๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Pompeii & The Amalfi Coast ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Travel

By the time we reached the end of our trip, from March 26th-March 29th, we were pretty exhausted! After all, we were in Italy for 17 days! 17 whirlwind days of taking in a new culture, big cities, winding coastal roads and the gorgeous Italian language.

We stayed in our last VRBO, which was located in Castellamare di Stabia. Francesco, the owner, was a great host! He did not speak any English and I knew the most Italian in our group, so between the two of us and Google Translate, we were able to communicate. By this point in our trip, words like “Grazie!”, “Scusi!”, “Mi di spiace!” and more had become very familiar to me.

Upon arriving by car, Francesco had everything prepared for us, and had even gotten us some delicious powdered pastries–filled with local jams—fresh oranges and some homemade, sparkling red wine! One thing we came to find out is that Italy is very similar to America in some ways. North and South are very different, but Southerners are renowned the world over for their hospitality! Though fewer people speak English the further south you go in Italy, it was amazing to me how people wanted to please! We talked to a man in a tabbachi shop who helped us track down ferry rates to Capri for over 30 minutes. The people were very warm and inviting!

Since we had a car for this part of the trip, we were able to visit neighboring Pompeii, cruise down the Amalfi Coast—or if you’re my mom, grip the doorframe as if your life depended on it—and go to Sorrento and Positano. The Amalfi Coast has some of the most stunning views of ocean and coastline and when walking down the street, you can smell citrus. There are lemon and orange groves everywhere! Just don’t do what my grandfather Poppy did.๐Ÿ˜‚ He thought he’d take an orange off the tree and it wasn’t ripe yet and he said it tasted awful!

Sorrento was another one of my favorite cities. You could get lemon flavored anything there. ๐Ÿ‹Limoncello, a drink they are famous for, which consists of vodka, lemon juice and sugar. Limoncello filled pastries, cookies, chocolates–the list goes on and on! Even beauty products like scrubs and lotions!

I also really enjoyed visiting Pompeii. I had always read about it as a kid and wanted to see it in person. It is over 150 acres of ruins and they are STILL uncovering things daily. It is definitely worth the trip! You really get a feel for how ancient Roman culture was, as Pompeii was a sort of “resort town” back in the day, before Vesuvius had something to say about it. Vesuvius is also still a very active volcano that has been suspiciously quiet in recent years; scientists believe it is due for another eruption, which could endanger the millions of people living in its shadow, including the huge metropolis of Naples.

It is somewhat eerie seeing its shadow and realizing, as you walk through Pompeii’s quiet streets, that history could very well repeat itself, and much like in 79 AD, you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

All that danger and suspense aside though, I LOVED visiting Pompeii. It was March, so we had a lot of it to ourselves! It wasn’t crowded at all and you can easily get lost in the many quadrants they have it separated into.

I don’t have pictures of the pizza lunch we had outside Pompeii’s Ruins, but it was good! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป Naples is known for its pizza, and if you want to get it anywhere in Italy, you should do it in this area!

Pictured Above: Some bread and actual food that was perfectly preserved in Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The bread is just a littttllllleee bit crispy.

When it comes to tours and museums, Pompeii was one of my favorites in Italy! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

This was also another favorite meal we had while in Sorrento: prawns ala broccoli cream sauce with cheese encrusted in prosciutto. Delicious!

I may make some further posts on some of the strangest/most unexpected things we experienced in each city, things to expect when going to Italy and maybe even a full post on the VRBO accommodations we stayed in! Let me know what you’d like to hear more about! ๐Ÿ’•โœจ

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นRome, Italy๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Travel

Roma, Roma!

Rome was such an amazing place. We arrived in the city March 23rd and got to explore it until March 26th.

We again stayed in a VRBO for this part of the trip and LOVED the place we ended up renting, since it was only a 10 minute walk to the Colosseum!

Because of this, we got to see it during the day and at night! You may think, “It’s just a building. How different can it really look?” VERY different. By day, the Colosseum is crawling with tourists, very annoying gladiators who will try to force you into taking pictures with them—trust me, one tried to hold my mother hostage until my husband gave him a Euro and saved her๐Ÿ˜‚—but by night, the Colosseum is a lot of times deserted! It glows from within and is actually kind of romantic…if you disregard all the people who were slaughtered there during the games hundreds of years ago.

