Happy Thursday, friends!
First- let me announce the Scrapbook Circle kit winner!
Happy Thursday, friends!
First- let me announce the Scrapbook Circle kit winner!
I just wanted to quickly share some photos of the Christmas decorating happening in our little Italian apartment.
My favorite thing about this apartment is the ceilings. The thing that's taken the most getting used to? Italian marble floors. They are COLD. And hard.
When I purchased these OOOOOLLLLLD cubbies from the antique market downtown, I had no idea what to do with them. Turns out they are perfect for the Christmas treasures I've gathered over the years! :)
A few detail shots:
Well, that's it for today. It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas around here and I can't tell you how happy that makes me.
Haven't done a single page in my December Daily, didn't get around to wrapping the 25 Christmas books this year, and I don't have a mantel to hang my stockings on (they are on our coat tree).
But you know what?
I am okay with it. More than okay. Because none of that really matters. I'll get to it when/if I get to it.
My heart is full.
p.s. I'll be back tomorrow with the giveaway winner from last week!
When we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to Florence I uploaded all of the (bazillion) photos I took.
I quickly realized that there was a recurring theme. Shop windows and Christmas lights!
It's funny because I didn't realized I was taking so many photos of these things. They are just the things that caught my eye the most, I guess.
Shop windows are beautiful this time of year. So warm, inviting, and magical.
Here are the ones I noticed the most:
And my absolute favorite...you can always count on the Howells to keep it classy. :)
When we arrived in Florence (the night before Thanksgiving) they were just starting to take out and put up Christmas lights.
We were so excited to see them putting these up:
For a day or two the lights (luce) were up but not lit. We were worried we weren't going to see them lit up because we thought they'd probably debut on December 1 (the day we left to go home).
One night we walked out of the apartment to go to dinner and BAM!
They were lit. And magic. Pure magic.
The chandeliers were, hands down, my favorite. So elegant and beautiful. I just couldn't get enough of them.
So there you have it...the things I photographed most in Florence!
I wanted to share a layout today. First, can we discuss that I am still in denial that my babies are THREE? What in the world? It's a complete mystery to me. :)
I've been dying to break out my December kits and get to work. I just had to squeeze a quick page in!
I can't get enough of these Love Clips from Freckled Fawn. I use them on everything.
The banners are made from BasicGrey washi tape stickers.
The RSVP chipboard accents are so darn cute.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy (as Sadie says).
Happy Thursday, y'all!
I really don't even know where to begin with this post. There are so, so, so many words and thoughts going through my mind. Not to mention the PHOTOS. Oh, the photos. I took a ridiculous amount of photos.
Let me just start by saying this.
I LOVED IT.
I fell in love with Florence. I didn't want to come home and I thought Jimmy was going to have to carry me away kicking and screaming. Oh, how I loved it.
We had so many wonderful experiences and saw so many beautiful things.
I wanted to use this post to deposit and record my memories...but also as a resource for families traveling to Florence with small children.
I wasn't sure how the girls would do, but let me tell you. Florence is WONDERFUL for children.
We spent 4 1/2 days and 5 nights in Florence (we rented an apartment through Airbnb) and found that it was the perfect amount.
I did a fair amount of reading and research before we left. Most of it was from Rick Steves.
Here are some of our favorite things we did, saw, ate, and drank.
1. We toured the Uffizi (4 little girls making it all the way through was a major accomplishment!):
We did this nice and early (9 am) on our first day. Make reservations in advance.
We talked to the girls in advance about what they were going to see and how lucky they were to see it.
We told them our expectations and that there would be no misbehaving or whining. Oh, and we bribed with gelato. Of course.
Fun activity: Telling the girls to look for a baby in each painting. Not hard to do in Renaissance art and it kept them busy and on a mission.
2. We went to the Accademia. Seeing David brought me to tears. I still can't believe that something that magnificent came from a big hunk of marble.
I had no idea the sculpture was going to be so big. NO idea. I walked around the corner and I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped right open.And Sadie? Didn't even say a single inappropriate word. I totally thought she would.
3.We walked around and up to the top of the Duomo. We toured the inside/museum first and then went up.
I thought I was going to die. Jimmy? Carried both twins. Hmmph.
It was a serious workout. And people looked at us like we were nuts for doing it with four children. But it CAN be done. Be prepared. The stairways are narrow and twisting.
