Rome – Italian Recap Part 3 of 3

Leaving Positano would have been much more devastating if it had been the last leg of our trip, lucky for us we headed to Rome! The train from Napoli to Roma was gorgeous, just being able to ride and look out of the windows at Italian mountains and countryside was such a treat. Although I am usually a fall right to sleep in cars and airplanes type of girl, I wouldn’t have even considered missing out on the views by train in Italy.

We arrived easily in Roma and headed to our apartment. In a bonehead move from Roma Termini we did not pay attention to the fact that the taxi driver did not turn the meter on and way over charged us to get to our apartment. It was the first time I felt like a naive, American tourist. Oh well, guard was back up. 

Travel tip: Make sure your cab driver always has the meter on, unless it’s a set rate. Pay attention, folks.  

Luckily I was over the expensive taxi as soon as we stepped into our perfect apartment.  

We were in the Ponte neighborhood of Rome near Piazza Navona and within walking distance to so many things: the Pantheon, Vatican City, Campo di Fiore, etc. Plus the neighborhood was fabulous. It felt a little bit like New York’s West Village, full of small coffee shops, antique stores, boutiques, pizza places, bars, restaurants, etc. I was in heaven.   


After settling into our apartment we walked to meet Angel Tours for their “golf cart tour.” Ok this sounds and was touristy but it was a very small group, six of us, and we totally embraced it. We were able to see so much of Rome, a geographically very large city, that we would have never seen on our own. Coming from an early morning trip from Positano riding along was perfect for us. The tour started in the Borghese Gardens, and was part walking and part riding.  I would recommend it to anyone on their first day in Roma. We were able to see Piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso, Piazza Venezia, St. Peter’s Square, Gianicolo Hill,  Isola Tiberina, Mouth of Truth, Circus Maximus, and look through the “key hole.” I can’t tell you what that is because it will give the surprise element away but it was really neat, and we definitely would have never found that on our own. Not to mention we were learning so much about Roman history the entire time. 

Travel tip: Book tours ahead of time and if at all possible, only set one big item per day so you will actually appreciate it instead of being “toured out.” 


 After this tour Grant and I went for drinks at a bar that was recommended to us by the apartment owner as well as our tour guide called Scholar’s Pub. It was the first of the funny Irish pubs we found in Rome and we both loved it. From Scholar’s we circled back to our apartment then walked a couple of blocks to da Francesco for dinner. da Francesco came recommended from several of our friend’s and it was a good, casual, inexpensive spot for dinner. We sat outside and loved taking in more of our neighborhood while in Rome. We ordered a pizza and the pasta cacio e pepe to split.  

Travel tip: The lighting in many restaurants is very different than what we have come to expect in America. If you walk into a restaurant that you thought was supposed to be nice but the lighting is harsh and bright do not be surprised or discouraged. 



For our first full day in Rome we grabbed an early lunch at the very casual, sandwich shop, LikeAt Grant got the sandwich of the day which was some sort of schnitzel and it was delicious, I was comparing mine to a sandwich that I had eaten in Firenze and there was no contest, but it was still a great easy spot. Sandwiches, pizza, pasta, wine on repeat. PTL for all of the walking.  

We walked to the Vatican taking in sights of the Castle Sant’Angelo and the Tiber River. I love that Rome is such a huge city but has lots of greenery and water running through it. It’s funny to cross the river and be in Vatican City, a country, state and city of it’s own.   

We used Angel Tours again for our tour of the Vatican, and I am so thankful that we did. This place is huge and would have been very overwhelming with out a guide. We were in a group of twelve people and used headsets and the whole bit, but it was very helpful and informative. I booked the three hour tour and it was the shortest tour of the Vatican that I could find – that sounds awful I know, but some of these tours took up the entire day. Three hours was perfect. We saw the Vatican Museum and courtyard plus the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica. I cannot say enough about the Sistine Chapel. It was crowded, but incredible. Our tour guide did a great job telling us all about it and different things to look for before we went inside, because no talking is allowed. No pictures are allowed either; it was nice to actually look at something without looking at it through the lens of my camera (… by camera I mean my phone). After spending time in the Sistine Chapel we went into Saint Peter’s Basilica and that was amazing, but at this point after a week in and out of ornate churches it felt a little similar to the other gorgeous cathedrals that we had seen. If Roma had been our first stop I know I would have been in awe of this cathedral the way I was in Florence and Sienna.

