One perfect day (for us!) in Rome

We miss Rome.  No bones about it.

What a strange phrase that really is.  I mean, I know what it means, but why on earth, right?  I just looked it up:

To make no bones about something means to say something in a way that leaves no doubt, or to have no objection to it.

The expression comes from fifteenth century England…if someone wanted to show that they were dissatisfied with something, they would find bones in it – a reference to finding bones in soup, which was not a pleasant discovery!

Therefore, finding bones was bad, and no bones was good. If you found no bones, you were able to enjoy the meal with no objections!

And now we know.

Anywho.  We miss Rome.  And it’s not just our friends there who we do miss very much.  That little slice of Italy got under our skin, and we’ll never be quite the same.

The other day at dinner we brainstormed on what we would do with just one more day in Rome.

You might be surprised.  It’s not glamorous.  But it is real, and it’s what we really loved. Continue reading

A Great Babysitting Option in Rome: Ludoteche Amelie

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A friend emailed me and asked if I had encountered a toy library, or ludoteca, in Rome?  I hadn’t.  I did some frantic googling, because this sounded awesome, but nothing quite fit the bill.

Time passed.  Later, friends mentioned a birthday party they attended at Ludoteche Amelie.  Hmm.  This sounded familiar.  Could it be the missing ludoteca?

I decided to find out.

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Things to book BEFORE you come to Rome

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Getting ready for Rome?  Fine tuning your itinerary so that it runs smoother than a brand new Ferrari?

Of course you are.  Don’t forget that there are things you can book in advance to make your life even easier.

Keep reading for where to book and how.  Yes, you may spend a few euro in booking fees, but your time in Rome is too precious to spend extra minutes waiting in line if you don’t have to!

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My fall fashion wish list

Ya’ll, it’s fall!  This time around last year, I was just incredulous about the amount of layers everyone is wearing.  Yes, there is a hint of a chill.  No, we do not need to break out the puffy coats.

I also started to realize how delicious fall in Italy is.  Porcini Mushrooms.  Artichokes.  Wild boar.  Truffles.  It is a tasty season, indeed.

Unfortunately, fall also brings more rain.  Booo.

But other than the rain, this time around, I’m really enjoying the season.  I’ve done things like throw on a scarf and boots with my tank and shorts to show the Italians that I tried to acknowledge the change in date if not in temperature.  And you KNOW I’ve been eating.

I’ve been meaning to talk more about wardrobing here generally.  Yes, I have strayed from just one shirt, but I’ve devised a new uniform of sorts.  (It is basically all gray, all the time, with splashes of crazy.)  I have made some purchases, and I’m hoping to do a roundup of wardrobe additions at some point.  But this sounds big and intimidating so it might not happen.  But know that I totally want it to.  But also know that just willing things to happen seldom works for anything ever.  I’ve tried.

Anywho, I’ve made some additions I’m quite happy with.  But after assessing my wardrobe, there are a few pieces that I’d love to welcome to the proverbial closet fold for fall (and beyond).

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Footwear Recipe for Rome: Shoes to Keep You Feeling Comfortable AND Stylish

We’ve talked outfits for your trip to Rome.  Now let’s talk about what is arguably the MOST important part of your outfit.  No, not your keep-your-valuables-safe bag.  Not even your Papa Francisco slap bracelet.  (I actually couldn’t find any of those on the internets.  There’s your next million dollar idea.  YOU’RE WELCOME.)

I’m talking about shoes.  That’s right.  Your footwear can mean the difference between your strolling through the Forum in comfort or limping through the sights, too distracted by blisters to appreciate the wonder of the city.  Your shoes can mean the difference between feeling cute on your Roman Holiday or feeling like you sacrificed your personal style for a safe, comfortable option.

Luckily, I think you can have both fashion and function.  In fact, I advocate a two-part plan of attack.  If you find the right shoes, you can do your whole vacation with just two pairs.  Trust.

So what is this magic recipe, you scoff?

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When we first got here, I gawked at sky high heels.  But then I realized that these are not the rule.  And when I looked even closer, I realized that many Romans are sporting cool styles that could walk for miles.

1 Part Sporty Sneaks

Have you guys noticed how gosh darn cool some sneakers have gotten these days?  Throwback styles, fun prints, you name it.  The trick is to pick something with cushion and style.  This is not the time to look like you are about to sweat to the oldies or pump some iron.

I have seen LOTS of fun sneakers here.  Neon colors.  Floral prints.  Even some sequins.  Just like your crazy pants, if you ever wanted to try out a fun sneaker, THIS is the place to do it.

In case you are curious on brands, my completely unscientific observations are lots of Adidas and New Balance.  Some Nike, Saucony, and Reebok.  Some Puma, but not nearly as much as I expected.  Oh, there are oodles of Chucks if this is your jam, but I cannot personally speak to comfort on these.

Start with black if you aren’t feeling too crazy, although these also come in fun colors. I think every fashion blogger I follow has these and swears by them.

I heart this print.

Gray + pattern = yes please

Digging the retro vibe. Can’t go wrong with a classic.

Great in the classic white. Fun in floral.

If laces aren’t your thing, slip-on sneakers are back in a big way.  I haven’t done it yet, but I am dangerously close to adding some Vans to my collection.  Yes, this is hypocritical as I called my middle school friends posers for their Airwalks and Etnies when they were only casual skate aficionados.  Don’t care.

