Home and Travel

Valley of Fire, my valley of magnificence!

As we were heading to Valley of Fire this weekend (again), I already knew on the way there that I wanted to write a post about this amazing place. It’s honestly like nothing(!) my Northern-European born and bred eyes and soul has ever seen. In comparison to all the glorious views, the wondrous trails between soaring cliffs and the amazing colour-spectacles that the light and shade on the rocks create, even the streets of Venice and Florence fade into an abyss of man-made wonders. Don’t get me wrong, I will always hold London, Paris, Verona, Florence, Venice, Tallinn, Helsinki (I can go on and on but you get the point, right?) very close to my heart but this place is truly breathtaking and something out-worldly in my book of adventures.

Valley of Fire’s bright red Aztec sandstone, creating gorgeous rainbow-like paintings on the rock surface, ancient petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years* are truly a sight you don’t want to miss whenever you get a chance to visit the beautiful Nevada (and have time to explore beyond The Strip).

But as they say – a picture says a thousand words. So please do enjoy and when you ever get a change, go see for yourself. As we Estonians like to put it: “Your own eyes are your own king.”, meaning what’s portrayed to one’s own eyes, covey one’s own truth.

*Source and more information from Parks of Nevada webpage.

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The Perfect Monday Morning

I like scrolling through Instagram in the morning when Robin’s flipping through her books. I always take her to our bed when she wakes up so I can extend the waking up phase and take my time to get up and functioning.

Morning Instagram round – taking in the pretty pictures of sunny vacations, perfect homes and outfits, dewy “I woke up like this” pictures all the while Robin will literally try to sit on my face. By that time it’s ‘bye’ perfect Instagram world and ‘hi’ real life.

We got a Belgian waffle maker because it’s been a little dream of mine to have home-made waffles on Sunday mornings. Or well, any mornings! We don’t really have Belgian waffles or waffle makers in Estonia, our’s are way thinner and then rolled up in cones, much like ice-cream cones. Then again I haven’t lived in Estonia for 3 years so what do I know, you can probably get the waffle makers there now too but traditionally Estonian waffles are way different.

So, first batter I had to dump because I made it too runny. For the second patch I decided to try out a recipe from Instagram accompanied by a delicious photo, of course. That one egg in the recipe was highly suspicious from the start… but hey, I’ll just add two on the next try. The outcome – it’s more of a waffle-porridge than a waffle, hah! But since it tastes great and it’s been 3 hours since I woke up and I haven’t had breakfast, I’ll just eat it up, dump the cold coffee, make myself another pot, clean up, wash up and start all over.

You know these days when you make big plans and to-do lists and all goes wrong? Well, I got sick again, common-uncommon cold/flu, name it what you want. So my big plans of painting the loft and Robin’s room this weekend, going to a concert, mend some clothes, sew new pillow cases and make perfect waffles turned out a ‘little’ different (read: lay on the couch, blow my nose every 2 minutes, cook, clean, lay in bed, blow that nose again). Not all goes perfect all the time and it’s okay. I can’t make pretty waffles yet, I don’t dress up every day or wear make-up every day, our living room looks like a warehouse of toys most of the time and I wish I would make time to do a hundred things every day but it doesn’t really pan out all the time, does it. Which doesn’t mean it can’t still be a perfect day with waffle-porridge, toys everywhere and a messy kitchen. Just a different perfect than Instagram-perfect, it’s real-life perfect.

❤️

Jane

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Desert Island – Things you have and things you don’t.

I’ve had people come to me and say I should write my story, I should share how it’s been, describe, explain, portray. You know what? Sometimes I don’t want to.

But then again I do want to. It’s one of those days, I’ll let you in.

Okay, here we go, I’ll take you on a rollercoaster. Imagine living on the countryside, then moving to a city, then moving to a bigger city. Just to wander the streets of Tallinn alone, to enjoy the wind, the emptiness and the aloneness. I loved that time, I loved Tallinn, I always will. It was truly a time for myself and dear reader, if you haven’t been to Tallinn, you have to go. Honestly, winter time wonderland – trust me!

And then imagine moving to Italy with two suitcases. Imagine leaving everything behind,  leaving your friends and family behind, giving up most of your earthy belongings. I mean – it’s literally the best thing that can happen to you in your lifetime. You have a choice and you make a choice. I followed my heart and I have never, not one day regretted the choice I made. I followed my heart and I trusted the path. And I fell in love with the most wonderful man who gifted me the most precious daughter.

