« Previous

 

Friday, December 31, 2010

// posted by Jessica in Concerts, Movies, Music, Traveling, Video Games @ 7:15:14 am - Comments Off
2010 in review!

I wish I had done this for past years, but I guess there’s no better time than the present to start!

Movies
Movies I saw in the theatre: Shutter Island, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3, Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The Social Network, Tangled, Tron: Legacy 3D, Black Swan
Movie that made me cry the most: Toy Story 3
Favorite movie of the year: Black Swan
Still want to catch in the theatre: I Love You Phillip Morris, Blue Valentine
Waiting for Netflix: Love and Other Drugs, The Kids are All Right, Nowhere Boy, Paranormal Activity 2, Let Me In

Music
CDs I received/bought this year: She & Him – Volume 2
Concerts I attended: Julian Casablancas, Imogen Heap, She & Him
Favorite live performance of the year: Imogen Heap, although She & Him are very, very close behind

Travel
Places I visited this year: Las Vegas, Gatlinburg, Atlanta

Games
Games I received/bought this year: Final Fantasy XIII, Just Dance 2
Games I beat this year: Dragon Age: Origins
Older games that I tried to pick up again this year: Lost Odyssey, The Sims 3
Favorite console game of the year: Dragon Age: Origins
Favorite iPhone game of the year: Angry Birds

Dining
New local restaurants I tried this year: Bosco’s, Sweet Cece’s, Allium, McDougal’s, Grilled Cheese and Crab Cake Co., Chuy’s, Pizza Perfect, Diana’s, Pfunky Griddle, Five Guys, Swanky’s Taco Shop, Cafe Coco, Rita’s
Favorite new eatery of the year: Sweet Cece’s
Coolest new dining experience: Pfunky Griddle
Current food-related mayorships on foursquare: Cheeseburger Charley’s, Chick-fil-A, Little Caesar’s, Manny’s House of Pizza [recently lost SATCO and another Little Caesar’s…]
Number of times I ate at Melting Pot: four

News
Biggest local news event of the year: the flood!
Where I was when the rains came: at the Sheraton Music City, attending MTAC

Clearly the theme for 2010 was “dinner and a movie”! Any other categories you can think of?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

// posted by Jessica in Board Games @ 5:34:21 am - 1 Comment »
History of Board Games

I found this infographic on mental_floss today, and since I loooooove board games, I thought I would post it! The biggest thing I learned here: They are making a Monopoly movie???

History of Board Games
Via: OnlineDating.org

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

// posted by Jessica in Rants @ 4:31:58 pm - 2 Comments »
Road Confusion

Hello, dear poor neglected blog. I haven’t had anything super blog worthy that didn’t involve photos lately.

One thing I pride myself on is my inability to experience road rage. People who scream at other cars amuse me. What’s the point? This is my story of how I almost experienced road rage.

Picture, if you will, an Interstate. It is west bound, going into a downtown area. Five lanes. Before venturing into downtown territory, the middle lane splits. Three lanes go to the left. Three lanes go to the right.

It was on this Interstate that I found myself traveling. I was doing a decent speed (I won’t say how fast, in fear of giving my mother a heart attack) in the second lane from the left. In my rear view mirror, I noticed two cars gaining on me, both of them in the far left lane.

Around this time, I realized that I should get over. I needed to go towards downtown and right at the split. I merged (this word I use lightly, as there wasn’t any traffic to merge into) into the center lane. One of the speedy cars had changed lanes and was now in the lane where I had previously been driving. He was nearly side-by-side with me at this point.

Then he started inching towards the center lane.

I frowned. Did he not see me? I quickly checked my mirrors (though, as I said, there was no traffic) and moved into the lane to the right, just in time to avoid a collision.

This is where most people, I assume, start their road rage. Me? I did not. I thought to myself, “Well, maybe he didn’t see me and needs to go to the right at the split.” Perfectly justifiable. After all, I’ve accidentally cut people off whom I didn’t see before. Everyone does it at some point in time.

Then he changed lanes again.

To the left.