 After leaving Saint Peter’s we embraced the fountains and sites on the square. Then we went into the Vatican post office to buy and mail postcards to family. Post cards are always something I buy and never actually send. Since Vatican City had it’s very own little post office right on Saint Peter’s Square it was nice being able to go ahead and knock this out.

Following our afternoon at the Vatican it was time for… drinks! You guessed it, we went to Abbey Theatre Irish Pub (yes, another Irish Pub in Italy – bizarre, I know). Abbey Pub was perfect: a small bar in the heart of “our neighborhood” near Piazza Navona. I loved that it had great open windows for looking out into the world and not feeling like you are “just” in a bar. It was also just across the street from Fridgidarium, a very popular gelato spot known for serving “dipped” gelato.  

This evening we took a taxi to Piazza Barberini to explore a bit before our reservation at Osteria Barberini. Several of our friends recommended this spot and it may have been our very best meal in all of Italy (or at least tied with da Adolfo in Positano). Truffles galore. Crostini with truffle to begin, chianti classico preserve, lasagne for Grant and the best pasta of all time for me – Tagliolini Al Tartufo Bianco. I did not want this meal to end. I have always liked and appreciated truffles but don’t obsess over them the way some people do, but this meal and pasta gave me a new appreciation for fresh white truffles in truffle season in Italy. Omg. To round out the evening we split the tiramisu. 

Next we headed to a bar that Grant had been curious about since we arrived in Rome, The Ice Bar, he saw an advertisement for this place and was dying to check it out. It was a hysterical, tourist trap — similar to those in all big cities that were popular 10 years ago. But Rome had been unseasonably hot and the Ice Bar was cold with excellent vodka cocktails, so was a big hit with one of us. All ice everything. It was really fun and funny, but no I do not necessarily anyone searching this out to give it a try.   


On our last day in Roma we walked to Campo di Fiore. I loved this market so much. Seeing all of the fresh flowers, harvest bounty, people watching and interactions. I could have stayed here for hours. Instead we wandered through for a bit and then headed towards the Colosseum.    


I wish I would have booked a tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum through Angel Tours. They made things so easy. Instead Grant and I got to the Colosseum and were overwhelmed by the lines and amount of people. I tried listening to my handy dandy Rick Steves’ audio guides here, which worked well in Florence but not for this. There was just too much going on. We wandered around for a bit then walked through the Roman Forum then checked both of those off of the list. Old, crumbling, cool and sad (like the whole gladiator thing, still so sad and foreign to me!). 

Travel tip: If you want to really see and learn about he Colosseum and Roman Forum book a tour of these.


From the Colosseum we headed back towards our house to try true Roman style pizza at da Baffetto. We had heard there would be lines, but lucky for us we were there for a late lunch and it only took us 5 minutes to get a seat. I loved the pizza here! In Rome pizza crust is very thin and you eat your pizza with a fork and knife. I ordered the vegetarian pizza with eggplant, zucchini and squash blossoms (sounds sort of crazy but I needed a break from salted meat) and it was amazing! Grant ordered his with sausage, mushrooms and onion, and it too looked delish.

 We headed back to our apartment to have a quick nap, then had a glass of wine and packed. After packing we set out in the direction of dinner at Cul de Sac and spent time in Piazza Navona, people watching and taking in the fountains. I am obsessed with all of the fountains in Rome. We need more fountains, Nashville! Cul de Sac was a great, small little restaurant and wine bar. It would be great for lunch or dinner if you are near Piazza Navona, you should definitely stop in and have at least one of their glasses of wine.

We left for the airport on Saturday morning, and I think I had tears in my eyes. Thank goodness for going home to our little pup or I may have never returned. Our vacation took a lot of planning and with the help of so many friends’ suggestions we loved every single bit of it. I am already daydreaming about where we will go next.

Ciao bella!



