Italia 10

Today we went around Arezzo and learned some of the history and styles we have been walking past ever since we got here. We went to a church that I had walked by so many times and Kirk pointed out the different qualities of present as they came about. The first church had different columns out front which was more common in earlier styles. The next church we went to was the main Cathedral in Arezzo and apparently it was funded greatly by a pope and he was buried there. It was really funny to me when Kirk talked about the madonna and Jesus baby inside this room because when Preston and I went earlier in the week we talked about how it looked like a creepy man child, and Kirk made a comment along those lines. After that church we went into another in a little square that I had not noticed. The church was extremely old and there were remanence of when men and women were separated during church in the earlier days. We also learned that there is a black market for art that has been stolen from churches which is weird to think about. After the walking tour we all went back to the hotel and started to work on our papers and then we went to OUA and met with Dean Ray for our class. We talked about Italian government in the past and present and how it could easily be a future for America with the examples of debt, corrupt government, and unemployment. While the set up of government between The United States and Italy it different, the problems that Italy is facing can easily be related to America.

Low Carb Cauliflower Pizza

Attention everyone that has ever existed ever! I have FINALLY perfected my cauliflower pizza crust recipe and let me just tell you that it tastes as amazing as it looks. As I have been following the Ideal Protein diet, I have been trying to create fun recipes that still follow protocol. I have worked on cauliflower pizza crust for awhile and recently created the best recipe using ideas from multiple people on instagram. Read on if you’re interested in indulging without all the carbs.

Healthy Pizza


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 packet Ideal Protein Potato Puree
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower
  • 3 egg whites
  • Seasoning

Directions for Crust:

-Pre-heat the oven to 350

-Cook frozen cauliflower in the microwave for 10 minutes or until warm

-Pulse in food processor until cauliflower has a rice texture (my food processor is broken so chopping until this texture is reached works as well)

-Using a cheesecloth or coffee filter, squeeze moisture out of cauliflower until dry

-Now add IP Potato Puree, egg whites, and spices (I used garlic powder)

-Using a spoon, create a crust-like shape (starting from the outer rim inward) on well greased parchment paper

-Bake for 25-30 minutes

-Remove crust and set oven to broil

After the crust is made be as creative as desired with toppings.

I topped my pizza off with Walden Farms Italian Sun Dried Tomato dressing, an organic spring mix, white mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, chicken, more garlic powder, thyme, and rosemary. Then I popped it in the oven for about five minutes on broil.

The pizza serves one person and is extremely filling. It is a great low carb option for pizza lovers on a diet. If anyone in the Enid area is interested in the Ideal Protein diet, like Ideal Health and Weight Loss Clinic on Facebook. They have been great to work with, especially for someone like me who isn’t overweight but is just looking to lose a few pounds. Their transformations are amazing.

I’m Not Perfect – and other realizations

Hey y’all! Apologies for being so distant lately. Last semester was crazy busy and I was trying to focus on school and not falling apart as a person. But I sit here today, on my couch sicker than a dog, and I have inspiration.

