September 1, 2011

The Fight

Hey everybody,

So, I’ve been absent from the blog the past week or so due to a health crisis in my family.

My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer exactly 2 weeks ago, and she’s already begun the fight.

family.

The doctor has a lot of confidence in his treatment plan, and my mom has made it well through 2 rounds of chemotherapy so far. Luckily, my dad’s workplace is helping out by giving him the chance to go with my mom for the treatment every week and by providing meals every day.

So far, it seems to be going well.

This has been a big health scare for all of us – my mom had little to no symptoms, no risk factors, and no family history.

It came out of nowhere and caught us all by surprise. Ovarian cancer is hard to catch in the early stages, and we never expected anything so serious to be wrong.

Please be diligent with your health care.

For information on ovarian cancer + how to reduce your risk, check out the info on Dr. Oz’s site: “Ovarian Cancer: Stopping a Secret Killer.”

August 20, 2011

Hiking along the Italian Coast

I shared a few photos from our hike through Cinque Terre, Italy here. The seaside, the views – it’s lovely. : )

seaside.

We started out early in the day by grabbing some fruit at one of the small streetside markets….

snacks.
Our hike wound along the coast of the Mediterranean through 5 towns, some vineyards, and natural cliffs. In the middle of one orchard, we came across an Italian man selling fresh lemonade to hikers….

homemade.

fresh lemonade.

For lunch, we stopped in the harbor of one of the towns with some grab-and-go pizza….

lunch.

Throughout the hike, we overheard people talking in all different languages – Italian, English, German, French, and more. It was an interesting mélange of people from all different places – all come to enjoy the Italian coast….

hilltop.

Everyone we passed would say “excuse me” in a different language. Scusi, permesso, entschuldigung, pardon…

vista.

Cinque Terre is famous for its beautiful scenery and seaside hikes, but its mixture of different visitors makes for a really unique atmosphere, too. : )

August 17, 2011

One Tuesday at Cinque Terre, Italy

In April, I got to spend my spring break – 11 days – in Italy. The trip was rich with history, culture, and especially food. : )

We spent most of our time in Rome, but made this day trip out to Cinque Terre for some beautiful hiking along the Italian coast.

riomaggiore.

seaside.
This hiking area is full of sweeping views, crisp and salty Mediterranean air, seaside life…

perch.
The main hiking trail also takes you through 5 small coastal Italian towns, where you find your way through small, winding, complex Italian alleys….

street.

Interesting architecture and inspiring personal touches accent the walls and streets throughout each of the towns…

mixed media.
italian.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about some of the food we came across as well as the atmosphere of our hike! See you then. : )

August 3, 2011

In and Around Karlštejn Castle

A couple of weeks ago, I took a day trip out from Prague to Karlštejn. The small town is just a short train ride away through some of the Czech countryside, and the vibe is so different from the bustle of the capital.

The views around Karlštrejn are so scenic and calm….

calm waters.

czech countryside.

Along one of the main streets of town, everyone has a driveway like this:

driveway.

That main street connects to a moderate hiking path up a hill that leads to Karlštejn’s famous 14th century Gothic castle….

castle.

I really enjoyed the walk up to the top of the hill with its picturesque views!

royal view.

At the castle, I took a 2 hour English tour explaining the history of the place and the old royal families, but no photos were allowed inside. The whole place is full of historic relics, royal portraits, twisting paths and staircases.

staircase.

Back down in the village after the tour, people were out enjoying the breezy weather. The whole town has a relaxed and unhurried feeling, perfect for a short day trip.

bike ride.

I loved getting a chance to see some of the Czech countryside and the old castle. : )

July 31, 2011

Late Afternoons on the Vltava River

Late afternoon and early evening are my favorite times of day to be around the Vltava River here in Prague.

In good weather, people always come out for paddle-boat sightseeing….

vltava.

And the light slanting in at this time of day is beautiful, giving all the riverside architecture a timeless look…

riverside buildings.

…as well as adding extra sparkle to Prague’s gilded accents…

gilded.

