New Music Monday

Hello Friends,
Long time, no speak. Guess what I’m currently not doing that I should be? If you guessed studying, you’d be correct. This week is Finals Week for me, but as I don’t have my first final until Thursday afternoon, I’ve been taking my sweet time with review. Don’t worry, I have been studying, just not as urgently as my friends. I lucked out and only have two finals this semester, Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and then I get to go home! But I digress. The real reason I’m writing this post-besides to procrastinate, is that it’s long overdue for a “New Music Monday” I’ve been introduced to a lot of new, good songs recently and would like to share them with the world.

  • “Riots” by BANNERS is an amazing song. I first heard it at the end of a “The Royals” episode (this is a show Jentry and I love, it’s so dramatic but so fun. It’s on E! every Sunday at 10/9C. Check it out!) Anyway, I found this song on Spotify and have been hooked ever since. Please, please, please check it out and give this new artist some love. He has another amazing song called “Shine a Light” that I’ve been quite enjoying as well. ( I believe both of these songs are only available on Spotify, as I could not find them on YouTube)
  • A few days ago, my sister told me to check out “Mountain at My Gates” by Foals, and I fell in love instantly. It’s a great song, y’all. Check it out. You’re welcome.
  • Finally, this “New Music Monday” would be incomplete without the one-and-only Adele. I’ll be honest, I haven’t listened to her entire album, as I put it on my Christmas wish list, but I have been absolutely loving “Hello” and “When We Were Young”. That song hit me hard-I guess with starting my first year of college and separating from my friends and growing up, it’s all a big, scary, exciting mess. I also loved “Water under the Bridge” when I heard it on the “Tonight Show” and I cannot wait to listen to the rest of her album.

What new songs have you been loving? Any music suggestions? Let me know in the comments.
Happy Monday!
Me, Truly,
Kirsten

 

My Spartan Saturday

This past Saturday was my first home football game as an official Spartan. It was such a fun game. I’d been to two MSU games before, but those were years ago and I was so excited to sit in the student section and see some football again! The atmosphere around campus was crazy in the days preceding the game because this was sure to be an epic rematch of two top 10 teams. MSU lost to Oregon last year, and many feel that this was the loss that kept MSU out of the College Playoff. It was revenge time. Probably because it was a rematch, ESPN chose this game for that weeks college GameDay, which added to the hype and excitement felt around campus. My roommate and I woke up around 5:15 AM or so on Saturday morning and left about 6 to head to a designated area near the stadium where ESPN had set up. We left planning to meet with two of our friends who had camped out, thinking we’d easily be able to find them. We were wrong. It was already packed. Hundreds, if not a thousand people were already there. To the back of the line we went. We saw so many types of people. Drunk people, hungover people, tired people. a combination of all of those things.  I made some signs for the show, and actually got them on TV a few times, so that was very exciting!

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Connor Cook is the name of our QB, for anybody that doesn’t know. He’s pretty great. And he’s easy on the eyes, so that’s always a plus…

After the show, we headed back to the dorm and I FaceTimed with my mom and then took a nap. Around 4pm we met up with one of our friends to eat an early dinner before meeting with the rest of our group. Gates opened at 6, so we lined up about an hour or so before that. Time actually went by pretty fast, considering we were just standing there, but people were tailgating all around the stadium so it was just a great environment. Once let in, we got some pretty decent seats, I thought.

fieldMSU started advertising to “Stripe the Stadium” about a week before the game, and I was excited to see how it would turn out. Since it was a night game, and colder than expected, I was worried nobody would wear their designated colors. I was pleasantly surprised and thought the stadium looked awesome.

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I LOVE my student section. We’re pretty ruthless. We do so many different cheers with varying levels of obscenities(#college) but it’s so much fun. The game was so exciting. Oregon got the first score but we were right back in the game and quickly tied the game 7-7. Then it was 14-7, in MSU’s favor. It was 14-7 for a while. We kept a pretty decent lead the entire game, and I felt pretty relaxed until the last few minutes of the game. We had to give the ball back to Oregon with about 2 or 3 minutes left in the game and only a 3 point lead. I was nervous. However, thanks to another AMAZING stop by our incredible defense, we were able to stop Oregon on downs and get the ball back with about a minute or so left. It would be Victory for MSU. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. After the game, I hung out with my new little friend group and went to bed late. It was such a fun filled day but I  was exhausted. My voice is still recovering from all the screaming, just in time for the next game. I thought I loved MSU before this game, and I did but now I’m officially in love with this place. The unity and spirit that all the students have is just amazing and being apart of that student section made me feel like a true Spartan for the first time since I’ve been here. I look forward to many more games with some pretty cool new people (although I do miss my friends and family terribly). GO GREEN!

