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August 21, 2014

Thoughts on Thursday

Thoughts for Thursday

Linking up with Natalie and Annie today!

My sister (Nat, from the link-up) did an introduction post last week and thought I would jump on the bandwagon! Obviously, I already know everything she wrote about in the blog post but I love reading these types of posts about bloggers I don't know. 

Name/Age/Location 
My name is Priscilla but almost everyone in my life calls me Prissy, a nickname I avoided having for years until my husband came along! A few people still call me Pris, though. I am 29 and hanging on as hard as possible to that last bit of my twenties! I've lived in Baltimore City for 5 years and absolutely love it here! 
Me, taking a selfie because sometimes they are fun.
Charm City

Work
Lion tamer, magician, soother of souls, otherwise known as a middle school teacher. I am currently working towards my Master's degree in School Library Media and Educational Leadership. I also own an Esty shop Prissy's Ponytails, where I sell handmade fold-over elastic hairties. Shop is currently empty but working on that update soon!

Family 
Husband- G as he is referred to on this blog
Children- Macy (four legged) Mini Schnauzer
G and I have been married for a little over 3 years and we welcomed Macy into our family on July 23, 2011. She was born on April 29, 2011 and I sometimes wish we'd named her Duchess. We are a very happy little unit and you can often find us snuggled up on the couch or at the dog park! 

Hobbies
Reading, cooking, yoga, traveling, running, blogging, trying new restaurants and foods, shopping, decorating, occasional DIY projects, entertaining.

What You'll Find on this Blog
-recipes
-travel posts
-posts about books
-musings on life and being a teacher
-weekend recaps sometimes
-shopping
-lots of Macy love

Favorite Movie
I don't even know if I can answer this. I rarely hate a movie I see. the last movie I thoroughly enjoyed was The Grand Budapest Hotel. I love the movie poster as well... considering getting a copy to frame and put above our bed. 

Favorite Book
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I know it is a lot of people's favorite book and with good reason, it was the first book that really taught me life lessons such as compassion and believing and acting upon what is right. Atticus Finch is, in my opinion, one the greatest literary characters of all time. My late grandmother and I both loved to read and shared a great passion for this novel. It is one of my most treasured memories of her. 

“Atticus said to Jem one day, "I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "Your father’s right," she said. "Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” 
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Favorite Cake
White cake or Funfetti cake with Fluffy White icing. 

Standard Coffee Order
Hot Green tea or unsweetened iced tea.

Standard Bar Order
I mainly drink Pinot Noir, Syrah, or any DOCG Italian wine.

Favorite Food
I love sushi and we eat it almost every week. Truthfully, I love trying new restaurants and new foods and have too many favorites to list!

Typical Friday night dinner for us

Beauty Product You Can't Live Without
I don't typically wear makeup Monday through Friday. I wear makeup on the weekends if we go out somewhere but not always. My can't live without product is Dr. Hauschka's Normalizing Day Oil. This stuff is magic. It moisturizes my face perfectly and does not cause me to breakout like most lotions do. I have pretty oily skin so this may seem counter-intuitive but this stuff is perfect for my skin!

Bedtime and Wake Up Time
Anywhere between 9pm and 11pm and 5:3am and 6am during the school year.

Biggest Pet Peeve
People who get worked up over Starbucks spelling their name wrong on their beverages. Why do people care? It's a cup. A cup only you are likely to see and then you will throw it away. What is the big deal? There are far greater things to get worked up over in this world. 

Celebrity Crush
I have several: Justin Timberlake, Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Robert Downey, Jr., and Mark Ruffalo. I'm kind of all over the map with these celebrity crushes and some of them have to do with characters they've played, for example: I loved Alley McBeal and adored RDJ's character on that show. Don't get me wrong, I also think he's super handsome :) I also probably wouldn't go for a guy who is super jacked like Channing Tatum but oh I love how that guy can dance! 
                              
                                            

Don't think there is much else about me to know, but feel free to ask if there is! 














