Living in Italy

Hey Readers!

So we know in our other posts we briefly mention our month away living in another country, but today we wanted to talk more about that and what we did there, and all that jazz!

Kathleen and I decided last year that we wanted to get more working experience with our anthropology degree. We emailed professors trying to find sites in Canada that were more affordable and really could not find anything that interested us. We heard from one professor that she was taking anthropology majors to Italy to get some cultural anthropology experience, and we attended that meeting, but the professor was super boring and Kathleen was road tripping (see other article!) around that time so it wouldn’t have worked out. I had even debated going myself feeling desperate for any sort of experience, but then Kathleen mentioned  looking up archaeological sites online that seemed to be promising! After finding a reliable website, we decided on Pompeii at the scavi (ruins)!

Our month was one of the best things that ever happened to me! We lived with an Italian family and had lots of parties with them, and got to know them really well regardless of the language barrier. We lived with 5 other people in a basement suite and although we could drive each other crazy, we did everything together and had a lot of fun getting to know people around the world. One time we were grocery shopping and we would say something with our Canadian accent and they would say the same word with their British, Scottish, and American accents and we would stop and be like “Wait, how did you just say that” then get in debates about who was wrong. We travelled around Italy together on weekends, and worked together during the week. We had family meals every night and we all knew when to hang out by ourselves so to not drive everyone crazy!

The work we did in Pompeii was also very cool. We had a very strict supervisor, but I felt like I learned a lot. Our artifacts came from a bathhouse within the scavi, and for the first few days of the trip, we would wash the pottery and let it dry. We would have to weigh it, date it, mark it down with a number and try to figure out what kind of a vessel it was. Was it used for cooking, transporting oils… the list goes way, way on! Also, we would have to weigh it, describe it in Italian, and then they would get photographed and drawn later. The pottery was very cool and some pieces could be put together to make up a whole side of a pot!

I like to think I’m pretty used to travelling to new places, however, I didn’t really expect to experience so much culture shock in that month! Something so simple as finding taco seasoning became a guessing game, and the people who ran our dig worked on Italy time (aka being late means nothing). It was super interesting to compare what was expected of us in Canada, versus expected in Italy. Italians have an interesting nightlife, where all the stores and shops stay open until midnight or 1 am on Friday. Saturday, and Sunday. People dress up and spend most of the night hanging out with their friends, dancing, playing.and of course, trying to get the attention of the opposite sex. Plazas and town squares really facilitate these interactions, and its something I miss a lot about Italy! There is no designated meeting place in Canada. Young people meet in coffee shops or bars,which in themselves facilitate interesting interactions, they are just not as universal.  

Definitely a key component of this experience was knowing when to take alone time. It’s important to remember that we all need some time to ourselves! In the house we all took alone time after our day of work, sat on the couch if we wanted and cooked meals together if we wanted. If you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) as I do, it can be EXTRA hard to find the time you need for yourself, since there is always something going on! As long as you recognize that the party is not going to take off without you, you might be able to charge your batteries a bit! Cook some meals with your friends after and you’ll jump right back into the fun!

– Erin and Kathleen or Kathleen and Erin

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Double Feature

Hey Lovely Readers!

Happy Friday! Go out, get drunk, party, drink a whole bottle of wine to yourself, have a great day! Or, if you feel like chilling out this weekend, I have a couple movie options for you! Today, I’m posting two, because I did watch a really serious one recently! Buuutttt I get it if you’re not feeling up to that! It’s Friday! Put your feet up, have some wine, grab a pet or person to cuddle and unwind from the week with my other fun option!

So the first movie I watched recently I want to talk about is Jackie with Natalie Portman!

