Milan, Italy | Photo Diary

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The moment when I realized I’d left my cell phone on the table was a moment that was full of emotion–first silently and then loud. Profanities bounced off the walls of our tiny AirBNB apartment as I paced and retraced my steps of the afternoon in my brain.

Finally after going through my mental rolodex of curses, I determined that the only place it could possibly be was at the tavern with the slightly-too-sweet tiramisu. We were all the way back across town in our apartment and for a moment I thought “I can do this trip without my phone.” Then reality swung a punch and I realized “no, you absolutely cannot you fool.”

With a pit in my stomach and eyes to the ground I saw the pavement blur by as began to run (with little to no dignity or faith and a shortage of breath) to where I hoped my phone still remained.  Back down into the metro I’d go, barreling onto the train and then back off again; speed walking under the shade of the duomo, across the piazza, down the narrow alleys and finally stumbling into the kitchen of the tavern.

I probably could’ve come across less panicked (it probably seemed like I’d left my child there) but the servers understood, even through my broken Italian, what was going on. After the longest two minutes of my life, the owner finished his phone call, reached behind the counter and handed it to me with a smile. I have never been so happy in my life. Bless you sweet, sweet Italian man. May you be forever blessed with lots of happy customers to your restaurant of checkered tablecloths and delicious lasagna. Please take care of your bee problem on the patio. Sincerely, Lauren.

There will never come a day when Italy does not hold a special place in my heart. Since my first visit there in 2011 I’ve known that the Italian lifestyle is one I can get behind. Schedules are more relaxed, there’s always pizza (or calzones), sentences sound like songs rather than statements, being surrounded by centuries old architectures with one million stories to imagine, dinners that run late into the night, wine continually flowing and.. the men. The Italian men, ya’ll. My kryp-to-nite.

 

And next time I’m in Italy? The south. I’m aching to see the Amalfi coast, Sardinia, and the secret panini places hidden in alleys in the smallest towns. They’re always the best.

Speak to you soon!

 

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Transcontinental | Monday Playlist

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As I sit in my third airport in two days, the excitement of going to Europe again has finally set in. The last leg of the journey is finally in motion, and the anticipation of exploring new cities with my best friend and my camera is beginning to take over.

It’s labor day, so hopefully that means you’re spending your day–you know–not laboring. In the mean time, it’s playlist day! So from the floor of BNA I present to you this weeks collection of spotify jams.

 

 

I can’t wait to share my wandering with you all! So many photos to take and so much cheese to eat; that’s why everyone goes to Europe, right? Tomorrow I wake up in Vienna. Stoked.

To follow my adventures in real time follow me on instagram at @lacunningham and on twitter at @peacelovelc.

Speak to you soon!

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Countdown (On moving to Seattle) | Monday Playlist

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I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I moved into my house in Nashville.  I can’t believe it’s already been five years since I moved away from my home state of Arkansas to start a completely new chapter of life that has shaped me more than I can explain. College, friends, people who introduced me to hot chicken.. it’s been a doozy. Although this won’t be my sappy “I’m going to miss you Nashville,” post  you can rest assured that one will be coming at some point in the next few weeks. Why? I’ll tell you.

For those of you who don’t know, in a few weeks I’ll be uprooting from this amazing town I’ve been calling home and relocating to the pacific northwest. Seattle! There are a lot of things on the horizon for me and it’s just a move I know I need and want to make. It’s certainly not that I’m hot happy in Nashville, I love it here; Everything just fell into place so quickly and seamlessly and there has never been better time for relocating. I’m so excited for a new wind of creativity and inspiration; a regular diet of coffee and poutine (thanks canada); and new people and experiences that await me.

Before I get there, though, I’ve got a trip to the beach in two weeks and a trip to europe in a month. This playlist is called countdown for more reasons that I can even explain. So here it is! Monday playlist: Countdown.
 

 
Speak to you soon!

