\\ Venice, Italy //

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I know what you’re thinking—-FINALLY Avery has gotten back on here and decided to blog! I’m sorry I’ve been gone for a while. Life has been beating me with a stick lately, if I’m being honest. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s no fun.

Anyways, I thought I’d share some pictures of our Italy trip in this entry and then do some follow up blogs with tips for each city AND our itineraries! 🇮🇹👍🏻

Here are the cities I’ll cover after Venice:

•Florence & Pisa

•Rome

•Sorrento(with some stories about Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast thrown in there!)

AND, if you haven’t already, you can check out some vlogs I did of each city on my YouTube channel! 👇🏻

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOeL03NmymfgJ7XKBBmYueg

They’re fun and set to music, and I may eventually do some more in depth videos! 😉

Venice was, simply put, one of the most amazing, gorgeous, unique places I’ve ever been.

On this trip of a lifetime, we had 5 adventurers: me, my husband,Tim, my grandfather, Poppy, and my mom and dad. We were in Italy from March 13th-March 30th—roughly 17-18 days, if you discount traveling by airplane for the majority of two of those days.

We spent 4 days and nights in Venice alone! I had read a lot of articles from other people saying that “2 days was perfectly sufficient and enough time to see Venice.” 😂😂😂

Those people are idiots. Don’t listen to those people. If you plan on seeing Venice in your lifetime, you really want to devote more time to it because it’s a great place to explore! And you will get lost, trust me.

We stayed in the Cannaregio neighborhood of Venice, which is the northernmost region, and a straight shot from the Marco Polo Airport by Aliguna Waterbus. We stayed in a VRBO rental that was actually the home of a famous artist from the 1700’s, Francesco Guardi. It was such a convenient place to stay—away from crowds near Rialto Bridge and other touristy places, but still close enough to walk to those places! We were at the Fondamente Nove stop, one stop up from the hospital at the “Ospedale” stop.

For that reason, we saw tons of yellow “Ambulanza” or ambulance boats that would go rushing by!

There are so many things you don’t even think about before coming to Venice. You might know in your mind that there are literally no cars and everything is done by boat, but witnessing that in person is a whole different thing! Venice also has trash boats that come by and collect everyone’s trash at different pickup points around the city. We took the trash from the VRBO we were staying at to one of those points before leaving and some men in yellow uniforms took it from us. Where the trash goes from there, I have no idea, but since Venice is literally made up of thousands of islands, my guess is they have one just for trash! 🤷🏻‍♀️

We also saw a hearse boat. At the Fondamente Nove stop, where we were staying, we were directly across the channel from Cemeterio Island—-you guessed it!—-Venice’s only cemetery! We actually went across and explored one day and there are tons of graves for priests, nuns, your everyday citizens, and so many more people from every walk of life. I did not take any pictures out of respect for those people, but it was very interesting. One thing we quickly noticed was that many Italian cemeteries have pictures of the people on their tombstones! It’s rare to see that in America.

It was kind of neat—it really gave you a feel for who those people were.

Italy itself is such a fascinating country! I will have to do a completely different blog entry on tips for traveling to Italy—the culture is so different! For instance, many people in Italy don’t own dryers! So we would see laundry hanging everywhere, which was actually really pretty.

Of course, we also saw many gondolas and gondoliers throughout Venice—which was magical.

Pictured above is the famous Rialto Bridge, which is always a crowded place! We walked over it and took a vaporetto down The Grand Canal and underneath it! It is a beautiful bridge, but the great thing about Venice is that there are bridges everywhere! There are so many different kinds, some of them have delicate ironwork, some have no railings at all, but every one is more unique and beautiful than the last!

We did the usual touristy things in Venice, which included eating some pizza! I fed Tim some pizza in a piazza for this picture! 😂 We had a lot of Italians scoffing at us and laughing at us for this one, but we did it anyway because why not?!

Out of all the pizza we had though, Naples had the best. 👌🏻

While we’re on the subject of food, Italy has some great cuisine. 🍝 There are the obvious things, like pasta, pizza and bread, but they have exceptionally good coffee and espresso!

