Pit(ti) Stop

The Enoteca Pitta Gola e Cantina (AKA the worlds most quaint boutique wine bar) was the perfect place for a ‘pit’ stop 😉 before visiting Boboli Gardens.

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This is a spot that I stumbled upon when I was walking around Florence by myself. Later, after speaking with some of our group, I found out it was on many people’s hit lists. They have a cheeky sign reading “No water, only wine” that might have lured me in, but the selection, service, and surroundings made me stay. And rest assured, they have plenty of both beverages.

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Their website reads:

“The shelves of the Enoteca are lined with small production, high-end wines that are hand selected to meet their ridgid standards.

Focusing on small production, handcrafted Tuscan wines, only the best producers make the cut, often little known and family owned wineries.

Many of these wines are offered by the glass and accompanied by the vast knowledge of the owners of the history, culture, traditions and wine making processes in Italy.”

This is spot on and better than anything I could have jotted down!

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The place is SMALL, clearly, part of its charm. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded that day and I wasted no time pulling up to the cool marble bar and enjoying a dry glass of bubbly with the other patrons. Both the customers and staff were far more knowledgeable about the offerings than I was and everyone was happy to share their insight and a few samples or two 😉

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Probably the most unique thing I tried while there was an ‘orange wine,‘ which is neither sweet nor made from oranges. I had never seen wine this color before or tasted anything quite like it. The first sip was strange, but in a way that I would love to try it again. All in all, Enoteca Pitti is a gem of a place and deserves a spot on anyone’s Florence to-do list.

Stopping to Smell the Roses

If you’re ever in Florence, or considering going, do yourself a favor and visit Boboli Gardens.

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I’ll admit, I had NO clue what we were stumbling into. But it was magnificent. We got lucky with the weather again for a bit, and it was a magical, springtime, stop-and-smell the roses moment.

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Everything is some form of pastel: flowers, buildings, art. It felt like Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette meets The Secret Garden, AKA heaven. I had the biggest heart eyes all afternoon.

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It’s not hard to imagine myself spending similar sunny days here, taking leisurely strolls, misidentifying flowers, and chatting about whatever random thoughts come to mind.

Of course, stopping by the Enoteca Pitta Gola e Cantina (wine bar) located across the street from the entrance to Boboli is a must before you go. It made the many stairs and hills more bearable on a warm day.

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One of the most charming and colorful areas on the grounds are the Giardino del Cavaliere. Unbelievable views of the Arcetri (a hillside area full of landmark buildings) and the famous Torre del Gallo–an idyllic, castle-like building that is clearly visible–can be taken in here.

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Inside the charming pink and turquoise home (this color combo–I die) is the porcelain collection belonging to the Pitti Palace. Imagine the daintiest, most detailed plates and platters you can think of. They are situated inside of this building, along with some historic art and painted glass chandeliers that will make you just swoon.

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Be warned, there is no air conditioning or adult beverages nearby, so come prepared and wear smart shoes.

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Some of the staircases are more attractive than others 🙂 and easier to climb. There was definitely some steeper areas and walkways that were simply dirt and rocks. My shoes didn’t have much tread and admittedly were not the best options for the walk.

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But every slip, slide and step was worth each view we saw! Taking in the panorama of the hillsides, the city, and closeups of buildings like the fairytale Kaffehaus made the sweating and swearing all worth it 🤣

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This was one of my favorite days and outfits on the trip. My dress is a Bloomingdale’s exclusive and perfect for days like these…get it before it sells out!

XX Hannah

Seduced by Le Sirenuse

The famed Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano has been on my bucket list for a while now. I had always envisioned visiting there under somewhat different circumstances, but I can assure you that the weight of this historical property can still be felt, even when dropping in for the afternoon.

Many creatives and travelers alike have been seduced by Le Sirenuse and it’s so easy to see why. It’s one of those places that surpasses expectations and delivers beyond what even your greatest imagination might have conceived. For a starry-eyed first-timer like myself, it was ethereal.

The decor was colorful and chic, but still felt appropriately old-world. There are hand-painted majolica tiles, floor-to-ceiling wall paper, vines growing inside (and out), fragrant flowers, fresh lemons trees galore, and even a bright neon sign to keep your eyes moving. ‘DON’T WORRY’ seemed to be the theme of the hotel, and for good reason. Worries don’t exist at Le Sirenuse.