 

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Upcoming Travels | September Euro Trip

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Although we have just stepped over the threshold of July, come September I will be stepping over the threshold of Western Europe. This has been a crazy year for me as far as travel goes, and when one more opportunity for 2014 fell into my lap I couldn’t very well turn it down. My best friend, Finis, and I will be going on a three week adventure into Austria (Vienna and Salzburg), Italy (Milan and Lake Como), and France (Cannes, Monaco, Reims, Giverny and Paris). We spent days working out our itinerary, but really what does it matter because our every move will be probably be dictated by things like cake…and wine.

We opted to stay in AirBNB apartments as opposed to hotels and we’ve both got a travel style that tends to lean towards taking each day and experience as it comes. We also have a mutual love for bread so there will probably be a new Instagram hashtag starting called #thedailybaguette.

Oh also we’ve got floor seats to see Beyonce in Paris, but that’s a story for another time.

Traveling is one of the things my heart b e a t s for. This year I’ve seen more countries than I could’ve imagined and more of America than I could’ve imagined, too. We’re only halfway through 2014, but it’s one for the books.

So excited to share everything with you guys!

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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follow me on instagram at @lacunnigham 

Park Guëll, Barcelona | Spain Travel Diary

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• Wearing a jumpsuit from Necessary Clothing (similar here) •

It’s always interesting to experience a place that you have seen on a screen, made of thousands of tiny pixels, so many times. You go with certain expectations of what it will look and feel like, and sometimes your experience is even made or ruined by those expectations.

Park Guëll is a place that I’ve seen a million times on the internet. I anxiously counted down the days on the trip until we would get to pay Gaudi’s masterpiece (one of several) a visit. With an open mind I took in the sight of the mosaic covered grounds;  the flowers spilling over the walls echoing the vibrancy of the tiles; and the colorful, breathtaking view of Barcelona from the overlook.

While the initial impression was more than magnificent, it was what you saw when you looked past the big details, and instead focused more on the intricacies that were true signatures of Gaudi’s work. Some of them were only  visible for an instant, so catching sight of one felt like a whisper from Gaudi himself; a secret that not everyone gets to know. Those details are what make seeing a popular place so special. Those details are what make visiting a place like that worth it.

Mosaics, like pixels on a computer screen, come together to form an image and make an impression. There was certainly one left on me. Thanks, Gaudi.

A final few waves of Barcelona photos to go and then an announcement of a new adventure!

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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La Piscina | Pool OOTD

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Sometimes a getaway is exactly what you need when life seems to have been whizzing past you at warp speed. It’s easy to lose the beauty in moments when they all start to melt together.

A pool day is definitely in order; one with rays of sunshine and beads of sweat that are not only symbols of a physical detox, but a mental one as well. I’m all about this monochromatic swimsuit paired with a tropical, patterned kaftan on top. A vintage inspired pair of shades to protect my eyes, sunscreen to protect my face and water to keep me hydrated through the day are my other essentials.

What do you do to take a breather?

Regular posting back SO soon.

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Barcelona by Night | Spain Photo Diary

bbnpromo barca14barca10 barca17 barca7barca9  barca8 barca12barca13 barca6 barca16 barca11On our first night in Barcelona we braved the crowds to see the Magic Fountain. Although it was flooded with tourists, the view of the city paired with the music and good friends made every second worth it.

Have a great weekend! More Spain photos to come.

Speak to you soon!

 

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La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary

La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla ChipsWhenever I mentioned that I was making a trip to Barcelona, a popular suggestion I got was to visit La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a huge market filled to the brim with produce, locally made products (cheese, cured meats, olive oils, etc) and counters where you can pick something up or have an authentic meal prepared right in front of you. Our hotel was near La Rambla, we made the market one of our first stops.

Things you should probably pick up at La Boqueria:

1. Fresh Produce – Traveling can often consist of eating heavily for days upon days. A welcome change, for us, was to grab some fresh fruit for breakfast and vegetables to take along with us for lunch. We spent a fraction of what we would’ve at a restaurant and still got to enjoy the local flavors. My favorite things were the vibrant red cherries, juicy peaches and perfectly ripe avocados.

2. Juice – It’s impossible to miss the rows of festive, brightly colored straws that adorn the fresh juices all over the market. From kiwi coconut to mango banana berry, you can pretty much get any combination (or single flavor) that you’re hoping for. Definitely a refreshing treat that would make a hot day maneuvering through the crowds much more bearable.