Yes, the lane he had just been in. He sped up and took off to the left of the split, leaving me confused in his dust.

My mind raced. What could have possessed him to take such an action? I could not come up with a reasonable explanation. After all, the center lane goes in both directions. Then my mouth formed the word: “Jerk?”

Yes, with a question mark.

I promptly forgot about it and went along my way.

Was this road rage? Or simply…road confusion?

Do you suffer from road rage?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

// posted by Jessica in Fun Stuff @ 12:14:45 pm - Comments Off
It’s time for another installment of…

…making fun of people on dating sites!

As I mentioned in my previous piece, I rarely write people back. Currently being a relationship, especially, I don’t think I’ve written back anyone in months. My profile says I’m “seeing someone”. Does this stop people from messaging? No.

We’ll start with the quiet ones. These people don’t have much to say.
dating1-1

dating1

dating2

We also have the talkers.
dating8

This guy amused me because he quotes himself at the beginning. It also amuses me because the exact same message to someone else was posted on Emails from Crazy People.
dating9

In the “Message me if…” section, I have added “if you don’t like Nickelback”. This gets me a lot of responses, especially from people who decide to message me anyway.
dating3

Then you have the completely random what-does-this-have-to-with-meeting-people messages.
dating4

This guy didn’t have a profile. No picture, no info, nothing. That’s going to inspire me to text and meet up with a random stranger.
dating5

This guy sounds like a winner.
dating6

This one too.
dating7
Thanks. You….don’t?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

// posted by Jessica in Holidays @ 12:21:12 pm - 1 Comment »
More creepy bunnies!

You may remember last year’s Easter post, where I displayed some of the creepiest Easter bunnies I had come across online. Well, a few weeks ago, BuzzFeed had a similar list. They listed some that I hadn’t seen that were, indeed, super scary, so I wanted to share some more with you!

Is this even a bunny?
enhanced-buzz-16984-1267726863-20

Some-bunny looks hungry.
enhanced-buzz-16984-1267726929-21

Remember how your mom always told you if you kept making that face, it would get stuck? I think that’s what happened here.
enhanced-buzz-17003-1267728639-19

This speaks for itself…
enhanced-buzz-17012-1267727863-22

There is something really creepy about an Easter bunny standing by itself with a balloon. It’s like “It” but without the clown.
enhanced-buzz-17014-1267726061-13

What would happen if the Easter Bunny and the Grinch had a baby:
enhanced-buzz-17014-1267730465-15

Yesterday, they also did an article on Sketchy Easter Bunnies with Dogs, which included images like this I’m-about-to-eat-these-dogs bunny:
enhanced-buzz-8599-1270052454-0

I think Easter needs a less creepy mascot. Anyone with me?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

// posted by Jessica in Fun Stuff @ 1:08:16 am - 8 Comments »
Cake is better than pie.

Earlier, I happened upon this amusing-yet-totally-wrong blog post about pie and cake. I had to stop and re-read what it was trying to sell me. Pie? Better than cake? People really think this way? So, I have prepared a rebuttal.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pie. Some of it. Not that fruit-filled stuff. (C’mon, it’s dessert. It’s not supposed to be healthy!) Chocolate pie is good. Kentucky Derby pie is great. Boston Cream Pie is the best. Oh, wait. That’s not even really pie, is it? It’s cake. And it’s pretty sad when the best a dessert has to offer is really just something else in disguise.

Now, point by point…

#1. They say that while cake initially tastes better, pie’s enjoyment lasts longer. Um, what? What kinds of cakes have you been eating? Cake is enjoyable from the first bite to the last, and usually then I want more. They even admit that CAKE TASTES BETTER.

#2. They say that unequal frosting distribution is a minus for cakes. Um, at least cakes have frosting.

#3. They say that a greater amount of the pie is enjoyable. Apparently there are people who just like frosting and only the frosting. These people have never had a well-made cake. I think they just need to expand their cake tasting beyond Wal-mart’s bakery.

