Throwing a Masters themed party

My husband turned 30 in October, and I really wanted to throw him a surprise party- which is also on my 30 before 30 list. I already had the idea of throwing him a golf themed party, and then the 2020 Masters was moved from April to November; two weeks after his birthday. The timing was essentially perfect, and the wheels were set in motion. However, COVID hit hard and we decided to reconsider.

Flash forward to this weekend, Masters weekend 2021. A few of our close friends and family helped me pull off the ultimate surprise that no one would expect; a 30 and a HALF par-tee! Here’s a look at the day.

Food: 

There was something for everyone with all dietary restrictions. 

Pimento cheese sandwiches; One of the official sandwiches of the Masters. I found & used this great recipe from Intentional Hospitality.  

Salad and veggie tray; a.k.a. The Greens. 

Chili; this recipe was a huge hit with everyone.

Chips & dip; a.k.a. Chip it

Donut holes; a.k.a. Bucket of balls 

Drinks: 

Azalea Cocktail; An official drink of the Masters and another great recipe from Intentional Hospitality

Spiked Arnold Palmer; Lemonade, iced tea & vodka 

Decor: 

I tried to stick to the yellow, green, and white color scheme. 

White lanterns; with logos I created with our last name to look like golf balls

Flowers; yellow tulips & pink azaleas

Banner; I created this banner, but there are similar one’s on Etsy. 

Golf ball centerpiece; easy & inexpensive

Name tags & signs; Again, I created these based off one’s I found on Etsy. 

Extras:

Chipping mat; Gavistory from Amazon 

Putting mat; Perfect Practice putting mat 

Green jacket + patch; The jacket was from Amazon and the patch was from Etsy

10 Fun Facts About Gonzaga and Spokane

By now you’ve heard of Gonzaga University. But what else do you know about the university? 

When I moved to the east coast from Washington, I grew used to the fact that people only knew what and where Gonzaga is because of their basketball program. I didn’t mind, especially because it was a conversation starter. Besides, they are the only reason I got into March Madness in the first place.

For those that don’t know, I got my bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University, a school located about 15 minutes away from Spokane, Washington. Then, I continued my education, and graduated from Gonzaga University with my master’s degree in Intercultural Communications. (If you ever want me to talk your ear off, please just ask me about my experience in the program!) 

So, having spent numerous years of my life in the Greater Spokane area, I thought I would share a few fun facts about the city and the school that aren’t necessarily basketball related.  

Overlooking the Spokane River

Spokane

  1. Spokane is the second largest city in Washington State. According to multiple demographic reports*, Seattle leads with a population of over 775,000. Spokane follows a population of ~227,000 and growing. Spokane is located on the far left side of Washington, and bumps shoulders with the Idaho border. 
  1. Spokane was home to the World’s Fair in 1974, making it the smallest city to ever host. The U.S. Pavillion, which still stands erect in Riverfront Park and it was on the most prominent features in Spokane, was originally built for the fair. (History Link Org
  1. The city is home to several of the “largest” events, including…
    1. The World’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament called Hoopfest. Streets are blocked and transformed into mini basketball courts. (Spokane Hoopfest
    2. The World’s largest timed footrace, known as Bloomsday. The Lilac Bloomsday Run hosts tens of thousands of people from all over the World. In 1996, they hosted an all time high of 61,298 participants. In the most recent years, participants have consistently been in the 40,000s. (Bloomsday Run
    3. The Nation’s largest Torchlight Military Parade known as the Spokane Lilac Festival. This parade is part of a week-long festival, which also includes a queen’s coronation, a tea party, a gala, and a golf tournament. (Visit Spokane
  1. Father’s Day originated in Spokane in 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd was one of six children raised by her father, who was a widower. With the help of government officials, local churches and the YMCA, her attempt to celebrate the day statewide was successful. “However, it was not until 1972–58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official–that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States.” (History)
  1. Spokane is also home to the Spokane Indians (the High-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies) and the WHL hockey team the Spokane Chiefs. Both teams embrace the Native American culture of the Spokane Tribe, who are “one of the Interior Salish speaking tribes.” (Spokane Tribe)
I worked there, and this is the only photo I can find…