Positano – Italian Recap Part 2 of 3

On Sunday morning we woke up and took the train from Florence to Naples.

Travel tip: everyone says Naples is sketchy, so be aware. Wear your cross body purse in front of you, make sure any men have their wallets on their chest or just not in the back pockets, etc. Do not let anyone take your bag from you to “help” because they will then demand money. We were prepared for all of this and had no problems at all – but just be aware.

From Naples we had a driver pick us up and drive us to our place in Positano. Our driver, Guitano from Positano, was a character – so fun and nice. He pointed out the sights from Naples to the Amalfi Coast like Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius and was one of very few people who grew up in Positano. We heard all sorts of fun stories about the famous people he has worked with through the years, and it was entertaining to say the least. Just the train and drive alone were gorgeous, but arriving into Positano is like pulling into dreamland. Positano is exquisite – most “pinned” destination in the world, yada yada – but it is worth the hype, folks. Disclaimer: other people have heard this too, and there will be more tourists than you may expect, but there are places to escape the crowds. 

 After arriving in Positano, we went out exploring and wandered down to Spiaggia Grande, the main beach, getting a lemon granita in the land of lemons and popping in and out of a couple of shops and having a pair of sandals made. 

Travel tip: Get sandals made while on the Amalfi Coast. I got mine from Safari Club, and those folks have it down to a science. For about 60 euros you can choose your type of sandals.  They will fit them to your feet, and they will be ready in less than an hour – perfect, usable, and an easy to pack souvenir. 

The most beautiful shop I saw while in Positano was the Emporium at Le Sirenuse. It is located across the street from the hotel and has world renowned perfumes and caftans. I bought a hat but am already requesting perfume for Christmas. The floors alone at Le Sirenuse and their store are exquisite.   

Grant and I sat at a beach bar and people watched for an hour. One blogger was having her photographer/boyfriend take pictures of her on the beach, and while I fully get it, it was thoroughly entertaining to watch the process. Like this girl changed bikinis under her coverup then switched coverups, get it girl – two “looks” in one shoot – an hour of entertainment for me and three thousand “likes” for her, I assume.

  We stopped by a market and grabbed a couple of things for our apartment then headed back up the mountain to Le Sirenuse for apertivo. If I could have cocktails and watch the sunset from this place at least once every five years it would be incredible. The drinks and snacks were delicious, and the sun setting over the town of Positano, the mountain, and the ocean was just exquisite.

 We continued back up towards our apartment and made our last stop of the evening at Bar Bruno. Bar Bruno came recommended to us by friends and locals alike.  Most of it’s tables are set up on the sidewalk under little umbrellas.  The waiters, clad in all white, dart between traffic to deliver fresh, fabulous seafood dishes. We ordered their seafood pasta with clams and mussels and shrimp in a light, garlicky tomato sauce, and the evening ended with a limoncello toast with a three minute stroll home–the perfect first day in Positano. 


On our second day in Positano it was a rainy morning so we took advantage of the fact that we were on the beach vacation part of our trip and slept in. It felt nice to rest, and once up we headed to Fornillo Beach, the smaller of the two main Positano beaches.  It is a 10 minute walk from the main dock at Spiaggia Grande, and the walk itself is so pretty.

Travel tip: In Positano there are steps everywhere you will go as the town is literally built into the side of a mountain. The distances are not far, but there are hundreds and hundreds of steps. As long as you pack the right shoes, you will be totally fine! I wore Birkenstock Gizeh sandals, and they were perfect and easy to wear on steps and in town.  Plus they were perfect for the rocky beaches too.

 We found ourselves at another recommend spot, da Ferdinando, and stayed for hours. It was the perfect little stabilimento. These are little beach clubs that have chairs, umbrellas, food, drinks, and bathrooms. Finding one of these is definitely the way to go when traveling to Positano if you want beach time. Compared to these beach clubs on Spiaggia Grande, any stabilimento on Fornillo Beach will be a little more casual, less expensive, and far less crowded – which is the real appeal. The drinks at da Ferdinando were excellent. My very favorite was called the Tricky Tricky which was lemon granita with vodka and mint – Italian beach drink heaven.  