According to things we read while touring Colosseo, they actually had ship battles down in the arena and they still don’t really know, to this day, how the Romans were able to accomplish such a feat!

Rome is a place that is full of history. There is so much to see, so I’d recommend at least 3 days! Aside from the Colosseum, there is Palatine Hill, The Roman Forum, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps…it’s ALOT to cover.

The Roman Forum was a very interesting place, full of crumbling structures, columns and the remains of the Farnese Gardens. This little seagull befriended me while taking pictures looking down on the Forum! I think he thought I had fries. ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

Pictured Above: The aforementioned gladiator con artists. Even gladiators need snacks, I guess.

Now, when it comes to the Trevi Fountain, I have to burst some bubbles and dispel some myths. It is a BEAUTIFUL fountain, but you will NOT get a good picture of yourself with it, unless you come at 6:00am or just happen to be lucky. It is crowded pretty much ALL the time. I had to crop people out of my own pictures, but go there and throw a coin in and make a wish anyway! And if you’re wanting an Instagram worthy picture, be prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn.

Around the corner from Trevi, you will find a shop selling vintage posters and calendars featuring Roman Holiday cast members, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s very cool for those who love the movie or vintage Hollywood!

If you know where to look, there are also many beautiful cathedrals and chapels in Rome. We actually found this one on the way to the Trevi Fountain and were stunned by its gold and blue tones and towering ceiling.

As for the food in Rome? It is some of the best! You have to try spaghetti carbonara, gnocchi or risotto! Above is a picture of a McDonald’s(Can you believe it?!) feet from the Spanish Steps. They serve gelato and 5 Star pastries at the McDonald’s in Italy. I was super impressed.

Pictured Above: Some excellent Lobster Gnocchi from one day and some Shrimp and Rose Risotto from another. Gnocchi is similar to shell pasta, but filled with cheese or other ingredients. Risotto is more like rice and has a very nice texture and taste to it.

We stayed in the Monti neighborhood of Rome, and thanks to that, we were not far from one of the best gelato stores we found in Italy. This is what I got, a menta gelato, or mint. It had actual crushed mint leaves in it and—just look at that presentation! I had to get help to finish this gelato, but MAN was it good!

Rome also wouldn’t be Rome without Vespas! It’s hard to picture the city without them. Also near the Monti neighborhood of Rome is a little Vespa museum, where you can learn about the history of this mode of transportation, watch a short little commercial about how Italians presumably fall in love—guess what! It usually involves a Vespa! Thats some sly marketing there—or you can even rent one of these bad boys for yourself!

Pictured Above: An adorably cute Fiat that someone just made a parking spot for between huge potted plants. I mean, aesthetic goals or what?!

Rome is a beast of a city, but it is a city that needs time to be appreciated. If you go to Rome, you will be rewarded with culinary and visual delights and history you can’t even imagine!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นCinque Terre & Florence๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Travel

Cinque Terre. If you have been anywhere near Instagram in the last 2.5 years, you have probably seen gorgeous pictures of these five Italian coastline cities on your feed!

Cinque Terre consists of “The Five Towns”: Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare and Manarola. They can only be reached by train, which leaves from a station in La Spezia and winds along the coastline, through mountainous tunnels.

We drove from Lucca, about an hour’s drive to La Spezia, parked in a garage, and hopped the train to explore these beautiful cities!

Hiking is a popular way to see Cinque Terre, but when we went in mid March, during the rainy season, there was danger of the trails getting washed out and eroded, so even though we didn’t see the towns from those high vantage points, we did plenty of walking and climbed the steep stairwells in each city!

We ate lunch at a place in Vernazza, where I had spaghetti ala clams, which was delicious! You really can’t go wrong with any of the food in Italy. I got so used to sparkling water, balsamic vinaigrette, wine and amazing pastas over there! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Out of all the seaside towns, Riomaggiore and Vernazza were my favorite! They were more lively, had more to see and do and if you’re looking for those Instagram worthy shots, you will definitely find them in those two towns!

After we departed Lucca, Florence was our next stop from March 21st-23rd. We stayed in a VRBO right near the Ponte Vecchio that was over a ceramic shop!