Gonzaga University**

  1. Gonzaga is a private Jesuit school. The name Gonzaga comes from Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.
  1. Famous Students; John Stockton (Utah Jazz Point Guard), Kelly Olynyk (Houston Rockets Forward Center), Seattle Mariners’ Ace Marco Gonzales, and quite possibly the most notable of them all Bing Crosby. While claiming Spokane as his hometown, Crosby only spent three years at GU and did not graduate. 
  1. The university does not have a football team. Their last team played in 1941, just before sending men off to war. 
  1. Gonzaga became a school before Washington became a state. First opening in 1887, Gonzaga beat the state by two years. 
  1. Over half the students study abroad before graduating- including me! This makes sense, seeing as GU is not only named after an Italian Aristocrat, but also because they has a sister school in Florence, Italy. 

* https://www.washington-demographics.com/cities_by_population https://worldpopulationreview.com/states/cities/washington

** Information pulled from Gonzaga University website

2021 Update: 30 (Be)for 30

In 2019, I made a list of 30 things I would like to accomplish and/or check off my bucket list before I turn 30. For those who are new here, the idea was inspired by ESPN’s 30 For 30, which began by celebrating their first 30 years of existence. 

With COVID-19, I wasn’t able to cross many off this year. However, looking back on my list (most of which I forgot about,) I realize that blaming it on a pandemic is somewhat of a crutch. If there is anything we have learned in the last year, it’s that most things are possible from home. Obviously the travel related items will have to wait, but I do have my eye set on the few that can be done from the comfort of my four walls. 

With that being said, this is year 29 for me! Meaning, I should technically try and cross the rest of these off this year…I may give myself a grace period, due to covid. But overall, I got my eye on the prize! 

Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve done so far: 

Omg…only three each year? I have some work to do.

This is what I was able to check off in the last 12 months: 

Took my parents on a trip (sort of)

When my parents visited in early fall, my husband and I treated them to a night in Newport, RI. (We were all tested before and after the trip, with our results coming back as negative.) Despite it pouring the entire day, we enjoyed playing golf in the mist at Newport National. 

Side note: we were all tested before and after the trip. All of our tests came back negative. Masks were worn in all locations with other people. Even the photo of the four of us was taken on a timer.

Bought a house

To be honest, I really believe this one was possible because of the pandemic. We were able to focus our money elsewhere and make it happen. But, I’m just trying to give my dogs the backyard they deserve! 

Learned how to make my Grammy’s cinnamon rolls 

They weren’t right, but they were so, so close. Plus, it still tasted like my childhood!

Only 24 more to go…haha

  1. Stomp gapes at a winery
  2. Take more Spanish classes
  3. Hike Mt. Rainier 
  4. Run a marathon
  5. See the Northern Lights
  6. Catch fireflies
  7. Spend the night in a tree house
  8. Write a song
  9. Throw a surprise party
  10. Cut and donate my hair 
  11. Attend a major sporting event
  12. Donate my whole paycheck
  13. Paddleboard on Lake Havasu 
  14. Visit Disney during the holidays
  15. Visit on a dapper day OR disneybound 
  16. Go to a comicon
  17. Help make someone’s dream come true
  18. See two wonders of the world
  19. Become a parent
  20. Host a charity event 
  21. Go on a charity-related mission trip
  22. Fly in a hot air balloon
  23. Go bungee jumping
  24. See a panda in real life 

2020 Travel Recap/ 2021 Bucket List

Happy New Year!

As (what seems like) the longest year in history has come to an end, I am reflecting on the year and looking forward to the future. Typically, this is the time of year when I take a trip down memory lane, while also dreaming about the year ahead. Well this year, the trip down memory lane is more of a short stroll. 

2020 Travels
  1. International Tennis Hall of Fame- Newport, RI
  2. Spring Training- Arizona
  3. Dining on the Diamond- Pawtucket, RI

That’s it. That’s all the traveling that was done. In February, I visited the International Tennis Hall of Fame and attended a few Celtics and Bruins games. After that, I headed out for a week of spring training. I returned home from Arizona on March 8, and the sports world stopped on March 12. 

