Italy

Thanks, 2015!

Seriously, it’s been a great year.  I have so many things I’m super thankful for this year, but I can’t believe tomorrow is 2016.  Time flies!  Here are some of my favorite moments and memories from this year:

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[1] Making the best of Boston’s insane snow by taking a coffee break with my co-worker turned bestie. [2] The opening of a local grocery store basically changed my life. [3] A visit from family all the way from Italy! [4] Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  I made it to the Ocean State near every weekend last summer! [5] Personal growth, and there has been a lot of it. [6] A Newport trip to close out the summer! [7] Pokémon Worlds right here in my own city! [8] Fall foliage photography before hiking Blue Hills. [9] Christmas with the family– all the cousins together with Nonna!

Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Now, resolutions.  You might remember I made some last year and I’m proud to report I made good on each and every one of these.  I’m not making resolutions this time, though.  Sure, I have certain goals and intentions in mind, but I’ve no need for resolutions.

I’ve done things I never thought possible this year, whether it’s going to the gym regularly thanks to the influence of aforementioned bestie, or starting a YouTube channel.  Not to wax philosophical here, but my advice to you in the New Year is this: don’t wait for a new year, or a new week, or even a new day to start doing something you want to do.  Do it now.  Just do it!  I’m so looking forward to what 2016 brings.

Let’s give it hell, guys!

sempre,

nikkisee

At June’s Close

Holy cannoli, can you believe today is the last day of June?  My summer is just flying by!  With the Fourth coming up, at least I’ll get to enjoy some time off!  As always, here are some of my favorite June moments in instagram form:

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[1] workin’ on my summer reading with a distinctly YouTube theme [2] finally cut my super long hair! [3] rockin’ the polka dot Keds [4] my cousin Chiara visited Boston from Italy! [5] obsessed with these lip stains from Sephora [6] catchin’ a Red Sox game with the family [7] anchors aweigh! my weekend bag packed & ready to go [8] my favorite place, the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island [9] Paint Nite with my favorite blogger babes!  More on that soon.

 

What are your favorite June memories?

Anything you’re looking forward to next month?

World Cup 2014

I’m not big on sports, but man do I love the World Cup!  Soccer is so fun to watch, and the games are pretty quick.  Why this thing only happens once every four years is completely beyond me.  I’m super sad that my team, Italy, is out.  Like, my heart breaks for Azzurri.  I’ve still got the USA and Argentina in the mix though!

Now that the group stages are over, I’m going to attempt a bracket of sorts for the knockout rounds.

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  • Brazil v. Chile: Chile has played well, but Brazil wants this badly as the home team.  I’m voting Brazil advances the quarterfinals.
  • Colombia v. Uruguay: This is a tough branch!  Colombia has more wins than Uruguay heading into knockouts, but for some reason I think Uruguay will advance.
  • France v. Nigeria: I’m predicting France will win; I haven’t seen anything too special from Nigeria.
  • Germany v. Algeria: Well, after watching Germany play today I’m convinced that they’ll be able to beat Algeria.
  • Netherlands v. Mexico: The Netherlands have played very well.  They should have no problem beating Mexico.
  • Costa Rica v. Greece: Greece hasn’t impressed me.  I’m betting on Costa Rica here.
  • Argentina v. Switzerland: I’ve enjoyed watching both of the teams a lot!  Since Italy is out I’m throwing my support behind Argentina. I definitely think they can beat the Swiss.  My boy Messi has got this!
  • Belgium v. United States: Oh, USA.  Belgium will definitely give us a run for our money.  I’m praying that the US can take them down.  That would put my two favorites teams against each other in the quarters, though!

There you have my quarterfinal predictions!  I’m actually hoping Argentina wins it all.

What are your predictions?

Amazing Race Recap: Accidental Alliance

this hotel in Switzerland is alluding the the previous race destination, Italy!

this hotel in Switzerland is alluding the the previous race destination, Italy!

Okay, first of all I want to retract what I said about Jet & Cord last week.  I’ve been watching season 16, the first season to host the cowboys, and I think I’ve gotten a better picture of them.  They definitely do their own thing, and I really respect that.  I think in a Race without Youtubers and Globetrotters, I’m banking on the cowboys.

