{Video: Our Weekend in Venice!}

Ciao ciao friends! How are you all? Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday? Corey and I had an amazing dinner with some expat friends and then we took off for Venice on Saturday. We got back from our dreamy weekend yesterday and I was so inspired I put together this video of our trip! I haven’t made a video since our trip to Paris over a year ago, so I thought it was about time I made another. It’s such a fun way to document memories! I am definitely not a professional moviemaker, but this video captures a few of my favorite moments from our trip. Hope you enjoy it! Photos to come…


Venice from Liz Denfeld on Vimeo.

P.S. I stole this song from Brittany’s awesome Italy video 🙂

{Italy: The Good // Part II}

As the late afternoon snuck up on us, we decided it would be fun to grab dinner in Florence – just an hour’s drive away. So we got gussied up, hopped in the car and made our way to the beautiful city just in time for every photographer’s dream – golden hour – and caught one of the most stunning sunsets I’ve ever seen.
I’m so grateful for these fun memories. It made the trip completely worth it despite my bad luck with food poisoning! I can’t wait to meet up with these ladies again someday (hopefully sooner than Megan’s wedding in Ireland next June)!

P.S. Did you hear Lauren’s exciting news?! Hop on over to her blog to find out!!
The gorgeous views from Piazzale Michelangelo
A stunning sunset on the Ponte Vecchio
Aperitivos at the Ferragamo Hotel
{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Italy: The Good, Part I}

Before things went downhill, I happened to have one of the most fun 24 hours ever. Lauren and I arrived in Italy Thursday afternoon, got our rental car, and set off to find our Tuscan villa. I’d be lying if I told you we didn’t get lost on those tiny Italian roads a time or two, but it made it all the more fun! We spent hours catching up, not one moment unfilled by chatter. I’m sure this isn’t news to all of you, but what I share (and most bloggers, for that matter) here on my blog is a small fraction of my life. The same went for Lauren, so we had endless topics to cover as we got to know each other outside of our blogs. By nightfall, it was time to pick Megan up from the airport. From there, we stayed up until the wee hours in the morning (okay, it was only 2AM, but still, that’s late for me!) having a major girl talk session over a bottle of red and some yummy food. The three of us were fast friends, just as I had expected.
The next day we woke up late and made our way out to the pool where we lounged, took a lot of pictures (we’re bloggers – gotta document!), talked some more and generally just chilled out. It was perfection. And yes, we all are wearing black one-piece bathing suits, and no it wasn’t planned 🙂
 {photo #8 by Lauren, all others ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Our Tuscan Villa}

I always knew that if I got the chance to visit Tuscany I’d want to stay in a Tuscan villa. For one, there are just so many to choose from, and for two, staying out in the country in a quaint and rustic Italian home just really appealed to me.
I searched far and wide for the perfect place for Megan’s hen do celebration and when I stumbled upon this place on Airbnb I knew it was the one. It’s located 10 minutes outside Lucca, so it’s a great hub to make day trips to Florence and Cinque Terre, it has four gorgeous bedrooms and three bathrooms, it’s updated but still has that Italian charm you’ve always envisioned in your head, and it has a pool (set among olive trees no less!). And maybe the best part: The price is right.
This place didn’t disappoint. As I was laying on the couch in misery, sick with food poisoning, I actually felt thankful to be sick in such a beautiful place. I acknowledged that it could’ve been way worse and decided to count my blessings instead of my misfortunes 🙂
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a place to stay in Tuscany, look no further! It really doesn’t get better than this

{photo #1 by Megan, photos #2 & 3 by Lauren, all others ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Italy: The Bad & The Ugly}

I debated for a few hours if I should first tell you about the awesome 24 hours I had in Italy, or if I should first tell you about the 48+ hours that followed that were pretty much my worst nightmare come to life…
I decided I’d start with the bad, so I could get it in my past as soon as possible, and make it stay there forever.
Long story short, I got a bad case of food poisoning on our awesome blogger blate in Italy. Most of you will wonder what I ate that made me so sick.. I wish it was something more cool and obvious, but it was a nectarine(of all things!) I bought at a super tiny, crappy little convenience store in Florence. It had clearly been cross contaminated with some nasty bacteria because it didn’t take long for me to get sick. 

