Sunday, July 28, 2013

Week in Review {Starting Life as a Texan}

Do you remember that time my husband and I were homeless? Oh wait, that's still happening. Turns out, there are decidedly fewer things to write about when you aren't cooking, making cocktails at home, decorating, or living out of a real closet instead of cardboard boxes. Variety just eludes me at this venture, but things will start returning to normal (relative term) when we move in to our apartment on Tuesday. I have always toyed with the idea of doing a little weekly roundup of anything I'm liking at the moment, so why not give it a go now? OK, let's do that.

I didn't take many pictures this week (shockingly), so they're largely Oliver-centric, naturally. Chubs has been making himself right at home in Austin and at my mother-in-law's house. I mean, honestly, doesn't that photo on the middle left say it all? We celebrated the birthdays of three friends with an America-themed pub crawler adventure in downtown Austin. Basically, you peddle a large mobile cart with bicycle peddles around the city while drinking beers. It was a lot of fun, and the outfits were amazing. We also got to see Adam's godson, Levi, who is a little legend. They take the same picture together each time they see each other, which just may become awkward when he's thirteen.

As for some perhaps more useful information, here are some things I'm liking this week:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Naples: An Urban Adventure

Despite the fact that Naples served essentially as an airport and ferry terminal for our trip, I felt the need to include a quick post about this interesting city. Our overnight trek from Austin to Naples traversed a lot of ground, and a seven hour time difference, landing us on Italian soil in the afternoon. I decided to give us two nights in Naples to help overcome jet lag, and also to afford us the ability to spend a whole day on the island of Procida (which I'll share with you next time) before heading to Positano.

Information about Naples is often conflicting, wavering between mostly negative reviews of the dirty, dangerous streets and charming anecdotes of a city beloved by the Italians. I enter into all travels with an open mind, so I expected Naples to be dangerous and unappealing to tourists in the way that Baltimore is often considered. Let me just start off by saying, this city is largely a dump, with garbage and graffiti as far as the eye can see. That being said, we were only there briefly and still had a great time.

Our hotel was fantastic, with cool two-story suites, a beautiful internal outdoor courtyard, and a nice restaurant; it served as a perfect location to drink some one euro bottles of wine (yes, one euro, and still delicious). We ate at two amazing pizza places, and genuinely enjoyed our brief stay despite less than ideal surroundings. From here, the breathtakingly amazing parts of the trip unfolded, and I can't wait to share the rest.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Perfect Travel Outfit (and Some Damn Good Pizza)

Someone once gave me the sage advice that, when traveling, "No one in sweatpants has ever been bumped to first class". You have to admit, they were probably right. This little tidbit, combined with my own true belief that how you dress for travel sets the tone for the entire journey, has led me to leave the comfort of college sweatpants behind and embrace a more put-together approach. If you've ever approached a break-of-dawn flight with dirty hair and baggy sweats, I bet you also found yourself feeling gross and groggy for most of that day.  The caveat to this, of course, is that comfort is such a high priority; so what's the answer? Well, the answer is that I'm a straight up genius, y'all. The End.

Okay, maybe not quite; but I do think this outfit was absolutely perfect for eighteen long hours en route to Italy. Here's why:

1. Maxi dresses, particularly jersey ones, are just as comfy as sweatpants.
2. Maxi dresses with bra tops mean (hallelujah!) you may not need a bra.
3. Buttoning up this chambray shirt kept me warm on the cold plane.
4. This same shirt could be tied up over the dress for a cute outfit.
5. Flat sandals are comfy, as well as easy to take on and off (pack socks in your purse for long flights).
6. A side braid is comfy against the headrest, and can be quickly redone to look presentable.

The first thing we did after landing in Naples was head to the city's most highly reputed pizza joint, Da Michele. Their pizza is famous worldwide, despite their unwavering dedication to serving up only two options: Margherita or Marinara. Even at 3:30, the line was staggering, and we waited for over an hour. Once inside, we ordered one of each, and they were fired in a traditional brick oven and served within minutes. They were both absolutely fantastic, and most definitely worth the wait. The chef was impressed with our appetites, and let me take a pic of him doing his thing. As our first taste of Italy, it was everything I dreamed of and more.

dress // chambray (on sale!) // sunglasses // sandals (also on sale!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stateside Return

It is with bittersweet (mostly bitter) salutations that I return to the good old USA after two unimaginably perfect weeks honeymooning on the Amalfi Coast with my new husband. I have literally thousands of photos to sort through, organize and tweak before sharing them all with you (don't worry, I won't share them all, because that would be insane). There is absolutely no way for me to pick favorites from such a perfect, glorious trip, so I've decided to share them with you chronologically, highlighting the most unique and amazing points of our trip.

