Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Question of the Day

Because this map is making it's way all over the blogging world:

(Yes, this is my personal map)

I decided to do a Question of the Day around it.

Where is your favorite place/state that you've traveled in the United States? Make your answer as detailed as you want! I love hearing others' travel stories.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What I'm Loving

Just a short list of things currently on my Lovin' List.

1. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

I'd never heard of the group until I saw their performance on VH1 Divas Salute the Troops. I'm waiting until payday to buy a few albums of theirs on iTunes.

2. Coral Gardens Dress from Modcloth

I LOVE this dress and was so sad when I saw that it was out of stock. I'm praying it restocks soon so I can grab it up!

3. Buitoni Pasta (Frozen Meal)

I saw these at the commissary and every once in awhile when I'm lazy and forego eating Paleo I eat one. The chicken and mushroom ravioli is the best, but my tip is to forget the sauce. Just make your own, it's way better.

Friday, March 25, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Join in over at Wife of a Sailor!

1.What is your must have gadget?
My camera. I don't know what I'd do without it.

2.How does your adulthood compare to what you imagined it would be like when you were a little kid?
I thought I'd have a husband who was a combo of Ken/Prince Charming (not to say he isn't) Ha ha! And I thought I'd be a trapeze girl in the circus.

3.What is your favorite chocolate recipe?
My Mom makes fantastic Caramel bars that have chocolate in them. I'd post the recipe,but I'm not sure I actually have it.

4.How do you deal with military life when it gets to be to much or to hard?
I call my best friend. Even though she's not military, she's so understanding and she gives me the best advice. Sometimes I drink copious amounts of wine too, that always helps.

5.What piece of advice would you give a new Military spouse facing their first deployment?
Don't fight about small things, be independent and make some goals for yourself. That always makes a deployment easier/better in my opinion!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On The Radio

On Italian radio we get quite a mish-mash of current hits along with Italian favorites and obscure songs I've never heard of in my life.

First up?

Rebecca Black- "Friday"

I'm sorry, but this song AND video are awful. I feel bad for the girl, because the comments are downright mean on YouTube, but how this song even got made, I don't know. If you thought Ke$ha lyrics were badly written, you should listen to this song.

Maroon 5- "Pure Imagination"

I heard this for the first time today. I couldn't figure out who was singing this remixed version of the song from the movie Willie Wonka, but I found out it was Maroon 5. Odd.

Fabri Fibra- "Tranne Te" (Except You)

This is my favorite Italian song right now. It's so catchy! Basically the song title is "Except You" and although I can make out most of the lyrics, I don't know them enough to really explain the concept. Love the beat though!

Jimmy Bo Horne- "Spank"
Last, but not least, I heard this little gem leftover from the disco era several weeks ago. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy disco, but this song? Not so much.

I'd really like to know who decided this song would be a great one to make.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Identity Crisis

As some of you may know, Sean has been having troubles with his back for several years due to being Airborne and having a couple of bad jumps. It was so bad last year that he got sent home from the deployment early and since then he's been making almost monthly trips to Germany to try and fix the problem.

He went again this past week to have a procedure done (it's called an IDET) that would essentially melt part of his discs/nerves to help with pain. His main surgeon, whom we both like, said he'd like to try this before they explore actual surgery. Well, when Sean went in yesterday to have the IDET performed, they tried and then told him his discs were so torn and damaged that it was impossible. A different surgeon was performing this procedure and told Sean, "I think you just need to be medboarded). Even though that is not what was discussed for his treatment or what his main surgeon or the doctors here in Vicenza have thought would be the best course of action. To say I'm angry is putting it mildly. You don't jerk someone around for several years, finally saying you are going to do what it takes to fix a chronic problem and then just say they need to be released from the Army.

Sean is going to talk to his doctors here and see what they have to say, but I think yesterday was just the last straw for him. He'd talked about re-classing and staying in until it was time for him to retire, but I think now he's strongly considering going ahead with the medboard process and going back to college. I can't say that I blame him. He changes his mind a lot about this subject, so although he's talking about getting out, it's not 100% that's what he's going to do.