Me, Truly

Kirsten

go green go white

 

Traveling Day (San Gimignano and Siena)

This day in Europe was basically a traveling day from Florence to Rome. We stopped in a small walled city, San Gimignano, and also Siena.

College has had me CRAZY busy, so I’m just going to upload the pictures. There really isn’t much for me to say other than it was a lot of fun and there was also a ton of sleeping. DSCN0950DSCN0987DSCN0985DSCN1010IMG_0148_small

Whenever I try to take cute pictures I always end up having one strand in front of my face.

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Siena:

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Us Me Truly,

Jentry

“Growing up is a heavy leaf to turn.”

There is a great song by Walk the Moon called “Portugal” that I love. It’s lyrics are so fitting for a girl like myself who has now seen all her friends safely to college and awaits her arrival there this weekend. “What you don’t know now, one day you’ll learn, growing up is a heavy leaf to turn A heavy leaf to turn. Take me with you, ‘Cause even on your own, you are not alone…” I said goodbye to Jentry on August 11th, and have since sent friends all over the country. This past Thursday, I helped two of my other bestfriends move to Texas A&M University. The four of us grew to be best friends the past few years. I saw Jentry almost everyday of high school and we all had Algebra 2 and lunch together through the years. It’s quite sad to me to think that I won’t see these girls until December(already counting down the days) after I’ve shared so much of my life with them the past few years. I don’t even want to think about saying goodbye to my sister or my parents, but that day is rapidly approaching. I’m incredibly excited for all adventures that await each of us. New people, new classes, new experiences. But it makes me sad that these memories won’t be together. They say college is the best time of you life, and I can’t wait for the next few years, but right now it sucks to think of not having my friends by my side.

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Jentry just couldn’t let me go. Miss you, J.

I’m going to be attending Michigan State University; the alma mater of my mom, her siblings, and my sister. I am so, so, so excited to be a Spartan. But right now I’m starting to get incredibly nervous. I don’t know anybody at MSU. I met a few nice people at my orientation, but that was back in June. My roommate seems nice, and I think we’ll get along just fine, but she’s from Michigan, so she knows quite a few people already at or going to State. I know I’ll make friends eventually, but it will be hard not having any close friends there for a while. It’s also quite liberating though, because I can be whoever I want to be, not that I want to change, but it’s nice to have that fresh start.

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Beautiful Beaumont Tower at MSU.

So for right now, I guess I’m ready. I’m almost all packed. I’ve got my bedding, my school supplies and almost all my clothes in bags or boxes ready to go. I guess it’s not so much a “am I ready for college” but a “is college ready for me?” (wow that was cliché, I know. But that needs to be my mindset right now, so please forgive me.) And I listen to “Portugal” because as I stated earlier, the lyrics are so perfect. “No matter what you want, somebody else wants is just as bad. No matter what you got, somebody else has got it worse. No matter when I got to you, somebody else got to you first…”

Me Truly,

Kirsten

The Day I Fell in Love with Florence

Before my trip, so many people told me how much I would love Florence. It made me a little unsure if the city could live up to all the praise.

And it DID!

The first stop was Mercato Centrale.

Where I found a leather purse in one of the outside stalls! I even bartered for it and got it for a few euros less (yep, I’ve got skills).DSCN0594

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A tip for buying leather in Italy is to inspect it to make sure it is real leather. I recommend researching more tips before you leave, as I am not aware of all the tips. (Another note: The lighter trick does NOT prove that it is real leather!)

We headed inside the market and I was blown away by all the fresh and local produce and meets available. Along with the flowers, candy, and other products. The downstairs is the market area where you can buy groceries and such. Upstairs, there are a few different restaurants.

