Roma then Homa (May 29 – June 1)


May 29, 2013 

Today we went to the Remida Recycling Center as a group. It was neat to see how the community uses these recycled materials. About 200 companies in the Reggio area supply materials to the Remida center. The Remida center highly values connecting industry and education; that’s their whole premise. We did a workshop with the teachers at the center that was supposed to help us understand creating without purpose. I really enjoyed it! It helped me to appreciate the small, unexpected details in everyday materials.  After the Remida center, we got ice cream and then rode bikes to a really beautiful park with Chiara and her sister. It was nice just to talk to them and enjoy a nice day in Reggio. For dinner, we ate with the group at a pizzeria. I ate an ENITRE margherita pizza. Delicious! Then we joined our host families for deserts at Reggio Lingua. Because my host family wasn’t there, I left and joined them at their soccer game. It was so sad to leave those girls. I really appreciated their hospitality.



May 30, 2013

We went off to Rome today bright and early! We toured the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Emily’s parents paid for our tour! I really loved seeing the Sistine Chapel. It took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling. It hurt my neck to look up for a minute! I can’t imagine doing it for YEARS. The Vatican was absolutely astounding. The wealth within the Vatican City walls amazes me. Bronze statues, gold statues, gold trim, marble floors, and more precious materials are everywhere. It’s truly remarkable . I can’t even describe Rome. It is so enormous! I love that it’s also a major world city, unlike some of the other towns we’ve visited that only thrive on tourism. I have a snapshot in my head of these men in business suits standing right in front of a beautiful fountain, conducting business. I mean, just imagine having all of ROME as the backdrop for your day-to-day activities. No big deal.  We walked to the Trevi Fountain and, of course, made wishes as we threw our coins in. Then we walked over to the Spanish Steps and had gelato while we enjoyed the view. This day would have been perfect expect that Masey got pick-pocketed on the metro… by a bunch of little girls! They basically stormed the metro and then rushed to get back off the train, like they accidentally got on the wrong train. Instead, they were just pick-pocketers! Masey’s money was INSIDE her purse, under a button flap and a zippered pocket. I just can’t believe it. Tonight, we went out to a dinner at a restaurant right by our hotel. It was delicious! We had such a good time flirting with our waiter and enjoying great food and a couple bottles of wine. Our hotel was such a cute little place. The Sweet Home Hotel. The staff was so, so helpful and gave us tips on getting around Rome. I would recommend it to anyone staying in Rome! It was perfect for us four college girls!


May 31, 2013

Today, we woke up pretty early and walked to the Coliseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill. Beware of the gladiators! They tricked us into giving them 20 euro for a picture!!! Sneaky sneaky sneaky! The Coliseum was so cool. I wish that we could have done a tour because I would have liked to know more about the history there. It was awesome just to see it. When I get back to the states, I want to read up on Rome. I should have done it before, but I was so busy preparing for the trip. The Palatine Hill was also really neat. It was just a great big green space for promenading around a castle or something… It was really pretty. I love gardens. I could just walk around and explore for hours.  After the Coliseum area, we walked over to the Pantheon. It ended up taking a lot longer than expected to walk over there… like an hour. We took a few wrong turns, but hey, we got there. I wasn’t as impressed by the Pantheon. It was cool, but not as magnificent as some of the churches or the other things we’ve seen. Near the Pantheon was a church, San Luigi dei Francesi, which contained some original Caravaggio’s. Emily really wanted to see it, so we walked over. The Calling of St. Matthew was really impressive. There was some information on it around the church so I did learn a lot about that particular piece! For example, the subjects in the painting are not all clothed like they would have been in Jesus’ time period. That’s to symbolize extending the “calling” across generations. We took the bus back to our hotel and collected our things. The metro on the way to the other train station was PACKED. I barely made it on, pushing my way onto the coach. It was ridiculous. There’s no way we could have done it with our big bags. Many, many thanks to our host parents and professors for letting us leave our huge bags with them! We took the Italo train back to Milan. HOW NICE. It was expensive, but worth it. The train had wi-fi! It was just so clean and spacious. Better even than flying in an airplane! After we got into Milan, we paid wayyyy to much to take a taxi to our hotel. We ate with our group at a great restaurant near the hotel.


