This is a blog about trying new things, tasting all the good things in life, and making every day an adventure.

Do things that make you happy. Try things that will make you better. Look to your friends for inspiration. Everyone has a talent or a special gift to offer. Sometimes just doing the smallest thing can provide a sense of accomplishment, enhance our wellbeing and increase our self-worth. 

And if you feel uncomfortable...good! That means you're growing. See as many places as you can on this planet. Meet new people and try new things. There's so much I still want to do and try so you're invited to follow my adventures...the big and the bitty. We can enjoy them over Cocktails on Monday...or any day of the week.


When in Rome...

When in Rome...

We just got back from spending 4 nights in Rome. Kevin had some business meetings in the city so Mallie and I tagged along. It was a fabulous trip! I think travel is one of the best educations you can provide your children. Just allowing them to experience other cultures and foreign places teaches them tolerance, acceptance, self-confidence, open-mindedness, and map skills. Lol. All things that are paramount in navigating our way through life. We know that when we enter another country things are going to be different, not necessarily better or worse, but definitely different. Being prepared with a good attitude (and travel snacks) is so important.

One example: When we deplaned in Rome the first thing Mallie and I did was head to the bathroom. The toilet itself looked like a regular toilet but the seat had some type of spring that kept it in an upright position. You had to push the seat down and sit on it to keep it down. Well, when we came out of our stalls and were washing our hands Mallie said her seat was broken and it kept hitting her in the back. I was a little confused & asked her what she meant. She then gestured to one of the toilets through an open stall door and said, "See how it sticks up? It wouldn't stay down so I had to scoot under it and lean forward but it still kept hitting my back." Instead of holding the seat down and sitting on it, Mallie sat on the rim of the toilet, under the seat!! My first thought was, "Ew!" but she said she "hovered" as best she could and didn't sit down. When I explained to her the proper way to 'manage the toilet seat' we both had a good laugh. This set the tone for our trip. Things were going to be different in Italy so we were ready to laugh at ourselves as we learned and explored!

Our hotel was in a great area and close to lots of shops and restaurants so after checking into our hotel we set off to--what else?--eat! Our first meal was pizza, pasta, bread and wine. (You know, the 4 Basic Italian Food Groups.) We learned that if you're going to get charged for water you might as well drink wine! We sat outside with blankets and indulged in the delicious food.

That evening and the next day Kevin had meetings so Mallie and I set off on our own and walked around the vibrant city. We wandered through piazzas, watched street artists spray-paint skyline scenes of Rome, saw the Trevi Fountain at night, and bought souvenirs. (Mallie spotted a bright pink hooded Italia sweatshirt that she would end up wearing every. single. day. and would henceforth grace every single photograph we took in Rome. It was love at first sight so who was I to stand in her way?) We also began our search for the perfect gelato. I found mine that night at a cute gelateria right next to the Trevi Fountain. It was delicious! And as hard as I tried I never had another gelato that was its match for flavor, creaminess, and fluffy texture the rest of the trip. But I tried. I really, really tried.

Just roaming around we learned a lot about Rome. Like how it's legal to park your car alongside the road PERPENDICULAR to other cars!! That's how small the cars are. And how crowded the streets can be. Also, scooters are everywhere!!! The metro system isn't very big so it's not very much use when traveling within and around the city center. And there's so much traffic that scooters really are the perfect alternative to vehicles. But they are everywhere! When crossing the street you must be very careful and look out for cars, scooters, and buses zooming around corners. And pedestrians cross basically whenever and wherever they want, literally risking life and limb to get across the road.

Mallie learned a few Italian phrases and the Italian people were always so complimentary and gracious when she attempted to use them. They seem to love kids and called Mallie "Princess" or "Bella Bambina" (beautiful child), which of course she loved. This definitely boosted her self-confidence so she was more willing to interact with our new Italian friends.

The entire trip was an amazing adventure for all of us. Seeing the sights, learning about ancient Roman architecture (which honestly blew me away), staying on course with the 4 Basic Italian Food Groups, and observing the Italian culture was truly a gift. Mallie was never once bored or restless and enjoyed stepping back in time as much as Kevin and I did.  We discussed what life would have been like in 72 AD as we explored the Colosseum and Forum. We appreciated the gorgeous art and religious significance of the paintings in the Vatican museums & Sistine Chapel. We were awed by the magnificence and opulence of St. Peter's Basilica.  

But being in Italy wasn't all about the sights and the food. It was about being in the moment, taking it all in, and just spending quality time together. On our last night at dinner we each said something we would do to improve ourselves and that would help us grow into better people. We promised to help each other reach our goals and remind each other to always be tolerant and accepting, have self-confidence, and be open-minded. Because these are the best tools to use when navigating a new country or everyday life.  That's the same evening we met another American family. And I tried to fight the urge to order Tiramisu for dessert. I really, really, tried.

{One of my all-time favorite cocktails is the Bellini. The Bellini is a popular sparkling wine cocktail and a perfect way to make your favorite wine a little peachy. The recipe is easy and the drink is a lot of fun.The story behind the Bellini is that is was created in the 1930's or 40's at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani. It was named after the Italian renaissance painter, Giovanni Bellini. Originally, the Bellini used sparkling Italian wine, particularly Prosecco, and it is still made that way in Italy. Elsewhere, it is often made with Champagne, though most any sparkling wine will do.}

Bellini Recipe:

2 ounces peach juice, puree, or nectar

4 ounces Prosecco or Champagne

Pour the juice in Serve a champagne flute and top with the sparkling wine.

Everything's Coming Up Roses: A Cupcake Decorating Workshop

Everything's Coming Up Roses: A Cupcake Decorating Workshop