Ciao Roma!

I'm currently in Italy working as a teaching assistant for a 5 week photography trip through Northeastern University. The first leg of the trip being in Rome, and the second in Venice. 

I'm gonna start this off by saying I never loved Rome. When I think of Italy, the last thing I think of is traffic and dirty streets, and that was always my impression of Rome. But third time's the charm they say right? I'm staying in the neighborhood of Trastevere, just over the Tiber river not far from the downtown historical center. 

Now, having visited the city for a week two years ago, I had done most of the touristy attractions. I had learned about the gladiators, walked through the forum, even ventured outside the city to the Maxxi museum, so this trip, I wanted to just simply explore. A few days in, I discovered a new side to Rome that I never truly appreciated - the street food. Man are there some amazing arancini and quick pizza places. 

Here are my highlights:

I Suppli: Best arancini (aka suppli) I've ever had. They were filled with artichokes, peas and sausage and were crunchy, creamy and so so delicious! And only a euro or two each!

Ai marmi: Damn good pizza. Huge crowds - worth the wait.

Giolitti: I'm a gelato girl, and this was the best gelato/ice cream/frozen dessert I've ever had. Known as the gelato shop of the pope, this place lived up to its name. Unique flavors, amazing taste and great presentation. 

 

FL

This past week I traveled down to Florida, making stops in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Key West and Palm Beach. Highlights included a homemade chacotaco in Miami, moped riding around the keys, and an overnight stay on a catamaran. 

The Not-So-Brief History of Berlin

Today, we met up got a not-so-brief history of Berlin from our German culture professor Yann. We met in the Mitte (middle) area of Berlin and headed to the Neue Wache, a memorial that had changed its form and meaning over the years. We then walked around Museum Island, the site of medieval Berlin. While there, we got a quick rundown of the history of the buildings and how they connect to the history of the city and of Germany as a whole. And by quick I mean 4-5 hours, but that's ok. 

Lunch came around, and by this time, we were all STARVING. Having been on coop for the past six months, I had gotten real used to eating promptly at 11:30AM, so our 1:30 lunch time was a bit late. I'm definitely not skipping breakfast ever again. Ben and I split a penne alla arrabbiata and a ham, mushroom and arugula pizza. It was AMAZING. Clutch meal. 

After lunch, we stopped at the German History Museum where we took a tour of the different exhibits. While the tour was very photo-history centric, I personally was so intrigued by the myriad propaganda posters all over the wall. People are always confused when I tell them how interested in Nazi propaganda I am, but I just find it so interesting. They successfully manipulated people's minds through two dimensional imagery, it's insane. Anyways, cool museum, but by the end, we were EXHAUSTED. However, we weren't done yet. I did say it was not-so-brief.

Afterwards, we hopped on a bus and headed to the Department of City Planning, where we got to see a large 3D model of the current and planned state of Berlin - which was really quite interesting. Berlin is in a constant state of construction as new buildings are being built and old buildings are being reconstructed. You literally cannot look in any direction without seeing a construction site. 

Now this is where it gets interesting. On our way home, Ramin, Matt and I took a little detour and found ourselves in this building. Now I don't exactly know how to describe it, but it was potentially an abandoned drug hall rave site type of thing. Fun fact about me: I love abandoned buildings. I'm not sure what it is about them - maybe it's their sense of danger, maybe it's the idea that something happened there, something that no longer goes on - from a visual sense, they usually have an amazing sense of natural light, since there's no electricity, being abandoned and all. But anyways, this abandoned building was insane. It was about 7 floors of small square rooms, each decorated with graffiti. However, graffiti in Berlin is totally different than it is in America. It's art before it's destruction. So it was almost like this building was a gallery, with each room displaying a different artist. We got to the 5th floor, until some man caught us and asked us to promptly leave, which we did, but not before we adventured to the backyard. There were pieces of the wall scattered around a parking lot - each, again, with graffiti. I personally was shocked that the wall would be in the backyard of a somewhat abandoned building, it's a huge part of history right? Wouldn't you think that it would be in a museum or something? 

We left right after, and as of now haven't gotten arrested, so we're A-OK. 

