grathias, barthelona.

Barcelona, Spain

This past weekend Lauren, Margaret Anne, Claire, Meghan, and I flew to Spain to visit the lovely city of Barcelona. The famous street in Barcelona is called “La Rambla” and it stretches from the Catalonia Square all the way to the harbor. Our hotel was cool and convenient because it was on a street right off of La Rambla. When we got there on Friday, we explored for a little bit, went to the famous L’aquarium, and toured Casa Batllo.

La Rambla

walking beside the harbor

these guys were just hangin out

world's largest aquarium in the Mediterranean species

Happy Birthday Margaret Anne!!

I found Nemo

Barcelona chair in Barcelona! We love interior design.

Casa Batllo was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Casa Batllo is a building that was restored by Antoni Gaudi in 1877. Antoni Gaudi is a pure genius. Everything I’ve learned about design comes from this guy. He doesn’t use straight lines so he uses broken tile for all of his forms and creates breathtaking mosaics. All of his inspiration for his forms comes from nature. period. My favorite part is that his unique forms contribute to the actual function of the space… like the use of natural light or to increase the flow of air for ventilation. I love it and I love everything about Gaudi.


coolest staircase ever.


fabulous arches

night view

For dinner we ate at “Beefshop” for Margaret Anne’s birthday dinner. The interiors were incredible. There were six of us who are interior designers at dinner and we were constantly taking pictures of the restaurant because we were in love.

menus were clipboards ... cool!


On Saturday, our first stop was St. Joseph’s Market on La Rambla which is just the coolest thing. They have bins and bins of fresh fruit and meat that looks sooo delicious. We bought one of the famous fruit juices and it was soo wonderful because it was so fresh. We spent all afternoon at the beach soakin up the sun and being cultured shock at the fact that not all women in Barcelona like to wear their tops… yikes.

St. Joseph's Market = cool.

so fresh.

fruit juice!

look at these little guys

they had all kinds of meat too


beachin' it

Saturday night we went to SAGRADA FAMILA (also designed by Gaudi). The most interesting thing about this church is that is started construction in 1883 and is still going. It’s schedule to be finished in 2025 so I guess I’ll have to come back to Spain when Im 35! The church itself is beautiful because Gaudi combined Gothic architecture with his own curvilinear forms. The design is filled with so many biblical symbols and representations that it was hard for me to even wrap my mind around.

Sagrada Familia


inside - ceiling

solo shot


look at the difference between the new and old


After Sagrada Familia, we went and sat at a cafe on La Rambla, drank Sangria and people watched. Sangria is a wine punch typical of Spain or Portugal so felt it was necessary to try it out.


Sunday morning we went to visit Park Guell (Gaudi’s Park). The park is a garden complex with architectural elements designed by Gaudi in 1900.  I loved the park, but it sits on a hill which to me felt like a cliff and it made it difficult to explore haha.

Gaudi Park


the park has a great view of Barcelona

For lunch, we decided to try Paella – Spain’s national dish. It was very good I liked it a lot!


In Barcelona they don’t speak Spanish – shocking. They speak Catalan, which is similar to Spanish, but it sounds like the person talking has a lisp. That’s why the whole weekend we were saying “grathias” instead of “gracias” or “barthelona” instead of “barcelona”

That’s all from Spain! We had such a great time and now we’re gearing up for our final week here in Ariccia.



my business is to create.

Week 11

Here we are – the last week of classes.

Monday was Cinzia’s birthday!! For lunch Mary Lou helped us cook Carbonara which is an Italian pasta dish cooked with eggs, cheese, bacon, & black pepper… soooo gooooood. And of course we had cake and ice cream for Cinzia’s birthday celebration!

Cinz Dawg on her bday

Tuesday we took a field trip to Anzio which is a city on the coast of Italy south of Rome. It’s well known for serving as the site of a crucial allied landing during World War 2. For this reason, we visited the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial. It was very beautiful and very cool to visit.

this room is for all of the names whose bodies weren't identified

After visiting the cemetery, we spent the rest of the day at the beach in Anzio. It was really wonderful to spend a few hours at the beach to relax and get a little sun.

Tuesday night was a South African dinner & a movie night! Mary Lou came over to the palace to make the national dish of South Africa – Bobotie which is curried meat with fruit and vegetables. PHENOMENAL.

Peek's pretty bowl of Bobotie.

