I am so excited to announce my new online travel show…Travel Unplugged!!! Season 1 premieres April 29, 2015! For 8 weeks, we will take an adventure throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. The second trailer will be released in a couple of weeks and will explain the concept of Travel Unplugged & what you can expect. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel & blog! Thanks 🙂
After a somewhat longer hiatus than I planned, I am back!!! First post of 2014 is a guest article written by Stefano Tulli from Ascoli on the Road! After reading about this amazing Italian city, I can’t wait to visit this summer to experience it first hand. Enjoy!
Ok, I don’t know anything about Ascoli..why should I consider it as an option to my trip to Italy??
First of all.. Ascoli Piceno is the perfect essence of everything you are expecting from a trip to Italy.. Ascoli Piceno is a very ancient Italian city, older than Rome! Every corner of this town is art, history and culture..
Are you looking for Italian history? Ascoli Piceno is divided into 6 districts, each one having a historical beauty.. Roman bridges, arches, amphitheatres, the typical Cardo and Decumano organization of the city map..
Moreover..reach Ascoli Piceno in July and August.. you will witness a great medieval experience, with an ancient joust called QUINTANA (different from Siena). The whole town celebrates the local medieval history with a series of historical events aimed at commemorating Saint Emidio, the local saint..
Are you looking for Italian art and architecture? Ascoli Piceno is called the travertine city..the 2 main squares are simply breathtaking. The Cathedral, the museums, the ancient houses, the old streets… Ascoli is a great city for art lovers and it’s also demonstrated by the development of a great architecture and design university which hosts many overseas and Erasmus students every year!
Do you want to taste great Italian food and wines?? Well…the most famous local product are the “Stuffed Ascolana olives” and we are sure you have heard of this great fried olive once in your life. Not yet? Trust us and trust every tourist who has tasted them..unforgettable! Probably you will also want to drink something. Apart from the great local wines, you will also taste the incredible local liqueur..the Anisetta Meletti , which has a very delicate and special aroma coming from the quality of the Aniseed, carefully cultivated in certain areas around Ascoli Piceno..
Are you looking for a relaxing experience, far away from tons of tourists that visit the most famous places? Well..Ascoli Piceno IS your destination.. Food, art,, history, culture, lifestyle..Hundreds of Americans, russians and northern Europeans had the chance to visit Ascoli and most of them never came back to their hometown..falling in love with our romantic, beautiful and elegant Ascoli Piceno
Easier than you think.. Less than 3 hours from Rome and 1 from Ancona or Pescara Airports, Ascoli can easily be reached by train with the Milan – Lecce/ Bari train: stopping in the city of San Benedetto del Tronto, you can arrive in Ascoli Piceno in less than 20 minutes..
“Well, seems like I can have a trip over Ascoli Piceno..what else should I know and when is the best period?”
Again, the answer is easier than you think. Do you love summer time? Ascoli Piceno is 15 minutes from the Adriatic Sea..Do you love winter? Great mountains are only 30 minutes away from downtown. Are you an autumn lover? Wow.. excursions, walks and pictures during this period are amazing in our city. Do you want to reach Ascoli in spring? Ok, just listen to our final words..there’s nothing better than having a walk in a historical Italian city, taking great pictures and relax in an amazing square drinking your favourite cocktail waiting for the colours of the sunset illuminating the historical buildings of Ascoli Piceno..
Hope you will now be convinced…We are waiting for you!
Guest post written by Stefano Tulli — Ascoli On the Road
With weight restrictions on checked luggage, it’s hard to travel light and be fashionable. I used to be the girl with 2 suitcases and a carry-on…for a 7 day trip. Why? Because I needed options and apparently thought I’d be doing outfit changes every few hours like Scarlett (of the O’Hara clan). So young. So naive. Now that I am wearing my Big Girl Panties, I’ve learned that all I need is one suitcase and a backpack.
It was hard in the beginning but you learn the critical items you need…and where to find a laundromat. The last thing you want to deal with while traveling to different countries is a lot of luggage. Most metro systems in European cities do not have escalators or elevators so you are stuck carrying your suitcase up and down steps. By the time you finally reach your destination, you are cursing the name Louboutin and wondering why in the world you needed to bring 5 pair of stilettos when you can’t walk in them on cobbled streets. The struggle is real.
With space limitations, you have to figure out how to make 1 outfit work more than once. How do I accomplish this? With my favorite fashion accessory…SCARVES! I like to wear a lot of black because
I have put on quite a few pounds it’s fashionable. Wearing black also allows you to accessorize with lots of different colors. While I love to shop for scarves in the cities I visit, I always bring a few with me from home to be safe.