#4. They claim that because pie charts exist and cake charts do not, this makes pie better because it’s more scientifically viable. Well, cake is more mathematically viable, as there is a cake number and not a pie number. (And pi does not count; it’s not even spelled the same.)

#5. This was the most messed up point of all. They claim pie can be eaten in more situations and provide this little chart:
pieversuscake7

Um, what? First of all, why is pie equal with cake on birthdays? Who has ever heard of birthday pie? Please. Any child that ended up with a birthday pie would be the laughingstock of all their friends. I’ll give Halloween to pie, if they are referring to pumpkin pie, though I’ve never actually eaten pumpkin pie on any day other than Thanksgiving. And Christmas? Have we not heard of fruitcake? While it’s the black sheep of the cake world, it still counts. And they’ve left out one important event: weddings! Weddings have cake (usually)! Finally, birthdays and weddings both can happen year round. Halloween? It’s once a year. The graph should have looked more like this:

cakevspie

Even pie fans should see this goes right to cake.

#6. They claim that cake has longer-lasting negative consequences because it can cause diabetes when eating a lot over time. News flash: so can pie.

So now that I have debunked all of their claims, I would like to add one more thing that weighs this heavily in cake’s favor. The cast of Lost? They like cake.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

// posted by Jessica in Fun Stuff @ 2:00:25 pm - Comments Off
Now with Formspring page!

I know a lot of people are doing this, but if you feel the need to ask me anonymous questions, I will answer them. Maybe.

http://www.formspring.me/sweetvenus

And, uh, I’ll try to write a real blog post sometime in the near future.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Goals @ 1:50:44 pm - 1 Comment »
Au revoir, 2009!

I really wish I could have taken part in Good Riddance Day in Times Square a couple days ago. It’s been a rough year, and I can’t say that I’m sad to see it go. I was trying to decide if it was the worst year I’d ever had, since 2003 and 2004 were not so great either. It’s hard to say since I did do a bunch of awesome things this year (like go to Europe, Chicago, and Florida [x3]) to try to balance it out.

So down with the negativity! 2010 will be awesome! Some things I am looking forward to:

Getting the photography business off the ground! I have a few shoots set up already and am greatly looking forward to them, as well as joining a local photography group. So if any of you out there need some photos….

Going to Vegas! That’s right. I’m going to Vegas in the spring. More on that later, but it involves a bunch of girls, some photo shoots, and other awesome stuff. I’ve never been, so it should be a blast. (Psst…if anyone hears about any good Southwest flight deals, let me know.)

Getting organized! I’m declaring 2010 the Year I Got Rid of Stuff. I hereby promise that I will go through most of the stuff in my house and decide if I should keep, sell, donate, or get rid of all of it. There. I said it. Now I have to do it. (Although, not according to this article.)

The final season of Lost! It starts on February 2, and all you Lost fans are invited out to my place to party it up Dharma-style. Let’s just say, we’ll have this:

Dharma alcohol

Too bad it’s a weeknight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Holidays @ 2:06:26 pm - Comments Off
Why is Santa so creepy?

Remember my post a few months back about creepy Easter Bunnies? If you liked that, you’ll probably appreciate this link.

From mental_floss: 10 Creepy Santas (whose laps we want nothing to do with)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Birthdays, General, Photography @ 5:29:46 pm - Comments Off
My poor neglected blog…

I can’t believe I didn’t post the entire month of November. So sorry! It was a very busy month, filled with…

Starting my own photography business. Yeah, I decided to go for it. Well, just wading my toes in slowly. I would hate to get burnt out on something I love so much. But, most of my photography posts are now over at the new photography blog. You can also become a fan of me on Facebook (that sounds so narcissistic) or follow my photography Twitter account.

Celebrating my birthday. A bunch of us Scorpios got together and threw a big party. Then I went to Orlando to spend my birthday week at Universal and Disney. And I know I just linked to the photography blog twice more. I promise I’m not abandoning this one.

Being busy at work. Although, that’s pretty much been non-stop all year.

Starting Christmas shopping. I’m already halfway done!

