Saturday, April 22, 2017

Kissing in America: Margo Rabb

This book was a fun and easy read. I was at my library on base and was looking for a Stephen King book but I didn't find the one I was looking for so instead I wondered into the Young Adult section and was browsing. When I do this I usually pick up book with intriguing spines or covers and read the front flap really quick (no longer the back of the book.) I picked up kissing in America based on its beautiful cover art and read front flap and I was interested.

The book is super cute and mainly based about a love interested. But there is depth, Eva (the main character) lost her dad to a plane crash two years earlier and her and her mom are still dealing with that. Her and her moms relationship is strained and bringing a boy into the mix is just another thing to deal with. Eva and her best friend make a cross country road trip for a game show and a boy (of course) and things don't exactly go as planned. But they learn a lot along the way.

Margo does a great job of telling a love story but also telling relationships between the other characters. My favorite relationship dynamic that Rabb explains is the mother/daughter relationship. I finished this book in about 4 days it was an easy read but I still found myself tearing up at the end. Would recommend.
love, Carlee

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Oasi dei Variconi

Lucky for us, Clark had the Monday after Easter off. Here in Italian they celebrate Easter big time and so all the italians get the Monday after Easter off of work and school and since Clark works with mainly italians he got the day off as well. We chose to spend that day at the beach. I wanted to explore a new beach since the one that is closes to us I had been twice before. This little park area is in Castel Volturno only about 20 minutes from where we live and about the same distance as the other beach. This beach was a lot different. We parked a little ways away and walked along a trail. We came across some Italian buffalo and Knox was not to sure about them. He wanted to smell them and was interested but then, on the other hand, he was also scared because they were so big. Luckily they were nice, there was a whole heard of them with the farmers moving them down the road.
There were also many wild flowers and weeds blooming along the trail. Purple spiky ones, little yellow and red ones, white daisy like ones. Of course, I had to stop and take photos of each. When we got out to the beach we realized it was a lot different then the other one we have been to. This one was full of drift wood and people has even made a little fort/shelter out of the drift wood. People were building fires and walking on the logs. It reminded me of the beaches in the Puget Sound of Washington State. Knox loved the beach, I still remember the first time we took him to the ocean, he wasn't sure about the cold water and the waves but now he loves it.
One thing I will say that I appreciate SO MUCH after living in Italy is America's mostly clean beaches. This beach is definitely a 'local' beach. No tourist are coming to italy and specifically scooping out this place. So with that said, there is a lot of garbage and washed up plastic and bottle from the sea. It is sad. If you do go to the 'tourist' beaches like in Amalfi or Positano you will not see garbage like this or even really at all. I mean Tom Brady and the Kardashians vacation in those places. It is pristine down there. I just wish they took care of every place like that. But it does make me want to take better care of the environment and it also makes me really appreciate how well we do on recycling in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.
love, Carlee
Shirt: H&M
Shoes, socks, shorts: Nike
Bag: JCPennys

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

World's 1st pizza in downtown Naples

Naples, Italy is the birthplace of pizza and over the weekend we went to the world's first pizzeria ever! There is a little speculation but it is widely believed that Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba is the first pizzeria in the world established in 1830 here in Naples Italy. Pizza used to only be the poor mans food. But then it started to gain traction and popularity. Today, Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, serves pizza still but also other a ton of other stuff. Of course, we ordered pizza. I got the Margherita and Clark got the fritto pizza (fried pizza.) 
After we ate pizza we strolled the streets. Since it was Easter lots of places were closed but there was still many places open and many people out roaming the streets. We wanted to go to a donut shop called, Voglia dei Graffa, but it was closed. We also walked by Soribillo, a pizzeria, which some people swear is the actual best pizza place in Naples so yes, of course, we will be trying that place as well. 
We ended up in Dante Square and saw the two cutest little dogs ever. They weren't even on there leashes. Most of the dogs here in Italy seem so well behaved. I want to know what they did to make them such good doggies. One of my favorite things about Italy is all the colorful buildings. I wish every place was like this. The street art, music, people, Naples is definitely gritty and some people call it the armpit of Italy while others call it the 'real' Italy I love it. It is just different and great and fun and beautiful.
love, Carlee
Dress: Forever 21
Shoes: Nike
Bag: JCPennys

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The best...Potato Salad recipe

There are some things that I only need one recipe for and I don't think I'll never need to try another recipe. Potato salad is one of those recipes. Along with banana bread, cinnamon rolls, brownies, pie crust, cabbage salsas, peanut butter cookies, apple crisps, candy truffles, and gingersnaps. (Lots of desserts on that list haha) This recipe is super easy. I was making it for Easter weekend dinner that we had with our friends. It is my moms recipe and so I texted her the day before to make sure I had it right. 
5 large potatoes
5 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped pickled
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1/4 mustard
2 Tbsps salt (or more or less to taste)
2 Tbsps peper (or more or less to taste)
1. Cut potatoes into square chucks and put in a large pot and boil until soft but still in its shape. Don't over cook or under cook (you don't want hard potatoes or too soft potatoes.) 
2. Hard boil eggs, put 5 large eggs in water and bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Then turn off heat and cover for 12 minutes. 
3. Let eggs and potatoes cool completely. 
4. Chop green onions and pickles and eggs mix with potatoes. 
5. Mix in mustard and mayonnaise and salt and pepper (to taste.) 