The view made it all worthwhile. A photo can not do this justice. The portions showing hell were terrifying. And the parts showing heaven were breathtaking and tear inducing.
Some photos of the outside (I think this is what I took the most photos of the entire trip!).
Tip: There is a Lindt store on the back side of the cathedral. They sell hot chocolate that is literally melted chocolate in a cup. You have to eat it with a spoon. Great reward for the little ones after making it through the Duomo adventure.
4. We admired the bronze doors on the Baptistery. Just gorgeous.
5. We spent lots of time in Piazza della Repubblica. The girls rode the merry go round and we listened to street musicians. Warning: The gypsies and street vendors are SUPER agressive and relentless here. Be prepared. :)
6. We hiked up to Piazzale Michelangelo and drank in the view.
Tip: There is a gelateria very close to the steps up to the Piazzale. This was a great diversion as we climbed the stairs.
7. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio. It was spine tingling to stand on the bridge and look out over Florence...while imagining it being destroyed around us while the bridge stood. What history that bridge has.
Tip: Rub the pig's nose for good luck.
Tip 2: There is some amazing street art around this area. Make sure to take the time to stop and appreciate it.
9. We spent lots of time admiring the statues (and the horses- lots of horse drawn carriages!) in Piazza della Signoria.
Perseus and Medusa definitely got the most interesting responses from the girls. HA!
10. We toured the Medici chapel and the neighboring open air market.
Tip: Have your kids try to spot the Medici Coat of Arms all over Florence. It is EVERYWHERE.
11. We ate. Oh did we eat. And drink. And we napped every day. Riposo for all!
Our favorite dinner was definitely at Zaza.
We had a delicious little restaurant down a few doors from the apartment we were staying in. We ate there twice and the girls waived at their friend every single time we walked by (10 times a day). The sweetest. Each time we ate there he would play tic tac toe with Harper.
We also had lunch at Yellow Bar one day and it was dellllicious. Highly recommend.
Yikes. Seriously long post. I am passionate about this place and so glad it's only 3 hours away. We are already planning to return MANY times over the next few years.
I actually took the most photos of 2 things. Christmas lights and store windows. I think I'll share those in another post.
Happy Tuesday, y'all!
First and foremost, let me share the Freckled Fawn winner from my last sponsor giveaway!
I adore Freckled Fawn, such fun and gorgeous products! My favorite is their heart wood chips/veneers. Rivaled only by their small gold polka dot washi. Both are on my Christmas registry haha
I have a great giveaway+spotlight today. Scrapbook Circle.
ABOUT // We are passionate about preserving our family memories. We love sharing daily inspiration and connecting with others who also love to create. We have been creating monthly scrapbook kits for over seven years. Each of our kits includes a custom printable and we have now expanded our shop to included coordinating digital files. We strive to provide you with fresh products every month that inspire you to create.
SPECIAL PROMOTION // Use code stephanie20 to receive 20% off your order today though December 15. Plus, all orders placed in December will receive a FREE Make Cool Stuff canvas tote (pictured above) with your order of $15 or more while supplies last. No code necessary to receive the free canvas bag.
GIVEAWAY // We are giving away one of our All is Bright December Kits that is filled with festive products. This kit includes a lovely selection of papers, Scrapbook Circle exclusives: stamps, tags and printable, plus many other favorite products.
If you'd like to win this festive and darling kit, leave a comment here and I'll draw a winner next Tuesday!
1. blog whatever is authentic. whatever is truly on your mind and in your heart.
2. It can be serious, silly, short, long. NOTE:no one said it has to be serious. But it should be authentic.
3. No judging allowed no snarky comments, no making fun, no passive agressive digs.If you are going to read the blogs linked below, don't be mean. Nothing here is whining, though I can't help it if you perceive it that way. It's me honestly sharing my feelings. if you feel that it's whining, then you don't have to read. :)
4. If you BYH, link back here. I'll add an Inlinkz tool at the end of the post. I always read and comment on every single post.
5. Feel free to use the graphic above. Just make sure to link back to me.
6. If you are reading my blog today or if you read any of the blogs linked, please leave a comment. :)
Okay...this picture has nothing to do with the post. But I have issues with long, photo-less posts. And also, it kind of does have something to do with the post as Cate's face (on the right) perfectly describes the way I feel as I work up the courage to do a BYH post. HA!
