Venice, Italy + your travel tips

Our last stop in Italy (after Rome and Florence) was Venice. We just had a day and half there, but it ended up being a perfect amount of time to see the highlights. First stop, lunch and a beer!

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Venice is an interesting town. As you probably know, it’s entirely made up of islands. There are no cars in historic Venice, only boats on the canals.

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In our day and a half, we rode the vapparetto (water taxi) from one end of the grand canal to the other several times, and we spent an inordinate amount of time wandering around on foot, looking at buildings, shops, and homes.

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How cool is that farmer’s market? It’s a boat!

Bob was pretty psyched to find Campo de San Barnaba, which is where the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed.  The inside doesn’t actually look like the library from the movie, unfortunately.

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We capped off our time in Venice with a gondola ride, one last gelato, and a fancy dinner. It was a beautiful evening, and the perfect way to end a great trip.

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Venice tips!

  • Lodging: we stayed in Mestre, where it was much more affordable. There are plenty of buses that run to and from historic Venice on a regular basis–just ask at your hotel, and they will direct you to the closest stop.
  • Transportation: if you’re under 30 years old, buy a Rolling Venice card for 4 euro, and you will get 3 days of unlimited boat and bus rides for only 20 euro. If you’re over 30, there are still transit passes available. They’re a bit more expensive, but still very worth it. You can ride unlimited amounts of Venice transit boats or buses for however many days you purchase (1, 2, or 3). The advantages:
    1. You don’t have to constantly be refilling cards and monitoring your balance.
    2. If you swipe into the wrong stop, no worries! Just leave and find the right one. Without an unlimited transit card, a mistake like that would cost you 7 euro per person–because you already swiped it for one ride.

I wanna hear from YOU. Based on your trips, travels, and vacations, what do you recommend? Where do you like to stay? How do you get around? Any must have shoes or clothes or luggage? Can’t live without beauty products? Favorite way to sleuth out the best restaurant in town? Share in the comments below, and I’ll link to you in my post next week Thursday.

Reese’s Ice Cream Cake

There is nothing I love more than peanut butter and chocolate combining their powers. I married a man who agrees with this sentiment, so when he asked for a Reese’s Ice Cream Cake for his birthday, I was more than happy to oblige.

I used this recipe as my foundation, and modified it to make this creamy, chocolatey, peanut buttery, delicious dessert. It’s perfect for birthdays or a Sunday afternoon treat, and can easily be made a day or two ahead of when you want to serve it.

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake

You’ll need:

  • 1 8″x8″ peanut butter swirl brownies. Make ahead, as they’ll need time to cool
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (my fave is Breyer’s Natural Vanilla)
  • 1 12 oz. bag of mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, unwrapped and chopped into quarters
  • 20 oreos
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Whipped cream

1. Make your brownies. Allow them to cool.

2. When they’re cool (or you can’t stand waiting any longer), pull your ice cream out of the freezer and allow it to soften on the counter. You want ice cream you can stir, but not melted ice cream. This will only take 20 or 30 minutes, less if it’s really warm in your house. While it’s softening, prepare the crust (steps 3 and 4), and unwrap and chop the peanut butter cups into quarters.

3. Put the oreos in a Ziploc bag, and smash them to smithereens using a meat tenderizer or a hammer.

20150405_1817134. Prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by spraying the bottom and sides. In a bowl, mix the crushed oreos and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan to form your crust.

5. Slice the brownies into tiny squares, about 1/2 inch on each side. Add ice cream, brownies, and half of the chopped Reese’s cups into a large bowl. Use a spatula to fold it all together. The goal is to not crush the brownies or the Reese’s!

6. Once it’s is well mixed, scoop into the spring form pan and level the top. Cover with saran wrap so the wrap is touching the entire top of the cake. This will help prevent freezer burn.

7. Once you’re ready to serve, pipe whipped cream around the edges and sprinkle the remaining Reese’s cups in the middle.

Enjoy!

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Saturday Small Talk

Saturday! This is the weekend in which spring arrives in Northern Michigan–it’s supposed to be in the mid-60s and sunny! I intend to soak up all the vitamin D. We have a pretty busy day today, but tomorrow is blissfully unscheduled. Bring on the hammock and a book and a nap. I live a wild life, friends.

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If you read nothing else this weekend: The #unfollow experiment. How intentional are you about the people you follow on the internet?

Scientists say it’s time to reinstate the brontosaurus. Thank goodness. That’s all I have to say about that.

Do you have a bunch of hard boiled eggs left in the fridge? Might I suggest this delish looking egg salad?

Now is a great time for Americans to travel to Europe. Thanks, exchange rate!

One woman wears the exact same thing to work every day. Would you dare?

I need to up my grilled cheese sandwich game. This made me laugh. And want grilled cheese.

If you were obsessed with the podcast Serial, rejoice! Coverage of Adnan Syed’s story will continue in a podcast produced by PBS.

Do you set yourself up for failure before you try something new?

I fell in love with Canva this week. If you have any graphic design needs, and don’t feel competent in your skillz, this is for you.

I love this clock.

What are you reading these days?