Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ciao for now, Milano

Wow, I have no idea where to even begin. My amazing four months in Italy have come to an end and I can honestly say that it has flown by. I knew going into this that it would come and go in the blink of an eye but I still was not prepared for how quickly my goodbyes would have to come. Preparing for this experience I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know how school would be, I didn't know how Milan would be, where I would be living, how I would get along with the girls, what I would be doing, etc. I couldn't even begin to imagine what I was getting myself into and after being here for four months I can say that every little expectation I had has been exceeded. Studying abroad has without a doubt been the best decision I've ever made in my life and I have absolutely no regret. Thank you to everyone at home who has supported me through all of this. I would be nowhere if it weren't for each of you. If I would've told you 4 years ago that I would live in Europe for four months with no one I knew, none of you would've believed me. Believe it or not, I have officially said goodbye to the shy little girl with glasses who whispered everything to her mom because she was too scared to talk to people. I am so thankful for all of the love, encouragement and prayers that have shaped me into the outgoing, independent, crazy young woman that I am today. God has had his hand on this and prepared this journey for me from the first education abroad information session that I went to during freshman orientation.

I want to start by sharing an article that has taken the words out of our mouths. A month ago as the girls and I were sitting in the living room, eating gelato after an evening out enjoying Design Week when Christine came across this article that summed up our experience perfectly. We couldn't even bare to read it all because we were in tears. 

How lucky am I to have been able to leave one of the best schools in America to study at one of the best schools in Europe? IED is one of the coolest environments that I have ever been a part of. It was a dream to be able to study Photography, Fashion Photography, Art, Italian, etc for an entire semester. Classes may have been 2-3 hours but its hard to complain when you get to sit and learn about Gucci, Vogue and all things fashion every week. Not only were the classes interesting, but we were able to take them with students from all over the world. We shared classes with people from Germany, Colombia, China, you name it. Everyone was so nice and welcoming to us "American girls" who awkwardly showed up in their classes. We took field trips to Gucci, ItalDenim, Mantero as well as several excursions sight-seeing around Milan. UK is a great school and will always be my home but I'll forever love my European Design School.

Thank you to all my teachers for expanding my knowledge of things that I am so passionate about. Bruno, thank you again for making our time on campus so much easier and worry-free. You really helped us fit right in even though we stuck out like 9 sore thumbs. To all of the friends that I made in class, you always have a place to stay if you ever find yourself in the United States. 

My last weekend here in Milan has been nothing short of incredible. Unfortunately, I had to say my goodbyes to the Christines, Stefanie and Megan early, but Tina and Deb have been by my side letting me spend my last hours here however I want to spend them. It's been hard but I tried to cram it all in before my final farewell. It is only fitting that us three were the only ones in the group who hadn't climbed to the top of the Duomo, so Friday night that's what we did. We went to the top just as the sun was setting and had the most amazing view. It was a sight I'll never forget. Thank you, girls, for making me feel like the luckiest girl in the world and for spending my last few days with me making music videos, eating cannolis and laughing til we cried.

Regina Margherita,

My home here in Milano was more than I could have ever asked for. I had a perfect room with an incredible view and an even better closet. I was fortunate to get one of the biggest beds which was shared with my girls from time to time. I also had one of the biggest rooms in the apartment that turned into being the home for many late night heart to hearts with my five fabulous roommates. Our living room may have been small, with one couch, some beach chairs and a TV the size of my laptop, but I'll never love a living room more than that one. Many days and nights were spent crammed in there watching The Bacehlor/Bachelorette, How to Get Away With Murder, Eye Candy and every genre of movie you can imagine. While other people were out traveling or experiencing the night life, we had our own night life in our pajamas with our ice cream binge watching shows. I wouldn't trade anything for all of the dinners that we had together in that small kitchen that we reorganized eight times before it was perfect. When I was grieving the loss of a friend, you brought us all together for dinner as a family and were there for support. Whenever it was 4am and we were just rolling in from a night out and we all just wanted to eat cookies, there we were. The door lady and every other resident in that complex may have hated our American guts but it will forever be something we can laugh about. We never have to worry about the "rubbish" being separated or cleaned correctly again and we never have to fit only three at a a time in an elevator. I may be leaving you all early and that room may be empty, but I'm still there in spirit. My home in Regina Margherita would have just been a room that meant nothing to me if you all weren't living in the rooms surrounding me.

