Reflections on 2011: Annual Wrap-Up

2011 Wrap-Up

Wow. It's hard to believe that it has been a whole year since our 2010 wrap-up post -- we've done so much in the past 365 days that it's kind of hard to summarize it all, but we'll do our best!

2011 proved to be everything we had hoped for and more. We saw all of our hard work, planning and sacrifice turn into living our dream here in Florence, Italy. After a crazy 2010, we spent most of 2011 just hanging out in Florence and exploring this fantastic city. We made great new friends and feel really connected to the city we currently call home.

We had a solid business year and 2012 is looking like it will be just as fruitful. We are thankful to have a location independent work life that allows us to live this dream. Sometimes we really do have to pinch ourselves.

We're so thankful for our wonderful blog readers that stop by so often to see what we're up to. It's fun, humbling and a total treat. Without further ado, here's the wrap-up...

In January we moved to Italy -- with the ever-popular Winston in tow. It was a bit of an adventure, but so fun. We spent most of our first month in Florence exploring the city both day and night, filling our apartment with the essentials, and started cooking with all of the amazing, fresh ingredients available in our neighborhood shops. Obvi, we also started consuming massive amounts of gelato.


In February we perfected our own version of papa al pomodoro and fell in love with speck, started the dual citizenship process here in Florence, explored the city endlessly, paid more for Post-Its than wine, our boxes arrived in Italy safe and sound (shoutout to UPakWeShip), Rob started researching the local heraldry, and we illustrated the bonkers address numbering system in the city center. Oh, and mid-month there was an amazing chocolate festival...we kind of counting down the days until the 2012 one.

In March we made lots of bruschetta and pasta, snapped random photos on long walks with Winston, finall met the citizenship vigili after months of waiting, participated in a fun Expat Life Coach Interview, took a tour of the Vasari Corridor that was seriously fun/amazing/interesting, marveled at the view from Ponte Santa Trinita (we still do), and Kate began a window-shopping obsession with Ferragamo.

We get lots of questions about Winston, so in April we put together a guide for moving your dog abroad (it's free!). We also made delicious margaritas, ventured out in the rain, saw our first Easter/Il Scoppio del Carro celebrations, took a wonderful hike with Georgette and Tommaso, began a love affair with Boboli Gardens (still going strong), marveled at alleyway art, visited the Thursday flower market, and snapped random shots around the apartment.


In May we welcomed lots of new readers from Design*Sponge to our blog, bought fun art from Etsy, completely stuffed ourselves at the gelato festival in Palazzo Pitti, basked in some ridiculously awesome weather, interviewed Elizabeth Minchilli, Michelle Fabio and Sara Rosso, finally spruced up our work space, watched Rob in "boy heaven" as Mille Miglia drove down our street, visited Fiesole with Rob's mom, explained what it really costs to live in Florence, did unnecessary amounts of window shopping, and fell in love with Roberto Benigni.

Looking for a taste of home, in June we made delicious feta and sundried tomato burgers, cooked non-stop with seasonal veggies, I went to Philly to film "before" scenes for House Hunters while Rob stayed here and took lots of photos, totally loved the vintage display in the Ferragamo window, started peeking inside open Palazzi in the neighborhood, discovered that the city is full of towers hidden in plain view, filmed scenes for House Hunters International, got poured on at the Wine Festival (and got really drunk in the process) and started our backyard garden.

As the weather got warmer in July we spent more time outside, tried to grill out with a terracotta pot (spoiler: it didn't work), plotted an August escape, cooked up some delicious Giada recipes, compared humidity complaints with friends in Louisville, discovered stovetop espresso and haven't used our machine since, and posted a video about visiting Boboli on an overcast day.


Despite the heat, August was Kate's favorite month. We took a week off to visit Chianti, Instagrammed our way through the week, stayed in a great Agriturismo, celebrated our three year anniversary, fell in love with Antica Macelleria Cecchini, ate lots of meat, snapped a few family photos, explored the golden countryside of Southern Tuscany, and redesigned our blog a bit!


We were a bit lazy with the blog in September (busy with work!), but we did managed to visit a few of our favorite museums, finally got a chance to visit the Bargello, picked grapes for Vendemmia at our friend's family vineyard, spotted a definite black & white trend in the windows of Florence, stumbled upon a few Renaissance parades, and marveled at the beautiful Tuscan sunsets.

October was super busy, but loads of fun. We had a great visit with my parents, learned to make a bead necklace with my mom at Beaded Lily, couldn't believe how much we've changed, took a great picture of the Ponte Vecchio at dusk, discovered that our favorite cafe serves a decent American-style brunch, Rob blogged about his trip to Mondo Musica in Cremonafelt small in this great big world, and enjoyed unseasonable warm weather late in the month.

November flew by! We managed to have a date day at Palazzo Strozzi, visited our favorite clothing shop (Bottega Quattro) about five times, lusted after sweest treats all around town, cooked up a delicious apple tart, shared our love for Mama's Bakery, spotted a Clet Abraham downtown, welcomed new blog visitors that found us via our House Hunters episode, I wrapped up all of the books I read in 2011, and in late November the Christmas lights went up around town!

December was a blast! Florence is really charming around the holidays and we snapped plenty of photos to prove it, explored the Santa Croce Christmas market, sent a holiday greeting out to you all, stumbled upon a great vintage car show, shared a list of our favorite documentaries, and we wrapped up our top blog posts of 2011. Oh, and we visited Provence for Christmas, too!


Hopes and dreams for 2012: Make our way to both Puglia (a region of Italy) and Morocco...two places we're dying to see. We have a few new business ideas brewing in 2012 that we're hoping can be nurtured to total success. We're also hoping that the dual citizenship will finally be approved...things move at a more leisurely pace here in Italy, what can we say? Finally, we want to continue to live our dreams, whatever they may evolve into.