Feel My Truth

July 22, 2014

I never thought this form of fitness would make such an impact in my life.

Pole challenges me, makes me stronger, and keeps me whole. This extraordinary creative expression sets me free. For that, I am eternally grateful.

To all my pole sisters and brothers of the world, you are something magical. It is you that inspire me to try so hard every single time I set foot in the studio. I have so much love for this game. Thank you.

http://youtu.be/Cjv5jXNm8UI

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Italy | Tuscany + Cinque Terre + Florence

June 27, 2014

The final days of my Italy trip…

We divided the last leg of our trip between Tuscany, Florence, and a day trip to Cinque Terre.

Tuscany — In Tuscany, we stayed at The Renaissance Il Ciacco, which was near Barga. Our hotel was very secluded from everything. I would NOT recommend staying at that particular hotel. It was beautiful, but too difficult to get around without a car and definitely not walking distance to anything. The closest cities nearby were Lucca and Barga. Of the two, Lucca was my favorite and worth visiting should you ever end up in that part of Italy. Lucca is a charming little city where you can rent bikes, walk, and find a cute cafe. There are plenty of modern shops and things to see. You can get to Lucca by train, bus or car.

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Cinque Terre (CT) – While we were in Tuscany, we took a day trip to Cinque Terre! We drove our rental car to a nearby train station and purchased train tickets from Barga to La Spezia Centrale to Monterusso for 5,40 Euros each. The automated ticket machines accept major credit cards and ATM cards (VISA, MC). Once you arrive in Cinque Terre, you will be blown away by the city’s natural beauty. Everywhere you look, every corner you turn, is like a picture from a magazine – or perhaps a dream!

Tip: If you are planning a day trip CT, be sure to pay attention to the clock because the train stops dropping off people at certain stations at certain times. Also, get to the train station about 30 minutes before to purchase your tickets in case you have trouble with the machine (like we did). 

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What to bring: Bring comfortable shoes, sunblock, sunglasses, hat (optional), a light sweater or scarf, and a fully charged phone/camera to take photos.

Things to do: Hiking! We hiked from Monterusso to Vernazza. It was about a 3 mile hike. It had its challenging points at times, but worth every step. Because of the prior season’s weather conditions, they closed off the trails between the 3 other cities– but it would have been nice to hike all 5 of the villages! I saw people of all ages and sizes on this hike. It is not easy, but try it! Trust me, you will love it ^_^  Also — we paid 15 Euros together to hike the trail, so there is a fee.

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Where we ate: Calvin and I found the cutest charcuterie shop for lunch. It was called Ristorante da Eraldo in Monterusso. The restaurant is very small with limited seating both inside and outside. We shared a board of meats, cheeses and veggies…and of course, a glass of wine! We demolished everything on that board. Also, the board of goodness came with a side of freshly baked bread. Everything tasted fresh, with all-natural flavors. I am so happy we wandered into this restaurant! Like they say: “not all who wander are lost” — so it was destiny for us to eat here ^_^

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Florence — We cut our Tuscany trip short to shifted a night to Florence. We spent 36 hours in Florence. It’s such a clean (compared to Rome) and classic city.

Where we ate: Our first and only night in Florence, we had dinner at Tamero Pasta Bar. The restaurant was cool because you can watch the chefs cook as you walk in. The pasta was both legit and fresh. Also, there is free wifi :) We ordered the cacio pepe, and a pasta dish that actually tasted like chow mein (in a good way!) We were too stuffed to get dessert.

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Using Yelp, we found this incredibly popular sandwich shop called All’ Antico Vinaio. The sandwiches were so good that we picked up a sandwich to-go before we left for the airport the next day. Not only were the sandwiches unbelievably delicious, you can pay 2 Euros for unlimited red wine to pair with your sandwich. The sandwiches are huge! Calvin and I shared the priuscuto, chopped basil, and mushroom cream sandwich. In the photo, the sandwich may look small because I ate 80% of it before taking the photo! Sorry ;P

Tip: The lines can be very long since it is very popular! Many people do not know, but there are two sandwich shops facing each other and they are completely the same! Calvin and I went to both shops. The original shop usually has the longer line. You can see the workers bringing supplies from one shop to the other.

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We also found the best gelato spot in Florence! Again, it was so good that we had to come by to pick up some gelato before we left for the airport. The gelato spot is called Le Botteghe di Leonardo. Their gelato was especially fresh and you could really taste the natural fruits (their fig flavor was our favorite).