I absolutely loved the movie! It starts off with an Jackie being interviewed and talking about various roles and things she did in the white house. Then it takes a drastic and emotional turn and she describes what happened when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She goes on to describe the shooting itself and the events that occurred right after the assassination. It is incredible what that woman had to do and put up with the second her husband had died. I will say, when you first hear Natalie Portman talk, you will be like why is she talking like that! I’m not American so a lot of my presidential knowledge is quite terrible, but I did look up of a video of Jackie Kennedy talking and she mastered her voice. The movie was really amazing. The camera shots were incredible, they did an amazing job of switching between past and present to the day of that interview. There are scenes where it looks like actual footage, and then Natalie Portman steps out and you are like oh not actual footage, that’s how good it is! Anyways the story line is fantastic as well, and it does look like an Oscar nominated movie. It is serious, if you are feeling like a serious movie, so enjoy!

 

Now for the fun movie! I was searching through Netflix this week and found a really great movie that is not new by any means! You’ve probably already seen it, but a really good rated R romantic comedy is Sleeping With Other People! So Lainey (Alison Brie) is looking to lose her virginity to a really hot and intelligent guy in college, and she ends up meeting Jake (Jason Sudeikis) instead. She loses it to him, and then it switches to being a couple years later when they bump into each other again. They hit it off, decide to be best friends instead of dating and  help each other in the dating scene. Jake is trying to stop his serial cheating habits, while Lainey is still hooked on this man she originally wanted to lose her virginity too (Adam Scott). This movie is hilarious. There’s a lot of back and forth humour between the cast, and there’s even an appearance of Adam Brody which is never terrible!

Well, I hope these suggestions help if you’re looking for something new to enjoy! If you have any suggestions or want a review done of any books or movies, let us know in the comments! Hope you have a relaxing and fun weekend!

– Erin

Outlander

Hi everyone! Lit Thursday today and I’d like to review book one of a series that I ALWAYS take on Vacation: Outlander (by Diana Gabaldon). The first book in this series is not new to the party, it was written in the late 1990s, however, I only found it a couple years ago.

Outlander combines elements of everything I like in a book; time travel, period drama, romance, suspense, and mystery. The rough plot is such; the main character Claire is finally on her honeymoon with her husband Frank post- WWII – roughly 1945 ish (she is a nurse and he an officer). They decide to take their honeymoon in the highlands of Scotland (magical) and Frank (being the historian that he is) wants to take the opportunity to trace his English ancestor who was an officer in Scotland in the 1700’s. Claire becomes bored with Frank’s ancestral obsession and takes the opportunity to explore the highlands herself. While exploring she comes across a stone circle and is transported back in time to 1700’s Scotland.

Now I’ve been to some standing stone circles and let me tell you they are super magical; I spent a year in Scotland and so Gabaldon’s description of the highlands really hits a chord for me.

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(Me, hoping to be transported back in time)

Now of course I’m not going to spoil the plot for you but while back in time Claire meets maybe the most attractive man ever (named Jamie). The TV adaptation of this show actually cast the character EXTREMELY well so I will insert a picture of him below (for reference).

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(hello look at those eyes)

I’m currently on the fourth or fifth book of the series and they are all amazing. The second book focuses heavily on the Jacobite rising, so it is probably the slowest paced of the bunch (but push through I promise).

Also just a note on Gabaldon herself, she has a master in Zoology which has nothing to do with the fact that she is a kick ass fiction writer. Basically she’s my spirit animal.

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(the madcap lady herself)

That’s all for now! Happy reading!

K

Italian Cusine

Hey Lovely Readers!

So, today is Wednesday! Happy Hump Day! For Wednesdays we always do a “What I Ate Wednesday” which is obviously my favourite day, because I jam pack it with delicious and awesome food! Last night my “prepping” for the blog was basically eating out at a super amazing Italian restaurant so I could nip the craving in the bud. In previous posts I’ve mentioned that Kathleen and I lived in Italy for a month, so now being home, every now and then I really crave some good Italian food, which can be hard to come by. Well I found a great place, its called Buco! I’m sure most of you have heard about it because it is a chain, but if you haven’t tried it, it is amazing!

