We are currently enjoying our annual winter trip and it’s been amazing so far. We had so many trips back to back over the last few weeks that I found it difficult to work on planning this trip. One of the things that we constantly ask ourselves is whether we should go to the same destinations or add in new places. I’m trying to achieve our “perfect” 60/40 ratio on this trip. We are currently at Villa Cordevigo in the Veneto, and it’s incredible. It’s so incredibly serene here, and similar to the first year we stayed at Borgo dei Conti, it feels like we have the place to ourselves. Tom ranked it an 11/10 on our first day, and we’re already excited about coming back. We are adding a couple of other destinations in the Veneto, too.
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How much I’ve grown, which is far more complex that I could ever explain in this post. I celebrated my 40th birthday on December 6. As part of that celebration, Tom took me to Florence, which was the perfect destination. I celebrated my 22nd birthday in Florence. Florence was a turning point in my life, and it’s largely the reason that I am where I am today. It was such a pivotal moment in my life that its hard to imagine celebrating it anywhere else.
Tom asked me if I ever expected to celebrate my 40th birthday in Florence, and I said that I always expected to travel after studying abroad, but I didn’t expect to be married or to have the life I have. While I deal with a lot of stress, I have a lot contentment for my life, too. I feel like this is a longer post for another day. In the more immediacy, seeing how much Tom and I have grown, with our willingness to the unfamiliar and go beyond our comfort zone by taking risks that make sense to us, makes me very proud.
Goodness. All of the things. I took a buche de Noel class at the Ritz Escoffier in Paris, and Tom and I enjoyed it for two days afterwards. (Isn’t she beautiful??) We’ve been in Europe for 4 days, and I’ve already had two different (amazing) beef cheek dishes. I had a chestnut and veal tortello last night that I’m still thinking about. Real food is so good.
Red wine and water. We are in the Valpolicella wine region, and it’s incredible. I had an Amarone last night that we will be bringing home if it’s not sold out. (We’re doing a wine tasting today, so time will tell! When I was in France, I tried a Kir vin rouge – a red wine with violet liquor – and I’m obsessed with it as my apertif of choice in France. (Many thanks to my sister for introducing me to this!) If you don’t like red wine, you can opt for a traditional kir, which is white wine with creme de Cassis, which is also lovely. The Kir Royal uses champagne in lieu of wine. While at Villa Cordevigo, I’ve opted for the Hugo as my apertivo of choice. I picked this up when we were in Frankfurt in March and love the Elderflower in it.
Having a few less worries about safety. When we were in Europe over Thanksgiving, there were multiple mass shooting in the United States, and it was terrible to wake up to such terrible (preventable) news. We love taking evening walks, and it’s just such a different feelings when you know that you can. I didn’t realize how much of an emotional burden I was carrying about the threat of gun violence until I was largely unburdened from it. Isn’t that a ridiculous way to live? Sigh.
Capes and bodysuits. France was quite temperate in November and Italy was still quite “warm” when we were there at the start of November. My Wolford bodysuits and Marta Scarampi capes travel quite well. I bought the Stacie cape for our France trip, and it was the perfect way to stay warm and feel chic. (When it was a little colder in the Alsace, I paired it with a cashmere sweater.) I also bought this Akris Punto houndstooth blazer on super clearance before we left. It’s my new favorite piece of clothing, especially for travel days. It pairs beautifully with jeans and a bodysuit, and I feel very put together when I land.
Looking Forward To:
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Florence for the 4th year in a row. I have quite the tradition going now. I always get a massage in the late afternoon as a way of detoxing for the new year. This year, we have reservations at Cinghiale Bianco, which will be a first for us! Typically, we just wander around the city and enjoy the festivities and skip the dinner reservation. Cinghiale Bianco is one of my favorite restaurants in Florence, so I’m excited to have that experience this year.