Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I was totally in my element today as I got to bring out my love of photography. Tina and Chris and I are in a black and white darkroom photography class here at IED and today we were able to print some of our images that we've shot over the last couple of weeks. Last semester at UK, I took color darkroom which, may sound similar but is TOTALLY different than black and white darkroom photography. I won't go into details but even though I have a little experience working in the darkroom, I am still learning so much from this class. Our teacher is Piero De Grossi who studied photography in New York and has been a photographer for over 30 years. I love being able to learn from him and see how he works with the camera. The girls and I have slowly, but surely caught on to the developing process and are starting to become better photographers. Here is my first print done in the black and white darkroom for this class (you can't get the full effect since I took this picture on my iPhone)..

Keeping the photography theme, Debra and I are taking a History of Fashion Photography class here at IED also and it is by far our favorite class. Our teacher is super nice and knows a lot about former and present fashion photographers. Considering that this is the career that I want to go into, I definitely enjoy it (not just because we get to watch documentaries about Vogue every class). Today, he took us to the David Bailey Stardust exhibition that is being held in Milan temporarily. I normally do not enjoy art exhibitions at all, but this one was worth my money. David Bailey is a fashion photographer who has worked with everyone from Kate Moss to Mick Jagger. The exhibition held over 250 of his photos from when he toured with the Rolling Stones, when he shot fashion icons, when he visited Papua New Guinea and many more. Here are some photos of the exhibition that I found online..

P.S. Mom and Aunt Ruthie, the shot of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the bottom pic is one of his most famous pieces. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

Woke up this morning in a great mood for two reasons; God is good and my Cats are headed to the FINAL FOUR! I have been trying my best to keep up with Kentucky as much as possible but last night was the hardest for me. I couldn't get a link to watch the game until the last minute of the game. It was 5am in Italy by the time the game was over and I had to force myself to go to sleep considering the fact that everyone had already been asleep for 3+ hours and no one was up to celebrate our victory with me.

It has been the most beautiful Palm Sunday and I was reminded by some of my favorite songs this morning of the victory of that I have in Jesus, my savior forever. I am so blessed and can not even begin to thank God for everything he does for me and how he loves me. I have been really challenged to use this time that I am here to grow in my walk with God and I am thankful for the people in my life the encourage me and support me in my walk.

 "In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.. when I am alone, give me Jesus.. You can have all this world but give me Jesus." 

"This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love, that you would take my place, that you would bear my cross. You lay down your life that I may be set free, Jesus I sing for all that you've done for me."

Yesterday, Derbra, Meggy. Christine Leigh, Christine O and I traveled to Torino to explore that town. Andrea, our site director, said that Torino is one of his favorite places in Italy. We are trying to make our way to small towns around Italy before we begin our month full of big trips to other countries. We started the day with coffee and pastries and made our way around to see the major landmarks around town. Torino has a beautiful, distant view of the Swiss Alps that was unfortunately too distant to get a good picture of. Its just one of those views that wouldn't have been done justice by a picture. 

After seeing the major buildings (most of which were under construction), we walked along the water and relaxed in the popular park in that area. It was such a warm, beautiful day and the whole town seemed to be out enjoying the weather. 

(Been thinking about this girl a lot lately. We sat next to each other on the plane over here to Milan and in that moment of meeting her, we both knew that these four months were going to be good. Two months later, we haven't changed our minds. I love this girl and her amazing personality. I can't get over how great God was for sitting us next to each other on January 31.)

After relaxing in the park we visited the famous Egyptian museum in the city center. These pieces have been in Torino since 1824 and are still a major attraction of all travelers to Italy. We noticed that Torino must have held a race that morning, because we saw a bunch of runners and tents set up everywhere. Also, on our way to the Egyptian museum, we passed a huge Zumba class going on. Debra and I obviously had to join. I can now check "Do Zumba unexpectedly in a random Italian city" off of my non-existent bucket list. 

We had a great day, with great weather and all left a little sunburned after being sun-deprived for so long. At the end of our day, we found a hidden gem along a back street. It was a popcorn shop with bacon, pizza, cheese, chocolate, etc. flavored popcorn. We couldn't pass it up after sampling every flavor. Plus the owner spoke really good English and loved us so we were happy to support her. 

Next stop on my journey (after classes of course, because I still am doing some work here) - GREECE. 


Sunday, March 15, 2015


Yesterday, Natalie, Christine O, Tina, Megan and I decided to take a day trip to see something new. We traveled an hour by train to Genoa, Italy. It is one of Europe's largest cities on the Mediterranean and is Italy's largest seaport. It is said to have the most beautiful sunset in all of Italy. Even though it was in the 60's and cloudy for the second half of the day, it was still breathtaking and it felt so good to see palm trees and be somewhere coastal. The rain held off and allowed us to have a great day exploring the city.
When we got off the train, we made our way down to the area around the docks to see the water.

 After we made our way down to the water, we spent some time walking through the small streets to find the landmarks that are famous to Genoa.

(St. Lawerence Cathedral) 

We then stumbled upon the overlook at Spianota Castelletto, which is a beautiful scenic panoramic view of the city. While we were waiting in line to buy tickets, there were two people in front of us speaking English so one of the girls asked where they were from. The guy said "Well, I am from Kentucky..." I immediately screamed and asked him what part he was from. Turns out he goes to Transylvania University and is studying in France and just happened to be visiting Italy that day. We told him that we were studying in Milan and just visiting Genoa for the day. He said that they were planning on going to Milan but decided to visit there instead. It is such a small world. What are the odds? I think I scared him a little when I screamed at him for saying he was from Kentucky... oh well. 