After the afternoon at da Ferdinando we made the long stroll back to our apartment, finding a private little cove on the way to put our feet back in the ocean and put our selfie stick to use without being embarrassed. It was amazing to be so secluded in such a popular, little beach town.

 That night we had dinner at L’Anchora; it was good with gorgeous views with the lights from town twinkling on the dark ocean. Grant ordered the cannelloni, which he loved, and I ordered the seafood risotto. 

Saving the best for last, we woke up ready for a day at Da Adolfo. We called the day we arrived in Positano to reserve our chairs and lunch reservation. The boat with a red fish on its mast starts taking trips from the main dock at Spiaggia Grande at 10am. I recommend going on the 10am boat and planning to stay for the entire day–you will not regret it. The red fish boat will take you on a 15 minute trip to the small beach and restaurant. It’s a treat just to get out on the water.  

As soon as you step off of the boat, you will see the small little shack that is Da Adolfo, but do not fear. Enjoy the private beach, take a dip in the sea, and lounge on your beach chairs until lunch is served at 1 o’clock. We even watched the fisherman take his large white ice chest from his boat straight up to the kitchen. The staff alone made for perfect entertainment and people watching.

Once we sat down for lunch we started with sangria (which was cold, cold white wine with peaches in the perfect ceramic pitcher), grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves,  and muscles in the most perfect tomato, lemony, garlic sauce. Then followed by spaghetti alle vongole and grilled fish. It was a long, perfect feast just feet off of the beach. Grant still says this was the best food we had during our entire trip.  

After lunch we spent the remaining hours of the afternoon between our beach chairs and the sea. The water was cold but felt great and refreshing. If we had done this on our first day, I would have booked another day at Da Adolfo. I recommend this meal and experience to any and everyone. Around 4 o’clock we took the red fish boat back to town then made the trek from the dock to our apartment.

Once back to our apartment, we showered and packed to get ready for our early morning drive to Naples. After packing we headed back out for one last night at Le Sirenuse. We went to their champagne and oyster bar.

 Grant had been dying to check out Music on the Rocks, so we walked down to the beach and towards Positano’s one discoteca. When we arrived they told us that it did not open until 11pm… and it was 9:30. Like oh right, we can’t hang. We walked through the empty bar and headed upstairs for one last drink and view of town, laughing about how when we were 24 the discoteca would have been awesome. Damnit. It was a cool cave with crazy lights, so if you are young or if you hadn’t had a long day in the sun this may be worth checking out. We took our one last hike from the beach to our apartment and laughed at ourselves the entire way.

Then we were off to Roma!


Florence – Italian Recap Part 1 of 3

Later this year I turn 30, and I decided this would be my big year of travel!  Lucky for me, my husband was totally on board.  We knew we wanted to go to Europe, and after a lot of research and discussions, we decided to explore around Italy.  My parents took a similar trip about 30 years ago, and one weekend when Grant and I were at my parent’s home, they pulled out a box of pictures, maps, and itineraries from their trip to Italy in the 80’s.  It was so much fun going through it with them!

I reached out to so many friends and other bloggers for all of their tips and favorites for our itinerary of Florence, Positano, and Rome as we started our planning. I am so very thankful for the time they put in to send me their information because it takes serious effort, and our trip would not have been the same without their suggestions. Since their tips were so very helpful I knew, I wanted to try to keep notes during our trip and be able to share our favorites as well.


We found a decent price on round trip tickets to and from Rome so we left from Nashville with a stop in Atlanta then off to Rome. If you ever find yourself in the international terminal at ATL be sure to stop by One Flew South for a drink and appetizer which is where,Grant and I officially kicked off our vacation.

Once we arrived in Roma we successfully took the train from FCO to Firenze SMN, navigating trains, and finally we landed in Florence. Then we went to get the keys for the apartment we rented. It was near the Duomo, and was perfect for the two of us for four nights. A small studio apartment with a terrace that doubles the size of the studio. It looked out over the Duomo and was so nice to have a good bit of outdoor space in the middle of Florence. Plus being by the city’s center meant we never got lost.

