Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I was nominated for something???



LIES!! SHENANIGANS! What am I yelling about? What is all this nomination talk about?

Jess from http://jessicastaceyxo.blogspot.ca/ nominated me for the Liebster award. I wasn't sure what that was. However, after further inspection I realized it is more of a "tag" than an "award". Tricksy, Tricksy!

How it works?

Step 1: Answer the questions that you've been asked!
Step 2: Choose 11 more bloggers with under 200 followers!
Step 3: Ask those new 11 bloggers a set of 11 new questions!
Step 4: Contact those 11 bloggers and let them know that they have been tagged!

The questions Jess asked were:

1.Who is your favourite band/ music artist?
2.What is one thing you can't live without?
3. Dream job?
4. What is your usual Starbucks order?
5. What is a relationship deal-breaker?
6.What is your holy grail beauty product? (something you love and keep going back to)
7.Do you have tattoos? (if yes, what and where. if no, what would you get)
8.Celebrity crush?
9. Why did you start blogging?
10. Name one fashion trend you find weird.
11. Do you collect anything?


My answers:

1. This is an impossible question for me to answer. I have a habit of telling people that my favorite band is Tones on Tail. Why? Because, I like them a lot. I tend to always go back to their record, Everything. 
I enjoy that most people either never heard of them. This way, I am not immediately attached to a specific style of music. 
2. Joy? If I lost joy, I don't think I could live on. I suppose that is not a "thing". Lip balm. I would die if I lacked the ability to soothe my lips.
3. Artist. Oh wait...already am!
4. Venti Mocha Light Frappuccino. Although, I prefer most other coffee chains to Starbuck's (ie - Caribou Coffee, Gloria Jean's, etc)
5. Lack of trust.
6. Thayes Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera as my facial toner.
7. Yes, I have two. 
A black plus and minus sign on the inside of my right wrist. 
On the right side of my neck wrapping around to the back of my neck I have a tattoo in red Tibetan script. The word translates to "infinite light".
8. Anders Trentemøller.
9. I started blogging as a New Year's Resolution. Also, as a way to keep me focused.
10. I find most fashion trends weird. However, most "current" female fashion bothers me. I think the point is, "How can I make my body look as unattractive as possible?" Let, me put on a too-small-studded-vest with too-short-granny-shorts and add some boots. =(
11. I collect many things. Pins, instruments, rocks, ideas, memories......

My eleven questions for other bloggers are:

1. What are you afraid of?
2. What is your biggest pet peeve?
3. What is your favorite color?
4. What is your favorite food?
5. What would you grab if your house was about to burn down?
6. If you were a song, which would it be?
7. What is the nicest thing anyone ever said to you?
8. What makes you laugh?
9. What makes you cry?
10. What is your biggest dream?
11. If there is something you would want to share with me, what would it be?

Bloggers I have chosen (I only chose 5 because I am lazy):

sarahlibros.blogspot.co.uk/
catherinegacad.com/
amandify.com
6birds.net
tarte-aux-fraises.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 26, 2013

sleep disorder

I love sleep. I mean...I LOVE SLEEP! I love sleeping so much that it has become an unhealthy fetish. The only problem is that I am also terrible at sleeping. I often lack the talent to do normal everyday things that most people do easily.

First, I have terrible insomnia. I always have and probably always will. I remember just laying awake in my room as a child, wishing that sleep would come. My mother likes to tell me that she would get up for water at four in the morning and she would peak in my room to find me sitting in my room, in the dark, staring out the window. I was a creepy child.

My insomnia isn't just relegated to the inability to fall asleep. I also have problems staying asleep. Often I will fall asleep and wake up two hours later. In fact, typically when I nap it is ALWAYS in two hour intervals. Something about my mind is like, two hours...YOU HAVE SLEPT ENOUGH!

Then, there is the sleepwalking. I often wake up in different rooms. I wake up already sitting up in bed. I will wake up with mystery bruises all over my legs. I often like to retrieve beverages in my sleep. I once refolded laundry (albeit very badly) in my sleep. When I get over-heated in my sleep, I disrobe. Which has caused drama during innocent sleepovers. People can have entire conversations with me in my sleep and I will do everything to end the conversation. It's like sleep auto pilot.

