The Friday Five: White Sunnies

Hello from sunny Florida! I’m having a grand ol’ time here doing just about nothing every day. It’s a real vacation!

You don’t need much more than a couple of bathing suits and some sunglasses when you’re here. It’s fabulous!

forever21-sunglasses

sunglasses, $7.90, Forever21

Warby-Parker-Haskell

Haskell sunglasses, starting at $95, Warby Parker

white-sunglasses

Fendi cat eye sunglasses, $765CAD, Nordstrom

sunglasses

Blanchett sunglasses, Salt Optics

sunglasses-targetwhite sunglasses, $16.99, Target

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

p.s. Just look at this gorgeous beach.

Travel: Laughing Around Pisa, Italy

While in Italy with Expedia.ca last month, Ivo (my dad’s friend from Florence) took us to Pisa one the day. I hadn’t ever been to Pisa, so I was looking forward to seeing the tower (of course) and the town. Of course, it was wonderful to have Ivo as our tour guide while we were in Italy. It was convenient that he was the driver (driving in/out is much more chaotic than it is in North America!), but Expedia.ca also offers car rental options (in fact, I used Expedia.ca to book my current car rental in Florida – it has competitive pricing!).

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was smaller than I had thought. It’s absolutely white and beautiful and incredible.¬†The columns that surround the tower are perfectly aligned, and the tower has been cleaned in recent years. I stared at it for so long trying to imagine how a building that leans so much remains standing. I know it’s been reinforced and all that, but it seriously leans! A lot! It’s crazy!

There were an incredible number of tourists in Pisa – surrounding the tower, the basilica and filing through the outdoor market.

White-Cabana-Pisa_Tower_4 White-Cabana-Pisa_Tower_5 White-Cabana-Pisa_Tower_1 White-Cabana-Pisa_Tower_2 White-Cabana-Pisa_Tower_3

You may have seen a bunch of photos of people posing with the Leaning Tower of Pisa to create the illusion of holding it, learning on it, or picking it up, right (if not, see this). I thought I’d give it a try, too, but things didn’t quite work out the way that they were supposed to. First, I had to try to explain to dad the whole photo illusion concept because he hadn’t seen them created before, and then when that wasn’t working out, I passed the camera over to Ivo and reexplained everything in Italian. While I may not have ended up with one of those classic amusing photos, I did end up with a really full blooper reel. Want to laugh? Keep scrolling.

White-Cabana-Pisa_9 White-Cabana-Pisa_8 White-Cabana-Pisa_6 White-Cabana-Pisa_7 White-Cabana-Pisa_11 White-Cabana-Pisa_10 White-Cabana-Pisa_12

Yup. Not. Even. Close. Sometimes, White Cabana (and Dad and Ivo) just does things differently…

Hope I made you laugh today!

Follow our father-daughter adventures in Italy on Instagram at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA and Twitter at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA. Stay tuned for a couple more Italian posts in the weeks ahead.

Other posts in this series: Booking with Expedia.ca, 5 Tips for Traveling with a Parent, Things to do in Rimini, Italy, Stay and Play in Bologna, Italy

Save

Travel: What To Pack for a Beach Vacation

I’m currently vacationing in sunny Florida! It’s super hot in Florida at the moment, and my friend Shannon and I have agreed that we should stick to a grueling schedule of beach-pool-beach-pool with some meals in between. Tough, yes. That’s how we roll when we’re in Florida! Of course, though, there’ll be days and nights of shopping trips, and we’re looking forward to a trip-within-a-trip to Sarasota. Oh – and we’ll be seeing two concerts while we’re here – Gwen Stefani and the Dave Matthews Band. Very cool. Good times ahead!

I’m a decent packer, and I generally have a good sense of what outfits I may need while I’m on vacation. That said, I sometimes pack more than I need and I don’t like lugging around useless weight. For this vacation, I wanted to pack light – absurdly light – because (a) I don’t wear much more than bathing suits while I’m here, (b) it’s too hot to wear more than a bathing suit, and (c) I’m hoping for a few sales which means I’ll be returning with a heavier luggage on my way home. I’m so good at supporting the American economy when I’m in Florida that I should really get a prize.