Tim and I were delighted that it was so good and so cheap! In America, the land of the overpriced coffee, you usually spend anywhere from $2.00-$5.00 easily on some frappuchinoed to death, sugary concoction, but in Venice, we enjoyed espresso for as cheap as €1! It was incredible and that stuff packs a punch, so this little shot was all we needed! We did not let my dad have any. 😂 Long story short, he once had some cappuccino from a gas station in Atlanta, which has not that much coffee in it at all, and it resulted in a spontaneous trip to The Container Store, where he then zoomed around, buying over $200 worth of organizational shelving, which he has still yet to use. 🤦🏼‍♀️😂 My dad can’t do coffee.

But ANYways—Venice in particular has some delicious seafood! Again, it is distinctly Italian, so you have to be careful what you order, but these were some scallops I got on the island of Burano which were great! Not pictured are some fish that Poppy got—with the heads still attached. 😳

You’ll be happy to know that Italy has some of the best pastry shops around! Some pastries have liquor in them, some are covered in powdered sugar, but all are delicious. I often joked with my family while we were there, that even if we got lost, it was okay, because we were bound to find a scrumptious pastry place! Pictured above is a place called Rizzo’s Bakery and then a Kosher Bakery in the Jewish Ghetto section of Venice, which is a very neat area to explore.

This is a church door in the Jewish section of Venice—-there are also monuments and a museum of Jewish history, going all the way back to the 1300’s and up into World War II history.

Fruit stalls are also abundant in Venice and many other cities in Italy. It was so nice being able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, which we did on occasion, to cook with or eat on the go.

Gelato is another Italian specialty that you have to try! 🍧 “Menta” or “Mint” is one of my favorite flavors! You can find gelato stores all over the place and while this one came from SUSO Gelato, a highly Instagrammed place, it was definitely one of the more touristy shops. Rome definitely gets my vote for the best gelato by far! 👍🏻

There is so much to taste, experience and see in Venice. Pictured above is a gorgeous church right on The Grand Canal, the famous Bridge of Sighs, and St. Mark’s Basillica, which are just around the corner from each other.

One of the best ways to see Venice is by vaporetto. There are so many boats in Venice, it is easy to get them confused, but I generally remembered it this way:

Aliguna Waterbus(The only line running from Marco Polo Airport. The blue line.)

Vaporetto(The public boats everyone rides everywhere. There are stops all over the island. Generally, the cheapest.)

Water Taxi(Expensive, private lines that hold only a handful of people. Like a taxi in New York. You’ll pay a lot to ride on one of these!)

Gondola(Smaller, traditional boats piloted by gondolier. You will pay about €89 Euro for a ride and it is more expensive at night!)

Traghetto(These look like gondola, but are cheaper and take you across The Grand Canal. Great if you want a picture in a gondola, but don’t want to pay as much! However, gondola rides are more enjoyable on the back waterways—The Grand Canal is a choppy and busy place!)

One of the most recognizable things in Venice other than Rialto Bridge, is this art piece called “Support” by Lorenzo Quinn, a piece representing global warming, something that is more evident in Venice than in any other place in the world. When we visited in March, it was during “the high water” or rainy season. We saw a lot of people wearing these plastic bag rain boots and walking on catwalks, which were literally erected all over the city to help people walk above the water! Pretty crazy stuff!

We had to visit Murano and Burano, two outerlying islands of Venice too!

❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

Murano is known for its glass making.

Burano is known for its colorful buildings and lace making.

From our place in Cannaregio, they could generally be reached in about 30 minutes to an hour. Murano was neat, but Burano was absolutely beautiful. DO NOT PASS GO. You have got to at least see Burano, if you pick between the two! You can get some great pictures, great food and see one of the lesser known “leaning towers”, a church tower in Burano that is listing over to one side!

Italy has around 11 “leaning towers” including the most famous one, The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Apparently, Italians are over ambitious with their building plans and the ground is extra soft in Italy—which accounts for why there are so many!