Now, let's move on to the lucid dreaming and nightmares. The first dream I ever remember having was a nightmare. I was maybe seven years old? In the dream, I was walking down a road on a foggy day. Eventually, I saw an old woman standing next to a cart and a cow. She had that, "ancient-scary-gypsy-witch" look to her. I approached her without fear. She asked me, "Do you want to see REAL magic?" Me being me, I nodded eagerly. She told me to look at the cow and when I did, I noticed that the cows eyes were sewn shut. Suddenly, my soul was trapped in the cows body and the cow's soul was walking around in my body.

This dream has stuck with me. It traumatized me as a child. It is baffling to me that I would have this dream and the litany of nightmares that followed. I never watched television. I rarely was allowed to go see a movie. So, why was my mind so disturbed at such a young age?

Here is where it gets really strange. By the time I was a teenager, I craved my nightmares. They were fascinating. They were different. They were interesting. Something about the fact that I enjoy nightmares still makes me feel, embarrassed.

Today, I don't really have nightmares anymore. Now, I just lucid dream. The strange thing is that; I cannot...NOT lucid dream. It is like I forgot how to be completely unconscious. Who does that?

I had a sleep study done and besides snoring, I was told everything is "normal". Clearly, not! I suspect that my mind was like, "Act normal, don't do anything weird, there are doctors afoot." This seems like the most logical explanation.

Right now? I need another nap, and some wicked dreams.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

never doubt your instincts, they are there for a reason


ombre hair

I am told ombre is over. My response....what's ombre?

Honestly, I know what ombre is. Who doesn't? It's just another term for something called a gradient. Will gradient go out of style? Doubtful. It's one of those things that is intricately ingrained in design, art, and nature. Regardless, feigning ignorance is my specialty.

As all great things I do, I have given myself ombre hair accidentally-on-purpose. I did a lazy retouch to my hair which involved me re-bleaching half of my hair from pink. I dried my hair and thought, holy stoly this looks almost "ombre". I should put a deeper pink on the bottom and call it a day.

I think I am going to keep doing this until it bores me, or it "comes back in style".





Friday, August 23, 2013

now for something completely different

I spend a lot of time on the computer. Not bragging. In fact, I hate that I am a technophile. Hate is a strong word....maybe I mean, dislike greatly? Everything that I do involves my computer. When my computer breaks, I have a nervous breakdown. 

Yet, sometimes I am reminded that perhaps stepping away from the computer is a good idea.

Today, I am working on a new project. Meanwhile, I have my email and messenger services loaded in the background. A friend sends me this link...


I open it to find the most pointless and bizarre thing. It is a website where you put dancing animated .gifs to crappy music loops. Here is a screen shot.


My reaction to this? Internal Marge Simpson grunts!

If you somehow live under a rock and haven't a clue what I am referencing here is an example.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Italy Part 2: Tuscany.

The first part of my Tuscany adventure began with the logistics of getting from Rome to a little town called, San Miniato.

There was some confusion at the train platform and it took about twenty minutes for us to find our seats. Eventually. we sat down and enjoyed the ride.

We arrived in Florence and took a taxi across town to the airport, where our rental car was waiting for us. After that, we piled in the car and hustled towards San Miniato. So we could make our check in time


I must admit when we first arrived at the Villa in San Miniato, my jaw dropped.


The Villa Contessa Marianna is nestled on top of a secluded hill down a dirt path, just on the edge of town. Here is a quote taken from their website about the property:

"Villa Contessa Marianna is part of a group of buildings and lands on the “Bonaparte knoll”. Its name is due to the fact that was an ancient property of the Bonaparte’s family in San Miniato. It was the family of the most famous Napoleone. 
In 1701 Maria Maddalena Bonaparte received it as a dowry going married in this year to a noble Bonaccorsi. In 1805 the country-house was given to the family of the present owners, maintaining the historical documentation and many furniture of the day. Nowadays the property has been completely restored and it is an exclusive residence for those looking for an historical and relaxing holiday."

Side note: San Miniato is known for growing truffles or tartufi. I spent a large portion of my trip purchasing truffle products or trying truffle dishes. It was amazing how ridiculously affordable it was, even in Euro.


I purchased a truffle oil vinegar mix that is about 50% truffle chunks and a whole large white truffle for 16 euro which converts to about 22 dollars. SCORE!