I’m (almost) ready to challenge myself to stick to a very strict colour scheme this trip. I’m starting with two navy/white bikinis that I picked up in Copenhagen last month from H&M. Most of my packing for this trip revolved around navy/white (quite a departure from the usual black and white, I know). Here’s what I considered (and just about ended up following through on) packing for this vacation (very similar items, not necessarily the exact items).

beach-vacation-White-Cabana-what-to-pack-1beach-vacation-White-Cabana-what-to-pack-2

sunglasses, sun hat, watch, dress, bikini, kaftan coverup, flip flops, white tee, white denim shorts, purse, navy shorts, dress, tank top, striped bikini, sneakers, sweatshirt, pajamas, sandals, sports bra, sports tank, running shoes, running skirt

What do you think? Could you spend two weeks in Florida with these 22 pieces?

Save

Save

Two for Tuesday: The Magnificent Magnolia

My friend Shannon and I are back in Madeira Beach for our annual girls’ vacation, and in between going to the beach, we’ve been catching up on some HGTV shows. Neither of us have cable at our homes, so this is a treat for us. We watched a couple episodes of Fixer Upper the other day with Chip and Joanna Gaines, and I really like their work. Generally, their makeovers are a bit more country than I generally like, but they do such a good job with the renos and styling. It’s so impressive! Via blogging, I’ve followed some of their projects, but I’ve only ever watched¬† a few episodes of their show. Have you seen the show?

In addition to the show, they run a bed and breakfast in Texas, and have a beautiful shop called Magnolia Market. So that’s the inspiration for today’s two-of-a-kind. Magnolia_Product_63_of_69_1024x1024

magnolia art print, Magnolia Market

Seeing the collection of magnolia art prints at Magnolia Market reminded me of the gorgeous magnolia tree I saw in Florence on the property of San Miniato al Monte.

Magnolia-flower-White-Cabana-Italy

photo by Jordana

The Friday Five: Swinging Around

Lots of people talk about bringing the outdoors in. A lot of the time, they’re talking about plants and colour schemes. But today I’m talking about something else that is traditionally an outdoor item – the swing! Yes, the swing. Have a look at these five spaces and tell me if they don’t make you want to have one of your very own!

swing-Chris-loves-julia-DIY

DIY swing by Chris Loves Julia

swing-sbh-interior

via SBH Interior

sukha+13

Sukha Amsterdam via Vosges Paris

emmasdesignbloggswing-450x692

via Remodelista

the-playing-circle-vaudeville-pop-up-store-the-loft-amsterdam-11

The Loft via Sarah Le Donne

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Hotel to Home: The Palladian, Seattle, WA

I came across The Palladian on Apartment 34 and my jaw dropped. The hotel is stunning. I’ve never been to Seattle…hmm…

I wanted to recreate so many of the rooms, but since I’ve done quite a few bedrooms recently, I thought I’d move into the bathroom for today’s hotel to home post.

The Palladian, A Kimpton Hotel, Seattle. Designed by Nicole Hollis.

The Palladian, A Kimpton Hotel, Seattle. Designed by Nicole Hollis.

photo via Apartment 34

White-Cabana-inspired by Palladian

mirror, faucet, vanity, towels, sconce, soap, art, easel

I just love the addition of the old portrait artwork, don’t you? It’s sort of unexpected in a bathroom, isn’t it?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Travel: Stay and Play in Bologna, Italy

After Rimini, I traveled solo to Bologna. Dad and I split ways here for a few days as I wanted to explore Bologna, and he was off enjoying la dolce vita in Florence with friends. Thanks to Expedia.ca for making this leg of my trip possible!

One of the first items on my agenda when I got to Bologna was to eat a delicious pasta bolognese. As I mentioned in my last post, each region in Italy is known for certain specialties, and Bologna is known for pasta bolognese. It’s also known for tortellini, prosciutto, and mortadella. In fact, Bologna has so many delicious foods that it’s known as La Grassa (The Fat One). Great, right?

So, as I was saying, my first main meal in Bologna was a pasta bolognese dish at the well-known Pappagallo (it means parrot) near il torre (the tower). I was very pleased with my meal. I ate calmly, people watched, and enjoyed a glass of wine on the outdoor patio. Dad wasn’t the only one who was enjoying la dolce vita!

