Anna Abroad: Homemade Pasta & Santorini

Wow I am actually writing this post on a Monday!! I was just excited to tell you about my week, okay?! How have I already been here a whole month!!?? Only two short weeks left in this whirlwind ride of my summer studying abroad. Check out what I did this week, all the amazing food I ate, how my love is only growing for my new friends, and my weekend in Santorini, Greece!!! It just keeps getting better.

Monday, June 11th 2018: Playing Catch-Up & Movie Night

Today was a pretty simple and boring catch-up day. Not a ton took place just the typical class, mensa, relaxing, and homework until dinner time. It’s almost final time here at the JFRC and I need to get down to business. But it’s hard when I want to see so many things and visit so many places!! Lily had heard about this place downtown called Osteria da Fortunata with homemade pasta made right in front of you. We sat outside right by the window where this lovely lady was hand rolling the pasta!! SO cool right?! I got cacio e pepe one of my favs and it was delish. We stopped for gelato ( I know we eat it a lot lol, I get it. But when in Rome, right??? When we got home to the good ol JFRC we all snuggled up in Lily’s bed and watched a movie!! Great night with the gal pals!


Tuesday, June 12th 2018: Sant’Agnese & the 3 Mile Walk

Today we had another on-site for theology class and we went to Sant’Agnese. We had the privilege of getting to visit the catacombs underneath as well as the church itself. We weren’t allowed to take an pictures in the catacombs but they were so interesting! They were so much smaller than I imagined. The oldest ones were at the top and the newest were at the bottom. When they needed more tombs they just kept digging down into the earth. After visiting the sites we sat down at a cafe on the grounds and had a class discussion talking about what we had seen and heard. This was one of my favorite classes so far. I feel like I keep saying that..what can I say? I really like this class. We went back for mensa, naps, and studying before heading back downtown for dinner. We got some yummy pasta (what’s new…?) and ended up and can you guess?….yes, Old Bridge for gelato. We were feeling ambitious and decided after being completely stuffed that we would walk the full three miles back to campus. And we did it, and in pretty good time if I do say so myself.



Wednesday, June 13th 2018: Good Food & Good People

Today we had an on-site class for literature. We listened to an hour presentation near the Vatican about migration in European countries. We went back to JFRC for mensa and to do some laundry before another weekend away. Before we decided to go into Rome for some shopping, dinner, and gelato we made a quick pit stop at a local pizza place for supplì because duh. We stopped by Zara (are you even suprised?), Old Bear (another one of our favs), and Gelotti for dessert. Lots of laughs, good people, and once again, we got a little caught in the rain. I love these people and feel so lucky to have met them here in this situation that we get to experience together.

Thursday, June 14th 2018: Early Wake Up Call & Leaving for Greece

Today was an early one. The night before Lily and Carolyn were talking about getting up early to go to the IC and get some work done. I decided to join them and get some writing done because these blogs don’t write themselves! I woke up around 5:45am to shower and met them downstairs around 6:15. I wrote my week three blog post for about 2 hours or so and I still wasn’t done but I got a majority of it finished so I was content. Even though I may have taken a longer afternoon nap than usual later that day, I honestly really enjoyed being up that early and just getting stuff done. After working until about 8:15 we went to breakfast at Rinaldo’s (our little campus cafe) where I got my usual cappuccino freddo, chocolate chip croissant, and yogurt. I’m going to miss these pastries when I leave but I’m sure my body will thank me. We went to class and mensa as normal and then I packed for Santorini!! I still couldn’t believe I was going here. Greece has been on my bucket list FOREVER and it just didn’t seem real. Krista and I headed to the airport where we flew from Rome to Athens and then from Athens to Santorini. The flights were very smooth and we got into Santorini around 10:30pm. We took a shuttle from the airport to our hotel and we pretty much just showered and went to bed exhausted from the full day of travel.

Friday, June 15th 2018: Lounging at Perissa Beach 

I was SO excited for today. These last few weeks have been so go go go so I was so relieved to finally we able to just relax. We woke up around 7:30 and got all packed up for our day at the beach before we went to breakfast. Which by the way was SO good. We paid a little extra to have our breakfast included in our stay and it was so worth it. They had super yummy omelettes and ALL the pastries to choose from. They even made us french toast on the first morning which was to die for. We had fruit and actual coffee and it was so nice. After breakfast we got a taxi over to the eastern side of Santorini to Perissa Beach. We had done some research and this beach kept coming up on the top of the list for best beaches so we had to go. We rented two chairs for only 15 euro and spent the whole day just lounging, eating, swimming, and enjoying the sunshine. It was such a pleasant day and not to mention absolutely beautiful. We spent a majority of the day here before heading back to rest and clean up before dinner. For dinner we went to this delicious place right on the shore with an incredible view of the sunset. I got a seafood spaghetti which was so good and we got a baked feta appetizer to share. After watching the sunset and finishing up our meal we went to find something sweet for dessert. We stumbled upon this gelato place and the cones were ACTUAL waffles. It may have been one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. We took our treats back to our hotel, snuggled up and finished the night watching Mamma Mia. Very appropriate, don’t you think? What a GREAT day.


