Things are getting even busier and crazier with me! Leaving for home in less than 3 weeks, finals and studio projects, friends visiting, etc. etc. But let’s go back a week to Croatia…

IMG_3259I did my trip to Split, Croatia with a student-run tour group called Bus2Alps (that I also did Interlaken with) and we left Thursday night via bus around 9:45 (would have left earlier but some chick forgot her passport so we waited for her to run home and get it). The ride was about 12 hours. Would have been really brutal if I didn’t get two seats to myself, but thankfully I did, because if you know me, you know how long my legs are and they just don’t fit in bus seats, or airplane seats.  So I slept most of the way there, in and out of sleep that is. Woke up to see the sunrise!

We arrived in the morning checked into our hostel and had breakfast. I was put in a smaller hostel because a lot of kids booked the trip for that weekend. Turns out my hostel was a little nicer than the bigger one (kind of cozy and homey).

I spent the day wandering Split with my friends Abby (who I went on spring break with) and Paige. We walked to the beach which was kind of far–also a little chilly and very windy.

Friday night we had some drinks at a small and very non-touristy Irish pub we found during the day. It was pretty great! The people were very nice.


DCIM102GOPROSaturday we had an “island hopping” boat cruise. We got on the boat in the morning and cruised across the bay to an island and made port. We explored the area for a little bit then got back on. Back on the boat, we were fed lunch then stopped at another port where we had longer to go lay out on the beach. Some people went swimming but it was pretty cold.


IMG_3286That night Abby and I went to bed kind of early because we had planned to get up around 2:30 AM to watch the Badgers play Kentucky in the Final Four! We had planned to live stream the game on my phone but it wasn’t available “to users outside the U.S.” So we settled for the radio broadcast and game tracker. Unfortunately we lost [still upset].


Sunday we headed back to Flo-town! But not without stopping at the national park and seeing some waterfalls!

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In other news, my computer battery is swelling so much it is pushing my mouse pad up through the body of the computer and making it click sporadically, so I had to unscrew the bottom to relieve the pressure. I will definitely need to buy a new battery when I get home, maybe just end up buying a new computer… ugh, no money though.

Also, the weather in Florence is absolutely gorgeous right now. Perfect Spring weather.

Also, not sure how I’m going to get everything home with weight limits in checked baggage.


Sorrento, Pompeii, Naples


Sorry for the lack of posting, things are getting crazy busy for me! Last weekend (Mar 28-30) I went down to Sorrento with the school group. This is what we did:




Sorrento032814_086Sorrento032814_087Friday morning the 12 of us hopped on a tiny little bus and made our way to Sorrento. It was a 6 hour drive but had some great scenery to look at. We checked into our hotel in Sorrento which is literally just off the main square and then went to a limoncello tasting. Limoncello is awesome, guys. We had the (original) lemon-flavored, but also strawberry, pistachio, and walnut. We were throwing back those samples like it was our job. After drinking with our teachers, we ventured out for an hour or so to explore before a group dinner.





Sorrento032814_103We walked a way down the coast to this little sea-shack of a restaurant where we were to eat dinner. Being on the coast, Sorrento has great seafood so I went out of my comfort zone and got a pasta dish with mussels. They were good, but I don’t think I’d order them again. I prefer meat raised on land. Which reminds me that I need some BBQ and steak when I get home. Mom, take notes!





Sorrento032914_041Headed to Pompeii on our bus right away in the morning. It was an easy ride to the other side of the bay (you can see Mount Vesuvius in some of the pictures). Our professor, Lorenzo, took us around the ruins and told us some history. One thing I didn’t like about the ruins was that the casts of the people were on display in boxes and people crowded around them to take pictures. Felt kind of disrespectful… but I still took some pics…


iPhone032914_023Anyway, afterward we got pizza. It was good. I was looking for the crust to be cooked a little more. I am being very picky about pizza on this trip because Neapolitan pizza is supposed to be the best in the world and I LOVE pizza. I was determined to keep eating pizza until I was satisfied.


Sorrento032914_040After pizza we had some free time so we all went to take a tour to the top of Mount Vesuvius while the profs and bus went back to Sorrento (we were to take a shuttle back). However, the park at the top closed right when we got to the tour spot! We quickly called Lorenzo and got them to turn the bus around and come get us. Bit of a downer we didn’t get to do that tour, but instead I did some shopping–got one of those typical white linen cabana shirts–and watched the sun set over the coast. It was really nice. Also got dinner with the crew and had another pizza, much better than the one in Pompeii but still bot quite there. They cook the edge of the crust well but not the middle.