Now it’s time to make your mouth water! Before I get into it, I will say that if you are looking for vegan or need gluten free options, they’ve got you covered. Also, I did not order a drink last night, but they have a large selection of wines, desert wines, and different beers and cocktails. The whole backside of their menu is dedicated to drinks if you’re looking for that. They, also, have different nights too, such as bring your own wine, or $10 pizza, etc.

Everything I ordered I shared with a friend, so the first thing we got was a precetta bruschetta, because if you’re eating Italian, you need to start with bruschetta. This was amazing. It was just one piece of bread loaded with tomato, cilantro, garlic, topped with bacon and a little bit of cheese. We split it in half and it was sufficient for us, it was very much loaded .

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Next, we ordered a Margarita pizza- which is a classic Italian pizza. In Italy, Kathleen and I ordered this pretty much everyday for a month and never grew sick of it. If you want to compare it to a place, I would say it’s a pizza directly from Rome. It was thin crust with tomato sauce and topped with basil and bits of cheese. This took me right back to my home in Italy. It was delicious.

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Last, we had desert and coffee. I ordered a cappuccino and we shared a trio of gelato and sorbetto. The cappuccino was very good, and had a tiny spoon and biscuit which was insanely cute and made me feel fancy. For the gelato and sorbetto it is chef’s choice, but they do give you an option. Of course we tried all three flavours- strawberry sorbetto, vanilla and coconut gelato. It looked so tasty, that my friend took a bite of it before I even got a picture done! It was very tasty as well.

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Overall, I was super impressed. It was exactly what I wanted for Italian food, and fixed up that craving I tend to get. It was also super affordable. Pizza was $10 that day, and with everything we got, we didn’t spend over $20. In addition, we were very full after, but it was a very light meal. The restaurant is super clean, and nicely decorated inside. The food tasted great. Our server was lovely, and the owners daughter was playing and hanging out with some of waitresses, which just finished off that big Italian family feel that I loved in Italy. Definitely a 5/5 from me!

Road-Tripping

Hi everyone, it’s the middle of the week (and it’s starting to feel like spring) and I know most of us are thinking about getting out of town. Today I’d like to talk about a type of travelling – road trips! I am pretty used to going on road trips, my family and I used to do two-week road trips every summer when I was young and so now I definitely have a soft spot for hitting the road. There is something so intriguing about travelling across the province (or country) and seeing all the nooks and crannies the space has to offer.

Last year I did two road trips; the first was a road trip across Canada and the U.S with one of my closest friends, and the second was to the west coast with my boyfriend. The first road trip was long, two weeks worth of driving across Canada and the United States to a music festival. I drove the whole way and all I can say is driving through Chicago was the craziest driving I’ve ever experienced.

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(Geographic centre of North America in Rugby, North Dakota)

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(Somewhere in the middle of Manitoba)

The second road trip was much smaller, just short of a week, and I didn’t drive any of it. It was my boyfriend and I’s first trip together and it went great!

All I can say about road trips is to be prepared to spend lots of time in the car (uh duh). I think lots of people romanticize road trips but in reality there is usually a lot of travel time in relation to visiting the place your heading to. Pack lots of snacks, get the tunes going, and strike up an amazing conversation! I felt so close to my friend and boyfriend after these trips because you can cover all manner of conversations. Also pro tip, download some good podcasts because music can become a little monotonous (Serial is a great one). If you don’t have access to an auxiliary hookup try listening to talk radio. There are usually some pretty great radio stations bursting with Canadian stories to tell.

Got any great road trip stories? Let me know I’d love to hear them!

That’s all for now! Happy Driving

K

Fitbit Awesomeness

This week on motivation Monday: I am actually using my Fitbit blaze for fitness stuff and not just to check my texts, phone calls, emails, tweets, etc, etc. So I got the new Fitbit blaze for Christmas, and I love it! Originally, I was distracted by the fact that I could see my texts and phone calls and all this stuff, and I never used it for working out. However, things have changed now. If you are considering getting one of these- just do it but, if you want the ability to answer those text messages and emails, than just get a smart watch because you can’t do it with the Fitbit blaze, you can only see them. For gym purposes though, the Fitbit Blaze has been amazing for me.