And the sparkle of the water as the sun sets is the finishing touch to the great atmosphere.

close to evening.

 
What’s your favorite time of day? : )

July 28, 2011

Walking through Prague

I had a couple of days off work this week, and I spent the extra free time wandering the streets of Prague. I love taking in the city by exploring and meandering. : )

Today, I started my walk near the Vltava River….

cafe.

The restaurants along this part of the riverside have a great view of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

restaurant with a view.

Later, I tried this traditional Czech/Slovak bread. It’s a good, quick snack – perfect for my walk. I loooved the taste of cinnamon.

czech bread.

Then I walked up and down these streets, near the castle…

one way.
downhill.

…where I came across this bakeshop selling goodies through the window!

windowsill.

Where did you walk today? : )

July 27, 2011

Hungarian Architecture

I am so honored to be Freshly Pressed! Thank you to WordPress and to you blog readers – so exciting! I love reading all your comments – so uplifting to hear your memories of Budapest, your plans to visit. This city has made such an impact on us all. : )

A few final words about my Hungary visit – I was so struck by the inspirational architecture around every corner! Every street looks different, every building has its own personality.

From shingled roofs and old, colorful buildings…

curbside.

…to bright, vivid paint…yellow.

…and beautiful patterns…

patterns.

…or even purple accents and highlights…
color accents.

… and the soaring marble of St. Stephen’s Basilica.
overview.

dome.

The interplay of colors and attention to architectural detail – both inside and outside the buildings – is fabulous. I could walk up and down the same street 10 times and notice something new with every pass. : )

July 25, 2011

Across the Danube River

I posted some photos from the Pest side of the Danube River in Budapest, and now here’s some more from the Buda side!

riverbank.

The first thing I saw when I crossed the river: it reads, “confidence in the ancient virtue,” the royal slogan of Franz Josef I, head of the Austro-Hungarian Empire….

confidence in the ancient virtue.

The narrow, uphill streets on this side of the river catch gorgeous shafts of light in the evening….

play of light.

streetview.

At the top of the hill, in the Castle District, there are clusters of 19th century buildings…

rooftops.

…along with Hungary’s famous Fishermen’s Bastion, an expansive neo-Gothic terrace with great views of the city and the river. Here’s one of its 7 towers….

fishermen's bastion.

And just south of the Fishermen’s Bastion is the Royal Palace/Buda Castle:

buda castle.

Buda, with its small, winding streets and Castle District, has a medieval feel, while Pest is flatter, urban, and more spread out. I loved crossing back and forth across this wide river between the two very different sides of Budapest. : )

July 24, 2011

Welcome to Budapest

I was in Budapest early last week for business, but I also had some free time to explore the city. Budapest has a really great vibe – a laid back, happening place that’s a little reminiscent of Prague with its ornate, colorful architecture.

First things first when I explore in Europe: gelato! One popular shop had this great tulip-shaped gelato – all the flavor, twice the fab. I had the chili chocolate. : )

tulip-shaped gelato.

10,000 Hungarian forint is about $50….

Hungarian forint.

Summers in Budapest are h-o-t! There are lots of fountains all around to give you a chance to cool off…

summer heat.

And outdoor cafes are around every corner! The view at the end of this row of cafes is of St. Stephen’s Basilica, the founder-legend of Hungary and an early promoter of Christianity in the region….

st. stephen's basilica.

Hungary’s famous Parliament building overlooks the Danube River….

parliament.

Buda and Pest were two seperate cities on each bank of the Danube River until 1873. These photos all show the Pest side of the river; photos of the Buda side coming soon. : )

July 22, 2011

Five Things Friday

 

I’m loving these 5 things this week…

1. Statement scarves – a great way to add color to your look!

 

 
2. I need to try this DIY project. Make a unique lamp all your own!

Source: bhg.com via Kate on Pinterest

 

 
3. How amazing are these vintage Mexican stamps?! J’adore.

 

 
4. These wedding reception banners are so great and personal…

 

 
5. This is pretty much the story of my life, how about you?

Source: imgfave.com via pam on Pinterest

 

 
happy weekend, friends : )

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