Saturday, June 16th 2018: The White Village & Greek Yogurt

So where we were staying in Fira there was a cute little town with lots to do BUT it wasn’t the “white greek houses” that I had in my head. This village is in Oía, the northernmost part of the island. SO we took a taxi up again first thing in the morning and made our way up to Oía. THIS is what I was hoping for. THIS is what I had always imagined and dreamed about. THIS in my head, this was Santorini. We spent the day walking around going in and out of all the little shops, taking LOTS of pictures and then stopped for lunch at Vitrin cafe where I got a waffle covered in bananas and whip cream (SO YUM) and Krista and I split some REAL LIFE AUTHENTIC greek yogurt!!! It was topped with hazelnuts, honey, bananas, and apples. Best greek yogurt I’ve ever had. There were donkeys everywhere! I thought that was just something that made up for the movies but they actually climbed up all the steps and some were even carrying people. After an amazing afternoon we headed back to Fira for dinner. Tonight was really fun because we found an area of Fira we hadn’t explored yet filled with so many shops and fun little finds. We got another yummy dinner and then stuck with the greek yogurt trend and got some frozen yogurt for dessert. Again, SO good. We had an earlier dinner tonight so we still had time before the sunset. We came across this beautiful rooftop bar with the most insane view. We got a spot right on the edge, ordered a drink, and just took it ALL in. WOW. All I’ve got to say is WOW.

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Sunday, June 17th 2018: Leaving Greece & Homemade Pasta

This morning was pretty relaxed. We didn’t have a ton of time before leaving for the airport so we slept in a little, packed up our room and got our last yummy hotel breakfast. I really am going to miss that breakfast. We got the airport shuttle around 11am and left our beautiful hotel. The Santorini airport was um interesting to say the least. It was quite disorganized and very stressful. There was only one line for security, and when we finally got to our gate there was about 30 seats for gates 4-8. Everyone was standing and sweaty and not super happy. But it is a very small airport and it’s peak tourist season, so what can you expect. Athens is much bigger and a lot more built up. I was sad to leave, but happy to be back after quite the day of traveling. Our flight landed in Rome around 4:30pm and we made our way back to JFRC. We unpacked and showered, trying to get everything sorted for another school week ahead. Carolyn, Lily, and Angela got back from their weekend in Venice a few hours after us and we all decided to go to dinner at Osteria da Fortunata again for some home made pasta. I got Sciavatelli Amatriciana and they were being made right behind me as I ate!!!


UP NEXT WEEK: MILAN & LAKE COMO!!! (yes, where the Clooneys vacation OMG)




Anna Abroad: 4 Euro Pasta & Paris

Another incredible week has come and gone. I can’t even believe this is my life and I am able to visit all of these places I’ve always wanted to. But the faster it goes means the faster it’s ending… and while I am excited to go home and see my friends and family I really don’t want to think about leaving this place or these people. But this is only week 3 so let’s dive into it!!!! This week I had my usual classes Monday-Thursday and then I spent the weekend in PARIS with my best girl friends and even got to see my parents for a little bit! Paris completely lived up to my expectations and much much more. Here’s my week in a nutshell:

Monday, June 4th 2018: My First Quiz & the Seminarians 

I feel like these “school” days can get extremely repetitive, especially for you who is just reading about them. But besides the norm, I had my first quiz in my literature class today and flash forward a week when I am writing this… I got an A so go me. I honestly wasn’t expecting that considering I “studied” on the train home from Florence. With that behind me I didn’t have much planned for the rest of the day other than my usual nap (lol very necessary here) and whatever we ended up doing for dinner later. I was so excited when we decided on another APERITIVO, only the best creation to this God given earth. We tried out a place called La ZanZara and it was so cute!! We ordered our drink as usual and they brought around little singe serving cups of different pastas, meats, seafood, etc. BUT that didn’t completely fill us up so we ended up ordering two full sized pastas to share lol. After dinner we made our way to our usual spot, Old Bridge, the best gelato in Rome in my opinion. We walked up and we welcomed by a group of about 30 seminarians in line with us. They started talking to us asking what flavors were best. This chat was up there on one of my favorite memories from this trip so far. We got talking about what they were doing here and we were doing here. AND let me just tell you I can’t wait for these guys to become priests. They are exactly the type of men we need becoming priests right now. They would give the BEST homilies. I don’t think there was a time where I wasn’t laughing. They also tried to recruit our friend Will to become a priest so that was comical to say the least. Perfect end to an already great night.


Tuesday, June 5th 2018: Holy Relics & Supplì

Today we went to more amazing churches as part of my Theology class I am taking here. We visited Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica di San Passede, and St. Pietro in Vincoli. What was special about the sites we saw this week was they all claimed to house a precious relic of Christ’s. Many of these have now been proven they are not real due to things like carbon-dating but it was still so cool to be able to be in the presence of something that means so much to so many people. Many pilgrims were praying and bowing in front of these holy objects and it was a very cool thing to see.



Actual pieces of wood from Jesus’ manger


The marble pillar Jesus was chained to and whipped 


St. Peter’s chains

After another day full of walking and seeing these amazing churches we headed back to campus for lunch and naps. Tonight we got some local pizza and I was introduced to supplì, a fried cheese stuffed rice ball. Apparently these are a very popular street food here in Italy and to be quite honest I’m not really sure how I’ve lived without them. I’m obsessed. Then we went back and finally finished (or so we thought) booking our hotel for Paris, which I know, I know, a little late to the game…more to come with that.