August 18, 2014

words to live by

     Two weeks ago when we were in Pawley's Island, SC, my mom's cousin was telling a story about how when her oldest child came home from preschool or pre-K (or something of that ilk), with all check pluses on his "report card", she was so thrilled that she called her mom to brag about how smart he is, what a wonderful child he is, etc. Her mom's response was: "celebrate, it could be the peak". I could not stop laughing nor could I stop thinking about what a good motto that is for life. So, as I head back to school today to embark on my 5th (!) year of teaching, in which I am taking on a new role (department chair), I am going to try to live my life as such and I hope you do, too! There really is so much to celebrate.


August 15, 2014

Venice, Italy {2}

     On our second day in Venice, we decided to venture out to the surrounding areas, Murano and Burano. Following Rick Steves's advice, we hopped on the vaporetto to Murano around 10am. Murano is known for glass so I was hoping to steal a free look at some of the places doing their thing. We saw one guy in action but I think to see a full on demonstration of glass blowing you have to pay and we just weren't that excited about it to pony up. Personally, I'd skip Murano and head to Lido, which is the beach area of Venice. We did see some really cool glass, though.




     After Murano, we hopped back on the vaporetto and headed to Burano, a colorful little town known for lace. Burano is so adorable and definitely a highlight of our time in Venice. It has a leaning tower which G and I found to be pretty humorous, though I'm not really sure why. There are about 100 pictures of that leaning tower, which I will spare you! After walking around Burano for awhile, we stopped for our first pizza of the trip at a restaurant called Ai Pescatori. The pizza was really good, salame piccante (pepporoni) for G and proscuitto pizza for me. We also had a liter of vino della casa, which we later learned is not a good choice because you have no clue what's actually in it! 




my favorite house on Burano 
     Later that afternoon, we returned to Venice proper and stumbled upon the church of Santa Maria Assunta. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside the church but it is absolutely stunning. It it grandiose and contains tons of frescoes (shocking for a church in Italy, ha). It is located in the Cannaregio area, not that I could tell you how to get there but if you look at a map of Venice that area would be labeled. I would definitely recommend visiting this church while in Venice!

     We also took a gander through the Church of the Saint Apostles, located not far from Santa Maria Assunta. Also beautiful but not quite as visually stunning as S. Maria Assunta. No photos allowed in there either. 


     Our last stop of the day was Ca'd'Oro ("golden house"), which is one of the older palaces in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal. We browsed through some beautiful but also weird art work and took in the view of the canal from the balcony of Ca'd'Oro. 



     
     We had wine and tiramisu at Bancogiro before heading back to our hotel, where I took a nap (which I did every single day of the trip). On our long, winding walk (our meandering walks through the streets of Venice was probably one of my favorite things, there are so many little canals and bridges to be seen) back to the hotel we spotted this restaurant Tavenra da Baffo, so we headed back there later that night. Unfortunately, the food was pretty forgettable with the exception of the sauteed clams and mussels we had to start, those were delicious! The restaurant was also near closing when we arrived which could account for the so so food. 

I know reading other people's vacation posts can be pretty boring so if you made it this far, I'm virtually toasting you! I'll space these out so there not happening everyday! 

August 14, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

Thoughts for Thursday

Linking up with Nat and Annie today!

1. Pickles. I made my first batch of pickles last week. I did a refrigerator pickle because my husband absolutely loves pickles and cannot wait too long to eat them! I used this recipe from Flour on my Face and according to my husband they were very good. I didn't get to try them because I let them cure for something like 3 or 4 days and I left for Pawley's Island with the rest of my family before they were ready. I'm glad I finally bit the bullet because it was easier than I thought and now I feel more confident to tackle other canning projects!
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2. Pawley's Island. My family and I went to Pawley's Island for vacation last week and it was really and fun and so beautiful! My mom's cousin owns a house in Debordieu Colony and the house itself was so beautifully designed and perfect for vacationing with multiple people. This is the first time my family has vacationed together since 2007 so it was nice to get away with them again. Unfortunately, G couldn't join us because of work which made me sad but I also got to have lots of time with my family. 