Poor Megan and Lauren had to endure me upchucking all over Florence (in bathrooms, on the street, on the side of the highway…) and then throughout the night and even into the next day at our lovely villa outside of Lucca. That felt like the longest night of my life. I swore I was dying and I needed a hospital. It was awful. Only made more awful by the fact that my body was so torn apart and depleted that even when the throwing up had stopped, I was too weak to go anywhere or do anything for the entire rest of the trip.
There are so many other awful details, but for now I’d rather just focus on the fact that I’m slowly but surely getting my strength back, I’m back in my bed in Amsterdam and that Megan, Lauren and their guys (and of course Corey!) were the sweetest and best caretakers. It could’ve been really terrible and awkward to be sick around people I didn’t know very well, but they made me feel so comfortable, and I’m forever grateful for that.
So for all of you who have ever read my blog and felt even in a twinge of jealousy… here you go. Crappy things happen on awesome travel adventures, too! And I’m here to report back on those as your loyal travel blogger 🙂 I’ll be sharing the few photos I have from our Italian getaway just as soon as I’m feeling up for it. Hopefully soon!
P.S. Thanks for all of your thoughtful and concerned comments and tweets on Instagram & Twitter – they kept me great company while I was up in the middle of the night!
{you can always rely on bloggers to document everything, even me being sick on the couch! Thanks for the photo Lauren 🙂 }

{Have an Amazing Weekend!}

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, or you read Meganor Lauren’s blogs, you probably already know that as we speak I am on an epic blate (blog+date) in Tuscany with the two of them! It’s just us girls for now, lounging by the pool of our Tuscan villa, but the boys are joining us this weekend! I’m excited for good wine, girl talk and some sun! I’ll be back here on Tuesday. Until then, have a fabulous weekend!

{Capri, Italy}

The forecast the day before we left for Positano was actually comical. Rain. Every.Single.Day. The forecast for Amsterdam? 75 and sunny every day. Would you believe it? I mean, since when does gloomy Amsterdam have a better forecast than southern Italy?! For a nanosecond I seriously considered booking us a different vacation – I so didn’t want to spend six days in the rain! But we decided to stick it out since the forecast had been so temperamental –changing from sun to rain from hour to hour. Luckily for us we had gorgeous weather… Well, all but one day. And it happened to be the one day we were on a boat. Oops.

We started our  journey to Capri in cloudy, chilly weather. We were able to see all the grottos before it started to pour. From that point on it was a serious torrential downpour the entire time we were on the island. I was not dressed for a storm and was freezing and wet and uncomfortable.  Instead of exploring we opted for a 3 hour lunch instead, then took the first available boat back to Positano. So yeah, we definitely need to go back someday and explore Capri, but we were just happy to have part of the journey be dry and to be able to see the famous Blue Grotto 🙂


A few things that were super fun and unexpected on our boat trip.. Jelly fish! There was one grotto that was FULL of jelly fish – it was so crazy! I had never seen so many in my life. They were a lot smaller than I imagined, and absolutely beautiful. It was thrilling to be so close to them, but safe in our boat! Also, I had no idea you had to get off your boat and get into smaller row boats to actually see the Blue Grotto (and wait in line with a bunch of other boats!). The entrance is so small, you have to duck down into your boat, almost laying flat. Once you get in it’s a rush of darkness and you see nothing but black. Then you turn around and you see it.. That incredible blue water. It truly looks fake, but that is the natural color of the water! There’s some kind of science behind why it is so bright blue. I’m not sure about all that, but what I do know is that it was really gorgeous. I purposefully didn’t enhance the photos at all. That is the real color! I highly recommend you check them out if you ever find yourself on the Amalfi Coast.

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{A Relaxing Day in Positano}

Vacations to the south of Italy should be all about relaxation. We put it at the top of our list.
Our favorite way to relax in Positano was to rent lounge beds on the beach (10 EUR/each for the day – worth every penny!) and just lay in the sun for hours.
It didn’t hurt that our view was the gorgeous cliffside hotels and residences of Positano – stunning!
We laid there for hours, only getting up to break for lunch.
There are a few cute and yummy places right in Spiaggia Grande (the beach), but on this day we decided we wanted to lunch with a view (so spoiled we are!), so we hiked up the hill 15 minutes or so to Cafe Positano.
It provided stunning views for a leisurely lunch.
Then we headed back down to our sunbeds that were waiting patiently for us.
Ah, take me back!

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Amalfi Coast: Path of the Gods}

One of the things I miss most about Portland is hiking. We had so many awesome hikes within an hour and a half of our city – from coastal hikes to gorgeous Columbia River Gorge hikes. The Netherlands is super flat (which is great for biking), so we haven’t been on a hike in ages. When we read about the Path of the Gods in our guide book we knew we had to do it.
Our B&B was located in Nocelle, right on the path, so it was super easy to just walk out our door and get going. The entire hike actually takes you from Positano to Praiano, but it takes 6 hours, and let’s be honest, we were still on vacation so I wasn’t interested in that extensive of a workout! 🙂
The walk took us about 2.5 hours from our doorstep in Nocelle to Praiano (another gorgeous, quieter coastal town on the Amalfi Coast). It had the most breathtaking views that for some reason I could not capture with my camera! I hesitated even posting photos, as they really do not do the views justice at all. Around every corner the view got better and better and I was just in complete awe. My heart was so happy. I was smiling the entire 2.5 hours and squealing with excitement! At one point we ran into a herd of sheep and mountain goats! They were maneuvering the cliffs so well – I was so impressed! It was such a fun and unexpected sight.
Once we got down into Nocelle we walked 20 more minutes to the tiny marina in town for a long, lazy lunch right on the water – but more on that another day. 