Drunken Family Bicycle Wine Tasting Tour:

I can't help laugh at this one. When it was first proposed to me, I laughed and then followed with a fist pump. Then, I realized it wasn't a joke. Yes, the whole family rented bicycles from I Bike Tuscany and followed their tour guides from vineyard to vineyard.

What I didn't know is that I would be bicycling all day...OR...that it would be through treacherous winding hillsides...OR...that each winery would give us four to six wines to taste...and bread...and cheese...oh my! Regardless, it was AWESOME!

Did I find any wines I liked? One winery stood out. Their wines had a quality that surpassed the rest. I also enjoyed their in-house balsamic vinegar and brought a bottle home. Thank you, Casa Emma.




Vinci:

I really HAD to see Leonardo da Vinci's home town. His name literally means, "Leonardo from the town of Vinci". I am fairly obsessed with him and couldn't pass up seeing the land that inspired his genius.

Vinci is a quiet little place surrounded by beautiful green Tuscan hills. In the center of Vinci is a small group of historical buildings that have been preserved since Leonardo's time. We visited the Museo Leonardiano di Vinci. Which was amazing...even more so when I figured out that there were pamphlets in English in each room. The museum is split into two buildings and they are surprisingly small. Regardless, I had a fantastic time and even purchased some souvenirs for myself.


Pisa:

I haven't mentioned this before, but the entire time I was in Italy it was uncomfortably hot. I should have been ready for this, since I live in Texas. However, a lot of Italy lacks air conditioning OR the air conditioning they have is CRAP! The good news? It was a beautiful over cast and windy day in Pisa. The bad news? This made for bad picture taking.

Honestly, I wish I would have been able to spend more time in Pisa. We drove in and parked for free near the tower. Helpful tip: There is free parking (for cars) at the Parcheggio Pietrasantina. Then we walked towards the the Tower and enjoyed the sites.

Honestly, Pisa is super touristy and in places somewhat ghetto. It is a somewhat cheesy scene, yet I found the merchants less pushy than in Rome. I also found the dirty sea side feel refreshing and found myself wanting to explore more. Alas, I just didn't have the time.


Florence:

First, parking in Florence was and is a nightmare. There are plenty of spots in Florence to park. However, the time when you can park in said spots and who can park in said spots; is SOOOO confusing. Also, if you go to a gated paid public parking facility, like we did...don't be surprised if the gate doesn't let you in. The lots fill up fast! If you have patience someone will leave and the gate will let you in.

Florence is another place I wish I could have spent more time. I didn't realize how much there was to see and do. I did go to the Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michalangelo's David. Did I get a picture? No. Why? Because, I didn't bring my camera. I read online that the museums don't let you take pictures and I left it up to Andy to take pictures (again). He choose not to get into a battle with any museum folk.

I also spent a day at the Uffizi Gallery. This museum could have taken a two day visit. It is massive museum, with a never ending supply of art. My one complaint? They didn't have air conditioning working in most of the rooms. The rooms that seemed to have the "working" air conditioning happened to be the rooms with the "attraction art works". These included; Birth of Venus and La Primavera (Spring) by: Sandro Filipepi (Botticelli),  The Baptism of Christ by: Andrea di Cione (Verrocchio) and Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation by: Leonardo da Vinci, and Tondo Doni (The Holy Family) by: Michelangelo Buonarroti. The rest of the art seemed doomed to the same fate as all the sweaty people marching through the halls.

Next time I travel to Florence I will try to set aside more time to really explore the city. There is an abundance of historical sites and more museums. Not to mention the boutiques and shopping available all over Florence. I did manage to have a little time to pick up a few more souvenirs but really didn't get the chance to "cut loose".

That concludes a basic walkthrough of my time in Italy. I have left out so much that I feel somewhat guilty. However, I don't want to bore anyone with by endless ramblings and emotional merry-go-rounds. It was an awesome trip, full of lifetime lasting memories. I hope to go back, soon.

Here is a link to the first part of my trip in case you missed it: Italy Part 1: My vacation is over and Rome

Monday, August 12, 2013

Italy Part 1: My vacation is over and Rome.

My vacation is over. Now, I will begin the tedious review of my trip to Italy. I am trying to condense everything as much as possible. So please be patient. I am fairly certain there will be too much information in here, regardless.


I will preface things by mentioning that crazy-plane-woman (the one that sat next to me on the plane), did every cliche obnoxious-passenger-sitting-next-to-you thing as possible. She even managed to spill her wine on me. This did not detour me from my initial enthusiasm of my travels. However, she did deserve mention.