3. Big Jambox by Jawbone. My husband loves listening to music, podcasts, and the news in the morning so he recently purchased the Big Jambox by Jawbone and it is awesome. I love listening to music while I'm cleaning and cooking and this thing is portable so I can put it in whatever room I'm in and listen to it. It connects via Bluetooth so you can still use your phone for other things while listening to music. 
4. Photo books. I'm in the long, tedious process of backing up photos and files from my old computer. Why is this such a painful process? I'm using Dropbox to back up my photos but I still want to make photo books of all of our vacation photos so I have hard copies as well. The age of digital cameras is great and all, but I kind of wish I could just get a role of film developed and I wouldn't have to worry about my photos disappearing into thin air. Does anyone have a high quality, user friendly website they use to make photo books? I tried using Mixbook and it was kind of difficult and I got frustrated and eventually gave up. I know a lot of people use Shutterfly but I'm not always impressed with their quality. Suggestions?

5. Whitney English Day Designer. I got a Day Designer by Whitney English at the beginning of this year and I absolutely L-O-V-E it. It is the best planner I have ever owned. I've tried Lilly Pulitzer and Erin Condren and both pale in comparison to the Day Designer. Truthfully, I didn't even open it all summer because my days aren't really that planned in the summer but with the school year starting up again on Monday, I broke it out to start sorting through the things that need to get done. Yes, it is a bit on the pricey side but it is so worth it if you need something to help keep you on track. 

Feb Ship Date ALREADY AUTHENTIC Day Designer - JANUARY 2014 - 2015 Black Stripe - Yearly Planner & Daily Agenda, Calendar, Organizer

August 12, 2014

Farewell


It seems too heavy not to say anything about the passing of Robin Williams. The funniest ones often feel the most deeply. I sincerely hope his tragic death truly sparks conversations about mental health. It is so, so important that these discussions begin so people who are going through mental health issues have the knowledge and the courage to act upon and take advantage of the resources available to them to begin the healing process. Most of us have experiences with mental illness in some capacity so why this conversation is still happening behind closed doors or in hushed tones, is beyond me. We all need to become champions of this cause as we do so many other causes in this country. 

Of all the outpouring on social media, this is the most poignant (also noted on the Today show). Rest in peace, funny soul. 

Venice, Italy {1}

     I'm not even sure where to begin with Venice. People have lots of opinions on Venice. I heard that 3 days was too long, it smells, we would be bored, etc. I also heard that it was beautiful, unlike any other place in the world, and awesome. I went in not really knowing what to expect from Venice. In short, I (and G) LOVED it. Obviously, Italy is a beautiful country and I enjoyed every single second of our time there but if I had to choose, I'd say Venice was my favorite part of the trip. I loved wandering around, the lack of cars, and the ability to just 'be' in Venice. I loved the history and traveling by foot or by water everyday. Although the food in Venice was not very good, we did have our favorite meal of the trip there.

     Venice was the first stop on our trip. We arrived around 9am on Wednesday and since we couldn't check-in to our hotel until 2pm, we stowed our bags, freshened up, and headed out into the city.


     We didn't have any particular destination in mind, we just walked and walked and took it all in. This trip has been such a dream of mine, I just kept thinking 'I can't believe I'm here!'. We walked through the crowds at the Rialto Bridge but decided to save the walk over the bridge for another day and ultimately came across Osteria Bancogiro, which was one of the spots I knew I wanted to hit while we were there! We were feeling pretty tired by that point so we stopped for our first (of many) bottle of wine in Italy. The wine prices are so ridiculously good over there, it's staggering to come back home and see our prices in the US. We ordered a bottle of wine, had a cheese plate and proscuitto wrapped melon, and enjoyed the lovely views of the canal. Bancogiro is near the Rialto Bridge but not so close that it's packed with tourists. Getting a seat outside was easy. I definitely recommend Bancogiro as a stop for wine but as far as food, I'd ordered the cheese plate and the melon again but not anything else. We went back on our second day and the food we had then wasn't very good but the wine, service, and view are excellent!