I am more of a definition number 1 right now. Number 2 not so much because of this stupid sinus infection, but anyway.
My inspiration came after looking at some Mindy Kaling quotes (she’s my girl crush and if you don’t know who she is look her up) and thinking back upon this year. I wanted to share with you guys a post that had some applicable value in life – like a recipe or something boring (which I still might do). But as I have spent my day doing absolutely nothing, I really feel like I want to talk about something more real. I know that social media puts a rose colored glass over everything. Everyone can appear however they want: artsy, trendy, pretty, whatever. I just want the people who read this blog to know who I really am. Although I don’t really know who my audience is, I particularly hope this is seen by girls my age and maybe younger, because this realization that I have had has made a miraculous difference in every aspect of my life. So without further ado, let me talk about how
I don’t want this statement to deter you from reading any other part of this post because it is so cliche, but this is so freeing for me to talk about. Since I have been sick at home I have been really hooked up on social media and honestly, I understand why people have so many issues with self esteem. I go through instagram seeing people hanging out with friends, travelling the world on adventures, posting perfect tips and pictures on blogs, being more productive than I am. Honestly, I am done comparing my life to other people. I am done trying to reach “perfection”. So to anyone who knows what I am talking about, here is a list of why I am so not perfect:
-I love to lay in bed all day and watch Netflix. I mean all day. I watched all of season three of Parks and Recreation today. Some of you probably got out of bed at an acceptable hour and did “stuff”. You know what I realized today laying in bed? I honestly sometimes don’t want to do anything. And you know what? That’s totally awesome
-I really never wear makeup or do my hair or look like a normal human being. I see people all the time that look put together. Congrats to them! I used to envy those people, but (let’s be real) I value my sleep and do not feel like spending that much time to look fabulous. I’m not saying that people who take the time to look nice are worse than me, because they’re not. People are different. If you want to get up and look nice for the day, do it! If it makes you happy, please do it! As for me, I will throw my hair in a bun and put on a t-shirt because I love being comfy.
-I make mistakes probably every day of my life and I have made mistakes trying to hide from those mistakes, but that’s the past and I can’t change it now. This one is pretty much self explanatory
-I am so outspoken and it has gotten me in so much trouble since I was a small child. You know what that means? I am strong and passionate and loud. Cool for me. I can practically hear my mom rolling her eyes reading this because she has to listen to me rant about things I see on the news that make me so upset (thanks for listening and being patient mom). But really. For those of you that have lived your life being told to calm down, don’t. Be passionate! Too many people sit passively, which also has it’s merits. But for those of us who can’t seem to keep our mouths shut, don’t even try. Own your personality. Cause a scene. Make a difference.
-I feel so awkward in social situations. I honestly will sometimes not answer a call or a text for days on end because I cannot stand the thought of having to have a conversation with an actual person. I think of myself as an ambivert (kind of a mix between extrovert and introvert). The issue is that people tend to like extrovert me more than introvert me. Well let me just tell you, introversion is just as cool and can be just as fun.
-Sometimes I get mad and pushy and mean. It happens. I try not to hurt other people’s feelings and sometimes fail miserably. It’s called asking for forgiveness and moving on.
-I love to laugh at the weirdest stuff and I honestly do not find it uncool at all. Show me a meme of a cat? I laugh for days. SNL will always be my favorite show. Acting weird in public? I’m down. I think the adult in me has stopped caring about social norms.
-I can’t cook, craft, make the perfect smoky eye, take beautiful photographs, or afford to travel. These seem like a staple for those trendy young bloggers. Honestly, I cannot do any of those things. I have tried and tried to no avail and will continue to put in an effort. I just don’t see how people find the time between naps and movie watching to do all that stuff anyway.
And I know you guys probably think I am going to follow this up with some dumb cheesy list of why it’s okay for me not to be perfect, but I am so serious when I say that I have zero reason to defend the fact that I am not perfect. I don’t have to explain why I act the way I do or why I make the choices I do. And that is the joy of owning my entire being and having confidence in myself.

Italia 9

This day we went to Florence again and for the first half of the day I went to the Uffisis and saw a lot of famous paintings displaying the development of the different renaissance characteristics. It was interesting to see how the artists would learn from each other, use it, and then implement something further in their own work.  After lunch we went and saw Michelangelo’s David. I loved hearing how Michelangelo made the body show even more emotion by how the body was exaggerated in certain aspects, like his hips and muscles. After we went to the Michelangelo museum with the Medici graves and the night and day statues. That was also fascinating to see all of the different symbols used to display a time of day.