Wednesday, June 6th 2018: We Almost Got Scammed & 4 Euro Pasta

Today was quite an interesting one. Class as usual, did some laundry to get ready for the weekend and then had to deal with some hotel drama. Yeah, remember when I said there was more to come. WELL, we kind of messed up. So to give some brief backstory, Krista and I had booked our Airbnb for Paris like 2 months before this. But then we met all of these amazing new friends and they wanted to come to Paris too, so we canceled the Airbnb because it was only big enough for two. So, as a result, we were booking our hotel very late and there were very limited choices as one would expect. We thought we found a great deal on and I messaged the owner. It was an apartment super close to all the sites and would fit all six of us for a decent price. All was fine and dandy until the owner said we needed to pay the full amount in CASH upon arrival. This wasn’t like 50 euros, no more like 2,000. SO I was like um no absolutely not that is so sketch. And the dealio is I would have canceled right away but there was a no refund policy so if we canceled he would have charged my card the full amount. So I ended up calling and they were very accommodating in helping us with our issue. They called the owner of the property and we got the full refund and were able to cancel. Whew glad that was over. We booked a new hotel for a little more expensive than we were hoping to pay but anything to be away from that situation I was all for. After that whole debacle we made our way towards the Spanish steps for a cheap and super fun dinner. One of our RA’s on campus had recommended two places to check out. A 4 euro pasta place, and right down the road a 4 euro tiramisu place. This was such a fun way to explore Rome even more and not to mention delicious.


Thursday, June 7th 2018: More Pretty Churches & Leaving for Paris

This morning we visited Santa Crocia in Jerusalem and St. John Lateran. There were more relics like pieces of the real cross, nails, thorns from the crown of thorns, and the “King of the Jews” sign. Whether they are real or not it still is incredible to see them displayed like this. St. John Lateran may have been one of my favorite churches we have visited. I found the regal colors and overall grandness so beautiful.


After class we went back for lunch and to finish packing. I was a little worried because these European airlines are very stingy on the weight of the bag as opposed to just the size so I packed very light with only a carryon and a small purse. We did decide as a group to check a suitcase because we knew we would be doing some shopping lol. We left for the airport and got a 48 euro voucher for the taxi which was super nice because it’s usually over that by quite a bit. We got to the airport, got through security and had just enough time to grab something to eat before boarding. The flight was super easy, only about two hours, which I slept for most of anyway. Our goal when we arrived was to find a crepe place. I had the most bomb banana and chocolate crepe before we went to check into our hotel and go to sleep for the night.


Friday, June 8th 2018: Shopping Day & Seeing My Parents

I woke up so excited for today. The only things we had on our to-do list was shopping, eating, and meeting up with my parents for a little. We woke up around 6:45am to get ready for our big day. We also had a little photoshoot on our BALCONY because why wouldn’t we?! We stopped for breakfast at this super yummy spot, Claus. I got avocado toast with a poached egg, pain au chocolat, and hot chocolate. Talk about a great start to my morning. After breakfast we walked to the Arc de Triomphe and met up with Mom & Dad who came to see me for the weekend and explore Paris on their own. We made a stop at the Eiffel Tower for some typical touristy pics, had some quick lunch, and then the shopping day began. Did we go a little overboard at the Longchamp store?… maybe. But everything was so much cheaper here because this stuff was actually made in Paris. So it’s justified, right?! Then we made one final stop at the infamous Laduree, the ultimate macaroon destination. Let me tell you they were worth every penny. I got a box of six because one, I wanted that many, but two, to get a pretty picture. I got lemon, vanilla, pistachio, rose, blackcurrant chocolate, and raspberry. My favorite was raspberry. SO GOOD. We finished off our long day with dinner at Les Deux Magots where apparently a lot of famous writers like Hemingway would go eat while he wrote. I got a delish duck dish with mashed potatoes. After dinner we went back to our hotel for the night. Tomorrow is going to be PACKED.

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Saturday, June 9th 2018: Seeing ALL the Sites & Dinner with Mom and Dad

I knew today was going to be a packed day but boy oh boy was it a packed day. We woke up early again because we had to get a head start on the crowds. We stopped in the cutest little pastry shop called Secco and I got a quiche lorraine and pain au chocolat of course. Then we began our insanely action packed day filled with all of the touristy locations. We started off at the Musée d’Orsay, then Sainte-Chapelle, Pompidou, quick pitstop for lunch and then the Louvre. Sainte-Chapelle was probably my favorite with the incredible stain glass everywhere, especially in the “jewelry box” which used to house all of the church’s relics. Truly unbelievable. My favorite museum we went to was Musée d’Orsay. It was an old train station turned museum and there wasn’t a room that didn’t capture my eye. Oh and we saw the Mona Lisa!! And tbh super anticlimactic but still super cool!!! After a day full of fun and learning so many new things we stopped at Angelina, home to the most decadent hot chocolate you will ever have. They brought it out in pitchers for us to pour into our mugs with homemade whip cream. It was basically liquid chocolate that’s how thick it was. After a much needed break at Angelina we headed back to our hotel and got ready for dinner with my parents. I was so excited to see them and they were so excited to meet my new friends. We went to Restaurant Vagenende. It was only a 9 minute walk from our hotel and was on the list of historic places in Paris. It was so beautiful. My friends couldn’t stop saying how much they loved my parents which made me happy. We enjoyed our evening with them talking over yummy food and wine before we sadly parted ways again. After dinner we made our way to a nearby crepery (our newfound love on this trip) before heading to the Eiffel Tower to see it all lit up at night. It was the perfect day.