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Corey’s 30th Birthday in Italy}

A little disclaimer on this post. This blog is just as much for me as it is for all of my lovely readers, so on special occasions such as my husband’s 30th birthday, there are memories I want recorded. I’m aware this post is wayyy too long for most of you, so feel free to just skim over to the photos – no hard feelings. The writing is mostly for me to remember this special day 🙂
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Corey and I met when he was 25. At the time, I was 21 and still in college, so 25 to me seemed really mature and old. Well, not old, but definitely older than me. For some reason, shortly after we started dating, and I was sure Corey was the one, I started obsessing over his 30th birthday. I love celebrations and I love any excuse to go big for them. So in the years since meeting, I’ve had many ideas for his 30th ranging anywhere from a trip to Mexico to a big surprise bash.
When we decided we’d be moving to Europe last summer, I realized all my plans for Corey’s 30th would have to change. The thing that made me the saddest was knowing that his family and friends wouldn’t be able to share in this milestone birthday with him. So, I did two things: One, I planned an awesome trip to Italy for him (who can be sad & homesick when they’re in Italy?!), and two, I got his family and friends involved, from an ocean and continent away. Here’s how it all went down…
The morning of Corey’s birthday we woke up bright and early (4:30AM) to catch a luxurious cab ride (we normally bike to the train station and take the train to the airport) to catch our 7AM flight to Naples, Italy. From Naples we took a series of buses and trains to get to our final destination: Positano, Italy. I’d be lying if I said the journey wasn’t quite a long and tedious one. We touched down in Naples around 9AM and didn’t get to our B&B until 2PM. There were times I started feeling like maybe this was a bad idea – all this traveling on his actual birthday, that’s no way to spend your 30th! …
…Fortunately, the second we stepped into our room at the B&B and saw our gorgeous terrace overlooking the sea I knew this was going to be a very special birthday and it was worth the journey there. There was cake (traditional Italian cake of chocolate & almonds – so yummy!) and wine waiting for us in the room (I called ahead :), so we quickly uncorked the wine, poured two glasses, got into our bathing suits and plopped down on the two sun loungers on our deck. Not two minutes later I sprung out of my chair and announced to Corey that he will now be receiving his gift…
…I disappeared into our room and came back out with a single letter. From me to him. It was more like a novella of sorts, filled with lots of loving words, birthday wishes, and other fun mushy stuff! Also in my letter I informed him that I wanted to get his friends and family to help him celebrate this special birthday, so they all wrote cards and letters for him*. I once again disappeared into our room and this time came out with a big stack of letters. We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking wine, eating cake, staring out at the gorgeous view and reading touching and hilarious letters from his wonderful friends and family. Corey is an incredible son, brother, friend, husband and so much more, and it was so clear in these letters how loved he is by so many people in his life. He makes us all better people and he is always there for us, through thick and thin. And best of all, the guys knows how to make you laugh 🙂 The best quality in a man, I must say!
Before we knew it, we’d gone through all the letters, our skin was rosy from the delicious rays of sun and it was nearing time for dinner. We took a quick scenic walk around our B&B and then came back, got ready and headed out for one of the best meals of our lives at La Tagliata.
La Tagliata is a traditional Italian eatery run by an incredibly sweet family. It’s located in the hills above Positano, so it has a breathtaking view of the city below. The second you arrive you are given a bottle of amazing house wine, a bottle of water, and for us, two glasses of champagne to celebrate the occasion. Shortly after, you start getting plates and plates of food. We never saw a menu – and realized about 20 minutes in there wasn’t a menu! They serve what Mama made that day and let me tell you, Mama knows how to cook! We were stuffed silly by the time dinner was over. The meal ended with glasses of limoncello and the entire restaurant singing “Happy Birthday” loudly to Corey. He was mortified, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
I knew the years of planning had all paid off when Corey smiled that adorable smile of his and told me “This was the best birthday I’ve ever had”. It’s a day I don’t think we’ll ever forget. One of the best days ever.

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}
*I got this amazing idea from Sarah Tucker, of course! 🙂