White-Cabana-Pasta-Bolognese_Pappagallo

Besides the pasta bolognese, I enjoyed numerous gelati (plural of gelato). The gelato at the famous Cremeria Funivia was definitely one for the record books. Oh, jeez, was it every good!

White-Cabana-Cremeria_Funivia_Bologna White-Cabana-Cremeria_Funivia

at Cremeria FuniviaWhite-Cabana-Bologna-Gelato

a gelato selfie

I also stopped into Caffè Zanarini one afternoon for a pizzetta and spremuta (juice). The outdoor dining set-up in the square was beautiful. Service was average. This was one of the few (or maybe even the only) places I visited where even though I spoke Italian, the servers responded in English only. They must be used to tourists.

WHITE-Cabana-Bologna-Zanarini

afternoon snack at Zanarini

A definite must-see (and must-eat) is Majani chocolates. The shop on Via de Carbonesi is charming with beautiful carrara marble countertops and dark wood shelves. The chocolate is superb. It should be considering the Majani chocolatiers have been in business for 200 years. I brought some chocolate back to Canada with me, and I’m just enjoying the last few pieces this week. The sales lady behind the counter was extremely kind and generous with her time. We had a great chat about Bologna, about my travel itinerary, about blogging, about the success of Majani, and, yes, about chocolate, too. She was also very kind to offer suggestions as to what I should see during my stay. One of her suggestions was the walk up to San Luca (see below). I did it, then went back to Majani to speak with her about it (and buy more chocolate). Like I said, she was so very kind.

White-Cabana-Majani-Bologna

Do I still have your attention? Can I share a bit more food with you before moving on to other Bologna faves? Okay, great.

So, just off the Piazza Maggiore (main square) are a bunch of narrow streets that are open in the mornings for market time. Here’s when people can stock up on fresh fish, produce, fruit, and meats. The buzz around these streets (the area is known as the Quadrilatero) was awesome.

White-Cabana-Mercato-ExpediaCA_Bologna_3 White-Cabana-Mercato-ExpediaCA_Bologna_2 White-Cabana-Mercato-ExpediaCA_Bologna_1

Now that I have filled your stomachs with (virtual) Italian food, I’d like to show you some of the other highlights of my Bologna trip.

One of the reasons why I absolutely loved Bologna was because of its architecture. Bologna is a city of i portici (porticoes, vaulted walkways, arches, archways). It was a brilliant place to be because the sidewalks under the portici were wide, and some of the ceilings of the portici were beautifully painted. When it rains, there’s no need for an umbrella because you get anywhere in the city centre via these covered sidewalks. Just gorgeous.

White-Cabana-Bologna_ExpediaCA_1White-Cabana-Bologna_ExpediaCA_5White-Cabana-Bologna_ExpediaCA_4 White-Cabana-Bologna_ExpediaCA_3White-Cabana-Bologna_ExpediaCA_2

As you can see in this photo, Bologna is a pink city. Many of the walls of the buildings are in shades of rose, and even the rooftops are pretty shades of pink.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the University of Bologna. If you’re a long-time reader, then you already know that I’m passionate about education and I teach at a university. The University of Bologna is an extra special place because it was the first university and it’s the oldest in the world. It was founded in 1088. 1088! Pretty remarkable, eh? I was so happy to walk the grounds, visit the buildings, and see what the students were up to. I was amused by all the photocopy shops around the university, and of course there were several caf√©s to stop in for an espresso (I stopped in here.).

White-Cabana-University-of-Bologna-7 Version 2 White-Cabana-University-of-Bologna-3 White-Cabana-University-of-Bologna-4 White-Cabana-University-of-Bologna-5 White-Cabana-University-of-Bologna-6 White-Cabana-University-of-Bologna-1

Other things that I saw in Bologna were the Basilica in Piazza Maggiore:

White-Cabana-Piazza-Maggiore-Bologna-2.jpg White-Cabana-Piazza-Maggiore-Bologna

and le due torre (the two towers) in the city centre. I climbed the nearly 500 steps to the top for this view.White-Cabana-due torre-bologna

The last thing I’d like to share with you about Bologna is San Luca – or the Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca. The trek to San Luca (walking under 600 portici!) was recommended by the lady I met at Majani chocolates. Of course, many websites and guides also recommend it, but it was the conversation that I had with the lady that pushed me to go for it. While you can walk from the historic centre all the way to the beginning of the path to San Luca, I’d recommend taking the city bus #20 to Villa Spada and then walk the 2km to the Basilica (note: you can buy bus tickets on the bus or at the tabacchi). Just look at the view from the top! (and all that marble!).