Forget the big chain retail stores and support small businesses. I love Etsy! How I got addicted to the app is baffling to me. All I know is that I browse the online shops at least 3 times a week looking for unique accessories that I won’t see on 10 other women at the airport. The items I highlight below were all purchased by me with no compensation from the owners. This is just my opinion and recommendation of fabulous shops that you might want to check out on Etsy.
Right now, my favorite shops are:
DottieQ — She has a collection of amazingly funky knit scarves in a vast array of colors, offers super fast shipping and is a dream to buy from! I love this rope scarf!!
Bo Peep’s Bonnets – I am in LOVE with the Chunky Knit Cowls I purchased from her. She is super responsive and offers a great selection of colors. Can’t wait for my slouchy hat to arrive so I can wear it on my trip to Iceland in January!
Scarf Arts – This store has a huge collection of beautiful silk scarves in lovely solids & prints. The scarves are super soft and wash really well. This (and a pink print) are my “go to” scarves year round! You can dress it up or down.
Zojanka – The designer/craftsman is located in Poland and she has a ton of funky/edgy scarves like the one pictured below. I love that I can wear the bracelet alone or as part of the scarf! Multi-purpose and great for travel!!
Verbosity – This shop specializes in upcycled t-shirt scarves. Originally, I had ordered a custom-made scarf representing my college alma mater, Indiana University. Then, I saw she had a Star Wars scarf and was like, “I need this in my life immediately.”
What are you passionate about? Not sure? Create a “Bucket List” that includes things you’ve always wanted to try or do. You never know…one of those items may be what you are destined to do with your life!
Too many people wait until a certain time in their lives before they start pursuing their dreams. Why do they wait? There are various reasons: “I want to wait until I get married”; “I want to wait until my kids are grown”; “I will do it when I retire”, etc. Sometimes these “reasons” are really excuses. START LIVING NOW! Don’t wait until a certain event or milestone happens. We never know when our last day on Earth will be. Why not make the most of the time you have?
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Single? Do not wait until you find that special someone. Fill your life up with things YOU want to do in the meantime. That means you’ll bring some fabulous stories to your next relationship.
Have children? Don’t wait until your kids are grown. Inspire them to want to live a fulfilling life as they observe you pursuing your dreams and taking chances.
Don’t wait until you retire! In this economy, who knows when that will be! Start your bucket list now so you can have an awesome retirement filled with things you love to do and places you want to visit.
The great thing about a bucket list is that it helps you to visualize what you want to do and take action when opportunities arise. Groupon and Living Social have deals everyday! This is how I fulfilled my dreams of skydiving, race car driving…and in January, a trip to Iceland! Best part? I am able to achieve my goals on a shoestring budget!
I am a long ways off from retirement and still waiting to meet Mr. Right. But, you know what? I’m happy! Everything isn’t perfect. There are times when I feel like I’ve failed at life…especially when others make insensitive comments. However, instead of
punching them in the throat taking it personal, I force myself to remember all of the things I’ve accomplished from my bucket list. I didn’t get here overnight. In fact, it wasn’t until my recent trip to Bali (another bucket list item) where I learned how to meditate properly and use yoga to control my mood. And you know what? My imperfect life is pretty fulfilling as I’m living, learning, dreaming and exploring!
So…join me in making an awesome bucket list! I promise that you will love the feeling of trying new things. Some you may enjoy…others you may not. That’s the beauty of bucket lists. It’s like shopping for dreams 🙂
Need inspiration? I’m addicted to the free iPad app “iWish” which provides inspiration in the form of photos, quotes & maps as well as allowing you to create your bucket list electronically. I also recommend Bucket List Living Magazine. Follow the directions below and use the coupon code “3free” for a free 3 month subscription. Let’s start living the dream!
What’s been on my bucket list?
How to Use the Bucket List Living Magazine Coupon
- Go to “App Store Downloads on iTunes”. Search for Bucket List Living Magazine.
- Download the free app by tapping the FREE button.
- Tap the INSTALL APP button. You will then enter your Apple ID Password and click OK.
- When the magazine app is finished installing tap the OPEN button.
- Permission to send new issues and push notifications from Bucket List Living Magazine is requested. Choose OK.
- Tap the SUBSCRIBE button and then the CURRENT SUBSCRIBERS button.