And that's it! So easy and delicious. 
love, Carlee

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Poppy fields forever

I LOVE these photos! So much so that I used one as my new profile photo on Instagram and Twitter which is a big deal because I haven't changed those profile pics in like a year and a half. This field is actually the same field that these blue wildflower photos were taken in but within the last week or so a ton of wild poppies popped up and I have been noticing poppies everywhere now. They grow wild at the bottom of telephone polls and in hay fields. I sometimes wonder if people thing they are just a mangy weed when I think they are amazing and beautiful!
I basically felt like Dorthy on the Wizard of Oz minus the fall asleep part and plus the bright red romper part. Which I am sure Judy Garland wouldn't be caught dead wearing. The spring weather is finally here and it is so nice. And by spring weather I mean mid 70s and sunny. Where the spring weather in Washington State right now is probably rainy and mid 50s so definitely enjoying this southern Italian spring.
Season 5 of HBO's Girls came in the mail and I am already half way through the season. The seasons are pretty short actually just 10 episodes of 30 minutes. It goes by fast, at least I can go through them pretty fast. But I now have an HBO Now account so as soon as I am done with season 5 I can move right onto season 6 which is currently airing on TV! Also, I have been watching to watch SJP's Divorce and that is on HBO Now as well. After this paragraph it might seem like my life revolves around TV......... and it does ;) jk... but maybe a little bit.
love, Carlee
Romper: H&M
Sandals: Toms

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Italian Summer: Roland Merullo

Just finished up this quick and fun read. I picked it up at the library the other day, it was in the Italian
travel section. I read that back cover and it seemed interesting enough. 

I liked it. The author was very descriptive and I love his storied about the Italian food and there little trips around Lake Como. Lake Como is in northern Italian, and we haven't been farther north than Rome so it was interesting and fun to read about some of the customs, traditions and food of the north. I look forward to visiting at some point. They got to drive by the place that Mussolini was shot and see the place that his body was hung in the square. Like I said, I'm excited to visit someday. 

There was a little too much golf talk. I am not a golfer but my dad and brother are so I understood the golf terms but it was still a little much for me. There were multiple chapters where he went into extensive detail about his golf games and matches. Some of the andantes where clever and funny about golfing. But like I said, a little too much still. 

Favorite Quotes from the book:

"I thought about how families open themselves to include outsiders or have difficulty doing that; how the bonds that link them are stretched and broken by distance and politics and faith and time, or reinforced by regular meals and a shared passion." 

"It is foolish to romanticize that past. Mostly likely, the stone alleyways outside the apartment - they seemed so charming - were at one time a septic mess of horse droppings and the contents of chamber pots."

"Your place on the course is immediately after the group in front and not immediately before the group behind."

+ and I want to make a note to visit Piazzale Loreto in Milan where in April 1945 the bodies of Mussolini and his mistress had been hung upside down in from of a gas station. Furious mobs had spat on the corpses and beaten them with sticks. 

love, Carlee

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gaeta, Italy

Clark and I headed up to Gaeta on Sunday. It is just a little more than an hour away and the US ships and submarines dock there when they come to southern Italy. So that is why we have heard a lot about it but it is mainly just a very cute little coastal Italian town. The drive was easy and fairly straight away. We first wanted to go to Saint Francesco church. I have seen photos of it and it looked amazing. The church itself and the stairs leading up to it are so old and beautiful. And the view of Gaeta from the church is so worth the narrow one lane hairpin turned ride to get there. I love all the color buildings and red rooftops in Italy. And of course, St. Francesco looking out over the town. 
After scoping out the church, unfortunately it wasn't open to view the inside, we headed down to find some food. We drove along the shore (do they call it a boardwalk here? I don't think so) and parked to find some food. We ended up stopping at a little 'by the slice' pizza place which isn't common here. They had pizza and also Tielle which is like a stuffed pizza with crust on both sides. We got one with spinach and one with zucchini and then Clark got a calzone with ricotta cheese. The food was very good, the spinach Tielle was my least favorite but it got eaten. haha 
We headed along the cobblestone shore for a while and then stopped at Il Molo for ice cream. When I looked online the gelato place had great reviews but said they didn't open until 5pm, but turns out they were open at around 1pm when we walked by. So I think Google is wrong with the hours of the place or maybe they were just open because it was the weekend. Either way I was glad. Clark had amerena (cherry) and I had fragola (strawberry) and chocolate each with whip cream. 
Once we enjoyed the delicious gelato we headed to the top of Gaeta to find Grotta del Turco. Which is a cave with stairs that lead all the way down to the water but you can only go about 1/4 of the way down now. The cave and out cut of the cliffs used to be an ancient hiding place of pirates. At least that is the legend. Italy has so much great history and culture. 

It should also be noted that we went to Gaeta on Palm Sunday and people were handing out olive branches in honor of the day. I love that Italians are so invested in there religion and customs. They have lots of traditions and they are so old and marvelous. 
love, Carlee
Dress: Marshalls
Hat: TJ Maxx
Cardigan: American Eagle
Shoes: Nike