9/2/15

Gelato!

Every day we walk. And every day we pass the same four or five different gelato places roughly three times. So, that's like seventy two opportunities for gelato to come up in conversation (I'm no good at math, but right?) not to mention all the other times when you aren't passing a gelato place but you're seeing other lucky people strolling down the Corso with their pretty cones full of gelato and you think, "DammitIwantsome." Parker's learned them all by now and has come to expect gelato. Like, "a new day? Soooo when's our gelato-run, guys?" Steve laughed the other day as Parker asked for some because, really, we don't go out for ice cream every day when we're home. But, when in Italy? Also, I think across the board gelato is more delicious. Could this be true? Ice cream is great, but there's more bad ice cream than there is bad gelato. That or I haven't honed my discerning taste because gelato's still new to the 'ol tastebuds. I'm not sure. Let me get back to this later.

And yes, even Anders looks at us expectantly when we've stopped for gelato all, "Guys. Guys. Hello? Down here? See me? Where's mine?" Until I give him the teensiest bit of strawberry. He clasps the spoon to shove it in his mouth a millisecond faster than the speed it was traveling before. Most often his hands are all willy-nilly but he makes contact with that gelato spoon with surprising accuracy every time a gelato morsel is coming his way.

Pasqualetti gelato! Some in the know would suggest that this is some of the best gelato in all of Italy. Fine, fine, disagree if you must. But we're still partaking.

Lindsey got raspberry and strawberry and we're pretty sure that color combination makes for the prettiest, most photographable gelato. Also, William and Lindsey both have me taking pictures with my good camera to text them later for their own Instagram accounts. Bloggers in the making? Oh geez.


As we were going out for our daily gelato, we passed this band singing American tunes. Lynyrd Skynrd! Alanis Morrisette! Adele! Of course we had to stop. Since none of us are fluent Italian speakers, we've spent more time talking to each other, and only each other, for the last month. Are we sick of each other? I didn't say that but I could've said that. Needless to say, we stopped and grabbed a drink while listening and singing along. I like to dare William and Lindsey during times like these. Or threaten that I'm going to embarrass them. "What if I started tap-dancing right here in the street? What if I did Mary Katherine Gallagher's "Superstar!" all the way down the road?" It's a true fear of theirs that this will come to fruition. 
Steve got a Corona (such an American! I say that without disgust since I just got over talking about how none of us are Italian-speakers and nearly threw a party right on the street when we heard some American tunes but before you go losing all faith in me, I also loved this Italian group who were playing a few weeks ago--all intstrumental. They were named Olashinta and despite all my Internet searching I cannot find them again.) and I got an Aperol Spritz. Anders is really gunning for a taste here but I didn't let him have one. Not today, little buddy! Not today.

9/1/15

Brim Papery.



Anytime I scroll through Brim Papery I'm all wide-eyed like, "THIS IS HER HANDWRITING?"  Her being Jolie, the mastermind behind Brim Papery.  And not only that but she makes it all with you in mind.  Yes you.  From her "This might be wine" coffee mugs to her meal-planning grocery checklist, it's like it was made with you (or me!) in mind.  It's all so beautifully done and thought out and--bonus!!--packaged really nicely.  (I have this print and I love it.  Now to just hang up our collage wall again since we moved... a year ago.)  So, ship it straight to your friend and know that it'll arrive the way you want it to--if you can stand not getting it for yourself.  Done!

Visit Brim Papery shop here.
Visit Brim Papery Instagram here.

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This post is sponsored by Brim Papery.  Thank you for reading!

8/31/15

a day at Lake Bolsena.

Two weeks ago (I'm getting behind!) Italy was undergoing quite the heatwave. The type where you sweat in absolute stillness. We powered through! A park bench to take a break, walking down the streets on the shady side, discovering the best cooling gelato flavors (bear with me: cream-based flavors don't cool one off the same way fruit-based (especially citrus!) do!!), dunking our heads in every fountain and splashing its cool water on the backs of our necks. It was 100 degrees! These were little blessings.


But even better was a day beside the lake. Lake Bolsena, that is. A mere day trip from the bustle of Rome (or about a half hour from Orvieto), a crater lake, with black volcanic sand. Our local friend Sylvia found this place where we could camp out for the day, La Capanna del Pescatore. It's just beside the lake, I mean tables in the water close. You'd never expect the place, at the end of this long dusty road, a tree fallen almost blocking the road entirely. And then there it is. It reminded me a lot of the Caribbean. Blue tables, casual dining, a fun tiki-vibe bar that would be so neat all lit up in the evenings, a different atmosphere altogether. This place met all your needs. Food and drink and swimming.


We were handed cold glasses of their house white wine moments after arriving, before even taking our seats. I had the fish lasagna, fish from the lake! It's one of my favorite meals so far. Parker and Lindsey had bowls of pasta with bolognese sauce, William and Sylvia had a shrimp risotto, and Steve had their fresh fish. We arrived around lunch and didn't leave until just before dinner. The owner offered the kids Cornettos (the ice cream cone!) after their swim which they happily ate up after hours of swimming, taking bites of their food, more swimming. Anders napped on Steve's lap, we had more wine, more talking. It was such a nice place to spend a hot day.