Hallo Deutschland

My 35 days in Berlin, Germany have officially started. Now, Berlin wasn’t exactly a city that was on my list of places to go. I never really gave it much thought. Yeah there was the wall, and interesting design and the Bauhaus a few miles away, but other than that, I never saw the appeal. However, when the opportunity came up to study German culture and photography abroad this summer, I jumped at the chance. Leading up to the 3rd, the day our flight left Boston, I had major trepidations about the trip. I had no time to pack, no time to research, no time to really get myself excited about the trip. But I always love travel, always love experiencing new cities, so I knew I would have an amazing time no matter what.

So July 3rd came around, and I was Boston bound with a suitcase (under 50 pounds for the first time in my life), a backpack (also a first, I’ve never really been a backpack person), and my trusty eggplant longchamp (my go to when it comes to carry-ons). I arrived in Boston at around 12, went and picked up my friend Ben, and headed to Logan where I reunited with Paris for the first time in 6 months - there was a very public and long hug in the terminal. 

After a long flight with questionable food but a rather solid movie selection, we landed in Frankfurt at 5:45AM Berlin time. It was early, and it was hot. We arrived in Germany during the hottest heat wave they’ve had in decades. DECADES. We were so lucky. Anyways, a short hour later, we were Berlin bound and were at Tegel airport by 8AM. We left the airport, and it felt like we had arrived in the Caribbean. It was 95 and humid. My favorite type of weather. 

Our apartments are located in Kreuzberg, an up-and-coming “young and artsy” district of the city, so our next order of business was to unpack and settle in a bit. Once we were all settled, we took a trip a few stops down the U-bahn, the underground transit system in Berlin, to Alexanderplatz, the old center of East Berlin. Let me tell you, the U-bahn put the MBTA to shame. The trains were on time, they were clean, and they were well designed. Everything you would want in public transportation. 

Once in Alexanderplatz, our first priority was to get German sim cards, as we did not have wifi in our apartments, and I cannot live without instagram/snapchat/twitter, I just can’t. After much frustration, most of it brought on by a lack of understanding of the language, we finally got our sim cards installed and working. Alexanderplatz was really not what I expected, it was extremely touristy and a center for all types of shopping. It felt like a very large outdoor mall. We were all extremely hot and jetlagged, so we headed back to the apartments so we could nap. It may have been the best nap of my entire life, cut short by dinner plans unfortunately, but it felt so nice to finally sleep. 

The next morning, Paris and I decided to explore the city a bit by ourselves. We took the U-bahn to the Holocaust Memorial, where we walked around and took in the amazing public art. However, it was really hot, so we needed air conditioning or shade ASAP. Being Sunday, everything in Berlin is closed, so we settled for shade in the Tiergarten - the main public garden in Berlin. It was definitely a nice change of pace. We ended at the top of the garden at the Reichstag building, the German parliament building, where we got back on the U-bahn and headed to Mauerpark, a large open flea market north of Mitte. 

We walked through the market, and then met up with Ben and his friend who were there to watch public karaoke. Yes, public karaoke. It was totally awesome. This random British guy, every Sunday at 3PM, sets up speakers, a laptop and a mic and people gather in an amphitheater to perform and watch karaoke. While I did not perform, I don’t do karaoke outside of Our House or Hong Kong, it was such an amazing experience. After a few hours, a sunburn, and a layer of dirt caked onto my arms and legs, we left Mauerpark and went back to our apartments where we grabbed dinner at a local Thai place. 

I came into this trip with much anxiety regarding whether or not I would enjoy Berlin, and while it’s definitely a different type of European city, I think it’s going to be an amazing five weeks. I’ll be sure to keep in touch. 

#mint

Working 65 hours a week PLUS taking a class means I have absolutely no time to cook lunch or dinner, there's been a lot of grubhub-ing recently. So I decided to do some much needed meal prep early this week. I made some Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatiki sauce, grilled artichokes, and did some salad prep. But the most exciting part, was that I finally harvested my mint plant!

A few weeks ago, I decided to do some urban gardening, and bought a mint plant. Now, let me tell you, I know nothing about gardening, so I went in VERY much blind. After a few weeks of tender love and care, aka watering it daily, I finally harvested it! I only took half of the leaves off, because I was a bit nervous, but they smelled wonderful - the whole apartment was minty fresh! 

