Ferragamo Museum, (because it’s in the same building). Check it out here.
  • Palazzo Pitti as large as my ass, with all this pasta I’ve been eating! I went early in the morning, and it was so nice to walk through the museum without many people around. Besides the palace, it’s worth getting a ticket to visit the gardens. Within the lovely garden, there’s an incredible view of Florence… Also you really do end up feeling like a princess!
  • The Duomo… Well, the first time I went it was later in the day, and ended up on the wrong line which lead to the top. The second time I went, I made sure to get there early, to purchase my tickets- which are sold in a building next to the church (you’ll just have to figure it out.) Then sat at a cafe until the Duomo opened, and when it did, the line was LONG- like ‘hell no’, long. I left and went back around 4pm, by then the line had become much shorter, so I definitely recommend going later in the day. Personally, I found the Duomo much more impressive on the outside than the inside. Nonetheless it’s still worth going to.
    • Protip: Remember to dress appropriately, covering knees and shoulders.
  • Cappelle Medicee is beautiful. On the ground floor, there’s a museum. Then you head up to the second floor, and there is the jaw dropping chapel and Medici tombs. In my opinion, this is really worth seeing, because aside from the incredible architecture, the sculptures by Michelangelo on the tombs are glorious.
  • After the Cappelle Medicee, if you have time stop by the Palazzo Medici. Honestly, there isn’t much to see there besides the chapel painted by Benozzo Gozzoli and a few rooms with magnificent ceilings (If you haven’t noticed in my Palazzo Pitti post, let me restate that my love for ceilings is real)

I really wanted to see the statue of David at the Accademia Gallery, but I didn’t get a chance to book tickets ahead, but alas, the line was too long. Perhaps next time! Protip: book ahead.

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Michealangelo’s work in the Medici tomb.

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Ponte Vecchio

[I had a total opera singer moment, since it’s mentioned in the aria, O Mio Babbino Caro]

After all the sightseeing, head over to La Rinascente (a department store) for a spritz or coffee, because their roof top has an amazing view of Florence!

The Beauty in Stillness- Palazzo Pitti

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I’ve always loved statues, not only because the amount of work and skill that goes into them, but also for their unique beauty. When I look at statues, it creates an overwhelming sense of peace and calm. In order to make these statues, the sculptor must chip into a piece of stone/marble, and with one small mistake and the whole statue could be ruined. Creating something this stunning, is pretty badass, let’s be real.

I love statues representing women, as it’s always interesting to see how the artist goes about trying to capture the essence of femininity in a frozen image. It’s also interesting, because, in a way, it shows the evolution of what society considers ‘a perfect female form’.

I wanted to share some statues that I really enjoyed at the Palazzo Pitti:

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Psiche Abbandonata (1819) by Pietro Tenerani

[This is the same statue as the first picture in the post]

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La Vittoria by Vincenzo Consani

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Venere by Antonio Canova

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Zerfio (1841) by Luigi Bienaimé

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Opimia (1877) by Emilio Franceschi



DSC_0730I needed to include this because I just found it so funny! Primi Passi by Adriano Cecioni