You’d think that’s an adventure enough, right. But then we’re assigned to move. Here’s a mind-puzzle for you – imagine packing everything you own up in September and then living for three months without any of your earthly belongings except what fits in your two suitcases. Imagine traveling for 24 hours with a toddler and you learn to appreciate family, love, home and a place to sit your ass down on. Because honestly, after that plane ride you don’t have a place for that gorgeous ass.

And then you go to IKEA and everything is beautiful in this world.

And then you go to Home Depot and you find hope.

And then you get your fist shipment of unaccompanied luggage and you really understand what it means to have a roof over your head, what it means to have a pan, a computer, a plate, a dress and a pair of extra sneakers.

I love my family, the part that’s in Estonia, the part that’s in Ohio and the golden precious irreplaceable part that I have right here, right beside me, holding, loving and remembering me every day. I love you, truly, madly deeply, from my heart, where-ever you are. You are with us.

I will post one picture with this story. Books matter to me, a lot. I did not have to choose one to take with me to a desert island. I chose a Kindle. And Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”. What’s ironic is that I never had the time to read. Try traveling with a kid and you’ll end up watching more Peppa Pig that you ever intended.

But I did receive my first load of books at the end of last month. The selection that I chose tho ship first – Valdur Mikita in Estonian, E.H. Gombrich in English  – art, history and culture. In all fairness – the only book I’ve had the time to read is Gombrich’s “Story of Art”. It’s a book I absolutely loved in college and I guess I wanted to have that feeling with me, of reading that book, so I shipped it first.

And I feel content, happy that I have something in Estonian. It’s not Tammsaare (although I love his works), it’s not Hõbevalge (which I really should and I really want to read). It’s something in Estonian, that’s what matters. Oh, the book I am reading almost every day now is “Muna” by J. Oro. Yes, so good! Robin loves it too!

If you are abandoned on a desert island, what book would you bring. What would you bring? I mean, we are in a desert, hello. Las Vegas is amazing by the way, more about that later. Just one book? No, please no.

If I would never ever have a chance to read another book I would take Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita”, Fowles’ “The Magus” and Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and read them over and over. Why? Because every time I read these books they present new adventures. I need adventures,  I miss my paper magic, the books I’ve read have given me a world full of joy. And I hope I will have a world full of time to dive into everything that lies ahead. Because love, curiosity and kindness will take you on a trip around the world, from Estonia to Las Vegas and beyond.

With all the kindness,

Jane

/red ponies from Anticamente ad Aviano, tin can from a can of red kidney beans, not Tiffany’s/

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Home and Travel

A Monday in Vegas

So we’re here and guess what – we’re here to stay. Not here for a wedding, not for a roll in the casinos. We’re here to stay. Moved into our new house. Or, well – we’re half-way there with the moving since all of our household goods are still floating (hopefully) on the Atlantic.

But we have two arm chairs, a pot, a pan, wine glasses and a new king size bed. So life’s good, can not, shall not complain!

I will take a day to write more about our long trip, the move from Italy to Vegas, the adjusting to the new sunshine, smells and tastes, the adventures and all that goes with it but it’ll have to wait a bit. I did manage to get a cold here ( I know, it’s ridiculous – 24C in November!) and we’re still unpacking, painting and getting ready to spend (my first real) Thanksgiving with our American side of the family so no time to catch a breath, it’s full on ‘take the most of ‘Merica’ mode right now! What I will give you is a little taste of Vegas with family and friends. Yes, they’re both.

Please, enjoy – a Monday in Vegas: Paris (the fake one but still awesome!), the High Roller, the little explorer, the wine, the artichoke and the Martinis at Mon Ami Gabi (will not have those in a long while!), the laughs, the jokes and the love. Thank you, Anita and Kevin for such great time!❤️

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The hard thing to do.

This summer has turned into autumn without me really noticing. I probably just wasn’t paying attention, that’s all. Or you could blame the 25C temperatures in October if you want, I’m not complaining, oh no, not at all! #tanktopoctober

So, I finally have some time and energy to sit down and write again. I’ve been kind of intimidated too do it too, to find the time and to even think about the big change that’s in transaction right this moment. I want to write and I don’t, I want to go out and enjoy the last of Italy and at the same time I want to just sleep, not think about anything and be cuddled up in a blanket. Mixed feelings, a ton of emotions. This summer was hectic, it just flew by and what was a couple of months, feels like a year. Or well, I mean, most of the year feels like summer here so hence the confusion. And this long summer has prepared us for our next destination – Las Vegas, baby! 