And, um, NOT finishing the things I’m supposed to do before I’m 28. Yeah. Uh. We’ll just move that to the Before 29 list. (But to be fair, there was only one thing I didn’t do!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Photography @ 6:33:42 pm - 1 Comment »
Fix-It Friday

This week’s Fix-It Friday.

The original:
4033980775_453bd70b8c_b

The edit:
4033980775_453bd70b8c_b-edit

Friday, October 16, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Photography @ 7:06:52 pm - Comments Off
Fix-It Friday

This week’s Fix-It Friday..

The original:
4014216696_40a9491dea_b

My edit:
4014216696_40a9491dea_b-edit

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Photography @ 5:26:26 pm - Comments Off
Photography on the iPhone

The iPhone 3G has a basic built-in 2.0 MP camera. If you upgrade to the 3GS, you get a 3.2 MP camera, with autofocus, auto white balance, and auto macro. I would love to upgrade, but it’s not all that feasible at the moment. (Hey, AT&T, why don’t you offer some incentives for current iPhone users to upgrade to the 3GS??)

As you can see, the camera has limitations. Over the past few months, I’ve acquired a nice collection of photography apps to enhance my photos to make them look somewhat better. The main problem is most of the photos come out looking rather flat. Sure, I could move them to the computer and edit in Photoshop, but that’s a pain when I want to take a shot and immediately stick it on Facebook or Twitter. So here are some things I use:

Camera Genius
This is a photo-taking app. It allows you to zoom, set a timer, put guides on your screen, and more. It’s handy. I mostly use it when I want to take photos of myself.

Pano
Another photo-taking app. It allows you to take multiple shots and stitches them together in a panorama for you.

TiltShift Generator
This app applies a tilt-shift effect to your photos. I love it because it allows you to super fine-tune all the details. And not only can you add blur, but you can also play with saturation, contrast, and vignetting.

Best Camera
This app provides many different filters to apply to your photos. There are your basic warm, contrast, lighten, darken, vignette, desaturate filters, as well as some more custom ones, such as Jewel and Paris B&W. Kind of like actions for your phone photos. The downside? There’s no way to adjust anything. You just apply it and go. So, for example, if the Jewel filter saturates your photo a little too much, there’s no way to fine-tune it. Unless, you combine it with other apps.

Photoshop.com Mobile
The newcomer on the block. Adobe’s app allows you to crop and play with exposure, saturation, and tint. There are also filters here too. You can make your photo look like a sketch, add soft focus, borders, and a few different color options. I eventually hope they add more features, as most of this stuff I could accomplish in other apps.

Crop for Free
I used this before I downloaded the Photoshop app. I’ll probably delete it soon. It’s very simple. You can crop your photos. The downside? There’s no way to maintain aspect ratio that I could figure out (same goes for the cropping feature in Adobe’s app).

Flickr
A must-have for any Flickr user. Allows you to upload photos to Flickr (surprise!) and you can even choose to geotag with your current location. Neato.

And now, the photos!

Here is a photo of Vera that I snapped one day (using the timer, since she was sitting next to me).
img_0289

I cropped myself out slightly (using Crop for Free).
img_0293

Then I warmed it in Best Camera.
img_0294

Then with TiltShift Generator, I added some blur, upped the saturation and contrast, and added a vignette.
img_0295

Another example: A photo I took of my soda-can-castle-in-progress at work.
img_0309

Added blur with TiltShift.
img_0310

Then used the Jewel and Vignette filters in Best Camera.
img_0311

Here’s a couple panoramas I made using Pano:
img_0244
5295_726555315255_9401671_42352614_6216730_n

This photo wasn’t taken on my phone (it was taken with my SLR), but I used TiltShift Generator on it:
img_0272

Here’s one of Photoshop Mobile’s filters:
img_0321

Canon also has put out a dSLR Camera Remote app that I desperately want. It’s $20 and I just haven’t decided if I’d have much use for it right now. But it sounds neat!

Friday, October 9, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Photography @ 6:43:35 pm - 2 Comments »
Fix-It Friday

And now for this week’s Fix-It Friday!

