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Monthly Archives: May 2014

This past Sunday I got to go on a magical day adventure to Venice, Italy, with my friends Caitlin and Ben, and I can not tell you how enough how amazing it was.

DSC_0622Venice has always been a place on my bucket list of places to see before I die, so to be there in reality was incredibly surreal. The city, unlike most places, is just as beautiful as it is in the pictures you see, maybe even more so. If you are one of those people who loves to just walk around a place, exploring, and wandering, then you would love Venice. Every twist and turn leads you even deeper into secluded, secret places that are more beautiful than the next. Perhaps Venice’s only downfall is that fact that it IS so beautiful, therefore, extremely crowded with waves of people like myself-tourists. But hey, you can’t have a city this beautiful and keep it secret. It’s also really not that hard to get away from the crowds. Most tourists stuck around San Marco Square, but we journeyed over to some of the lesser known parts.

To get around the city you either walk, take private water taxis, or the water ferry, which navigates the Grand Canal. We elected for the water ferry because everything else is incredibly expensive. We thought it was funny that we were essentially taking the bus or subway, but on water.

DSC_0489We took the 8:05 train to Venice and got there around 10:30ish, and by the time we were actually IN Venice it was lunch time. So we first took the water ferry to Piazza San Marco, which is where the majority of the attractions are located. DSC_0518This lovely arcade was once homes and apartments to procurators of St. Mark (high officers of state) when the Republic of Venice was around. The building was built in the early 16th Century. DSC_0517

Pictured above is part of the St. Mark’s Basilica, which began construction in the year 1084. THAT WAS 1,000 YEARS AGO ALMOST. I can’t even fathom a building being that old. The reason I don’t have a picture of the entire building is due to the fact the front was covered entirely with scaffolding for more construction. It’s not even finished 1,000 years later.

We walked a little of the beaten path and got lunch because we were all about to die of exhaustion. We, of course, got pizza for lunch and it was GOOD. :p

Then we went on our walkabout. Venice is famous for a few things-glass blowing, Venetian masks and masquerades, and the canals. So, we went on a hunt for a glassblowing demonstration, but were quite unlucky, as most places would only do demonstrations for big tourist groups. But we still got to walk around a gallery of glass, which was amazingly beautiful. Sometimes we forget that things we use everyday were once forged by hand, and each piece was an individual work of art. Now everything is made by machines..DSC_0543We also went in several mask shops. We found one really amazing one, where one lady made all the masks completely out of paper herself in the shop. She even hand painted them all.DSC_0592DSC_0593image-243DSC_0533DSC_0610DSC_0619The walking around was definitely my favorite part..well…I did love the gondola ride A LOT. You can’t go to Venice and not in ride in a gondola. Sure, it’s touristy, but IT’S WORTH IT. You can take one anywhere around the city; The Grand Canale, San Marco, even the quiet secluded canals. We opted for the quiet, less crowded canals. Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 8.31.23 PMDSC_0556DSC_0583DSC_0590DSC_0574The gondola ride was so calm and beautiful. I was imagining how the city looked hundreds of years ago, before tourists and modern technology showed up when the canals were used as the only means of transport. DSC_0587This was my attempt at a group shot..I rather like it to be honest :pDSC_0577DSC_0608This is the skyline of the very impressive Santa Maria della Salute, which is one of the basilicas in Venice. It was built in the 1600’s when Venice had a terrible outbreak of the plague. When the plagued ended the Republic of Venice vowed to build and dedicate a church to the Lady of Health (or Deliverance (Salute)).  DSC_0623DSC_0624DSC_0625Jack: “Do you trust me?”

Rose: “I trust you.”

Jack: “Open your eyes.”

Rose: “I’M FLYINGGGGGGGG!”

So that explains the picture below…image-241Venice was so surreal. If you ever get the chance to go, do it. It’s got loads of tourists and some people say it’s overrated but they’re just wrong. If you take the time to really look and appreciate the city it’s so wonderful. The city is also endangered due to rising waters, and crumbling foundations, etc etc. But seriously, go!

