drool worthy.

So, this article about restaurants in Florence is just one way to get you excited to study abroad. But I decided to review their reviews so you can eat well on a budget, know what cafes to work in on your laptop and get the best take out possible. Warning: the numbers on my list might skip since I haven’t been to all the restaurants on Spoon University’s list.

1 Margarita pesto pizza from Gusta Pizza: Best. Pizza. In the city. Gusta is the place to go for a cheap meal that is unbelievably delicious. The pesto pizza is one of their rotating specialties so you might have to drop in there a few times before you’re lucky enough to see it on the menu. If you ever stop by and it isn’t available that day, get the margherita pizza – you won’t be disappointed.

Suggestion – take your Gusta pizza to go and eat it on Ponte Grazie during sunset.

Focaccia panino from All’Antico Vinaio: I know many, many people who are obsessed with paninis from All’Antico Vinaio. They certainly live up to their name and the long line that constantly wraps around the block outside of the shop speaks to it. Personally, my favorite sandwich in the city comes from either The Oil Shoppe or Pino’s (Salumeria Verdi, #23 on the Spoon University list). They have more options for a vegetarian like myself and everything there is delicious.

Truffle gnocchi from Osteria Santo Spirito: This is my favorite restaurant in the whole city. The entire menu is SO. GOOD. The truffle gnocchi is an incredible dish, albeit a little bit heavy if you aren’t super hungry. Other good things to try: the oil, garlic and pepper spaghetti; the traditional spaghetti; the bruschetta; the house wine… The list goes on and on. This restaurant is a must try during study abroad and it won’t break the bank.

Suggestion – go for lunch. It’s really busy at dinner and you might have to wait quite some time for a table.

Cappuccino from News Cafe: Good cappuccino. Simple as that. Another great cappucino can be found at Ditta Artigianale, which is another must try in the city. They even have good food at Ditta, like the avocado toast, berry pancakes and quinoa vegetable dish. Either cafe is a great place to go for brunch with your laptop or a friend and sit for a while!

10 Pear ravioli from Trattoria Quatro Leoni: This meal will cost you a little bit more, but it’ll be worth it. The ravioli is great, as is any pasta with vodka sauce. It’s also in an area of town with a lot of cute street art, so visit on a day when you have some extra time to wander around.

12 Rigatoni from Trattoria Tredici Gobbi: DEFINITELY visit this restaurant. Get this dish. Get house wine. Go in the evening. Enjoy the ambiance and stay a while. Thank me later.

14 Bufalina pizza from Cucineria la Mattonaia: This pizza is slightly more expensive than a regular Gusta pizza, but it’s still delicious. Either skip lunch before coming here or eat it early and go to a late dinner because you will be extremely full when you finish the meal. The cheesy goodness isn’t to be missed, unfinished or taken as leftovers.

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just my luck.

This year hasn’t been smooth. It certainly hasn’t been perfect. It’s been absolutely full of speed bumps, imperfections and problems. But it’s probably been one of the best years of my life. I’ve been blessed beyond belief and luckier than a single person deserves. As the end of the year gets closer, all I’ve been able to think about is all of the great things that happened. The sheer fact that I can place the good times in more prominent memory than the bad times is yet more proof of my luck.
During the spring semester, my soul sister of 10 years finally visited me at school. One of my favorite friends from home even came with her. I also lived with one of my best friends and spent weekends exploring Virginia (aka doing wine tastings).
For spring break, I split my time between New Orleans and Nashville and was again joined by two close friends. New Orleans was a new destination for me but I chose to visit because it was the site I had picked for my senior thesis design project. Nashville is a longtime favorite travel destination that always puts a smile on my face.
At the beginning of May, I graduated. By my side, I had my loving and supportive parents. I also had one of my best friends ever – a friend who flew across the country to sit through my graduation because she was so proud of and happy for me.
Next up was my first trip to Los Angeles to visit the soul sister. It was such a fun few days and I can’t wait to go back one day.
Summer was full of babysitting my nieces and nephew – who are my four favorite humans on this earth. My last single sister got taken off the market this summer, so we celebrated a wedding shower, a bachelorette party and a wedding. I guess watching the Cavs win the NBA Finals wasn’t too bad either..
Next, I moved to Italy. I met a whole new group of people, spent lots of time with my cousin and got to see new cities. Oktoberfest was too much fun and I practically had to be dragged away. Seeing Amsterdam – the architecture especially – was one of my favorite parts of my time abroad.
Now that I’ve been back home and my life has settled down a little, I’ve returned to spending time with cute babies and making lots of desserts to fatten them up.
It’s been a crazy year and hasn’t always made sense (just like this blog post), but I’m very happy about that. Even though I’ve had a lot of bad parts during this luck-filled year, I still am optimistic about what will come next.

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“No matter how far I roam, my heart will always be at home”