Babymoon in Florence

Babymoon in Florence

Babymoons are an ever growing travel trend: one last getaway for parents-to-be before the little one arrives. While most couples take this trip together to get in some alone time, Mr. Italicano and I decided to take ours separately with friends. Since we work together we have the advantage of spending a lot of time together (sometimes even too much time together. ūüôā ¬†Friends are important and pursuing our personal passions and interests are as well. So, Mr. Italicano headed to Sicily for a sailing weekend, while I headed to Florence with 2 of my girlfriends. It was bliss.

Since Mr. Italicano isn’t toting Baby Italicana around, he of course could go off on a carefree adventuresome weekend virtually anywhere. My weekend, however, took some planning.

CHOOSING THE BEST BABYMOON DESTINATION

At first, I had wanted to go to the Italian seaside in Liguria. I imagined walking and chatting on the beach with my girlfriends, exploring coastal towns and overeating large amounts of focaccia and pasta with pesto genovese. Then, of course, I remembered that it was October! It would probably be windy and chilly for walks on the beach and many of the coastal towns in Liguria are extremely hilly. At 31 weeks pregnant, I could hardly go up a flight of stairs without becoming winded–umm, no thanks. Also, besides eating delicious Ligurian food (which was a major plus), what could a prego like me do? No ¬†aperitivos drinking fancy cocktails or spas while relaxing in a hot tub or sauna (us moms-to-be need to keep our body temperatures regulated).

At this point, choosing the perfect destination came down to two main criteria: the season and activities for expecting moms. For an autumn babymoon, I highly recommend a large dynamic city. In October it’s typically still nice temps to walk and explore, and there are numerous non-alcoholic activities that a large city offers: art museums, restaurants, coffee shops, live music, food & art classes, shopping and of course prenatal massages, just to name a few.

BABYMOON IN FLORENCE, ITALY

My city of choice: Florence! High speed trains in Italy are amazing. From Reggio Emilia, the nearby train station, it took just 2 hours for my friends Monica, Silvia and I to get to our destination for the weekend. And, of course, when you’re chatting and hanging out with your girlfriends time flies at lightening speed. We spent two days exploring the streets of Florence, indulging in delicious food, visiting historic museums, ¬†shopping, and chatting every moment we got. ¬†In a flash, our weekend was over but what memories we created together that I will remember forever. ¬†It was a weekend of fun, discovery, a lot of laughter and relax. All much needed before the challenges of becoming a new parent. Here were some of my favorite spots while we were in Florence. A big thanks to Georgette Jupe Pradier who has a very informative blog called A Girl in Florence . As a 10-year American-Florence local, she gave us many top referrals!¬†

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

La Ménagére

Great for breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks

Via de’ Ginori, 8/R, 50123 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 075 0600

Open Monday-Sunday 7:30am-2am

Hands down my new favorite spot in Florence. Sorry Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accademia. I surely appreciate you, but when you have a coffee shop/restaurant/jazz lounge/flower shop/kitchen store all in one cool setting, a pregnant food blogger like myself is in sweet sweet heaven.

Big kudos to the chef and his team for the exceptional food.

We had an incredible lunch trying out:ravioli filled with Romana salad and served with San Marzano confit and poppy seeds; homemade spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, clams, anchovy colatura and pea powder; roasted gnocchi, cacio, pepper, green apple and fried couscous. ¬†I’m finding it quite torturous to write about these delicious pasta dishes‚ĶI need to go back for more. Like now.

BRAC

Great for lunch, best to reserve ahead

Via dei Vagellai, 18/R, 50122 Firenze FI

Telephone 055 094 4877

Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-4pm, 7pm-12am and Sunday 6pm-12am

Just a few blocks away from the Uffizi, you’ll find this vegetarian restaurant hidden on a vacant side street and may even pass it if you’re not looking carefully. From the outside it looks like a bookshop, but when you step inside you find yourself in a little coffee shop that opens to a creative garden space and finally a glass window room lined with book shelves.

This is the second time I’ve been here and absolutely love their innovative vegetarian cuisine and the cozy atmosphere–the perfect spot to spend Sunday lunch with my girls. ūüôā

THE WAY OF TEA 3

Great for a morning or afternoon tea break

Via di Santo Spirito, 11, 50125 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 280749

Open Monday 3:30pm-8pm and Tuesday-Sunday 11am-8pm

The amount of tea to choose from is impressive. Since I don’t know much about teas, I chose one based on the mood I was going for: relax. It was just the right mix of fruits and spice, with strong hints of cardamon.

