Thursday, June 28, 2018

Travel Guide: Two days in Rome and Naples

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Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
 Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
 Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy
Naples, Rome, Naples Travel guide, Rome Travel Guide, L'antica Pizzeria "da Michele", where to eat in Naples, what to do in Naples, spend two days in Naples, what to wear on a Summer holiday in Italy

Vacation style:


I've made it to Italy three times now and every time leave feeling like it was just not enough time, but this time was really different. This time I fell in love. Hopefully, the feeling is mutual. We started off our whirlwind two and a half week European tour in Italy, and I want to share every bit along the way, so I decided to do a travel series on the cities. Today we are starting with Italy. It went something like this -- Rome, Naples, Amalfi, Naples. Rome was the jumping off point, and the cheapest city to fly into because it's a big hub, there are lots of flights, and some even pretty inexpensive.  

We landed in Rome around 8:30pm local time and truth be told I think this is my new favorite time to land internationally. While we were still very much in a daytime frame of mind, arriving later at night forced us to acclimate to the local time and head right to sleep, prepping us for a hectic next day. At the airport, we had three choices to head into the city-- taxi, uber or train. I knew at 9:30pm it was way more convenient to take a direct route like an Uber or taxi, but I really love public transportation-- you get to know a city better, spend way less, and in this case, it was a quick 32 min direct route to Termini, the direction we were headed. So we jumped on the Leonardo Express for 18 euros total and were in the heart of the city in less than an hour. 

Pro tip: Take the Leonardo Express if you land at Fiumicino Airport in Roma, it's cheap and super easy!

The following day we got up early to scope out a tasty breakfast place, and there are too many to be picky, honestly. As long as they have coffee and pastries in the window, you'll be fine. I ordered two cream-filled croissants and cappuccino, a little excessive maybe, but I was on vacation. ;) Since we had limited time in Rome, we spent the next few hours walking the streets with the Spanish steps and the Trevi fountain as the final destination. We've been to Rome before and had a full week, so we've already done these attractions before, but how could we not stop in to see such beautiful and lively places? It was about a 30-minute walk from Termini to the Spanish steps, and even at 11am, it was hot! I was in a black maxi and wished I had put more sunscreen on and worn fewer clothes. ;) We ran out of time to see the Trevi fountain as we had a 2pm train taking us directly to Naples and were cutting it close. If you wake up early enough, it's entirely doable to see the Spanish steps and the Trevi fountain as they are about 20 minutes apart from each other. 

Pro-tip: If you are looking for a coveted Instagram shot of you at the fountain, get there at 6am! I promise it will be you and about 2 other people-- you'll have the fountain all to yourself. 

We walked back to Termini train stain to catch our train ride to Naples. Termini is busy and crowded so try to not have your valuables exposed. A quick hour and ten minutes later we were in Napoli! Naples or Napoli as I affectionately call it is home of the pizza, it's where it was invented, and you KNOW your girl loves herself some pizza. It has also known to be called "real Italy"-- the Italy that doesn't change it's ways for tourists or visitors and has remained the same way for thousands of years. It has a city vibe, gritty, with graffiti on the majority of the walls we saw in the center of town, but it was such a privilege to see this part of the world and experience how Napolitanos live. Oh and the food, or better yet the pizza -- my God-- such a gift to mankind. Best pizza hands down Pizzeria da Michele -- this spot is a little crowded since it's been featured in the movie Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts, but worth the wait for a table. They only serve two types of pizza, traditional (with no cheese), or Margherita, and maybe three drinks (beer, water or soda). It's definitely a no-frills kind of spot, but the dough is what makes the pie, it was the best pizza I've ever had, I even finished the whole thing -- crust and all. 

Pro tip: Visit around 3-4pm when the lunch lines have died down, and the place is a bit more empty. We were seated right away around this time. 

A few of the other things we really enjoyed in Naples:

  • Walking: bring a good pair of walking shoes, good thing clunky white sneakers are trending, and walk everywhere! We downloaded a Rick Steves walking tour of Napoli and finished it in three hours, it was a great way to learn the history and see the city. You can also rent a Vespa!
  • Waterfront: This area along the coastline is far away from the center of town, but still a walkable distance. Along the way, you'll see some pretty beautiful monuments and lots of outdoor markets, and boutiques along the main road.
  • Aperativo: This is a cocktail hour tradition. Pre-dinner it's traditional to have a palette cleaning drink, the Aperol Spritz is the most well known, but on this trip, I saw a Lemoncello spritz on the menu, that also sounds delicious. I love Aperativo because it comes with all the snacks since I'm always hungry. :)


That should hold you over for 48 hours in Rome and Naples! What did you think? Would love to hear what you did if you've visited this area and what you want to see in my next travel series post. Stay tuned for the Amalfi coast. And follow me on Instagram to see all the throwback images I still am posting. 