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 These are capers soaking in sea salt, incase you were wondering. When I first saw them I was like, “What on earth are these?! Peas on steroids?” Then I realized they were capers. (Silly Jentry!)DSCN0612

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These dried fruits and vegetables tasted like candy. The seller gave me a tomato to try and it tasted so good that my first thought was, “there is no way this is a tomato.”

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And if you want to know a real local secret. One of the best restaurants is actually downstairs, not upstairs. (But – shhh-  we don’t want the whole world to know cause it’s our little local secret – okay?)

The restaurant is called Da Nerbone.

Oh, I almost forgot, they are open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., that means no dinner (also closed on Sundays). If you are wanting to eat here, keep these details in mind when planning your trip.

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Be prepared for a line, and maybe even prepare to use your elbows. But don’t worry, you will get your turn.

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I didn’t get very clear pictures of the place, but this is what it looks like.

Across from Nerbone are tables that you can sit at while you dig into whatever super delicious dish you chose.

Once our bellies were stuffed full we headed out to see The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Florence Cathedral).

We turned the corner and my jaw dropped. My breath was literally taken away from the scale of it. (My inner Art History nerd comes out when I see architecture.)  The bell towers were giant and the dome was even taller than those.

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IMG_6114The encrustation of the stone and all the details were incredible.

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After we got plenty of pictures and us girls pulled our maxi skirts over our shorts we went inside. (Tip: Knees and shoulders have to be covered. Some tanks you can get away with but shorts are a no no. We walked by the doors when we were leaving and some girl was yelling at the security guard cause he wouldn’t let her in.)

The inside is GINORMOUS . There is a ton of open space which makes it feel less crowded. DSCN0642

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The Florence Cathedral has this really cool dome which you can climb up.

We grabbed tickets and headed straight for the line. And boy was that line super duper long. Again we had a set time to meet so we decided to explore and come back later to see if the line went down.

We went to Piazza della Signoria.

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This is the Palazzo Vecchio and it is used as the town hall. (There also have been several other names given to this building in the past.)

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This is a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David. The real one is kept inside of the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts. (I spelled Michelangelo’s name right on the first try! GO ME!)

 DSCN0749There is also an awning with several statues under it.

DSCN0805 DSCN0811 DSCN0808 DSCN0809Ohhh, you’d never guess where we went next! Okay this one you might guess, it’s kinda easy.

To get GELATO! (If you got it right then you get some brownie points, or should I say Gelato points 😉 )

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To be honest, I have no idea how to get back to it. We wandered through so many streets. And they all looked the same.

From there we continued to explore the streets of Florence.

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The Ponte Vecchio (The Golden Bridge).

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DSCN0844Walking on the bridge.

DSCN0859 A Chalk Artist doin her thing.

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DSCN0784Getting fresh water from the aqueduct.

DSCN0798The Fontana  del Porcellino.

If you rub this statues nose, it is said that you will return to Florence one day.

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DSCN0795Also if you put a coin in its mouth and the coin falls into the drain your wish will come true.

Roaming around the city and going in any direction we chose was so much fun. But it was time to head back to the Cathedral and climb to the top of the dome!

The line had died down significantly and in no time it was our turn to start the long trek of 463 steps to the top.

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The stairs only got narrower from here. Eventually they turned into a spiral staircase.

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Let’s just say after only about a hundred steps my legs were already burning and my claustrophobia wanted to take over. But I stayed strong and eventually made it to the inside of the dome.

IMG_6256IMG_6260Once inside the dome, you circle around to another staircase that leads outside.

This staircase was intense. It was extremely narrow at times and at the final stretch to the top it was like a ladder.

People were going both up and down, squeezing past each other.

There was a lot of standing and waiting from very little traffic flow. If people did not come down, people could not go up. And people can’t get down unless the people below make room for them.

We eventually made it to the top. And the view was absolutely GORGEOUS! I could stay up there forever.

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DSCN0944DSCN0936DSCN0914DSCN0949Eventually, we had to climb back down. Which, to me was the scariest part.

My reason why: If you trip going up, you’ll get a few scrapes and bruises. If you fall going down, you’ll probably keep tumbling down and it will hurt so much more.

So I put my hands on the wall to steady myself and hurried down the stairs as fast as could without tripping.