Anyways, Burano was worth it! 👌🏻 It’s like walking through a crayon box! 🖍

Of course, no trip to Venice would be complete without visiting a mask shop and maybe even purchasing one to take home! This was a very traditional and gorgeous mask I purchased in one of Italy’s favorite colors, burgundy, from Sogno Venezia Atelier.

Julia, the owner, was fantastic, going into all of the history on the masks, which were used back as early as the 1300’s. They were worn by noblemen and peasants alike; the idea was that it made for a more even playing field. No one knew who anyone was, therefore commoners and wealthy aristocrats mingled together, often doing some unsavory things such as gambling, having affairs and so much more! It was amazing hearing such incredible stories and seeing such fascinating creations. We were in Venice after Carnivale had passed, the famous holiday in February where everyone dresses up in masks and costumes, but Julia showed us a costume she was working on. She makes them all by hand. 😱

Another great place in Venice that has to be seen to be believed is Libreria Acqua Alta, which you have probably seen on Instagram, as it is very Insta-worthy. 💁🏼‍♀️

I had actually resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn’t be able to see it. Again, this goes back to the “2 days is enough time to see Venice” argument. 🙄 Even at 4 days, it is hard to cram all that Venice has to offer in, but we actually stumbled upon this place by mistake! Funny because it is apparently one of the harder things to find!

It is a rather ordinary bookstore, but go back to the very back, and you have this staircase made of books! The book lover in me felt bad for books that had been out in the rain, but once I told myself they were probably mostly encyclopedias anyway, I felt better about it. 😂

Venice is a gorgeous place. Out of all the cities we went to in Italy, I think it was my favorite. It was less stressful because there are no cars(More on that in a future entry😂) and it is so quiet at night it’s unbelievable, also due to the fact that there are no cars, making it the polar opposite of another place we stayed in, Castellamarre di Stabia, where it literally sounded like Vespas were going to come crashing through the windows of our VRBO we stayed at! 😂🤦🏼‍♀️

Venice is a place I’d reccomend ANYone go to. It’s one of the prettiest places in the world and truly a wonder.

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A+

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I was never an A+ student. I was always one of those kids that people thought was a “straight A” student because…I don’t know. I had both my parents? I wasn’t ever really acting out and I was shy? I don’t know, but it still makes me laugh.

I was a B and C student, average, at best. I never really “succeeded” in school, but from a young age, I remember just not caring. The only reason I found myself wanting to be “better” was because I didn’t want to disappoint someone else.

I was more creatively inclined. I was in band and loved music. I was great at English and Creative Writing, but I sucked at math. There came a time though, when I was in high school that I started to realize…how pointless and dumb some aspects of school were. I liked learning things, but I thought life was a better teacher. Experiences were a better teacher. And I should want to be better for myself, not for everyone else. I needed to break apart from the huge, people-pleasing streak I have in me and start doing things…just for myself.

It’s taken a while to get to this point in my life. Did I get a college degree? No. But am I happy? Yes. I can truly say that I have a job that I love. I am self-employed and own my own petsitting business and not a day feels like work to me.

I guess I just wanted to write an inspirational post today because I thought someone else out there might need to hear it.

Don’t ever feel like you have to live up to a single letter on a page or report card. Don’t ever do something if your heart isn’t in it. And don’t try to better yourself just because you think that will make someone else happy–you have to want it too.

It hasn’t been but in the last 5-6 years that I have started making deliberate choices for myself and I’ve gotta say, it feels good.

Success is measured, often times, by people who believe the letters they are assigned on a piece of paper, the people who fall in line and do as they’re told.

Even though I got B’s and C’s and sevvvvvveral D’s and F’s, I knew that wasn’t me. I didn’t let it define me.

I know some might say that I didn’t have “work ethic”, but I do. I just genuinely hated algebra. 😂

If there’s any advice I can give, having been on this earth for 27 years, it’s don’t sweat the small stuff. College doesn’t define you either. Do what you think you were meant to do. The rest will fall into place. ✌🏻

Muted Colors & Layers OOTD

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   I am in love with fall colors, not just in the leaves 🍁, but in clothing!

