Monday, December 13, 2010

The Ball

Can I be real with you folks for a minute?

When am I ever not real with you?  But that's besides the point.


I do not get excited about military functions.  Usually there's a lot of ma'ams and sirs and stand, sit, stand, salute.  I'm a down home kinda girl.  I'd much rather have everyone over for dinner than worry about if my dress is fancy enough or if I waited to let my husband introduce me in a receiving line rather than introducing myself.


I'm an army wife.  If I can take care of myself during deployments I can certainly introduce myself.  Duh.


But readers, I promised I would keep it real.  And the real truth of it is, I had a good time.  A really good time.

Since we're keeping it real I feel obligated to tell you: I also had 4 glasses of wine.

xo, nikki

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Italia vs Fiji


Rugby is by far my favorite sport to watch.  Mostly because of those short shorts they wear and how manly they are.

I don't know about any of you other lady readers out there but I like a manly man.  The manlier the better.  Shew, give me a moment whilst I fan myself.


If you remember I went to see Italy vs Argentina in Verona a few weeks ago.  Last weekend we went to Modena (home of balsamic vinegar) to see team Italy vs Fiji.  It was a pretty amazing match.  Fiji does a haka dance before each match similar to the All Blacks.


We made a weekend of the match and stayed the night in Modena.  We were lucky enough to be staying in the actual same hotel as team Italy.  This monstrous fellow is Sergio Parisse, il capitano.  He makes me and my husband look like smurfs.


This is the BARBARIAN.  Castrogiovanni.  That's a serious last name for a serious player.  This guy was in a scrum one time and broke another person's collar bone.  He BREAKS BONES.  He was also really nice about posing for a picture with us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Piles and Smiles


There's something different around here.


There are man things around.


Piles of man things.

I'm really happy about it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Favorite Veterans

about to take the company

I don't talk about being an Army wife or an Air Force brat a lot on this blog.  I'm not sure why because the former certainly affects my life in a gargantuan way.

My father served as a pilot in the United States Air Force for 20 years.  He retired when I was just a kid but you can tell he's a military man.  On clear days with blue skies he still says to me, "Today would be such a good day to fly."

My grandfather, who unfortunately I don't have any digital pictures of, served in the United States Army during World War II.  He fought in France along side his bother, my great uncle, who didn't make it home.  My father is named after this uncle.  My grandfather died when he was 87.

My husband is an officer in the United States Army.  He's currently serving a 12 month deployment in Afghanistan.

Side note: He's coming home so soon!  Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll have the welcome home photos for you.  Squeal!

I wish I was close enough to one of my favorite vets to give them a squeeze today and say thank you in person.

Happy Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vicenza Sotto'Aqua

It's been raining non-stop for 3 days straight.  I'm starting to understand a little how Noah must have felt on that ark of his.  I got off work yesterday because the post closed at 1200 due to flooding there.  I haven't left my house since Saturday.  It's a good thing I'm a homebody or I'd be going crazy.

As long as I have the internet I feel connected to the outside world.  This morning my internet was down for a few hours (probably because of all the rain, since I have satellite internet out here in the boonies) and I started pacing and panting and panicking and doing other outrageous things that start with P.  I'm plugged in now.  Whew.  If I wasn't I would have had to do something else like fold laundry or do schoolwork.

This post brought to you by the letter P!

The flooding has gotten so bad they have closed the autostrada.  Post is still closed and I just ran out of sour cream and salsa.  How will I make my I'm-staying-home celebratory nachos?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello, November.


November is for NaNoWriMo.  It's for running as fast as I can for as long as I can.  November is for eating pumpkin in my morning oatmeal.  It's for studying hard.  November is for planning and praying about the future.  November is for husbands coming home.  November is for making chili and cornbread.  November is about doing things that are hard, but that are totally worth it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do I still journal? Why yes, I do.

