Florence Week One.

We got to Italy last Wednesday and it’s been a whirlwind since. Emily and I flew into Rome, took a bus to the train station, took a train to Florence, walked 60+ pounds of luggage up and down windy streets and FINALLY got our housing assignment. We met up with Delaney and Eileen and got to our apartment that night. It is small but has wonderful perks including a cozy patio off the bedrooms, mosquito screens, and a toaster? Everyday I get a little more comfortable here.

Florence is extremely confusing to me, since every street looks the same BUT today I wandered around mapless and found my way home, so progress is on its way?

We have pretty much spent our days exploring the city. Highlights include::

-Trip to the central market (basically a giant indoor farmers market) for fresh fruit, biscottis, and olive oil.

-More than one trip for gelato. One shop has an employee with the most ridiculous rat tail in all the world. We like to get gelato and sit on the steps of the Duomo (you can see it from our apartment…it’s about a 5 minute walk!) and people watch. People are really weird and watching them and making up back stories for their lives is one of my all time favorite hobbies.

-Morning run around Florence. The city is most beautiful in the morning I think. It was cool outside, so quiet, and really peaceful.

-Quiet times out on our patio.

-Dinner with friends out on the patio. Mostly anything on the patio is great.

-Mass at San Miniato al Monte and enjoying the incredible view afterwards.

-Roommate dinners.

-Skype dates with Isaac.

I’m not sure if Florence is exactly what I pictured, but I’ve loved a lot of moments since being here. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far has been trusting in the provision and protection of the Lord. I think it will be a daily decision to choose trust and peace, and it’s good. Once again, I feel like a year has passed in a week. It’s wild to think it hasn’t even been a week in Italy yet. So excited to make Florence my home for a while and see all that unfolds this semester.

 

Da Duomo. It really has not gotten any less beautiful. Every time I see it, I appreciate it so much.

Da Duomo. It really has not gotten any less beautiful. Every time I see it, I appreciate it so much.

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Overwhelming cheese options at the market. Beautiful, I knowwww.

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My front door. There are about 6 deadbolts to get into my actual apartment. Don’t know if that’s comforting or unsettling. Both I think.

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Two of my cute roommates.

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Dinner party set up.

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Our view after church. Breathtaking. I needed that hike to see the beauty in Florence. When you get away from the tourist sections, the town is gorgeous and peaceful and at its best.

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I get to live with the greatest girls. This is San Miniato al Monte. It sits on top of the hill with the view above.

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America’s Next Top Model. I think I just got eliminated.

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Even the Lorenzo de Medici cafeteria is beautiful.

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Dinner party with friends 🙂

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Making the trek back home.

 

The last few pictures were stolen from Emily and Eileen. Check out all my roommates blogs/pictures because they are all so beautiful and hip and real in, okay.

Emily.

Eileen.

Delaney.

 

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Bridal Shower.

People say you can’t have more than one “best friend” because only one person can be the best. These people don’t know Kathryn and Tiffany. I have been blessed with not one, but TWO best friends, and we have been inseparable ever since pre-school. Today, one of these girls is engaged and marrying her new best friend in one month! Tiffany and I are so excited for Kathryn and got to throw her a bridal shower a few weeks ago to say “hey. we love you and are excited that you are getting married. okay?”

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Tiffany is the greatest to plan anything with. She is a go-getta at heart and has a mother with a secret stash of ONE MILLION mason jars.

see? mason. jars. everywhere.

see? mason. jars. everywhere.

We are newbies at this party-planning thang, but we adored every step of it. The menu planning, the baking, the setting up, everything.

The menu had the theme of Kathryn. We wanted some of her favorite things + a way to use up all those mason jars.

We had peach tea and lemonade for drinks. The striped straws were from a local craft store.

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We had chicken salad, bruschetta, a “chip bar”, and DESSERT. You can’t gather 20+ women in one area and not offer multiple dessert options. We didn’t need to be party planners to know this.

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Chicken salad.

Strawberry Nutella Tarts. (recipe below)

Strawberry Nutella Tarts. (recipe below)

Sugar cookies + homemade frosting.

Sugar cookies + homemade frosting.

Strawberry Shortcake Shooters.

Strawberry Shortcake Shooters.

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Table set up at Moore Memorial park.