Version 2 White-Cabana-San-Luca-Bologna-3Version 2 White-Cabana-San-Luca_Bologna_4

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you where I stayed! I stayed at the Zanhotel Regina on via della Indipendenza in the historic centre (about $100CAD/night during my stay in June). The hotel is a 3 star hotel, but remember what I said about the hotel star rating system in Italy? The location was good, the bed was comfortable, the breakfast was decent, the people were very nice, but the bathroom was small and the decor was dated. The hotel, luckily, had WiFi and air conditioning, and I put both to good use! The hotel is close enough, but far enough, from the train station, and it’s only a short, enjoyable walk to Piazza Maggiore along via Indipendenza, a main shopping street. If I had an unlimited budget, I’d likely stay at the Grand Hotel Gi√† Majestic (about $400/night in June).

Booking the Zanhotel Regina with Expedia.ca was straightforward and easy. After a few clicks, I had a place to stay! And while I’m talking about booking, I have to say that when I planned this trip, I purposefully booked hotels that offered free cancellation (without penalty). This was really important as I wanted my itinerary to be somewhat flexible in case other things came up during my trip. The free cancellation policy is top notch! Hotel prices in Italy vary greatly depending on the time of year, location, and local events, so I also recommend using the Scratchpad feature on Expedia.ca. With this feature, you can keep track of potential bookings and price changes.

So there you have it – a few items of interest in Bologna, Italy. Overall, the city impressed and surprised me. I would easily go back to Bologna…and not just for the pasta bolognese!

Follow our father-daughter adventures in Italy on Instagram at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA and Twitter at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA. Stay tuned for a couple more Italian posts in the weeks ahead.

Many many many thanks to Expedia.ca for sponsoring my trip. Grazie mille! All opinions are my own.

Other posts in this series: Booking with Expedia.ca, 5 Tips for Traveling with a Parent, Things to do in Rimini, Italy

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Two for Tuesday: Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

I’m excited about today’s twosome. It’s all about Gwen Stefani today because I’m going to see her in concert! Woohoo! I’ve been a fan of Gwen Stefani since the days of No Doubt, and I’m really looking forward to swinging along (really poorly) with her in Tampa soon enough.

I’ll be wearing my Gwen Stefani (via L.A.M.B.) x Le Sportsac purse for nostalgia. I was so excited to buy this purse at Century21 in downtown Manhattan on one of my very first trips there years and years ago. I wore this purse so darn much, and I was in love with the L.A.M.B. purse charm attached. Good memories with this one.

Gwen-Stefani-Lamb-LeSportsac

And here’s Gwen. My sister almost convinced me to bleach my hair blond like Gwen one year. Almost. I was never courageous enough.

12904984_960100690769882_1676567930_n.jpg-ig_cache_key=MTIxOTU3NDEwOTQyODAzNjkyMA%3D%3D

via Gwen Stefani

Save

The Friday Five: White Dinnerware Collections

I bought my dinnerware soon after I moved into my new home. I love the white china, and I’m glad I went for a simple design (Royal Worchester Serendipity). I bought 12 place settings which included the dinner plates, side plates, small bowls, larger bowls, mugs, and teacups. I went all out and my cupboards are full because of it. I love having matching everything, and I know the pieces will serve me well in years to come.

If you’re in the market for a new set, I’ve rounded up five great collections at various price points.

Bennett20pcDnrwrSetF12_trm

Bennett 20-piece set, $445CAD, Crate & Barrel

img78o

Pillivuyt 20-piece set, $403.95USD, Williams-Sonoma

1JCOWED0660_001_26

Jasper Conran 32-piece set, $839CAD, William Ashley

882864590046_main

Kate Spade 12-piece set, $150CAD, Hudson’s Bay

royal-doulton-finsbury-5-piece-place-setting-652383744530

Finsbury 5-piece set, $101.99CAD, Royal Doulton

Hope you enjoy some delicious meals this weekend!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save