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Yes, we did all get matching backpacks


Sunday, June 10th 2018: Mass at Notre Dame & Heading Back to JFRC

This morning was yet again another early morning. Are you even surprised at this point?! We want to fit it all in as you can see. We decided we were going to attend mass the Notre Dame because why wouldn’t we? And it was the coolest thing but also one of the strangest. So we were celebrating the mass as one does at 8:30am when all of a sudden I look around and see a bunch of tourists walking around the outside of the church with their selfie sticks and flashing cameras…DURING the mass?…the mass kept going and they were speaking French of course so I didn’t completely know what was happening but all masses are basically the same so I knew the gist. Then we get to the Eucharist and the consecration and people are just gathered around the sides watching in awe. It was the strangest phenomenon. As we are about to receive communion people are taking selfies with us in the background. So strange. After a beautiful yet odd mass we went for brunch at Season, a super fun and yummy place about 30 minutes away walking. We like to walk though so it was really nice. We got a few things to share for the table, some caramel pancakes and a banana bread and then I got an egg sandwich and açai bowl. They were soooo yummy. Then unfortunately we had to leave beautiful Parieeee and head back to JFRC. We did make a stop in the airport though for some yummy rosé before we left lol. It was such an incredible trip I LOVE Paris and definitely will be back.


That’s it for week 3!!! Props to you if you actually read that all the way through!!

UP NEXT WEEK: Santorini, Greece!!!!



Anna Abroad: Seeing the Pope & Florence

Wow, another week is gone just like that. These weeks are FLYING by and I am having the time of my life. I keep thinking that it can’t get any better than it is but it does!!! This week was so much fun. We did so many things from attending the Papal Audience, going to the Opera, discovering more foodie finds and climbing the Duomo in Florence over the weekend.

Monday, May 28th 2018: Chinese Restaurant

Today was a pretty relaxed day spent in class and at JFRC. The highlight of today was our dinner at believe it or not a Chinese restaurant, yes I said a Chinese restaurant. One can only eat so much pasta. This place was actually recommended to us by someone at our campus so we decided to try it out. We got edamame, gyoza, orange chicken, fried rice, and so many yummy desserts. The menu was super cheap so we just ordered family style and shared everything. The orange chicken was a bit of a surprise. It definitely was different than what we are used to. As opposed to the fried chicken with the thick orange sauce we got grilled chicken with a very sweet, almost dessert-like orange sauce. Don’t get me wrong, still so yummy, just very different. For dessert we had a bit of a sampler and got fried ice cream, fried nutella, and two different flavors of mochi. SO YUM.

Tuesday, May 29th 2018: Aperitivo & Opera

Today started off with our theology class (my new favorite class I’ve ever taken) heading into town to explore more beautiful churches and religious sites. We visited San Pietro in Montorio, Santa Maria in Trastevere, and St. Cecilia’s in Trastevere. The architecture of these beautiful sites never ceases to amaze me. We do so much walking on these “on-site” days so we even stopped for some cookies in a local bakery that were such a nice treat.

We headed back to campus for lunch and to relax a little bit before heading out later that night. Tonight we had an opportunity to go to an aperitivo and opera so you bet your bottom dollar I took advantage of it. I wasn’t quite sure what either would consist of but it was the best night. So for those who are unaware (because I was), an aperitivo is this pretty fantastic the Italians have over here where you go buy a drink and then you get unlimited appetizers!!! UM can I say GENIUS?! The one we went to, Freni e Frizioni, was mediterranean food and boy was I impressed. I went up for three or four small plates and all I had to do was buy a drink. Wow.


Next up was the Opera. Now this was a little different than I was expecting. I had never been to an Opera before but I was guessing we would be in a big theater with a lot of people. Wrong. It was actually quite a small venue with probably only 30 seats or so in an actual archaeological dig site!!!

fullsizeoutput_66e5 After the opera we were on the hunt for gelato and we found possibly our new favorite place. Old Bridge by the Vatican has my heart! Get the cookies black (cookies & cream) and the cherry. OBSESSED. Oh and get the whip cream on top. It’s home made and the

Wednesday, May 30th 2018: Papal Audience

Oh wow oh wow what a day. A completely amazing, jaw dropping, completely surreal day. We left bright and early around 7am for the Papal Audience at 10am at THE Vatican. We got in line around 7:45 and probably were in by 8:15. FYI they will take your HydroFlask if you bring it so just don’t. I got it back but they took it from me because apparently I could have thrown it at Pope Francis LOL. Then the moment actually came. I seriously got goosebumps. Pope Francis rode around in his little Pope mobile before beginning the prayers. They started off by welcoming every single group that was there in every language, including Loyola John Felice Rome Center which was so so so cool. He went around waving and kissing babies. The Swiss Guards would just pull children out of the crowd and hand them to Pope Francis. Like what. If you are ever lucky enough to experience this like I did I would highly recommend not worrying so much about rushing to the front. Pretty much as long as you get close to a barricade he will go right past you and you will have the perfect view of Papa himself. And if you have a kid, get them kissed!!!

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After that wonderful morning we decided to stop for a little girls brunch at this super yummy place, Ginger. We went for a more Americanized breakfast of açai bowls and a pancake sampler. No regrets whatsoever. It was so refreshing and I want to go back for sure. We even got salads and sandwiches to go for dinner later on. Great decision.