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Caio!

 

IMG_4082Last weekend I had a my first job whilst overseas and it was in Cannes, France. Chopard, a Swiss jewelry and watch brand, is a sponsor of the festival and every year they do a runway show to show off the jewels, hence my reason for being there. Fortunately, Caitlin was also doing the job, so I had a job buddy. It was a four hour drive from Milan and incredibly scenic! About half of the drive was along the Italian coast. The water is literally turquoise. Not clear, the most brilliant shade of turquoise EVER.

We had only one morning of free time while there, but Caitlin and I tried to make the most of our rainy day in Cannes. Yes, it rained all day, and I even haggled with a street umbrella salesman in French. SO. PROUD. Deux parapluies pour €10. BAM. And they’re pretty decent umbrellas too.

We took a taxi into town and walked around the festival for a bit. We didn’t see any celebs because it was still quite early and I’m sure they were all sleeping off their party hangovers from the night before. Ha! DSC_0405But man, was it crowded. We even saw the red carpet. It was INCREDIBLE, AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL. Nah..it was just a red carpet, literally. But still pretty cool, I suppose 🙂DSC_0407

Then we walked along one of the wonderful, deserted beaches. It was nice having the place all to ourselves..made it less intimidating for selfies :p DSC_0398DSC_0412image-238I really wish we could’ve seen the town on a beautiful sunny day because even in the dreary rain it was lovely. It was so windy we almost got blown into the Mediterranean. image-237image-232DSC_0427DSC_0410DSC_0426Cannes is so wonderful because it looks like Paris, but it’s next to the sea. It has the charm of a big city and a small town. We ate an early lunch on a cute side street we happened on. We found a cute French cafe, sat out in the rain, and drank wine. Wine comes free with most meals. Crazy right? Oh, but water doesn’t. That’s because everyone in Europe drinks bottled water, which makes me think Brita should start some crazy marketing out here. image-233

This is my Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby pose.

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We didn’t have long to see Cannes, but we made the most of it and loved every single minute. I hope I get to go back one day.

 

Au revoir!

 

Instagram @themenagerie @vicasarusrex

 

So I AM alive here, happy and functioning. Things here in Milan have just been especially hectic and today is the first day I’ve had to really sit down and do this write down. Last weekend as I was meandering around my part of town (not really sure what that is yet), looking for a grocery store, I stumbled on a fruit market. A legitimate Italian, on the weekends, people haggling and all, fruit market. The fruit arriving straight from the farms outside the city that morning. I’ve never seen such amazing produce in my life. I decided to get some, but got extremely nervous because I knew no one would speak English and it’s always embarrassing when you have to be the idiot who can’t communicate in front of a large group of Italians.

So I start picking out my cherries and I got yelled out because THEY pick out your fruit. WHAT?! I’m paying for it, so I want to pick my own. No, they are so weird about produce here. At the supermarket you have to wear plastic gloves to pick out fruit. You’re going to wash it anyways..so what’s the point, I pondered? Back to the fruit market! The man told me he had to do it. So then he really quickly scooped like an entire freaking pound of cherries in the bag. “AH THAT’S GOOD NO STOP THAT’S TOO MANY STOP OKAY!” I definitely got duped. They totally took advantage of the fact I couldn’t speak Italian and I left that market with way too many cherries for one person to eat, 8 peaches (I kid you not), and a kilo of strawberries. They scooped so fast and wouldn’t put any back and it was just frustrating ugh. But the fruit WAS amazing. Probably some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

I went home after the market and made myself a fruit lover’s breakfast.DSC_0349DSC_0350DSC_0351DSC_0360DSC_0361Greek yogurt with honey, crushed almonds. farm fresh peaches, cherries, and strawberries. YES. It was a good start to the morning as I ate it on our wonderful balcony.