Checked out of the hotel after having breakfast–by the way, a hotel was a nice change-up from the hostel scene. Took the bus to Naples… Pizza here I come!! Toured old town of Naples with a tour guide, then a bit of new town on our own with our professors. THEN, they took us to Brandi, the restaurant that INVENTED THE MARGHERITA PIZZA. My high expectations rose even higher. The suspense was building. And then it happened. The perfect pizza landed in front of me. It definitely the best (italian-style) pizza I’ve ever had.




The breakdown:

60% of that has to do with the ingredients, which were close to godliness

25% in the way they cooked it, which was near perfect

10% was just pure hype–they said it would be good so I made sure it was good

5% was being in Italy.

After pizza we got back on the bus and headed home. Only to be stopped by a flat tire.



At the rest stop, waiting for the flat to get fixed…

Some thoughts:

  • Sorrento was what I thought Naples would be (smallish, on the sea, chill, gorgeous), but Naples was pretty much just big and dirty. Didn’t quite like Naples.
  • Lots of stray dogs in southern Italy. Lots. and cats.
  • The climate reminded be a lot of SoCal or Miami.


Off to Croatia!

A Very American Spring Break – Edinburgh, Dublin, Galway


Wednesday March 12

Edinburgh031214_070I hopped on another northern-bound train in the morning and was off to Edinburgh, Scotland to meet up with my friend Abby, from Florence. We checked into our hostel which was… adequate. Then went out and did a little exploring and got a beer at a pub.


Luggage update: HOW CAN THEY STILL BE LOOKING FOR IT?? Oh my god, I’m never going to get any of that back. That’s it, I’m going to sue them and file claims, and get all of my money back.

Thursday March 13

The next day we set out to see the sights. We walked up the Miracle Mile towards the castle and took some pics.



We were kind of wandering and weren’t really sure what to do so we though, hey, why not walk down to the coast. It sounded like a good idea until 45 minutes later we arrive at a shipyard with little-to-no view of the ocean. So, we went into a shopping mall that was randomly positioned right on the shore. Sat down for a bit, got some wifi, then opted to take a bus back up to the center.






We visited the national gallery and I got to see some Van Goghs, Seurats, and other famous works. We also visited the national museum which was quite extensive and impressive. Also, both were free so that was nice.

Did a bit of shopping and I bought a cap, apparently I wear hats now. Although I try to moderate it in Italy because it makes me look like a tourist here. I also learned about Scottish tartans (a type of plaid cloth unique to each clan) and tried to find an O’Connor one for my grandmother, but came up empty handed. I thought I’d try in Ireland but it’s not really a thing there.


Anyway, finished the night with some more pubs and beers/ciders… After climbing up to Arthur’s Seat for sunset.


Luggage update: Luggage? What luggage?

Friday March 14

Edinburgh Night StreetSo, our plane to Dublin didn’t leave until the afternoon so we basically had another full day to explore Edinbugh. And to be honest, we didn’t need another full day. But, we decided to do the castle tour despite it costing sixteen pounds. Still not really sure if it was worth it except for killing time. After killing some more time in the café, we walked over to the shopping mall and browsed for a little bit, sat down at another café and then I decided that we should just go see a movie. So that’s what we did. We saw The Grand Budapest Hotel and it was spectacular. I personally think it’s Wes Anderson’s best film.


Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

By the time the movie was over it was time to get on a bus to the airport. Got to the gate and the people told us that we were supposed to get our boarding passes (which we printed out at home) stamped at check-in (which we never went to). Apparently this is a thing with Ryanair. Ugh, Ryanair. No worries though, they let us go on with nothing more than an annoyed eye roll. Almost died on the plane ride too, but that’s another story.

Thoughts on Edinburgh:

The people are extremely nice and totally willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Awesome accents, but sometimes a little hard to understand. Sadly, not too much to do (maybe I just misjudged how much time I had to spend there). 

Oh hey, Dublin. Arriving in Ireland felt like coming home, nice people, nice place. We checked into our hostel, which was… satisfactory, then walked up towards the river in search of a good pub. Wasn’t hard to find one because the streets were crowded and so we picked one that looked good. We found a small one with (really good) live music and stayed there for a bit before hopping over to another one.

Luggage update: Beer.

