Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tuscany Vacation Diary

Adam & I returned recently from our first major vacation sans baby.  Leading up to our departure I was a nervous wreck, fretting over every possible "what if" scenario.  I contemplated if I was making the right decision.  Was I was being too selfish by wanting a holiday away from my baby?  In the end,  I am so extremely glad that we took this vacation because Isla was perfectly fine without us {much to my dismay, she doesn't actually need me as much as I thought}!  My mother flew in from Seattle to watch Isla, and she had the help of our nanny + housekeeper so we knew that Isla was in excellent hands.  

This first year with Isla was a major shock to my system.  I think before you have children, you have an idea in your mind of how hard it is going to be, but it's truly something you can't anticipate or prepare for because you just don't know until you know.  Even though I do have a part-time nanny, I am still extremely hands on in her daily schedule, and making the decision to take a holiday with my husband, removed from 24/7 "mommy mode" was like a breath of fresh air for my marriage.  Whether or not people like to talk about it, having children can add stress in the most rock solid of marriages.  Spending quality time with my husband was a sort of "reset" button where we were able to reconnect, and I was free of feeling like I was spreading myself too thin, or somehow neglecting my baby because I knew she was at home and well taken care of.  Sure, we missed her like crazy, and checked in/face timed about 3 times a day, but I am so happy that our first time away was such a positive experience because it's something we definitely plan on doing once or twice a year from here on out.

We made the decision to spend 1 week in the Val d'Orcia region of Tuscany.  If you remember from any of my previous posts on traveling throughout Italy, you'll know that this is my absolute favorite place on earth.  Adam & I were married in this region of Tuscany {you can see photos from our wedding here}, and it has made such an imprint on my soul, so I was absolutely thrilled that we were returning to this special location.



^^ We stayed at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, and I can not say enough good things about this property.  The grounds are absolutely stunning, and every aspect of our stay was flawless.  The staff, the ambience, the rooms, the food......omg don't even get me started on the food!  







^^ The property grounds consist of over 5,000 acres and was once a small village dating back to the 13th century.  The hotel did an amazing job at converting old horse stables into suites, and even the old jail was converted into a villa!



^^ The weather couldn't have been more perfect while we were there.  We've had an extremely hot summer in Miami, so this was a nice reprieve from the heat + humidity.  //  Wearing: Soft Joie vest {here}, Vince wool tee {here}, Zara denim {here}, and Jeffrey Campbell tasseled mules {highly suggest! here}.  These loafers/mules were SO comfortable, and many people asked me if they were Ferragamo or Tod's as they look much more expensive than they are!






^^  We took a private tour of La Foce, which I highly suggest if you plan to visit the area.  They have really weird hours so definitely plan ahead.  I've wanted to tour this property for close to 4 years, and was elated that we finally had the chance to do so.  




^^  Can my next house have an annex exactly like this designed for storing lemon trees during the winter months??  Literal #HomeGoals :)







^^  I had a glass of wine in my hand basically the entire vacation.  //  Wearing: Cinq à Sept silk top {here}, Paige denim {old} and Aquazzura Christy flats {on sale here}




^^  A couple pictures from snap chat.  We took a private cooking class on my husband's birthday.  I'm sure this is what his birthday dreams are made of lol, but it ended up being a great time!



^^  Out to dinner wearing: J.Crew cashmere tee {30% off here}, DVF skirt {found here}, Isabel Marant booties {old}.






^^  One of the highlights of our trip was the opportunity to participate in the fall harvesting of the grapes in one of the hotels vineyards.  Picking grapes in Tuscany was an absolute dream, and now I'm able to officially check that item off my bucket list!



^^  After saying goodbye to Val d'Orcia, we drove roughly 2 hours back to Florence and checked into Il Salviatino, which is located about 15 minutes outside of Florence in an area called Fiesole {pronounced fee-ez-olè}.  We've stayed inside the city center of Florence more times than I can count, and I was looking forward to trying something different.





^^  We had originally reserved the "Affresco Suite" which had a stunning original fresco from the 17th century on the ceiling of this particular suite, but the bed was SO uncomfortable and the room creeped me out to the max at night so we changed rooms the next morning.










^^  One of the highlights of the property is the stunning garden which overlooks the entire city of Florence.  The views are unbelievable.  We sat outside every night at sunset with cocktails and read books or just watched the sun slowly sink over the city.  I'm on the fence, however, if I would recommend this property.  While the hotel is beautiful, and rich with history, it was also lacking in certain areas.  The breakfast left a lot to be desired, the beds were extremely uncomfortable, and the taxi ride to the city center ranged from 15-40 euros each way.  