After dinner we watched the movie Something of Value with Rock Hudson. Sounds like a pretty random movie to watch. Well, turns out Mary Lou is IN THE MOVIE. Yes. She is the double for DANA WYNTER. If you’ve ever seen it – Mary Lou is sitting in the jeep with Rock when Peter and Holly are taking pictures of the baboons. Whenever the camera shows the back of Holly… that’s Mary Lou!! So cool!!

a little rearrangement for the viewing

Rock Hudson = heartthrob

Wednesday Marco taught a lecture on Italian Cinema and told us all of his stories about how he has met some of the most famous actors and actresses. That night we took a bus to Rome to watch a showing of the ballet Swan Lake at the thermal baths of Caracalla. This was the coolest set up because it was a stage in the middle of these ancient thermal baths used by the Romans in 212 a.D. … so cool!!

festival before the ballet

I want candy

waiting for the show to start

the stage by the thermal baths

I sat behind Cinzia and her boyfriend - Lauren was excited

aren't they cute?

Here are some of my favorite shots of the ballet –

classic. (the only song I knew)

This is my friend Meghan Medford. Her major is Apparel Design and she’s got a really cool blog you should check out/follow! She’s currently making a new blog so I’ll post that link later.



Today Roberta gave a lecture on William Blake. I think he’s one of my favorite poets/artists so I really enjoyed it. My favorite quote by him –

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare; My business is to create.” William Blake

Tonight we had dinner and swim party at Mary Lou & Marco’s house. It was sooo much fun… one of my favorite nights here by far. Maurizio played his favorite vinyls, we danced, and had a blast.

me, Melissa, & Amy

playing some sweet records

Marco & Mary Lou dancing... Im gonna miss these two

It was such a great week in Ariccia. Now we’re gettin ready and gettin pumped for BARCELONA!!

Ciao, ciao!

it’s a love story.

Verona, Italy

After our wonderful week in Milan, Melissa, Meredith, Jenny, Leslie, Amy, & I decided to spend the weekend in Verona. We stayed at a bed & breakfast just outside the center of town and had a really fun time exploring.

Two fun facts about Verona:

  1. The play Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare is based here
  2. The Arena is an ancient amphitheater built by the Romans

outside of our bed & breakfast

beautiful view from the room

the Arena where they show wonderful operas

Juliet's balcony


Leslie, me, Amy, Meredith, & Jenny

Letters to Juliet – People from all over the world write Juliet a letter and post in on her wall under her balcony in search for romantic advice. I’ve been told that she writes you back, but I don’t know if I believe that part haha… I also don’t think that she’s the best person to ask for advice.

Ben Folds lyrics

this one was deep

A new movie came out last year with Amanda Seyfried about Juliet’s letters, so it was cool to see the actual place where it was filmed.

Amanda Seyfried in "Letters to Juliet"

park in the center of town

St. Anastasia church - there was a concert going on so we sat and listened for a bit!

Verona was a fun town to visit and had beautiful medieval architecture. We took a train home to Ariccia and it was a very surreal experience. I sat in my seat on the train, listened to my favorite playlist on my ipod and read a little bit of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffanys. Occasionally I would look out my window and look at the breathtaking scenery pass by and I couldn’t stop thinking about how blessed I am to be here.

To end a great weekend, on Sunday a few of us decided to go see the new Harry Potter in Rome! We walk to a lot of places so sometimes my friend Jenny plays this game where someone will hold her hand and she closes her eyes so they person has to guide her and tell her when to step. It’s very entertaining to watch haha.

guiding Jenny

there she goes again


the movie theatre in Rome

we were so excited!!

I loved the last Harry Potter. I didn’t expect to cry, but I did. It was like a constant blubber the whole movie. It feels weird now that the books and movies for Harry Potter have ended. I started reading them when I was 11 years old which was about 10 years ago. That means Harry’s been in a whole half of my life! Wow!

I can’t believe we’re already on week 11 out of 12. It’s so crazy how fast this summer has gone. More updates coming soon!

Ciao, ciao!

where all my milanos at?

Maranello, Bologna, & Milan

Driving to Milan from Ariccia is far. So far that we stopped in Bologna first for a night. Bologna is also far, so we stopped at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello which is where Enzo Ferrari (awesome name) is from. We saw some really cool cars and learned about the history of how Ferrari started out.