Alright, I’m going to share how awesome it is with a walkthrough. So when you tap the screen the clock shows up- which you can beautify like I did on the app. From there if you swipe down, the Fitbit connects to your music on your phone and you can change the song and see what is playing. If you swipe up, it shows all your notifications from your phone (you can change what notifications you get in the app). When you are getting a phone call, it vibrates and says whose calling when you lift your wrist up like you are checking the time. This is SUPER helpful when you’re at the gym! You never have to bring your phone out to check what’s happening and I find that if I am working out my phone, I never have to have the phone attached to me.

So from here you swipe that clock to the left, and you get todays information. When you tap on the word “Today” you get your step count, heart rate, calories, and all that usual information. In addition, from 9- 6, it’ll prompt you to try to get 250 steps in every hour until 5 and at the end of the day it’ll show you how active you were for those 9 hours. I hope you are better than me, and have a higher average. Mine is so sad with the average of 4/9 hours.

Again swipe left and you are faced with that dreaded but word “Exercise” . When you tap dat word, you get different cardio workouts such as running, biking, weights, the treadmill, elliptical, and just workout. Pretty much these just time what you are doing and at the end when you get to tap the race car finish flag (a VERY magical feeling), it shows your results with calories, time spent doing this, and heart rate. This way you don’t have to record it manually in the Fitbit app and it gives you a summary!

Next is my favourite and why I think this is so great! If you swipe left again, you get the word “FitStar”. So when you tap this, three different programs show up. The first is warmup. This gives you eight different yoga moves to warmup with or stretch it out when you’re done. They include things like cat and cows, shoulder rolls, etc.  The second program is a 7 minute workout. This includes 13 different exercises consisting of things like jumping jacks, wall squats, pushups, and lunges. Last, is the 10 minute abs, which horribly includes bicycle kicks, elbow planks, windshield wipers (this looks ridiculous but really hurts in a good way), planks, etc. So for each program, the Fitbit blaze prompts you through each move. It shows you how to properly do each move before starting them, times you, and vibrates when you have to move on to the next move. I love it because instead of me constantly watching a clock or counting them out, I just do as many reps as I can before the time is up, which seems to go by faster.

If you keep swiping left you have a timer, alarms and then finally settings. I have to say that if you are struggling with the gym and do not really know what to do for different workouts, this watch is perfect for you. They do not require machines, but have that option in case you are using them. If you wanted to workout at home and workout for free (always lovely), you can do one of those programs however many times you want and it works just as well and gets your blood pumping- this is what matters.

So, if you didn’t want to read what I wrote and just skipped to the bottom, here’s a summary: Fitbit Blaze = Super awesome and helpful. Recommend!

– Erin

Art After Dark

Hey Everyone!

So last Tuesday, one of my best friends, sister, and I tried out an Art After Dark at a local café! I have to say, I took art classes all through high school and even took the art 30-1 and I still REALLY sucked at it! It was difficult, but it really didn’t matter because it was insanely fun.

I know there’s a few different classes like this going around, but I chose the Art After Dark because I loved their different painting themes! I mean they do a bunch of Disney, so you can’t go wrong with Disney! I know they also do other themes other than Disney, but of course Beauty and the Beast just game out and if you’ve been reading our other posts I absolutely loved it, and now everything in my life has a Beauty and the Beast theme. Also, what’s nice about the Art After Dark is that they have some in a bar that you can attend, but the one we went to was in a café so older kids could be there too!

To attend, you can check out their Facebook page by searching Art After Dark, or go on their website to check out the website http://artafterdark.ca/ . I would book as soon as possible as tickets go very fast. Tickets are around $30.00 and I think that there is pricing for a group if you come as a larger group.