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Travel Guide: Glamping in Mendocino

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Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
 Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
 Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms, glamping, camping in Mendocino, Glamping at Mendocino Grove
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms
Mendocino travel guide, mendocino, what to do in Mendocino, Mendocino Grove, Navarro winery, Pennyroyal farms



You might be thinking this is the most nature-filled post you've ever seen on Allergic to Vanilla, and you would be right. Almost nine years blogging and if you've followed along from the beginning you know I'm a city girl through and through. Fun fact about me, I've never been camping, let alone glamping, so when Mendocino Grove invited me to join their press weekend at their one-year-old property, I jumped at the chance to get my first camping experience. Today I'm sharing my highlight reel from the trip as well as my recommendations for Mendocino if you find yourself planning a trip to this beautiful coastal town.

Where to stay: Mendocino Grove, obviously. It might come as a shock to you if you've never been camping before, but sleeping under the stars, unplugging from the world and being one with nature has never been more luxe and good for your psyche. The property was the perfect amount of indoor meets outdoor, where spacious family-sized tents housed Queen sized beds layered with the most comfortable heated mattresses and Pendelton-esque blankets. No more freezing under a sleeping bag, amirite? Each site had its own campfire complete with logs and a smores kit (extra charge) to really get that camp feel down. Imagine being surrounded by a forest of Redwoods, under a canopy of vivid stars and roasting your own marshmallows? It's quite the experience!

Another gripe I've heard from those who go camping is that going to the bathroom is less than glamorous. Well at Mendocino Grove they have that all taken care of for you. There are hot showers with changing stalls, private restrooms and products you can use like soap and shampoo (last I heard they were going to get conditioner too) so you don't need to lug around your own toiletries.

They also have a sweet deck where you can congregate with your neighbor campers for breakfast (which is included), a game of bocce, a morning yoga session, or a nightcap around the roaring fire. If it sounds too idyllic to be true, trust me when I say it's better. It really was such a lovely experience. Maybe I am cut out for this camp life, after all. ;)

Where to eat: Downtown Mendocino is only a short 5-minute drive from the campgrounds, and it's definitely worth checking if you are looking for some action-- from bars, boutique shops, and everything sprinkled in between, with the most breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. If you only go to one restaurant make it Tote FĂȘte Deli and Burger Grill and order the burger with fries, extra crispy. This is a super casual spot but honestly one of the best burgers I've ever had in my life. It's unpretentious, cheap, and the owners are really lovely. I also recommend heading to Frankie's, down the street, to try the mushroom ice cream. When else can you have mushroom ice cream? If you are looking for a more upscale dining experience, I recommend Trillium Cafe, it's beautiful and cozy with a fireplace and ocean views. If you only try one thing make it the Lemon Napolean!

What to see: Kayaking down Big River Beach was the coolest experience, bring lots of layers and be prepared to break a sweat unless you opt for a motorized kayak at Catch a Canoe. We saw so many otters and interesting river birds.

Navarro Winery is a 45 min drive from Mendocino, but it's in the direction back to San Francisco so you might as well stop for some wine tasting to ease the two and a half hour drive back into the
Bay. Navarro is a well known local winery in the area with the most beautiful Wisteria overhung gazebo and a not-too-shabby property with dozens of lambs grazing the fields. I've also heard popping into Pennyroyal is a must, they are a sister property to Navarro and specialize in cheese!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

what to wear when blueberry picking

blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara
blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara
blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara
blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara
blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara
blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara
blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara
blueberry picking, Ott farms, Central valley agriculture, what to wear when fruit picking, green summer dress, straw fedora, zara


If you watch my Stories on IG you know, it's more than just pretty clothes. A few of the notables in my life are my husband, lots of travel, working out, food and cooking -- the things that inspire me and make life that much sweeter. The later has an exceptional place in my heart (and my stomach, if we are being honest). I love the idea of growing my own food for consumption but since we don't have the weather here in San Francisco to grow agriculture in abundance, and my green thumb is nonexistent -- seriously, I killed a baby Christmas tree once-- I love getting out of the city to pick my own food and in this instance blueberries! I did it two years ago and stopped back at the same grove on opening day while on the way to visit my in-laws last month.  

We spent a little under an hour at Ott Farms picking four pounds of delicious blueberries this day. On the other side of the orchard, Ott has cherries, but they weren't fully ripe, so I'll just have to come back to pick those one day before the Summer is over. I'm in search of a nectarine or peach orchard if any of my Bay Area readers have any suggestions would love to hear 'em in the comments below! 

Some tips for what to wear when fruit picking:
  • Wear SPF. It gets hot when you are mid-day in an orchard, so lather up.
  • Bring a hat.
  • Wear something you are comfortable in, whether it's a full dress or jeans and a tee.
  • Wear closed toed shoes. While these sandals were the better choice to compliment this dress, closed toe shoes would have been more comfortable to navigate the orchard in since you are walking lots and in dirt fields sometimes.
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