I just wanted to share a few of my recent art journal pages with y'all. I went through a dry spell for a while but have really found a lot of inspiration from flickr.  I just found Anna Denise through flickr and think her work is AMAZING.  I hope one day my pages can be as beautiful as hers.


This Sunday it poured down rain all day.  Usually I love rainy days but I had my heart set on a run outdoors this day.  I stayed in and sipped tea instead.


Lots of different lists of different things I love.  This page was one inspired from Janel's iheartfall art journal class.  I only did a few of her prompts and really need to catch up.  I really love her pages too.


Another iheartfall class inspired page.  I cut this picture of a tree out of my Joyce Meyer magazine (her magazines have such beautiful pages in addition to meaningful articles).  The quote at the top of the page (also from the magazine) reads, "We all want to be able to look back at the previous year and say, 'I've improved.  I'm more patient.  I'm more giving.  I'm less selfish.'  If we have the Word in us, we can do that."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Advice please!

Ok, so.

I think I might have found a new goal, but I don't know if I'm being over ambitious.  There is a Verona marathon in February that I want to participate in.  Now don't get too crazy, I'm going to run the marathon.  They are offering a half marathon as well.  

That's 13.1 miles.  More than quadruple my huge goal I just accomplished last month.

It's going to take a lot of hard work.  No one is disputing that.  But, I do have more than 4 months to work toward this goal.  That's something, right? 

Please, if you know anything about running tell me now if I'm being an over anxious beginner or if I really have a shot at finishing this thing.  I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for a 10k, which would have been my next race or preference.  Maybe if I find one I can get rid of this crazy idea.

I was checking out Runner's World online and they had a training schedule for half marathons for beginners.  It was an 8 week schedule.  Surely I can stretch that over double the time for a slow increase to what I want to accomplish?  This way there's no injuries or heartache over a missed run.  

I'm not going to lie, when I saw that in week 1 I'd be running 19-21 miles instead of my usual 6-10 I had a little panic attack.  But as soon as I calmed down and stopped hyperventilating I realized I had more time than the average bear.

Here I go, getting excited again.  

Bloggers, either talk me off the ledge or encourage me to take the leap.  I'd love your feedback.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fitness of Nikki to Date


After completing my 5k (and the biggest athletic accomplishment of my adult life), I kinda went into a fitness funk.  There wasn't really a need to get those 2 miles in before work in the morning.  So in my mind there wasn't much of a need to get any miles in that day.  It might have had something to do with going on this to see this:


But!  There was a gym on the boat and I worked out twice.  On vacation even!  When did I become one of those people?  One day I ran for 25 minutes on the treadmill.  Another day the gym was full so I ran up and down the 10 flights of stairs on the ship for 20 minutes.

Which, by the way, if you ever get the chance to do that while you're on a cruise?  Don't.  Especially not on the first day of the cruise when you have days and days of sight seeing to do after.  Your calves will hate you and be very vocal in letting you know their sudden want to be liberated from the rest of your silly legs.

Despite the 6 course meals every night and all-you-can-eat all-day-long buffets I managed not to gain any weight.  I did not, however, manage to find a new goal to replace my 5k goal.  Not yet anyway.

This new found strength in my body is so invigorating.  I no longer find eating healthy a chore, but a way to get my body the best fuel possible to run in its most efficient state.  I don't think of exercise as something to do to loose weight but to get stronger and faster.

Now I feel like I need to put a disclaimer here: I still eat lots of chocolate and burritos.  I still talk myself out of going for runs sometimes.  I still get disappointed when I can't quite button my skinny jeans and have to go for a size up that day.  I am still my fantastically flawed self.

But I'm stronger too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greek Patriotism


The flag in this picture is on the same hill as the Acropolis.  It's on the other side of the plateau, sitting on a steep drop off.  During World War II, the Nazi's took down the Greek flag that flew there and raised a Nazi flag.  Every night, a Greek patriot would scale the steep side of the mountain where the flag flew and replace the Nazi flag with the Greek flag until the occupation was over.

