Hotel to Home: Borgo Santo Pietro, Italy

Today we’re traveling over to Tuscany to peek into a gorgeous bathroom at the Borgo Santo Pietro. The classic clawfoot tub, antique mirrors, and greenery makes this bathroom special.

Dina Ferri room, Borgo Santo Pietro

And here’s my take on this luxurious bathroom:

settee, tub, plant, towels, floor mirror, roman shade, faucet, fern plant, wall mirror, pillow











Travel: Things that Amuse Me About Italy

By now, you may have caught up on my stories from my trip to Italy in June (already almost two months ago!). If not, go ahead and click on the following links to catch up on my father-daughter trip (made possible by the folks over at

Italy – as you perhaps can tell from my stories – is all about la dolce vita. The people are my people. The food is my food. The way people enjoy each other’s company (with food, of course) works for me. I love so many things about the Italian culture (of which I was born into – lucky me!) and I hope you have – or will be able to – travel to Italy so you can experience it for yourself.

I have plenty to share today. In this post (part I for today), I want to highlight some of the things I love about Italy/my observations/things that amuse me. Later today, I’ll publish a post focused on my time in Florence.

Ready? Let’s go!

The Italian language…

My Italian is decent. I can get whatever I need, ask questions, and I can now even throw in a bit of sarcasm or jokes into conversation. I may not speak rapidly or using perfectly formed sentences, but I can certainly communicate. This isn’t to say that it isn’t hard. It is. I rarely practice Italian when I’m in Canada, unfortunately, so when I’m in Italy, I struggle with words and verb tenses. Luckily, the Italians were very kind and they told me that I’m brava. Grazie!


a quick stop at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Pisa

Given my language learning and teaching background, I can easily get fixated on words, pronunciation, and expressions when others might overlook these things or find them uninteresting. So, there are plenty of words that I absolutely love to say and hear; some of these are…


This means “to chit chat.” I love how this word sounds. It sort of sounds like kia-kia-ra-reh (with rolled “r”s). It’s been one of my favourite words for many years now, I have to say. When I saw these five ladies huddled on a bench in Rimini, this is the word that came to my mind. There they were, enjoying the day, gossiping, chatting, and watching the world go by. Awesome.



When I was at the beach, I could not remember the word for towel at all. I used the English and French versions before the kind beach cabana man responded to me with “si, si, un’asciugamano”. I was like, of course! I love how this word sounds. For one simple item (a towel), this word has five syllables. It sort of sounds like ah-shoo-ga-man-oh.


This is perhaps my most favourite word of the whole Italian language. “Era un casino” sort of means “it was chaotic,” but casino is a much more enjoyable word, in my opinion, than chaos. While the word seems simple when you say it/spell it/hear it/write it (it is pronounced like ka-scene-oh), the word is a powerful one! It can be used for so many things…traffic, congestion on the sidewalk, disorganized supermarket shelves, bikes and pedestrians sharing a path, confusion over a restaurant reservation…there are countless uses, and when no other word comes to mind to describe a frenetic situation, you can just use casino.


parking areas for bikes, scooters, and cars can definitely become a casino!

White-Cabana-Florence-Piazza della Signoria

the Piazza della Signoria in Florence is definitely a casino for the majority of the day


I think I like this word mostly because of how it looks when it’s written out. I love that dip of the lowercase “g”. Honestly, this is how geeky I am when it comes to language. Not only do I think about the meaning, and the sound of the word, but I also judge a word by its look. Seriously. True story. #crazyforlanguages

So this word means wonderful, but it is so much more beautiful than the word wonderful. It is pronounced like mare-a-vi(g)-li-o-so. Try it. Like it?

San Miniato-Florence-floor-White Cabana

the carved floor at San Miniato al Monte in Florence was meraviglioso!


the Leaning Tower of Pisa is also meraviglioso!