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The busyness of our morning made for a pretty relaxed afternoon. We napped and just did homework/studying because I guess we still have to do class while we’re here :/

Oh also we had a little candid photoshoot waiting for the bus lolz but for real thankful to have already made such amazing friends on this trip to share all of these experiences with 😉


Thursday, May 31st 2018: Mexican food, secret bakery & The Princess Diaries 2

It can be a little difficult because our campus is a decent distance from the center of the city and we are always go go go so sometimes it’s just nice to relax. Today we ended up checking out this Mexican place which had gotten really good reviews, Pico’s. It was super yummy and the chips and guac were a must. After dinner we stopped for gelato at our fav Old Bridge (this time I got strawberry and coconut) and then went back and had a chill night and watched the Princess Diaries 2 because DUH it’s so good and also Chris. Pine.iEZD868GS4O3VlPLVddB9wr+ll6jL2ROGq2giqXQr%5w1CuBBmMDShmYJH9GkoTNhw1DfMwSvLTViW65JDsaSHaQ

Friday, June 1st 2018: Krista’s Birthday & Heading to Florence

Today was our “make-up” class day since we didn’t have class on Wednesday due to the Papal Audience. So this morning I woke up early to pack for Florence before class. The goal was to pack light and boy I succeeded I was so proud. I fit everything in my backpack and a large tote. We went to class as usual and then it was the weekend!!! I was so excited to see Florence and to spend the weekend with all of my friends. We got to the train and everything was going according to plan, so we thought. We were almost to Florence (probably 15 minutes out) when we received a message asking about our AirBNB. WELL, it turns out we booked the AirBNB for next weekend. YIKES. We had no place to stay. I will admit I am so proud of us. We didn’t freak out. I think it was because we knew we were the only ones who could fix it and we didn’t really have much of a choice other than to fix it. So we ended up canceling our reservation for the next weekend, got a FULL refund thanks to our friend Will calling the company, and booked a new hotel all within about half an hour. It was our first mess-up of the trip but also a huge success on our end. After all of that silliness we decided to stop at the Westin (unfortunately not where we were staying lol) for drinks at the rooftop bar. We all treated ourselves to some mojitos before heading over to the new hotel to check in. After check-in we stopped for some shooping and then made our way to the top of the Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset. This may have been my favorite part of the whole weekend. It was such an incredible feeling being at the top admiring the beauty of Florence with so many other people all at the same time. We needed some pre-dinner gelato after the big hike up (we do a LOT of walking in this country sheesh) so we stopped for the YUMMIEST blood orange gelato. It was so good we went back up for a second scoop. Dinner was a little later tonight we didn’t end up eating until almost 10pm but it was so worth the wait. We went got different pastas and boar’s head, the restaurant’s specialty, and a delish almond cake for dessert. A wonderful first night in Florence.fS+fLxttR06BRFoZiw4ClwG3vq0s%sT9Sqh3ju4toWmAProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset4f8pIS+MTs29s0+YhxhUZg

Saturday, June 2nd 2018: Shopping ALL Day & the Magnum Store

Today was an actual dream. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to shop. We had a super relaxing day walking around, eating good food, and just shopping. Since we were only here for pretty much two full days we wanted to make the most of our time here. So we woke up around 7am, showered, grabbed a croissant from the breakfast bar and were on our way. We went into many of the higher end stores to look around and mostly window shop. I made a small purchase at Gucci, because after all this is where it was founded!! We had a small lunch at Eataly and stopped at Magnum for some custom ice cream bars. They were SO good and not to mention BEAUTIFUL. Check the pic below to see what I put on mine!!! We went out to dinner that night as a full group of 10 and got the most delicious pasta, steak, and dessert samplers. My favorite was the pumpkin pasta, the balsamic steak, and the whole dessert plate if I’m honest. we paired the dessert with a strawberry dessert wine and it was so worth it. Dinners never disappoint.


Sunday, June 3rd 2018: Exploring the Duomo & Michelangelo’s David

Today was our last day and I didn’t want to leave at ALL. We had done so much but this small and quiet city had stolen my heart. Today we were proper tourists. We woke up super early to stand in line to see Michelangelo’s David. This 17 ft statue was insane and so detailed! You could see the veins in his hands. After a brief look at all of the amazing artwork we made our way to the beautiful Duomo where we had bought passes to explore all of the sites like the Baptistry, the Bell Tower, the Cathedral, and the Dome. We climbed SO many stairs, 463 to be exact. TWICE. Once up the bell tower and then once up the Dome. But the views were worth the struggle and sweat. I was so impressed by the architecture and the detail that went into these structures. I loved every minute. After a full morning of site-seeing we sadly had to return back to Rome for another week of classes. I had so much fun here in Florence. The time is going by too quickly.

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This week was SO amazing!!! Get ready for next week in PARIS!!!!!! Ciao!!


Anna Abroad: Week One in Rome

Ciao!!! I am so sorry I haven’t posted in a few weeks, a lot has been happening and I didn’t want to post just for the sake of posting. I finished my sophomore year of college, moved out of my dorm and into my first apartment, drove back to Indiana, celebrated my sister’s high school graduation, and flew off to ROME for the next 6 weeks!!! I am currently studying abroad at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center (JFRC). So for the next several weeks I will be updating you on all of my travel adventures and experiences while in Italy!! I have had such an incredible first week, met so many new friends and seen so much beauty. I am feeling like a lucky lucky girl.

I feel like I have done and seen more in this first week than I have in my entire life. I am already so in love with Italy and the culture here. Traveling here was quite a journey to say the least. The nine hour flight was the longest flight I have ever been on but honestly not as bad as I thought it would be considering it was at night so I slept (or attempted to sleep) for most of it. We got into Rome around 9am, which is 3am in America. I was VERY jet-lagged for the first few days but I didn’t let that stop me too much because I wanted to take it ALL in. Our first few days on campus were packed full of “orientation” activities to welcome us to Italy and help us get to know our peers. We went to many community dinners and day trips to see some of the sights. I apologize for the extremely long post but I didn’t want to leave anything out!!!