Christine (Kress)

I guess you could say it was love at first sight for us, right? I still to this day don't know how we, out of all people, ended up sitting right next to each other on our flight over here. That huge plane filled with people from all over the world and I sit down next to you.. only God can be behind that. I knew as soon as we introduced ourselves that we were going to be friends, and I wasn't wrong. You are one of the biggest worry-warts I have ever met in my life met but that's what makes you, you. How do you worry so much but stay so cool? Don't ever change your style because it fits you perfectly. I'll never have cooler pictures than you because that red hair hair flip makes every picture. Just put it on chrome and every one you take will turn out perfectly. I'm so sad that we won't be able to travel together anymore for a while. Who am I going to look at and say "omg look at that"? Thank you for being one of my biggest supporters and a bff from the first hello.


I seriously believe that you are the west coast version of me. Every story I tell, you have one that's so similar it's almost scary. We are so alike in so many ways and it is a bond that will never die due to distance. You may be a hop, skip and 6,000 jumps away from Kentucky but we will always be close in our hearts. The day we spent in Venice together was one of the best days of my life. I couldn't believe that I was lucky enough to be taking a casual day trip to Venice but to take it with one of my best friends made it that much better. I could sit and talk to you for hours about the most random things and never get bored. You are so easy to get along with and I am so thankful for all the times you listened to me tell ridiculous stories. Please send me text messages so long that they turn into notes and that it takes me 4 days to respond to. I never want our good conversations to end. Thank you for reaching out to me the day before we flew here. I had a good feeling about this whole experience just from the few text messages we sent each other a few hours prior to meeting everyone.

Christine AND Tina I'm going to miss running into you all in our little shared bathroom, the many, many "body showers"and not knowing if the people in the building next door can see us. Sharing a toilet with you will be hard to move on from..hahaha.

Christine (Chief Keefe)

You are the cutest coffee addict I know. You have been the backbone behind almost every trip we have taken and I am so thankful for that. Lord knows we would still be stuck in Dublin if I were in charge of planning these trips. Seeing you cry as we said goodbye was so heartbreaking. I am so glad we have been living next door to each other for four months. I am so glad we were able to celebrate your birthday here in Milan. I am also so glad that I was able to see you experience Disney for the first time. Seeing you that happy was such a joy to watch. You have such a bright personality, don't ever let insecurities take that away from you. Anyone that meets you would immediately love you just based off of your cute smile. Thank you for always being there to hug me or make me laugh.

Megan (Meggy Dee)

Please continue to sprint across the hall even when I am not there. I am going to miss texting you from my room instead of just simply opening my door to see you. Every time I eat a bowl of corn-falakes for dinnhair I will think about you. Every time I sit down to watch TV and forget my glasses, I'll think of you. Ameretto gelato will be my favorite forever, not just because its freaking delicious, but because we love it together. You have made me laugh way more times than I could think of and I never want that to end. I will always remember the times we spent tanning, the runs we took together, the embarrassing snap chats and all of the clothes we shared. I feel like you're a little sister that I don't get tired of. Enjoy your time in Long Island but feel free to visit Kentucky anytime.

Debra Lorraine (Debè)

My sweet, sweet LoLo. There is nothing I love more than hearing your laugh all the way from my end of the apartment. Every time I hear you laugh, I have to know what it is because I know it's gotta be funny. I will never eat Mcdonald's french fries without thinking about you. Lets face it, I will never be able to eat a good meal again and not wish you were there to try it. You are going to be the best/hottest food critic, history teacher, fashionista on the planet. If I ever make a lot of money one day, I will personally hire you to live with me and cook me dinner. I have so many great memories of you and with you and I can see myself now saying something that I think is funny wishing you were there to laugh at it and make me feel better about myself.I hope you go back to Milan and carry on our legacy and even if you don't, I will be in Baltimore or Atlanta faster than I can say "OH SHOOT".

Stingler Crew TIL I DIE

My Larga Girls

Meghan (MDawg)

We really hit the jackpot with our class selection. There was nothing better than our private tours around Milan by the cutest teacher at IED. I don't think I will ever love a Monday morning 9am class more. You are going to kill it at FIT this year. Make us all jealous with your fabulous NYC life. I hope to visit you soon and  so you can show me all the best spots in and out of the city and so we can take kickboxing classes together.


You are absolutely crazy but I wouldn't want you to be any other way. You have the best attitude toward everything and have such an amazing outlook on life. You are going to do great things not only because you are crazy talented but because you have the biggest heart and everyone will love you. Don't ever let anyone take away your spontaneity and your drive to do whatever the heck you want. I can't wait to visit Cooperstown, eat at your Dad's restaurant and do all things baseball. Save a room for me.