Ferrari 458 Italia 2009

some sweet race cars

Then we made it to Bologna! We walked around and few people were “experts of the day” and told us about some significant buildings. We had an aperitivo at the hotel that night which is basically just a little get together before dinner with appetizers and such.


gelato on a popsicle... brilliant

The next day we were on the bus again to Milan and stopped at a local factory that produces balsamic vinegar called “Acetaia del Cristo.” Our guide gave us a tour of the site and afterwards we had a tasting of a few of their balsamic vinaigrettes. It was a little bizarre because we tasted them on little spoons haha. Then, for a surprise they brought out ice cream with the vinaigrette drizzled on it! It was shocking because none of us thought about ever doing that, but it was so good!!


fancy shmancy

this is how we tasted it haha cute

this is bizarre and wonderful

MILAN. We finally made it! 8 hours later. Milan is basically an up scale Rome. People walking around in fancy clothes and stores too expensive to even walk in to… pretty cool.


The Duomo was one of my favorite parts to visit. When I was in Paris, I saw the Coronation of Napoleon painting by Jacques-Louis David (the official painter of Napoleon) in the Louvre and another copy in Versailles. The painting is set in the Duomo in Milan and I got to go inside and see it with my own eyes! It was so cool I felt like I was in the painting.

the picture I took inside the Duomo.

Napoleon's Coronation by Jacques-Louis David

I loved seeing the statue of St. Bartholomew. It was incredible. Bartholomew was skinned alive so the statue represents him with his flayed skin draped on him. The detail is incredible.

this is the coolest thing since slice bread.

Across the sidewalk from the Duomo in the city center is the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The structure was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni and is named after the first king of united Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s four stories tall and houses some of the oldest shops and restaurants in Milan.

milano. - outside of the mall - pretty famous piece of architecture

inside of the mall - Prada on the left & Louis Vuitton on the right

For dinner we had another program sponsored aperitivio at Franks. It was so much fun!

we got strawberry daiquiris for free!

only in milan

The next morning we went to the Poraluppi Foundation where our guide Massimo Martignoni gave a lecture on “Modern Milan: A Profile Through Art, Architecture, & Design.”

After his lecture, Massimo took us to the Villa Necchi Campiglio by Piero Portaluppi. This was basically a showroom of some of their furniture and pieces that you can buy. I loved it so much. This style is right up my alley.

obsessed with this chair


vintage/modern = my fav

if I could I would buy everything.

For lunch we had another program sponsored meal at a Japanese restaurant called “Miyako” it was fabulous. It was really great to have food that wasn’t pasta or bread haha.

Japanese = amazing!!

After Miyako, Massimo took us to visit the Museo del Novecento. This museum was absolutely gorgeous and had one of the best collections of artwork I’ve seen this summer.

Museo del Novecento

view from inside the museum

sweet modern art.

messin with your eyes there.

this guy has on mirror contacts & each photo has a different scene in his eyes - COOOOOL

On our last day in Milan we split in to two group – fashion & interior design. The interior design girls were with Massimo again and he took us on a tour through the best flag stores in downtown Milan. The ones we went to include Flos, Artemide, Cappellini, Alias, Meritalia, Cassina, and B&B. Im so thankful to have been exposed to so many great designers so early in my career. It was an incredible day.

famous lamp.

lauren sitting in a cool chair

office furniture

haha these were fun

haley & carolina

Corbusier - LEGEND.

favorite room of the day.

we were exhausted by the end of the morning - check out that cool iron cube on the wall

Such a cool week in Milan.

Ciao, ciao!

guinness & leprechauns.

Dublin, Ireland

Last weekend Lauren, Melissa, Meredith, Claire, Meghan, & I headed to Dublin! Two of our friends, Anna & Beth, are studying abroad in Brussels so they came and hung out with us all weekend it was so much fun.

real life.