So basically, we met up at the café and got drinks, chose our easel. We got these tracers to trace the beasts horns and to trace belle in the middle (the castle was all freestyle which is why it looks sooooo lovely). Then this lovely looking guy (Tyler? Tanner? I’m so sorry), did a step by step with us on how to paint the night sky, and Belle, and eventually stars and all that jazz. We found that after the first five minutes we were lost, so we just had fun with the night sky, and then after that looked bad, we went back to following his advice after. He was a very nice guy and is willing to check on you and help you with whatever you need. In the end it was just a lot of fun. We were just laughing and having a good time and we just stopped caring about how our painting was supposed to look.

Obviously I had a very good time, and I would give this experience 5 stars for teaching us some new painting techniques and to just accept your finished painting that will look nothing like what it’s supposed to! Also, for the laughs and the amount of times that we said “Oh god I messed up”.

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Here is our finished version that looks nothing like the original!

– Erin

The Big F

Feminism, we’re talking about feminism. I think we all have our own definition of feminism (hello- “a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes”). Erin and I are writing this post together, we want to cover as many bases as possible.

Here I go, my partner does not consider himself a feminist. I had to break it to him (not so gently) that you don’t have to be a girl to be a feminist. He didn’t believe me. Our society has conditioned us to believe that feminism has to be packaged as a “female” and as the most radical version of itself (ie burning bras, protesting equality in the nude on a park bench). But actually feminism (should) include everyone. People like my boyfriend are clearly afraid of being associated with that extreme portrayal of feminism that the media loves to show and I can understand why, but it’s a fear you have to get over.

So, the other day (International Women’s Day to be specific), I was reading the comments section of a post (always a terrible idea) and was so frustrated by the posts by other women who do not seem to understand what feminism is! In their confusion they end up taking it out on other women and angrily typing things like “ I LOVE BEING A HOUSEWIFE” and “ I love doing things for my husband”, then concluding that that is why they are not feminists. Here’s the deal. Feminism allows you to do that. It allows you to have the choice to stay home or go to work and there is nothing wrong with being a housewife! No one is attacking you for doing that. The point is, is that everyone should feel free to pursue whatever they want in life, and that is what feminism aims to do. Feminism wants everyone to be equal, so as a woman I can become a doctor and make the same amount of money as any other doctor would. If I wanted to be a welder, I can be and make the same wages as everyone in that field. Feminism allows for men and women and gender fluid individuals to come together and have equal opportunities. It allows for women to remain as housewives if they choose to or for dads to have that same opportunity. But that is the difference now, women have the CHOICE.

In addition, the idea of feminists being man- hating is ridiculous. It is not a thing. I love men. I would like to date men (where you at hot men!). Feminism strives to be inclusive. If you are a man or woman who believes in equal rights for ALL genders, than you are a feminist, and I promise that makes you even hotter. It does not take away from your manliness and women it does not mean that you hate men or have to hate men. It means you believe in equality.

Erin and I had a world literature prof who was a feminist. She was amazing, gave the best lectures, and talked about feminism. She polled the class “How many of you would consider yourselves feminists?” Not everyone put up their hand, not even all the women put up their hands. I don’t want to be preachy and lecture those who didn’t put up their hands (BUT ACTUALLY how could you not put up your hand), because those people assumed that a feminist was a man hating lesbian vegan who sat around plotting the demise of white men (nothing wrong with this if that’s you- you do you girl), but that’s not what all feminists are. Feminism is about equality- stop getting hung up on the title. You know not to judge a book by its cover, so please stop judging feminism by the letters that make up such a powerful word.

We are so sick of arguing about what feminism is. We feel that we should be past this now. We need to all agree that feminism is inclusive and is about equality so we can move onto more pressing issues, like the wage gap, sexual assaults on campus, and breaking down gender stereotypes. Now that we have given you a definition, we hope that we can further talk about various feminist problems without having to come back to the problem of what feminism is. We can move on now!