When the Red Sox finally had their opening day at the end of July, I was at a ballpark. However, I was watching the game on a jumbotron, while also having a socially distanced dinner. (This one was a pleasant surprise.)

So, since I wasn’t able to cross off ANY of my 2020 bucket list plans, I’m going to try this again. I am optimistic that 2021 is going to be a great year, which full of fan-filled stands! 

2021 (Sports) Travel Bucket List
  1. The Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa.
  2. Escape to the Cape League.
  3. See the Seattle Kraken in their first season. 
  4. Go to a Connecticut Suns game (vs. Seattle Storm preferably.) 
  5. Welcome the Worcester Woosox to Massachusetts. 
  6. Say hello to Slam Diego and the Padres.
  7. Watch the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry in New York. 
  8. Finally visit Wrigley.
  9. Do a DC/ Baltimore combo trip. 
  10. Feel the brotherly love in Philadelphia. 
  11. Hit the jackpot in Vegas and watch Eastern Washington University play at Allegiant Stadium. 
  12. Head south to the Grapefruit League (and Disney!) 
  13. Retrace my steps at the Tri-City Dust Devils (where it all began for me.) 
  14. Watch “my team” in a new stadium; Red Sox, Mariners, Celtics, Bruins, or Seahawks. 
  15. Visit three new MiLB stadiums. 

Since 2020 showed us how unpredictable life can be, I realize that this sport-centric list may be nothing more than wishful thinking. So, I’ve added a few to the list that are more attainable in a socially distant world. 

2021 Travel Bucket List contd.
  1. Hike Mt. Rainier. 
  2. Explore more national parks (Joshua Tree and Grand Canyon are at the top!)
  3. Play Torrey Pines golf course.
  4. Play Chambers Bay golf course. 
  5. Go to Hawaii. (More on this later!) 
  6. Be spontaneous and go somewhere random. 

What’s at the top of your list?

Sweet Spots: Seattle

Is it just me or does Seattle know how to do two desserts really well- macarons and ice cream. It does help that these are my two favorite desserts, so…maybe I’m just bias. Regardless, here are my top dessert spots (in no particular order) in Seattle! And speaking of…

Molly Moon’s Ice Cream

Multiple locations

There’s nothing quite like simple & sweet. This popular ice cream shop is locally made and known for their fresh and fun flavors. A fan favorite is lavender.


Trophy Cupcakes

Multiple locations

I honestly didn’t think I was a cupcake fan, until I found Trophy! Maybe it’s how they fill the center of the cake with rich flavors, or maybe it is how they seem to put just a little more frosting on top. Whatever it is, this sweet spot not only has decadent cupcakes, but also incredible macarons.


The Moo Bar

Westlake

This is not a drill! This place got creative and somehow smushed my two favorite things into one- ice cream & macarons. Aside from this dynamic duo, The Moo Bar is also known for their teas and puffy waffle cones.

Macaron and ice cream from The Moo Bar.

The Confectional

Pike Place Market/ Armory at Seattle Center

The only thing you really need to know is they have truffles and mini cheesecakes! The perfect little treat while walking around the market or the Seattle Center.

Mini cheesecake from Pike Place Market

Shug’s Soda Fountain

Pike Place & T-Mobile Park

Just a quick walk from Pike Place,  Shugg’s is going to give you “all the feels” with their soda fountain style and ice cream offerings. You can choose ice cream in the form of shakes, floats, sundaes, and boozy floats/shakes.


Le Panier

Pike Place Market

I’ve been to France and these are the closest thing to true French pastries. If there isn’t a line out the door, this Pike Place bakery might blend in with the hustle and bustle. Located near Beecher’s Cheese, this sweet spot is a must.

Macarons at a French bakery in Seattle, WA.

Pie Bar

Capitol Hill

Don’t worry pie lovers! There is something for you too. This…well, pie bar is a quaint little spot almost hidden amongst the older buildings in Capitol Hill. You can not only eat pie, but drink pie-inspired cocktails too! You can get something to go, or dine in. However, seating is very limited.

