A perfect day in Milan:

As soon as I stepped foot in Milan I felt like I was home. Probably more so than I’ve felt anywhere else, ever.

Here are my top five things to do in Milan to ensure you have a perfect day.

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1. Buy the current issue of VOGUE ITALIA. Though you could buy it anywhere in Italy I think everyone should buy it in Milan, since it is the fashion capital of the country… it just has more meaning.

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2. Window shop stores you’ve never heard of / could never afford.

These shoes remind me of something a modern Cinderella would wear!
These shoes remind me of something a modern Cinderella would wear!

3. Climb the stairs to the top of Milan’s duomo. It’s the third largest cathedral in Europe!

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4. Then, grab a bite in Milan’s version of “Central Park.”

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5. Go to the museums. Don’t forget to make your appointment to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper at least six months in advance or you’ll miss it like me! After you see the official museums check out some of the fun art on the streets!

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Try not to leave your heart in Milan like I did.. I’ve been homesick since I left!

Love, Liv

Have a happy, healthy holiday!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving officially over and the rest of the winter holidays around the corner I thought I’d do a post on how to make your holiday just a smidge bit healthier. No one wants to be counting calories or worrying about how much they eat during the holidays, especially when you’re surrounded by so much good food!

Here are three simple ways you can have a healthier holiday and still enjoy yourself :

  1. Participate in a holiday run. Yesterday morning my sister and I ran a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k but there are other runs you can sign up for around Christmas and New Years day too.

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  2. Have a colorful meal. Generally, the more color you have on your plate the more nutrients and antioxidants you’re consuming and that is good for you.
  3. Clean up! Before plopping down to watch the game or take a nap, do some cleaning! It’s a nice gesture to the host/hostess and it gets your body moving and burning at least a few extra calories. (:

Hope everyone has great holiday season!

5 Things I’m thankful for:

  1. My family and friends
  2. Cats
  3. My new iPad!
  4. That I have a job
  5. That I don’t have student loans I need to start paying off!

And soooooo much more!

Friday’s focus and fairy tales

I’ve always loved fairy tales, ever since I was little. When I was three, I was a princess for Halloween and continued to wear the costume as much as I could possibly get away with after that. Now, I’m 22 and my favorite show at the moment is ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

What everyone loves about a good fairy tale, is that they give us hope. Hope that no matter how bad things may seem to be, they can get better. Hope is something everyone should have. Especially when times seem difficult in the world. There are natural disasters and crazy people on our news every day that makes it difficult to see all the good and possibilities in the world.

I do believe that there is more good in the world than bad.

This weekend don’t just try to be hopeful for yourself or the world, but be the hope for others. Talk to someone you don’t know very well, or at all. Everyone can use a friend and a simple smile at stranger could be the lift they need. Take time for others this weekend and help them see the hope in the world; Help them believe in fairy tales.

Love,
Liv

Words to Liv by

The best advice I’ve heard.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey

I like these words from our First Lady as well:

“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.” -Michelle Obama

Free Fitness and Health

“Letting down barriers to be open to existence”

I always feel better after yoga. However, when I get busy it tends to be the first thing to go. Plus, the cost of classes can add up fast, especially when you have an entry-level job and are trying to save your money!

A lot of cities have opportunities for free community group fitness classes. You just have to know where to look! Do a Google search with your city and the type of class you’re looking for. On the top of my head, I can think of two weekly free yoga classes, a couple running groups and a CrossBoot class just in the Tampa area.

This past weekend, my friend Angela and I went to a free yoga class in downtown Tampa being put on by Downtown Tampa Yoga. It was a great class on a beautiful Florida Fall evening and the perfect way to start my week!

Towards the end of the class the instructor recited this quote:

“Letting down barriers to be open to existence”

I love this because in order to live a life full of loving people and experiences, you have to be able to let down barriers and let others in.

It’s always nice to have a reminder. It helps keep your mind and heart balanced on what is most important.

Love,
Liv

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

And I Did It All in Heels

In one month I traveled around Italy, Sicily, Croatia and Spain. I saw brand new places had some of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned more than I had ever anticipated on this trip.

Beautiful seasides, Greek temples, cathedrals, art and culture, pizza and cannollis, are all fantastic but the best experiences I had were thanks to the many people I met along the way. Whether it was someone in my hostel, a stranger attempting to help me when they didn’t speak any English, locals who invited me to sit with them at dinner when they saw me eating solo, or an entertaining tour guide. Above all what made my trip unique were the people I met in this past month. People from all over the globe that even if I never see them again I hope I never forget them and their stories.

Before I left my friends asked me if I was scared or nervous. At the time I was too busy finishing up college to let it register but I honestly thought it would hit me once I was on my own and I would be scared. Although I had my moments where I was scared (cough cough Palermo) for the most part I was so busy enjoying every ounce of my experience that I didn’t have time to worry. Like someone in my last hostel said, “just because you’re alone it doesn’t make you lonely.”

Split and Dubrovnik

Even before I knew how I was getting to Dubrovik, I knew I had to get there. Not just because it’s in “1000 Place to See Before You Die” but because I had already booked my flight from Dubrovnik to Madrid at least month or two prior.

It may not seem as though that it would be that difficult to get to since it’s literally next to Italy but you’d be surprised!

Easy Jet starts flying direct from Rome to Dubrovnik but not until July 1st. The only flights currently available had ridiculous connections and were really expensive.

After a lot of research, I figured out the best way to reach Croatia would be to take two trains from Florence to Ancona, take an overnight ferry to Split, and then a four hour bus ride from Split to Dubrovnik.

Phew! It took a good minute to get there but it was worth it!

Three days and nights of a peacock inhabited island, sea kayaking and going out and getting to know the locals a little bit and I found myself falling in love with this small city.

I’ve been to the Amalfi Coast, the Italian Riviera, the French Riviera and Sicily and the ocean and beaches I saw in Dubrovnik easily topped them all.

As of now, I’d officially rank them:

1. Dubrovnik
2. Taormina (Sicily)
3. Sorrento (Amalfi)
4. Cinque Terre (Italian Riviera)
5. Nice (French Riviera)

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Cliff jumping is supposed the be the thing to do in Dubrovnik. I didn’t do because I was travelling solo but it looked like so much fun!

Love,
Liv