Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tiptoeing Across Europe: Milano, Italy

The last stop of our Europe trip was in Milano which is located in northern Italy.
For our first meal in Milano, Jon had a traditional dinner, Osso Buco with Risotto Milanese.
The next day, we walked to the Duomo.  It was a beautiful Gothic structure.
We took the elevator to the roof and views of the city, but the architecture of the building itself was even more stunning. We also went inside the cathedral and down to the tombs.
There was a beautiful fountain.
 Delicious gelato... maybe I should have called our trip "Eating Gelato Through Europe"...
Inside the Castle Sforzesco grounds.
Porta Sempione or the gate to Milan.
We had a delicious final meal and then rested up before we flew back home.

"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us." Anonymous
I have one more post, Milano Art Journal Pages, for tomorrow. This is my last post on our Europe trip, but I will be talking about the memories for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tiptoeing Across Europe: Art Journal - Modena, Italy

In my art journal for the first part of Italy, I wanted to capture the excitement and energy that we felt while visiting my sister and her amazing family. We spent almost every waking hour with them and it wasn't enough! I tried to document as much as I could, but there are so many little things that happened that I hope I remember forever.
We had some funny little things that happened to us. Veronica and Mounir took us to a delicious and very special restaurant for a family dinner. The waiters, who knew Veronica and Mounir very well, were eager to make us feel welcome and were all so kind. One saw that I hadn't ordered a drink and insisted upon getting one for me. I quickly remembered "Lemonata" a sparkling lemon drink that I like. The waiter, Orlando, explained that they he would be glad to squeeze the lemons himself. He was gone for twenty minutes and my sister explained that he could be a little distracted at times. Well, we were wrong, he hadn't been distracted! He spent the entire time squeezing at least 6 lemons into a wine glad for me! He brought the "drink" out to me along with 2 packets of sugar. When I saw the beverage, I thought, "that doesn't look sparkly"... my sister looked at me and I said, "that looks like lemon juice".  Her eyes widened and she said, "Oh, no!" Sure enough it was lemon juice. We giggled together. I drank every drop, too. After all, Orlando worked very hard to give me fresh juice.
I drew a picture of the cake that Veronica and Mounir ordered to celebrate Allie's college graduation. I sketched some fruit we saw in the market and the old church in the city center.
We found some large green walnuts at the market and asked what variety they were. The vendor told us that they were for infusing into alcohol. Later that day, in the restaurant, we were served some walnut liquor.
I sketched out some images from our trip to Florence, including a museum ticket. On the other side of the page, I included the laurel wreath that Veronica and Mounir had made for Allie. In Italy, college graduates wear a laurel leaf crown for a day, complete with ribbons in the back that depict the color school they attended.
I included grapes, as Modena is the balsamic vinegar capital. I also drew a bucket, the symbol of Modena's victory.
Here's a close up of Allie's graduation laurels with black ribbon for engineering.
I sketched some beautiful purses we found in Florence and the awesome purse my sister gave me.
I included our last day and the pastries we ate as well as the Duplo blocks my nephew played with.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tiptoeing Across Europe: Modena, Italy

 We had a fabulous trip across Europe, but my favorite place to visit was Modena, Italy.
 For four wonderful reasons: Veronica, Mounir, Yassine, and Sam!
Gelato in Italy... Oh, the flavors and the selection... how to choose?
They treated us like royalty and surprised Allie with a graduation cake and giant firecracker.
We ate pizza by the meter. It was gorgeous.
 They spoiled us with figs the size of a softball!
Here we are in front of the city center.
And cousins. Adorable, adorable, cousins.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


As July comes to an end, I am grateful for another week of blessings. 
I have been swamped with projects, work, and hobbies. I love to be busy and feel like I've have plenty to do keep me busy. It's a good feeling.
I was in contact with some long distance friends. It warms my heart to know that they are thinking of me, poking fun, and staying in touch with me.
I've been helping a good friend with a surprise party for her sweetheart. I can't wait to see his reaction and take fun in the festivities.
I've been writing. I'm in the thick of it and this is such a favorite time of the process for me. I think, sleep, dream, and unconsciously consider parts of the story, characters, and themes. It's like a movie happening in my mind and I get lost in the fantasy world. My eyes may dry up, I get buried in characters who don't exist, and I don't see my family for hours at a time, but I love every part of it! The next book should be out in the fall and I really, really, love this character and her adventures.
I cooked red snapper that Allie and John caught in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the first time I cooked this fish and it was delicious. Red snapper is a very clean tasting fish, very little fish oil taste, not steak like, not tough. I sautéed it in olive oil after pressing the pieces in a breadcrumb/ Parmesan topping. It cooked for only 3 minutes per side (approximately 1" thick fish) and it was delicious with a crispy crust and tender flesh.
Allie and I went shopping to get her some things for her business trip. I found these little gems on sale and knew they were for me. They wrap around the ankle and tie on around my shin. They are colorful and bold.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Daily Sketches: Yummies

More sketches of "Yummies"

Trims anyone?

Cream puff?


Cream horn?

Carrot Cake?

Chocolate Eclair?

Chocolate ;Tart?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Tiptoeing Across Europe: Art Journal - Bern

For my art journal in Bern, Switzerland, I wanted to capture the beauty of the city and nature.
I drew one of the bears as they are logos for many shops as well as statues in the city. I added some flowers from our trip to Rosegarden.
I tried to capture the beauty in the city by sketching the landscape. I captured the color of the river! I added sketches of truffles and gelato, too.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tiptoeing through Europe: Bern, Switzerland

Our next stop on our Europe trip was Bern, Switzerland. I must admit that I didn't know that Bern is the capital of Switzerland! I thought it was Geneva or Zurich. Bern is a beautiful, beautiful city. We took the train, checked into our hotel in the afternoon, and were famished. We headed to a delicious cafe for lunch.
Jon ordered some Grandfather's Sausages. We had no idea that three cutting boards, each with a different flavor of hard salami-like sausage would arrive.
It came with an absolutely bowl of pickled onions and pickles and and a gravy boat full of mustard. I ordered a cheese plate and the four of us feasted on some of the most delicious food. It was simple, flavorful, and unique. I remember it fondly.
We then went walking to find the Bear Park that Ashley wanted to see. We crossed this gorgeous scene! The river is this dusty aquamarine color due to the calcium in the riverbed. Unfortunately, the bear park was closed due to renovations... so no bears for us. 
 But, we did find some statues to tide Ashley over.
We also found a gorgeous public park that was Rose Garden. The roses were in bloom and it was a spectacular sight. Such a difference from the cities of Madrid, Paris, and London. We all sat on the grass for the first time in weeks!
Here is Jon with the village of Bern in the background. Gorgeous.
This is the Main Street. It is clean, picture perfect, and colorful. There are fountains, flowers, a fun clock tower, flags, and electric trolleys.
And the next day, we were off to Italy!

Switzerland Stats:
1 day, 1 night
Walked 7.34 miles
Foods: Sausage, Cheese, Beer, 
Weather: Sunny and in the 70's