^^  A few pics from out and about in Florence.  Normally when we travel to Italy, I still try to stick to a somewhat balanced diet.  NOT THIS TIME!  We went all out; bread, crostini, cheese, pasta, and so much wine with every meal.  




^^  This picture cracks me up!  My husband snapped this of me trying to narrow down a purchase in Céline.  //  Wearing: Rebecca Taylor long sleeve tee with lace {in black on sale here}, WAYF faux suede skirt {so cute! here}, and Aquazzura flats {found here}





^^  Our last day in Florence was spent visiting one of the world's top art museum, the Uffizi Gallery, and also doing a little last minute shopping for Isla.  It was our second time visiting this gallery and though it was crowded {highly suggest you go as early as possible}, it was really enjoyable.  We also experienced the best meal we've ever had in Florence at "Golden View" which offers spectacular views of the Ponte Vecchio {3rd image}.  //  Outfit details: Brochu Walker top {found here}, Zara denim + Jeffrey Campbell shoes {both are linked above}, KIN/K hat {available here}, and my new Céline Box Bag in python.



Sorry for the picture overload here, but I do hope that you enjoyed them!  I had a really difficult time trying to narrow my selection down.  Quite a few of you who follow me on Snapchat messaged me about your own upcoming trips to Italy, and for anyone who intends to visit this area of Tuscany, I have a travel guide to the area that I would be happy to email you.  It provides recommended wineries, restaurants, local farms, and attractions to visit.  Just leave a comment below with your email address if you're interested :)

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great day! xx




15 comments:

  1. Would love to hear your recommendations! Bmichelle_shue@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Britany, I'll email it to you later this afternoon! Thanks for reading my blog, and taking the time to comment. xox

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  2. Dying. Dream vacation!

    -Jennifer

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  3. Hi Andy, My husband and I were supposed to go to Castiglion for Bosco last summer, but ended up having t cancel because of work. Thinking about re-booking for this summer and would love your travel guide! Thank you! -Kimberly

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    1. Lucky you! I can't wait to go back. If you can leave your email address, I'd be happy to forward the travel guide to you :)

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  4. Kimberly.d.levin@gmail.com Thank you!!

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    1. Hey Andy, do you mind re-sending the travel guide? I never received it! Thank you so much!! My email again is Kimberly.d.levin@gmail.com

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    2. I re-sent it over this morning. Hope it works this time!

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  5. Gorgeous pics Andy!!!! What a dream vacation. Thanks for sharing:)

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  6. Beautiful pics! Looks like an amazing time! Good for you for taking the time away with hubby...I can't imagine how difficult, yet rewarding, it must have been. That's motherhood though right ;)

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    1. Thanks Amanda! Around the one year mark, I felt like I was ready to take a little time away from her, but I wouldn't have been ok with it at an earlier age. It was definitely hard, and I know that the idea of a vacation away from your child isn't for everyone, but it was a really positive experience for us!

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  7. That looks like an amazing trip!! What beautiful pictures! I'm so glad others are open about addressing the whole trip sans baby because I think it's a total game changer. Can I ask how did you find your nanny/housekeeper? We have gone through a couple nannies just because they go back to school or one had a baby and it's so hard starting the search over again but I'd love to find one that can help with baby and some household duties I think those breaks are so important for being a good mom!! Any suggestions are much appreciated!!!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! I completely agree :) So this is quite long - Our nanny was a recommendation from our housekeeper that we've employed for the past 5 years, so I really trusted her judgement. We basically just lucked out, because the family that our nanny was previously employed with, have children who are older now and they cut her back to 2 days a week so I jumped at the chance to have her help out 4 days a week with Isla. I always think word of mouth/ recommendations are the best way to acquire any form of help.

      When we first started to search for a nanny, Isla was 4 months old, and I was looking for more of a "mothers helper". Someone who would help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc. I also wanted an older woman....because a) I've seen too many celebrity marriages go wrong over a nanny (just being honest here!) and b) I wanted someone who was more nurturing, patient, and who wasn't caught up in their own social life and an older woman just seemed to fit this description.

      Around here, it's very common to "poach" other nannies {our friends and even our pediatrician have warned us about it lol!}, people will watch how nannies interact with children at playgrounds, and approach them about switching to their family. So depending on your area, this also seems to be another way to acquire a great caretaker. Another friend of mine found a great nanny through care.com, and another friend went with an au pair who turned out to be absolutely wonderful. As hard as this is to believe, I actually don't know of a single person who has had great success going through an agency.....

      Sorry this was so long and sort of all over the place, but hope that it helped you somewhat! If you have any other questions, you can always email me andreaadler4206@gmail.com

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