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Howdy Everybody!

How has everyone been? I’ve been grading midterm exams for my two classes, then had to take a French midterm and had an oral exam in Italian! Busy, busy! I’ve also started packing for my trip. I’ve been on Pinterest and have seen various things about “minimalist” packing for summer in Europe, so I’m going to try it. The longest I will be in one destination is 8 days, so I am going to pack 8 unique combinations of shirts, bottoms, and dresses-mixing things up with scarves and other accessories. I am hoping to be able to just take a travel backpack, but I have yet to find one I like. I’m looking for a large hiking/travel backpack that rolls, so that I can roll it in airports and train stations, but carry it on my back while walking from the stations to my hotels. I’ve found a few, but I’m hoping they go on sale because they are SO expensive. I still need to get a few more pieces of clothing and an electrical converter, then I should be ready to go!

I finally decided not to buy a rail pass. I didn’t like that you have to pick a number of travel days within a certain month. I’m going for 40 days and the only options are 1-10 travel days within a 1 or 2 month period. I will be in Florence, Venice, Naples and Rome for a week each, and may want to take day trips to surrounding cities or sites, so I don’t really know how many travel days I will need. I hope I don’t regret not buying one, but I think it will be better because I have my major destinations planned out and will only be buying 6 tickets (on trains for 6 days out of 40) to go from destination to destination, and then if I decide to go on little day trips I can just buy those whenever I decide. I’ve been using the Tren Italia website and the prices seem really reasonable! Does anyone know if they jack the prices up in the summer, since it’s a busy tourist season?

I’ve found a few places I want to go including a monastery in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but I’m still researching stuff to see, that I haven’t seen on previous trips.

If you have any suggestions of places to eat or things to see in Rome, Udine, Venice, Bassano del Grappa, Florence, Rome, Assisi, or Naples, comment below!

Next month I will start making posts with packing and travel tips-kind of a build up to the start of the 40 Days in Italia series that will begin on 11 May!

I think I’ve solved the problem with the lack of recipes I’ve been posting. I have two or three recipes to post (including organic, gluten free cookies and banana nut bread, as well as stuffed peppers and stuffed tilapia), but since I am obviously failing at posting them in regular intervals I am going to queue up 4 recipes once a month and then just publish them randomly, instead of committing to a schedule and disappointing people that are waiting on them!

I also have some crazy  news to share with you guys after my trip! Be ready. It is going to be crazy, scary, fun, awesome, and so freaking COOL! *hint hint* It involves moving this summer! Will I move out of my parents house and stay in Dallas? Will I move to Italy? Will I move somewhere new? Stay tuned…

This means that after the 40 Days in Italia series, I will have yet another series to start-which will most likely last a year and a half! I hate to leave you guys hanging, but I have to get everything set up first, and then I will reveal the surprise! 🙂

Have you guys seen any good movies lately? I finally watched Inside Llewyn Davis! I really liked it. I am not a huge Fan of the Coen Brothers, but once again the acting did it for me. Oscar Isaac is insanely talented and I really hope he is in more movies. I wouldn’t recommend the movie for everyone because it’s one of those films that loops back around to the start, so you are no closer to knowing the outcome of the story at the end. But if you like folk/acoustic music it’s definitely worth it, if only for the sound track!

My “Sprint to May Challenge” isn’t really on track! I have lost several pounds this month (yay), but not due to exercising. I cut out meat completely for Lent and haven’t had a drop of soda either, but I have been so busy that I have been eating a meal a day for the past week or so. The no meat thing is going well! I’ve only had two bites and it wasn’t entirely my fault either time. I ordered stuffed jalapenos at Buffalo Wild Wings last week and bit into one before I realized they had bacon in them. Then I went to Toby Keith’s restaurant in a casino in Oklahoma the next day and I ordered green beans and they also had bacon mixed in and I didn’t see it until I took a bite and tasted it. I did eat meat a week ago because a professor invited me to her house for dinner and I didn’t want to be rude. But otherwise, it’s been surprisingly easy. My mom has jumped on the vegetarian train too, so she’s helped me come up with good stuff to eat that doesn’t have meat and once again Pinterest  has helped immensely. I know I will lose weight during my trip since I’ll be walking all day every day, but by then the challenge will be over, haha! >_<

I’ve also started dating again! I go through phases where I don’t date because I get so fed-up with the games that dating entails and dudes are always either on the hunt for a wife or they just want to bump uglies (and also because I NEVER get asked out-seriously, I’ve been on like five dates, with two people, in three years >_<). I dated a guy last summer and we broke up right before Thanksgiving and I’m still single, but I decided to get back out there a few weeks ago. Dating is SO nerve-racking for me! I say dating, but I really mean any social situation that involves people I don’t know on a personal level, haha! Seriously. I get so nervous, like stupid nervous. I can never think of things to say, my hands shake, my voice cracks, it’s so ridiculous! But I have made a resolution to try to hangout with new people, go on dates, and make new friends. I know that’s going to entail some awkward experiences, but I’ll never get used to making friends and putting myself out there if I don’t experience some uncomfortable things and learn how to deal with them on-the-spot. I’m so excited to get out there this time though!

What is the worst date you have ever been on? What is the best date you have ever been on? Have you ever used online dating sites? Was it a good or bad experience?