I decided that I really wanted to make a mint mojito, but per our lack of rum, I made a hard mint lemonade and it was amazing. I chopped up the mint, releasing some of the oils, and placed them into an ice cube tray, filling it with water. A few hours, the cubes were ready to be used! I mixed 6oz of Nantucket Nectars lemonade with 2oz of Keel Vodka over 5-6 mint infused ice cubes and garnished with a lemon slice. It was the perfect after work drink. 

Cape & ACK

This past weekend, Anna, Beth, Jamie & I booked our first Airbnb, and traveled down to Falmouth, MA for a few days. Our house was absolutely gorgeous. Think typical salt withered shingling, hydrangeas, and an all white interior. We were in love. And the best part, is that it was steps away from a private beach.

We arrived late Friday night, and pretty much unpacked and went right to sleep. We woke up Saturday morning, made some pancakes, and headed to the beach. It was such a beautiful day, almost too beautiful as all four of us got incredibly sun burnt. I'm talking BRIGHT red. That night, we made frozen margaritas and chicken tacos and ate on the deck. It was another relatively early night, as we had to wake up wicked early the next morning in order to catch the ferry to Nantucket. 

Sunday, we were up super early, and out the door by 8, on the ferry by 9, and on Nantucket by 11. The ferry was a bit rough, waves and sunburn don't exactly get along. But it was totally worth it. I fell in love with the island the moment we stepped off of the boat. We shopped down the main streets, spending a good amount of time at the In the Pink store, Murrays and NRO. We grabbed a quick lunch, then headed over to grab some ice cream from The Juice Guys. It was definitely worth the wait, it was incredible. We then made our way back to the ferry and boarded at 5!

Now, we thought this would be the end to our weekend, but that was not the case. The moment we got back to Hyannis, it started torrentially down pouring. I mean like A LOT of rain was going on. We drove about a 1/2 an hour before we decided it was not safe to continue. We got off the highway in Plymouth, and bunkered down at the Plymouth Marriott. We were the only people there. I mean, who stays in Plymouth Massachusetts on a Sunday night? We definitely made the best of it, spending some time in the pool and hot tub, suffering through the sun burn pain. 

The next morning, we were on our way back to the bean, making a yummy pitstop at iHOP (my first visit there ever!). Overall, it was such an incredible weekend and I cannot wait to go back to Nantucket in a few weeks!

The Vineyard

Last weekend, Emma and I traveled down to Martha's Vineyard. It was maybe a bit adventurous just as a day trip, but we decided to do it anyways. We boarded the ferry out of Wood's Hole, and we were on the vineyard within the hour. Once on the island, we explored Oak Bluffs a bit, but soon boarded the bus to Edgartown. Once in Edgartown, we shopped around, grabbed lunch at the Atlantic, and sat on the beach near the Brant Point Lighthouse. We were back on the ferry by six, so overall a short day, but an amazing one nonetheless. 

Marblehead Day Trip

This past weekend, Emma, Bailey and I took a quick roadtrip up to Marblehead, Massachusetts. We may or may not have stopped at not one, but two targets on the way to check out if they had any #LillyForTarget swag, they didn't, so we left each disappointed. Anyways, Marblehead....it was great. We grabbed lunch at this oceanside place called The Landing - we each got their "award winning" clam chowder and man did it deserve the title. It had fresh cracked pepper, bacon AND corn in it - all great additions to a typical bowl of clam chowder. After our lunch, we walked around the town, grabbed some ice cream and headed home to the city. Overall, it was such a great break from Boston, even though it was only for a few hours. 

A Weekend In Ptown

This weekend I jumped at the chance to get out of the city for a long weekend and ferried over to Provincetown! My roommate and I spontaneously booked a few nights at an absolutely amazing B&B called the Lands End Inn - their website might look questionable, aka not designed great, but in this case, don't judge a book by its cover. It was the perfect home-base for our mini getaway. Each room had ocean views and were uniquely decorated. We stayed in the Gull Hill room, which was chock full of antiques and books, even a bird cage (sans bird)! Even more impressive than the breakfast, was the late afternoon wine and cheese spread. Paris and I made sure to make it back to the hotel by 5PM to grab a glass (or two) and watch the sun set from their fabulous deck (see view below). 