3. Candy – On a less healthy note, you have got to get your hands on some of the specialty candy in the market. We made a point to go three separate days, each time trying something new. My favorites were the macarons (of course), the truffles,  the coconut bonbons and this circular, toffee and chocolate crispy treat. I really think I could’ve tried anything and would’ve had a shut-my-eyes-in-chocolate-ecstasy moment.

4. Gelato – Gelato isn’t just delicious in Italy; no, I had some of the best gelato I’ve ever had from a counter in the very middle of the market. We got one coconut and one scoop berry (with fresh berries piled on top). The gelato was so good that we actually had to have a seat right in the middle of La Rambla to enjoy it to the fullest extent (send your judgements to my P.O box).

5. Empanadas – Jamón y Queso. Pollo y Queso. Anything. Everything. Get them all.

6. Counter Service – The one thing we didn’t do (and I feel regrettable about) was taking advantage of the in-market food counters. The aromas from the various seafood, tapas and float about the entire market; the sizzle of busy skillets interrupting barter conversations between shopper and stall owner. There was one near the back that was lit with rustic lighting and was serving lobster…I’ve got to get back there some day. It really did seem to good to miss.

Although we did see and do a lot in Barcelona, I felt like the market needed it’s own post. More sites and stories to come!

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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Burgos | Spain Travel Diary (+June Playlist)

Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla ChipsSometime during the middle of our tour of Spain we stopped in a quaint, colorful town called Burgos. When we arrived the sunset was beginning to paint the pastel buildings in warmer tones and  illuminate the tall towers of the cathedral near our hotel; Flowers decorated street level window boxes, restaurant table tops and almost every balcony we saw. Within a few minutes of being in town I was a little disappointed we hadn’t blocked out more time to spend in this charming city, but totally grateful that I got to see it at all.

As the sun sunk behind the hills that framed the town we indulged in a multi-course meal of Sopa de Ajo (castillian garlic soup), Pork Tenderloin, and Quesa Fresca with honey. (Don’t worry, there was wine).  We reluctantly rose with the sun the next morning and made our way towards Bilbao.

Reliving this Spain trip has been almost as satisfying as the trip itself, but I couldn’t go another week without making a playlist. As it’s the beginning of a new month I give you the June Playlist. Enjoy:

Speak to you soon!

 

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Segovia | Spain Travel Diary

Segovia | Spain Diary, via Red Lips Tortilla Chipsscathedral sidestreet portrait1 fans ceiling2 door aqueduct portrait2 cookies1 baskets austriantile house hapsburg courtyard sweets walls elalcazar chocolates portrait3 cathedral facade cityscape window town aqueduct2 castle cookies2 segoviaMy trip to Spain was rich with history. Since we were on a guided tour of the country, we had the opportunity to see many buildings that were important in forming Spain as we know it today.

On the third day of the trip we made our way to  El Escorial just outside of Madrid (no photos were allowed, but you can see it here) and then we made our venture to Segovia where we would be seeing El Alcazar. Both sites were from the age of the Hapsburgs (Austrian) ruling Spain; they were the kind of buildings that make you silent because your eyes are too busy tracing the details from floor to ceiling and your mind is making a lofty effort to soak it all in.

Sometimes I skip the more touristy sites because I want to feel like I’ve genuinely experienced a place and not just gotten caught up in its sites. However, within the last two weeks I have gotten to explore some breathtaking places. Architecture tells stories that we get to feel a part of, even if it’s only for a 45 minute tour. In those instances, I find myself feeling introspective about the things the walls surrounding me have seen and heard; about the things I’ve read in texts books that happened so long ago in the same space I am getting to experience.

I highly recommend adding both places to your trip itinerary.  Segovia is an ancient Romanesque city (declared a world heritage site) that is worth spending an entire day in to window shop down the alleyways and treat yourself to some Spanish cookies (they have so many good ones). You may also want to see the Roman Aqueduct, the Cathedral and the many plazas framed by restaurants serving authentic Castilian cuisine.

Tomorrow: Burgos and Spanish food

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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