Apple pie from Pie Bar

Lady Yum

Amazonia & SeaTac airport

Macarons & Mischief- that’s their motto. Add a little bubbly and you have a trifecta. Lady Yum is well known for their unique flavors and eclectic décor. They have monthly flavors, but shindig and salted caramel are among their best original flavors.

Macarons and champagne

Full Tilt Ice Cream

Multiple locations

Speaking of quirky and fun, Full Tilt is another local Seattle ice cream shop that lives for bright and bold. For example, the below photo is marshmallow and Sour Patch Watermelon flavors. (They also offer vegan flavors!) To add to their atmosphere, the parlor includes neon walls and an arcade.

Ice cream from Full Tilt

Bakery Nouveu

West Seattle, Burien, Capitol Hill

Talk about sensational! This bakery will play to your senses with it’s tantalizing smells, and ornate confectioneries. Nouveau offers everything from sweet pastries and chocolate to pizza and bread.


Bluebird Ice Cream

Greenwood

Simple, sweet, and to the point. This old-school styled soda fountain offers a variety of classic (and vegan) flavors that’ll bring you back to the good ole days. However, if you want to mix it up a bit, they also offer boozy milkshakes.

Old fashion ice cream

Cupcake Royale

Multiple locations

Another cupcake place that grabbed my attention! According to their site, they were the first cupcake bakery to open in Seattle, and have since focused on fresh, natural, and local ingredients. Aside from their scrumptious cupcakes, they also serve ice cream.

Cupcakes from Cupcake Royale

Did I forget one? Let me know in the comments!

Top Things to Do in Seattle

So, you’re headed to Seattle, the Emerald City? Surely you will want to see Seattle’s most popular sites. But, you don’t want to miss these additional spots.

Pike Place

Ok, let’s start off with one of the most popular of places, Pike Place Market. PIKE not PIKES ;). This market is best known for flying fishing and being home to the original Starbucks. However, there is so much more to see and experience. Take your time walking through the 9 acres that make up the market. Here you will find some of my favorite eats, treats, and art.

◈ Hungry? Try Pink Door or Cutters.

The Space Needle

Now, let’s cover the other popular tourist attraction- the Space Needle. With it’s newly renovated glass floor and walls, the Space Needle is a must see. However, if heights aren’t your thing and/or you’ve done something similar, then maybe you don’t need to pay for tickets to go up inside the tower. Sometimes, just seeing the actual needle and going in the gift store is enough.

If you do want to go up, buy tickets in advance or get to the area early and prepare to look around while you wait for your reserved time. One way to kill time is to walk next door to…

Pro tip: I have to bring attention to the Seattle CityPASS. I get no kickback from this, but I can’t believe how good of a deal this is. The CityPASS gets you access to;

◈Space Needle
◈Seattle Aquarium
◈Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
◈Museum of Pop Culture OR Woodland Park Zoo
◈Chihuly Garden and Glass OR Pacific Science Center

Chihuly Garden and Glass

If you aren’t familiar with his work, Dale Chihuly is known for his incredible glass artwork. While his work is world-renowned, his most popular pieces can be seen in several places around the city (outside of Chihuly Garden. The blown glass ceiling installation at Bellagio in Las Vegas is another great example of his work.

Gas Works Park

Relax and watch the seaplanes land on beautiful Lake Union. In my opinion, this is the best of both worlds. Not only is this a perfect little preview of the outdoors in the PNW (Pacific Northwest), but you also get an excellent view of the city skyline.

The Fremont Troll

Seattle is known for their grunge, coffee, and art scene (see Chihuly.) The Fremont Troll is a great representation of the quirky side of Seattle. This massive troll lives under Aurora Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood.

If you watched ABC‘s show Once Upon A Time, then you might have seen something similar to the troll. However, this guy is a lot bigger and doesn’t mind if you climb aboard for a picture or two.

THE Fremont Troll

Alki Beach

Alki Beach in West Seattle gives you true beach vibes, while also feeling like you are in the city. Walk, bike, or skate down the long stretch of beach and enjoy the view of majestic the Cascade Mountains. Or, perhaps sticking your toes in the sand, while soaking in a killer view of the Seattle skyline is more your speed. Regardless, the options are endless.