Saturday March 15

Started the morning by walking around the city, up O’Connell Street, down Henry Street,


I’m happy, I just don’t look it.

and over to the Guinness Storehouse for our tour and obligatory pint. The tour/museum gave me a real appreciation for the craft of brewing beer, or at least Guinness.


Did we notice the hat?

Afterwards we walked to the train station to make our way to the Irish west coast, Galway.



Bridget and me

As per routine, in Galway we checked into our hostel which was… SOOOOO SKETCHY. But nothing bad ever happened so it’s okay. Like, no locks, no lockers, gross and dirty, and run by an old man who looks like he just got off the night shift in a haunted shipyard. So after that we walked up through the main pub street in search of a pint. We found a few pubs suggested to me by my friend Bridget ( who studies in Galway. The Quays, The King’s Head and Skeffs were all awesome. These pubs are like four stories and have multiple bars and balconies, and seating areas, and music, and everything you could ever want from a pub. Soo cool. Also, we watched Ireland beat France in the Rugby Six Nations tournament so it was NUTS. And it was Brian O’Driscoll’s last game or something so it was even MORE NUTS. Oh, and I ran into Bridget too!

Luggage update: Forget it. It must be a sign.

Sunday March 16


Went to the Cliffs of Moher! We did a guided bus tour thing which was a great idea because our tour guide was awesome and we made several short stops on the way to see more of Ireland.

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Michael O'Malley, our wonderfully charming tour guide.

Michael O’Malley, our wonderfully charming tour guide.

Then, more pints to cap off the night, but early (ish) to bed for our 7:30AM train back to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day. Oh and my butt was grabbed at least 6 times between these two nights by drunk men and women. But hey, I took it as a compliment.

Luggage update: Beer.

Monday March 17


DCIM102GOPROST. PATRICK’S DAY IN DUBLIN. Check that off the bucket list. To sum it up quickly, I imagine this is their equivalent of our Thanksgiving Day parade in NYC. All of O’Connell street was blocked off for the parade and even (most) of the pubs were empty because everyone was on the street, or on some high structure, to watch the parade. It was so crowded I really didn’t even see the parade. But no worries because just the atmosphere of Dublin was enough. One thing about it that surprised me was there was a lack of drunk Irish drinking Guinness in the streets. The whole event was very family-oriented, but I imagine it’s different at night. I wouldn’t know because we had to catch a plane back to Florence in the afternoon. No problems with that though because we flew Air France, a nice change of pace.


Thoughts on Ireland:

Amazing pubs. Great people. Beautiful scenery. The accents. No pasta. Beer. 

Tuesday March 18

Back to school, oh and my luggage arrived at school.

Overall, a fantastic spring break, and technically the first spring break vacation I’ve ever had (visiting a college in Miami doesn’t count). London might be my favorite place I’ve been so far, with Switzerland and Ireland coming in close second/third.

This coming week, my aunt is coming to visit me in Florence! Should be fun showing her around. I’m also going to Naples and Pompeii next weekend, then Croatia the weekend after that! Feelin blessed.

A Very American Spring Break – London, Leeds

Friday March 7


I woke up ready to start my spring break adventure in the UK. Got my phone, wallet, passport, and camera. Ready to go. I get to the Florence airport and check in at the desk. For whatever reason, they made me check my carry on (which was annoying, but they didn’t make me pay for it so I was okay). Get down to the gate. Delayed an hour because they overbooked the flight. Great. No problems for me though because I booked far in advance (yay me!). Land in London-Heathrow no problem… until I’m waiting for my luggage. Along with the rest of  the flight, my luggage was lost. How does one lose an entire flight’s luggage? A question I’m still trying to get answered.


So, I wait in line at the claims area and because of my luck I got stuck in the slow line and was literally the last person to file a claim. Alright, cool. They were optimistic about getting the luggage back the next day so I was just planning on holding out until then.

So, I exit the airport and go down to the tube station to try and figure that out. Thankfully, unlike Italy, the Brits have their stuff together so the tube was no problem. Made it to my friend’s flat (and by this I mean dorm) after a quick McDonalds stop (I know, but I was desperate, cheap, and in need of wifi).

So, we went out to a pub and I fell in love with London. Also, I beat some guys at darts and threw a bullseye.


Saturday March 8

Saturday was a day of site-seeing and tourism. I saw it all.


Street performer in Trafalgar Square

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Saw these cute kids who basically sum up everything you need to know about England.

And then I had this very American burger.


And then I went to a nightclub that surpassed any expectations for a nightclub I had ever had. And they played Jump Around, so I felt right at home.