We were within walking distance of Galleria Del Accademia, which houses Michelangelo’s David, so many amazing Italian fashion houses, and so much more, including a restaurant called Celestino’s. It was by far one of the BEST places we ate at in all of Italy. We tried some of the region’s best dishes, including chicken with truffles and peppercorn steak!

Another attraction within walking distance of where we stayed was The Pitti Palace. This place, in a word, is GORGEOUS. The tickets we purchased were under 30 euro to see the Royal apartments, museums within and Boboli Gardens.

I took SO many pictures of the ceilings in this place. Everything is gold or gilt or has the essence of gold. It just makes you realize just how rich the families who lived here were. There are art pieces from every century, decade, period!

If you go to Florence, definitely go to Galleria Del Accademia, but go to The Pitti Palace too! It is a gem.

Looking back at these pictures makes me want to go back to Italy! For more in depth tips, insights and video of our trip, check out my Instagram, @TheRedheadChronicles, or my YouTube channel by the same name! I have made videos on our trip that include insights into Venice and this leg of our trip! Rome will be posted next!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น The Tuscany Region:Pisa,Lucca & San Gimignano ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Travel

The second leg of our Italian trip was beautiful and breathtaking! โœจ

We made our home base in Lucca and from there, we were able to visit so many places! We rented a VRBO from a wonderful woman named Angela who had a spacious, clean apartment that had everything we needed! If you find yourself visiting the Tuscany region of Italy, I’d highly recommend staying in Lucca, as you can see so much! The only thing we regretted was not getting to explore Lucca because we were so busy exploring other places.

From March 18th-March 21st, we explored so many places! One of my favorites was Pisa, obviously! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜‚

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is something you CAN’T miss. Did you know you can also climb it?! ๐Ÿ˜ณ It’s a little terrifying because as you go up, you slide towards the inner part of the stairwell without even meaning to!

We, of course, also had photo ops around The Leaning Tower, which is over 800 years old! It was pretty entertaining because everywhere you look, hundreds of people are literally trying to take the same photo!

If you opt to climb The Leaning Tower, you will be rewarded with a view of its bells–it was always intended to be nothing but a glorified bell tower!—and a panoramic view of Pisa. If you’re afraid of heights, don’t worry! It is enclosed. I am not afraid of heights, but I’m not going to lie, what with the obvious tilt, and since it was a windy day, I briefly considered strangling a 12 year old girl from Missouri who kept crying and wailing, “The tower feels like its moving!” ๐Ÿ˜‘

Now, you may think that The Leaning Tower is all there is to Pisa, but it’s definitely not! Near by, there is also Pisa’s own cathedral, which was one of the most stunning ones we saw while in this part of Italy! You shouldn’t skip it!

Also, there is an IKEA surprisingly close to The Leaning Tower, if you’re into that sort of thing. We went there for my husband, who loves IKEA and I kept wandering the aisles and thinking,”I’m in an IKEA. In Italy. That looks just like the ones in America.” ๐Ÿ˜‚ Still cool though!

On another day, we drove to the hilltop town of San Gimignano, which has some of the best wines, cheeses and salamis in the entire Tuscany region. If you have access to a car, GO to this city. It is truly amazing. There were nuns, a torture museum, the aforementioned wines and cheeses, cobblestone, winding streets—its a beautiful place.

I loved this part of our trip! Our entire trip to Italy was one I won’t soon forget!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นVenice, Italy๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Travel

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. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ 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! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Here are the cities I’ll cover after Venice:

โ€ขFlorence & Pisa

โ€ขRome

โ€ขSorrento(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! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

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

They’re fun and set to music, and I may eventually do some more in depth videos! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.” ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

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! ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

While we’re on the subject of food, Italy has some great cuisine. ๐Ÿ 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 โ‚ฌ1! 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

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! ๐Ÿง “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! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

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 โ‚ฌ89 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!

โค๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ

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! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป It’s like walking through a crayon box! ๐Ÿ–

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. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

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. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ™„ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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 entry๐Ÿ˜‚) 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! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

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

How We Saved For Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น (And How You Can Too!)

being thrifty, Travel

ย  Hey, guys! I have the most exciting news EVER to share with you all!