Saturday, May 19th 2018: Day One in Roma

Our first day we were settling in, unpacking, and walking around our neighborhood of Balduina to see what was around. We got some pizza for lunch which they cut with scissors and weighed to see how many euros it would cost. There were about 10 different kinds all just laid out on sheet pans. We went to the local grocery store to stock up on some essentials including breakfast food because I wasn’t sure if I could do croissants every day (but I have pretty much and I was wrong because they are delish). We went to a welcome meeting and had a buffet style dinner with all sorts of pasta and meats and prosecco to drink to celebrate our arrival! After dinner we headed out for a scavenger hunt in the Centro! We took pictures of little tasks to get the most points, saw the Spanish Steps, rode the bus for the first time and got some super yummy gelato.  Although it’s always a little terrifying to just get thrown into a new place like this it was a great way to quickly learn how to get around and help us get accustomed to the city. It was a great way to end our first day! (AND fast forward a few days….after tallying up all the points WE WON the scavenger hunt so YAY!!!)



Sunday, May 20th 2018: Villa Farnese

Day two was our orientation trip as a whole campus! We went to Villa Farnese, a breathtaking palace, about an hour outside of Rome (and JFRC). We had our own bus thank goodness and didn’t have to take public transportation which was nice. I was on the green bus which was my group for the tour. We had whisper boxes with one earbud to listen to our guide who graciously and may I say quite impressively talked through what must have been close to 25 rooms or more all in great detail and painted like the Sistine Chapel. I have so many pictures of each and every one. After this we went for literally a 3 1/2 hour lunch. Which was so so good but so dang long. I knew meals over here lasted a lot longer than ours back home but WOW. We had four courses: meats, lasagna, turkey and veggies, and cake all with plenty of wine. After being stuffed to the max by this meal we made the trek back to JFRC for the night. We had dinner in our little cafe, Rinaldo’s and hung out with some of our new friends. What I love about this campus is we are meeting people from all over, not just Loyola. We have made friends from Marquette and College of the Holy Cross. And the best part is they all traveled with us this weekend to the Amalfi Coast!!

Monday, May 21st 2018: The community dinner, the train disaster and first day of classes

Today was our first day of classes. And while I was excited to get started in learning about Rome (and honestly just knock off those credits) I was not looking forward to sitting in lecture for 3 hours a day. Today I had literature. I really like my professor, she is originally from Italy and specifically Rome, which is a very cool opportunity as a student. The class will probably be a little dry but we started a documentary about migration which seemed interesting. After class we went to lunch in the Mensa, our dining hall here, where we had pasta and salad. It was delish but I’m not sure how much of the same thing I am going to be able to handle for the next 6 weeks here and we’re only on day three. Then Krista and Anna a few of my friends went shopping for some breakfast food since they don’t serve that for us. We went to Simply & OVC for some towels for Amalfi & face wash for Anna. When we were done shopping and trying to cool off from the hot walk back up the hill we found a movie/lounge room so the three of us all sat in there and watched the Change-Up with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. Similar plot line to Freaky Friday but I was not a fan so we went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. I initially was little bummed because the dinners were split by last names so A-L and M-Z so I was split up from Krista but I got to know some other girls from Holy Cross a lot better and it ended up being so much fun. To get to our restaurant we had to take the train, I was looking forward to this since I hadn’t done it before. We scanned our tickets and got on board. I was immediately impressed, they were way nicer than the L. BUT I spoke too soon. The train had some “technical” issues and we were stuck for almost an hour and a half. We didn’t get to the restaurant until 9:15 and our reservation was at 8pm and that’s only because we got off and took taxis four people at a time. It was a huge mess but we finally made it there and had a super yummy meal. We started off with a massive wooden board of meat and cheeses. There was only myself, Carolyn, Lily, and Angela at my table so it was a little challenging to finish. The second course was a delicious pasta with a marinara and cheese. Our dessert was a lemon icey drink. While this was so good I was hoping for something like tiramisu not gonna lie. After lots of yummy food and wine we headed home in another taxi. We were in bed by 12:30. It was a successful first day!

Tuesday, May 22nd 2018: A Night on the town

Today I had my first theology class and I am so excited!! My professor, Colby Dickinson seems like such a cool guy and so knowledgable. I think this class will be my favorite! We walk around a bunch of cool churches and theology related locations for our class. Our first “on-site” class is on Thursday and I am so pumped. After class we decided to hang out for a little bit before going downtown Rome for shopping and dinner. We spent what must have been a couple hours in ZARA, which yes they do have in the states but I wanted some more clothes for my weekend trip, everyone dresses so well here! I got a really pretty longer dress and a pair of white flared pants which I can wear with a lot of different things. After a very long time spent there we finally headed to dinner. One of my friends here, Carolyn, recommended Old Bear, apparently a favorite of her family’s from when they had visited before. We went there and got seated rather quickly. She recommended the truffle bruschetta and the truffle lasagna. In retrospect was it too much truffle, maybe. BUT it was soooooo good I loved every bite. We got a pitcher of the house white wine for the table and we were set. We were sat in the “American area” which I found hilarious full of other tourists and blasting Katy Perry. It was definitely an experience. We had to stop for some gelato on the way out and then proceeded to go to a karaoke bar, Scholars, with a bunch of my other classmates and study abroad students from other universities. We took the bus home from the bar and being new to the area still, got off a few stops too early and got caught in the rain. It was something I will never forget.