Our first day there, we strolled up and down Commercial Street, stopping into every single store along the way. We decided to grab a quick lunch at the Mayflower Diner before continuing on our shopping marathon. That night we decided to forego dinner, and grab apps at John Dough instead! 

The next morning, we went on an 11 mile hike through the dunes to the race point lighthouse. We were literally at the tip of the cape, and it was insane. We were the only people for miles, and it was gorgeous. Worth the stumbling and falling over rocks to get there! That night, we ventured back to Commercial St. and ate at the Lobster Pot, where Paris had her first lobster ever (crazy, I know!). 

Our 7AM alarm Monday morning was not welcomed warmly, but we begrudgingly made our way back to the wharf and boarded our ferry home!

 

Apples & Rockport

This past weekend, I had the fabulous opportunity to get outside the city for the day and explore the port towns north of Boston! We first stopped in Manchester By The Sea, an adorable town of 5,000 with gorgeous sprawling cliff views of the harbor. We then traveled up to Ipswich, stopping at Russell's Apple Orchard, where we picked/ate our way through the apple orchard. 30 pounds of apples later, we headed down to Rockport, where we shopped around the little nautical town. People who know me know that I am ALL about nautical things - decor, clothing, objects etc....so I had a field day. I might have overspent on buoys for my new room, but we don't have to talk about that. Overall, it was so incredibly amazing to get out of Boston, even just for a day. 

You're looking at your newest Whale Rep!

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my closet is primarily made up of two clothing brands - Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer. I literally live and breathe the Vineyard Vines lifestyle, so that being said, when I found out a couple of weeks ago via Vineyard Vines' twitter that they were accepting video applications to be a collegiate brand representative, a "Whale Rep", I jumped on the opportunity. 

A few weeks later, I received a "Congratulations!" email and I literally screamed (pretty sure the whole neighborhood could hear). I'm super excited to represent such an amazing brand next year! Here's the video they sent us announcing the reps!

 

Summers on the Shore

I truly have the best summers.

I'm not saying this to brag, but they're just amazing. I grew up, and my parents grew up, and my parents parents grew up summering on the CT shore, Point O' Woods and Black Point to be specific. I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

When I was little, I used to dream of going to sleep away camp, all of my friends were doing it, and at the time, I was jealous. Looking back, boy was I wrong. Point O' Woods is summer camp, and more. I spend every day with my family and friends - laying on the beach, jetting off in the boat, playing cards on the porch, watching movies on the beach or swimming to the raft. 

I'm sure my Instagram followers are thissss close to unfollowing me because I post so many pictures of Point O' Woods (POW), but I really cannot resist, everything is too insta-able. 

I wish I was blogging more often this summer, but honestly, I've taken a much needed break from my computer, didn't even bring it to the beach house with me! 


Delta Zeta National Convention

Well, I'm back in the land of burritos and iced coffee, and while Italy was absolutely amazing, it feels good to be back....well kinda.

This past week, I jetted off to Tucson, Arizona where I represented the Northeastern Xi Upsilon Chapter at the biannual Delta Zeta National Convention. After arriving to the small Tucson airport quite late Tuesday night, I cabbed it over to the JW Starr Pass Marriott where I would be staying for the next week. For being in a desert, the views from the resort were absolutely amazing. 

The next morning I donned my best blazer and statement necklace and got to work. The whole week consisted of formal  business meetings, where we discussed and voted on changes made to our national documents. It was truly an eye-opening experience and I got to see a whole other side to Delta Zeta than I had ever seen. 

I met some extraordinary sisters from across the nation and really benefitted from hearing what they had to say about their own chapters. OH! And also our chapter won the national award for new member education, which was a really big deal! I got to meet the National President and everything.

I'm now writing from the Tucson airport as I am 3 hours early for my flight (I'm always early) and while it was a life-changing week, I cannot wait to get out of the 110 degree heat!

Our Weekend in Trieste

So last weekend, Ramin and I decided to get away from Venice for the weekend and headed to Trieste, a port town on the Eastern border of Italy. We arrived Friday night via train, found our hotel, walked around a bit and turned in early. 