I'd also like to state for the record that I'm in favor of whatever my husband should decide, but I'm also kind of freaking out. I love the fact we'd probably go live in the nearest big city to our hometown and I'd be in the same state as most of my family and friends. I'm excited that there would be no more deployments and we'd finally get to buy a house. However, finding a decent job in the economy right now scares me and as ridiculous as this sounds, I'm worried about leaving the community of Mil-Spouses. I don't really define myself as an Army wife and honestly I don't blog that much about being a military spouse. I feel tied into the community itand if I'm not longer a military spouse, will I feel like an outsider? Will anyone want to read my blog anymore? I can't be New Girl on Post anymore and that feels weird to me.

I know this probably sounds ridiculous to some people, but the thought of taking such a big step and changing what I've been used to for the past 4 years is very scary to me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Barcelona: Pics and Commentary

Our second stop in Spain was to Barcelona. A few of my friends who had been there raved about it, but to be honest, I didn't like it as much as I liked Madrid. Don't get me wrong, it was still an interesting city with great food and lots to see, it just wasn't my favorite Spanish city. For one the smog was crazy. I haven't seen smog like that since I last went to Los Angeles.

The accommodations we stayed at in Barcelona were probably my second favorite of our trip. I found this place on and it's called Padilla Guest House. It was basically an apartment with about 5 different rooms, two bathrooms and a large kitchen. The kitchen was stocked with breakfast items and although the guesthouse was located farther to the north of the main tourist part, we were still only a couple of blocks from Sagrada Familia and the metro was two streets away. We also had a great variety of grocery stores and restaurants to chose from, but we found a tapas place that we loved so much that we went there every night we were in Barcelona.

This is Sagrada Familia, designed by Gaudi. It was started in 1882 and by the time Gaudi died in 1926, it wasn't even a quarter of the way finished. It's still not finished and they think it will be another 25 years before it is. It's amazing to look at, both inside and out.

Here is some of the detail on the Nativity facade side of the church

This is the inside of the church. I thought it was beautiful, one of the prettiest churches I've been in. However, I'm one of those people that doesn't like a lot of gold and gaudy stuff in churches, so others might not agree with me.

The first full day we were there we walked down Las Ramblas, checked out La Boqueria market and then walked around the harbor. The market was my favorite part, mainly because I love seeing all the different varities of fresh produce, meats, snacks and flowers. The only downside to the market was a gypsy tried to get in my bag while we were sitting down eating lunch, but she didn't end up getting anything and I was surprised how concerned the waitstaff was. They kept asking me if I was ok and if she took anything.

Fresh seafood at the market

This picture is too gross not to share. There were several meat booths in the market that had all kinds of body parts. Tongues, brains, livers and these delightful sheep heads with the eyes still in. Ew.

This is down by the waterfront. I'm not sure the signifigance of these two, but I found them interesting.

Parc Guell was the only other Gaudi sight we actually went into, we stopped by Casa Mila, but I didn't go inside as I found the admission price to be a bit high. Anyway, the park was very fun to walk through, it was originally planned to be a gated type community for the wealthy, but at the time none of the women wanted to move out there. So it's now a park and an interesting one at that. It had some great views of Barcelona.

This was a quieter area of the park and I just happened upon this guy with his guitar.

A church we passed in our travels around Barcelona

On our last day in Barcelona we went up to Montjuic for some views of the city and to see the Olympic Stadium from the 1992 games. They now use the stadium for soccer games, but it was still interesting to see what was leftover from the games. The tower in the picture was built for the 1992 games to transmit the coverage and is supposed to symbolize an athlete holding the Olympic Torch.

I saw this sign several times while we were in Barcelona and I couldn't help but laugh. Because every dog poops a small triangle. Right?

Loved this fountain on Montjuic

The top of Casa Mila, with the infamous statues.

I can't do a post and not include some delish food. These are polpitos (octopus) and they were phenomenal. We had them twice in Barcelona, plus a plate of Manchego cheese, jamon, patatas bravas, anchovies and grilled mushrooms. All fantastic. I really miss tapas.

Friday, March 18, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Join in over at Wife of a Sailor!

1.What are some of your ideas for staying connected with family…you know, those people we moved thousands of miles away from?
I call my parents a couple times of week and Skype with them usually once a week. I stay in touch with friends via Facebook and e-mail and sometimes I like to send fun things in the mail like little cards or postcards.

2.What’s the most romantic gift you have GIVEN?
Hmm..I made a photo book of our first three years of marriage for Sean. In my mind, that's romantic.