I’m. Going. To Italy!!! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น ๐ŸŽ‰

Last night, I found the deal of a lifetime on airline tickets and took the plunge. I literally stopped everything I was doing, ran to my grandparents’ house and called everyone together for a conference because I hadn’t seen prices this low since February. Not only is my grandfather Poppy going to go, but my parents are too! This is amazing and something I’ve only dreamed about for so long. When I woke up this morning, I had to remind myself it was all real! I can’t wait! We’ll be going this next year! โœˆ๏ธ๐ŸŒŽ

*Sidenote: If you want to find great deals on tickets, look today before they go back up. The tickets I found were under $1,000 roundtrip, which is absolutely unheard of. Use Skyscanner also, they are great and cross compare every other site so you know you’re getting the very best deal possible. โœ”๏ธ*

Now, I always strive to be upfront with my readers, so I want to share with you how we saved up for this trip. It sounds like a really hard thing to do, but really it just took some perseverance and delayed gratification. Here are my top tips for how to save up for yourย next trip!

1. Spend less on the things that don’t matter so you can spend more on the things that DO matter.

This sounds like it should be common sense, but it is hard to put into practice, at first. A lot of times, I will find myself wanting to buy new clothes, go to an expensive restaurant or just buy something I really don’t need. A thing I started doing a few years ago was stopping for 5 minutes or so and just thinking about what it was I wanted, really long and hard. If it was clothes, I would carry them around as I shopped and ask myself, Is this something I can really see myself getting a lot of wear out of? What are some outfit combinations I could come up with, using this item? Is it something I can wear during different seasons? Can I wait and find this somewhere cheaper?

Usually, I found that after 5 minutes, the loud voice inside me screaming, “I WANT THIS!” would dull and I would realize that wasn’t really what I wanted most in the world. What I wanted was to travel the world.

So, try this sometimes, when you feel like you really, really want something and you may surprise yourself. If you still want whatever it is, you should get it.

2. Thrift, coupon, do whatever it takes.

I have bought clothes secondhand about 90% of the time over the last few years, or gone to places like Marshall’s, Ross or places that have great deals on clothes. I use coupons when we go out to eat, but only if it’s a good deal and something we would have gotten anyway. (Hint: Those $5 off when you spend $30 coupons are not worth your time. ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™„) Sometimes, Tim and I have split meals also to cut costs.

I also buy hygiene and toiletry stuff only when we need it, but we never run out. I’m one of those people who has to have a back up in case we run out. ๐Ÿ˜‚

3. Speaking of doing whatever it takes…

I bought toilet paper at an estate sale once, which might sound weird, but I bought it in May and didn’t have to get anymore until this month. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 32 rolls for $3, ya’ll. WORTH IT.

If you want to travel and take this huge trip you’ve got planned, sometimes you have to do things other people might look at and call crazy. I also have scaled back on the makeup I’ve worn this year. Since I petsit, I rarely see people anyway, so I started wearing less makeup, which meant buying less makeup, which also made my skin so much healthier. I saved so much money that way! ๐Ÿ’ฐ

I also just recently finally caved and bought some new tennis shoes. I needed them, so I could justify the purchase, but I went for several months with a hole in the sole of them and a chunk missing from the heel. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

This is what I mean by delayed gratification. In our world now, you’re told that you have to have everything you want, right then and there, which is not true. If you use willpower, and occasionally do some things other people think are funny, you can definitely have what you want, in time!

4. Drop the car payment.ย 

It seems like everyone and their mother has a car payment, but hear me out on this one.

Tim and I bought our cars used. I know some people can’t resist a shiny, new car, but that is usually anywhere from $100-$300 extra dollars a month that you could otherwise be saving. I bought my car 2 years ago, used. I had it paid off in exactly 1 year. So, for the last few years, we’ve just done routine maintenance on them, but have no car payment each month, which has helped TREMENDOUSLY.

But don’t just stop with the car payment! Take that cell phone bill and chop it in half. I was paying $120 at Verizon just for myself, so I switched to Sprint and now pay only $80. The more you do this and re-evaluate what you’re spending, even if it’s only by $20, the savings will add up each month! ๐ŸŽ‰

5. Re-evaluate your job.

ย This one is tricky, but something you should do. Maybe you work from home, so your costs are low, but maybe sometimes, you might have a long commute to a job you hate anyway and gas money eats into your paycheck. Sit back and be objective.

