Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ready, Set, Go

After the last post, I left you all hanging, and I'm sorry for that.  Mainly, I've had quite a load of schoolwork, and I didn't think it would be enjoyable for any of us, including myself, if I just wrote about the day-by-day-play-by-play.  And so, now I finally have a few things I have accumulated to post about, and I hope you enjoy it!

Lately, I've been finding joy in small things.  Throughout days of homework without a lot of respite, you being to further enjoy little moments and findings, and I'm certainly grateful for it.  Specifically, I've been enjoying music and books a lot more!  When I get the chance to take them in, it's so much sweeter.  Right now, I've been listening to two Frank Sinatra albums, Train's "Save me San Francisco" album, and Mumford and Sons' "Sigh no More."  Not to mention, I love my mom's playlist which has a lot of good Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, and all of that good stuff.

This completely fits me.  I don't prefer one genre over the other, really.  It's all based on what I decide I like right that very second... so my musical tastes are varied.  I can go from "My Funny Valentine" to "Love is a Battlefield" in two seconds flat.  And that, my readers, is so much fun. 

Also, I've been doing a Bible Study called With the Master in the School of Faith by Susan J. Heck.  I have only been doing it for a little while, so I'm not yet informed enough to give a full review.  But from what I've read so far?  It's absolutely fantastic.  It's a ladies' study, but it's not centered on emotions.  Emotions are often a trap, especially for younger girls, and so I appreciate the fact that this book is simply a straight analysis of Scripture.  The study is focused on the Book of James, and as far as I can say, I recommend it.  I love curling up in a mass of pillows on my bed with this study on my Kindle and jotting down notes and flipping through the smooth pages of my Bible.

Another thing that makes me happy is the ability to go out.  I tend to get a little bit of "cabin fever," so when my dad said that the school where he works was having a tour of a synagogue, I jumped on it.  My mom and I went with him this morning, and it was a fantastic experience.  The synagogue was in the Jewish Ghetto, and there was a time where the Jews in Rome where confined to this 4-block area next to the Tiber.  It was unhealthy, because of floods and rats and mosquitoes.  And when the Nazis came, the great majority of Jews there had 20 minutes to pack a suitcase and food for 8 days (that's how long it took to get to Auschwitz).  They were told to lock their doors and bring the key, but the majority never came back.

I've been interested for a while in the Jewish faith, and I have a great deal of respect for them.  In fact, my favorite radio talk-show host, Dennis Prager, is Jewish, and while he never argues theology, he's still one of the brightest men to whom I've ever listened.  And I've also begun cultivating a deep interest in politics, and I love to get into discussions on policies and such.  It's a shame that most of my friends agree with me!  :)

The Jewish Ghetto is actually now a very expensive neighborhood, but it's also my favorite place in Rome.  It's beautiful, and small, and not to mention, today there was nary a cloud in the sky.  I've talked about this area before, but I never knew all that went on here.  I couldn't even begin to tell you all the things I learned today!  It's certainly worth looking into.

A memorial erected after a terrorist attack... Stefano Gaj Tache' was "the victim of terrorism at only two years old."  It was saddening to see.

I love the quaintness of laundry swaying in the breeze.

My favorite fountain in all of Rome.  

It's artichoke season, and the Jewish people here apparently make great fried artichokes.  Can't wait to try!

I love the windows and colors of all these buildings.

This used to be a fish market.  Old ruins are so beautiful to me.

Stay tuned for more... we're going to Venice this weekend!  So by Tuesday I should have some new pictures up, and maybe a giveaway.  If you're nice.  :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Time for a Change

I'm going to admit something... I'm through with the 30 Day Challenge.  I knew this would happen.... when have I ever finished a challenge on the blog?  :)  My blogging may become a little sporadic, but I just have so much to do.  I want to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to focus on school, because, as much as we students often dislike to admit it, it's our calling.  I need to give blogging a bit of a backseat for a while.

Granted, I'll be posting whenever I can!  It simply won't be a primary focus.  When I try to blog every day, I find myself getting bogged down and frustrated, and then I feel guilty when I don't.

