Friday Loves Being Home Again!

I’m back in the States.  The trip will be told in the coming weeks (be prepared to read a lot…it’s currently 40+ pages and I’ve only made it to day 10 of the journey across Italy). 

Now, some crazy stuff happened while I was in Italy.  When I got home, I decided I would never leave again for a summer vacay, because the cat almost died while I was away.  Apparently, there was a blackout while I was gone…which meant no A/C for the princess (she was sleeping in the bathtub to stay cool).  She drank all 7 bowls of water and ran out.  She was almost on day two of no water when I walked in to a screaming, crazy cat.

I understood immediately why she was going crazy when I walked into the apartment.  I dropped everything, and ran to the sink to get her some water.  She not only drank it too fast and threw up three times, she started bleeding the next morning…scaring the crap out of me.


But don’t worry…after spending the day home with her on Wednesday, brushing her for hours upon hours on end and getting her rehydrated, she’s doing much better.  She’s back to her happy diva self again and knows she’s in 100% control of our domain. 

(Guilt card is definitely in play.)

So here are the top Friday loves…being home again.

1.  I Lost My Phone in Verona, Italy.  So you’ll find out over the next few weeks what happened in my trek across Italy that was very much on the strange side…as in…Death was following me.  A gypsy woman confirmed it when she saw me and had to give me some charms to ward him off (which are now at home close to the cat).  While I was in Verona, I was so sleepy after seeing the performance of Aida at the Arena (an outdoor coliseum), I must not have put my phone back into my purse when I reached for my wallet to pay for the taxicab.

Of course, this freaked me out, because that’s my alarm clock!  That meant I would have a few sleepless nights until I got a new alarm clock/phone.  [Plus, I never do stuff like this.  I never lose anything.  That freaked me out even worse!]

Well, thanks to watching Hulu Plus, an advertisement from AT&T showcasing the new Samsung Galaxy S3 kept replaying.  I thought…what a cool phone.  I went in and got that phone the next day. 

Sure, I’m upset that my BlackBerry Torch with all of those interviews I was going to type up this summer (like the Kovalchuk part 2 story) are gone forever…it was just a reminder of the world that has ended.  I’m retired.  I can no longer write those hockey stories.  (Sorry, Ilya.  That was the most important part of the story…lost in Verona, Italy…FOREVER.) 

[I just love how the universe makes sure that I really should not go back on my word or even reconsider retiring from hockey writing.]

Luckily, AT&T helped me out with purchasing this phone by giving me some options like using my brother’s upgrade, and he could use my upgrade in October (which means he can get the iPhone 5 at that time).  This brought down the cost of the phone to $199.  Switching upgrades worked out perfectly since my brother is an iPhone lover and the new device won’t be out until later this year.  It gives them time to work out the bugs (as he says). 

Now, what I love about this phone…it’s everything I love about the Nook Tablet in a phone.  The whole fact that the phone is an instant WiFi HotSpot is probably the only feature that is lacking in the Nook…but works perfectly while traveling or just commuting to work.  For instance, I watched “Once Upon a Time” on the way into the office.  I love that it hooks up to my Netflix and Hulu Plus accounts. 

While I could read books on the Galaxy…I’ll just keep the Nook for that.  The Nook has a bigger screen.

This device has been creating quite a stir.  Even the guys at the AT&T store love it.  They gave up their iPhones and Blackberry devices for it.  For those at AT&T who don’t have the Galaxy S3, they are hoping to get it soon.  That should tell you how amazing the buzz is around this product if they’re giving up their iPhones and Blackberry devices for this device. 

Apple, on the other hand, might be a little threatened by the success of the Galaxy S3.  There’s a rumor they’re releasing the iPhone 5 on 8/7 instead of October.  It’s just a rumor…but it should also tell you how amazing this new device is.

So in retirement…and my first few days back in the States I’ve discovered I’m becoming a techie…

Yeah…we’ll see how long that lasts.

2.  Young Adult Bestsellers.  So, I may be cheating a little on my New Year’s Resolution.  I just finished reading book number 34 this year.  That’s probably a record for me since we are only in July.  I’m going to share my secret…I have an addiction to young adult book series.  I plow through them in a few days because they’re filled with so much action and adventure…I just can’t put the books down. 

While in Italy, I was sad to finish both the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan and the Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott.  Both authors brought their series to an end.  I was sad and almost cried because I didn’t want the adventures to end.  But the symbolism in seeing an adventure come to an end…yes, you’ll read about that symbolism in the coming weeks as I recount my adventure through Italy. 

Even though I ended the journey with these characters I loved, I started a new one with Peter Pan in the “Peter and the Starcatchers” series.  A Broadway show is currently playing in NYC with huge success.  I definitely plan on seeing it soon.

I realize that even though one adventure comes to an end, no matter how much you enjoyed it and the characters in it…sometimes it can mark the beginning of a new adventure.  With Peter Pan, it is all about being forever young and never growing up.

3. PASTA!  I don’t care what the diet books say or the fact that my hips may have grown a little bit while in Italy…but I’m in love with tagliatelle noodles. 

They look like fettucine noodles, but they’re actually egg noodles. 

My first meal in Italy was Tagliatelle al Bolognese in Venice, while I was sitting right next to the Grand Canal.  It was the most amazing dish I had throughout all of Italy.  It was sooo good.  It was the noodles that made the difference.