The original:
3994151621_b0b9988785_b

My edit:
3994151621_b0b9988785_b-edit

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Fun Stuff @ 5:11:25 pm - Comments Off
What makes me happy? (part 2)

So, remember a little over a month ago, when I posted results from my last happiness survey? The results of my second one are in! Let’s compare.

My previous Weekday chart was pretty even (except for Friday). I was generally hovering around 65. In this one, you can see my week peaks on Saturdays (slightly below 80) and gets progressively worse (around 60). What can I say? I’ve had some fun Saturdays lately and the work week has sucked.
weekday2

The Location chart. GMX (Geek Media Expo) was last weekend. Apparently I was having a blast. But I seem to be having a blast as long as I’m not at work or at home. My restaurant experience improved dramatically between the two survey periods, seeing as I scored around 50 for “At A Restaurant” last time and close to 80 this time.
location2

The Want To/Have To chart didn’t really change, so I’m not including it this time. Also, I was never Outside when answering surveys, so that chart is rather boring.

My Alone? chart gave basically the same result, although I was overall happier during these two weeks.
alone2

I didn’t include this one last time, but the Number of People Interacting With chart shows that I’m happiest in smaller groups.
number2

And, finally, the What are you doing? chart. Didn’t go canoeing this time, but I am super happy when watching movies and taking pictures. And just like last time, I still hate doing housework and paying bills.
doing2

Saturday, October 3, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Fun Stuff @ 3:54:47 pm - 1 Comment »
This week’s (er, and last week’s) links.

Yeah, it slipped my mind last week. So you get a double dose!

Most of these can be separated into categories…

PICTURES OF STUFF

Don’t Judge My Hair (via @dougboutwell)
http://dontjudgemyhair.com/
One of those great humor websites that makes fun of people. Rock on.

7 Wet, Wild & Weird Deep Sea Animal Wonders (via @petapixel)
http://webecoist.com/2009/09/15/7-wet-wild-weird-wonders-of-the-deep-sea/
Emphasis on weird.

Jaw-Dropping Urban Photography (via @petapixel)
http://theroxor.com/2009/09/06/jaw-dropping-urban-photography/
Must. Keep. Practicing.

Tim Burton’s Awesome Fashion Photo Shoot (via @GeekTyrant)
http://geektyrant.com/2009/09/tim-burtons-awesome-fashion-photo-shoot/
I still really want to get into fashion photography.

THINGS I LIKE THAT ARE BEING MADE INTO MOVIES

Diablo Cody to Tackle “Sweet Valley High”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/sep/23/diablo-cody-sweet-valley-high
Please say it will be better than the TV series.

“Friends” Movie Rumors Start to Simmer
http://hollywoodcrush.mtv.com/2009/09/28/friends-movie-rumors-start-to-simmer-but-dont-go-singing-smelly-cat-just-yet/
Oh please please please.

OTHER STUFF

The Truth Behind the $60 Video Game (via @GeekTyrant)
http://geektyrant.com/2009/09/the-truth-behind-the-60-video-game/
To sum this one up: They are $60 because people pay $60 for them.

Mind of Man: Real Men Buy Flowers
http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-mind-of-man-real-men-buy-flowers/
Not that I’m hinting or anything. *cough*

Friday, September 25, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Photography @ 6:11:39 pm - 2 Comments »
Fix-It Friday

This week’s Fix-It Friday was a really underexposed photo. This just shows how much you really can fix a photo.

The original:
3948588126_d586b6c21e_b

The edit:
3948588126_d586b6c21e_b-edit

What I did:
Obviously rotated and cropped.
Levels correction.
Pro-retouch under his eyes slightly.
Lights On (Totally Rad Actions): once at 100% and again at 30%.
Pool Party (TRA2) at 100%.
Then a slight texture over the whole image at 50%.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Fun Stuff @ 2:09:23 pm - 1 Comment »
This week’s links.

I didn’t have very many links last week, so I’ll include the few I had with this week’s. :)

Plan 9 from Outer Space Remake Teaser Trailer (via @GeekTyrant)
http://geektyrant.com/2009/09/plan-9-from-outer-space-remake-teaser-trailer/
What’s that you say? A remake of Plan 9? Yes, it is apparently true. And stupid. This wins the “worst idea of the year” award.