3.Would you encourage your child, if they came to you and wanted to join the military?
I wouldn't discourage them, but I'd tell them they really needed to research their decision and also talk to people who'd been in the military to give them a better idea of what they might be getting into.

4.What is your least favorite bill to pay and why?
Rent, because I think our rent is ridiculous for the place we live. Just one of my pet peeves about living overseas.

5.What is the proudest moment you’ve had as a military spouse?
When Sean came home for R&R last year, he was stopped in the airport by a man who shook his hand, thanked him for what he was doing and gave him all the money he had in his pocket. I don't think I've ever been so proud of Sean as I was at that moment.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Guest Blogging!

That's right, I'm guest blogging today for Beckie over at He's Take A Turn for the Nurse.

I'm discussing the best present Sean ever gave me (I swear it's not superficial) so go check it out if you have time.

Click here for the link!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm in Love!

With my beautiful new purse!

Last week a friend told me she went to a local purse factory store, (it's called Nicoli), and they were having big sales on last season's collection. Since I could care two hoots about whether something is "last season" I wanted to go check it out myself. She said all purses were marked down from 5-40 euro.

Today my friend Kristen and I decided to go check it out and see what they had. We started off in the main showroom and I found THE purse. I just knew it wasn't going to be marked down since we weren't in the sale room, but it was 50 euro. 50 EURO!!!! Do you know how incredible of a deal this is?! I went into the sale room, which did have some awesome items, but nothing caught my eye like the first purse. It was beautiful and soft like buttah. When I paid for it, the lady told me it was a very special purse and I was getting a great deal. I kinda guessed that, but when I checked online how much the bag I bought was selling for I was shocked. Let's just say it was more than three times what I paid for it in the store.

I'm hooked on these purses! I haven't bought anything really "Italian" since we moved here besides ceramics at Nove. I can tell where a lot of money is going to go before we leave here. The purses are seriously amazing and so beautiful. If you're ever around this area, email me and I'll tell you where to go so you can see for yourself.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

5K: Part Deux

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that on a whim I decided to sign up for my second 5K despite being a total slacker in the running department the last couple of months.

Well, the run was this past Saturday and I'm happy to say that I improved my time by 2 minutes. My time yesterday was 34:12, by my next 5K I'm hoping to hit 30:00.

I got a shirt out of the deal, even though I'll never wear it since it's a size XL, but I figure when I finally make a t-shirt quilt one of these days, it can go in it.

Here's a close-up shot of my number:

I actually have a full shot of myself, but Sean is a horrible picture taker and shot me from an angle where I appear to have a double chin, so I won't be sharing that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Join in over at Wife of a Sailor!

1.During military separations (whether short or long) how do you keep yourself positive and motivated?
I keep busy with my list of goals and I talk to my friends and family a lot.

2.What is your favorite concert you have ever been to?
I've only been to a couple of concerts, but I'd have to say George Strait was my favorite. I've loved George for a long time and he sounded exactly like he does on the radio.

3.What do you miss most about your “hometown”?
The fact that most of my family is there and the delish Mexican restaurant we have in town. Best salsa EVER! Also, I hear they've upped the ante and now have a mariachi band that plays in the restaurant, I'd like to see this.

4.If you could run in any race, which charity would you choose to support?
Something for the homeless, pets or education.

5.You find out Willy Wonka is your father, what 3 course meal do you INSIST he create in that stick of gum?
This is by far one of the most fun questions that's been asked on Friday Fill-Ins, I'm going to go with Mexican food because I miss it so much. So..chips with salsa and guac. Tacos and enchiladas with rice and then some flan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sew What?

Some of you may remember that one of my goals this year was to sew five items. I bought this little beauty last year:'s still sitting in the box.

So, the other day I was browsing around the web trying to find some cute dresses for spring/summer without much success and I thought, "Why don't I just make the dresses I want?"

I started looking for some patterns and this is what I've come up with so far.

That's as far as I've gotten though. I haven't ordered the patterns, looked for fabric or anything. For those who actually sew, do those look like difficult dresses to make? What online fabric stores do you recommend?

I'm thinking about when my mom comes to visit this summer having her help me a little with a dress. Sneaky I know! She comes expecting to travel and instead I have her doing Mom duties.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Yesterday I braved the crowds of Carnevale to capture some pictures of the event. A lot of people I know like to go to drink and to just enjoy the ambiance of Carnevale, I'm not really that person.

