April 2013

win a trip italy

You might have heard that back in November we launched a special opportunity to give one person a travel scholarship to Italy.

Which meant that one woman would be joining us on our small group tours in Italy – and it would be on the house. Yup – a week of hotels, food, workshops, and incredible Italian experiences paid for by moi.

I was incredibly excited to offer this because I’ve been the recipient of some groovy travel opps myself. I received a study bursary from The Italian Cultural Institute in Vancouver when I was still in university and it’s how I travelled to Italy the very first time. Look how that ended up!

I’ve looked at all the videos multiple times. I think each person who entered is hands down rad — and I feel so honoured that these brave ladies invested their time and energy to share their stories with me and my team and with all of you. Chatting on YouTube may be easy for some, but for most of us it’s akin to pulling out a sliver: it’s uncomfortable.

I wanna say, con tutto il mio cuore, grazie! With all my heart thank you!

A big shout out to my girls who entered: Courtney, Gina, Kerry, Julia, Holly, Ali, Sandy, Janet, Sara, Crista, Rashmi, Katie, Danika, Beata, Adrienne, Christina and Bridget. You are shining stars and all deserving of wonderful things and I wish each and every one of you love and success in creating the life you want.

We chose to offer this scholarship to Rashmi Pappu, a photographer and hardworking mamma.

Rashmi chose the Italian Fix photography workshop in Florence as her trip of choice and we are excited to meet her next month in Tuscany.

Here is her video.

I hope you can all get behind Rashmi and cheer her on to great things on her first ever trip to Italy and her path as a photographer. Thanks so much everyone for contributing to this community of special travel souls!

A special hug also goes to all the amazing people who  commented, tweeted and shared on facebook (over 220 times!). You rock my world.

xx Bianca

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how to eat in italy

My best friend once gave me sage advice: never travel with drawstring pants.

You see, she had backpacked her way through Southeast Asia and her wardrobe staple consisted entirely of drawstring pants.

She lamented she was the only person who travelled Indonesia and got fat. Usually you expect to return from backpacking through Asia emaciated from a few bouts of dysentery and the lack of cheese staring you down at every meal. But it didn’t work out that way.

My friend simply didn’t realize the pounds she gained cause she didn’t pack her jeans. Her jeans were her barometer of ass fatness. If they were too tight – she cut out the cheetos. If they were too loose – she got to eat more cheetos. Get it?

Does Travel Devastate Your Fitness Routine?

I asked people on Facebook if travelling devastated their fitness routine (if you’re the type who has this sort of thing).

Most said: hell yeah!  Except for my friend Tim. She said, “Hell no. I still drink wine every night”. Now you know why we’re buds.

So today, I share with you my 10 commandments on how to eat in Italy.

How to Travel Italy and Fit into Your Jeans upon Return.

(Or: How Not To Get A Fat Ass On Your Two Week Italian Vacation)

1. Thou shalt not eat gelato alla fragola, gelato alla crema and gelato al chocolato after each and every meal.

2. Though shalt not eat those bloody brioche filled with cream every bloody morning.  Yes, even if they’re free at your hotel. Apples are also free at the hotel. Coincidence? I think not.

3. Thou shalt follow my 80/20 shoe rule. Wear really comfortable shoes 80 percent of the time – so you can walk all day in joy.  Cause else you’ll be slumming it in a cafe at 3pm cause your feet are aching. Wear your “these devastate my feet but look damn hot” heels for 20 percent of the time – preferably at night when you’re sitting down eating. It’s my 80/20 #winning strategy.

4. Thou shalt not drink soda pop in Italy. Instead drink “una spremuta” (fresh squeezed orange juice made to order) served at most bars and cafes and yes – even in the train stations. For realz. Check out the gal above to see how you order one of those bad boys.

5. Thou shalt not eat like a tourist into a gluttonous stupor. Of course one night a week of food hangover is reasonable. Being a tourist has its perks.

6. Thou shalt learn to eat like an Italian girl.  Eat “antipasti” (appetizers) then skip the pasta and have “il secondo” (fish, meat etc.) Also try “i contorni” (sides of vegetables). Stick to “Il primo” (pasta, rice, polenta etc.) when you won’t be eating anything else. Like, ever.

7. Thou shalt learn the words for salad: “insalata mista” (mixed green salad) “insalata di tonno” (salad with tuna and sometimes corn) or “insalata caprese” (tomatoes and cheese). Yum.

8. Thou shalt love carpaccio. It’s fish or meat — thinly sliced and tasty as can be. Ask the waiter to suggest a wine pairing for the carpaccio you’re diving into.

9. Thou shalt spend an entire day rejuvenating oneself with exercise in the countryside. Bike through some olive groves. Walk a dirt trail to a remote village. Swim in a grotto.  Organize these experiences with a map and a prayer or join our trips some day.

10. Thou shalt adopt the coffee ritual of an Italian gentleman. Espresso in the afternoon and cappuccino in the morning. Multiple cappuccino shouldn’t be consumed all day – it’s too heavy. Cappuccinos were designed for mornings.  Or for children. Just kidding.

****

What’s your favourite commandment? What commandment can you offer up? What the hell should I do with my drawstring pants? I’m all ears.

Thanks for adding to the conversation. xx Bianca

 

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