Cortona and Roma

After finishing our ride in Albenga, we hopped on the train and rode five hours to Cortona, an etruscan hill-town in Tuscany. I lived in Cortona for a year in sixth grade, so we try to come back and see our friends and our old house as often as possible. We stayed for a week in the house we used to live in; seeing friends, eating at our favorite restaurants, and reading tons of trashy novels by the pool. We didn't have a car this week, so we had to get everywhere by bike or foot- you can imagine I wasn't thrilled about this. After a week we picked ourselves up and headed on the train to Rome.

Ok so you are probably wondering why you are staring at a stack of bread and praying that this isn't one of those dumb Facebook posts of random food that your college friends keep tagging you in. Well good news, this is so much better. This, my friend, is a stack of the BEST BREAD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. Warm, salty, chewy... I could honestly go on forever. If you follow me on snapchat, you know that I am obsessed with this bread. Yes, bread is my favorite food ever (cue Oprah's bread commercial) but this bread is different. This bread comes from the town of Frescati, a little village on the outskirts of Rome (more commonly known for it's white wine). My parents have been coming to Frescati forever- it's half an hour by train from Rome and sooo much cheaper. It is truly the best place to stay if you want to explore Rome. We always stay in a quaint one star hotel who's crowning glory is it's proximity to the forno that makes this bread. Every morning before dawn the bakers across the way start making this bread (generally known as pizza bianco) and by 7:30 it is up for sale in the pasticeria across the street. Giant bundles of twigs and wood fuel their ovens and give the bread its smokey flavor. If you are ever even vaguely close to Frescati you must stop and get some pizza bianco. Trust me-it will be worth it. 

But who the f*ck wants to read an entire paragraph about bread?! More about my travels now:

So after leaving Cortona we headed to Frescati and settled in. In the mornings we got up, grabbed a cappuccino and headed into Roma. The first day we wondered around the hip quarter of Trastaverde and grabbed lunch before heading over the the Pantheon and the Trevi fountain. We've been to Rome so many times and have seen most of the sights, but some places are so awe inspiring that they are worth going back to. I don't know why, but the Pantheon, with its 9m hole in the dome and sphere like qualities is so exciting to me I always want to stop by. 

The next day we visited the Forum, the cite of Roman rule for centuries, to please my latin inclined sister and to get a feel for the roots of the city. Minorly nerdy but majorly interesting. After a while however, I had to take a shopping break. I headed to the base of the Spanish Steps where the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, Pucci, and Salvatore Ferragamo abound. After spending a pretty penny on clothes I don't have room in my suitcase for, we headed back to Frescati for our  final dinner. 

The next day we loaded up our car (!!!) and headed for Venice. More on that adventure coming soon!!!

S

Spring Break 2016

Day 1:

I got these glasses from Etnia Barcelona. They are the Boqueria HVTQ from the originals collection and I love them so much! They are perfect for the Bay Area's ever changing weather.

Our first day in the bay was rainy so we decided to go see my baby goats in the morning and then we went on a very soggy hike in the Oakland hills. After we had showered and regained feeling in our fingers, we went to one of my favorite spots in Oakland, Blue Bottle Coffee. The old C.W. Morris bank down on Broadway was renovated and turned into a Blue Bottle my junior year of high school. 

Some of our other friends from school were also in the Bay, so later that night we had them over for a big BBQ. The weather was not great, but seeing all our friends was a blast. All in all, it was a great first day.

Day 2:

Day 2 was much sunnier than day 1, so we decided to take Bart into San Francisco for some shopping and good food! We grabbed coffee at Peet's with my dad (who works in SF) and then headed to Westfield Mall. After spending far too much money and spending way too long in Sephora, we met our other friend and grabbed lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. We always eat there, not because the food is particularly delicious, but because the view of Union Square is unbeatable. We ended the day with a big fiesta at home with my grandparents :). 

Day 3:

The gang minus me and Jenna ^^^

Day 3 was sunny and warm so we headed over to the Golden Gate Bridge and Crissy Fields. We took a long walk to the bridge and back and ended with a picnic on the beach. Once back in Oakland, we had to stop by In N Out for my non-Californian friends and grab some shakes and T-shirts. We finished the day with a homemade pizza party!