Part of this is due to the employees. The staff is unapologetically attentive and polite. It’s like they have been trained to sense what you might want or need, even if you yourself don’t know what exactly that is. They do an excellent job of providing without being pushy (I hate pushy). They’re friendly yet professional. It was some of the best service I can remember in Positano.

The views are magnificent, to say the least. Even on a cloudy day, stepping out onto the terrace for the first time takes your breath away. It’s moments like these that make you question everything: like how can a place such as this actually exist, and why haven’t I been here until now?

I suppose that is the basis of traveling, the desire to see more of places that you have only read about, the allure of the unknown. To have these experiences and hope that they live up to your expectations, and subsequently to remember them as vividly as they happened. To share and tell stories about a different life you lived, if only for a a few hours.

This all makes facing reality and returning home that much harder. But that’s the beauty of traveling. It is a bittersweet experience that stays with you long after you’ve left.

If you’re like me, you dream about the day you will actually set your sights on those such as Le Sirenuse. You can’t imagine not visiting and experiencing what so many others have described as the best of the best. It’s a must.

When you’re finally there, it is certainly surreal. Taking in everything here can be overwhelming, and the flowing drinks don’t exactly help (but they don’t hurt, either). Is this everything you imagined it would be? How did you see yourself here? Is there anything that you’ve experienced before than even compares?

Originally, I saw myself here with someone else, in a different time and place, a different kind of moment. And I had planned that moment many times in my head. The reality was I was here with other people, for another reason, in a very opposite time. But it was no less mesmerizing, no less enchanting. So I stuck to the theme, let my worries go, and enjoyed it for what it was, which is nothing short of magical.

As the afternoon finally comes to an end, and you sign the bill (yikes), you reflect on how you felt. You try to project it in different aspects of your life, keep it alive. You’re forced to relive it through your memories (and many selfies), until you hopefully return again…perhaps in a moment closer to what you originally envisioned–or maybe–if you’re lucky, something greater than what you could have imagined.

XX Hannah

Dress is Line + Dot

Bag is Betsey Johnson

Shoes are Zara (last season)

Necklace is CAM Jewelry from Canvas

Pinch Me, Capri

If the island of Capri is paradise, than Anacapri is heaven on earth. After we made it to Positano on Saturday night, we woke up early for our first full day of exploring. A boat tour to the neighboring island was on our to-do list. Thankfully we got some sun that day (there was unusually chilly and rainy weather off-and-on while we were on the Amalfi Coast). It made everything the more picturesque.

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On the water, we saw some of the famous symbols of Capri, such as the Grotta Azzura (blue grotto) and I Faraglioni (think Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue ads from the 2000s). They were instantly recognizable, but still surreal to see in person.

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As we rounded the corner of Capri, the sun started to peak out and the blue of the water really began to show. It is such a stunning hue, turning from a bright turquoise in shallow areas to a rich cobalt in deeper waters. I can see where D&G got their inspiration from! 😍

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The sunshine (and okay, maybe some champagne) put a big smile on everyone’s faces. It was warming up as we approached the island, which was clearly a popular destination. Boats were dropping off people left and right and we decided that heading up to the less crowded (and cheaper) commune of Anacapri might be a good idea.

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Anacapri sits at the top of the island, removed from the hustle and bustle of the main town. We took a *memorable* (read: life endangering) bus ride to the center of the commune, where the traffic just stops. I don’t remember seeing any cars past that point. Everyone was walking on the cobblestone street that snakes up the mountain. It felt untouched by time.

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After walking for a few minutes, we stopped at one of the quiet cafes that lined the street. I had a cappuccino to start (the first of so very many), it being the tastiest option to fight the remaining jet lag. But the coffee quickly turned into drinks as we settled into vacation mode. Rosé felt like the right way to kick off lunch that afternoon…and vodka with–you guessed it–big fresh lemons!

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It is clear that Capri is famous for their lemons, because they are growing everywhere, painted on every solid surface, and sold in some variation in every store. You can smell the citrus as you stroll along. Drinks and food (such as the famous limoncello and pastries) are all lemon-flavored, and the bright yellow is an accent on almost every building.

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All of the little design details are what make this island so unique. The painted tiles (known as majolica tiles–more on this later) line benches, stair cases, and floors. The iron gates and railings pop on the white-washed walls, and the houses and homes are covered in flowering vines. There are gardens and greenery everywhere you turn, all set against the stunning backdrop of the sea, which just seems to melt into the sky. It is truly otherworldly.