1. I love Italy. I love being with my family every day. But I miss my friends. Terribly. There are lots of lovely women here, but I feel like I'm having a hard time getting to know them. We are all pretty spread out, location wise, and everyone is pretty busy. This is always the hardest part of moving, and truth be told...it's lonely.
2. I don't even believe I'm typing this, but I'm getting tired of Italian food. I know, I know. I need to be punched in the throat. But I'm getting tired of pasta and pizza. We've found a good solution. I cook our family favorites (none of the Italian ones, though) during the week so that we all crave Italian food by the weekend.
3. This is the time of year that I tend to get super stressed. The twins turn three on Sunday. Then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then Jimmy's birthday on January 1. Hello, crazy season. I'm doing my best to be present this year. And knowing that we are having Thanksgiving in Florence helps. No turkey/meal/etc. to get irrationally worked up about. :)
4. I hired a housekeeper. For the first time ever. And it has changed my life. I really mean that. I finally allowed myself to ask for help. If you know me, that's really hard for me. I admitted I need help. And I have to tell you, it's worth it. I am so grateful for that. Why WHY did I not do this when the twins where born and I was all alone? Because I'm stubborn. That's why.
5. I really, really need to start exercising. Not to fit in a certain pair of jeans, not to hit a certain number on the scale. I need to start exercising because I don't feel good about myself. And that affects everything. It affects my marriage, it affects the example I'm setting for my girls.
6. My kids buy their lunches every day. I so wanted to be that mom. The one who made the adorable bento box lunches from Pinterest. And I tried. But the girls wanted to eat at school because apparently everyone else does...and you know how that goes. And truth be told, it makes life easier.
7. For the first time ever in my life, I have road rage issues. I mean...it's bad here. Motorcycles and bikes ALL OVER THE PLACE (most of them with no regard at all to cars or anyone else who might be there), horrible parking jobs (I'm talking cars that have parked perpendicularly in parallell parking spots), and me driving a car way too big for Italian life...yeah. I'm a maniac. I keep it (mostly) in my head, but I get SO WORKED UP every time I drive. Sigh.
8. I am unnaturally and irrationally obsessed with Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. I have been ever since The Notebook. I have probably watched their MTV Movie Awards kiss 92384082348203842038420384 times. Y'all. It's bad. I love them. I really think they are the most wonderful couple ever. So when I read that they might be back together??? I got WAY. TOO. EXCITED. I'm a nerd.
9. I worry a lot about my girls in the world we live in today. I worry about someone hurting them, taking advantage of them, bullying them, and so much worse. I'm scared for them. And I pray every day that we will help them become the confident, secure, kind, brave, Godly women I want them to become.
10. I know that everyone else is already excited for Christmas. Music playing, trees ready to go up, decor unpacked...but I'm just not there right now. I want to work on some things this year. One of them is not getting caught up in the stuff. You know what I mean. I don't want to worry about crafting. Or advent calendars. Or getting overly creative with Turtle the elf. I don't want to buy our kids a bunch of stuff. Stuff they don't need, stuff they will stop caring about 10 minutes after they open their gifts. I want this Christmas to be intentional. And I'm thinking about how to best do that.
Okay...that's it. My November BYH. I sure hope you'll join in. I love, love, LOVE reading all the links.
So glad you stopped by today. I have a scrapbook page to share with you!
Lately scrapbook pages have become much more about being creative. About getting my hands messy and playing with product and making something tangible. My Project Life has become much more about multiple photos and memories.
You will see more single photo layouts from me because I think of pages as a creative release. Does that make sense?
I had my Gossamer Blue November Kit remains out on my desk and wanted to use them up so I grabbed some of my staples (ribbon, doilies, label stickers) and got to work.
Here's what I came up with:
Supplies: Gossamer Blue November Kits and Addons//Freckled Fawn wide washi tape//BasicGrey chipboard accents//doilies//Chic Tags alphabet stickers//Recollections alphabet stickers//Studio Calico gold label//May Arts chevron twill ribbon
When I was working on the layout I really wanted to use this Crate Paper vellum, but I just couldn't make it work.
I know that this pretty ribbon will get smooshed when I put it in an album, but I'm okay with that! Perfection is ovverated. :)
I hope you have a beautiful day!