 I’ve always had a thing for muted colors like burgundy, army green, navy blue. And I’ve always been a fan of layering! 👌🏻


  This is my Fall OOTD from the other day. I wore a sweatshirt in a maroon/purple color with leggings, a knit gray scarf and beanie and some awesome boots my dad found me at a yard sale. They are made by Volatile and are normally $64, but he got them for me for $7! 🙀 He did awesome! I love the way they lace up and I had actually been wanting some knee high black boots!



 What are some of your all’s favorite fall accessories? And how do you like to pair colors together and layer?

| I M • N E G A N |

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 When it comes to Halloween costumes, this one was an iconic one to do and, in the words of the antagonist and villain from The Walking Dead himself, “Easy peasy lemon squeezy!” 🍋

 I dressed up as NEGAN this year. 🔥 I’m not used to dressing as a villain, so this was a super fun costume to do, especially since I love The Walking Dead series! 


 I thrifted the majority of this costume, which you could easily do too! 👍🏻


 The leather or “pleather” jacket probably cost me the most at $19.99. I lucked up and found it at Ross one day. 💯 I got it because I have never had a leather jacket I’ve actually liked and I knew I would wear it normally or even possibly for future costumes! The red scarf, which is another big part of the costume, but very simple to find, was one I got for 99 cents a few years ago at a thrift store. Again, it’s something you would easily wear again, if wearability is important for your costume pieces. (Sometimes, I like to think about future ways I can wear things I get.)


 The pants are some jeggings I found at a thrift store for $7.99. Negan wears dark wash blue jeans too, but I thought the gray suited the costume better and he does wear that color as well. The white tee was one I already had that I’m wearing under the jacket. White T-shirt’s are super easy to find!

 The combat boots are some I got from Target a few years ago and can’t remember what I paid for them, but boots are something you could also thrift! 


 As for the final and most important touch, Lucille. This baseball bat was one I found at an estate sale back last spring and when I saw it, I had this costume in mind, even back then. I paid $5 for it and polished it up. It’s solid wood and regulation size, so it runs the length of my leg! It was a good prop I could lean against throughout the night.

 The “barbed wire” is just some craft barbed wire, so not real. You could go either way depending on what you wanted to do, but we already had that laying around, so it worked great! If you do this costume though, you’ve got to do the bat some justice—when I looked up Negan cosplays, I saw a lot of people whose costumes were ruined with dinky little foam bats like they throw out at baseball games and aren’t even as long as your forearm. 🙄😂 Not Cool.


 I had so much fun for Halloween being Negan! A lot of people instantly knew who I was going as, even being a girl. When my husband and I took pictures like the one above, a guy on a delivery truck slowed down to a stop and said, “Hey! Rick’s coming back for you!” 😂 Made my day!

 My husband dressed as Rick Grimes!


We get along. Most of the time. 😂

Here are a few clips I did as Negan too! Hope you all have a Happy Halloween! 👻
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It’s All in the Details

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  You know how you get excited when your favorite team wins? When they make it to the Final Four—that’s a thing right? Forgive me here because I don’t speak sports—but your team makes it and you just want to scream and cheer?

 Or that feeling you get when someone higher up at work realizes all the work you’ve been doing? Or when you’re all about Pumpkin Spice Lattes or, in my case, Peppermint Milkshakes from Chicfila, and when that season rolls around and you can get them again, you are just filled with ecstasy and you’re like, “YEAHHHH! This is the LIFE!!!”

 Well, that’s the feeling I get when I find super good deals, specifically on clothes, while I’m out thrifting or at estate sales. 😍 I think I’m going to have to do a roundup blog on some of the best deals I’ve gotten and my favorite thrifted pieces! 👗👠👘

 

  For now though, I just want to highlight some cool things I found the other day. I know it must seem like I buy clothes all the time 😂, but I really don’t. A lot of the time, my outfits incorporate stuff I’ve had forever, or I’m getting stuff for like $1. 🤗


 Anyways, this green top(which looks blue-ish here) was a STEAL. Long story short, I returned some shoes like a year ago and had credit at this store and it turns out, they have clothes now! This top was on clearance for $6. I looooove the ring detailing on the sleeves and it’s a longer tunic top, so it’s amazing with leggings! Also not pictured(but I’ll post about it for my Fall Blog/Vlog at the Pumpkin Patch 🎃) a button up skirt I got for $3!!!