IMG_0147_smallThese memories plus many more contributed to me falling head over heels in love with this beautiful place. This is only a glimpse of Florence and if you get the chance to visit TAKE IT!

Stay tuned for my next adventure, San Gimignano and Siena!

New Music Monday: Tom Odell, Kodaline and Twenty One Pilots

Happy early August! Just a quick post for your Monday.

About two weeks ago, I discussed my new favorite artist, George Ezra. I’m still loving him (please check him out if you haven’t!!). I’m also still loving the George Ezra Pandora station which introduced me to two of my three new artists today. Tom Odell (also British) came to the me a few weeks ago and I’ve been loving his sound. I “Can’t Pretend” ( yes, I’m rolling my eyes at that pun too, but it couldn’t be missed!)to be an expert on his music yet but every song I’ve heard of his, I like. “Supposed to Be” and “Can’t Pretend” are such amazing songs and I have been just loving his newest album “Long Way Down”. As per Wikipedia, Tom Odell is classified as Indie pop, and he doesn’t get crunk, per say, but the music is amazing and his voice is incredible.

Another new fave is Irish band Kodaline, formerly known as 21 Demands. They too are amazing. Not too much to say other than check them out. Please.

Lastly, Twenty One Pilots. This band is quite different from the previous two. They’re a little more alternative and hip hop, but still kind of indie, I guess (?). I LOVE a song by them called “Polarize“, it’s just so darn catchy. And of course songs like ” Tear in My Heart” and “Ride” or “Stressed Out” are dandy too.

Please check out these amazing bands/artists. And George. We can’t forget about George. If anybody reading this has any music suggestions, please comment them below. I’m always looking for new music.

Harry Potter Tag.

Yes I’m taking this. Because I’m a nerd. #noregrets

1) Favorite Book: I’m going to have to say that the last book, Deathly Hallows, is my favorite, because it’s such an adventure novel and I had no clue where the story was heading. There are so many twists and turns in the final book and I thought it was the perfect ending for the series. (Except for Fred. And Lupin. And Dobby. And Hedwig. Otherwise, I loved the story.)

2) Favorite Movie: Hmm… Probably the fifth movie, Order of the Phoenix, although I’m really not sure. I really enjoy the fourth book and movie so that may be one too.

3) Least Favorite Book: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, because I saw the movie when it first came out and I was like, 5 or 6 and the basilisk scared the bejeezus out of me. And it basically ruined the book for me. I do enjoy the book quite a bit more though, but out of all of them it’s probably my least favorite.

4) Parts of the book/movie that made you cry: Hmm… I don’t really cry much in books or movies but watching Dobby die did get me quite emotional in the movie. I really wish Dobby had played a larger role in the movies as he did in the books because Dobby was actually quite an important character that was just a little overshadowed in the films, I thought.

5)Favorite Character: Hermione. She is my literature role model. She’s smart. She’s incredibly loyal, and she knows exactly what she wants. She always has a plan and she’s incredibly intelligent. Screw Ron, Hermione is Harry’s true best friend, for she stays by him through thick and thin and is always ready to help Harry when he gets himself into a tizzy. Am I not right?

6)What would my Patronus be? According to the quiz I just took, my Patronus would be a doe. So, let’s go with that?

7)If you could have the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak, or the Elder Wand, which one would you choose? Definitely the Invisibility Cloak!

8) What would your house be? I want to say Gryffindor but it’d probably be Ravenclaw because I do love learning.

9) If you could meet anyone from the cast, who would it be? Probably Emma Watson because Emma Watson. She’s an amazing human being and totally has her life together, like Hermione. She’s very intelligent, pretty, kind and knows what she wants from her life.

10) If you were on the quiddich team, what position would you play? I’d probably be a chaser. That way I could still be important, but not as important as the seeker. Like, I don’t want the entire game coming down to me and if I can get in there and score a few points or defends some of my teammates, I’d be good.

11) Were you happy with the ending? Yes, I guess so. I was glad Harry (and Hagrid for that matter-talk about another favorite character!) didn’t die so I was okay with it.

12) How much does Harry Potter mean to you? I owe so much to this series. It was from this series that I began a love, a true love, of reading. It was such a well written series of books with such vivid imagination and it truly taught me so much about bravery, friendship, knowledge, and compassion. It’s a true Good vs. Evil story, but it’s also so much more than that. Harry Potter will forever have a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to share the stories with my children someday.

