Honeymoon, part 3: The Amalfi Coast

Honestly, where do I even start? The Amalfi Coast was one of the most effortlessly stunning, luxurious, romantic places I have ever seen. Neither my photos nor words will do our experience there justice, but here are the highlights anyway:

We stayed at…
The Hotel Pellegrino in Praiano, an independently-owned and family-run hotel with an in-house restaurant and views of the sea. We paid approx 160 euros per night — which was a steal for the quality of hospitality we received — and were within easy walking distance to downtown Praiano and a short public bus ride to Positano (tickets for which were free of charge, courtesy of the hotel). Luigi and Sandra upgraded our room when we mentioned we were traveling on our honeymoon, as well as greeted us with a free dessert at the restaurant upon our arrival. For the price, quality (of service and of food), and views, the Hotel Pellegrino went above and beyond.

Note: Praiano worked for us because we wanted something smaller and less touristy than the nearby Positano, and we didn’t mine walking or bussing. But Positano is where a lot of the Amalfi Coast attractions are. If we were to go back, we’ve agreed that we’d splurge on the indulgent San Pietro di Positano, which would be more relaxing and more central.

We ate at…
1. Da Adolfo, a hidden gem on its own beach that forces patrons to jump through proverbial hoops to score a table. If you can get a reservation — and I am honestly still thanking the food gods that we did — don’t try to order for yourself. Let the waiter give you his recommendations and go with those. We ended up with mussel soup, grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves, linguini and clam sauce, tuna carpaccio, and panna cotta to finish. It was up there with Frenchie as one of the top three meals best meals of my life.

2. Ristorante Santa Croce, after a long, extremely difficult hike. This was a recommendation from Luiggi (remember, he’s the owner of Hotel Pellegrino) and we managed to get there just before they started to close for a few hours between lunch and dinner.  We didn’t want to eat much since Jake knew I’d spoil my appetite we knew we had reservations at La Sponda later on, so we split a shrimp scampi and salmon carpaccio to keep it light. Unfortunately, this was one of the only times I remembered to order an Aperol Spritz  — a traditionally Italian cocktail — and I barely drank it. I was so exhausted and dehydrated from the hike that alcohol was the last thing on my mind.

3. La Sponda, the Michelin-star restaurant inside Le Sirenuse. We had certainly worked up an appettite that day, so we ordered two tasting menus and a wine pairing to share. Honestly, I can’t even remember what we ate except that there were so many incredible courses I lost count…and that the wine pairing for one was more than enough to drink for the two of us.

We spent the evening enjoying some of the best food in the world while overlooking the ocean and reminiscing about our 11 years together. All I could think about was how happy and lucky I was. I will treasure that memory for as long as we live.

We hiked…
Il Sentiero degli Dei, also known as Path of the Gods, which was recommeded to me by a friend who had just done it. Traditionally, hikers start at Agerola and work towards Nocelle in Positano. We…sort of did that, but we started at our hotel in Praiano, which means we tacked on an extremely strenuous hike up to the Convent of San Domenico (where we popped in to say our vows again). It was one of the only times I’ve ever been legitimately concerned about throwing up or passing out from heat. That said, it was 100000000% worth it. The views were stunning, the workout was great, and it was just an all-around awesome experience. Word to the wise: pack sunscreen and a ton of water.

We took day trips to…
Capri. And only Capri. There was so much do to do nearby that it seemed silly to stray too far, but we happened across a tour company on Spaggia Grande, the main beach in Positano. We paid 70 euros per person which included a lazy, sunny, round-trip boat ride to the island, several stops to swim, drinks, and visits to the various grottos along the way. It technically included a stop at the Blue Grotto, but we ended up not doing that because the wait was several hours, which is apparently something that happens all the time. Still, we saw plenty of other grottos that were equally impressive.

We shopped at…
Schettino di Capri. This was part of our day trip (in Capri, obviously), and was not planned. Truthfully, and especially if you ask Jake, you will find that the last things I need are more shoes, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with a few pairs in the window. So in we went. Turns out that Aldo and Lydia, the owners and shoemakers, have been making shoes for decades — including several pairs for Jackie Kennedy and countless other fashion icons. I bought myself some 70 euro sandals and wore them every day for the rest of the summer.


Warning: they stretch! Buy your usual size and don’t be deterred if they’re tight at first.

We also made a stop at Ceramiche Casola. One of the things we registered for as part of our honeymoon fund (thanks, Zola!) was ceramic, Italian servingware. My aunt kindly donated to that part of the registry, so we spent an hour picking out our favorite pieces from this iconic Positano destination. The quality here is truly unbeatable, the business is family-owned, and the customer service is outstanding. We left with several gorgeous trivets and a spoon tray, all of which serve as both practical pieces and decor when they aren’t in use.