In this episode, teams left Italy sul treno for Chiasso, Switzerland.  From there, it was basically a race around Switzerland with, as the title suggests, a big emphasis on the accidentally formed alliance of Dave and Connor, Jen and Caroline, and Leo and Jamal.

Dave and Connor are inexplicably furious at the Brenchels for playing the game, and are hell-bent on revenge.  Caroline and Jennifer can’t pull their own weight, so they’ve latched onto the father-son team.  Leo and Jamal would rather be in the top three with these two teams than the bigger threats of Jet and Cort and the Brenchels.  Though I know this is their strategy, they seem to get way too into this “race family” to a point where I can’t stand them throughout this episode.  And y’all know how I feel about Dave and Connor.  (Hate ’em!)

Throughout the challenges, these three teams helped each other through and alienated the Brenchels.  Jet and Cord flew under the radar, bolstering my appreciation for this duo.

Tasks included:

  • Cleaning up a hotel room trashed by a band and making it up for guests to meet Helga, the gouvernante‘s standards
  • Searching & solving a math problem to determine the year of their respective Ford Mustangs on exhibit in the Swiss Museum of Transport
  • Delivering milk with Bernese Mountain dogs for the RoadBlock

Here’s how the teams finished:

  1. Dave and Connor → they won a 2015 Mustang for the victory; such a sweet prize for such an undeserving team.
  2. Jet and Cord
  3. Leo and Jamal
  4. Brendan and Rachel → take that alliance!
  5. Jennifer and Caroline → it’s a non-elimination week, so the blondes are safe yet again.

My feelings on this episode are best summed up as expressed by former racer Meghan Camarena, @strawburry17, via twitter:

Proud of @brendonvbb12 & @RachelEReilly. I hate when @AmazingRace_CBS becomes more about bullying than the actual competition.

So I’m routing for Brenchel and the cowboys until the end.  Surely one of these teams will make it into the top 3!  I’m betting the blondes and next to go.

Thoughts?!

Amazing Race Recap: Donkeylicious

I’m going to start my Donkeylicious recap a little differently. First of all, hated the episode title when I read it, but loved it as soon as it came out of Flight Time’s mouth. The Globetrotters really have a way of making everything fun, which brings me to this: I want to start by telling you how I feel about each of the six remaining teams.

Brendan and Rachel: I’m finally warming to these guys. It’s very clear that they are annoying, and I’m not denying that; but some of the things that make them annoying also kind of make them endearing. I can’t help but cheer them on these days.

Jet and Cord: I have almost no opinion of these guys. I ere on the side of dislike, because “cowboys” is not an American stereotype I want perpetuated.

Dave and Connor: I hate these guys. They are the only team I have never warmed up to, and never have any positive feelings about. I give them points for being gentlemanly, but cross them (like Brenchel does in this episode) and they’ll quickly sour. I get that Dave is old, but he runs this race as well if not better than others and he complains about his age tirelessly! I hated them on Meghan & Joey’s season too with the effing Achilles tear— notice we had to hear about it for the first 6 legs this time around!

Jennifer and Caroline: I want like them. I want to cheer on the only girl-girl team, I really do. I just don’t like their tactics and they way they run the race.

Flight Time and Big Easy: Like I said before, these guys have a way of making everything fun. They’re there to entertain the crowd and have a good time. I love their interactions with locals, and their positive attitudes throughout the struggles they’ve had.  They want everyone to have a good time; we should all be so lucky to have such positive people around!

Leo and Jamal: These guys too seem to be there to have a good time and entertain. They really play to the crowd, which makes me want to cheer them on too.  They seem like genuinely nice guys.

Okay, with that all said, let’s get on to this leg of the race throughout beautiful Italy!

Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio

The teams’ clue led them to Civita di Bagnoregio with the warning: U-Turn Ahead. The Detour here was all about donkeys. In Donkey Run, teams had to ride donkeys around a track completing 3 loops before the band finished their song. In Donkey Built, the teams built a wooden donkey and presented it to Geppetto. (“Pinnochio,” if you didn’t know, is an Italian story. They’re pretty big on it there.) While riding donkeys initially sounded like fun, watched first place team Brenchel do so made me change my mind about this detour. I do think it’s a great spectator sport, though! Donkey Built gave teams a lot of trouble too, though, since all parts had to be used including the wooden crate they came in! Tricky, tricky.

