Venezia

Let me first start off by saying that these pictures do not do Venice justice. This city is overly beautiful and jaw droppingly amazing.

Gorgeous

One thing I remember most about this trip is when we got off the train and left the building. As we walked out, I stopped and literally gasped at the beautiful scenery. There’s no place like Venice. I’m not an avid traveller, but I’ve been to some pretty neat places. Venice, by far, is one that takes my breath away. Venice consists of 118 small islands connected by bridges and canals. It’s a city that relies on water transportation; no trucks and no cars. That alone is impressive.

Pretty

We got into our apartment late in the evening. We found dinner and saw the Rialto Bridge at night. Ended the night early to wake up for a full day of sight-seeing.

Rialto Bridge

For our first full day, we took some pictures at Piazza San Marco. This is where the famous Church of St. Mark and the clock tower can be found. Nearby also houses the Palazzo Ducale, also known as Doge’s Palace, where the supreme authority of Venice resided.

Church of St. Mark

Palazzo Ducale

We wandered over Ponte dell’Accademia to the Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute to sit on the steps and just gaze. This was our rest stop.

Lock bridge

Ponte dell'Accademia
^^^ Family selfie again!

Basilica de Santa Marina della Salute
I love this candid shot of the gang!

Venice
We look like a painting, right?

After a new change of clothes, we went on a gondola ride! While planning for this trip, people told us to skip the gondola because it’s expensive. But I totally think it’s worth it to ride a gondola. When you tell people that you went to Venice, you already know the first question that will be asked, “Did you ride a gondola?” Fortunately for me, my answer is yes! For 60 euro, the boat ride is about 30 minutes for up to 6 people. Since we had the maximum amount of riders, it was definitely worth it for us!

Gondola

Bridge

Gondola

Venice is an expensive place to eat. To save money, we decided to cook at home. Sadly, the fish market is closed on Mondays. We then went to to the local grocery store to pick something up. Whole chickens were on sale, so we picked up two for under 10 euros and took them home to make rotisserie chicken (my recipe here). Ohhh yeahhh! For our first course, I made a creamy ravioli with bacon (refrigerated pasta is even amazing!). Then we had roasted chicken, cauliflower, and risotto for our main course. All this to feed 6 for under 30 euros. We did good!

Homemade

The next morning we were leaving for Barcelona in the afternoon, which meant we had a bit of time in the morning. We visited Venice’s famous fish market. So much to look at! If only we had another night to make a seafood meal. Guess that will have to wait for my next visit!

Seafood market

Tip: Trip guides mention that a vaporetto boat (water bus) is the best and cheapest way to get around. I think walking is the most ideal way to really see the city and alley ways. It’s really easy to get lost because there are few main sidewalks so bring a map! Google maps actually failed us here because buildings are so tall and old so reception is limited. We went old school way!

Just a funny pic. MG and I slept on the pull out couch in the living room. Since there wasn’t a door, we made one out of pillows. Hey, it worked!

Makeshift door

I really enjoyed Venice and would recommend this city as a must-visit in your travel bucket list. Have you been to Venice before and what was your favorite part about the city? Were you as amazed as me? If you haven’t been before, would you go and why?

Happy Monday! Stay tuned for Barcelona and Dublin in one post!
Jay
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Just a reminder, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll get some extra pics that are not on the blog.

  

Ciao!

I’m going on summer vacation! During my three weeks in Europe I won’t be posting.

First stop, Austin to see my sister graduate, then Italy!

I’m ready except that I need to leave Chubs… He’s my squishy teddy bear.

Look at him like “Don’t leave me!!!”

Chubs

Suitcase

Wish I could take him and feed him gelato everyday!

Ciao for now! I’ll post pictures when I’m back.
Jay

  

Eurotrip!

It’s summer vacation time! Do you have any travel plans coming up? Cause I do! And I’m going to Europe!

On Friday I’m flying to Austin to attend my baby sister’s graduation. Guess she’s not a baby anymore… I’m so proud that she has gotten into her dream Master’s program at the University of Texas in Houston. \m/

To celebrate, WE’RE GOING TO EUROPE! I’m leaving on Friday to attend her graduation and then we’re going to Rome for our first stop. During our three weeks on vacation, we’re going to Rome, Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, and London. Whew… you can catch your breath now!

With summer vacations coming up, I put together a packing list. I’m usually the girl that packs half her closet for a 2 week trip. My thoughts – you want choices and decisions and multiple outfits! 6 pairs of shoes for a 2 week vacation sounds right to me but perhaps crazy to some.

Chubs

If I could, I would bring this guy ^^^

BUT traveling to so many different countries in Europe means I’ll need to pack light in order to fit one carry on in those small cross-country planes. I’ve put much thought into what I should bring, and I want to share what I’m going to bring. Hopefully this will be super helpful for you if you’re going somewhere this summer too!

RULES:

1. Stick with the same color scheme!

There’s a reason why neutrals don’t go out of style. If you want a pop of color, bring a scarf. Keep your colors simple and you won’t regret your style decisions 10 years down the line.

2. Bring pieces that will match all items!

One shirt that matches all three bottoms gives you three outfits. One bottom that matches all your tops gives you 5 outfits. Possibilities are endless which means you can pack light.

3. Accessorize to change up from day to night.

Wear a fedora for day time with a dress, and switch the fedora with a chunky necklace for night time with the same dress. It’s as simple as that! Black shorts with a blouse for the day and switch to a clutch and wedges for a night look.

Take a looksee to find what I’ve put together. Links to purchase these items are found below, and they are extremely affordable! My splurges are on shoes, jewelry, and purses. I believe that those are items that should last.