          After wine and cheese, we headed back to the hotel where I promptly fell asleep after getting into our room. Our hotel, Hotel Bellini, was absolutely perfect for us. On vacation we spend very little time in the hotel room so we don't go for top of the line or even centrally located hotels as we don't mind walking at all. As long as the hotel is clean and in a safe area, this saves us money and gives us a chance to see more of the place we're visiting. In this case, our hotel was located in Ponte di Scalzi, steps away from the Scalzi Bridge. There is a vaporetto station located just outside of the hotel, which was super convenient. I was a little apprehensive about using the vaporetto but trust me when I say it is so easy to use and was definitely a time and money saver for us. I'm often afraid of public transportation in places I've never been but there are many signs in the stations and they are staffed by very helpful people. Plus, if you get off at the wrong stop chances are you can walk to your destination or just hop back on the vaporetto, it's pretty difficult to be actually lost in Venice! We took a water taxi from the airport but other than that we found no need to use that service. We either walked or used the vaporetto all 3 days we were there. I should also mention that Hotel Bellini is located within walking distance of the train station which is really nice, especially if you traveling around the country like we were. I would for sure recommend Hotel Bellini for those that don't mind a walk or short ride to the hot spots. 
     Our anniversary, June 18th, was our first night in Italy so we got dressed up and walked until we found a spot that looked appetizing and anniversary worthy. We ended up at Da Fiore , which ended up being our favorite meal of the trip. The atmosphere, food, wine, and service were all top notch. G and I shared several dishes: melon with buffalo mozzarella, shrimp in Tuscan lard and rosemary, scallops in their shells with thyme and homemade pesto, pasta with clams, mussels, and scallops, and tiramisu. It was all really delicious. We decided that night that we were going to have tiramisu at every restaurant we went to in Italy and decide which was our favorite! 


*all photos of us/restaurants are taken with my Canon Powershot D20- the unbreakable camera- which is why the quality is not nearly as good as scenery photos which are taken with my Canon Rebel T1i, which was bought from Canon refurbished by the way*

That concludes day one of our time in Italy! After dinner, we went back to our hotel and had a glass of wine at the hotel bar. We loved the hotel bar at Hotel Bellini. It had a little bar with a lovely bartender named Igor plus a small seating area that we lounged in every night. Hotel bars are also something a lot of people have opinions on and they are often hit or miss, but this particular hotel bar was a hit :) 



  


July 17, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

Thoughts for Thursday

Linking up with my sister today!

1. Blogging absence. I don't have much to say in the way of addressing that I've been away from the blog since March so I'm going to blame it on the school year, grad school, traveling, and more grad school. I do really enjoy writing here and now that I am on summer vacation, I am going to try harder to keep up with it. I hope there are still some readers out there! 

2. Italy. Can we talk about this place? It has been a month since we landed in Italy and I am missing it so much. It really is as magical as everyone says it is! If you haven't been, you must go. I'll do a full recap of everything we did and ate because it was a lot and so much fun. 


3. Traveling. As a piggyback from #2, I love it and can't get enough. We've already started floating around ideas for our next trip. I have so many places I want to see both in the United States and elsewhere. G says I forget all the places we've been but I truly haven't, it's just that the world is a very vast place!

4. Saving money. All of my travel talk is a good reminder that in order for me to go to these places, I have to have the money to do so. I'm attempting to make it the rest of July without spending any money and definitely need to make August a frugal month as well. 

5. Summer vacation. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love having the summer off. It allows for big trips, house projects, mid-day yoga, family time, and a whole host of other lovely things. G had a month long sabbatical this year so after our trip to Italy, we had another two weeks of just the two of us. We were productive and got so much done around the house and also fit in dinners out, baseball games, and pool days. It will admit, it's been a bit lonely around the house without him! 

Thanks for taking the time to catch up with me! I hope you all have a lovely Thursday!