- Enter the coupon code into the account number box and tap the CONTINUE button. After you enter the code you will receive a notification that you have subscribed successfully. Tap CLOSE. (The current issue should begin downloading in the background.)
- A VIEW button will appear below the current issue, tap it to begin enjoying the magazine.
- You will have access to any issue published during the trial subscription period. At the end of the trial period you will retain access to any issue downloaded during the trial period but will be required to pay for any subsequent issues.
If you have read my blog post on What to Wear When Travelling Abroad, then you know I am a sucker for travel accessories…seriously. Magellan’s? Yep. ExOfficio? I should have stock. Is it all necessary? Nope. But, with the right essentials, your trip can go from stressful to stress free! To help you save a little time & money, I’m going to tell you my favorite travel finds. I have not been paid to endorse any products. With the exception of one item (which was provided to me free of charge to use & review), all products I list below were paid for by me.
- La Fresh Travel Wipes – Okay, these little packets are genius! La Fresh wipes can easily fit into your cosmetic bag & your purse while on the road. There are several “collections” but I like the Travel Wipes for Her collection that includes make-up remover wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, nail polish remover pads, hydrating lotion wipes, female hygiene & lens cleaning wipes. I even bought the canine wipes for my dog! You can buy them here.
- Packing cubes – I never travel without my packing cubes from Magellan’s. I’ve used the Stow-Away Collection since 2010 and love it! I had tried many different combinations to pack as much into my suitcase and keep clothes wrinkle-free. That is tough. And when the airlines started charging baggage fees, it became necessary to pack smarter. So, as I was browsing through the Magellan’s catalog, I came across these packing cubes and thought I’d give it a try…and it was worth the money. I use these cubes even for overnight trips because it allows me to organize everything in compartments and the Stow-Away Cinch Folders help to prevent wrinkles.
- Travel-size Febreeze, Downy Wrinkle-Release, & Lint Brush– I do not travel without these 3 items. Especially if you plan to wear an article of clothing more than once. I like to spray the Febreeze in my shoes and on my coat after each day of travel. While the packing cubes help with wrinkles, it doesn’t prevent them. The Downy Wrinkle-Release is my insurance that I have a way to get rid of wrinkles if I happen to be staying at a hotel that doesn’t have irons/ironing boards (that has happened too many times to mention). A small lint brush is insurance as well. You never know when you will need it. For example, during a trip to London back in 2008, I decided to buy a travel blanket for the flight. It seemed like such a great idea because it was heavier than the standard tissue blankets that they normally give you in coach. I was wearing a black cotton ensemble with a black wool coat. It wasn’t until I landed that I realized I was covered in green fur from the travel blanket (that I had washed thinking it would prevent this type of thing). So, I ended up spending the first evening in London at Tesco’s buying masking tape to remove the fur since I couldn’t find a lint brush. While you may never use it, I figure it is less stressful to have it than to spend your vacation looking for duct tape. You can pick up these items at your local grocery store, Target, Wal-Mart or drug store/pharmacy.
- Laundry Bag – I used to put my dirty clothes in the plastic laundry bags provided by the hotels. But, as I started taking trips that had me at multiple hotels in different cities, I felt like the plastic bags weren’t going to keep my suitcase “fresh”. So, I got the Magellan’s Bed Bug Laundry Bag in 2011. I like that it is lined on the inside so it doesn’t matter if you need to pack wet clothes & it contains any odors. This laundry bag folds up small so it doesn’t take up much room in the beginning and I’ve been able to put 2 weeks worth of clothes inside.
- Disposable panties & cloths – On a trip to Morocco in 2012, I packed disposable underwear and InstaCloths. It was my first time using either but as we were limited to one medium-sized bag for 10 days, I thought throwing out underwear during the trip would make room for all of my purchases. The disposable underwear worked pretty well. I even hand washed them once and they held together & were dry within a couple of hours. While they are not sexy, they are comfortable in a “granny panty” way. The InstaCloths worked well as a face towel for me and lasted several days (plus they start out the size of a nickel and expand into a full-size wash cloth once you add water). I didn’t use it as a wash cloth but my Mom did and said it didn’t last that long. So, I only recommend it for washing your face & removing make-up.
- Adaptors – When travelling out of the country, I always use Brookstone’s 6-Piece Adapter Kit with Snap-On Plugs. It’s a lightweight set of interchangeable adaptors that work for most countries. I’ve not had any issues with this since I started using it in 2010.