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While blue, yellow and white may be the reigning color scheme for this island, they aren’t afraid of a little pink and red, either! The museum Casa Rossa is a perfect example of this love for bright colors. And it was one of my favorite spots in Anacapri.

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My dress is from Canvas, shoes are Stuart Weitzman from last season (currently sold-out), and my scarf is Forever 21 (similar linked here).

xx Hannah

When in Rome…

I’m feeling very ‘girl on a train’ as I write this (currently en route to Florence from Naples). I realize this is a part of daily life for a lot of people, but I love the rail systems in Europe! They’re much easier and more comfortable than airplanes and buses. It makes a few hours travel somewhat enjoyable.

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Viewing the Italian countryside as we go is another thing I won’t complain about. I’ve been drooling over just about everything I’ve laid my eyes on. To sum it up, my first few days in Italy have felt like a dream (perhaps that’s a bit of jet lag, too). I always knew I wanted to visit this country and I also knew I would like it, but I didn’t realize just how much.

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I left Tampa on a Friday afternoon. After a seriously delayed flight from Chicago (we actually had to get a new plane–never had that happen before 😳), I woke up in Rome on a rainy Saturday morning. I had the whole day to myself. Luckily I arranged for a driver for the day so I could really see the city.

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I totally lucked out with my transfer! Marco (my driver) was the perfect gentleman and despite the weather, we saw everything. I won’t say I hated him carrying an umbrella for me, opening and closing my doors, and even letting me ‘rest my eyes’ in the car while he drove to the next stop 🤤 (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. Guys, if you’re reading this, take note! LOL.)

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**I used an app called Blacklane to book my transfer. Its like an Uber for private cars. I would HIGHLY recommend it to just about anyone (can’t think of a single complaint for my first trip). They have a 24-hour cancellation/change policy, but were extremely gracious with my delayed flight and ever changing times. I felt safe and in good-hands throughout the entire ordeal.**

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Marco and I had about 10 espressos between the two of us (the caffeine stopped working at some point), endless broken conversation, and a lot of laughs. He was very knowledgeable and knew exactly where to take me. It’s definitely the way to go if you’re by yourself and/or unfamiliar with a city. I rode around with the window down and a huge smile on my face when we weren’t on foot.

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I’d heard mixed reviews on Rome, but I thought it was a lovely place. Yes, there were a lot of people around, but it was oddly quiet and quaint for such a large city. I didn’t get to do everything on my list, specifically experiencing the nightlife there, but I am definitely planning on coming back for a visit.

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Thanks again to Blacklane for making my day easy, enjoyable, and effortless.

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Xx Hannah

Springtime Sass

The b is officially back (b as in blog, babe, BATB, etc.)! I am so excited to start writing again and using this as a creative outlet, which I know I desperately need to be a happy human 🙂

Quick life update: You could say my day job is keeping me on my toes. We are in the midst of the craziest season I have personally ever witnessed and although I am so thankful to have work to do, I am finding myself to be just a little exhausted. This is without a doubt the most stressful sales job I have ever had. Sometimes I need a little escape from that reality, but since I can’t afford to go out of the country (or Miami) every weekend, this blog sometimes acts as a mental escape. #adulting

When you feel like you don’t have time to nurture something is kind of when you need to nurture that thing the most. My little ‘hobby’ took a backseat as I was adjusting to a new job and a new city. But I am making it a priority again for many reasons: two of them being that I live for spring fashion and I am doing the shopping anyways, so why not share it 🙃

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This knit dress from Opening Ceremony is one of those spring pieces that I adore and that I could only wear in Florida before the summer heat sets in. The fabric is thick and therefore holds its shape. You can definitely wear this dress sans-bra (win)! OC got this knit blend (cotton, nylon, spandex) right and this is truly one of the most pleasant body-con dresses I have ever worn.

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Horizontal stripes are typically a no-no for me, but something about the length and cut of the dress paired with these pastel hues create an exception. The v-neck top and slit make for easy movement and amps up the sass of what would otherwise be a basic midi-dress. It is perfect for showing off a tan, too!

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Let’s get to the accessories. Clearly, I am a fan of wearing white before Labor Day. In fact, I think Easter Sunday should be the official ‘opening season’ for white, especially when its sunny and 75. These mules are under $100 (and are surprisingly comfortable). I learned last summer that a stacked heel is a girl’s best friend. This bleached wood version is a nice update on that trend!