We’ve had a chance to travel a lot this year, both “business” and pleasure wise so i feel calm leaving Italy. Not saying that I’ve seen or experienced everything this country has to offer but Italy’s given me so much that I can leave with a peaceful soul and a lingering hope to return for a trip or several one fine day. 

We’re still here though, I know, it’s confusing, for me too. One more day in Italy. The whole moving and this process a la Air Force style has been tough, draining and emotionally exhausting. Saying goodbyes being the toughest part. I’ve only been here for 2 and a half years while Anthony’s been here for 9 years! But either way, it feels like a lifetime. And this path has come to an end now.

And we’ve been most fortunate to meet some truly kind, ridiculously funny, loving and amazing people here in Italy. They say: “You’ll miss Italy!” and there’s truth to it but most of all, we’ll miss our People in Italy, our friends that have become a small family, the beautiful people that have always been there for us. And you will always be there, in our hearts. Just like this country magnifico. ❤️ #arrivederciitalia

Yours truly,

Jane, Anthony, Robin and Riddick

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Fashion and Inspiration, Home and Travel, Style and Outfits

“These are a few of my favourite things…”

I remeber my first visit to Liberty London. And what I remember best about is not the wonderful things cluttered all around the space but the space itself, the atmosphere created. It was and still is one of my most cherished places in the world, a magical wonderland with squeaky stairs where I wanted to hide behing the ginormous rolls of Turkish carpets and live there forever.

And then there was the first trip to Venice. And well, Venice has a lot of pretty “things” scattered around the floating city! But for me it was the distinct smell of the salty hot air of the laguna that painted a picture of a shabby chic fairy tale into my memories. It was the first time I saw real palm trees and I remeber wanting to jump and clap, like a little girl! The sun was so bright and warm, I’d never felt anything like it.

You know that famous saying “Collect memories not things”, right? It has always come across as a little bit too patronizing or idealistic to me. I mean. Yes, memories are great but it’s even greater if you have someting to trigger and awaken these memories even when time passes and memories tend to fade. 

It’s apricot season. And up until this point I’d never tasted or smelled a fresh apricot. And the smell is intoxicating! It’s the smell of sun-drenched summer and true joie de vivre! And I want to remember this, really remember the feeling of smelling apricots on a hot summer day in Italy!

We need some “things”. We need people, our people around us to create memories with. And we need that warm fuzzy feeling we get inside when we think about that trip to Florence, Paris or London. We need it for happiness and the ability to carry these emotions and memories within us is, for me, the key to happiness. I’ll always have them, I’ll forever cherish them. These “things” – it can be a post card, a dried straw of lavender between a book, a scar you got when you went to wander on the cliffs. 

This is a picture taken today, on Middsummer’s Eve – a composition with apricots. What an amazing “thing” it is to have a photo of something that reminds you of sweet, sweet life. It’s like a proof that it really happened at a time you want to pinch yourself and ask “was it a dream?”. And I hate having useless things laying around the house and I try to live by Madam Westwood’s famous words: “Buy less, choose well, make it last”. But then there are these things, these little loved ones.

I collected some of them, let me introduce you to my favourite cotton scarf from Libery London (2013), sunglasses I got after returning from Venice with a headache caused by the intense sunshine (2011), a beach blanket from a trip to Jesolo (2016), a plate from Aviano vintage market (2017), my grandfather’s old camera that still shoots film (1970s-80s?), a broken strawhat from the local farmers market that made it to America and back (2016) and these   apricots from yesterday. 

“Cherish the love we have

 We should cherish the life we live”

Because,

“When the dog bites,

When the bee stings

When I’m feeling sad

I simply remember my favourite things

And then I don’t feel so bad” 

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Home and Travel, Uncategorized

About Lignano and Las Vegas – the Past and the Future. The Stories, Pictures and Smells from the Journey.

From here to there and everywhere. How does that sound? If you have that little travel bug in you and the urge to see and feel as much of the diversity and saturation of the world as you possibly can in your limited time on this planet as a human, then that first sentence should kind of sound like a dream travel-plan. Or life-journey?

However you want to look at it, I love experiencing new countries, new food, culture, vibe, people, smells, the colour of the light and the intensity of the shadows on this side of the street and the other. We’ve seen quite a lot of new places this year, spent some amazing time exploring as a family and enjoying each others company in a variety of new locations. And I mean, every time I actually take the time and sit down to write about our comings and goings, I look back in awe and think to myself: “Oh wow it’s been so long since I last wrote anything in the blog!”. I’ve gotten over it though, as we go about our everyday life, I’m way more active in Instagram cause posting a picture is like  getting a Spritz Aperol at the town square – easy, fun, done and done. Writing a post here is more like hosting a dinner gathering – still fun but requires a little bit more preparation, I have to gather my thoughts more and it’s not as spontaneous as Instagram.  I like doing both though, I just don’t host dinner parties every day.

