Pink & Polka Dots

I have a soft spot for polka dots (pun intended)!

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I noticed that this pattern is slowly creeping its way into my wardrobe. And I’m not mad about it.

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I love the classic black and and white, but I am also obsessing over tan and cream versions. It’s so Pretty Woman chic (Julia Roberts is forever goals).

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This top is frilly and fun, perfect for my girls weekend in Miami!

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One of my best girlfriends from home (Mississippi) is flying in for the weekend. My other BFF and I are scooping her up from the airport and having a little road trip down to the Magic City!

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One of my FAVORITE parts of these weekend getaways is actually the drive. Being trapped in the car with my besties is my fave 😉 We get time to catch up with no distractions (except for maybe some jam sessions). It is priceless!

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Living in Florida certainly has its perks: like being able to run off to some beautiful cities and beaches for 5 star staycations.

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But I do miss my friends and family at home more and more with each passing year, and lately I’ve been a little homesick.

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Thankfully, this trip literally could not have come at a better time. These girls have been in my life for 10 and 20 plus years, so they are friends that have become family. That I can cheers to!

Hope everyone has a fun weekend! I know I will 🙂

XX Hannah

Accessory breakdown: Sunnies are Le Specs, earrings are Bauble Bar, bracelet is Hermès, bag is Milly, shoes are Target 😉

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

The Power of Love

Its a quiet, rainy Sunday after the Royal Wedding and a week out of my best friend’s wedding in Siena–which was royal in its own ways–and I’m still adjusting to Florida time (and let’s be honest, the reality of no longer being in Italy). I am struggling to stay up past 9:30 PM and rising unnaturally early, so much so that I didn’t even set an alarm yesterday for the nuptial’s of everyone’s favorite bad boy, Prince Harry. I woke around 5:30 AM ready to go and eventually migrated to my couch as the celebrities started rolling in. I can confidently say that the Clooneys are now giving the Beckhams a run for their money, in more ways that one. Amal, you are my queen!

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Fashion aside (I realize this is a fashion blog, but there are more important themes here, and I really don’t want to get into my critique of our American Princess), I am so glad I woke and was able to watch and really listen to the message that was broadcast to millions of viewers yesterday during the ceremony. Because it was beautiful, it was critical, and it desperately needed to be heard by this world. Reverend Michael Curry was smart enough to realize the platform he had and used it so wisely, albeit a little enthusiastically. Watching the faces of those attending–whether they were shocked, or smirking, or even sleeping–was entertaining to say the least.

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If you grew up in the Deep South–or any church family, for that matter–you’ve probably gone to a few sermons that seemed never ending. Its safe to say that is not the first time I’ve witnessed those facial expressions. We can all relate. But the difference between some of those long sermons I’ve survived and the one that was being preached yesterday was the content. Reverend Curry’s really hit home for me and a lot of other viewers. His words were relevant. They were captivating. They were powerful.

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Yes, his delivery was dramatic, and I do think he could have been more concise/left out the part about cell phones, but that is the struggle for a passionate person. And he was so passionate, it was contagious. Even Posh and Becks were cracking smiles (Victoria Beckham is famous in the fashion world for not smiling).

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I spent this morning re-reading the full the text, allowing the words to really sink in, and trying to find my own understanding of them. His theme, the power of love, is perfectly timed, and something we could all stand to implement a little more in our lives.

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Reverend Curry’s notion of the power of love is not a new one, however. And he openly references to Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “Where Do We Go From Here” sermon, which has spouted other recognizable quotes such as:

“Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that….” 

and

“…I have also decided to stick with love….hate is too great a burden to bear.”

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Many of these sentences have been ‘smushed’ together over the years for creative purposes, but while skimming this lengthy sermon (I’ll admit, the last time I looked at this was probably high school), I realized there are entire paragraphs that have been cut-out. Although they can be painful to read, I am glad I read them. The irony of this speech recognizing events in places that I call home is not lost on me.

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While Reverend Curry hails from Chicago, he has spent much of his life in the South. Without a doubt, he has lived these words. And he took no time to lay out, to the surprise of some of the royal family, the intent of his lesson that morning. The first sentences of his sermon read:

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it out.’ [Song of Solomon]

The late Dr. Martin Luther King once said, and I quote: we must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way. 

There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even oversentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. There’s power, power in love.

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He goes onto say:

“We were made by a power of love. And our lives were meant and are meant to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here.

Ultimately the source of love is God himself, the source of all of our lives. There’s an old medieval poem that says, “where true love is found, God himself is there.”

The New Testament says it this way, “beloved, let us love one another because love is of God and those who love are born of God and know God, those who do not love do not know God. Why? For God is love. There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live. Set me as a seal on your heart. A seal on your arm. For love it’s strong as death.”

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The purity and the potency of those words felt like a punch in the stomach, but the necessary kind. He didn’t stop there. In his live speech, he really emphasized this statement (for good reason):

“Love God, love your neighbors, and while you’re at it, love yourself.”

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How often do we forget the latter, to love ourselves? If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past couple of years, it is the importance of loving yourself first. It doesn’t happen overnight, no matter how good you are at giving love. It takes work, an effort, a real relationship with yourself. Its downright scary, but rewarding. I truly believe it sets the stage for all of your other relationships, including one with God.

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His pause after this statement signified its importance, and to some, that he was finally coming to a close. If Reverend Curry’s goal was to leave his sleepy viewers teary-eyed and slowly re-evaluating the way they approach every aspect of their lives, then he succeeded here. I sat, not so much distracted by images of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but more captivated by the words of this ‘crazy man’ from the Carolinas. He was the real star of this show (or circus) to me.

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Even as I write this a day later, I’m still in awe of (and processing, not a morning person) his performance and his delivery. I now understand why he was so sensational in his style: he was exemplifying power. You can’t deliver a speech on the power of love quietly; you have to show it, show the passion and the purpose. Just like you would in your own life. Because at the end of the day, who really loves quietly? We fight for the things we love tooth and nail, and it is neither a quiet nor painless thing.

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Love is loud, its messy, and it always stings. But its also very powerful. So much so that it often surpasses our own understanding. Yet love has the duality to both school us and to save us, to hurt us and help us through, to end and to create life.  It ultimately shapes and transform our very existence, both emotionally and physically. Clearly this notion is something that Reverend Curry thought important enough to share, because he ended his speech with these hopeful words:

“…we must discover love. The redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.”

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If you haven’t heard this speech, listen to it. If you’ve already read it, read it again. If you thought getting up for this wedding was dumb, if you don’t like going to church, even if you haven’t read anything of substance in a while **guilty**, read this sermon. It is important. It is (or will be) historical. And I promise, it will leave you better than before you came.

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