COLORPLAY IN CINQUE TERRE

I FIND THAT the best trips are those with a good “home base” – a place you can quickly run to if you want to freshen up, change shoes, or grab a scarf when the night air gets nippy. I’ve always enjoyed visiting Paris, London, and other large cities, but I’m a homebody at heart and love vacation destinations that really make one feel just that way: at home! For me, that is what defines a true, relaxing vacation – even if it makes me sound 40 years older and retired for saying so. ;)

All of that said, it’s no wonder why I think Cinque Terre is the perfect vacation destination. The region is a collection of five very small towns built into terraced hillsides on the Ligurian Sea, and aside from the delicious local cuisine (fresh seafood, and regional specialties like foccacia and sweet Sciacchetrà wine) the views are stunning and the locals are friendly, proud, and ready to show you a good time. Our home base was in the colorful village of Vernazza – a true fishing village with a very photogenic harbor, and one of the northernmost villages of the group. Christoph and I used Airbnb to locate a cozy apartment near the coast, and we loved living next door to local residents and the seaside. The village itself has only about 1,000 residents, so it doesn’t take more than ten minutes to walk anywhere you’d like, but the hiking paths leading to the other four Cinque Terre jewels will keep you busy (and fit!) and present you with some of the most gorgeous vistas in the world. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

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UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN

DESPITE THE HEAVY winds, thunder, and near-torrential downpour that occurred around 4pm our first day in Florence, I couldn’t help but name this week’s post after Frances Mayes perfectly titled book. I began reading Under the Tuscan Sun for the first time while on this trip, and it gave me actual goosebumps to read about such beautiful landscape while experiencing it myself. I could think of no better title!

Our trip to Italy was possibly our best trip together yet  ( – I say possibly because I always seem to say that when I get home from visiting a new place, but there truly wasn’t anything about Italy that wasn’t inspiring or delicious). The food was as excellent as the locals claimed, the stunning views and architecture left me longing for life in a Tuscan villa, and the wine was tasty and plentiful, which made the former look and taste even better. ;) Best of all, though, was the amazing gelato that I had heard so much talk about. And somehow, I must have felt skinnier in Italy than I do eating sweets anywhere else in the world, because I had at least two 3-scoop cones each day and could have easily had more!

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SUMMER SANDALS: MOSSIMO DUTTI

One of my favorite photographers is Alice Gao – an NYC-based photographer who knows exactly how to showcase a piece using just simple (but exact) light and shadows. She also has a wonderfully streamlined style, and often photographs her favorite or newer wardrobe pieces from her chic collection.

Inspired by this, I took some time last Saturday to photograph these leather Mossimo Dutti sandals I had just received in the mail. The sunlight was perfect, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to photograph the gold-accented beauties in their flawless state – before I went and “dirtied” them up.sandals1.jpg

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DAY TRIP: LAKE CONSTANCE

LAKE CONSTANCE, (the Bodensee in German), is one of my favorite places to day trip in Europe – reason being that it is central Europe’s third largest lake and situated directly next to the Alps,  so it has the stunning combination of land and sea that is often hard to come by. There are many beautiful cities to visit at the lake, but this time around Christoph and I took the train directly from Göppingen to Lindau, which is a Bavarian island located about four miles from the Austrian border. There you can take a 20-minute ferry to Bregenz, Austria; explore the lake with a rented paddle boat; or walk the cobbled streets of Lindau and become acquainted with the many antique shops, book stores, and truly charming houses!

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SNOW POLO WORLD CUP

CRADLED NEARLY 6,000 feet high in the Swiss Alps is St. Moritz: a popular ski destination for the international jet set and host to the annual Snow Polo World Cup. Unfortunately, many of us cannot afford to enjoy one of the world’s most expensive ski resorts; however, we can benefit from free admission on the latter, and on Saturday Chris and I did just that. Conveniently located just four hours south of Stuttgart, we were able to head there for the day to enjoy some bubbly, sunshine, and entertainment in the form of polo and people watching.IMG_2655_lakeIMG_2513_bw.jpgIMG_2442_snow polo.jpgIMG_2442_focus.jpgIMG_2442_combined.jpghex7.jpgIMG_26553.jpgIMG_2442_champagne.jpgIMG_2442_white turf.jpgIMG_2585.JPGhex_collage.jpgluxury.jpg