Travel tip:  These two apps are must haves

  • Ulmon CityMaps2Go.  Get this for any cities you are planning to go. It was a     lifesaver!! Helped us get to and from our apartment, restaurants, museums, etc. without having to connect to WiFi.
  • Rick Steve’s Audio Europe.  Yes he is a goob, but this app is free and is full of tons of great, free information, walking tours, museum tours, etc. Just download the         specific ones you want to listen to before you leave and you will have it all whether or not you have WiFi.

After settling into our apartment, we set out to do one of the most touristy things of our entire trip, the double decker, Hop on Hop Off bus. It was late afternoon at this point, and we wanted to do something to get our bearings without exerting too much energy since we started to run on fumes from the overnight flight. I had fairly low expectations for this one hour bus route, but it was not crowded; the weather was gorgeous, and we went to places and saw views that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. So it was worth it and so nice to rest a bit while seeing our first taste of gorgeous Firenze. 

That night we opted for an easy, pizza spot that had been recommended to us – Gusta Pizza. It was on the other side of the Arno so we walked from our apartment and were able to take in the sights of the Ponte Vecchio at night which was a treat. Gusta Pizza was the perfect, casual first night spot. Incredible pizza and wine. This place was bustling, but just be prepared for super casual – plastic cups instead of wine glasses type of casual, but out of this world pizza (with wine for 15 euros – done and done.)


 The next day (our first full day in Florence) we messed up and slept in way too late.

Travel tip:  Beat the Jet Lag 

Upon arrival to a foreign country change your timezone manually if it doesn’t do so automatically and set your alarm for the next morning so you can get on their schedule – rookie mistake. We didn’t do this, I panicked at first but it ended up being ok.

We wandered over to Mercato Centrale and enjoyed perusing through the market on the first floor, tasting amazing samples, and buying wine to have on our balcony. Then we made our way upstairs for lunch. Upstairs is like an upscale food court full of a plethora of authentic Tuscan options. Grant got a pannino from one “station,” and I ordered bruscetta di buffala with tomatoes. It was heavenly. I already miss bruscetta with such fresh, good ingredients.


After lunch we poked through San Lorenzo market. I purchased a black leather clutch and a couple of scarves. As long as you have cash you can bargin, easily. We stopped in and out of little cafes and met a family friend of Grant’s for a drink at a funny, college-y bar near our apartment – JJ’s Cathedral. Then we changed for dinner and headed to Ristorante La Giostra.

La Giostra (need reservation) had been recommended to us by several people, and the setting was amazing – small, dark, candlelit. As our first “real” restaurant in Florence the ordering was hard and fast (later I realized this was the norm, but I was not quite prepared yet). We let our server select most things for us, and the carpaccio of grilled zucchini, tomatoes and parmigiana with pine nuts; papradelle with wild boar; and osso bucco were the shining stars of the meal. (People recommend the ravioli with pears here, but I was too flustered at the beginning to remember tidbits like this, darn! I also forgot to take pics here). We skipped dessert at dinner because I knew I wanted to stop for gelato on the walk home.

We woke up the following morning and went on a Best of Tuscany tour with Art’viva. There were 12 of us in a Mercedes van with our tour guide, Giuseppe, a nice, talkative, walking encyclopedia – the perfect tour guide. We went to Sienna, Monteriggioni, and San Gimmenano with at stop at a vineyard for lunch in between. The Tuscan countryside was gorgeous, but this daytrip was a bit touristy for me. Here is the rundown: Sienna was cool and very medieval. We learned a lot about the horse race and their neighborhood rivalries. Plus their Duomo was insanely gorgeous (go inside here to check out the floors alone), and we stopped by an idyllic little butcher so Grant could get a sandwich.              

Next we went to a tiny town of Monteriggioni. It was teeny, tiny but really cool to see such a small walled little community that rests atop of rows and rows of olive trees.

We headed to a vineyard for a tour of the wine making process and a lunch with wine pairings. My favorite thing I learned from this vineyard was about the DOGC label on Italian wines.

Travel/life tip: Selecting Italian wines

  • If selecting Italian wines look for DOGC on the label. DOGC means that, regardless of price, the wine has gone through the most strict regulations and guidelines in the industry, has been tasted by a committee, and is guaranteed to be from the region it states. The acronym is usually near the neck/cork of the bottle.

