Blogs that induce location envy

Lately I've received a lot of sweet emails from readers that say my blog and photos of Florence make them want to pack up and move here. Right now. It makes me smile for a few reasons: (1) I remember reading expat blogs before moving to Florence and having that same feeling and (2) There are blogs that I read now that make me feel that way. Today I thought I'd do a little wrap-up of blogs that inspire/induce location envy for me. Yes, me. The girl that lives in Florence does read blogs that make her want to pick up and move. Right now.

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Olivia James - Everyday Musings | Charleston, South Carolina

I've had the pleasure of working with Olivia and meeting her in person for our little adventure with Southern Flourish a few years back. She is lovely person, beautiful and an insanely talented photographer.

It's no secret that I have a love affair with the American South. In fact, when we were planning our move abroad we took a trip to Charleston for work and instantly started hatching a "Plan B" that would take us down to Charleston if Italy didn't work out. Rob and I both love it there that much.

Every time I see a new post from Olivia I start imagining us there. Seriously, Florence friends that don't want us to ever move away, you need to block this blog from my computer ASAP. I have a sneaking suspicion my mom is going to start sending daily photos of Charleston in an attempt to woo us back.

FYI: The photo above is from a photo shoot Olivia just did for a clothing company called Troubadour. The cloths are gorgeous.

Haven in Paris | Paris, France

Confession: when we visited Paris last year I didn't think I would like it as much as I did. I'm not a big city girl. But, goodness, did I love Paris. We are even thinking about going back for a visit again this December (I smell a Hash family tradition in the making!).

Ever since, I've been reading the Haven in Paris blog. I found out about HiP through the lovely Megan and I've been hooked ever since. It's a fun, fresh look at life in Paris and how to visit the city to have a truly unique experience. The blog captures the magic of Paris.

Plus, she rents out amazing apartments in Paris. So if you really want to have the urge to relocate to Paris, just check out some of her amazing rentals.

A Lady in London | London, England

I spent a total of 3 days in London nearly 10 year ago, but I remember absolutely adoring it. It felt like such a modern melting pot of people and culture. Old and new. It also felt really full of an energy that, at the time, Washington, D.C. (where I was living) wasn't exactly buzzing with.

When I need my London fix I head over to A Lady in London. She covers London from every angle possible and I've seen the blog really change and grow as she's been in London longer and longer. She makes it feel so livable and fun.

A bonus on this blog is that she also travels well, EVERYWHERE. She's been to something like 90 countries already and her posts on her travels are wonderful.

Naomi and Josh | Love Taza | Washington, D.C.

This adorable young couple (with two sweet babies) just moved back to NYC so, a las, no more regular, new posts about D.C. But, for a long time their blog made me want to give D.C. another go. I felt like they were experiencing DC in a way I never got to because of when we moved away. Even though I stayed in DC after graduation, I still really only ever explored as a college girl and my tastes weren't, how can we say this, as refined as they are now.

Their posts from the National Mall, during the Cherry Blossom season, and eating at food trucks (seriously, why were these not yet trendy when I was in the city?!) make me want to try D.C. again.

 

So, readers, I ask: what blogs give you location envy? Share with me on Fb.

 

5 Year Anniversary

Wedding Favorites Today is my and Rob's 5 year wedding anniversary! In November, we'll celebrate 10 years of being together. Wow...time flies!

So many adventures, so many to come. I could gush over him all day...but then he'll be embarrassed and I'll have to deal with it in the real world, not just the interwebs :-)

In similar news, yesterday while walking Winston Rob whistled from three stories down. I didn't hear him. Then he did the Hunger Games whistle and I went to the window. Hilarity ensued. We are nerds. We are in love. Deal.

Pinspiration - The New Dining Room

96056a6be17296531b5d38b584aed985Fireplace inspiration -- we just might pull this one off!

So, on the upside, one of the best parts about moving has been curating about 834,002 images on Pinterest to help us decorate the new place. Did I mention that it's unfurnished? Guys, this is a huge step for us. Decorating an apartment from scratch is a big commitment. It's kind of crazy to think that we will most likely be here -- in the new apartment, that is -- when Livia is 3-4 years old. So wild!