 I love finding tops like this for fall. 😍 They make it so simple to pull together an outfit!


 I also yanked out this H&M sweater I’ve featured before. It was found at a local Goodwill for between $3.99-$4.99!


 I am embracing the layered looks, long tops and boots! 🙌🏻

 Anyways, hope you all have a great night! This weekend will be a busy one, but I’ll post about our adventures at the corn maze+reveal my Halloween costume! 😱

Follow Your Own Path

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 Autumn aesthetics, am I right?! Anyways, it’s been another busy week. I’ve been petsitting and getting ready for Halloween and Tim has been doing a lot of magic shows. ⚡️I’m hoping to go to a farm and explore a corn maze and get a pumpkin to carve before this month is over! I’ve also really been wanting to play around with some vlogging with our new equipment we just got (in prep for our Italy trip next year 🇮🇹), so if we do some extra fall stuff, I may do it to get some practice in! I’ll let you guys know!

 

  Anyways…journeys have been on my mind today, so forgive the philosophical post. I just…think it’s hard, in this day and age, to be on social media as often as we are. It’s all comparison, cool photography skills for sure, but a lot of posing and pretending.

 I took a break from Instagram for a few days and Facebook this week. Sometimes it’s nice to do that. Lately, I’ve found myself comparing myself to other travel bloggers, namely people who travel more often than I do.


 It’s hard to see people who are constantly doing the things you want to do. We forget a lot of times though that people have had a journey in getting to where they are. It’s easy to sit back and want what they have and wish you were at that point, whether it’s with fitness goals, traveling, having a house or family, whatever.

 I just want to say…I’ve been there too, on the daily. I just always want to be real and upfront with my readers. I admire the Instagrammers who are famous and can make that their lifestyle. I know that sometimes, people might envy my petsitting lifestyle and how I’m my own boss, but it’s not always a walk in the park, and I know it’s not for the people I compare myself to either.

 That’s why I’m following my own path. Trying not to look sideways, just forward. ✌🏻 Hope you all are having a great weekend!

{leather jacket+gray tee+leggings} OOTD

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  Good afternoon, guys! 👋🏻

  Confession time, I have been really busy lately with petsitting, so I haven’t had as much time to blog! Also, I kind of had a block and didn’t know what to write about for a little while and hadn’t had an outfit worth documenting lately. 🤗

 Today, I got more dressed up than normal, but was still casual, so I decided to document.


 I got this leather jacket for $19.99 at Ross and I love it! 😍 It’s still not quite cold enough in Tennessee to wear jackets most days, but I thought, “Whatever! Gonna do it anyway!” I got this jacket because I’ve never had a leather jacket I’ve liked. I’ve always been gifted the long trench jackets, which I hate, or the shapeless, boxy cut leather jackets with the squared off shoulders, which I’m also not a fan of.

 This jacket is more tapered and flattering and I love it. ❤️ I got it to wear year round, but it’s also going to be part of my Halloween costume! 🎃👻🦇 Any guesses as to what I’m going to be? Drop a comment below if you have a guess!


 I ended up wearing these gray boots today, but was playing around with sneakers also. I have some awesome combat boots, but I went with a more tame look today. The combat boots + the jacket together would definitely be of the “kick ass and take names” variety, but I was only feeling like taking names today, so I just opted for the jacket and these gray boots instead. ✌🏻


 Anyways, what have you all been up to? Is it jacket weather where you all are at? Sadly, I am back to wearing shorts right now. 😂 I kind of want to complain that it’s still that warm in October, but then again, I’ll take the warm weather as long as it’s around! ☀️