I want to change the focus of my posts, too.  I have an outlet now for all of my girly-focuses, so I want this blog to be something different.  I want it to be about my daily life in Italy, because I know my family loves to read about that, but also, I want to get into things more deeply.  Writing is something I love to do... and while I don't know if it will be something I do for a living, I still want to excel at it.  I want to practice it, and I think this blog is the perfect way to do it.

One of the main reasons I'm ending the 30 Day Challenge is simply because it's not writing.  I can post a picture and an intro, and that can be all the writing I've done for that day.  I'm not saying that it's not fun and that I don't love reading and looking at others' challenges, but it's not for me.

In a nutshell, what I'm saying is I want to go back to where I started.  When I would post things that I was thinking through.  When I would post poetry.  When I would post pictures of beautiful places I happened upon in this amazing city.

I hope you don't mind the change... but I know that I'm certainly excited about it!  Please stay with me folks.  I don't think you'll regret it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 12 (Almost missed it!!)

A picture of something you love.

I nearly forgot to do today's challenge, I was so busy!  But this one was easy, because I love a lot of things.  So, naturally, I picked the most recent that has absolutely filled my heart with joy.

Right now, I love.......


My dear Amanda.  She is one of the sweetest girls I know, and I think I absolutely realized she was amazing when she posted this on Gmail:

"you are the cheese to my mac, the spaghetti to my meatball, the Carolini to my Mandaroni."

Yes, we made each other's names into pastas.  :)  

That message alone is probably why I had to post this! I love you, Mandaroni!

Now, I'm off to bed. 


Quick Note and a Flub

You may have noticed some weird "stream of consciousness" type messages showing up on the blog this morning.... That was unintentional!

My friend Matt and I were having a debate on Formspring on the merits of Harry Potter and whether or not J.K. Rowling was a Christian and the effects that had on the story, etc.  Formspring was malfunctioning, and there's an option for the questions to be posted to blogger, and it must have done so without my knowledge.  It also sent some of my debate questions to other buddies on Formspring unintentionally, so my apologies.

Sorry about that!  Very strange.

I don't do technology.  :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Dressing Room Door

Hey y'all!  I've got an announcement to make, and I'm absolutely, positively, so very excited about it.

As you know, I'm very girly.  I love all things fashionable.  So, naturally, I tend to make friends with girls who are the same way!  Emilyann, Josie, Lizzie, Amanda, Lauren, Valentine, and I have created a new blog.  It's called The Dressing Room Door, and it's a
collaborative effort, where we post whenever we want and about whatever happens to strike our fashion fancy.

And what better way to really kick off our new blog than with a giveaway?  I've been wanting to do one on this blog for a while, and the timing was perfect because the product I wanted to give away didn't arrive until after we started our blog.  So now we have the perfect way to welcome new readers!

If you'd like to enter this great giveaway, click the button right there to head on over!

30 Day Challenge: Day 11 and a rolling GROWL to Congress or whoever thought of this silly idea

A picture of something you hate.

I still haven't bounced back from losing that hour of sleep, I think.

Part of me wants to run for president just so I can try to repeal this nonsense hour-losing business.  Standard time worked JUST fine for thousands of years.

No, I'm not bitter.  Just sleepy.


In other news, as you read this, I should be arriving back in Rome.  I set this to post on Wednesday so I wouldn't forget.

I can tell you that I already miss my extended family and the puppy, but I'm happy to see my dad and to get back into a regular routine.  Getting over jet-lag is going to be rough going, but I'm a pretty good sleeper.

Have a great day, and take a nap for me, will ya?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 10

A picture of the person you do the most screwed up things with.

This one sort of cracked me up and confused me all at once.  I wouldn't say I do a whole lot of "screwed up" things, but I do get a little silly with friends.  Of course.

The hard thing is that, right now, I don't have many face to face friends.  In fact, I only have one, and I never get to see her because she's very busy.  Because I don't speak Italian and I'm the only teen at the church we're attending, and because I'm homeschooled, I'm currently in a little "alone" state in my life.

I'm not really lonely, though I do struggle with that sometimes.  I still have my friends in my online classes to Skype and email, but it's not the same as walking around and acting goofy.


My cousin, Mary, and I?  WE are really, really silly.