- Collapsible tote – One of the very best items you can pack on international trips! I got mine from Samsonite back in 2008. It folds up nice & neat and lays flat at the bottom of my suitcase. Then, while I’m travelling and buying souvenirs, I don’t have to worry about fitting it into my suitcase as I can use my tote as a carry on during my flight back.
Looking Fab & Safe on the Road: I go into detail about what to wear when travelling overseas in the blog post linked above so I won’t cover the same material here. However, I do want to include a few more items that I’ve fallen in love with since I wrote that article.
- Jersey fabric – This is the “must have” fabric to wear en-route to your destination. It is wrinkle-free and there are so many stylish outfits made of this fabric that you will look fresh & fabulous even stepping off a plane 10 hours later. I usually shop at White House Black Market, Magellan’s or Travel Smith.
- Yoga active wear – If you are looking to travel in comfort, I suggest yoga pants, a cute tank top & cardigan. This is usually my go-to outfit for international flights as I like to be comfortable & it allows me to layer. I usually purchase my favorite items at Athleta & Old Navy.
- ExOfficio Sweater Jacket – I absolutely love this waterproof jacket! It is so soft & very warm! I wore it in December while in Europe and felt completely warm & toasty. It packs up very small and converts into a neck roll if you want to bring it on the plane with you. I also love that it’s stylish as well & has a lot of safety pockets where you can store your money, keys & phone without worrying about being pick-pocketed.
- Clarks shoes – I must admit…Clarks makes a great shoe that keeps your feet cushioned from the harsh cobblestones you encounter while sightseeing in Europe. You can be on your feet all day in these stylish shoes. A couple of my favorites are the Wave.Cruise Mary Jane shoe that can be worn both casual & dressy; and the Haley Falcon which seems to replace the black Privo that I have worn. I like that it molds to your foot while providing great cushion to your soles.
- FreestyleXtreme – This is the only item that I have received for free. A representative from FreestyleXtreme contacted me after reading my article referenced above. She asked if I would review an item from their company (which offers a wide range of clothing & accessories for men and women). I have been trying to find a stylish flip-flop to wear on cobblestones so I thought I’d try the Volcom Black Happy Me shoe. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I’ve worn them for the past couple of weeks and am in love! They are so comfortable & cute! I like that they don’t “flap” against the bottom of my foot making a loud sound as I walk. Also, the cushion is pretty solid since I can walk around in them for hours and not experience foot fatigue. I’m excited to take them to Italy & try them out on the cobblestones!
Go-To Gadgets: I like to travel light…which means I rely heavily on my iPad (and more recently my new Macbook Air). The following 3 items make travelling with my electronics simple.
- iPad Folio – I love products from Erin Condren. You can purchase personalized stationary, life planners, cards & iPad folios. Mine has my name & an inspirational quote on the front with a picture of my dog on the inside. It’s nice to have reminders of home while on the road!
- Apple adaptors – I have an iPad 2 and when I decided to stop travelling with a laptop, I needed a way to transfer pictures from my camera & iPhone to my iPad…which is where the Apple iPad Digital Camera Connector Kit comes in. You can plug the adaptor into your iPhone to easily transfer pictures or plug your SD card into the adaptor and load your favorite photos from your camera onto your iPad.
- Power Up – I use my iPhone a lot while I’m on the road…between taking pictures & responding to emails/texts, the battery doesn’t last long. Getting to a power outlet is not always possible so I started travelling with extra power-up packs. I’ve tested out quite a few items so far and there are 2 that I prefer: The first one is the 2600 mAh Universal Power Bank Charger that I purchased from Nomorerack on sale. The second is the Portable Travel Charger from Fat Cat Power. Both work pretty well and charge my phone fully. They don’t take a lot of time to charge & both are small enough to fit in my purse without taking up valuable space.
What are your favorite travel essentials? Is there anything I am missing out on? Let me know!
Buon giorno di Sicily! I have to say that while I was excited to visit Sicily to do the tour of The Godfather trilogy filming locations, I didn’t expect the island to be so visually stunning. I think this may be the prettiest place I’ve been so far. Sicily is a cross between Tuscany and the French Riviera.
I love “The Godfather”. I own the trilogy on DVD and can quote most of the lines in the movie. I’m not even sure when this love affair started but it’s one of my favorites (along with What’s Love Got to do With It). Wait, I just realized that I love violent movies…hmmm. And here I’ve been thinking I’m a RomCom kinda girl.