From our vineyard tour we went to San Gimmenano, the cutest and most touristy of all three towns. The views of the countryside from San Gimmenano are incredible, like everything you see in movies and read about in books. We stopped for gelato at the “gelato world champion’s” gelateria. It was the best gelato I had the entire trip, and eveyrone else wanted a taste because the line was long. I had raspberry with rosemary and limon and the combination was delicious.    

 After returning to Florence we went back to the apartment, regrouped, and headed out for dinner. We walked to Trattoria ZaZa, but the line was extremely long, and it started to rain so we popped into a small cafe. We split an order of bruscetta and a bottle of (DOGC) chianti, and called it a night. 

I warned Grant that our last day in Firenze would be a busy one and it was. We started our morning with Rick Steve’s Renaissance walking tour from the Duomo to the Uffizi, with a pitstop for a cappuccino. It was great to learn about the places we had walked by the past several days (originally we were meant to do this on the morning we slept in).

Travel tip: Buy tickets ahead of time

  • Buy your tickets for the Uffizi online before you leave for your trip and print out your voucher. We toured the gallery with the masses, but it was absolutely worth it. Again we used Rick Steve’s audio guide while in the museum, and it was perfect – plenty of information without being tied to a tour group.

The works of art here are mindblowing – Michelangelo, Rafael, Botticelli. Not to mention that the views from the Uffizi were gorgeous! Grant laughed that half of the gallery was dedicated to Mary in a blue dress, and I understood his sentiment. There were quite a few paintings of the Madonna with child, and yes, she did wear a blue dress in almost every one. 

 From the museum we grabbed a sandwich at I Due Frattellini. It will be hard to ever knock this sandwich off of it’s pedestal as my very favorite sandwich of all times. The bread and ingredients were both perfect. I ordered the No. 26 which contained bresola, arugula and caprino (soft goat cheese). For 8 euros we each got a sandwich and a water. This is basically a little walk up window where you order and either eat your panino on the curb or take it to go.   

We took our sandwiches across the Ponte Vecchio to the Boboli Gardens. The gardens were very large and full of lush, green hedges, pea gravel, statues, an amphitheater, and…bathtubs?


From here we walked back across the river to the Santa Croche and finally stopped for a little break and some wine.  

We wore our tennies and walked over ten miles this day, but needed that wine break. Wandering back towards our house we decided to go ahead and get packed up before we headed out for the evening.    

We went to the Westin Excellsior’s rooftop for a drink and to watch the sunset. There were a lot of American’s, but the sunset and the views from the rooftop were worth the cost of a couple of drinks (next time I would not order bottled water, that ended up costing 7 euros).  

From the Westin we walked to our final dinner reservation in Florence at the small and wonderful, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina (need reservation). This was the best meal and experience we had while we were in Firenze. It is a tiny wine bar and restaurant that truly only has about 20 seats. The three owners work almost every night and are all so helpful and informative. They helped us select our courses and wines. Dishes included – fried squash blossoms, some sort of egg, mushroom fondue wonderfulness and house made pastas each paired with the best wines I have ever tasted – not to mention is ended up being reasonable. Typing this out is embarrassing because it all sounds so rich, again thank goodness for all of the walking. If we had gotten to spend any more time in Florence I would have definitely come back to try their set lunch with wine pairings. I would recommend this restaurant to just about anyone, and am so appreciative of the recommendation. 

 Next stop, Positano! Ciao Bella.

Four Faves : Carry On Favorites

This week’s version of our favorites stems from my recent trip to Italy… There are actually eight items so I double the number of usual weekly favorites but I’m ok with this.

These are the items that I could not have made it without – yes, that dramatic. They are the edited down version of things I really used and was thankful for each and every one. Actual travel essentials.