After eating the breakfast of kings, I adventured out into Milano. So Milan isn’t really known for it’s beauty or sightseeing. It’s known as the fashion and banking capital of Italy, which is why Fashion Week is hosted here instead of Rome. You can literally see all of Milan’s sights in one day. And they are all within a 15 minute walk of each other. Most of the wonders of MIlan are situated in Duomo Square. Duomo Square is named after Duomo di Milano (Cathedral of Milan), which is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and took over six centuries to build. Oh wait, just kidding, they’re still not done. DSC_0364So as you can see from the above photo, the square is very abundant in tourists, and with the tourists come pickpockets and scammers. So I was walking around guarding my bag like a crazy lady, but hey..I left with all my goods. There are men walking around with pieces of string and they come up to you and try to give it to you or put it on your wrist saying “It’s good luck, free, for you, gift” blah blah but then once it’s on you they demand you pay them. They are very aggressive. You literally have to swerve and dodge them because even when you say no they still come near you and try to grab your hand. And there are guys with bird seed..same thing essentially except pigeons come and attack you. So if you go to Milan BEWARE THE STRING AND SEED, YO!

The Cathedral is beautiful and you can go inside and have a walk around, or venture up to the roof to see the spires, but unfortunately I didn’t get the memo that you’re not allowed in churches if you’re wearing short shorts or showing your shoulders. DSC_0371DSC_0377

After walking around the square for a while I walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is one of the oldest shopping malls on Earth, and probably one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever been in. The Galleria is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was built from 1865 to 1877 by Guiseppe Mengoni. I sometimes wonder why architects and contractors no longer feel the longing to design beautiful buildings like this anymore, but instead super “sleek” glass buildings that all look the same. DSC_0389DSC_0387

While I was walking around I literally ran into one of my friends from New York! Small world, eh? DSC_0384

This is my friend Caitlin ^^^ and here’s me looking awkward and oddly mom-like below.

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I’m a full blown gelato addict. Not even kidding. I had gelato twice within a two hour span yesterday. I’ve got to cool it. COOL IT DOWN WITH MORE GELATO THAT IS. GELATO FOREVERRR. This particular flavor above is called Bacio..which is chocolate gelato with chunks of hazelnuts in it.       DSC_0394DSC_0374

Caio!!

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I’m on Instagram @themenagerie @vicasaurusrex follow me for more gelato pixxx :p

Milan has been treating me well thus far. The flight over wasn’t bad, the weather’s been wonderful, and the model apartment is great!! This month long stay is off to a great start, my friends. Today is my first day off since arriving so I’ll be spending the day eating gelato, taking in some sights, and some meandering the streets. I can’t wait!!

I’m living in a model’s apartment whilst here, which is basically an apartment an agency owns that girls can stay in while they are traveling or staying in a country that is not their own. Some are nice, some are terrible, some you get your own bedroom, some you do not. This particular apartment is very very nice, huge in fact, but I am sharing a bedroom dorm style. I has one single bed, and a bunk bed. My roommate has the single bed and I have the bottom bunk which is just fine with me because I made myself a little bed fort.IMG_3969They won’t let us tack anything or tape anything to the walls, so I had to get a little crafty with all the photos I brought from home. I stuck them in the slats of the bed above me, so whenever I’m in bed all I have to do is look up and there’s my beloved memories!IMG_3970My first day of castings here was intense. I wore brand new sandals (HUGE mistake) and leather pants (minor mistake), and ended up sweaty and with blisters and sores all over my poor feet. I ended up doing the math and I walked over 14 miles or 23 km. I am not kidding. I think I could survive a post apocalyptic event after having survived that, all while carrying a 15 pound bag and no water or food!