There were a few other shops of, of course — for limoncello, linen, and lunch — but I found so many of them overpriced and indistinguishable from the others. Seemed prudent to whittle this list down to my favorites, in order to be the most helpful for those with limited time and budgets.

So that’s that for the Amalfi coast. We left full of seafood pasta, vitamin D, and a deep wish for more time.

I had actually forgotten this, but we stopped in Pompeii and Naples during our last 24 hours in Italy, so I’ll have one more post. And then also probably one or two others about getting to Da Adolfo and maybe how I packed for the whole thing. Any preference? Ideas? Am I being insufferable? Let me know.

Love, me.

The best of Brussels (and Paris!)

It has been months and months and months. It has been months. So many months! I’ve been meaning to post this since April, and I don’t think my blog has been touched since January. There’s a lot to catch up on, and therefore probably lots of posts coming (?), so bear with me.

As many of you already know, Jake and I spend a magnificent 9 days in Europe — 4 days in Brussels followed by 4 days in Paris. I’ll keep it shorts and rattle off my top recommendations that might not be on your radar:


  1. Day trip to Bruges! It was cold as hell, but super beautiful. I highly recommend a bike tour to Damme and the windmill.
  2. Eat at Tonton Garby, Belga Queen, and Peck 47. Tonton Garby is a teenie-tiny hole in the wall with the best sandwiches ever; Belga Queen is fancypants, but delicious; Peck47 is apparently famous for their egg sandwiches? But I wouldn’t know because I just had their ginger ale and that’s what was excellent.
  3. Drink at Cantillon Brewery. Even as a non-beer-lover, I thought it was dope. And the beer was really good! I hate beer, so that means a lot.
  4. Visit Grand Palace, do NOT visit Manekin Pis. I mean do visit it if you want to, but I did not think it was worth the few minutes out of my life.
  5. IF you go during the three weeks of the year when it’s open, try to stop at the Royal Gardens. It’s a really beautiful tour.


  1. Stay at The Grand Pigalle. The neighborhood is wonderful, the prices are reasonable, and the customer service is unbeatable. This was the view from our room. They even left me a box of my favorite imported Italian cookies on our last day, because they knew I loved them and that you couldn’t buy them anywhere else.
  2. Drink (coffee) at KB Café. It’s in the 9th and it’s delicious.
  3. Eat at Frenchie. Book a reservation as early as possible, by any means necessary. Ask your concierge, schedule the rest of your trip around that restaurant, I don’t care. But get a table.
  4. Take a day trip to Versailles with the Blue Bike Tour. It was one of my best memories of the trip — despite having the worst allergies of my life — and when my fiancé accidentally threw my phone in a dumpster, the tour guides came back to help me find it. Just…so f*cking amazing.
  5. Listen to the ensemble performance at Saint Chapelle. Try to see it when they’re performing the Four Seasons. I cried the whole way through.
  6. Buy a large volume of beauty products from any pharmacie. My favorite purchases were Bioderma Crealine and Reve de Miel.

Okay, that’s that for now! Updates to come about our engagement weekend, my recent articles, and an impending move to DC…

Happy New Year To Me

So, quick question: if you fail at your New Year’s Resolution within 72 hours of January 1st, does it really count? Or are you allowed to write it off because, to be honest, you never really started it anyway? Just asking because, uh…a “friend” of mine is a real fitness flake.

On that note, I’d love any recommendations you guys might have on motivating yourself to work out. Classes, favorite gyms, personal trainers — I want ’em all. I’ve realized that Planet Fitness just isn’t doing it for me, but I miss feeling healthy and strong! Any thoughts?

Other than that, 2016 is off to a great start. I’ve found a dry shampoo that I’ll take to my grave, booked a flight to Europe with Jake (Paris & Brussels, here we come!), and spent my Sunday morning drinking tea in pajamas and working on a New York Magazine crossword puzzle. Pretty sure that qualifies as an A+ kind of day. In more news…

  1. I finally saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I am obsessed with this theory.
  2. There is a distinct possibility I now own this dress in 3 colors. It’s insanely soft, comfortable, and pretty much dirt cheap.
  3. The ultimate leather jacket is finally in my possession. Is it cool if I’m wearing it on my deathbed?
  4. We made some variation on this crockpot chili yesterday. Let me tell you, it doesn’t suck.
  5. If you haven’t seen Inside Out without the inside, grab some tissues and brace yourself.
  6. Kick your takeout habit for good with Refinery29’s awesome (and totally doable!) two week challenge.
  7. All I want from life is to be a part of the Pop Culture Happy Hour gang with Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Linda Holmes.
  8. Almost Famous and The West Wing are both gone from Netflix 😦
  9. Alterations Needed’s sale shopping list is draining my wallet.
  10. Download Wunderlist for a better 2016.

That’s all for now, folks! Off to eat some more chili and get ready for a VERY busy week. Keep me posted on those exercise ideas!