So not to hog this post with everything language-related, I’m offering up some other observations…


Thank goodness I’ve been in cars with attentive Italian drivers. While there are rules of the road in Italy, sometimes I feel like they’re optional. Stay in your lane or don’t. Signal or don’t. Stop at a red light or don’t. Like I said, optional. Speed bumps don’t seem to be of much use. Unless maybe you’re on a scooter and you don’t feel like jumping out of your seat…then, maybe, you’ll slow down at the speed bump. Watching people manaover la rotonda (the roundabout) is fascinating. I don’t know why people in Waterloo have such a tough time with them. The Italians have them under control. No stopping, just go, go, go!


I’m not judging parenting styles here, I’m just sharing with you what I’ve observed (generally). In Rimini (a beach town), kids were out and about with their parents until past 10pm and 11pm. No. Big. Deal. They weren’t screaming or cranky, they were just there. Hanging out with their parents and friends. Playing. Chatting. Riding bikes. I know many of them were on vacation, and we were at the beach, but I was still surprised to see how engaged they were with beach life. And they weren’t being bribed with gelato or toys as far as I could tell. (I seem to be more sensitive to children’s behaviour/parenting styles since I began working at a university. I’m always surprised by the number of parents who come in with – and do the talking on behalf of – their adult children. I’ve even heard of some who want to go to orientation days with their children.)

Children in Italy are more than welcome at restaurants. Young Italian children that I’ve known (or observed) know how to use forks and knives properly, and they just do as the adults do. They may be eating pizza while their parents work on a three-course meal, but they’re doing so politely, calmly, and without (an apparent) fuss (I know it’s not all roses, but I was always surprised to see how children – and their parents – comported themselves at the dining table).

Italian children seem to ride bicycles from an early age (as in two-wheelers, without head-to-toe padded protection as I’ve observed where I live). They’re in the street. They’re in the bike lanes. They’re riding alongside their parents and friends. Many don’t wear helmets. These kids would just go-go-go without hesitation. They navigated the bike lane and road crossings impressively. It’s just the way things are done (okay, maybe moreso in Rimini than in the centre of Florence, but you get the idea, right?). Cars and pedestrians are aware of cyclists, but it was still surprising to see everything in motion on the shared roads.


a beautiful white bike (notice the kid seat at the handle bars) in Lucca, Italy

Check back later today for my recap of things to see and do in Florence.

Follow our father-daughter adventures in Italy on Instagram at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA and Twitter at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA.















Travel: Booking with

Okay, dear readers, I have majorly fun news! Major! Ready? Are you sitting down? Okay. Here it is…

I’m going to Italy! In. One. Month.

For a traveler like me, this is really really really exciting. Italy is my jam. My people. My food. My fashion. I haven’t been in 5 or 6 years, so you can imagine how thrilled I am. In fact, there are even more reasons for my enthusiasm. I’m heading over with my dad who is going to reunite with his highschool friends once again (remember how he reconnected with them via Facebook after 50 years?). Now I get to reunite with them, too. It’s wild. Meeting people who knew my dad when he was 16? That’s nuts! Right?

And on top of all of this, the incredibly generous folks at are sponsoring my trip! Yes! Yes! Yes! As in the The same that I have been using for years to book my trips. The same that finds me the best possible prices for flights, hotels, and cars. Yes, it’s that!

Expedia logo

Me? Excited? Yeah, excited is an understatement. Going on this trip with my dad means so much, and the fact that and I are collaborating is just the bees knees!

I’ll have many posts to share, so I hope you’re eager to follow along. I’ll share with you news of my trip planning, my packing list, my hotel stays, my city explorations, and, of course, I’ll give you the low down on what it’s like to go on a father-daughter trip (not our first, in fact)!

For now, I bet you’re curious about where I’ll actually be going.

Soon after I had learned about‘s sponsorship, I got to work planning the vacation. My dad (let’s just call him Dad) had already booked his flight and sort of finalized his travel route with his friends, so I had to touch base with him to learn more about his itinerary.