I did, however, get a feel for Milano, and saw some beautiful streets. This one in particular had a canal running alongside it and was lined with older buildings.IMG_3979I even ran across a building with an elevator that had a full blown couch in it!!!!! IMG_4018I think the above picture says “Come sit with me on my luxurious velveteen couch, you fool!” in a 20’s movie accent. IMG_4016Yesterday was a much better day as I didn’t have to walk very much, but unfortunately my poor feet were incredibly tender so I had to walk very slowly. I did make myself a nice breakfast burrito for brekky though! And I started to actually knit something, the first time I’ve knit anything since arriving.IMG_4013I’m making myself a pair of mittens with this Purl Soho merino twist yarn I received with the raffle basket I won for the NYC Yarn Crawl. It’s  incredibly soft and easy to work with. I’m absolutely loving it…I just wish it wasn’t so darn expensive!IMG_4037IMG_4046The apartment has a wonderful little balcony that I loved sitting on and working away with my needles and yarn!

And of course a trip to Italy is nothing without high quantities of gelato!!! Just go ahead and prepare yourself for lots of upcoming gelato porn. This one was vanilla with swirls of nutella! Swoon..

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I’m hoping to see some sights and doing lots of knitting today, so I will have more loveliness to show next time!!!

 

Ciao!!!!

 

I’m not sure if I told anyone on here or not, but I’m in Milan! I’m here for work for about a month, then onto Paris and London. I haven’t updated the blog in a REALLY long time (I’m ashamed), but to be truly honest I was so freaking busy and stressed out I just couldn’t make time. Not that I’m here though, I have time! The past two weeks have consisted of packing, cleaning, and I even went home to North Carolina for Mother’s Day weekend, which was THE BEST. /IMG_3834

I’ll start there. On Thursday I secretly took the train home (yes, 10 hours worth of train) to surprise my sweet mother for Mother’s Day weekend. And I just wanted to see her and my entire family and my home. The day before I left I realized I didn’t have a gift of any sorts for her. To be frank, I didn’t think I was going to get to go home. So I delved into my yarn stash to see what I could make within the ten hour train ride. I considered fingerless mitts, a coffee mug cozy, and some bunting, but finally set my heart on the Swan’s Island Sasha Cowl. I was given the amazing yarn through the NYC Yarn Crawl with the basket I won as well as the pattern. I had always thought it was cabling, but then realized it’s just lace (which i can actually do!) Here’s a very blurry picture of the train progress..it’s hard to take a picture in a moving train I’ve learnt.IMG_3774And my mom loved it! It was a very easy and fast knit. Turned out beautiful, possibly my favorite make to date. I knew I’d finish it pretty fast so as a treat to myself I bought a skein of Koigu in a  color way I’d been eyeing for a while. It’s so colorful, bright and happy! Who wouldn’t love it?!

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I love the fact that it looks like colorful spaghetti!!!

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Makes the most lovely hexipuffs, doesn’t it? I almost have 20 hexipuffs! YEAH ONLY A BILLION TO GO!

Okay so when I got home my sister picked me up from the train station and we surprised my mom in the parking lot of Chick-fila. Hahaha we had to do it somewhere! She was so happy and surprised and it just totally made the 10 hour train ride worth every second. I hadn’t seen any of my family since Christmas so it was just the most wonderful time being home. The next day my mom, and sister, and I spent the entire day together at a train station turned plant nursery and shopping at the mall.IMG_3852

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I just feel like this picture below is so standard for anyone who lives in the South. Everyone has several pictures where they are holding a styrofoam cup. Why? Because all the hotdog/burger joints use them. And they’re always filled with sweet tea, but I’m weird and don’t like ice tea..I know, I’m not Southern. HA!IMG_3860

Here I am watering my mom’s glorious garden! It’s so big and wonderful. I’m so jealous. I wish I could dig my hands in the dirt and have pretty flowers to take care of. It was so wonderful feeling wet dirts in between my toes and taking care of mother earth!!IMG_3874

My best friend and I also went strawberry picking!!! She’s the best person I know, seriously. Fun fact..we have the same first and middle name! How crazy is that? She’s the only person I know who I could sit in the middle of a strawberry patch with and just have a conversation about life.