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Wednesday, May 23rd 2018: The Infamous Pear Pasta

Today wasn’t all too exciting in the morning, just another class from 9-12, lunch in the mensa, and studying in the IC for a little bit in the afternoon. The evening was the exciting part! We started off the night by going to a beautiful mass just for us Loyola JFRC students in a breathtaking church of Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio in the Centro Storico. We then headed to a community dinner with our whole campus where we had wine ricotta stuffed tomato, pear pasta, veal and veggies, and gelato for dessert. The pear pasta was as delicious as everyone had told me it was. I still can’t get used to these dinners though, I think we got there around 8 and weren’t done until at least 11. That’s a long time. After dinner we stopped at the Trevi Fountain for a late night wish. It was stunning.




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Thursday, May 24th 2018

Today I woke up super excited for my theology class. It was the first on-site class which meant we were going down towards the Colosseum to visit different churches. We left campus around 7:45am and headed down on the bus, then connected to the train until we eventually ended up where we needed to be. We started off at St. Clemente a beautiful location with 3D ceilings, multiple side alters, and a “jewel” of archaeology digs. There were underground tunnels and passages built by the thin Roman brick which are very supportive and still very much intact. There was an active stream of water where people used to come get water, this really represents ancient Rome.


The next location we went to was Stefano Rotondo. The roundness of this building was unique it was common for mausoleums but not for churches. It was modeled after a holy church in Jerusalem. St. Stephen was the first martyr, stoned to death. The whole church is based on the ideas of martyrs, showing 16th century detailed murals of how they died. These paintings were commissioned by Pope Gregory.


Lastly was Geovanni y Paulo. A church built on hop of a house church or “domas ecclesia” to commemorate. The church above took the names of people who had the house church below, that’s where Geovanni y Paulo come from. They gave the idea for a titular church. Run by  the passionists in 1783 it was conservative and pious. The men wore all black in perpetual mourning of Christ.


We finished off the afternoon with a yummy pizza lunch and headed back to the Colosseum for some more pics!!!





IMG_8097IMG_8102IMG_8116IMG_8117After we got back from our class/lunch I just chilled and starting packing because this weekend we were headed to the AMALFI COAST!!!! WHAT?! I know. I could hardly believe it too. We all packed up our carryons and headed to Roma Termini Train Station to meet up with Bus2Alps, the company that we did our weekend with, and headed off on the 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Sorrento, Italy. We got in late and night and slept in hostels. They were actually a lot nicer than I was expecting and it was perfect just for sleeping.

Friday, May 25th 2018: Capri

Holy moly was this the most incredible thing I have ever done!!! Yes, definitely quite possible. We left our hostel pretty early this morning and got on a boat to head to Capri. We passed by all of the incredible mountains and scenery. It didn’t seem real. Once we got on the island we took a long and sweaty walk up to the top to get a refreshing orange drink and explore. I had heard a lot about this specific sandal shop and I was determined to check it out. Our guide told us that Jackie Kennedy went here and made it famous. They size your foot and make you a custom sandal with the style and color of leather you want. I picked a dark grey leather and I am obsessed. We got our sandals (which only took 15 minutes to make!!!) How cool like omg?! We got some quick paninis for lunch and then headed up to the tippy top of the island. We were told we had to take a chair lift to get up there and it was a must do experience. It was about a 15 minute ride up and down and boy oh boy was it worth it. I was actually blown away by the beauty around me. Then of course we had to stop for gelato before we left because duh.


When we got back it was just about time for dinner and we were feeling seafood so I got a delish seafood spaghetti with mussels, shrimp, and squid. SO GOOD. Dessert was tiramisu because duh Italy. And yes my spaghetti had a full shrimp on top and it was huge.

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Saturday, May 26th 2018: Positano

This was such a good day. It was a total boat and beach day which is what I wanted. We left the hostel around 9am and took about a 2 hour boat ride to Positano from Sorrento. It was a magical day of relaxing on the beach and swimming in the Mediterranean. I am constantly more and more blown away by these places.

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Sunday, May 27th 2018: Pompeii

This day was our last day of the tour and we stopped in Pompeii. This normally isn’t my kind of thing but I will say it was pretty incredible, despite the sweltering heat. We checked out of the hostel and took a bus about an hour or so north until we reached the ruins. We had a guided tour through it all and man history is incredible. It was so weird to think that people actually used to live there, right where I was standing. After our tour we got some pizza for lunch. This was my favorite one so far, the crust was absolutely stellar. Then we hopped back on the bus and headed back to JFRC for another full week ahead of us.



**My posts over the next several weeks will most likely not be going up on Sundays but really just whenever I can get them up in between classes and travel!! This post alone has taken me so many hours just because of lack of wifi so bare with me pls!!!

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today, April 29th, is one of my favorite people in the world’s birthday. She deserves all of the recognition in the world for her selflessness and endless support she gives me. I wanted to write my blog post about you today because I wanted to (attempt) to put into words how much you mean to me.

I’m not even really sure where to start. To be honest, I’ve always considered myself a Daddy’s girl, and still think I am, but these past few years we have gotten SO much closer and I am so happy about it. We never were not close I just feel like it was amplified when I left and I love it. We talk every day and we talk about what’s happening in our lives only three and a half hours away from each other. You are going to Target and buying groceries and I’m just getting back from a long day of classes. These calls are such a great part of my day and I look forward to them.