June 1, 2013

Early flight back to Frankfurt and then to Atlanta. I am sitting here writing this on the plane and I can barely hold my eyes open. My brain is so tired. This trip has by FAR been the most exciting trip of my entire life. I loved it even more than Paris, London, Scotland, Canada, Barcelona…  Out of anywhere and everywhere I’ve ever been in my life, this trip was the best. I think I liked traveling alone and more independently. I learned a lot about myself. I mostly surprised that I am ready to be home. I always thought that I would love to live abroad and I still think it’d be awesome BUT… It’s just SO confusing to be in another country without knowing the language. I’ve been confused this entire trip! Eventually, you get tired of being perpetually discombobulated and you want some normalcy. I also missed my family! I know that I’ll never tire of traveling. I’ll be ready to be home for a little while but then I’ll get restless again and have to go somewhere. I think that’s a great way to be. I never want to be complacent in anything I do. I just want to forever explore, be forever curious. For now, I need to sleep. I’m so thankful for every single experience on this trip. There’s so much more that I’ve already forgotten. Hopefully, these brief journal entries will help me to remember what I know will forever be one of the greatest experiences of my life.



A Detox Bath


I found a detox bath recipe on Pintrest a few weeks ago ( and posted it into my little blurb on Mother-in-law gifts. I recently decided to try it out myself as the New Year began. I don’t know if actually got rid of the buildup of toxins in my body, but it did make me feel more refreshed and energized afterwards. It’s not necessarily that fun… it gets HOT in that bathtub and you SWEAT bullets. It’s worth giving it a shot though to see how it makes you feel! I always love natural healing things (I feel sure that I would have been a hippie if I were born in the 60’s) and I like the idea of a purifying bath. While I don’t know for sure if the bath really serves as a powerful detox, there’s lots of evidence that a detox bath like this can also help to alleviate the symptoms of a cold or the flu. I made a few extra batches of this bath to keep on hand for that particular reason.

Here are the ingredients for the epsom salt mixture that you will pour into the bathtub. 

  • 2 cups epsom salt (add more if your tub is larger)
  • 1-2 cups of baking soda (this helps soften the skin)
  • at least 1 tbsp of ground ginger (I added a little bit more because I really wanted to increase the heat in the bathtub. The ginger increases heat-levels causing you to sweat more.)
  • You can also add some chamomile to soothe and calm. I didn’t have any essential oils on hand so I skipped this ingredient.

Directions for an Epsom Salt Detox Bath:

  • Use a skin brush or something similar to brush off dead skin (remember to always brush towards your heart and work from your feet up!)
  • Do not eat immediately before or after bathing.
  • Drink a couple glasses of water to keep yourself hydrated
  • Draw the bath water at the hottest temperature you can handle–ideally you want to promote sweating!
  • Pour the contents of your detox mixture into the bath and agitate the water to help the mixture dissolve.
  • At this point get into the water and let it surround you all the way up to your neck.
  • Stay in the water for at least 20 minutes–you will definitely get really hot! Take this time to relax, read, or catch up on your favorite show.
  • Drain the water and be very careful getting out of the tub–you will most likely feel light headed and possibly dizzy!
  • Dry off and continue drinking water. Anytime your body detoxes you need to keep flushing out toxins with fluids.
  • Use your favorite natural moisturizer following the bath – just make sure not to use anything with dyes, perfumes or chemicals! Coconut oil is a good option. I used baby oil because that’s what I had on hand at home.
  • Relax until you don’t feel lightheaded anymore. I’d recommend doing this close to bed time. I slept like a baby afterwards!

Bow Tie Tutorial


I have the most precious little nephew. I love him SO much! I wanted to actually make him something for Christmas this year rather than buy him another toy (he has like twelve million already). He wore a little baby bow tie (he just turned one) to church a couple Sundays ago and so I had the bright idea to make him some more cute little bow ties. I looked around the Internet and stumbled upon a couple cute little bow tie tutorials. They both looked relatively easy so I thought I would give it a shot. I tried both of the following tutorials and ended up liking different aspects from each of them. I combined my own directions with the ones already out there. I loved these and ended up making a lot for family and friends! You can make them in any size and they’re really easy! Such a great last minute gift! Here’s what I did…

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