In the end, all that matters is that you be kind to one another and spread the love.

  • Erin and Kathleen or Kathleen and Erin

Bridging the Viewing Gap

Happy Friday everyone! Todays Film Friday isn’t a film per se, but an amazing TV show I’ve just discovered on Netflix, thanks to a recommendation! The show is called The Bridge (Bron in Swedish/Broen in Danish), and it follows a Swedish and Danish cop as they work together to solve a crime.

Season one brings the two detective together, when the body of a woman is found exactly halfway on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden. The halfway mark also marks the border between the two countries, therefore, the body is half in Sweden and half in Denmark making it both of the main characters problems.

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(the bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark)

If you happen not to speak Danish or Swedish, you will have to watch the show with subtitles (which is a deal breaker for some people but not for me), which limits the watchability when I’m tired or distracted – but this show is one that you want to give all your attention to anyways.

Aside from the intricate crime, the thing that makes this show so great is the relationship between Saga Noren (the Swedish detective) and Martin Rhodes (the Danish detective). Their chemistry is instant and makes for an electric screen that is hard to tear your eyes from. Both the characters have flaws, which only strengthens their relationship and increases their watchability.

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Fun fact about the show: because people from Sweden and Denmark can understand each other (even though they speak their own respective languages) the showrunners decided to keep the Danish characters speaking Danish and the Swedish characters speaking Swedish. Therefore the show is broadcast in both Swedish and Danish!

Seriously if you love shows like Broadchurch, Shetland, or The Killing, you will love this show. It’s fast paced and packed with a great mystery that you really don’t see coming until the end.  I’ve just started season two and it has pulled me right back into the action!

 

Title: The Bridge
Channel/Service: Netflix (Canada)

Seasons available: Three (!!)

Language: Swedish/Danish with English Subtitles

 

That’s all happy Watching!

K

 

“How wild it was, to let it be.”

Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Hey Readers!

Today, I am going to talk a bit about the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed! If you are feeling a little bit lost in life and trying to figure out your next move, this is a great book to read. If you haven’t already read or watched the movie, Wild is Cheryl Strayed’s biography about how her life felt like is was out of control by the age of 22. Her marriage had fallen apart, her mother had died and she felt that her life was a mess. To find herself, she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with no experience.

I found this book to be extremely inspirational. I was the same age as Cheryl when she started the hike in the book, and although I had significantly less traumatic issues in my life, I had related to that feeling of being lost. In a way I still am. However, her experience had taught me a lot of things. For one, I began to think about myself more and about what I wanted, so instead of pursuing a degree I hated, I began to focus on what I loved about my current degree I was in. I began to think about friends and which friends were working with my life, and which ones I should let go and who were making me unhappy. This was the beginning part of finding myself. I’m still in that pursuit, however, at the time I was still in school put the rest off until now. It was like I sorted through my life and figured out what was helping and what wasn’t. Like her sorting out her life in the woods, I was attempting to do that at home as a broke university student. I have a lot more to do. I plan on travelling (maybe not hiking like Cheryl because I am FAR more lazy) and putting myself out there to new experiences. That’s what I got from the book. She became bold and fearless and learned to forgive herself for her past. She just had some very relatable feelings and it was amazing to see how she handled a tough time in her life.

So, I recommend this book to anyone going through what I’m going through and trying to find their way. Your twenties is a stressful time where you have no idea where you’re going and what you should be doing and life is crazy and you’re still learning about the world, so this book could be helpful for you. If you’re out of your twenties going through emotional turmoil or anything significant, I recommend it to you. If you’re just looking for a good read, the book is set up as an interesting story, not like a self help factual boring book, I recommend it to you. I recommend this book to everyone really, and I gave it a 5 star rating on Good Reads (great app! Get it and follow me and I’ll follow you back).

Alright! That’s all for now! You can leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments if you’d like! Any recommendations are MEGA appreciated, I’m always hunting down a good book, and if you want us to review something let us know!

– Erin