First off, I researched flights, and I was able to get on the same flight as Dad had already booked. As anyone who has used knows, the search function is pretty darn awesome, and you can limit your flight searching options in so many ways – by departure/arrival time, number of stops, and airlines, to name a few.

Normally, I search flights by number of stops and price. In this case, however, since I had my dad’s flight information, I searched by departure time and airline. I wanted to see if it was feasible to get on the same flight to Bologna that he was on. It was. Easy. Done. At the same time, I debated a few return options and saved them using the “My Scratchpad” feature while I thought about how long I could stay in Europe.

I find the “My Scratchpad” quite a handy addition to It basically houses a record of your searches, and when prices change, you can request to be notified. I think that’s pretty darn magical. I think you have to be logged in so that things are saved, so be sure to do that first.


You can see that I took this screenshot after I had booked my flight because of the extra ticker line advertising up to 51% off hotels in Bologna!

You can also see up my the logo that I’m currently sitting at “blue” status in terms of the Expedia loyalty program. As a blue member, I am eligible for things like member-only pricing, extended price-match guarantee, and earning 2 points for ever $1 spent. I have a few sleeps in hotels to go before I reach the next status level (silver). Read more about rewards if you’re interested.


Are you waiting to learn more about our travel itinerary? Well, let me tell you, it’s a good one!

Dad and I have arranged our trip so that he can visit with his highschool friends in various parts of the country. We will fly into Bologna, then we train it to the beach town of Rimini for a couple of nights, attend his yearly highschool reunion lunch (I’ll have to brush up on my Italian between now and then), drive to Bologna for a few nights, drive to Florence for a few nights, and then visit my relatives for a few nights in a small town near Milan. After this, Dad will travel back to Toronto, and I’ll be heading for a little weekend getaway in Copenhagen. #IFeelSoDarnLucky

Seems like a pretty good route, doesn’t it? Dad is pretty excited, too, since he’ll get to introduce me to his highschool friends, and he’ll get to treat me to gelato (many, many times!).

If you have any recommendations or post requests, let me know!

Many thanks to for sponsoring this trip. I am thrilled to be working with such a well-respected company. That said, all opinions are my own, and I am committed to writing honest reviews.

Design: News from Italy

My dad is currently nearing the end of a vacation in Italy. He was there to reunite with his highschool friends whom he has not seen or spoken to in 50 years. 50! Last year, one of his highschool friends found him on Facebook. Facebook! They chatted online, then over email, then on Skype. So cool. When his friends told him that the highschool friends were having a reunion this year, Dad booked his flight. Can you imagine – a reconnection after 50 years? I think it’s absolutely amazing.

While he was away, my dad texted me almost daily photos of La Dolce Vita. He succeeded in making me jealous, that’s for sure. He’s such a little blogger-in-training! He sent photos of food, countryside, and even a Thonet-ish bentwood chair. He also sent specific photos for White Cabana. Gosh, I feel so proud! He actually reads my blog…and listens to me when I talk about fashion, design, and art!

Here’s a bit of Italy through Dad’s iPad/iPhone, if you’d like to see.

The Richard Ginori brand is well-known in Italy, and dad must have been listening to conversations between my mom and me about the brand. In preparing this post, I learned that the company was going bankrupt in 2013, and it was bought by Gucci. The Richard Ginori collection on display in a window in Firenze (Florence) are very White Cabana worthy.

White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-8White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-9Dad texted this photo from Gubbio (in Umbria), and at first, I wondered why there were two holes in the back of the chair.White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-1But then he sent this one, and I understood.   White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-2He also sent along a few fashion photos (he listens to me, he really listens!). It seems to me that white is the colour of Italian fashion this summer. The photos are from Firenze (Florence) and Sansepolcro (in Tuscany). Bravo!White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-6White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-4White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-5 White-Cabana-Dad-Italy-3A few more photos might trickle in. From what I gather, dad’s been having a grand ol’ time (I’ll spare you the daily gelato and pasta photos).