It was a double U-Turn meaning two teams could chose two other teams that had to go back and complete the other detour as well. Brendan and Rachel U-Turned Dave and Connor. Dave and Connor U-Turned Leo and Jamal. Now, there was a LOT of drama about Brendan and Rachel’s choice to U-Turn Dave and Connor and I’m just not understanding why. They were literally right behind them. Who better to U-Turn to put some distance between yourselves and the pack? You’ll see if it paid off under the cut!

The Roadblock was up next, where one teammate had to copy a page of a manuscript (calligraphy & gold leaf) as monks did. While I think I’d be a natural choice to do this Roadblock, (because it’s non-athletic,) I do not think I’d have the patience to do this.

After completing the Roadblock, the teams took a ride on the Funicolare to Piazza del Duomo in Orvieto, Umbria. Here’s how the teams did:

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Amazing Race Recap: The Gladiators Are Here

It’s been two weeks since we’ve checked in with the All Stars on their race around the world, but leaving Sri Lanka was about to level the playing field. Their clue leads them to fly to The Eternal City, Rome! All teams were on the same flight to Italy.

Seeing Rome made this Italian girl so happy. I immediately recognized Castel Santangelo where their next clue was waiting for them. Jennifer and Caroline’s Speed Bump was also waiting for them on the bridge leading to the castle.

Speed Bump

The Country Singers had to pick up a typewriter and bring it to a landmark it resembles. Again, I immediately recognized the Victor Emmanuel monument as “The Wedding Cake,” because that’s what my mom called it last time we were there. I guess the locals call it “The Typewriter!” Learn something new every day, eh?

Detour – Gladiator or Charioteer

In the shadows of the Colosseum, the teams could either fight like gladiators or race chariots. In Gladiator, the teams learned a choreographed fight meant to entertain, then put it to use against a big gladiator. If they get all the moves right (including dying at the end,) they get their next clue. This was truly entertaining! Jessica and Jon did it first and both got so into it. Leo and Jamal first tries Charioteer, but came here when it got too crowded over there. They were ever more hilariously intense! Charioteer was really cool too. In this detour, teams controlled mini remote control chariots around 5 laps of a course. The tiny horses were so freaking cute! The tiny charioteers took quite the beating. This reminded me of Mario Party 2 vs. 2 mini-games: one person controlled speed while the other controlled direction. Brendan and Rachel got their first and were the first to finish. It got easier for the other teams once the course cleared off a bit so it was less of charioteer-bumper cars.

Flight Time & Big Easy's charioteer had a hard time... he's completely missing here!

Flight Time & Big Easy’s charioteer had a hard time… he’s completely missing here!

Road Block

Getting to the Road Block was the hardest part. The clue said to find the Piazza where John Keats had an unhappy Roman Holiday. This was the Piazza di Spagna at the base of the Spanish Steps, made famous in “Roman Holiday,” but also where John Keats died. Most cab drivers took the racers to Via John Keats, nowhere near the Spanish Steps. Luckily for Brendan and Rachel, their cab driver knew what the clue was leading to. A couple of other drivers did some research, while the teams that ended up at Via John Keats needed to borrow internet and do some research of their own.

The Road Block was to add the number of Spanish Steps to the number the obelisk at the top of them was erected. The number on the obelisk was a Roman numeral, so they had to convert this to Arabic numerals we’re used to before doing the math. They then had to convert the sum back to Roman numerals, write it on a postcard and present it to the Roman Holiday couple for the last clue. Um, this would so not be my Road Block! Math and stairs—no thanks!

Locals and tourists helped the teams out here. The Globetrotters did not understand the clue, but Jon and Jessica fed them the answer thinking Jennifer and Caroline would still be behind them. It was a foot race to the finish!

The final clue led the teams to Piazza del Popolo.  This leg sure shook things up!  Ready for the results?

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