◈ Hungry? Try Cactus, Salty’s or Mission Cantina.

Starbucks or the Reserve Roastery

If you want to stop at the original Starbucks in Pike Place, you may have to wait in a line. Plus, the coffee shop is so small that there is literally no where to sit. However, they do offer unique Pike Place trinkets, like mugs, shirts, and ornaments that you can only get at the original store.

If you are looking to relax and enjoy a different Starbucks experience, check out the Reserve Roastery on famous Capitol Hill. Here you can try specialty drinks like coffee cocktails, mocktails, and flights. Even if you don’t drink coffee, it is worth the experience.

The Pier

Pier 55: Argosy Cruises

For a great sightseeing tour of the Seattle Sound, check out Argosy Cruises. All tours run from one to five hours.

Pier 57 (Miner’s Landing): Great Wheel and Wings Over Washington

This entire pier is worth the trip, especially if you have kids or like rides. I recommend walking up and down each of the piers. However, Pier 57 is special because of Seattle’s Great Wheel and Wings Over Washington. The Great Wheel is the giant Ferris wheel that extends out over the water. Wings Over Washington is a ride created by the same folks who created Soarin’ Over California for the Walt Disney theme parks. Essentially the ride is the same, except you fly all over Washington State.

Pier 59: Seattle Aquarium

See the Seattle sea life at the Seattle Aquarium. That basically is all you need to know!

◈ Hungry? Try Ivar’s.

Kerry Park

This is one of the most photographed places of Seattle. Why? On a clear day, there is no better view of the city, the sound, and Mount Rainier. This is an excellent spot to soak it all in.

Seasonal: University of Washington’s cherry blossoms

Folks from all over flock to the University of Washington in the spring to catch a glimpse of their cherry blossoms. After seeing it for myself, I understand why.

Top things to do outside of the city;

  • Climb Mt. Rainier
  • Tip-toe through the Skagit Valley tulips
  • Sip your way through wine country in Woodinvillle or Walla Walla
  • Take a ferry to the San Juan Islands

2020 Gift Guide

It goes without saying, but 2020 has been a bizarre year. So, while hats and jersey still make a perfect gift, here are a few of my favorite things. These are both unique and functional in a time of quarantine, working from home, and watching games from the comfort of our own couches.

To wear

1. Face masks- Let’s get this one out of the way first! At this point, masks are here to stay, so why not add favorite sports teams into the rotation?

*Support small business by buying one-of-a-kind masks from places like Etsy.

2. Slippers- Nestle in to a winter at home with cozy slippers. Need I say more? (FOCO $25)

FOCO

3. Baseballism backpack- Most MLB stadiums have not incorporated the clear bag policy, which makes this backpack perfect for baseball games during a typical year. Additionally, this is my go-to travel bag when exploring a new city. This genuine leather backpack is sure to last until we are allowed back in to stadiums…and far beyond that! (Baseballism $215)

Baseballism

4. Clear bag- Now, if a stadium does observe the clear bag policy, there are some great options that are functional for both stadiums and every day use. Plus, this UNITY Collab bag donates to charity. (UNITY Collab $30)

UNITY Collaboration

5. Custom sports spirit jersey- Stand out in a unique (and über comfortable) spirit jersey, while also supporting small business. This is perfect for game day at the field or lounging on the couch. (FanFam USA $30)

FanFam USA

6. Reversible Hoodez- Curl up on the couch inside this luxurious reversible blanket/hoodie. Enough said. (FOCO $55)

FOCO

7. Pajamas- Few things scream family holidays like matching pjs. So, why not make them sports themed and wear them all (insert sport) season long? (FOCO $50)

FOCO

To use at home

8. Bose headphones- These are my go-to travel headphones. They are comfortable, noise canceling, and the battery lasts forever. While I originally bought them for noisy airplanes, they have also proved to be perfect for working at home and being on calls all day. These are available for monthly payments with Bose Pay. (Bose ~$150-$350)

Bose

9. Grill set- Help someone tune up their cooking/grilling skills with a personalized grill set. (Baseball BBQ)

Baseball BBQ

10. Sports subscription- Instead of looking into tickets for a game or even season tickets, check out a TV sports subscription to get every game all season long.