Luggage update: no update.

Sunday March 9


London030914_035So what I haven’t talked about yet is the weather I’ve been having in London thus far. If you’ve read any of my posts about my other trips you know that every time I forget to bring my umbrella, it rains. Well, knowing that London is known for rain I had brought my umbrella this time (although it was in my lost luggage). But have no fear because it has been all sun and warm weather.

Sunday was especially nice so we tubed over to Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park area. We grabbed lunch and ate out in the park. It was an absolutely amazing time. Probably my favorite moment of spring break. Weather really makes or breaks your feeling towards a place.




Also at this point I have been surviving on one outfit, and no toiletries so I went and bought some. Kept my receipts so hopefully the airline will pay for them.

I also went and visited 221b Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes.

Monday March 10

We went to the Camden Markets in the morning and explored. Saw this really cool wood phone case wight the Underground symbol on the back. Should’ve bought it because my case is now broken. And then in the afternoon……



Tubed out of the city a bit to get to Leavesden Studios. I had to do the tour by myself because my friend Liz who I was staying with was in class. But it was still totally worth it, because I’m obsessed with both Harry Potter and filmmaking. For those of you who don’t know, this is basically a (fun) museum of the making of the Harry Potter films. See the pics to see what I saw!


Butterbeer on the backlot


Mirror of Erised


4, Privet Drive,
Little Whinging,


Creepy baby Voldemort animatronic puppet


Monday can be considered a great success and a great end to my time in London. Huge shoutout to Liz ( for hosting me, being my tour guide, and letting me sleep on her very uncomfortable and tiny floor!

Luggage update: ‘still tracing’ and getting rather annoyed

Thoughts on London:
So big. Felt like I barely scatted the surface of it. Very American. Nice to speak English. People are nicer than Italians (generally, most people are nicer than most Italians). Pastries are better in Italy. Loved the pub scene. Loved not drinking so much wine. Lots of beer and cider. Oooooo cider. London has an interesting mix of futuristic architecture and old victorian architecture. I liked that. 

Tuesday March 11

King's Cross

King’s Cross

Got up early and took a train from King’s Cross up to Leeds for the day and night to visit another friend, Kelly, in Leeds. Straight off the train Kelly showed me the downtown area and I bought another much needed change of clothes. We walked around town then up a hill to her campus. I had my first savourie, a Guinness-soaked steak one. It was pretty incredible.

photo 3

We hung around a bit and ran some errands then got ready for the night. Kelly and all of her British friends brought me to a club and we danced. and we danced. and then the sun came up. Okay, I didn’t stay out that late but for me it was pretty late. For them, not really.


Huge shoutout to Kelly for hosting me and letting me sleep on her much larger and more comfortable floor!

Thoughts on Leeds:
A nice median between college-town and downtown vibe. Also has a countryside vibe if you walk about 45/60 minutes outside of the center. They know how to party. Loving the accents. Still working on mine.

Stay tuned for part 2: Edinburgh, Scotland, and Galway and Dublin, Ireland!

DoF – Seen in Dublin

So, my absence in posting has been due to an incredible, long, and exhausting spring break. I’m in the process of sorting and editing photos so my posts will be coming up soon. I’ll be doing it city-by-city so first up will be London. Also, long story short the airline forced me to check my carry-on and then proceeded to lose the entire flight’s luggage so I had no computer charger… or changes of clothes. But, do as they do in England, I guess: Keep Calm and Carry On.










Semester Projects

Sorry for the long gap in posting, but it was a busy midterm week. I leave for spring break in about half an hour so this is a pretty rushed post but here are some pics of work I’ve done this semester in Painting and Printmaking/Book Arts. Expect some posts about London/Leeds/Edinburgh/Dublin/Galway in the coming week!


My studio


Painting midterm project. It’s conceptual… I know, I’m surprised I did it too.


Side project. Cute little sketchbook


And some other sketchbooks


And the first sketchbook I made.


Midterm project for print. Lino cut. The whole image is one single cut (except for the “ciao” title. Letterpress titles. Hand-bound accordion fold.


Midterm Print project. Lino cut image. Letterpress type. Made the casing too

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I’m just going to make this a really long post instead of breaking it up into several for each day I spent in Rome. I’ll try and be concise. And where I’m not, I’ll break it up with pics.


Took the train Thursday night and got into Rome around 8:30PM then met up with my friend Brontë who I stayed with all weekend. She and 6 other girls were placed in this apartment that is located about a block and a half from the river and fairly close to the Vatican and Piazza Navona. The apartment is huge and really nice, I think they said it is worth like 5 million euro?