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Before I had to go to the airport my whole family and I went to Waffle House and had breakfast..they’re so wonderful. It broke my heart to have to leave 😦

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I miss home and everyone who comes along with it. I miss driving and singing birds. I miss sleeping with the window open and fresh air. I miss spring flowers and friendly neighbors. I miss thunderstorms and watching science tv shows with my dad late at night.

 

I miss home every single day.

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Let me begin by saying that I love finding furniture on the street. I feel a tugging at my heartstrings whenever I see a deserted table, chair, or dresser. Every piece of furniture in my bedroom aside from the bed and mattress are street finds. Sometimes they come back to bite me in the butt (see last post about my decrepit dresser) and other times they do me good.

Two of the best finds I ever found were little yellow table and beat up chair. Both are essential in my daily knitting and crochet routine as they are the main components in my Nook. DSC_0282

I found beat up chair when I first moved to New York City. I used to live on the Upper West Side near a lot of well off families and you just wouldn’t believe the stuff they’d throw away. I remember hauling home and getting to the front of my building when a girl came out and said “Street find?”..”Yep.” “AWESOME! That’s an amazing chair. I’m jealous”. That was the moment I was immediately hooked on finding treasures among the thrown out.

Little yellow table was found on my way home about a year ago. I just thought the color was really nice, scooped it up, and home it came. It sat in my other apartment unused for months. Then, here it finally found a real use.

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I’m very sentimental over these two bits of wonky wood. The chair creaks and the table is wobbly, but they’ve always been there at the end of a hard day and they’ve always done their job; something that can be hard to come by these days.

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I’m so addicted to making hexipuffs, people. I just can’t stop. At first I was kinda wary of them. I wasn’t quite sure if I liked making them, but now I have them down. I carry a gallon size ziplock bag with me wherever I go filled with a ball of sock yarn, a few needles, a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches and 3 needle bind off, fluff, scissors and a tapestry needle. It is the most satisfying feeling ever when you finish a new puff and drop it in with the rest. SO. good.

Those three yarns in the top picture are the ones I’m using for the hexipuffs so far. The two smaller balls on the right are Koigu KPPM. I like  this yarn, but never buy it because I think it’s WAYYY too expensive. It’s $14-15 for 175 yards. I could buy hand painted super wash merino sock yarn for $20ish dollars on Etsy for over 400 yards and support an indie dyer. Maybe I’m just cheap. HA. Anywho, tangent over, the two I have I bought only because they were on sale at Purl Soho since the colors had been discontinued. They were $9 each and decided to give them a go. DSC_0274

For now I’m keeping my puffs in this nifty jar my mom got me for Christmas. I have three of them in various sizes and they’re made specially for storing yarn, needles, and projects. There’s even a hole in the lid so you can use it as a yarn bowl type thing. Love them!/DSC_0284

Now up to 8 hexipuffs! YEYUH.

Sorry for not being sorry about all the mess in my pictures. I’m messy, ya know? I’m a bit of a slob. But who isn’t sometimes.

On another note, I just wanted to say thank you to anyone and everyone who reads my blog, follows me on instagram, or supports my fiber arts adventures in any way. Sometimes my job requires me to act like someone totally different than what I am. I often have to act “cool” or “edgy” when in fact I am not that at all, but here on my blog and Instagram I am able to express who I am in all my yarnness and know that no one is going to tell me to not be so dorky. This blog makes me happy and many days knitting and crochet is the reason I am excited to wake up in the morning. I appreciate hearing from anyone who reads my blog and my day is usually made by a sweet reader who leaves a nice comment. I am constantly surprised and touched by how supportive the fiber arts community is.Thank you everyone! You guys rock!

This post is a big thank you to great people, little yellow table, and beat up chair. Thanks for the support!

 

Happy weekend!

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