But I would like to take some time and write about our adventures. But instead of dissecting this subject chronologically, I’m going to cover our travels and doings reporting first things first. The last trip we took was to Lignano Sabbiadoro for my birthday. I have some charming photos on instant film that I’d like to share with you and that’s mainly what this post’s visual contribution will be.

For those of you not familiar with Northern-Italian summertime favourites, Lignano Sabbiadoro (sabbia d’oro meaning “golden sand” in Italian) is one of those sweets spots where Italians and non-Italians like to get into their bikinis and speedos, get their tan on and check all the boxes of a proper summer holiday or a weekend.  That includes bike rides along the coastline, enjoying gelato, pizza and seafood and a generous amount of prosecco, spritz, beer or whatever floats that boat! The weather was still too chilly for any real bikini or swim time but we did get a little bit of tan on, enjoying drinks and snacks at outdoor cafes. A big plus was having a room with a balcony overlooking the sea so the old folk could have their glass or two of Merlot in the evening while the little Princess had her beauty nap.

We stumbled across an amazing seafood place called Ristorante Agosti that had a very wide and impressive selection of wine and seafood of all kind. We liked it so much that we actually went there twice – for my birthday dinner and for lunch the next day before heading back home. Robin had her first taste of squid and cleansed her palette munching olives at cafes. Quite a refined taste for a one year old…

Another great find was Ristorantino Baby, we had pizza and pasta with wine and everything was just delicious! The service was exceptional and I loved just sitting outside in the sun in April, enjoying good food and wine and having to rush nowhere.

One of the perks of going in the spring or fall is that you can actually find places to eat and sit down and everything’s not fully booked. If you do go during the high season, be smart and look up restaurants and their phone numbers you’d like to try out and make reservations. We’re not big on calling ahead, I do like to just take a walk and hope we “get lucky” but when you’re starving and you don’t want to end up grabbing a pizza from the street corner (which, don’t get me wrong, can be one of the best food you’ve ever had), making a reservation is the smart, grown-up thing to do.

Lignano isn’t that far from us, takes about an hour to get there, considerably more during the summer though because of the toll booth at the highway causing pretty bad traffic jams. Hopefully we get to go more this year than last year, now that Robin’s older it’s a lovely destination to spend a sunny weekend on the beach, building sand castles and playing in the sea. We stayed there for two nights this time. And coming home we had another surprise, a perfect one, really. We knew we’re going to move at the end of October this year but we were waiting on further information about our new destination from Anthony’s work. The main thing we hoped for was a warm, sunny place that’s not too remote or in the middle of nowhere. Visiting Estonia in March, I got my yearly dose of the cold, rain and snow. Well, how about Las Vegas? Sure, we’ll take it! I must say it’s a perfect birthday gift, I’ve been so excited that I can’t even fall asleep at night, thinking about our new destination. And sure, any one of you that know me even just a little bit, know how I love Italia, the food, the coffee, the wine, the landscape, the architecture, the art, the streets and mood and feel of it all but I have to say, I can’t wait to try out Las Vegas now! I was very sad when we found out that we have to leave Italy for now but a few months have passed and now that we know our new destination, I’m so anxious and excited about trying out this new country, new climate, new continent that I can hardly wait to start this new adventure. Till then, though, we’re going to try to see the places we’ve still missed here in Italy and hopefully  pop by some of the  neighboring countries too. Morocco has been in my bucket list for a long time and Anthony’s very fond of Dubrovnik. The Amalfi coast, Sicily, Rome and Vatican and Naples, Sardinia, Greece – all of these sound pretty amazing before heading 9500 km to the west to get my desert/365-days-of-summer game on.

And I’ll take all the fabulousness of Italy with me in my memories. Remember that wine we had in that little cantina in Verona in October, how the air smelled like wind and prosciutto? Or those vivid pictures we took in Burano, the smell of hot sunshine in August and spaghetti al pomodoro? The eclectic craziness and nuanced face of Venice, the grandioseness and magical diversity of Florence, the narrow roads of Aviano with those white-washed walled homes and the smell of basil and onion lingering on the streets, remember? Remember all that? I hope I will. And then I’ll just get Memo’s Italian Leather, a perfume that has all that goodness in it with that little bit of extra spark to mark the non-recurring Italian spirit and I’m good to go wander in Mojave desert.

 

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