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Things to do:  There are many museums to check out. Calvin and I saw the Statue of David at the Gallerie dell’ Accademia. We also walked to the river to check out that famous architectural building that is on the edge of the bridge. There are plenty of shops and buildings to see while you are in Florence. Unfortunately, we did not have time to do more. So I guess we’ll just have to come back someday :)

Tip: Be sure to make reservations online for the museums as that time slots fill up quickly. 

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Italy is a beautiful country to visit. The people are kind, the food is fresh, and the culture is great if you get a chance to immerse yourself. We are glad we rented a car and drove around Italy. We got lost of few times, but ended up finding beautiful cities that we might have skipped over otherwise (like Lucca and Barga). Of all the Italian sites we visited, Positano, Cinque Terre, and Florence are my favorite. Next time, I will make sure to add more days in Florence. Overall, we both had a great time and I guess we will have to visit Italy more often to celebrate our anniversary since Calvin did propose to me on this trip, right? ;) I hope my post on Italy will be helpful for your future trip to Italy! Thanks.

Janet

 

my style in Italy

June 24, 2014

Being a travel bug, I’ve learned to be quite the efficient packer. I normally plan for unexpected weather, but my patients told me the weather was going to be great in Italy, so I did not pay particular attention to the weather while packing. I mainly packed dresses, shorts, a pair of white denim, and a light cardigan. Of our 10 days in Italy, 3 days were overcast and the rest were sunny. If I could turn back time, I would have packed a pair of blue jeans and a jacket (for the overcast days). Anyway, here is a look of a few looks I put together in Italy….

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Shoes: One of the major tips I read while researching Italy was to wear comfortable shoes because you will do a lot of walking. And they were right! Bring your most comfortable, yet fashionable, shoes! I love my black Valentino strap sandals (left) and my Nine West thong sandals (right). The neutral colors coordinate easily with any color outfit day or night! White Converse “Chucks” are the best — fashionable, yet multipurpose wear ^_^

Tip: wear comfortable shoes!

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Purses: I love traveling with my neutral muse Yves Saint Laurent beige patent leather tote (middle). This is the perfect purse for traveling because converts into two different looks (yes, a 2-for-1 deal) — it can look like a tote, or like a duffle with the corners latched downwards. The size is very generous, but not overwhelming. // My two-tone leather cross-body is another favorite travel bag. I bought it on clearance from Target a few years ago and it is still in great condition. I love its size and look. It is very trendy yet functional. // I always pack a black clutch when I travel — not only does it conserve luggage space, but it can change your look from day to night. I purchased my Italian-made clutch years ago from the Rose Bowl flea market. It was such a great find, and in great condition — it actually converts into a cross-body as well. // My mini Chanel cross-body is my new love. Calvin actually gifted me with this beauty while we were in Rome for my birthday! This is the perfect purse when I do not feel like carrying anything but my phone, lipstick, and ID.

Tip: Traveling with neutral color purses will make it easier to pair with any outfit

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Dresses: I used to be the type of person who would save certain dresses/outfits for the right occasion. There is never the right occasion for that perfect outfit. The time is ‘now,’ right? So most of my clothes were purchased years ago…but went unworn! Hah! // The black Barney’s dress (top left photo) is about 6 years old, and this Italy trip was actually the first time I have ever worn it! I love it, and it still fits just right. Simple black dresses rarely go out of style, right? ^_^ // Another oldie but goodie is my yellow summer dress from H&M paired with a chambray shirt…again, it must be 6 or 7 years old. I can’t even remember the last time I wore that dress.

Tip: You can always pair a dress with a sweater or button-up shirt (tying a front knot) to swap looks

My purple long skirt is actually my sister’s! That is one of the perks of having a sister; you can always share or borrow each other’s goods :) The skirt is lightweight and perfect for night or day. I wore this outfit for the Roman food tour and also for our Vatican City visit. // My Anthropologie chambray dress is actually new. I bought it in the early Spring. It’s my new favorite and I get so many compliments from it. I rarely buy things full price, but this one was too cute to pass up. // My white denim jeans with gold side zippers are new-ish too — I bought them at 40% off at Banana Republic. The fabric is very soft and comfortable– perfect for spring and summer! // I wore my Rachel Roy dress the night Calvin proposed to me. This is one of my favorite dresses — I have to wear a slip underneath or else it reveals. The style is classic and the racer-back fit gives the dress a nice edge.

Hair: I love my long hair because I am able to style it in several different ways. I recently bought one of those ‘perfect buns’ hair things (top left pic, and middle right as well)  – and I love it! It is an easy way ($4!) to change up my hairstyle. Your hair is like any other worn accessory.

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This photo was taken in Cinque Terre (no filter). Simply breathtaking ^_^ Have a great day!

Janet