11. Door mat Make home feel more like home plate with customizable door mats. (Wood by Stu $22+)

Wood by Stu

12. Perfect Putting Mat- Even if they don’t golf, this putting mat will keep anyone entertained—especially when cooped up at home. (Perfect Putting Mat)

Perfect Practice Golf

Office art

Add a little team spirit to the home office with these sports themed artists.

13. Art of words- If you look closely, this artist hand draws each picture, using words to make the overall photo. (Art of Words)

Art of Words

14. Minimal art- This artist is known for his minimalistic field and mascot designs. You may also know him for the IG account Ballpark Princess Art. (S. Preston Designs $20)

S. Preston Designs

15. Stadium scratch off prints- Keep track of sports wanderlust with these scratch off prints, which come in MLB parks, NHL arenas, NFL stadiums, and NBA arenas. (Pop Chart, $25 or $85 for set)

Pop Chart

16. Personalized sports portraits- Combine the two best things— your favorite team and your family— to make a special portrait to display at home. (Princess and Her Frog $12+)

Princess and Her Frog

For collectors

17. Funko POP! –  I don’t actually own any of these, but the collector in me is debating it. From speaking with friends, I know how loved and sought after they are. Why not add to the addiction by gifting a new addition? (Funko $11)

* Did you know Everett, WA is the HQ for Funko? They’ve even named the MiLB park after it. Check it out!

Funko

18. Stickers- An easy and fun gift to sprinkle a little holiday spirit all over the place. (Stark and Stanley $3+)

Stark and Stanley

19. Ticket stub diary or passport book- These keepsakes help to capture memories for years to come. (Uncommon Goods $14/Fanatics $63-90)

20. Puzzle or legos- Get the team together to do a team puzzle or lego set. (FOCO $80)

FOCO

Regardless of what is physically gifted, I wish all the health, happiness, and love to you and yours this holiday season.

Dangeruss Dog// Inspired by the Seattle Seahawks

In 2014, I got a taste of my first Seahawks & NFL game. Naturally, it rained the majority of the time, but I chalked that up to the true CenturyLink experience. Luckily, I was able to stay warm but drinking lots of hot chocolate and devouring a Dangeruss Dog.

As the name suggests, this creation is inspired by QB Russell Wilson. One bite and I was assured that this combination was dangerous…ly good, just like Russ! Unfortunately, I don’t think CLink sells these anymore. But, have not fear because the ingredients are pretty simple.

  • Hot dog
  • Mac & cheese
  • Jalapeños
  • Crumbled corn tortilla chips
  • Hot sauce

Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you thought!

Fried Dough// Inspired by Fenway Park

Welcome to New England! This is a super simple and sweet treat that is often consumed at Fenway Park. The best part about making this at home is you can top it with whatever you’d like! If you have a sweet tooth like me, I recommend ice cream, caramel/ chocolate sauce, and sprinkles!

Check out these Boston sweet spots.

Original recipe: Eat Boutique

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup sparkling water, preferably Italian
  • vegetable oil
  1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. With hands, work butter into dry ingredients until no large chunks are noticeable. It will look like small breadcrumbs.
  3. Warm the sparkling water in pot over medium heat for 1 minute (or do it for 20-30 seconds in a microwave). Add the warmed sparkling water to the flour mixture and work into a loose dough. Cover with a tea towel and let sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces. Roll each piece out until very thin.
  5. In a frying pan with tallish sides, add enough oil to go about 1/4 inch up side of pan. Turn on medium heat. When drop of water sizzles in oil, add 1 piece of dough. Cook 1-2 minutes until golden colored. Turn over and cook another minute. Place on paper towel and cook remaining dough one by one.
  6. Serve immediately or keep warm in 150 degree oven. Top with your favorite topping.

Did you try this recipe? Let me know!

Honeymoon Part 3: Amalfi Coast

Buon giorno, Italy!

Leading off: From Paris, we flew EasyJet to Naples International Airport.