Friday afternoon we went to the famous Guinness Storehouse. I was very impressed with this building because it was about 7 stories and in the shape of a pint glass haha. The tour was a walk through of all of the different ingredients that is in the beer and an explanation of how they brew it. On the fourth floor you get to pour your own pint! Haha we were all pretty good at it! Then the top floor is called the “gravity floor” and has a panoramic view of the city of Dublin…. it was fabulous.

the lease Arthur Guinness signed - 9,000 years for ownership of the building!!

first step - ingredients

inside of the giant pint glass building

there was a room full of notes so this is the one we made!

woo hoo!

pouring the perfect pint

I got a certificate! hahaha

we poured our pints together

War Eagle Moment – I was in the gift shop at the Guinness Storehouse and the cashier (who is Irish aka born & raised in Ireland) asked me where I was from and I said United States…  Alabama. He then asked me if I study there and I said yeah at Auburn University. Here’s the cool part – he says “Oh so you know Cam Netwon?” Hahaha I was shocked. I laughed and I was like – you like American college football?? Turns out he loves it so I told him I have a picture with Cam and he just thought it was the coolest thing. I loved it.

on the gravity floor - view of Dublin

luck of the Irish to ya matey

For dinner, we went to a traditional Irish bar called “The Old Storehouse.” I ordered the Traditional Irish Guinness and Beef Casserole… it was sooooo delicious. There was live music which made it a really fun atmosphere and the perfect place to eat dinner in Dublin.  


That night we were in search for the famous pub called “Whelans” where they filmed a scene from the move “P.S. I Love You.” We had so much fun dancing and enjoying the Irish culture.

We found it!

inside Whelans

Meredith & me dancing in the room where Holly saw Jerry singing in "P.S. I Love You"

On Saturday, we went on another free walking tour like we did in Paris. Our tour guide wasn’t as good as Fiona, but we still had fun learning about the history of Dublin – which includes Vikings, Britain, Jonathan Swift, Guinness, famine, & Ireland gaining its independence.

tour guide - David - in the courtyard of the Dublin Castle

the walls of this tower are 15 feet thick!!

the famous Temple Bar - I tried an Irish coffee here haha

One of my favorite stops on the tour was Trinity College. The college was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I in the heart of Dublin. Some notable people who have graduated from Trinity College include – Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, & Courtney Love (that last one is pretty shocking). The campus is beautiful and very peaceful to walk around.

Trinity College

this building's blueprint was used in the designing of the White House!

Great Famine - over 3 million Irish citizens died from the great famine in 1740 due to bad potato crops

Later that afternoon we wanted to see the countryside, so the people who worked at our hostel suggested Howth! They said that no one comes back disappointed so we gave it a shot.

beautiful Howth.

Howth is a small fishing village located right outside the city of Dublin on the peninsula of Howth Head in Dublin Bay. We hung out by the water for a little bit, watched the fisherman, & ate some food. For dinner we ate at a local restaurant called “The Bloody Stream” haha which is the weirdest name for a restaurant if you ask me. I ordered traditional Irish stew and it was soooo good.

they have seals!!

Alpha Gam in Howth, Ireland!

Caroline - Young Life in Ireland!

The Bloody Stream haha

Traditional Irish Stew - YUMMM

sunset in Howth

Macy Miller - FIR MEN = FURMAN... love you

Dublin night life

Sunday morning, our last visit was back at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the Long Room!! This was my favorite thing we did in Dublin by far.

The Book of Kells was created by Celtic monks (late 6th century to early 9th century) and contains the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) of the New Testament in the Bible. They are written in Latin on vellum (calfskin) with black, red, purple, & yellow ink derived from different minerals. The book is one of the most famous and finest works done in the insular style – which basically means every page contains breathtaking script and images.

The book is found in the library of Trinity College and is open to the public to see. When we went in they had an exhibition built to teach you about how the book was made and what all it contains. After that you walk in to a room where the book is in a glass case opened to one of the pages. It is truly remarkable.

my favorite page - Chi Rho

Another cool thing in the library is the Long Room which is GORGEOUS. There are so many books and while we were there there was an exhibit of old medical documents from Ireland. They had on display a skeleton of a giant – a person who had a tumor on the back of his brain which made him keep growing to over 7 feet tall! It was soo cool!!

 That’s all for Dublin! We had an amazing 3 days in Ireland & loved it!

More to come on Bologna, Milan, & Verona – stay tuned!

cerca trova.

“If you search, you will find”

Week 9 has been a great week for cool/interesting classes. On Tuesday our field trip was to the World Food Programme headquarters in Rome. The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food aid branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. One of the coolest parts about it is that it is funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations, & private donors.

a cool world clock they have in their office

Throughout the summer we have been required to go to the website “FreeRice” where we take quizzes to help learn our Italian vocabulary. For each answer you get correct they donate 10 grains of rice to the WFP to help end hunger. For class, we were required to earn 19, 200 grains of rice haha which is a whole lot, but worth spending time on. I love how easy it was to make a small contribution to a world changing cause.