8/28/15

weekend links.

I love this picture that William took of us taking this picture.  Ha.

I've worn sneakers a few times here and, good news, I have not felt like I am sticking out all I'M AN AMERICAN in them.  I have these and love them (and now I want the black pair too).

These cheddar-filled meatballs.  Yummmmmm.

After spending a day in Civita di Bagnoregio, this Airbnb has me all dreamy.  Unreal.  The town is so quaint, so tiny, so unique.

Dammit Free People!

Get out of the cities and into the country!  (Better yet, do both.)  Some Umbria love (the region in Italy where we are!).

Loving that flared jeans are back in style.  These are kind of awwwwesome.

Before dinner, during dinner, everyone here is drinking these bright orange drinks on ice.  Aperol spritz!  They're always served with a bowl of potato chips too.  I like them much better than the Negroni I tried at Como.

Trader Joe's products to try.  Their peanut butter is such a win (we brought six jars with us, and we are already through them all).  And I'd also add their dark chocolate pretzel crisps to the list.  They're ridiculous.

My new favorite Instagram.

What It's Like to Eat at Noma (I'm clearly not sophisticated enough because it made me crave a Five Guys burger).

Have a good weekend!

8/25/15

a simple practice.

as it turns out, going abroad doesn't magically erase all of the woes, however big or little, you had back home.  so, last night, when i was playing andrea bocelli's 'the prayer' while cleaning the kitchen and i started to cry, i chose not to be surprised, not to tell myself snap out of it, bridget, you're in italy for god's sake, and instead i let the tears go.  (even on the best of days, that song can make me cry.)  parker was right there in the kitchen, holding his cross bow and looking up at me and i told him i was feeling sad and could i have a hug and he immediately stopped what he was doing to let me hold him while he patted my back and said, "it's ok."  i had gotten an email earlier about a playdate for all the kids going to preschool this year (which parker will join in on when we return) and i thought about the fact that he's missing that (though, no doubt he wouldn't even care and is way more resilient than i am), and the fact that he's going to school at all.  i told steve yesterday that it feels as though my heart is always breathlessly playing catch up with the speed of time.  how exhausting it would be to forever remain in the baby stage, or the toddler stage, or any stage at all, of course, but how am i already exiting that with parker?  how did we arrive here so fast?  i let myself, for a hot second, drift backwards to the moment i gave birth to him and he was placed in my arms.  i saw it all like i was some other presence in the room, and then felt the weight of his body in present day while i held him and while he comforted me and while i told him how much i love him and how sometimes it makes me cry.  i asked him if he'd still cuddle me when he got big and he said, "yes even when i'm big like faniel (nathaniel)."  

i've never had a quote to call my own.  i'll read one and think yes that's it and then promptly forget it the moment i close the book, walk away from the screen, what have you.  but one that i keep coming back to lately is this by, my very favorite, james taylor: the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.  it's so simple yet requires such diligent hard work on my part.  to hold so many things so dearly that time has become something of an enemy also means that i am grateful, i am lucky, i am blessed.  so, here i sit, from a bedroom in orvieto, working on this seemingly simple practice.  i am grateful, i am lucky, i am blessed.  over and over and over again.

8/24/15

Parker's first haircut.



You see, I haven't always been the most emotionally stable in terms of my babies' firsts and thus, we've just continued happily passing right over this one until Parker was all of four years old and in need of a haircut while traipsing through the streets of Orvieto.  That's not to say he's never had his hair cut.  He's had probably close to ten, all by me with some way-too-dull hair cutting shears that I can never find when I need them.  In the bathtub in the winter (then vacuumed afterwards), or on the driveway in the summertime.  We've always managed this way, a little here and a little there, but those shears didn't make the trip to Italy and his long hair did.  No big deal for most kids, but he's a nervous fellow, Parker is.  I blame it on the fact that he needed stitches at a young age (or maybe that his own mother is prone to anxiety?  Could it be?!) but he turns these things over in his head, investigating them from every angle.  You can almost watch the gears turning.  From an emphatic no, to a, when I'm older, to an, I don't like the barber-man! (what'd he ever do to you?!), to a maybe.  I don't like to push him into things, but that hair was not getting any shorter, and I just knew that he'd be happier if he overcame his fear.  His nervousness around it was almost making him moody.  So, Steve and I talked it over with him, and mentioned names of friends who have had their hair cut, and even promised a cool homemade wooden crossbow that he keeps eyeing every time we pass this store in town.  He decided he could do it, but he was so nervous.  The whole thing sort of breaks my heart.  You can just see the fear on his face, the stoic determination, the hint of tears in his eyes.  Buddy!  You kill me.  And so we went in, and for a few moments all was forgotten while we tried to communicate what sort of haircut we wanted.  Steve removed his hat, motioned to his own hair, I said, "not that short" while googling the Italian word for short.  The barber left the store and came back a minute later with a friend who's English was only a tiny bit better.  We all laughed while Parker waited for his turn in the seat.  Once he was decided, he sat on that seat like a big kid, and was perfectly still watching himself in the mirror while he got his hair cut.  9 euros later, he looks like a big kid, is so proud of himself, and is the happy owner of his very own crossbow.  And what do you know, every time we pass the barber, we wave to the man and Parker, with a smirk on his face, says, "I like that guy."