Facebook introduces @mentions in status updates (via @mashable)
http://mashable.com/2009/09/10/facebook-mentions/
This was news last week and it’s been implemented now. I still haven’t used it. I guess I don’t mention people in my statuses as much as I do in my tweets.

MMS for iPhone Rollout has Begun (via @mashable)
http://mashable.com/2009/09/13/mms-iphone-rollout/
I haven’t gotten it yet.

9 Ways Marketing Weasels Will Try to Manipulate You
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001301.html
I thought this was an interesting article. It’s all about how not to react irrationally to marketing schemes.

Geek Media Expo
http://www.mtac.net/gmx/index.html
A new convention in Nashville! Pre-registration has been extended to Tuesday, so get tickets now!

Famous Failures (via @strobist)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6hz_s2XIAU
A nice inspirational video on YouTube.

I also discovered an iPhone app that puts tilt-shift effects on your photos. Examples:

http://twitgoo.com/3cthw

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
http://twitpic.com/i4fad

Friday, September 18, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Photography @ 6:09:27 pm - 3 Comments »
Fix-It Friday

I couldn’t decide what to do to this picture. Her hands seemed distracting to me. I tried cropping it, but didn’t like it. I tried blurring them a little, but didn’t like it. I went back and forth, back and forth. Here’s what I finally came up with. I’m not as happy with it as I’ve been with some of my previous fixes.

The original:
3927202113_003b59b206_b

The edit:
3927202113_003b59b206_b-edit

What I did:
Liquify on her left eye ever so slightly.
Claire-ify at 100% (TRA2: The Revenge).
Slight Pro-Retouch (100%) and Eye Bump (100%) (Totally Rad Actions).
Pross Crossessed #2 at 20% (TRA).
Troy at 50% (TRA2).
Select-O-Pop on her face at 50% (TRA2).
Green With Envy on the greenery in the background at 50% (TRA).
Boutwell Magic Glasses at 50% (TRA).

See more fixes at I ♥ Faces.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

// posted by Jessica in Traveling @ 12:24:20 pm - 3 Comments »
Europe Trip: Florence

And now for the conclusion to our great European adventure!

The train ride from Venice to Florence was long (about three to four hours) but, thankfully, a straight-shot. The train started out relatively empty, but filled up at each of the stops along the way.

Train

We finally arrived in the city and purchased a map from the tourist desk. I figured out where our hotel was and that it was located about two miles away from the train station. I asked my mom whether she would like to pay for a taxi or walk. She asked what I wanted to do; I said I would rather walk. So we did. We rolled our luggage two miles down Florence’s cobbled streets and narrow sidewalks. Did I mention it was 90+ degrees outside?

When we arrived at the hotel, we were both red and dripping sweat. The man at reception was amazed that we had walked all the way to the train station. He showed us to our room and we relaxed in the air conditioning for a while.

When we were finally cooled off, we decided to go find food. We walked along the river for a distance, toward the center of the city. We stopped to check out the menus outside every restaurant we passed and finally found one that sounded good.

We both ordered the chicken in white wine, and I ordered some bruschetta as an appetizer as well. I asked for the house white wine to accompany my chicken, but the waitress brought me….Chianti. She must not have heard/understood the “white” part. Oh well, another bottle of Chianti for me.

Chicken and Chianti

The next day, we started to head up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which overlooks the city. We got about halfway up before we decided the view was good enough, and it was too hot to continue all the way up.

Hey, it's me!

We had a reservation that afternoon at the Uffizi museum, so we started to head in that direction. We went to a few high-end stores, such as Gucci, Prada, and Armani before stopping for lunch. It was pizza again, but this time I actually got the house white! This is Italy’s version of pepperoni pizza. Apparently, if you ask for “pepperoni” you’ll get peppers. So this is “salame piccante” (or “spicy salami”). And it was good. So good.