After visiting the WFP, we switched gears completely and went to Tirelli’s tailor workshop. Tirelli is one of the largest Theater & Cinema costume workshop and collection with over 100,000 pieces on view & display, from the middle ages & renaissance to 1900’s. The Tirelli tailor workshop and its key costume designers have received numerous academy awards in the U.S. for their outstanding work.

a teeny tiny portion of all of the cosumes we got to see

Our guide for the workshop was costume designer, Andrea Sorrentino. Andrea showed us specific pieces shown in American movies and worn by famous actors/actresses.

Gone with the Wind

costumes from the movie Troy... hello Brad Pitt

Alice in Wonderland

The Passion of the Christ... yup those are Jesus' robes

Nicole Kidman's dress from Cold Mountain

Heath Ledger's outfit from Brothers Grimm

I thought it was really neat to see all of these costumes and to learn about all of the hard work that goes in to it.

On Wednesday we had a lecture with Carmel White (a guest teacher) on “Language development in children.” She explained how if we were to learn Italian the way an infant learns how to speak, we would learn a lot faster and easier.

Then, Andrea Sorrentino (the costume designer) came to teach an overview on “the history of the costume.” Andrea is the assistant to Maestro Pierro Tosi, one of the greatest costume designers in Italy. He gave us a description of his profession and his works for fashion, cinema, & theatre. It was really interesting to learn about the way fashion has evolved over time. My favorite part was sketching out the different styles Andrea would draw on the board.

this is Andrea - he has his own page on IMDB!

Today, our interesting classes continue with a lecture on international intellectual property rights and brand protection. Leonardo Pulillio was our guest lecturer who is an entertainment lawyer and teacher at a university Rome. His class was very entertaining and I learned a lot about a trademark, types of design, and copyright.

Our last class of the day was with Livio Iacuitti who gave his second lecturer on Art Restoration. This time he explained how to restore a fresco from an abandoned church. I think art restoring is such a fascinating concept and Im really glad I was privileged to have learned about it.

Lauren and I watched P.S. I Love You last night in preparation for our trip to Dublin – which is tomorrow!! IM PUMPED.


party for the u.s.a.

Happy 4th of July!!

Today was so great. It was a little weird celebrating America’s independence in Italy, but we grilled out anyway!

God bless America.

We had class this morning with Marco about World War II. I love learning from him because he always adds in his personal stories from experiencing these years first hand. One of my favorite stories was when he was in school in Albano and the German troops came to Italy, pulled him out of class, and got him to be their translator because he was the only one who could speak German and Italian! His life is remarkable. He says, “I remember my father pulling a horse drawn carriage and I’ve seen the Skype.”

Our next class was with Livio Iacuitti who is the official restorer for the paintings in the Chigi Palace. He broke down how to restore a painting… sooo fascinating. His first example was of a painting that was old, dusty, and had a huge tear right down the middle of the portraits face. He then proceeded to tell us step by step how he goes about restoring it. One of the steps is to use acetone, like finger nail polish remover, to clean the painting. I loved it.

For lunch we had a cooking lesson with Mary Lou. She made us noodles with oysters and clams… yum!

Mary Lou cooking away

Leslie being a good helper


final product

Tonight we had a party for the u.s.a! It was so much fun!! We grilled out at Peek’s villa and invited everyone at the Chigi Palace. We had hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, chips, & watermelon! It felt just like home in America. We even had a playlist on our iTunes playing our favorite 4th songs like “Born in the U.S.A” “Party in the U.S.A” “Independence Day” “American Baby” and mannnny more patriotic tunes.

Margaret Anne cutting up the watermelon!

Peek telling Alex how to grill

Happy 4th! - Alex & Lauren

We played this game with the finger nail polish where we painted 3 different layers with 3 different colors on our thumb. Then we used the nail polish remover to clean away each layer like the painting restorer taught us this morning!

layers of "paint"

this is Peek's painting she has been working on... isn't she phenomenal?

patriotic cups

4th of July dinner!!

we were so excited!

Alex was a great griller for the night!

the whole group

So even though we weren’t actually in America, we still had a blast celebrating our independence! It turned out to be a very successful fourth of July.

Ciao, ciao!