Well done woman....well done indeed.

Rome:

While in Rome, we stayed at the Hotel Scalinata Di Spagna.  This happens to be right next to the Spanish Steps. My room was clean and cozy and I was impressed by the intriguing light fixtures which can only be described as crazy-glass-octopus-flowers. I looked out the window and decided that it was time to start my first Roman adventure.


Andy wanted to see the Spanish Steps so we decided to start there. Then, we would find our way to some gelato.....

After, being accosted by five or six gypsies trying to sell us luck bracelets, we decided to avoid the steps.

We did end up finding good gelato at the famous Il gelato di San Crispino. I wish I had taken pictures of the gelato. Unfortunately, by this point I completely abandoned using my camera. From this point on, I left all picture taking up to Andy and his trusty cell phone. All I have is my memories of the BEST GELATO EVER! That is good enough for me.

We did get this beautiful image at the corner before the gelato place, if you are feeling left out.

I must admit my time in Rome starts to blur together. After the gelato, is a wine induced haze. Let's say, we didn't take long to start drinking copious amounts of wine...

For my sanity, I will start outlining Rome by the places we went instead of trying to do things in chronological order.

Colosseo (The Colosseum) and Monti:

I must admit there was a lot of Rome that I had little interest in seeing. One of these places was the Colosseum. Something about...going to a monument dedicated to torture concerned me. However, my interest in history won and I went.

My first tip? If you plan on seeing the Colosseum, please order tickets to pass the queue beforehand. We passed a line and ended up waiting zero minutes to walk through the upper region of the Colosseum. It was impressive and crowded.



After walking around the Colosseum, we wandered around the nearby historical sites. The decision was to forgo such sited as, the Forums and the Arch of Constantine and make our way to the Monti area.

Monti is a short walk from the Colosseum and this is where the local college kids hang out. There are tons of little thrift stores and vintage shops. I also found boutiques, art dealers, bars, music stores and other fun places to visit.

Was there something that stood out in this area? Why yes, I am glad you asked.

The street art.

Everywhere I turned, there was something new and interesting to look at.




We did some shopping there. By this point, I was so sick of all the bag peddlers on the streets. They would try to place bags in your hands. You would say no, only to be harassed by another man with the same selection of designer knock offs. Initially, I had plans to buy a bag in Italy....BUT I quickly lost interest.

The thrift stores had tons of fairly priced vintage designer brands. So what did I find myself? Plastic earrings. Yup, handmade plastic earrings from a local artist. I have only two items I brought back from Rome, those earrings and a stone from the Roman street.

The Midnight Dance Party:

This is, as good time as any, to bring up the random dance party. After a night of drunken debauchery, I stumbled my way home. Eventually, the group and I came across a clearing which turned out to be the Piazza del Popolo. This is what we saw. Please excuse the poor quality, again this was taken from Andy's cell phone.


Parco delgi Aquodotti (The Aqueduct Park):

The only thing that Andy DEMANDED we do while in Rome was; visit the Aqueduct park. We braved the Italian Metro train system and took it to the edge of Rome. We grabbed some refreshments and some beer. Then found our way to the park

This was my favorite part of Rome. It was quiet. We laid in the grass. We climbed rocks. We picked some plums with locals. It was exactly the Italy I was wanting to experience.

Pantheon and Fontana di Trevi (The Trevi Fountain):

So, I saw both of these sites multiple times during my trip to Rome. The Pantheon was a refreshing change of pace. I was surprised that the Pantheon free to enter AND it was relatively peaceful inside. I must make a confession here; when I first saw the Pantheon I was almost moved to tears. I am not sure why this moved me. But, it did. I was also surprised by the fact the Pantheon was even prettier at night.

I have mixed feelings about the Trevi fountain. Honestly, I think the Trevi fountain holds some of the best statue work in Italy. On the other hand, I felt the romance of the place was voided by the hoards of tourists and Italian men asking lonely woman out on dates. Also, I was the only one of the group that thought the Trevi fountain was more beautiful during the day than at night. 

One last thought about Rome: We avoided visiting the Vatican and any tombs all together. I really have no regrets about this decision...BUT maybe in the future I will visit just for kicks.

Now stay tuned for Italy Part 2: Tuscany...