I will leave you with one thought, or point of advice: if there is any possible chance that you are ever able to reach this magical part of the world, do not let it pass you by. The Amalfi Coast is frequently described as the "most magical place on earth", and the region proved nothing short of this description. It was, without a doubt, the most breathtakingly beautiful place I have ever seen, and everyone should be so lucky.

To be continued...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grilled Corn Salad with Queso Fresco & Chipotle Vinaigrette

In an effort to not bombard you with travel photos, I made sure to sneak in a quick recipe before we head out for our honeymoon TOMORROW! Yes, it's a tough life spending the next two weeks on the Amalfi coast with my new husband, but I think I'll manage. I actually made this salad a long time ago, alongside a pair of massive ribeye steaks, but never got around to writing a post.

There is absolutely no question I would make this salad time and time again. The combination of the "grilled" flavors mixed with cool queso fresco and a hint of spice from the chipotle vinaigrette was perfect, and made even Adam and I enjoy our vegetables. I would recommend doubling this recipe for the leftovers; the salad was even better the next day after the flavors had blended together a bit more. You could serve it alongside a honking ribeye like I did, or turn it into a light main course by adding some rotisserie chicken. Either way, it's worth the effort of grilling, whether outside on the charcoals or on a simple grill pan.


Grilled Corn Salad with Queso Fresco & Chipotle Vinaigrette

Chipotle Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
2 T. cider vinegar
1 canned chipotle, plus 1.5 T. adobo sauce
Kosher salt, to taste


3 ears fresh sweet corn
2/3 medium red onion, sliced into thick rings
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thick slices

Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
2/3 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
6 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


1. Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

2. Heat grill or cast iron grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush corn, onion, and pepper with light coating of olive oil and grill until each component is softened with a slight grilled char. **Because I used a grill pan, I actually boiled the ears of corn first, then gave them a quick char over medium-high heat in the pan.

3. Roughly chop grilled onion and bell pepper. Slice corn from cob. Add ingredients to large bowl.

4. Add remaining ingredients and vinaigrette to bowl. Toss to combine. Can be stored in refrigerator for a couple days. Serve cold or room temperature.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Burgess Falls State Park {Tennessee}

On our road trip, it was important to us to make sure Oliver got to spend some time stretching his legs in the outdoors. Being cooped up in a car is one thing when you know the end goal, but for our furry friend it was almost certainly confusing and frustrating. Through some research, I discovered an area just east of Nashville called Burgess Falls State Park. It was a perfect stop, only about 8 miles from the highway, to break up the monotony of a car ride. We hiked through some bluffs overlooking waterfalls, which increased in size and beauty as the hike continues. In a little under a mile of hiking, we enjoyed four separate falls, and took some photos highlighting a beautiful side of Tennessee. With free admission, an accessible location, and beautiful sights, Burgess Falls was a perfect road trip waypoint.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nashville Style: Swinging Boots

After years of owning genuine cowboy boots, of course from Allen's, I'm embarrassed to admit that they haven't often left my closet. Knowing we'd be spending a weekend in Nashville, I made certain they would stay far away from boxes being packed or shipped ahead of us to Austin.  When in Rome, right?  I paired them with a casual ombre swing dress that I've been dying to iron (just kidding) and wear since the day it arrived. This outfit was absolutely perfect for transitioning from day to night in a city as laid back and easygoing as Nashville. I'm sure I'll find many more reasons to don cowboy boots now that we are bonafide Texans, but the home of country music made for an excellent start. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Austin, TX: We Have Arrived

My first sunrise as a Texan

Instead of writing posts about each part of our journey based solely on iPhone pics, I've decided to upload my nicer photos and spend a moment on each portion I wanted to capture. We arrived in the ATX this morning, and are so excited to start settling into our new city. Until I unpack my camera cords and begin the upload, here's a few snapshots from the last leg of our journey. Lately, Gingersnaps has been, and in the coming days will be, a little travel-centric; this is because we are currently homeless and living out of cardboard boxes, making other posts a little difficult.  I'll be sure to interject some variety over the coming weeks, but I like to post about what's really happening in our lives, and this is it!

Donning my go-to cat eye shades
Are we seriously waking up at 6:00am?
The cutest citrus tree in Jan's backyard
 Nothing but blue skies, all day...