One of my favorite parts of the day had to be when we came across a Volkswagen bug that was painted like an Italian city. As we were being our normal, tourist-y selves, taking thousands of pictures with the car, the owner came to it and let us sit inside to take better photos. Anyone that knows me, knows that I loved my bug more than anything and I still miss it to this day. If I could have this car in the States, I would 100% be driving it.

We shopped a little, got our necessary postcards and then had dinner at Osteria il Cadraio. Tina and Natalie got fish, which was fantastic, and the rest of us got pasta which was also fantastic. We definitely picked the right place to have our only meal in Genoa. After dinner, we took a cab to the famous Boccadasse Coast. It was absolutely beautiful. We thought the overlook was amazing, but this view was unforgettable. I think we took about 800 pictures each. I could have stayed there for days and not gotten tired of that view. 

Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Big John, this right picture is for you. Of course I thought of you all whenever I saw this Golden. Mom, this left picture of the lighthouse is for you. You were all there with me in spirit.

 We finished the day with some of the best gelato that we've ever had and for the first time ever, we traveled somewhere and had ALMOST 0 problems. We had the best time together and it was one of the most enjoyable days I've had since we've been here. I can't wait to go back when its warmer. I LOVE YOU, GENO(VI)A<3

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pizza AM

This weekend, we finally discovered the best pizza in Milan. Its called Pizza AM and the minute we walked in the door the greeted us with samples. It was Natalie, Tina, Christine S and I so we did the sampler special. They served us four pizzas with four slices a piece. Every pizza was amazing and we couldn't even pick a favorite. By far the best place we have been to eat since we have been in Italy with the best service, too.

After discovering the best food in Milan, we visited the Arco della Pace and the Sforzesco Castle for the first time. The weather made for the perfect day to walk around and find new places in the city. In between the castle and the arch is a huge park to exercise or hang out in. There were tons of people there with their dogs enjoying the weather. Definitely a perfect way to spend a sunny day in the city. While we were at the castle, we asked some girls to take our picture for us and when we heard that they were American, I asked them where they were from. Turns out one of them goes to Oneonta in New York which is where Christine, Christine, Megan, Meghan and Natalie all go to school. The other two girls were from UConn and they were visiting Milan form Dublin for a day while on their Spring Vacation. Such a small world. 

 On Saturday, we had another perfect, sunny day in the 50's. I had to get out and do something while the other girls worked on their class project, so I decided to take a bike ride from our apartment and go from one end of town to the other. I ended up finding even more spots for us to go to and some restaurants we have been looking for as well.

Last night was a very sad night for me. I had to "watch" history be made on espn.com instead of being at Rupp Arena as the Cats beat Florida and finished the regular season undefeated. I may live half way around the world, but my heart is still in KY cheering with the BIG BLUE NATION. Now go win the 2015 National Championship, boys.

Monday, March 2, 2015

One Month

This past weekend marked one month since arriving in Milan. I truly cannot believe that its already been a month since I left Kentucky. Time is definitely flying by (which, I knew it would) but we are making the most of it. It is finally starting to warm up (unlike it is back home), which is making going out all day a lot more enjoyable.

I had a familiar face visit last Tuesday, which was nice. Dr. Spillman from the Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles department at UK, along with the other girls' professors, came with KEI to check out the program, where we live, our classes, etc. It was so great talking with her and showing her how awesome it is here. She has helped me immensely with this whole process and has been so nice to make sure that I get all of the classes that I need to graduate on time.

In honor of Fashion Week and in honor of our one month anniversary together, all of us girls (minus Meggy Dee who is spending the weekend in Florence) went to the Armani Lounge Friday night. Shout out to Meghan for always knowing connections. 

"Elegance is not about being noticed, it's about being remembered"- Giorgio Armani

 Saturday night we went to Aperitivo at the Sheraton Diana Majestic Milano. It was so beautiful there, especially outside which we sat at even though its still technically winter. (Christine O and I were twinning and winning the whole weekend. First with the red and then with the black hat ensembles).

After hitting up the Sheraton, we went to a Fashion Week Event. It was an open showroom for a local Italian designer. While we were looking around, taking pictures, etc, one guy started talking to us asking us where we are from and why we are in Milan. He worked for a blogger and was sharing with us a little bit about how to succeed in the fashion world. The first word of advice that he gave us was "don't eat". The first place we went after leaving the showroom was to get Gelato.. HAHA (the best gelato too.. they fill the cone up with melted, warm chocolate and then put the gelato on top + whipped cream).

Then, on Sunday, it was a beautiful day with SPRING temperatures, so we walked around and tried (and failed) to find some other showrooms. In our failed attempt to find what we were looking for, we walked on Montenapoleone Street and saw the designer's art on the ground that is only around during Fashion Week. Various designers have their own individual squares lining the streets that are unique to the brands. Some of the ones we passed included Missoni, Valentino, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti, etc. 

The street is also lined with every top designer that you can think of. It's basically a fashionsita's dream becoming a reality.. and definitely not something you see in good ole KY.

I am literally in LOVE with this city, country, this shopping, these girls, our classes, and everything about life here. Here's to three more amazing months, EUROPE!