Saturday morning, we met up with a group of students traveling to Trieste for the day and made our way to the Miramare Castle. It was about a 5 mile walk down the shore along Trieste’s sandless beaches. We stopped halfway to grab some lunch at Trattoria Pescaria, where everyone (but myself) had really great seafood (#FishAreFriendsNotFood). When we finally arrived at the castle it was raining a bit, but we were still super pumped. The views were absolutely amazing. It was surrounded by water on three sides, and the grounds consisted of beautiful gardens. Ramin and I stayed a bit longer than the rest of the group, then took a bus back, stopping midway to visit the Vittoria Lighthouse. We climbed up the hill, then up the lighthouse and the views were insane - it was a 360 of all of Trieste. 

Ramin and I made our way back to our hotel, changed out of our sweaty clothing, and then headed out to dinner. The entire city was absolutely INSANE. There were hundreds of thousands of people everywhere. It was a city wide party. Music and people everywhere. We grabbed some pasta near the main square and then joined the party for a bit (I even got a free hat). On our way home, we stopped for gelato and it was the best gelato I’ve ever had ever…I’m not even sure what flavor it was but it was delicious.

The next morning, we hopped on a bus and headed to the Grotta Gigante, the largest public cave in the world. It was about a 30 min bus ride, up the mountain….it wasn’t the best bus ride in the world to say the least. However, it was totally worth it. The cave was incredible. I expected a small, little, claustrophobic cave but it was massive. No pictures or videos can do it justice. It was about a 500 step climb down and then 500 back up.

That afternoon we headed back to the train station, hopped on the 3:30 train and was back on the island two hours later!

Firenze

Sunday morning, most of the class headed to Florence. Ramin and I opted for the 9:30 train (instead of the 6:30 one we did last year) and got into the city two hours later at 11:30. We first walked over to the Academia to see if we could get tickets to see the David as they were sold out online, but unfortunately the line was absolutely crazy, so we made our way over to the Ponte Vecchio to grab some lunch at Buca dell’orafo, the amazing restaurant we discovered last year. Unfortunately, since it was Sunday, it was closed. So we found a cute outdoor restaurant called Celestina right over the bridge where I had some amazing tortellini with bolognese and peas. At this point, it was piping hot and the sun was right overhead, so we were struggling a little bit…

After lunch, Courtney, Alexa, Aileen, Nicole, Megan, Elaine, Josh, Ramin and I headed over to the Boboli Gardens. They were stunning. It was a nice change of pace from the cities we’ve been in for the past couple of weeks. At the top of the hill were spectacular views of the entire city.

We then walked back across the city, over the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo. Ramin and I had visited it last year, but it was just as incredible. Unfortunately, the dome was closed, so we couldn’t climb to the top, but it was a worthwhile visit nonetheless. 

Then it was segway time. So last year, Ramin, Sam and I rented segways and segwayed all over the city. It was one of our favorite things we did, so Ramin and I decided that we had to do it again. So all seven of us got on our segways and took Florence by 15mph storm. The best part were the looks we got - it’s not an everyday occurrence to see seven college-aged kids zooming around on segways, but it was worth every penny.

Nicole, Alexa, Megan, Aileen, Court and I wanted to go shopping for a bit, so we broke off from the group and hit up the main drag towards the train station. I bought a really nice leather wallet and a few souvenirs so it was a successful shopping trip. 

Then the rain came. And I don’t mean a sprinkle or two. No. Downpour. Absolute downpour. We took shelter under a little panini cart for a bit, but we knew we had to get to the train station soon or else we’d miss our train. It showed no signs of stopping so we literally sprinted in our dresses over to the train station. We were soaking wet, but we had time to grab a quick dinner (at McDonald’s….no judging) before we boarded our train.

Highlights of the past week: a summary

This week has been absolutely crazy (in the best way possible). We’ve had a bunch of photo and art history classes, we traveled to Burano and Florence, watched the Lizzie Mcquire movie (per our trip to Rome), ate some great chinese food and spent a day at the beach. 

We’ll start with Burano. So Burano is probably my favorite place in the Venetian lagoon. Each house is legally obligated to paint its exterior a vibrant color, different from its neighbor. This creates a rainbow of houses lining each canal. It’s absolutely beautiful. We arrived via vap at 11ish, walked around for a bit, and then made our way over to the Gatto Nero, one of the most famous restaurants on the island. We ate some great spaghetti bolognese and then headed out for some more shooting and exploring. We took the vap back at around 3ish and spent the rest of the afternoon editing and napping. That night, Ramin and I were invited over to our professor Andrea’s apartment over by St. Mark’s for some homemade dinner. It was fabulous. She made us some much needed vegetables as well as killer tortellini and honey soaked strawberries. Oh we also did some yoga with her - fun fact, Ramin is possibly the most inflexible person I’ve ever met.