Although I love the costumes and overall vibe of Carnevale, I don't enjoy the massive crowds and flying elbows of Italians. So...I only went to Carnevale for photos and frittelle (small doughnuts w/ various flavors). I ended up taking about 200 pictures yesterday, but I'm including just a few of my favorites.

I ended the day with a delish sopressa, funghi and formaggio panino and 2 frittelle.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Question of the Day

Because I went to the last day of Carnevale and braved the crowds, flying elbows (I know I'm going to have bruises on my arms) and because I have a horrible headache, I'm going to do a Question of the Day.

What is your favorite go-to recipe? If you want you can post the recipe, if not, just post the name.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Madrid: Pics and Commentary

Let me start off by saying that Madrid was Sean and I's favorite city that we stopped at. In fact, Spain in general was just awesome. The food was amazing, it was probably the cheapest western European country we've visited and we had pleasant weather while we were there. Our flight from Amsterdam was delayed a few hours, but we still made it in plenty of time to enjoy a good 1.5 days there.

One of the first things we did after checking into our hostel, was to get some lunch. I had a calamari sandwich and Sean had a tortilla espanola sandwich. Both sandwiches were delish, but Sean's was my favorite.

I really don't have much to say about where we stayed. It was a hostel (Las Musas Residence) but it wasn't anything special. The location of it was nice, but I found the beds incredibly hard and noisy (we had bunkbeds). The breakfast was also less than stellar. I don't think if I'm ever in Madrid that I'd stay here again.

This is standing in Puerta del Sol looking at the Tio Pepe billboard (the only billboard that is allowed in the square)

After we walked around Puerta del Sol and the surrounding area, we decided to try our hand at tapas. Boy am I glad we did! I could probably live off tapas because there are so many choices and they are simply cooked and delicious! The above picture is pigs' ears with some spices and oils. I think they're fried, but don't quote me on that. I found them to be pretty tasty, similiar to bacon, but with some cartilage.

These are Pimentos de padron. Grilled jalapenos with salt, spices and oil. They were very, very tasty!

These covers have the official seal of Madrid on them: a bear with a Juniper tree.

An early morning, more expansive view of Puerta del Sol.

I loved these street signs with pictures on them. From what I understand, the pictures come from when back in the day when many people were illiterate and couldn't read the names, so they put pictures on the signs to help them.

This is Casa de Correos in Puerta del Sol. It is now a post office, but I believe when Franco was in power, his political prisoners were kept there.

There is a convent here where nuns make cookies/other sweets and sell them throughout the week. We came by on a Sunday when they are obviously closed (as the sign says) and we meant to come back the next day to get some, but forgot. I was so disappointed!

This is supposedly the oldest door in Madrid. How they know this, I have no idea, but it does indeed look quite ancient!

This is the Royal Palace of Madrid. You can go in and tour it, but we chose not to. For one, it was a bit pricier than we wanted to spend. Also, I've been in one palace and I got bored just looking at room after room after awhile. Besides Versailles, I'm not sure I'm really that interested in seeing another palace.

I liked this sign, just because it was eye-catching and it also has the last name of one of my friends on it.

We had a simple, but delish meal in the Museo del Jamon (Museum of Ham) There are several of these in Madrid and we wanted to try it out. We got two sandwiches, a plate of cheese and water for about 6 Euro. The ham in Spain is amazing, I think I almost like it better than prosciutto.

Blue roses at this huge antique market near our hostel. Seriously, it was massive. It had a huge number of stalls and a large crowd of people. I wanted to buy some old bullfighting posters, but space in the suitcase.

This camera was at the antique market. I'm not sure I've ever seen one of these for sale. Would have been awesome for my collection!

The street performers in Spain were by far the best I've ever seen. I still have no idea how this guy was hanging out like this.

While we were in Madrid, we checked out the Prado Museum which was on my "must-see" list. I was not disappointed. We happened to catch it when it was free, but of course the trade-off was that it was very crowded. I still was able to see some great works of art and really enjoyed the collection they had there. If you go to Madrid and you love art, I really recommend you checking it out.

If you ever go to Spain, get the churros and hot chocolate. You will NOT regret it!