My little Brazilian baby. You have the cutest voice that I have ever heard and it fits perfectly with the cute, beautiful person that you are. I know that you are going to be a famous blogger soon enough. Keep your bubbly personality, adorable smile and big heels and everyone will fall in love with you. Thank you for teaching us all how to make the best Brazilian dessert ever and for making our nights together even better because of it.

Special thanks to Andrea for showing us all around Milan and helping us settle in our temporary home. 

I can't stress enough how blessed I feel to have come here and made lifelong friends. Never in a million years did I think that I would make even one lifelong friend here, let alone 8. I thank God every day for bringing each and every one of you into my life. I couldn't have hand-picked better girls to experience these last four months with. I have enough pictures and videos to look at for the rest of my life but even better than that, I have endless memories with each and every one of you. I don't even want to think about all the nights that I'll be in Kentucky browsing through my phone and crying remembering all of the times we had together. Luckily I can laugh at a lot of it to keep from crying. My heart is breaking because I never want this chapter in my life to end. I am truly thankful for every single one of you and I could never thank God enough for the bonds that we have made. We may be going our separate ways for now, but I know that we will all meet up again soon and whether or not that happens sooner or later, our souls will forever be tied together.


I have danced under the Eiffel Tower, kayaked in Croatia, driven a four wheeler through Greece, hiked two towns of Cinque Terre, paddleboarded in the Amalfi Coast, salsa danced with Colombians, pub crawled with the Irish and cheered on a soccer match in Barcelona but it is officially time for me to return to my Old Kentucky Home. I could go on for hours about everything I will miss about this city but no one wants to read that and I don't want to cry more than I already have. I may be gone but half of my heart will forever be in Milan, Italy. This may be goodbye for now but it really is just a see you later. Thank you for the best four months of my life. 

 Ciao for now, Milano. I love you with my whole heart.

Mom, Dad, Fam, FRIEND$, Ross- I'M COMING HOME!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares The Lord." Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


This past weekend was my last full weekend in Europe, sadly. I can't bare the thought of leaving my girls or leaving Italy in general, so to make the most of our time left, we headed to Barcelona, Spain for the weekend. Thursday night, my Regina Margherita girls and I boarded our flight for our last trip together. We've had this one planned for a couple of months and have all been looking forward to it.

Friday, we spent the day touring. We started our morning with Starbucks (shocker), and headed off to Park Guell. This landmark in Barcelona is one of the most visited spots. With an amazing view of the city and ocean, beautiful gardens and amazing architecture it is a must-see.

After Park Guell, we went and saw the Sangrada Familia. The famous basilica has been under construction since 1882. 

We grabbed lunch at an adorable tex-mex restaurant that had the perfect Mexican food I had been craving. 

After lunch, we walked around town and enjoyed more of the architecture by Antoni Gaudi. 

On Saturday, we got to spend the morning on the beach relaxing. The beaches in Barcelona were nonexistent until 1992 when they brought over Egyptian sand to attract tourists for the world cup. Being on a sandy beach was certainly a nice change compared to the rocky ones that we have visited in Italy. 

To top off our relaxing Saturday, we headed to see a Barcelona Futbol game that evening. I know absolutely nothing about soccer but there are very few things I enjoy more than big sporting events. This game happened to be the last of the season and was one of their most loved player's, Xavi's last game. It was such an amazing experience to see how soccer is around the world and how much people live and breathe this sport. 

Everywhere we go it seems like we are asking the question, "Where's Deb?". This trip was no different. Every time we thought she was a goner, she had just stopped to get food. Gotta love her. 

Sunday was spent touring the Gothic parts of Barcelona, enjoying an evening on the beach, shopping and ended with seeing the Magic Fountain show at Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. 

George Orwell plaza. There is a security camera in the area that is the only place in Barcelona that has 24 hour surveillance contradicting his book 1984. 

Place del Veronica- Art School that Picasso attended at age 13.

Santa Maria del Mar

What's a trip to Starbucks if they don't spell your name completely wrong?

We had an early flight leaving Monday morning and had to get to the airport even earlier. We grabbed dinner after the fountain show at the Hard Rock Cafe and stayed up until our cab picked us up around 3:30am. We are still trying to catch up on our sleep but it was all worth it. 

I have enjoyed each and every trip spent with these girls and wouldn't trade a second of them for anything. We may have terrible luck when it comes to direction, transportation, you name it, but they've made for memories that I'll have forever. Thanks, Barce for another amazing weekend.