Any Harry Potter lovers out there should please take this tag and let me know if you do so I can read your answers!

Me, Truly

Kirsten 🙂

My European Adventure continues…Train Ride Across Europe

Unfortunately, we were leaving Paris. 😦

But, we were heading to ITALY!!

And to top it off, I was about to embark on my first train ride!

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Train Station – Gare de Lyon

It took a little over 7 hours to get from the train station in Paris to Milan. Before we boarded we grabbed some food and of course some reading material. Being in France there isn’t a ton of magazines or books in English. However, there was a small section. And guess what I found!

Did you guess?

I found a magazine featuring the royals!

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Did you guess right?

Anyways, being from America and not having a monarchy for my government, I find them kind of interesting.

Okay, it might be a little strange and slightly ironic being from a country that fought against a monarchy and against all the frivolous things that come with it and all. (To be honest though our President and other officials enjoy the high life too. – steering away from politics *insert running emoji and a dust cloud behind him*)

The magazine was also quite big and I was able to pass a sufficient amount of time with it.

And I secretly want to be Kate Middleton – opps not much of a secret anymore. She is just so stylish and fabulous! Anyways, I guess I’ll just have to settle for basing my future mom wardrobe on her style.

Can I just say how great trains are! I think we need more here in the States. Tickets are reasonably priced and affordable. You save money from gas, don’t have to spend so much time in a car, and you can relax. Trains also get you to your destination faster. There would be some draw backs from putting in more tracks, but I think the benefits out weigh the disadvantages. I would definitely travel by train if we had more.

For example, I’m writing this in a car on my way to Florida. It’s at least a 10 hour drive. A train would get me there SO much faster and save my family from annoying each other (or at least less we would be spending less time being annoyed).

My group also had a lot of fun! We talked about random things, played Never Have I Ever, Would You Rather, and started Truth or Dare which turned into Truth or Truth because of the lack of dare-able things. I think we kind of annoyed some of the people in our car though, we were slightly noisy. But what else can you expect from American’s *shrugs shoulders*.

Oh! I discovered a new favorite candy! It’s called bueno and it is infact very bueno ;).

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Riding a train in Europe reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Chasing Liberty. It stars Mandy Moore as the President’s daughter who runs away from her security detail in Europe. Or at least she thinks she got away from them… CLIFF HANGER!

The reason I am reminded of this movie is because they get on a train, but the wrong train. Instead of going to Berlin they got on a train for Venice.

Just to let y’all know, I love movies. Especially movies that involve having an adventure and traveling. Movies can provide a way to escape reality for a little while. You can pick what story to immerse yourself in and a false reality to live for a few hours.

One of my favorite things about the train ride was the scenery. It was gorgeous, especially as we got closer and eventually into the mountains. I tried to take some pictures, but I swear every time I lifted my camera- BOOM- trees appeared. The trees would be in the way for a bit and I would put my phone away, and – BOOM- again! SERIOUSLY, TREES! And it kept happening.

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So many trees!

I got a few snaps in, but when I downloaded them from my phone to my computer, I didn’t have as much as I thought I had taken. I’m kinda sad, I really want to share with y’all the beautiful things I saw.

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Some time later, we arrived in Milano. Most tours get to stop and have some time to explore in Milan, but this year the World Expo is located there and the city was quite crowded with visitors. So, we had to stay in a hotel in Parma. (Where the wonderful Parmesan cheese was created!)

We rode there on a bus past sunflower fields with the shadow of mountains in the distance. Italy countryside is gorgeous. I spotted serval houses I would love to spend the rest of my days in.

By then though, my need for sleep caught up with me and I crashed! I only woke every once in a while to enjoy the view and was dragged back into dreamland very quickly.

Once we arrived at the Hotel we put our stuff in our rooms and went to eat the best dinner I’ve ever had! The risotto was delicious! I could eat that everyday for the rest of my life!

I wish I had pictures of the food.  (*sigh* I’m dreaming about it right now.)

After the full course meal I was stuffed like a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner! Being on a train all day and having just gorged on lots of calories, the two other girls in my group and I decided we should take the stairs up. Boy, I think I should have been rolled up instead!