We've had the extreme good look to find a way to see each other about once a year, pretty much, and we have since we were little. We email, but when we get together, the world needs to look out.  Take a dramamine, universe, because it's going to be a bumpy ride.

We saw each other just a couple of weeks ago, and she won the lobster race held in the driveway at our family reunion.

Photo courtesy of my favorite brother:

Ain't she purty?

We've been known to flat boogie down in the middle of any given store if a good tune comes on, to scream out lyrics to pop music at any given time, scream about Justin Bieber in any given listener's face, nap on the same sofa even though we're too tall and long-legged to do that anymore, laugh about made up words, shorten words such as "adorbs" "presh" and "totes" just to be obnoxious, call each other made up names (lately it's Maroon and Cerulean), and, apparently, cuddle with lobsters.

Love you, girl.  :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

OOTD*: Simple Neutrals

Hey everyone!

Just to mix it up a bit, I decided to do an OOTD.  This was originally supposed to be also an FOTD** but my camera died before the FOTD photos downloaded to my computer.

Lace Shirt ~ Macy's
Cargo roll-ups  ~ Macy's
Nude heels ~ Kohls
Lipstick ~ Mac lipstick in Hot Tahiti
Eyeshadow ~ New York Ready to Wear in light purple, dark brown, shimmery white
Eyeliner ~ New York Ready to Wear black creme liner
Foundation ~A blend of Maybelline Dream Mousse and Aveeno anti-aging daily sunscreen
Blush ~ Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush and Mary Kay powder blush 

I was intending to wear these heels, but I changed them right before we left for lunch.  I decided I probably didn't need to wear them to go to a buffet restaurant, so I just wore some ruffled metallic Target flats.

What did you wear today?

*OOTD = Outfit of the Day
**FOTD = Face of the Day

30 Day Challenge: Day 9

A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.

This is Lauren.  I've talked about her before on this blog, but I just can't not mention her in this post.  I've had so many people in my life who are encouragers and who have helped my when I need it, but this girl sprang to mind the second I read this challenge.  I chose not to put my parents or God, because those are obviously a given.  :)

I devilishly stole this picture off her blog.  Why don't we have any pictures together?  Well... we've never actually met.  Nope.  We Skype all the time and email back and forth, and I love her to death.

We've cried with each other, we've laughed like crazy people, and we've bridged the 10 hour time difference and found a way to become the best of friends.  I'm, Lord willing, getting the chance to meet her in June, and I absolutely can't wait.

I love you, Lolo, and I want you to know that whatever you go through, I will be there to listen to you and encourage you just like you have done for me so many times.  

Your dear friend,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 8 and humiliation. Just for you.

A picture that makes you laugh.

Ok.  I went back and forth on actually putting this picture on the world-wide web.  I did.  It was a tough call.  But I know it'll make you laugh, because it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Some nights, as I've mentioned, I like to dabble in my makeup.

And some nights........  I like to basically throw it all on my face at one time.


The first picture isn't the funny one.  I started with this:

And somehow transformed it into....




I took this picture to show to my dearest girly-friends who understand my oddities, never thinking I'd ever put it on my blog.  But it was the picture that made me laugh the hardest.  Of all the pictures I own.  I almost got a hernia or something.

I'm not even completely sure what happened there, myself.

And you never knew I was a superhero, didja?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 7 and I'm a terrible cheater

A picture of your most treasured item.

This one was hard.  Really hard.  I love all of my things!

So.  I picked my most recent treasured "item."

And yes, this is totally cheating.  Sorry.

My grandparent's dear little puppy, Murphy.  I know I just haven't been able to hush up about her, but I love her to death.  I am going to be so sad to leave her next week.

Week 1?  Finito!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 6 and a Bieber fever?

A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day.

When I read this one, SHE instantly popped into my head.

Selena Gomez!  I've always loved her.  She's gorgeous, classy, funny, I like her music, and she's incredibly talented.  She gets to travel the world, and she has a great sense of style!

Plus... she gets to hang out with baby Biebs...

...Which I wouldn't really have a problem with at all.

Not to mention, Selena is best friends with T. Swizzy!