Carry On Favorites –

  1. An over-sized scarf that can be used as a blanket on the plane, sarong on the beach and scarf when chilly. Be sure the one you choose for your trip that is the right weight and isn’t too bulky. Pictured: a Cynthia Vincent number that I have had for ages, but you can find great scarf/sarong/blankets all over if you keep you eye out for them.
  2. A cross body bag, with the right zippers and flaps so you are not an easy target for a pick pocket. It also should be small enough that if you carry on your luggage it can fit down in your “under the seat” bag. Pictured: a vintage Louis Vuitton from Tradesy.
  3. Travel size, Triple Sec 3-in-1 Spray by DryBar. This is the perfect product because it covers so many bases: texturizing, dry shampoo and volume. Check, check, check. Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1
  4. Emergen-C for when you feel a cold coming on or just need a little afternoon boost. Grant and I used all that I packed and we were so thankful for each one. Emergen-C Vitamin C Supplement 
  5. Beautycounter Rose Water Spray. Another one product many uses item. This bottle of magic spritz (small enough to be travel approved) can be used as some necessary mid-flight hydration, an afternoon pick me up and a makeup setting spray. Beautycounter Rose Water Uplifting Spray
  6. Compeed Blister Cushions. These things are excellent. I am prone to blisters and we walked miles and miles every day but using these helped me not get a single one while we were overseas! Hooray! I am a fan. I wish they could stay on the back of my heels forever. Compeed Blister Cushions Extreme
  7. Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen – This is the perfect sunscreen stick. I have melasma and most of the products I have tried in the past with zinc oxide have worked but  have also made my face look a peculiar shade of cakey-white-blue (sounds just as awful as it looked). But not this little miracle stick! It goes on clear, and is not greasy at all. Plus I never got sunburned and none of my lovely brownish-grey spots of melsama reared their little heads. Winner. Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen
  8. Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Facial Towelettes – These have a nice scent and come in the correct size for travel without worrying about bulk or potential ooze of a facewash. Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Facial Towelettes

Mini-Getaway to Leiper’s Fork

Two of my friends and I have talked about taking a day trip to Leiper’s Fork for months. Leiper’s Fork is a teeny town 25 minutes South of Nashville in Williamson County. We delayed the trip again and again for one reason or another then two weeks ago we decided to take off and go for a late lunch and to spend Friday afternoon exploring. It was SUCH a fun little escape.    

We started with lunch at Joe Natural’s, They have plenty of outside seating in the front and back and a dining room inside as well. We found a picnic table out back, sat down and persued the menu. Their menu changes daily, everything is made right then and made to order so it might take a while, but they will take good care of you during your wait. They graciously brought us frozen grapes and smoked Gouda popovers while we waited just to be accommodating.

We ordered two of their salads and their cheeseburger (which was more like a patty melt, yum!) to split. The burger was tasty, but I cannot talk enough about their amazing  salads! I’ve thought about them several times since our visit and will definitely be going back for just one of these.    

Joe Natural’s is only open from Friday-Sunday from 11am – 3pm, Saturday nights by reservation only. They’ve also just started doing a songwriters night on Thursdays that is BYOB, and they serve tapas and desserts. Puckett’s also has a Thursday night songwriter night as well so it sounds like it would basically a music filled block party on Thursday’s. Cannot wait to go back for this!

Other restaurant options that looked good are the original Puckett’s Grocery and Fly South (it’s owned by the folks who have Firefly in Greenhills).      


After lunch we browsed through antique shops, art galleries and independent boutiques. Some of the shops were affordable and some were not (well, not for me), but take time to look and be inspired. My favorite shops and galleries were:

Davis Arms – this is his gallery but also a very well curated shop of Southern goodness.        

The Copper Fox  

Leiper’s Creek Gallery – Exquisite art gallery; many types and all of which I would have loved to come home with me.  

West & Company – When you walk into West & Co you smell leather and goodness. This shop has a little bit of everything and is somewhere I know my husband or father would like to spend serious time (and money).  

Serenite Maison – This store reminds me a little bit of bigger version of White’s Mercantile in Nashville. Everything from fabulous smelling candles and lotions to French antiques to funky signs and leather goods.  

It was such a treat to feel like we were in the middle of nowhere, Mayberry. There are Adirondacks set up over looking rolling hills of green just inviting you to sit and slow down.      Take 1/2 of a day and lose yourself in this one block, gem of a town. You will not regret it.