Touching down: We landed around 12:30pm, stood in line for a cab, and drove to our hotel. The city does not offer ride sharing options. They are fairly old school in that regard.

Hotel Piazza Bellini

Pro: The hotel was close to many of the popular attractions. They offered breakfast, air conditioning, and a beautiful courtyard.

Con: We stayed there one night, so it’s hard to say. The room was a bit smaller and good for folks who aren’t planning to spend a lot of time at the hotel.

Hotel Villa delle Palme

Pro: This hotel owner is so kind and helpful. Additionally, they offer breakfast every morning, balcony views of the water, and air conditioning (which you absolutely will need in warmer months!)

Con: This hotel is toward the top of the hill, so like most places you’ll have to walk a lot of stairs. Plus, I’m not sure there was an elevator/lift.

Day 1:

While the Amalfi Coast was the end goal, we couldn’t leave without first exploring Naples. The area is especially significant for Rob, because this is where his grandparents and ancestors are from. Once we checked into our hotel, we headed out for lunch. There was one and only place we wanted to go.

Sorbillo Pizza

Naples is known for being the birthplace of pizza— and Sobrillo claims to be the original creator. With that kind of reputation, there is naturally a bigger crowd. However, they cram as many guests as possible into the two floor restaurant and turn tables over quickly. While waiting, we were asked to stay outside until their table was ready (because I mean they really use all of the space inside for tables.) Despite the number of people waiting, we were in within 20 minutes.

Once we ordered, the pizza didn’t take much longer than our original wait time outside (which must be the key to turning over tables rapidly). We ordered a traditional margarita and one with pesto. Each pizza was large, but the crust was quite thin. So, we had no trouble finishing every bite.

I Rei Di Napoli

Similarly to London and Paris, Italy was uncharacteristically hot. So, after walking around the city, we stopped for a drink at I Rei Di Napoli. This restaurant overlooks the Gulf of Naples, which made it the perfect place to relax before resuming our walk.

We had no agenda for our time in Naples, so we really spent most of the day enjoying the sites and scenes. The only other plans we had was dinner. For the life of me, I cannot remember, nor can I find where we ate. It was just off the water, down an alley on a small piazza.

Day 2:

Pompeii

After eating a quick breakfast at the hotel, we loaded our luggage into a black car that we hired for the day. We used MondoGuide, which took us from Naples to Positano with a stop in Pompeii. The company also offers guided tours inside Pompeii and to the top of Mount Vesuvius. However, we had done our research and knew what we wanted to see. This was especially nice since we had time constraints and Pompeii is massive.

Walking around the historic grounds was surreal. While many of the building and structures have been destroyed, there is still enough standing to transport you back to ancient times. Again, we spent most of our time walking around, marveling at the architecture.

Hotel Restaurant

When we arrived in Positano, it was lunch time and we were hungry! Luckily, our hotel had its own restaurant– as do most of the hotels. Since we were in the land of lemons, I had to try the lemon and pesto ricotta shells and lemon sorbet. Rob had a pesto pasta that was equally as tasty.

Caffe Positano

For dinner, we kept the lemon theme going and enjoyed lemon leaf cheese and limoncello cake. Caffe Positano was recommended to us numerous times, and now I understand why. Both the food and view were so nice that we wish we could have gone back for another meal.

Travel tip: Make reservations for each dinner. During peak season, you could be waiting a long time without one, especially because it the Italian way to not rush guests.

Also, keep in mind that locals and tourist like to eat later (about 7pm on.) If you like to eat early, you have a much better chance of getting in to the restaurant of your choice.

Day 3:

Lemon Tour

Ok, so when I say the Amalfi Coast is known for their lemons, it is because they have acres and acres of lemon groves. Most lemon farms have been owned, operated, and passed down from generation to generation.

In the city of Amalfi, which is a quick drive or ferry ride from Positano, there is a full lemon experience. This family offers tours and cooking classes at their estate. We took the tour, which included samples of their actual lemons, candied lemons, fresh made lemonade and limoncello. Everything was delicious! Even the lemon by itself was sweet and juicy.