Florence totally deserves its own post, so I’ll get to that later.

The other night, the whole group went out to dinner to a chinese restaurant, called Chinese Restaurant (original right). I know it seems weird to be eating chinese food in Italy, but we’re all a little tired of the constant pizza and pasta. I got some rice and then fried gelato for dessert, it was pretty bomb.com. 

Friday morning, Megan and I headed back to the Lido for a relaxing day at the beach. We shopped around for a bit, stopping at OVS for some new harem pants. We were there for most of the day, and finally built up the courage to swim in the Adriatic. It was a bit cold….but really nice at the same time.

Last night, Courtney, Ramin and I made our way over to Alfredo’s, a to-go pasta place near St. Mark’s. They make homemade pasta and sauce and serve it in chinese to-go containers. We sat and ate it on a nearby bridge, as you’re supposed to eat it right away.

First Day in Venice (pt II)

Yesterday was our first full day in Venice and I’m so incredibly happy to finally be here! At breakfast, I was reunited with the Don coffee machine and it was the best moment of my life. 

As a class, we took the vap from the Zattere over to the Giudecca where we visited the Sebastiao Salgado show at the Tre Oci. His work consisted of beautiful large format, silver gelatin prints separated into categories based on continent. They were absolutely incredible. His use of landscape and animals to create texture and form was mind blowing. 

For lunch, Nathan and I walked over to Da Gino’s, my favorite panini place just around the corner, and then over to Saint Marks before photo class. We then had our first photo class in the classroom where the basics class learned how to import and edit their photos using bridge.

After a quick nap sesh, a large group of us headed over to San Trovaso and where I ordered Ramin and my go to pasta - pesto spaghetti. Then it was Campo Santa Margherita time. It was Ashlyn’s 21st birthday, so the whole crew, including the Andrea’s came out to celebrate. It was the first time we’ve really got to relax and chill as a group so it was super fun. 

This morning we’re off to the Lido, so more to come tonight!

Our First Days In Rome

Today we started our day off with a lecture from Scott at the AIA then we started our walking tour. We first visited the Torre Argentina, famous for being the place where Julius Caesar was murdered and recently famous for being home to over 200 cats. Would’ve been the perfect day for a telephoto….

We then made our way to the Pantheon, one of the most iconic structures in Rome, where we learned about its construction and usage. Supposedly on the Eucharist, the firefighters in Rome stand on the roof and drop rose petals through the opening in the dome, recreating a symbolic visual of fire. It’s incredible to imagine that the Romans could have built such an amazing structure without so much of the technology we have today. We also checked out a Renaissance church with an amazing perspectival fresco painted on the ceiling. It reminded me so much of all the churches we visited in Venice last year and made me super excited to go back there in just a few days.

After a quick lunch break at this “American” restaurant called Top Bar and Grill, which had only been open for five days, we headed to San Clemente and met Anthony, where we toured the basilica that was built on top of 3 different structures. It has been recently excavated so we got to journey into the multiple stories below. We walked through a 1st century church, a Roman mint, and the home of a Roman nobleman - all underground! It was possibly the coolest thing ever. Now, I’m definitely a bit claustrophobic so it was a bit tough in that regard, but it was so amazing to be walking through these ancient structures underground. Surreal in a way. 

After a walk+bus ride back to our hotel, we found this great little hole in the wall restaurant where a bunch of us got a super cheap multi-course meal. Our waiter was the most adorable old man and kept trying to teach us bits and pieces of Italian. 

Looking forward to hitting up the Trevi Fountain and Spanish steps tomorrow!

Day One: We're finally here!

We finally landed in Rome after a quick layover in Munich. We’re staying at B&H in the Jewish Ghetto. The rooms are great - they’re small apartment style rooms with awesome overlooking the street. As a group we headed down to a local restaurant for some spaghetti with cheese and pepper (a supposed must-have in Rome). Our day starts super early tomorrow so we’re off to bed. Ciao a domani!