Wander Wednesday: Back to the Bahamas

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It’s been too long since I felt that soft white paradise sand in every nook + cranny of my skin {basically}. To a summer way back before I ever referred to my body as having “mom stores” {I’m talking about you, hips}. A lot has changed since 2008 when I first visited Atlantis with my family. It was two years before my son was born, I was 19 and thought that I would become one with the island by having my hair braided by locals…and I was 100% RIGHT…kidding, but truthfully, I’ve never felt more at home so far away, besides maybe Italy.

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I had just gotten my first “professional” camera the Christmas before, and learning the ropes was easy with the crystal blue waters of Nassau, Bahamas as my scenery. There were these crazy cool nurse sharks below our hotel balcony {side note: if I were a shark, I’d be a nurse shark}, my brother and I got close enough to pet them, if that’s even a thing, shark petting.

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We also stumbled across Harborside Resort, and I couldn’t help but feel like Kim from Edward Scissorhands among the crazy pastel colored condos, as if I was living in some strange Tim Burton movie where Bahamian hospitality meets a cooky dark subplot. I digress.

Rooms_HarborsideResort333But while I’m always searching for mystery + wonder in every place I go, I took away nothing but realness in the experiences there; from the evening carnivals right down to my charred brown sun tan. I missed an opportunity to go back a few years ago due to my not-so-lenient editorial schedule at the time.  It’s nice to be able to go back and visit the places I’ve been, even if it’s through a couple pictures. 

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Wander Wednesday: Veni Vidi Vici, Roma

Alleyway in Rome, Italy

Alleyway in Rome, Italy

As I was combing through old pictures, I came across some from my trip to Italy in 2008 and wanted to briefly share my experience there. Although I’m more than proud to be American, I can’t deny that I have both Italian and Serbian blood in my veins, so when my parents booked this trip, they decided to ask my dad’s parents to come along. My Grammy’s family was originally from Abruzzi, but my Pop’s family was from Rome which is where we visited. I took away memories from that trip that I hold close to me every day, especially ever since my Pop passed away in 2013.

Rooftop foliage on Santi Cosa e Damiano

Rooftop foliage on Santi Cosa e Damiano

Throughout college I took four years of advanced Italian, so I was able to help in translation, along with my Pop who was fluent in the language. It was something that I got to share with him that no one else could; it was a special bonding experience between us that I cherish to this day and will forever.

We had the opportunity to visit family on Pop’s side that none of us had never met before. They lived on an adorable farm in Castelliri just outside of Rome. Their land was sprouting with love and home grown produce.

Driveway leading to my family's farm outside of Rome, Italy.

Driveway leading to my family’s farm outside of Rome, Italy.

We joined Pope Benedict XVI in a Vatican mass and explored Vatican City. Our sights also included St. Peter’s Basilica, the Roman Forum, Cripta Cappucini, The Spanish Steps, The Temple of Caesar and tons more.

The Roman Forum from the rooftop of Santi Cosa e Damiano

The Roman Forum from the rooftop of Santi Cosa e Damiano

Beggar woman praying in the streets of Rome.

Beggar woman praying in the streets of Rome.

View from the rooftop of Santi Cosma e Damiano

View from the rooftop of Santi Cosma e Damiano

Amongst everything else that made this trip special was that I had been only weeks pregnant with my son, and although I didn’t officially know it yet, I just knew it {blame that on my gypsy Serbian side}. Realizing that my little baby was experiencing everything vicariously through me is something that cannot be replaced or topped.

I would love to go back to Italy one day {among many other places of course}. What are some of your most coveted vacations?

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Outdoor Country Craft Festival

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First and foremost, let it be known that I am a first class A1 rummager. I love flea markets, yard sales, antique shops, auctions, old attics, and craft festivals. There’s just something so inspiring and authentic about sifting through someone’s handmade or has-been treasures, on their approval of course {my “Harriet the Spy” days are retired}. I’m not the only one in my family who shares the love for junkin’; my mom, grammy and aunts are all drawn to it. Like fireflies to shiny bright bug zappers, we float willingly to these places, especially one’s as primitive as Shaker Woods Festival in Colombiana County, Ohio. Like the pack of gypsies we are, my mom, Grammy, Aunt Mickey, my son Tino and I all hit the road to join the fuss. It was my first time going so I was excited to experience everything, even if I didn’t want to buy anything, I was smitten with the fact that I would be moseying through the woods, homemade candles burning, with the sun barely peaking through the tall trees above me. The festival hosts over 200 vendors, along with live musical entertainment throughout the day. All of the workers are dressed in period clothing, which adds to the magic of the overall environment. Here are some of the shots I got throughout the day:

 

 

 

I came home with some pottery, a lace scarf, homemade blueberry candles and a vintage tin cup for root beer {it’s the little things}. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday, for me, with some of the most special people in my life. My advice to anyone is go out and do the things that inspire you and make you feel alive and whole, and if possible, enjoy them with people who matter to you. It’s those moments that stick with us, no matter how small.

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Weekend Recap: Music and Craft Beer

IMG_1831Hey there….. this Friday I did absolutely nothing except some coding for my website {definitely not the final product, but I’m getting closer} and watched Supernatural on Netflix until 4am.

Saturday I volunteered at the Mountaineer Brewfest in Wheeling, WV. My brother is on the marketing committee and has worked all year on the entire project. It’s an annual festival in which different brewers from all over West Virginia come together to allow people to sample just how good craft beer can be. The turn out was amazing, food was good, beer was cold and music was loud! My dad’s band, U.S. Kids performed {they sounded awesome} as well as a few others, one in particular, The Hillbilly Gypsies, really stood out to me. With one mic and no shoes, they sung their way into my heart with their bluegrass tunes and country-living pride. After the event ended a couple of us headed to a restaurant/bar called the 19th Hole, which by the way, had the best wings and cheese fries!! Whether or not it was all that beer talkin’ or just really that good, I wouldn’t mind going back for seconds someday.

Sunday was like all the other sundays each week; relaxing, watching TV and eating all day. It was however, more relaxing than most being that I didn’t have to study anything for school {I’m still on break!} I started watching the series Daredevil on Netflix and I’m – naturally – obsessed. My cousin first told me about the show and I knew I had to see it, simply for the fact that I love anything Marvel… aaaand Charlie Cox is in it. I was *in love* with him when he played Owen on Boardwalk Empire, so it’s nice to get my fix again.

That about sums it up, talk to ya next week!

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