For the tour, they will meet you in town on their cute little lemon cart and together you will trek up to their farm. The lemon trees are all situated on the hillside, spanning as far at the eye can see. Altogether, the tour and samplings lasted a few hours. At the end, you will have an opportunity to buy your own limoncello.

Tour tip: While they take you up on a cart, you will be asked to walk back to into town. It will take about 10 minutes for the average walker. However, this may not be recommend for those who struggle with hills and uneven pathways.

La Taverna del Duca

Since we had to walk back into town, we decided to stop for some lunch. Another solid meal of pizza and (lemon) pasta.

Franco’s Bar

After spending some time walking around Amalfi, we took a tour bus back to Positano. Throughout the 45 min. drive, the bus’s sound system would point out notable spots along the way, like the small town of Fuore, where Rob’s ancestors are actually from.

When we arrived back into town, we stopped in for a drink at Franco’s Bar. If you did any other kind of research before your trip, this bar probably came up. Essentially, it’s a small but gorgeous patio that overlooks the water and the rest of Positano. To get a “front row” seat, you have to get there when they open. Well, actually before they open, as we would later learn.

We came for the experience, so we didn’t care where we sat. However, we were lucky to even get a seat in general. The place was packed. While the drinks were good and unique, you really pay for the view. Each drink averaged around 20 euro.

D’Aiello’s Family Restaurant

This restaurant had great reviews, so we thought we’d give it a shot. Those reviews weren’t lying because it had to have been my favorite meal. The only strange part was we were only one of two groups of people eating there. My guess is it’s because we ate around 6:30, before the dinner rush.

Day 4:

Beach Day

When you’re on the beautiful coastline of Italy, you have to spend at least one day doing nothing. That is exactly what we did.

Travel tip: We walked to Fornillo Beach, where they had chairs and umbrellas available for rent. This was definitely worth the money, because then you could also use the facilities to change and use the restroom.

Lunch at LO Guarracino

On our long walk back to our hotel, we stumbled upon LO Guarracino. This restaurant had actually also been recommended to us. It’s hidden away from most of the hustle and bustle, which gives you a rustic outdoor setting overlooking the water. The food was good, but pricey.

Franco’s Bar

We had time to kill before our dinner reservation, so we headed back to Franco’s to see if we could get a front row seat. We arrived about 15 mins. before they opened and there was already a few people in line. Luckily, we were able to snag the last set of chairs near the front of the balcony.

Don Giovanni

This was another recommended restaurant that had a terrace overlooking the water. Again, we were one of two parties dining at the time we did. In fact, it was the same family we had dinner with the night prior. The sad part is they were more than likely dining at that time because they had young kids. I don’t know what our excuse was.

Day 5:

Capri

For our final day in Italy, we took the ferry to the island of Capri. The island is well known for their grottos, but best known for the Blue Grotto. While the allure of seeing the Blue Grotto was there, we decided to take a boat tour around the island that took us to sites like the White Grotto, Green Grotto, and by the entrance of the Blue Grotto. Ultimately, we were happy with our decision not to go into the grotto because there was an incredibly long wait. Plus, you are only allowed inside for about 15 minutes.

Lunch at Bar Aprea

Following the boat tour, we grabbed lunch on the marina. Again, we enjoyed limoncello. However, this time it was served in a lemon…the size of my head. Did I mention this the land of lemons?

After seeing as much of the island as we could on foot, we headed back to Positano.

Travel tip: Like the rest of the Amalfi Coast, the island of Capri is also comprised of steep steps and cliffs. Most hotels are on the top of the island, so there are shuttles which will take you where you need to go. If you want to cease every opportunity in Capri, I would stay the night.

Le Tre Sorelle Wine Room

When arriving back in Positano, we walked to a wine room for some Italian wine tasting. This was a cool concept where you pay per glass and they literally have the wines on a tap-type system which flows out of a spigot. If you like the wines like we did, you can buy a bottle to take home.

Ristorante Mediterraneo

For our final meal in Positano, we ate dinner at our hotel’s sister restaurant, Ristorante Mediterraneo. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to say goodbye. The meal was wonderful, the view wasn’t too shabby, and the staff were great. However, the cherry on top was the live music.