Travel Light

Light anorak from GAP // Chambray cover-up from JCrew Factory // Black blouse from H&M // Lace shell from Piperlime // Short sleeve t-shirt from Target // Vintage V-neck t-shirt from Target // White tank from Target // Jacquard Mini from Zara // Black shorts from H&M // Skinnies from H&M // Striped dress from Nordstrom // Khaki dress from H&M // Swimsuit from Target // Floral scarf from Target // Hat from H&M // Aviators from Zappos // Necklace from Madewell // Statement necklace from JCrew // Braided belt from JCPenney // Clutch from Asos // Crossbody from Madewell // Converse from Nordstrom // Cole Haan wedges from Zappos // Salt Water sandals from ModCloth

Bringing less also means shopping more! What do you think of my collection? Do you have any advice on how to travel light?

While I’m on vacation, I’ll be taking a hiatus from this blog for a bit. I’ll post pictures of my trip when I come back!

Becoming practical cause I’m old,
Jay

  

Light & Creamy Pasta Recipe

It’s September, which means it’s summertime in the Bay Area!

Cook a light meal, finish dinner early, and enjoy those warm nights while they last. This Light & Creamy Pasta is the perfect dish, and it takes less than 30 minutes to whip up.

The lemon zest makes it taste light. The parsley makes it taste fresh. The heavy cream makes it saucy but not heavy like cheese. Yum!

Light and Creamy Pasta

Recipe Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Spinach (Half a 5 oz. bag)
  • Parsley (Only a handfull, finely chopped)
  • Zest of a lemon (Grate only the yellow, not the white spongey layer)
  • 2 pieces of chicken breasts (cut into 5 pieces for easier cooking)
  • 2.5 cups of Heavy Cream
  • Half a box of pasta (I like Angel Hair)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Oil for cooking

Directions:

1. Fill a large pot of water. Add salt (salt it until it’s like the ocean), and turn the stove on to high. While the water is coming to a boil, let’s work on the other ingredients.
2. Salt and pepper the chicken breast meats. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to your pan and let it heat up. Then add the chicken. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (make sure the inside is NOT pink and white throughout).
3. Once the chicken is cooked, let it cool down and shred up the pieces. I like to use my fingers to shred the meat (hence the cool down).
4. At this point, the water should have come to a boil. Add the pasta and let it cook while we finish the rest of the meal.
5. Using the same pan that you cooked the chicken with, add the spinach. Once the spinach has condensed, add the lemon zest.
6. Pour the heavy cream onto the spinach and lemon zest, and let it reduce so that the sauce becomes thicker.
7. Add the chicken meat to the creamy mixture and the chopped parsley.
8. Drain the pasta, and toss it into the creamy sauce.
9. Plate the light and creamy pasta onto serving plates, and NOMs!

Shredded Chicken
I like to snack on the shredded chicken. Kitty likes snacking on the meat too!

Light and Creamy

Are you hungry yet?

Try the recipe and let me know how you like it,
Jay

  

Nerd Party & Antiques

What do you do during a 3-day weekend?

Let the husband plan one day.
Rest another.
Let the wife plan the last.

This makes everyone happy!

Husband’s plan:
Host a LAN party, aka nerd hangout. Props to you if you know what LAN stands for… anyone? MG invited his childhood friends, and they all brought over their laptops and PCs. After stuffing our faces with turkey weenies in a blanket, triple chocolate brownies, caramel chocolate chip cookies, guacamole, and garlic fries… After a few sodas and a few beers… After 2 hours of configuration and downloading (4 routers, 10 people hardwired into the cable, 2 on wifi, lots of IT knowledge), we were finally ready to game.

Here’s the gang (we had to get an extra table at Costco the morning of).

LAN

LAN Players

The Milkcrate
Pretty cool set up right? Even if you’re not a nerd, you have to appreciate this (at least the hosting aspect of it)! Also this picture directly above ^^^, that’s MG’s cousin Brian. He built his own computer, at least it’ll never heat up right? We named thee, “The Milkcrate.” Don’t hate!

We played Team Fortress 2. It’s a first-person shooter game, with missions, like capturing bases, unlocking sectors on the map, and pushing a cart down a rail. I basically bum rushed people and set them on fire. I was an amazing Pyro. Proof? Look at the screen grab below. Yay! Obviously this was a one-time thing – I was usually towards the bottom. Heh.

Team Fortress

Wife’s Plan:
On Monday, we went to Danville (my first time), and it’s an adorable little town in the North Bay. We walked around downtown, and the city is lined with antique shops. You can call me Explorer Jay, because I LOOOVE antiquing. Look at how lovely this place is:

Danville Sites
The town is full of shops like these.

Crafts in Danville
Perfect for crafting!

Antiques
Antique bottles, vases, and gadgets galore!

Had a little bit of fun in front of a mirror at an antique shop:

Just for fun

It was SO HOT. So we took a break and got some Starbucks. Always a delicious treat!

Break time

More importantly, look what I found for the house!!!

Shelf
Only $10!
I will be putting this above the toilet in our guest bathroom. I’ll be revamping this just a bit! Stay tuned…

Bench
Only $15!
This bench has SO much potential. It’ll be going downstairs so that people can sit and put their shoes on. Reupholster the seat and fresh paint will give this bench new life! A reupholstery tutorial to come soon…

CabinetNow, this is my favorite piece so far. Only $20 at the Salvation Army (OMG and still in great condition)!
I’ve been looking for a storage unit to go in my living room, so that I can put away some of my appliances since our kitchen space is limited. I am going to tint the wood, add some hardware pieces, and it’s going to look fabulous. DIY tutorial on this later as well.

I’m really excited for these projects. As you can see, this will be keeping me busy for a while!

What did you do this weekend?