(I’m in the back of my mom’s suburban and my dad, a-corvette-driving-need-for-speed-maniac, is driving. The springs are seriously springy, for lack of a better word. It is getting hard to type, I keep pressing the wrong button every time we go over a slight bump.)

So, I think I’ll end this post here.

I promise the next post will be a lot more exciting! Cause the next stop is my favorite, Florence (or, Firenze)!!!

Us Me Truly,

Jentry 

The Biltmore: House Goals

Hi Y’all

After my cousin’s wedding in Greenville, SC, my family and I headed up to visit my mom’s brother in Charlotte for a night before heading to Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate. If you don’t know, the Biltmore is a gigantic home that belonged to the Vanderbilt’s. Built in the height of the Gilded Age, the Biltmore is still privately owned today. That’s right, all 176,000 square feet are still owned by Vanderbilt descendants.  Now ain’t that something?

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I loved visiting this estate. The Vanderbilt’s were extraordinarily wealthy and I’m extraordinarily jealous. It’s so strange for me to think of one man building this house for himself (George Vanderbilt was a bachelor when the house was completed-but not for long! I guess the best way to woo a women is the build her a chateau) and that this house is in my country. We only saw about half the house, and were only able to see some of the gardens.

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One section of one of the many gardens located on the grounds of the estate

The estate is located on about 8,000 acres and is at the base of the Smokey Mountains. So, basically, it’s an ideal setting for privacy.

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I believe this view was from a balcony. Not too shabby.

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This house is amazing, The Vanderbilt’s had portraits done by artists like John Singer Sargent and Renoir, they had some work from German artist Albrecht Durer, apparently they owned a Rembrandt at one time and had many other influential artists grace their walls. George Vanderbilt had a spectacular library-over 20,000 volumes (all handpicked and in eleven different languages). The house has an indoor pool, a gym, a small bowling alley, and hundreds of bedrooms. It was pretty spectacular. Talk about American Royalty! Anyway, the tour is  little pricey, and my parents and I agree that it should have cost a little cheaper but I’m glad for the experience and would love to go back for a full day of exploring sometime. Thanks for reading.

Me, truly

Kirsten

Greenville, SC

Well hello!

Over 4th of July weekend, my cousin got married in South Carolina. I’m not going to lie, originally I was a little upset that she chose my favorite holiday on which to be wed, but it was so beautiful and fun that I’m not even sure why I was ever upset in the first place. I drove from Houston to Greenville in the back of my mom’s Toyota Camry with my sister and her husband. To say we were cramped would be an understatement. We watched movies and slept and talked and slept some more. My parents are from Michigan, and we used to drive up every summer for a few weeks to visit family and get some Lake Michigan time so this mere 15 hour drive was nothing compared to those 23 hour drives. Just kidding, it still was long. Luckily, South Carolina is much prettier than the cornfields I’ve seen through Missouri and Illinois ( I know there are better parts, but the highway cuts right through the boring parts of those states-I’m sorry!). Anyway, Greenville is SUPER COOL! Oh my god. I want to live there someday. It’s historical, it has cobble stone streets. It has lots of bars (not that I’ve many experience with those) and restaurants, and great shopping. And it’s all walkable. While walking down Main Street, we stumbled upon a copy of Il Porcellino. The original Il Porcellino is in Florence, Italy and I saw it last summer. This bronze pig statue doubles as a water fountain that legend (if I can call it that) states that by placing a coin in the mouth of the boar and rubbing it’s nose, good luck will come to that person as well as a return to Florence. I was a little too excited to see the copy of it in South Carolina. The morning of the 4th, I hit up a Farmer’s Market with my mom and my sister and we shopped and ate delicious popsicles and people watched and ate some amazing bagel sandwiches before heading to my cousin’s wedding that evening. The wedding was beautiful- it was held in an old cigar factory-and it was nice to see some of my family and relax. If you are ever in the Greenville area, please check out this super cool town. I don’t know why I’d never heard of it before, but I’m already looking forward to an extended stay in the future.

My journey in the Carolina’s continues…

Me, truly:

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Fun Fact: The guy in blue behind me was from South Carolina. I remembered him telling me about the copy in SC but I totally forgot about it until I saw the actual copy.