Although the tea was superb the waitress was stiff and unfriendly (I say this comment hesitantly because you may go back and have an excellent waitress). She sat us at a small table with uncomfortable looking chairs when a vacant booth was free. After being on our feet all day sight seeing and exploring a nearby market, of course we wanted a comfy spot to relax. Especially me. When I asked if we could move to the booth, the gal said no‚Ķ.wwwhhhat? She had some courage to decline a simple request by a pregnant woman. I was quite shocked, especially since the entire room at the moment was empty. Luckily, my friend Monica had my back. When the waitress left, Monica coaxed me to sit and rest in the booth. She simply told the waitress as a matter of fact that we were sitting there–her friend is pregnant and she needed to be comfortable. Period. The waitress didn’t say a word, but took our orders. I love my girlfriends. ‚̧

PLACES TO SEE

ISTITUTO DEGLI INNOCENTI

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, 12, 50121 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 20371

Open Monday-Saturday: 7am-8pm

The Ospedale degli Innocenti was founded in the first half of the 15th century. There was a wheel where a baby could be dropped off without the parent being seen, which later was built into a window known as the ‚Äúgrated window‚ÄĚ because it was large enough for only newborn babies to be passed through. Inside this historic building you‚Äôll find a newly opened and informative museum. This institute is still active today and provides welfare services for children and mothers.

OFFICINA PROFUMO FARMACEUTICA DI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 216276

Open Monday-Sunday: 9am-8pm

This is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Created in the 13th century by friars, it wasn’t open to the public until the 17th century. It quickly gained notoriety around the world for its medicinal herbs, balms, pomades and later perfumes, natural essences and other products. Touring this little gem was like taking a step back in time. It’s both a free museum as well as a store. And, oh the smells. ‚̧

THINGS TO DO

WANDER

The city center of Florence is actually quite small. Of course we had google maps to take us to the main piazzas, but I think that the best part of sightseeing Italian cities and towns is to simply get lost in its streets. You discover so many little markets, restaurants and artisan shops this way.

SHOPPING

Mr. Italicano would have killed me had I dragged him into various shops to find the perfect outfit for our upcoming pregnancy photos (coming soon!). Monica and Silvia, on the other hand, were rockstars. We had gone into a store with 3 floors of clothing where I had found a sweater that I thought would be perfect–the only problem was my size was missing. The salesperson checked the stock and there was 1 size small somewhere in the store. Without hesitation Silvia went on a hunt to every floor looking in all of the dressing rooms. Only girlfriends are that patient. ‚̧

GET A PRENATAL MASSAGE!

Golden Tower Hotel & Spa

Piazza degli Strozzi, 11r, 50123 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 287860

After a weekend of walking around, this was the cherry on the cake. I treated myself to a prenatal massage at the Golden Tower Hotel & Spa 5 star hotel. I know fancy, huh. Surprisingly, the cost to get a prenatal massage here (90euro) was less than other spas (running around 120euro) in the area. Hands down this was probably one of the best massages I’ve ever had. The masseuse was phenomenal and used organic coconut oil and ¬†natural essences. It was just what I needed to end a phenomenal weekend.

Actually, to end our weekend we celebrated with gelato before boarding the train home. Gelato during a babymoon is essential. ‚̧

Bye¬†Florence. We’ll see you again soon.¬†.¬†‚̧

6 Easy Potluck Desserts

6 Easy Potluck Desserts

Fourth of July is just a few days away and that means you all are getting ready to gear up on easy recipes that can feed large crowds. For those of you in charge of dessert for this festive day, this list is for you.

6 Easy Potluck DessertsGrowing up in Eastern Washington, my family took advantage of spending the hot summer day at the lake with 7-8 other families.  We took over a big section of the beach with our boats, jet skies, umbrellas and lawn chairs.  We spent hours in the sun playing in the water, wakeboarding or tubing, playing nerf football while zipping along the water on the jet skiis and having endless water gun fights before heading back to the cabin for a enormous pot luck dinner.  Even though I had always over-snacked the entire day, I could never resist the mountain of food that lined the red, white and blue tablecloths. When the sun set we would head back out on the water, dressed in sweatshirts and long pants and cuddle together under blankets to watch the giant fireworks show that filled the night sky.

What are your Fourth of July traditions? Is it a BBQ with family or a picnic with friends?

6 Easy Potluck Desserts

1. Salted Caramel and Twix Rice Krispy Treats 

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2. White Chocolate Chip Brownie 

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3. Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella and Cream Cheese Frosting

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4. Blueberry and Oreo Mini Cheesecakes 

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6 easy potluck desserts that are perfect for your Fourth of July festivities or any summer bbq.

5. Salted Caramel Cookie Dough Cake

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6. Light-er Tiramisu Parfaits without Eggs

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