We went to The Abbey, an Irish pub near their place, and listened to some open mic and Brontë’s roommate Claire sang.


We got some gelato, walked around Campo dè Fiori which is a small Piazza that is basically a farmers market by day and bar scene by night. Walked into Sloppy Sam’s, which is exactly what it sounds like, then walked out. Went to bed.



Rome1Day022114_013Didn’t leave the apartment until like 11 or something on Friday. Brontë, Savanna (roommate), and I walked to the Vatican and climbed the St. Peter’s Basilica dome. It was pretty magnificent up there and the weather was gorgeous. It was gorgeous all weekend so no complaints there. Here are some pics:



Savanna, me, Brontë

Rome1Day022114_044 Rome1Day022114_045


Rome1Day022114_060Afterwards, we went to Piazza Navona, walked around and looked at all the street art. This is something that is lacking in Florence. Although, in hindsight, a lot of the art they’re selling is just prints, which is ok for some people, but not me. One guy tried to convince me his oil paintings weren’t prints by holding it up to the light to see the texture: he just added some paint on top of a print. It’s really easy to tell with oil or acrylic paintings. Watercolors, not so much… you’ll see on Saturday when I return.

PiazzaNavonaArtWent to the Pantheon. Ciao, Pantheon.



Rome1Day022114_087Had gelato at Giolitti’s which had some major hype around it and quite frankly, didn’t live up to it. Now, it was still above average, it just didn’t blow me out of the water like I expected it to. Main criticism was that it was more icy than creamy. I spent 4.50 euro on a cone – got Nocciola, Café, and Crema, and whip cream on top.


Everything here we got for free.

Everything here we got for free.

We went back to the apartment, hung out for a little bit, then went to Tony’s on the other side of the river for dinner. We had a decent meal, especially for the price. I think they gave us at least three bread baskets (between 5 people). It was crazy busy though so service was a bit hectic. When we were done, they essentially kicked us out so they could turn over the table to new customers. How un-Italian of them! Although, they shoved some free tiramisu in our faces before we left, so there’s that. We finished the night by walking around in Trastevere (other side of the rive). I saw the infamous John Cabot, home to half of UW-Madison.

Getting kicked out.

Getting kicked out.


Blue: roughly Friday's walk Red: Saturday's walk

Blue: roughly Friday’s walk
Red: Saturday’s walk [about 10 miles]

Brontë and all of her roommates were gone on Saturday (either woke up and left for Venice at like 5AM or were elsewhere) so I spent the day rome-ing (see what I did there) around by myself, which was actually quite nice. I’ll sum up the day in pictures:





Tomb of the Unknown Soldier / Monument of Vittoria Emmanuelle?


Piazza Popolo

Piazza Popolo



Trevi Fountain

I also bought this really nice watercolor piece from a street artist at Piazza Navona. He gave it to me for 7 euro because I was also a painter. Artists helping artists.



I got up early and headed to the Vatican to do the museums and Sistine Chapel which open at 9AM. I guess they are free the last Sunday of every month, too so I didn’t have to pay! The downside was the line was literally 4-5 blocks long (and even longer when I came back out). However, the perk of doing this by yourself is that no one thought twice when I jumped to nearly the front of the line.


The Vatican Museum was the most intense thing ever. First of all, it was a giant maze and I never knew which way I was going or what exhibit I was in. I saw everything from ancient Egyptian sarcophaguses and Roman sculptures, to Van Gogh and Matisse masterpieces. The pope sure likes his art. The contemporary art exhibit was my favorite and was literally right before you enter the Sistine chapel (which is interesting in itself) so everyone was just booking past it and I’m over here drooling like “yo! you just passed a Van Gogh.”


Van Gogh






Sistine Chapel

And as a reward for making it this far, I reward you with all of the selfies I took on Saturday:










Closing thoughts on Rome:

  1. Top 3 places I saw: Borghese Gardens, Piazza Navona, Vatican.
  2. A little cleaner than Florence (could be just the areas I was in).
  3. A better show of money than in Florence (i.e. buildings are kept up–Florence looks like it hasn’t been touched since the 1400’s).
  4. Not as many dogs compared to Florence.
  5. Rome=Minneapolis, Florence=Madison.
  6. Made the best purchase on food in Rome: Pizza/Calzone/Sandwich (not really sure what this qualifies as but I got all of this for only 3.50 euro).