I promise, Emilyann, that I didn't steal this idea.  And when you switch places with Biebs, just make sure it's on a day when I'm not Selena.  Because how awkward would that be?  Please and thank you.

And Valentine, I'll make sure to introduce you to him if you ask nicely.  ;)

Have a great day, folks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This week, for school, I've been reading a lot of poetry, mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries.  It's all so beautiful; I've been relishing all of it.

One particular poet, Ben Jonson, stood out to me, and I thought I'd share a bit of his work.

30 Day Challenge: Day 5

A picture of your favorite memory.

I have so many favorite memories.  But honestly, I don't have a lot of pictures of most of them... so I scoured my mom's old blog, and found this one.  The second I saw it, memories came flooding back and a big smile reached from one side of my face to another.

This was the first real play in which I ever participated.  I was playing the Queen in Cinderella, aka Prince Charming's mother.  I had a great time, and I love those people.

And how about another favorite memory, since this post is short.  :D

This is shortly after I "met" (aka skyped with) my now best friend, Lauren.  It's a screenshot she took of us being goofy.  We were comparing thumbs.  Go figure.

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 4, and a plea to the guys and the girls

A picture of your night.

I like to wind down by dabbling in my makeup and doing fun, crazy looks.  You should see some of the things I do to my face sometimes!

Tonight I didn't actually play with my makeup much, I just was testing a new smoky eyeliner trick I made up.  But I did curl my hair, because if I curl my hair at night about an hour before I go to bed (it needs to cool completely) it looks great in the morning, and that cuts a good amount of time from my getting-ready schedule.

I'm pretty sure I just heard all the boys who read this blog go "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH."  And oh?  What's that?  Ah, it's the collective clicking of a bunch of red X's in the top corner of their internet browsers.



In other, more gender-neutral news, if there are even any males still with us after that one, I've got the terrible urge to read something amazing.  I want something with adventure; something that will make my heart pound.  Something with great writing and a dose of levity here and there?

Now that I'm done being overly-specific, do you have any suggestions?  Really, please let me know if you can think of anything.  Just leave a little comment.  And most of my commenters are girls, so let's switch it up.  Girls should definitely still comment on this one, but guys, don't be shy, I don't bite.

I see y'all on my followers list.  I know you're there.  I trust your knowledge on adventurous tales.  Boys seem to like that sort of thing, or so I hear.

Just give a blogger a hand.  I'll even announce which book I chose!

Thanks for not leaving me, even after all this effort I'm forcing you to put forth.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 3

A picture of the cast from your favorite show.

This was a tough challenge, to say the least!  Since I live in Italy, I don't watch a whole lot of TV.  It's difficult to keep up with shows because the Italian TV runs on an odd schedule.  

So for today, I decided to go with the show that I have watched the most of.  When I was sick, I used to steal the seasons out of my brother's room and just sort of check out for a couple of hours.  It's cheesy; definitely what I would call a teen soap.  But it has good action, and it's easy to watch.  (And let me just note, I don't like the past few seasons.  I like the first 4 or 5 seasons the best.)

It's a show about Clark Kent, aka Superman, as a teenager.  Clark spends his days figuring out his newfound powers and fighting Kryptonite-infected highschoolers.  It's got action, romance, and some comedy, and I love this show.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 2

A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest.

(That phantom arm behind me is my dad's.  I didn't want to cheat on this assignment, so I cropped out my mom and dad.   It's hard to find a picture of just me and Will because he's usually the one behind the camera lens taking pictures.)

This is me and my big brother, Will.  We took this picture a couple of weeks ago when we were in Chattanooga visiting him at college.

I love that boy so much!  He's an amazing photographer, and he's got a hilarious sense of humor.  Since he went to college he's gotten so much older-looking, but to me he's just my awesome brother.  We rode in his car the other day (the car of gold that smells of old) and I was slapped with a wave of nostalgia.

We pretty much both grew up in Hawaii where we were together all the time.  We used to go everywhere in that little car, with the 80's music cranked way up.  Sure, we have our moments of sibling frustration, but there's no one else that I would pick to be my big brother.

Love you, buddy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 1

Hey everyone!  Good to see ya.

