Tips for Traveling with Jewelry

travel_tips_by_CarrieTraveling with jewelry can be a tricky task, even for the most seasoned traveler. Deciding what to pack, how to pack it, or what to pack it in may leave you frustrated.
It has happened that (in a mad dash to get out the door) I have opted to travel only with the jewelry that I had on and nothing else. As Julia Roberts once proclaimed, “Big mistake. Big. Huge!” Look, I’m not the girliest of girls and I don’t have piles of sparkly things lying around (I mean, they’re medium-sized piles), but I do love jewelry. I love the way a colorful necklace can take an ordinary outfit and make it a conversation starter. I love the way I feel when I switch from simple studs and flats to chandelier earrings and heels for an evening out. There’s no reason why you or I shouldn’t be able to enjoy our favorite jewelry and accessories when we’re away from home, right? Follow these tips for traveling with jewelry and I guarantee you’ll save yourself time, money, and the regret of under-accessorizing.
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Novità: Brunch in Florence

All things new.
They may not be new to Florence, but they’re news to me.

Brac_FlorenceI admit that in that last few years I have almost entirely converted to the Italian breakfast of an espresso coffee and a pastry over the American toast, bagels, bacon, sausage, eggs, and drip coffee. I’ve come to look forward to my simple and delicious sweet treat and its eye-opening companion. However, every few months, there comes a day (usually a Sunday) where I need something more. I need the saltiness of lunch, the sweetness of breakfast, in the portion size of most people’s dinner, at an atypical time, and I need to wash it all down with a coffee, tea, smoothie and/or a mimosa. What I need people, is brunch, and I assume I’m not alone.
There is no word for brunch in Italian, which should tell you all you need to know about trying to find the aforementioned meal in this country. In my English-Italian dictionary it explains that “brunch” is a unique blend of breakfast and lunch, but gives no one-word translation. If you want to ask an Italian friend to join you for this unique feast, you would simply say “Facciamo un brunch?” This always seems a bit silly to me, but it’s a genre of meal that is clearly not Italian and calling it by its original English name maintains the separation between diverse cultural mealtime choices.
There are a few places that have popped up in Florence to help feed this deeply rooted (I’m talking DNA deep here) need for brunch. Want a bagel or a muffin (or, for holidays, a pie)? Go to Mama’s Bakery. Need an enormous omelet or eggs benedict with American drip coffee or a cappuccino smoothie and a side of french fries? Go to The Diner. But if you want classy and affordable (but also manageable size-wise) pancakes, french toast, Italian inspired salty crepes or egg scrambles with fresh smoothies, juices, and an impressive list of teas, all in the quiet, hidden courtyard of a bookstore? Well then there is only one place you can go: Brac.
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Photo of the Week: Artichoke Season!

Photo of the Week: Artichoke Season!

Artichoke season is coming to a close here in Italy, so, I have decided that now (right now!) is the time for me to learn how to actually cook one of these suckers. Yes, it is my first time. Honestly, I am deathly afraid of them in their uncooked form. Artichokes (a.k.a. carciofi) are hard and prickly and rip open any grocery bag you attempt to put them in. On top of that, they have this mysterious part called the “choke,” which sounds horrible and is apparently hidden deep inside (ready to attack!). How could anyone eat something so threatening?! I mean, it’s an edible plant in the thistle family! Doesn’t that strike anyone else as odd? However, lucky for them, they are damn delicious. Hence, I’ve made a practice of paying someone else to deal with the cooking side of things. This is especially true when I am in Rome, where, due to some special additives in the water, they all know exactly how to make this (rather intimidating) vegetable taste like sliced (or steamed or fried) heaven. (Between you and me, I have a theory that the government is intentionally hiding the number of artichoke related deaths for nefarious artichoke eating purposes).
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Monthly Markets: The Florence Flower Market

It’s my favorite time again. Time to talk markets in Florence. In our posts thus far, we have covered the large monthly markets in the city. For those of you who can’t plan a journey around the second or fourth or whatever Sunday of a given month, we have a solution: weekly markets! Going forward, we will be highlighting some of Florence’s best weekly markets. Unlike the monthly markets, which tend to be during the weekends, most of the weekly markets fall on weekdays. For those of you whose schedule will permit a visit to one or more of these, I highly recommend it! These market “staples” are some of my favorite weekday activities. Although, word to the wise, those who can’t resist trinkets and treasures when they are sold in outdoor market form, may want to get in the habit of leaving their wallets at home.
Considering today is the first of April and the sun is shining outside, the Florence Flower market seems an especially appropriate start to this series. This particular weekly market falls on Thursdays and, as the name indicates, specializes in one thing: flowers & plants.flower_market Continue reading…

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