Everyone pinned date ideas for Kath as they left and picked up their “favor.” Attached was a prayer card. I saw this idea at a bridal shower I attended a few months ago, and I thought it was the most beautiful way to encourage a couple long after their wedding day.

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Cookie sandwiches + prayer card.

Kathryn has been such a blessing in my life. 20 years of friendship with this girl is something I’m very thankful for. She will be a great wife, and it was so fun celebrating her new marriage with these beautiful women.

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*strawberry nutella tarts recipe here

*pictures were taken by Andrew Rizer. No way I could ever make those straws look so artsy.

The forever kind.

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We’ve crammed into the 2nd floor Maple lounge and tested how long we can sit on the floor Indian style. Every Monday night for almost six months now. My connection group is full of the most beautiful, honest, and encouraging girls. I think it’s just the best that I get to lead these girls with one of my best friends. But, really, they have led me in so many ways. They are some of the most eager women I’ve known. Eager to be kinder, sweeter, wiser, more intentional, more responsible, and more understanding of Christ. I so look forward to Mondays, and this semester even more than last. We have become so close, and the new level of honesty and raw sincerity is refreshing and beautiful. Every time someone has cried for something good, or cried for something hard, I thank God. Because that means we’re now somewhere we’ve never been before. There has been so much change and beautiful transformation this year, and I am blessed through all of it. This is one of the more vivid pictures of family that I’ve seen in my life, let alone get to be a part of. Tonight, I’m thankful for this family. Tonight, I’m extra excited that it’s a forever type of family. That is the best kind, you know.
 
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Alleluia.

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I spent my Last Friday night surrounded by friends celebrating birthdays and drinking wine and laughing. It made my heart happy and my spirit thankful for such great people in my life. Tonight I am spending my Friday night in my apartment with wine, m&m’s, and my bible. (Because I am a girl, okay?) And I have absolutely loved both Fridays. I find it really lovely that while I have the best friends around, I am fully satisfied in my Father.

This week has been long. And I’m tired. But mostly I’m so pleased that as my days are always changing and my heart is too, Christ is not. He is constant and beautiful and mine, whether I’m with 30+ friends or alone on my couch. Alleluia. I don’t understand at all. And I’m so happy I’ve learned that this is the exact reason I love and need Him.

back yall

Leave it to the month of Valentines day to rekindle my flame with the idea of blogging. I’ve been miss lazy bones lately but I’m back. And in spirit of the upcoming holiday, I’ve compiled a short list of things I’ve been sharing some lovey dovey feelings for lately:

1) Breakfast. I recently found an apartment for next spring, and am so so ready to have a kitchen to cook in again. I’ve been scoping out some inspiration and am ready to part with school food forEVA. Saturday morning breakfast with my beautiful roommates will be the best. Cranberry apple crumble? gimmegimme.

2) Reruns of Friends. Long live Rachel’s hair! It seems TBS and the State Gym at school have teamed up to conveniently show some reruns while I’m kickin it on the elliptical. Increases exercise enjoyment around 10,000 percent. (PS Thank you new gym for having tv screens on all machines. Very polite of you.)

3) Ahh, Dessa. We should totally be friends. Though this lovely lady started by impressive spoken word poetry, she has broken into the music scene in a big way through collaborations with Paper Tiger and Gayngs, and becoming a part of Doomtree and The Boy Sopranos. Click here for a taste of her music AND writings. Also, let me use this moment to express my disappointment (devastation..fury..etc.) that the ONE night she is coming to Iowa State, I won’t be able to see her. But for all you other people: Doomtree will be performing in the M-Shop March 8th! You should definitely go and definitely not tell me how awesome it is.

4) One Saturday soon, I must do this. Heart-shaped too! Even MORE holiday themed.

5) The Serving Center. Harvest Vineyard Church and Body of Christ Church have teamed up and sponsor this organization that reaches out to the Ames community to meet physical needs, such as clothing or food. Anyone is welcome to stop their location on Stanton Ave. on Saturday mornings. I’ve met amazing people who know what is truly important in this life.  I always leave learning something and feeling a bit humbled. Or a lot humbled..which is always good for someone like me. Everyone needs an outlet to extend outside of isolation. Members of any community grow one another, and I’m really grateful for the community I’ve found myself in at this time of my life.

That’s it for now.

Also, February is Black History month. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve been revisiting some music and wishing I was Lauryn Hill more than usual…