My most popular board on Pinterest is called Small Space Style. I assumed that at some point that we would move to another apartment with small, tricky spaces and need the smart decorating solutions ready-to-go. Living in a city full of old apartments is like that.

Well, color me surprised that our new place has a 40m2 living room. To give you some perspective, our entire apartment right now is only about 65m2. Now, this new living room is going to be living/dining/work all-in-one, but it's going to be such a breath of fresh air after the cramped combo space we have now. Back to my point -- all along I've been planning for another small space and now I find myself trying to dig out great big space inspiration photos. Trust me, it's just as hard to figure how to decorate big as it is small. Thankfully, the other rooms -- kitchen, bedrooms, etc. -- are all normal dimensions.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to share some of my favorite pins that are inspiring us as we decorate different parts of the new place. Then, once we get settled I'll be able to show you how the inspiration translated into real life!

First up: the dining room. Here's what I've managed so far...

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This dining room is gorgeous, but a little too traditional for us -- so we're using it as a jumping off point with some key alterations. I loved the dining chairs so much that I scoured Ebay Italia for a slightly more modern frame that we can update to feel a bit younger. I nabbed 6 amazing 1950's chairs for €100 including shipping(!) and we're recovering the cushions ourselves with this great Ikea fabric:

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Total price for 6 chairs? About €125. That's about €21 per chair. Ikea's most basic plastic chairs don't even come in that low. What a steal! Can't wait to share some before and afters. The chairs will be paired with our Melltorp table that's we've been using as an office table, but will now serve its rightful purpose as a dining table. I think the mix of classic and modern is going to look great.

Also in the dining room we have this buffet/console. I love the streamlined look, but didn't love any of the baskets/organizers that Ikea makes to fit in the open spaces. Honesty, they all look a little cheap! So, I'm still on the hunt for something great there. Naturally, if I was in the U.S. I'd have about 1,000 choices at Target. I do miss Target sometimes!

One thing we haven't tackled at all in the dining space (or anywhere in the "big room," for that matter) is art. I have tons of images pinned with big photography/art like this...

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...but we haven't found anything that really floats our boat yet (that is also affordable). These book illustrations are pretty neat though!

 

On Keepin' it Real

284074_10101412574107054_411722_nVintage photo of Rob and I from 2011 by Mollie Pritchett

Like many of her blog readers, I really connected to Michelle's post last week about keepin' it real in the blogosphere. Particularly in the Italy expat blogger universe it can be hard to tease out what's reality and what's a carefully crafted public image.

A few years ago I was like a lot of my readers. From 9-5 I was sitting in my office at work, bored out of my mind and going through the motions. One of the only things that brought some much-needed lightness to my day was reading a small group of Italy expat blogs. Well before Rob and I actually hatched our plan to move here I was just a girl that had studied abroad in Florence, missed it desperately and lived vicariously through the people (strangers) whose lives I read about online.

Their lives seemed so perfect.

I mean, how could living in Italy not be perfect, right?! It's that attitude that, quite frankly, has exhausted me lately -- this assumption that our life in Florence is easy or painless or hassle-free. Don't get me wrong -- I know I'm very fortunate to live here. Fortunate to have a mother-in-law that basically just furnished our new apartment. Fortunate to have work that I love to do. But a perfect life? What does that even mean?

Rob and I are just like everyone else. We have moments when life seems too great for words. We have long moments when everything seems to go crazy at once. Maybe one day I'll write about all of the stress we've faced in the past few months, but suffice to say that a lot of bullshit was thrown my/our way in a very short period of time. It feels like only in the past week -- yes, the past week -- that we are now on the upswing.

The stress of the apartment/move was a big piece of that. I'm so excited to move to a place that we can craft into a home for ourselves and one in which I can be proud to raise our little family. I'm excited to firmly commit to a few more years (at least) here. But, to say that our life here in Florence isn't hard would be a lie. It's been really hard lately. Life is life, whether you are in Florence, Italy or Small Town, USA.

I guess the moral of this story is to know that in this blogsophere we "live" in, it's possible to craft an image that does indeed make life look perfect. But, to me, that's the easy way out. Life is messy. It's hard. It's a challenge. But it's also really damn fun. It's surprising. And it's a joy.

Perfection is overrated anyway.

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