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My oversized sunglasses du jour (anti tiny-glass trend over here) are by Sonix and I found this tortoise and pearl combo on Amazon! The style can be found in many different colors on many different sites, but I chose this for a lighter look. I am slowly transitioning into owning a pair of completely white sunglasses…one day.

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I’m also a sucker for straw bags. Raffia, wicker… you name it–I like it. And I am really into this leather-combo from Tory Burch. Again, a much-needed refresh on a trend that I see sticking around for a while. It also has versatility: it can be a carried from the top handle or worn with the strap for evenings out. Win-win!

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Couldn’t end this post without one last pic of this dress, which accentuates your curves in all the right places #thesehipsdontlie 🍑 I suppose the take away from this is don’t be scared of horizontal stripes, white before Labor Day, or white sunglasses! 😎

Last but not least, super special shout out to Sandra Morlet Photography for helping me get my groove back.

xx Hannah

Thanksgiving 2017

“The secret to having it all is knowing you already do”

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Cousins that feel more like sisters
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Some of the “originals” (aka the old ones)
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And a cousin that definitely feels more like a brother to me!

This morning, I was reading about gratitude and how important it is to focus on the things we’ve been given versus the things we haven’t. Its so easy to make a list of things we want or need (guilty of to-dos that turn into wish-lists over here 🙋🏽‍♀️). But how often do we make a list of things we already have and are thankful for? I know the answer for me is not enough.

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My parents

So this holiday season, I’ve decided I’m going to make *those* kinds of lists more often. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t already have notes here and there for Christmas gifts or items I need for my apartment. And truth be told, I love giving presents as much as I enjoy receiving them. There’s something about finding that perfect gift and letting that person know how much you’ve thought about them that truly brings me joy. Growing up, I could hardly stand waiting for friends to open up the presents I had gotten them. I’m sort of the same way today :). Gift giving does truly make me happy and I don’t believe it’s wrong. I do, however, believe that the emphasis we put on presents makes all of the difference.

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Sweet Lucie
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When you and your littles are looking the same age 😳
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My favorite freshman at Ole Miss 🤗

As I type this post, the beginnings of Black Friday have already begun to crowd my inbox. Advertisements and commercials have been showing for weeks. And the Christmas decor seems to sneak out earlier and earlier each year. Don’t even get me started on Christmas music before Thanksgiving week. I’m certainly no grinch, but its starting to feel like there’s no time or space between Thanksgiving and Christmas anymore. It is definitely a pet-peeve of mine, mainly because I believe if we focused on the true themes of Thanksgiving, the meaning of Christmas (and the entire holiday season as a whole) would probably change for a lot of us.

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Beautiful Sub Rosa
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The calm before the chaos
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My usual spot: not quite the adult table, but not quite the kids, either 🙃

It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate Thanksgiving. I also realize now that it can be just as stressful as Christmas (cooking for 40 isn’t easy–thank you Aunt Tricia for hosting this year)! However, I love that the focus is on spending time with family, friends, and a little football (HOTTY TODDY!). That’s it. No expectations, no presents, no where to be in a hurry. It really grounds me and reminds me of what is truly important in life: the things that no amount of money can buy.

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A sweet love-story 💘
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Celebrating after a Rebel win!

I’m lucky that I have a family that enjoys Thanksgiving traditions and emphasizes spending time together. And I’m even more fortunate that every few years the number of people attending grows 🤗. It’s always amazing to me to see how things and people have changed over the years. Time isn’t stopping for any of us, and that notion makes the moments like this even more precious.

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5 years ago today… how time flies!
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Thanksgiving throwback
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Addison has always had the Thompson animal “gene”

I genuinely think that one of the ‘secrets’ to having it all is being grateful for what’s sitting right under your nose. It’s far easier to be happy when the glass is half full. It sounds pretty simple, but the society we live in really makes it hard somedays. I am by no means claiming that I’ll stop shopping or even wanting things that may not be necessities. But I am going to make a conscious effort to practice gratitude during this holiday season and in everyday life.

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When you match Levi, a photo shoot has to happen 🤷🏽‍♀️
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Thankful for cousins who love to take photos as much as I do (and the iPhone X)

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and have a fabulous Black Friday!xx Hannah