Don't you just love Greece a little more now?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Back in a week

I'm outta here for a week, but I'll be back next weekend with pictures and stories.  I can't wait to share with you so please stick around to listen.


Monday, September 27, 2010



I'm having a hard time focusing on anything even though I have a list as long as my arm of things to finish before I go on vacation next week. All I can think about is the sea, feta cheese, fresh seafood, reading all day, sitting on the deck, all-you-can-eat buffets, journaling. 

It's taking all my self-control not to start packing yet.  I've allowed myself to get guide books from the library, go shopping for a new sweater for my trip, fill up all my travel sized bottles, start a packing list.

A week to collect my thoughts, after the hectic move at work and before my husband comes home from Afghanistan turning my all the single ladies existence upside down, is desperately needed.  The fact that this week happens to be on a cruise of the Greek islands is fine by me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Company Kindness

On Monday I ordered over $75 dollars worth of sports bras from my favorite sports bra store, title nine.  Yesterday I got an email about the $5 shipping.  So I was a little upset about having a missed discount opportunity since I ordered promptly after I got the sale announcement.  

Quick digression: It's a great sale.  The bras are really much cheaper than normal and are excellent quality.  All my running bras are from title nine.  And since I'm not a girl with a "runners build" as my husband says (aka I have been asked by two different women if they could take a picture of my chest to show their plastic surgens what they want their implants to look like) a good bra is a must have.  I have 3 bras from title nine.  When they say no bounce, they MEAN no bounce.  End digression.

So I wrote the folks there asking if I could take advantage of the discount after the fact.  No harm in asking, right?

I got back the kindest response:

Normally we don't give refunds on shipping since it was a day after the sale, but since you ordered so much and was for the bra sale, I can adjust the shipping for you as a one-time courtesy. :)
title nine / customer service
1-800-342-4448  9a -5p M-F PST

So nice!  

If you are in the market for a new sports bra, or any of their beautiful apparel, you should really check them out. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello, Fall


According to the American calendar (and maybe the Italian one for all I know) today is officially the first day of fall.  Even though the mornings are starting to become crispy cool, it was 80F on my way to work at noon.

I wore sandals.

Come on, Fall.  I need more legitimate crispiness for new boot buying.

I don't, however, need another great reason for art journaling.  I'm taking Janel's I heart fall art journal class and loving it.  So far though I've only been able to play catch up on the weekends.  So hopefully I'll be playing catch up again this weekend and photograph my pages to be able to post them next week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Transumanza: Part the Second


Finally.  After the bands and the history and the batons and the beer we get to the good stuff: the cows.


Almost all the cows are wearing these huge bells to announce their arrival.  (As if the huge parade beforehand wasn't enough.)  And for stampede control these men with sticks were walking in front and among the herd to keep them in line.  I'm not even kidding.  These poor babies endured a severe beating if they got out of line.  No trampling of babies or doggies pulling carts full of babies were going to happen.


Then they just kept on coming until the road was covered in manure.  The people rejoiced.


As for me, I hightailed it home.  The sky turned from baby blue to threatening gray.  After being soaked during my 5K the day before I wasn't ready to have a repeat.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bressanvido Festival Part the First

Every year about this time my town has a festival celebrating the cows trek from the top of the mountains, where they stay for the summer, down to our town for the winter.


There's a parade on the first Sunday of the 10 day festival.  Old tractors start the fun.

Followed by baton twirling.


A marching band.


People dressed in period attire.


These guys were my favorite.


Especially the guy pretending to sell rosaries with the Italian flag strapped to his back.


The polizia stopped by to keep the party in check.


A new addition this year are the super adorable dogs pulling carts full of flowers.  There was on dog pulling a cart carrying a little girl.  Adorable.


Next were these guys.  Pulling something a little heavier than flowers.


No, I don't live in Germany.  Italians like beer, but it's way more expensive here.


Unless of course you're lucky enough to be on the other side of the street during the parade and the guys handing beer out of the back of this van stop by you. Then it's free.