I had to do this almost a year ago and haven’t looked back since! I was working part time at a bakery, maybe 6 hours a day. ๐Ÿฐ I didn’t like it at all, but I noticed that my petsitting business was taking off like crazy. I did some figuring and realized, if I dropped the part time job at the bakery and went to petsitting fulltime, I could double or even triple what I was making for hardly any extra effort at all!

Sit back and think about these things before you jump, but sometimes, the answer that makes the most sense is right in front of you.

6. Resell items on Etsy, EBay, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

ย This takes a little more discipline, searching and work, but we have made usually on average, an extra $100 a month doing this. You don’t even have to go out and buy things to resell, first look through what you have. What do you not use anymore? Someone out there, most likely, is willing to pay for it and may even need it!

Old clothes, knick knacks, musical instruments, whatever it is, put it out there. We have really enjoyed the Etsyย platform. I go to a lot of estate sales in my free time between petsits, so I find things I think are cool, buy them for cheap, take pictures, and then list them! It’s that easy! Etsy gets your items viewed around the world. We have sent things as far as Norway and France! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I love thinking about the new homes our things go to!

If online posting isn’t your thing, that’s no excuse—have a yard sale! Do whatever it takes. You also get a nice, clean, more organized house out of it! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

7. Take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace.

ย  This is in no way a plug and I am deadย serious. It will cost you $100 up front, but taking his class helped us SO much. It helps you with budgeting, being accountable and just getting you motivated to get out of debt if you are in it, save money even if you aren’t and just handle your finances better.

We were doing great saving before, but I have to say, after taking his class, it kicked us into high gear.

I hope these tips have helped! ๐Ÿ˜„ I want you to know that this is possible for anyone. It has taken us years to get to this point, but you CAN do it. And I know saving and waiting can suck, but there is nothing like the feeling you have when you realize you’ve done something, with no help, by yourself and for yourself! โค๏ธโœŒ๐Ÿปโœˆ๏ธ

P.S. I might drop another post on tips for finding the best airline ticket prices, since I’ve been doing this kind of research for over a year. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Who would like to see a post on that?

Love you guys!

Venturing Towards Adventure

how to, Life

I think, if you were to ask people, the majority of them would be up for a trip, vacation, excursion, adventureย of some kind. When you talk to people about going somewhere, their eyes light up, or you can see their weariness. You can almost sense their troubles, but for a brief moment, they let them go and just…imagine.ย 

Or, if you’re me, and you mention your desires to go places, more specifically Italy, people either roll their eyes and say it’s impossible, or tell you you will get killed by a terrorist. Now, I hated every math class I ever took and didn’t pay any attention in them, but I think the odds are more in my favor for getting to Europe than being killed by a terrorist. Or, at least, I hope they are, because if they aren’t, that would suck. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ค And be very anticlimactic.


Haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Which is why I usually keep these dreams to myself…or to this blog, or when I’m asked point blank, I will say what I want to do.

I’ve been trying to do more to make these dreams happen too. Actions speak louder than words. I’ve done all the research for places to stay in Italy, train travel, exchange rate, and time of year that’s best and cheapest to go, but would also appreciate any advice from readers out there that have been or are trying to go like I am!

Most of my efforts have been in saving money. It’s never been hard for me to do; it’s actually sort of my first instinct. My problem is impulse buying, but I have been doing better the last few weeks, eating meals at home, questioning whether I really need this or that, or just holding something and saying to myself, Do you want trendy clothes or do you want to sun at a villa on the Amalfi Coast?

It’s hard when we live in a society that is all about instant gratification, but it can still be done. I’ve also been trying to sell stuff on our new etsy page, Edison’s Place. I put a link in my bio section here on the blog—I’ve been trying to regularly put things on there!


I’ve also been taking little Twix for walks. โค She is so stinking cute!!! Her harness has skulls on it; I think it’s a good reflection of her character. She’s such a killer. ๐Ÿ˜‚


I also explored some different parts of town while I was petsitting the last few days. I actually took these foggy pictures this morning on a walk down by the Tennessee River. It was neat to just appreciate the beauty, something I’ve felt the need to do ever since we got back from our trip to Maine.

I was looking for quotes about rivers earlier and this one struck me:

Rivers cut through rock not because of their power, but their persistence.

I will get there, eventually. It just takes a lot of willpower and persistence.


If anyone else is out there struggling to achieve a dream or goal, just know you’re not alone! ๐Ÿ˜‰