I've been hanging out with my family, and will be for about a week more, so that's why the blogging is pretty slow.  I've decided, to spice it up a bit, to steal the 30 Day Project from my friend Emilyann!

Day 01 - A picture of yourself with fifteen facts.
Day 02 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest.
Day 03 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show.
Day 04 - A picture of your night.
Day 05 - A picture of your favorite memory.
Day 06 - A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day.
Day 07 - A picture of your most treasured item.
Day 08 - A picture that makes you laugh.
Day 09 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.
Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most screwed up things with.
Day 11 - A picture of something you hate.
Day 12 - A picture of something you love.
Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist.
Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without.
Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die.
Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you.
Day 17 - A picture of something that has made an impact on your life recently.
Day 18 - A picture of your biggest insecurity.
Day 19 - A picture of you when you were little.
Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel.
Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget.
Day 22 - A picture of something you wish you were better at.
Day 23 - A picture of your favorite book.
Day 24 - A picture of something you wish you could change.
Day 25 - A picture of your day.
Day 26 - A picture of something that means a lot to you.
Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member.
Day 28 - A picture of something you're afraid of.
Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile.
Day 30 - A picture of someone you miss.

So here we go with Day 1!

This was my favorite outfit this winter.  People kept telling me I looked very "French."  Hmm.    (And this picture turned out blurry on blogger; I'm not sure why.)

15 Things:

1.  I love to do crazy things with my makeup when no one's around to laugh at me.

2.  I like to read on my Kindle, but when I pick up a real, live book, I like to smell it and flip the pages between my fingers and listen to the binding creak as a new story is unmasked.

3.  I still have no idea what my career-calling is.  I know I want to be a wife and mother over anything else, but I have to choose something to fall back on in case that just doesn't happen.  I have so many things I'd enjoy doing for my career, that I just can't choose.

4.  When people ask for my advice in regards to style, hair, makeup, etc., it just makes my day.  I love doing that for people.

5.  I used to be really, really freckly.  I mean really, really, really freckly.  But I started wearing sunscreen every day, and now I hardly have any freckles on my face at all.  Pale as a ghost.

6.  I keep having dreams about meeting my fellow online scholars this summer in Pennsylvania.  It's going to be a blast!

7.  Lately, I've struggled with a bit of social anxiety.  I don't mind talking to grown-ups, and I don't mind talking to teens if I'm in a place where I'm comfortable and where they are the new person.  But lately I've been in situations with a bunch of new teens I've never met, and it scares the life out of me.  I'm going to get over it by making myself go to my grandparents' church's youth group on Wednesday... I just have to face the music, folks.

8.  That dog in my last post?  Yeah, sorry if there was a miscommunication, but she's not mine.  She's my grandparents'.  Boy, am I going to miss her when I go back home!

9.  I spoil that dog.

10.  I sleep in the car (accidentally) anywhere I go.  Today, on the way to dinner, I slept so hard that when I woke up, my head was just hanging down on my chest and had caused an awful crick in my neck that still hasn't gone away.  Mental note:  lean head against window.

11.  I don't know what to wear the past few days.  We packed for cold weather because that's what they were having here before we came.  Then, it got really warm and we bought a bunch of t-shirts.  Now it's in the 40s.  I have no idea how to handle this.

12.  Along the same lines, I'm no good at season changes since I grew up in Hawaii.  I keep telling my mama and Yaya what I want to buy for different styles and they keep saying "It's almost spring.  That's too wintry."  I have no idea how to handle this.

13.  I love to debate.  Most of the kids in my online school do, and I love just really getting in there on big topics.

15.  I haven't worn heels for about two months.  I was standing next to my Yaya in church and realized I felt strange, being so close to the ground.  Usually when I go to church with her, I'm towering above her because of my church heels, but I didn't bring them because of the weather/seasonal issues.  I'm 5'8, so you can imagine I might be a bit lofty in heels.

And that's all for now, folks!  I'm going to try not to do anymore lists for a few days.  See you tomorrow!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Miss Murphy

The dog was cold, so I zipped her inside of my sweatshirt.  This left my hands free....

Isn't she the cutest?

And no, I'm not wearing makeup.  But neither is Murphy, so we're even.  Don't you just wanna cuddle her?