You have taught me many things growing up but these are a few things that have stuck out above the rest. Some of these are bigger and some are small but they are all important.

Always be willing to help others, even when they don’t ask, and especially when you don’t want to

I have always applied this to things like “unloading the dishwasher without being asked” but I have witnessed it on a much bigger scale these last few years. For example, tomorrow you are driving my car up here to Chicago so I can pack up all of my stuff and drive myself home on Saturday. When someone asks you to pick them up or take them to the airport, do it! They asked you for a reason. Small things that make this biggest difference. You are so selfless and are always doing things to help others before yourself. I am so appreciative that you have taught me this.

Always write thank you notes

Although this may have been one of my least favorite things you made me do, I understand why. I always put it off for as long as I possibly could. After birthdays, my first communion, graduation. There were just so many people! But you would hound me every day until I got those thank you notes out in the mailbox. It always is a nice feeling knowing what you did or gave didn’t go unnoticed. It is also nice to just thank them for coming and showing appreciation that they took the time.

The importance of family dinners

I swear this is why our family is so close. Growing up, with the exception of late night games and practices, you always made us sit down at the table for a family dinner. Every night. We would talk about our day, we would pray for the people who couldn’t be with us, and we would eat our meal. I didn’t think anything of it until I was older and started going over to other people’s houses for dinner and they didn’t always do this. I think it totally had an impact on my view of family and I can’t wait to carry this over to my family in the future.

Don’t let what is out of your control ruin your day

This one has been HUGE for me, especially since being in college. I am a big worrier and so are you. But you have always instilled this in me and I am working on it every day to stop caring about what is not in my control. It’s not easy and takes a lot of practice but I am working on it. I have made so many days so much worse than they need to be because I got so worked up about something that wasn’t in my control. You are the best person to talk to when I am freaking out about something like this and you quickly put me back in my place. Thank you.

Nobody owes you anything 

You and Dad have drilled this in ours heads for as long as I can remember. Bringing up stories about what it was like to grow up with Grandpa Kleck and Grandpa Jonas. Oh I believe it, I promise. Teaching us to work for what we want and earn everything we have has brought on a set of personal goals and values in which I now live my life. I am so thankful you have taught us this. It is so crucial to understand and I am working harder and harder every day to prove it to myself and to you.

Always make your bed

This is a little one, and I definitely don’t always do it, but I always think about when I don’t do it. You have told me time and time again about the importance of making my bed first thing in the morning and I totally agree with you. I’ve even written about it in past blog posts. It’s a little thing that makes all the difference.

How to be the hostess with the mostest

This is something you do so well and make look so easy. You spend days preparing and cleaning the house, making appetizers, and setting out everything until it looks just right. You have the perfect balance of interacting with guests while still having everything run smoothly. The guests are always priority, making sure they have what the need to have a good time and enjoy themselves. I have definitely inherited the love of entertaining from you and can’t wait to host my own parties and get togethers.

Thank you for teaching me these things, I know there are so many more but these are the few that stuck out to me.

I can’t wait to Facetime you today and wish you the happiest of birthdays!
Love you Mama!!!


Foodie Finds: Kanela Breakfast Club

Happy Sunday!! The Wicker Park area is such an awesome place to be, full of so many unique restaurants and small boutiques. I had been to this part of Chicago a couple of times, so when I found out Kanela Breakfast Club was there I got even MORE excited.

Holy yum!!! I have seen this place on countless blogs and instagram accounts about “Must Have Breakfast Spots in Chicago” so I figured it was about time I went and tried it out. This super relaxed and rustic setting was perfect for a chill Saturday morning. I always struggle with what to order because I am eternally conflicted between sweet and savory. Why can’t I just have both?! My sweet tooth took over and I ultimately went with the Kanela french toast. This was so so delish with a sweet lemon creme and apricot jam. I would totally recommend this meal but I do think I am going to order more on the savory side next time because I am #indecisive!! (maybe the breakfast sandwich??) just to see what that’s like.

I was also super surprised that there was no wait!! We called ahead to see the approximate wait time and they said it doesn’t typically pick up until 11-12 on Saturdays. We got there around 9:45, so while there were definitely still people there, we beat the brunch rush. The food came out quickly and we were done with our meal within an hour so we could go shop around!

Definitely try out this sweet spot in Wicker Park if you are a breakfast junkie like me. For sure the best meal of the day.

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Alpha Chi Formal

Everyone knows at this point how much I love to dress up. I love fashion and I especially love dresses. So even though going into yesterday I wasn’t super excited about formal (due to the copious amount of homework I am stressing about currently) I ended up having such a good night! Our formal this spring was hosted at the River Roast in downtown Chicago. It was a beautiful venue on the river with the lovely view of the skyline. We took a party bus to our location and stopped at Navy Pier for some pictures. Although it was absolutely freezing we still managed to capture some great memories!

I love these women with my whole heart and always make my time here in Chicago that much better. Alpha Chi, you truly are some real strong women and I am so lucky to call you my sisters. I really do believe I am a better person because of you.

Outfit Links:

Eliza J Floral Dress: This is one of my favorite dresses! It’s fun and springy but still classy and formal. I couldn’t find this exact dress since it was from a couple of years ago so I linked some similar options!

BP. ‘Luminate’ Open Toe Dress Sandal in Blush Patent: I have been wearing these shoes a lot lately and as a result I think I finally may have broken them in! THANK GOODNESS. These shoes, although a blush pink, can totally be worn as a neutral and I love how versatile they are. They can go with anything!

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Happy Sunday,