Day 4:

I can't find these exact sunglasses online but here is a similar pair. 

I love this fluffy turkish towel by Of One Sea because it is so soft and perfect for the beach!

This is the dusk shell bikini by Peony Swimwear and I am in love! It is so cute and stays in place even if you are splashing in the waves. 

Nancy and Carly left yesterday, so Justine, Cillian and I went a got some pastries (to drown in our sorrows) at La Fournee, my favorite bakery in Berkeley. After dropping Cillian at home, Justine and I drove along Grizzly Peak and captured some pretty great views of the Bay. In the afternoon we headed over to Half Moon Bay, lounged on the beach, and met some family for dinner on the coast. 

Day 5:

Cillian made such a cute little friend!

Day 5 started out with a hike at Sibley Volcanic National Park, one of my favorite places to hike in the bay, then lots of driving between Oakland and Berkeley, running errands. I grabbed coffee at Arbor, an über hipster coffee joint on Telegraph and tried (and quickly gave up)  working on my philosophy paper. We spent the afternoon and evening visiting my goats and sitting with them (until 12 am!) waiting for the does to kid. Last I checked we were up to 17 kids, all born within the last two weeks. As you can see, they are pretty irresistible! 

Day 6:

File Mar 20, 10 59 46 AM.jpeg

Etnia Barcelona sunglasses and Birdcage Boutique dress pictured here ^^^^

I recently got the comfiest sweats and tank from a super cool Hawaiian company called Of One Sea and I am obsessed. Check out their stuff, it is so soft and perfect for lounging around.

Blue Bottle's New Orleans ice coffee is actual heaven

Day 6, and my final full day at home, was my favorite by far. I made waffles for me and Justine for breakfast and then she and I went on a pretty hike in the hills. I went for a short bike ride with my parents to practice using my new clip in bike shoes, and then Justine and I headed out to work on some shoots. We shot for a couple hours and then grabbed coffee at Blue Bottle. The day ended with family, old friends, and good food. 

Day 7:

Lemon current scone and rose ice-tea at Elmwood café in Berkeley ^^^^

The bay area has the BEST Mexican food and I was so glad I got to have some before heading back to Tacoma :). 

Happy Birthday Olin!!!

My last day home was bitter-sweet, just as last days should be. I got coffee with old friends and tried to take in the beauty of Oakland one last time. Justine and I joined my parents at a 1st birthday party for a family friend's son, and then we headed home for one last hike and to finish packing before I headed to the airport. 

Thanks mom and dad for hosting me and all my friends and for putting up with all my drama and craziness. This break was amazing and I can't wait to be back in August.

Love,

Serena

 

 

 

 

 

Farmhouse Inn

After our stay at H2Hotel, Fedor and  I were invited to stay here, at the Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma. We were blown away by the beauty and  the hospitality of the whole place. From the homemade marshmallows at the complementary smore's bar, to the Michelin Star restaurant, the Farmhouse Inn made our stay incredible. Check out some shots I got from our visit!

And the rooms were absolutely gorgeous... 

Fedor and I loved our stay and can't wait to go back!

XO,

Serena

H2Hotel

This weekend, Fedor and I got to stay at the H2Hotel in Healdsburg, CA. This hotel is located in Sonoma, right in the heart of wine country. We were asked to come to the hotel and  photograph their new chefs (couple Patrick and Casey) and the amazing food they prepare. Everything from the presentation to the taste was superb. SO FREAKING DELISH. Between the two of us we ate 8 separate dishes. Needless to say we were stuffed, but after our amazing dinner we got to waddle upstairs to our comfy  bed and fall asleep.

The hotel's focus is green living. It is LEED certified, so everything from the food to the towels is organic and  sustainable. 

Breakfast the next morning was superb, simple yet delicious, with handmade pastries and Flying Goat Coffee and Tea. Getting to see the Spoon Bar (their in-house restaurant) in the daylight was beautiful, and the lounge and  pool were gorgeous, too. 

The hotel also has bikes for their guests to use, so Fedor and I biked around the cute town and snapped some photos. 

If you are ever in the area and looking for a place to eat or stay, H2Hotel is perfect. 

What is your favorite hotel on the west coast? (I'm serious I want to know :) )

XO,

Serena