Cultural Differences: Spacing Out

If there is one big cultural difference that has jumped out at me lately it's the idea of space. As in, what constitutes having enough space for your lifestyle. It never fails that when we have friends or family visiting from the U.S. that we discuss how we will eventually grow out of this apartment. Having more kids? Apartment too small. Livia turns three? Apartment too small. Business grows? Apartment too small. You would think that we live here. This is culturally hilarious because when our European friends are over it's the exact opposite reaction. Quite often the conversation turns to how great our apartment is because we'll be able to grow into it. More kids? Bunk beds. More space to lounge? Buy some outdoor furniture. I won't generalize too much because it's also about individual preference, but you do realize how differently cultures interpret something as simple as space.

Back when we lived in Louisville we heard a lot of the same comments about our adorable shotgun house -- as soon as we started a family we would just have to move. This always baffled me because the thought of taking on more spacial responsibility with a young family seemed totally bananas.

I realize now that I've had a European outlook on space for quite some time. I grew up in a normal sized home and any time I'd visit "big" houses, I'd be really weirded out by unused rooms. I mean they, like, really bothered (and still bother) me. Why on earth would you want a dining room that you don't use? Why do you have a den and a living room? As you get older you realize that different things make different people happy, but I've known for a while that a bigger house does not equal happiness for me.

File this post under random musings if you will, but I've found conversations about space particularly fascinating lately. What about my fellow North American expats here in Europe...what are your thoughts? Europeans, does the American obsession with 4,500 square foot homes drive you crazy?

In the Works: Tuscany Lifestyle Blogger Retreat

Tuscany Blogger Retreat We're working on something pretty darn special over here -- an amazing, luxurious, inspiring and educational lifestyle bloggers retreat this summer in the rolling hills of Tuscany. We're in the initial planning stages, but here are some of the highlights:

  • 4 days of blogging, creativity and technology workshops with Kate
  • 5 nights at an exclusive, die-when-you-see-it villa in Tuscany
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • Cooking lessons
  • Styling and photography lessons
  • Nature walks and tours
  • Professional photography (ahem, real deal headshots for your blog)
  • Design clinics and roundtables
  • Super intimate: only 10-12 spots available | Gals only (sorry guys!)

Seriously, y'all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime type of event we're planning here. If you're looking to charge (or recharge) your creative batteries than this is the event for you. No matter your industry -- food, travel, home decor, wedding, parenting or general lifestyle -- this event will inspire you.

Bloggers of all ages and experience levels are welcome to attend. If you're a beginner, we can provide a list of free tutorials to get you started and ready to hit the ground running so that you are prepared for the retreat.

If you're interested in registering for this amazing event, please enter your information below so that we can contact you as soon as specifics become available.

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The Weekend in Florence

f23795c072fb11e29a8f22000a9f195b_7  15f22d9a72fc11e2a5b622000a9f1254_7 It was a cold weekend here in Florence. Not a cold as last year, of course, but still downright chilly. Nonetheless, we took the entire family out for a long walk through the city. It was pretty crowded outside, so I think people where just happy to see the sun, even if it was super cold.

We're busy this week packing for our trip to the U.S. and wrapping up some work-related projects. It's hard to believe that this time next week we'll be in the U.S.!

Expat Bloggers: Locals I Love

It's been far too long since we shared some of our favorite expat blogs to read. If you read our blog there is a good chance that you're looking for other Italy expat blogs to read more about food, travel and life abroad. Here are five of our currents faves... bloggers-georgetteYou know her as the Girl in Florence, but to us she's just GeorgetteShe keeps us laughing and entertained in real life (aka the non-blog world), so it's no surprise that her blog is just as funny and informative as the real person :-). I read her blog all the time for suggestions about what to do in Florence and to live vicariously through her wanderings around Italy. My only fear is that one day she may try to steal Livia (just kidding...kind of).

bloggers-birgitteWhen I find myself even creeping toward boredom with all of the beauty around me in Florence I head over to Birgitte's A Dusty Olive Green. Her take on Florence refreshes me. Her photos are beautiful, her city tips impeccable and her blog styling is gorgeous. As a side note, she has one of the best written about pages. This Danish expat's writing style warms my soul -- she has such a personal and unique voice in her prose.


bloggers-michelleWhen I want to read thoughtful, intelligent and well-written musings on motherhood and women's issues I head over to Michelle's blog, Maple Leaf Mamma. Michelle's blog is a "mommy blog" for the thinking woman. When you need reassurance that motherhood is more than just shitty diapers, Michelle has got you covered. She writes about serious issues that get you thinking. bloggers-sophieDo not read Sophie's blog, the Curious Eater, when hungry. Or dreaming about Italy. You will want to eat and/or hop on a plane to Florence. Her food photography is amazing and her recommendations for what to see and do in Florence are fantastic. I personally love the portrait photography of Florentines that she includes on her blog. They are amazing and capture the spirit of the people that live here.


blogger-francesaBurnt by the Tuscan Sun is a witty, honest and sarcastic look at life abroad in Italy. Whenever I receive those "I want to abandon my life in America and come to Italy to drink espresso, eat gelato and hear the churchbells ring" emails, I send them to Francesca. Not because I like bursting bubbles (I don't), but because in a sea of sugar-coated blogs it is helpful for people to read about the hard stuff, too. Plus, Francesa is wickedly funny.