While regular sneaks have great potential for pops of color, I’ve been seeing slip-ons with so many fun prints.  I want them all.

I’m so close, you guys. So close.

Unless I need these. This is why I haven’t pulled the Vans trigger! So many choices!!



When deciding how crazy to go, consider the rest of your wardrobe.  If you are like me and have finally realized that you only wear gray and other neutrals, try a bright color or print.  If your wardrobe has a little more pizzazz, maybe consider a more supporting player.  I fully support pattern mixing, but make sure you find an option that works for multiple outfits.

If you are looking for sneaker inspiration, The Mom Edit has a great roundup.

1 Part Killer Sandals

I think comfortable and cute sandals are the Holy Grail of footwear.  I’ve had some luck finding decent Naturalizers in the past, but I’m not loving their styles this year.  Same for Aerosoles.

Not hating this one from Dr. Scholl’s

These have great reviews

I did have a great experience with a pair of Rocket Dogs once.

And this is where I get kind of stuck you guys.  I’m sure there are plenty of comfy sandals out there that are not in a comfort brand, but I’m too lazy to order them without knowing and I’m never in stores to try them on.

This summer, I ended up going with Birkenstocks.  I know, I know, some of you hate on these, but hear me out.  There are more fun styles than just the traditional two strap now.  And I’m not sure that mine have it, but I have heard great things about the new soft footbed styles.  If you are interested in Birks, you could even wait until you arrive to purchase.  They seem to be a little bit cheaper here.

Whatever you pick, same rules for sneaks apply.  Look at your wardrobe.  Pick someone who will play nice with everyone.  I really like metallics as easy to wear with everything.

Mix both parts on travel days

In my ideal sightseeing world, you would build a pause into your day.  Maybe you hit it hard in the morning, have a leisurely lunch and rest, and then head back out in the late afternoon.  Maybe you go strong all day and then have a late afternoon rest at your hotel before heading out for dinner.  At a place when many restaurants don’t open until 7:30 pm, you’re going to need a break.

Whenever you break, take this opportunity to change your shoes.  It isn’t mandatory, but I think it can help your feet feel fresher and renewed to tackle the city.  Let’s say you wear your sneaks to the Colosseum and Forum.  (Which I would definitely recommend, because of grit, rocks, and dust.)  Then, after your afternoon rest, you slip into your sandals for your evening passagiata and dinner.

And that’s just about all you need.  I’d try to find sandals that would make you feel like you could walk into a dressy restaurant for dinner.  Or just wear your sneakers since sneakers and dresses are a thing now.

Now some of you might be all, but what about other great closed toe options?  What about loafers?  Ballet flats?

To that, I say, if you can find one that feels great, go for it.  For me, shoes in this category fall into the a few hours comfort, but not all day comfort.  They could be OK for medium walking, but maybe not EVERYWHERE walking.

I’m still on the hunt for this category.  I haven’t tried Tieks yet because I’d like to try on something that expensive before buying it, but I know some people rave.  Also, I know some people swear by the Cole Haan ballet flats, but I wasn’t blown away in store.

This loafer speaks to me.  I have a similar printed pair that I love, but definitely only rate for medium walking comfort.

These were some of my fave commuter shoes, but I wouldn’t wear them all day.

Any other footwear suggestions?  Have you tried Tieks?  Any recommendations on comfortable sandals?  Uh, asking for a friend.

3 Things I Will Never Get Used to in Rome

After more than half a year, we are finally feeling more settled.  Some things I’ll never really get used to (cough traffic cough), but others don’t phase me anymore.  During her visit, I asked my sister to point out things that strike her as strange just to remember how different things can be here.  Oh, it isn’t normal to have to walk in traffic to avoid parked cars on the sidewalk?  Good to know.  Carry on.

But I think no matter how long we stay, there are some things I will never get used to.  Such as . . .

1) Ornamental Citrus

That Mediterranean climate means people have citrus trees just hanging out.  In courtyards.  On balconies.  YEAR ROUND.

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Not only is it there, but the fruit is huge.  I swear I’ve seen lemons as big as my head at Villa Borghese.

And maybe some of the fruit is eaten, but it really is largely ornamental.  I will never get used to perfectly good blood oranges rotting on the sidewalk.

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Not plucked off the sidewalk

2) Vintage Cars

Remember how 20 years ago, you could play punch buggy (NO PUNCH BACK) because there were actual OG VW Beetles on the street?  Now I feel like you see one every now and then, but it is rare indeed.

Not the case here.  Granted these cars are in the minority, but on a daily basis I see a Fiat or Mini Cooper that is at least 50 years old.  These cars aren’t just parked in driveways (haha, driveways, I know, good one); they are being driven around all over town.  Wild.

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3) Italian Names

I clock some serious hours at the playground.  If you’ve spent time with your children at a playground, you know that a not insignificant portion is spent calling the kids’ names.  Henry!  Not so far!  Mac!  Don’t eat that rock!  Henry!  You have 50 cars of your own; please don’t take his!!  You get the picture.

At least I’m not the only one.  Lorenzo!  Lucrezia!  Guido!  Bianca!  Michelangelo!  Oh, the names.  So beautiful.  But so different.  The names are always a jarring reminder that we are a long ways from home.