While I was in Florence, I searched everywhere for a shop that sold tagliatelle noodles and finally found them.  I bought two boxes and bought another bag before I left Venice to come back home. 

Last night, I made a pasta sauce and boiled up a batch of these noodles…and all I can say is that these noodles just make everything taste better.

Since tagliatelle is not easy to find in America, I found a recipe!  Actually, I bought a cookbook in Florence (in English) with the recipe for Tagliatelle al Bolognese to make at home.  It takes two hours to make the sauce, so I’m going to wait until the fall/winter to cook up a pot (it’s too hot to cook in the summer).  As far as making the noodles…I found a recipe for you to try!  Homemade Tagliatelle.

I’ve never had noodles that redefined a pasta dish, but tagliatelle did it for me.  FAN FOR LIFE!

4.  Marty’s Better.  So while I was in Vatican City, I decided to mess with a few nuns while they were praying (you’ll read about it in the travel log).  After I left the prayer room, God answered my prayer.  I’m not joking when I say it happened right after I left the prayer room.  I looked down at my phone and there was the news!  Marty Brodeur is still a Devil for two more years.  I could almost kiss a priest.  Almost…  (they creep me out…especially since I can read their sinful minds…just disgusting human beings some of them are).

Anyway, the Martin Brodeur Facebook page just linked to a really awesome shirt that I have mad lust for.  It’s a Marty’s Better t-shirt.  You’ll have to click the link to see. 

That shirt is just as awesome as the new Dallas Stars jerseys featuring #68 on the front.  Jagr in the back.  [Just happy he decided to go with a team that didn’t have orange in their jerseys…bleh.]

5. A New Wardrobe.  So the great thing about going to Europe is the fact that I can bring back fashion that will not be in style until next year. 

I like being ahead of the fashion curve.  After all, I like knowing I’m wearing something that other people can’t own unless they go to Italy themselves to purchase it. 

While in Milan, I didn’t have time to do anything before heading to Verona, so I headed to the train station early and luckily, they had shops galore.

One store that captured my attention was Mango.  I’ve only seen a cheaper brand of Mango at JC Penneys, and all the fashionista seem to love the store, so I decided to go in.  Luckily, the store was 50-70% off.  I picked up the striped top (in the picture) a new bag and a bracelet for 29 euros.  I really couldn’t believe my luck!

While in Sorrento, I picked up a few lightweight (aka see-through) tops that can also serve as dresses (but I wouldn’t recommend wearing nothing but underwear underneath).  I wore the longer piece as a tunic because of the drastic lines and wore a pair of jersey pants and a t-shirt underneath.  I got so many compliments on it because no one has seen this kind of top here in NYC. 

Jewelry…came in the form of Karl Lagerfeld.  There was a shop in Verona that gave me 50% off the two Lagerfeld necklaces I found.  They were so willing to make a deal…and everything was so beautiful in their shop (all major couture designers). 

Of course, the most important finds were all about the purse purchases.  I bought a new bag in every single place I visited except for Bologna and Naples.  The most amazing find wasn’t just the 100% Italian Leather bags…it was a scarf bag I picked up in Sorrento, Italy for 6 euros.  It was the cheapest bag of the lot, as well as the cutest.  You’re not going to find that bag anywhere else in the world except in Sorrento, Italy. 

In Florence, I picked up a scarf from a store right outside the Uffizi Gallery.  It is the only place in the world that you can buy this scarf because it was specifically designed and made for that store…and there’s only one store in the world.

For the Fantasy Wardrobe followers…this is actually how I create my wardrobe.  After you get past all of the basics and have added a lot of couture pieces from your favorite designers, all that’s left to do is to define your look by wearing what no one else can buy…unless they go there themselves to buy it. 

I always hate when I see someone wearing something I own.  I like wearing items that no one else will have…yet, they also want it very badly. 

Something to keep in mind whenever you venture away on vacation…always look for the boutique stores.  Take a look around.  You’ll always find something that is unique to that place you’re visiting and something you will love from your time being there.  Just keep in mind that whatever you buy to add to your wardrobe…it’s something that you will actually wear at home and not just on vacation.

So if you’re in Jamaica buying a sarong, make sure it’s something you won’t mind wearing at home or displaying over a table or chair when you get back home.  That’s how you determine what you’ll actually buy as far as clothes go while you’re on vacation.

Even right now, I’m wearing a top I picked up in Raleigh, North Carolina when I went with a friend to see the Columbus Blue Jackets play against the Carolina Hurricanes.  Sure, the CBJ guys like to talk about my big ass octopus bag they saw me buy…but the top I picked up during their nap…that’s the piece I love the most.  That top was a reminder of a fun trip and of a marvelous city. 

So for those vacationing soon…always look for something you’re going to love owning for the rest of your life.  I said LOVE.  I LOVE all of the pieces I’ve picked up from all over the world.  Those pieces always have more meaning to me than any of the NYC finds.  It doesn’t matter if I picked it up from one of their local JC Penneys…all that matters is that I picked it up in that place while I was traveling.  It’s a great way to remember those places you visited beyond just the pictures you took, because there’s a story and an adventure behind those pieces.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth is the voice behind