Anyway, when I saw there was a tour of The Godfather filming locations in Sicily, I jumped at the opportunity and the tour did not disappoint. If you haven’t seen the movies then stop reading this post and go watch it now. I’ll wait…
While the film states that the Corleone family was originally from the town of the same name in Sicily, the movie was not actually filmed in that town (it was too developed for the scenes that were to be shot). So, Francis Ford Coppola filmed scenes from the first 2 movies in the town of Savoca.
The village of Savoca is so small, so typical, so “not for tourists”. I instantly fell in love! Bar Vitelli was the first thing I saw and my heart seemed to jump out of my body…it was so moving, so exciting!!!!! The Bar is just like in the movie…the table where Michael, Fabrizio and Calo sat…even the door curtains, it was absolutely amazing.
On the walk to the church where Michael and Appollonia married, the view was breathtaking. Only 100 people live in this tiny village!
Below is the church where the wedding took place (you don’t see very little of in the movie).
After looking around inside, I decided to make the same walk Michael and Apollonia did after their wedding from the church to Bar Vitelli.
From here, we drove to Forza d’Agro, another small village where a different church is located. It appears in The Godfather (you see it when Michael goes to Corleone for the first time along with his bodyguards); and in The Godfather 2 (in the scene when Vito escapes to America hidden on a donkey while Don Ciccio’s men threaten the neighbors; also you see it later in the film located when Vito returns with his young family to visit Corleone and settle some old scores). The courtyard in front of the church was filmed in The Godfather 3 where Michael and Kate are dancing after they reunite.
This village has about 700 residents. The views are stunning and you can see the volcano in the background. It actually erupted while we were there but you cannot see the lava until the sun has set.
I wish I had more time to spend in Sicily! There is so much more I’d love to explore. If you are planning a trip to Italy…or elsewhere in the Mediterranean, add Sicily to your travel list. Be sure to take The Godfather Tour…I promise you won’t be disappointed! Happy travels!
It’s been less than a week and I’m already missing the beach. Something about water calms me…it’s like an instant shot of happiness 🙂 Maybe I need to get an “ocean waves” app or something…but then I’m nervous that it will make me want to pee all the time. Hmmm…I guess the next best thing to being there is staring at pictures!!! As I started looking thru my online photo albums, I realized that I’ve been BEYOND BLESSED to visit so many amazing places! And I’d like to share a few of them with you. So, get your pretend swimsuit, a very real cocktail, sunglasses and let’s go!!!
Legend states that the Greek god Poseidon created Positano for Pasitea (a nymph he lusted after). I have yet to visit a city/town/village in Italy that I haven’t fallen in love with (well…Naples let’s not dwell on that). During our drive along the Amalfi Coast, we stopped in Positano for lunch and were treated to this amazing view! Clearly Poseidon knew how to woo the ladies because this.place.is.awesome! So, um…Call me, Poseidon! I’m looking to move 😉
Who knew Pompeii would be so freaking awesome?!?!? Certainly not my high school History teacher because he never told me the E True Hollywood Story of what this city was actually like! This place is stunning…and their civilization was actually very advanced (who knew they had cafes???)! What impressed me most was how well-preserved the city is and the interesting “fun facts” about life back then (which isn’t too different from life now).
They also had a lot of “extracurricular activities” going on. Here’s an excerpt from my original post on Pompeii:
3. Pompeii was full of freaks. Apparently, Pompeii was where the party was at. They had 80 bars and 25 brothels. With the open sewer. I am not able to get past the open sewer so let’s just address that now. It’s gonna come up…often. Anyway, the freaks did come out at night and they were doing things that Rick James couldn’t even dream of. Modern Pompeii is full of people selling erotic calendars, statues, playing cards, etc (see below). Now, I originally thought these sexual position scenes may have been their version of “art” back then. But, the guide pointed out that they posted these scenes in the bedrooms of the whorehouses as a “menu of services” (just like McDonald’s). You know I was looking to see what the “goings on” were (purely for research purposes only). You ain’t ready for that. A menu of sexual services. Seriously. After getting your drank on at one of the 80 bars then crossing and falling into the open sewer, you go over to Octavia’s and ask for a #3. Love it.
You know you want to read the other 4 fun facts about Pompeii 🙂 Planning a trip to Italy? I highly recommend you hike Mount Vesuvius then visit the spectacular remains of this interesting city. Then reward yourself with cruising down the Amalfi Coast!
Located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea (close to Slovenia), Trieste is a northeastern Italian city that combines beautiful sea views with an Austrian flavor (it was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1382 until 1918). If you get a chance to visit, take a break at a cafe surrounding the harbor…and definitely visit Castello Miramare (one of the most beautiful castles I’ve ever visited).