Pizza and wine

After we ate, I finally bought a pair of shoes, though not from any of the designer stores. I really wanted a pair of Pradas, but I couldn’t find any that I thought were cute enough to pay $600 for. So I ended up at a smaller Italian chain store, and bought a cute pair of brown strappy sandals for less than $100.

We finally made it to the Uffizi and checked out all kinds of Italian art. We saw paintings by three-fourths of the Ninja Turtles’ namesakes. (Donatello was nowhere to be found.) The highlight? Seeing Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”. It was so much larger than I was expecting; I wish they allowed photos.

Outside the museum, we discovered a mime putting on a show. He was mimicking people and walking behind them. I’ve got some good video footage of this that I’ll eventually put together and post.

We headed back to the hotel and went up to the terrace. My mom read and I, of course, took pictures of the sights.

View
View

The next day, our goal was to tour the cathedrals around the city. We headed over to Santa Croce, which was close to our hotel.

Santa Croce

The posted opening time was five minutes after we got there. So we waited. And waited. And waited. It never opened. Unsure if it was ever going to, we decided to head over to the Duomo instead. There was a little bit of a wait to get inside, but it was mostly in the shade and moved quickly.

Inside the Duomo

Outside the Duomo was a tall tower, Giotto’s Campanile. When I mean tall, I mean tall. It takes 414 stairs to get to the top. And I climbed. Every. Single. One.

I paused at the top to cool down. No air conditioning. 90+ degrees. It would have been a good idea to bring water, but I hadn’t thought of it. I then entertained the idea of selling water at the top of this thing, or even right at the bottom. After 10-15 minutes of rest, I ventured to the outside of the tower to check out the view. And what a view!

The viewThe viewDuomo from the bell tower

After snapping photos, I headed back down the 414 stairs to find my mom, who was waiting patiently at the bottom. She had found some people to chat with, so I retrieved her and we headed off to find water and food.

I found myself with yet another pizza in front of me. This one was four cheese, and it was the best pizza I had the entire trip. No wine this time though. I figured I was too dehydrated as it was.

Pizza!

We went to the Accademia art gallery after lunch to check out Michelangelo’s David statue. It was very large. Very very large.

At this point, we were quite tired of looking at Italian Renaissance paintings, so after a quick glance around the rest of the museum, we decided to head back to the hotel.

We wanted to rent a car the next day, so we got directions from the hotel reception on where we could find a car rental place. We went inside the wrong building first, but they kindly pointed us in the right direction. Our car was a tiny little Fiat something.

Fiat

We made our way into the Tuscan countryside and came to the town of San Gimignano. The town is like a fortress, walled and with an abundance of tall towers.

San Gimignano

We ate lunch here. Yes, I had pizza, but it wasn’t very good. It reminded more of microwavable pizzas than the delicious pies I had elsewhere in Italy.

We wandered around the small town, going in and out of shops, and eating delicious gelato.

Gelato place

At one point, what I thought was a parade passed by…

Parade?

…but it turned out to be a funeral. Oops.

We went to the torture and death penalty museums there, which I don’t think my mom was too thrilled with, but I found intriguing!

Isn’t the Tuscan countryside gorgeous?

TuscanyTuscany

On our way back into Florence, we stopped at the top of the Piazzale Michelangelo, which we hadn’t climbed to the top of days earlier, so we took some shots of the view.

FlorenceMe!

Parking the rental car in front of the hotel, we walked toward the Ponte Vecchio (“old bridge”). On the way, I noticed someone had tagged each pillar with…Darth Vader?

Darth Vader?

The sun was setting, and I captured this photo on the bridge, which will soon be hanging over my bed.

Sunset

Early the next morning, we packed up and drove the rental car to the airport, where we dropped it off. Our European adventure was coming to a close. We had a brief overlay in London (hey, I can say I’ve been to London too now!) and then a long flight back to the states, with another brief overlay in Charlotte.

It was two weeks, but it seemed to fly by. I cannot wait to go back, revisit some of the cities, and travel to new ones!

Previously:
Paris
Lake Como
Venice

« Previous