8/21/15

weekend links.

Doesn't Anders look a little like Syndrome from The Incredibles here?  Anyway, here he is trying his first strawberry.  He liked it.  He's also tried gelato already--probably three times--which is crazy.  When Parker was a baby, I'm certain he didn't have even a taste of sugar until he was over 1.  Nevertheless, I think he'll be okay.

This shop has the prettiest ceramics.  I love that two-toned salad bowl.  And these bowls!!

This is where we get more gelato than any of the other places in town.  It's very, very good.  I am still on a stracciatella kick though I have swapped out pistachio for strawberry or, last night, peach.  So daring.

The U.S. has so much progress to make in terms of maternity leave.  Come on!

The mornings are cool here, totally feeling like fall is on the way.  I want this sweater (in gray) bad.

This house tour is one of my favorites ever I think?  Question mark because I say that every single time I see one?  I literally scrolled down, loving room after room, and then said out loud, "And of course she has a Smeg."  Maybe she'll give me her house if I ask nicely?

How about a really cool state cutting board (with 100% of proceeds going towards an adoption!)?

Steve and I are both reading this book with a Florence setting!  The prologue was intense.  (Steve just finished The Twelve Caesars and loved it.)

Back to school is coming.  Skip the hassle and get your kids - boy or girl - some of these shoes and call it good.  We all have them, and love them.

A great giveaway (for a really, really great cause.)

I saw mention of Fed Up on Facebook and now I'd love to see it (and force the kids to watch it with me).

Have a good weekend!

8/19/15

Losing time in Orvieto.


Everyone is on Italy time now. William and Lindsey sleep in though, because I think they're texting their friends back home late into the evenings since the time change has their friends wide awake and in their dinner hour when we're heading off to bed. Anders is our wake up, somewhere between 6 and 7 every morning. We let him crawl around on us on the bed, half attempting sleep while keeping him from falling off, half hoping he'll fall asleep again knowing full well that he won't, until we give up and go in search of caffeine.  Often Steve and I take turns, often Parker pops his head in, and then we are all up and walking up the Corso to Montanucci for a cappuccino and a cornetto.  (As it turns out, croissants and cornettos (or pastries, or brioche, or...) are slightly different.  Foodies, read on. Also, don't confuse the pastry cornetto with the ice cream cone cornetto!  Context is everything.)




We're bleary-eyed sometimes, and the weather at this early hour is almost no indication of the weather for the rest of the day. It can be dewy and rainy and cool, and by noon it's like a new summer has arrived. The man at the cash register on the right welcomes you, "Buon giorno, buon giorno, buon giorno!" It's always nice to step foot in the place and realize you aren't the only ones up (the Corso is quiet at this hour--with only the supermarket being stocked by a truck that looks far too big to fit on these tiny old streets, and an occasional local walking.) I order a cappuccino and they usher me to sit down while they make it. I do so happily. Anders gets a little taste of cornetto, every morning.  He transfers it from one hand to the other, back and forth like this for minutes at a time, flakes falling on him, in the stroller seat.




We've become friends with a local couple, Sylvia and Lodovico (owners of Locanda Palazzone). What a treat it has been. The hotel is a little piece of heaven in Umbria. I mean heaven. Postcard views, local wine (that's exported--so look for Palazzone wine in your local liquor store!), pizza, and lasagna, and cheese, and really great conversation late into the evening. Sylvia has shown us local spots we otherwise wouldn't have discovered. Sitting around their beautiful table and talking about family and relationships and politics while we feast and have our glasses filled and refilled has been such a gift. Sylvia, originally from Brussels, speaks perfect English, we speak barely any Italian, no French, Lodovico, from Italy, speaks some English (more than he gives himself credit for, I think), and so we more than get by, at a slightly slower pace than we would with all English speakers, but there's something completely wonderful about it too. Last night we all laughed, as Lodovico, with our urging, tried our peanut butter. He sat across from us spreading it on a piece of bread muttering with his thick Italian accent, "I hate everything," when really he meant (and was actually saying), "I eat everything."   

This trip, like most trips, has a funny way of making us lose time. What day is it? It's already 5 pm? I thought it was 2. We were in Lake Como just two weeks ago? That feels like a month ago. You know what I mean? Time moves slower (but somehow faster too?). I love that the kids are witnessing all of this: ordering off of menus they barely understand, saying buon giorno and then switching to buono sera in the evenings, having wine offered to them like it's water, different languages and worldview being discussed around dinner tables, so on and so forth. More than the museum tickets, it's this, the observing that every day requires of them, that makes me so happy.