Italia 8


We got to florence and walked to the main Piazza. My group toured the Duomo first and we saw the architecture used for the cathedral. It was very geometric and it had a large open area when you walked in that looked like tile carpet. It was explained that it was suppose to be kind of like an indoor piazza. The walls were pretty much bare except for a couple of pictures of mercenaries on the wall. An announcement came on while we were in there with the shhh noise and “silence” It was extremely creepy. After we left the main cathedral we went out to the baptistry and the doors were done by different people and we all different styles. The outside was under construction, so that wasn’t very fun, but inside, it was beautiful. It was a completely different style than inside the main cathedral. There many gold and mosaic embellishments. It used to have stairs down to a pool where you would be baptized and then go into the church. They would do this on easter Sunday and other days which I can’t remember. That was cool to know that was actually used to baptize people. After we toured that church, we went onto the Basilica. It was extremely beautiful inside. It was built using a softer and cooler stone on the inside than the other. This church had a private room for the Medici family. After we looked around the top level, we went around through a courtyard and down and we saw many different jewels that were used in different eras and you could drastically see a difference in the style of the different pieces. Some were very gaudy and the others ornate. All were made out of extremely beautiful material. We saw an important Medici at the time and it was obvious that he was extremely important because his grave was placed in one of the most important support spots of the cathedral representing his importance. Right outside his grave Donatello was buried and that was so amazing seeing his actual grave. Crazy. After we finished going through that church we all went back to the main piazza and then we were released for lunch. After we went with Kirk and went into the older part of the city and went to a small church that was a graveyard for little children. Life during this period was centered around death. We also saw where the river had once flooded up to on many of the buildings. Kirk also showed us many of the corridors where Michelangelo would have walked. It was extremely interesting to see how the communities were set up there because before Florence was one city, it was made up of different communities with there own currencies. It was taken over by the Medicis and then collectivized to make a successful city. After we walked around we  went to the church where the David was originally placed, but now there is just a replica. I got a ticket of a dead guy dying and before people wanted to switch but no one wanted to switch with me because they didn’t want the ding guy and in the end it was of St. Francis so he was the most important portrait in the church. The church was beautiful just like all the other churches and basically every one you learn about in school was buried there. Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and other famous people. After the museum we headed back on the trains to Arezzo.

My Free Weekend in London

In the middle of the BMT, the group was given a free weekend to explore London and take a break from the constant stream of site visits. My roommate Ali and I planned to take full advantage of this time as there was so much we wanted to do, but couldn’t fit in during the busy weeks.

During our free weekend we had to learn how to navigate the tube system which led to some interesting mix-ups and comical wrong turns. But overall we got the hang of it and figured out how to get where we wanted to go. First on the list was Spittlesfield Market, a market lined with adorable boutiques and the main, central feature of a flea market. The flea market sold everything from 1 pound books to jewelry to clothes. I ended up buying an old, small, blue book that was a compilation of the best English poetry through the ages. Along with the flea market and shops, there were ample restaurants.

Ali and I decided to eat at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. After a long, rainy morning of tube transportation all we wanted was a tasty, hot meal. I ordered an avocado bacon cheeseburger with aged cheddar, Rosemary skinny fries and a salted caramel milkshake. It was a splurge, but turned out to be one of the best meals of the trip. After lunch, we spent a couple hours wondering around the flea market and stopping into every boutique to do some shopping.

Once we had spent our fill of time at Spittlesfield, we headed to Camden Market. At first, the area seemed seedy and exceedingly touristy – the streets were swarming with unsavory characters. However, we kept going, optimistic that if we made it past the exterior scruff there would be a hidden gem at the center. And we were right! We finally stumbled into the open air food and flea market that had never ending branches and ally ways. Its depth seemed to have no limit. There were clothes, trinkets and jewlery kiosks, record shops and my favorite part – the food stands. There was a sea of white tents under which there were cooks freshly making orders on demand. The fragrant smells mixed and mingled together in the air to form an intoxicating aroma. The food made at Camden consisted of every type of ethnic delicacy you could imagine.

Ali and I ordered grape fruit iced tea and a Peruvian dish of chicken, potatoes, onions and peppers mixed together fresh off the grill. For dessert I had my first ever churro which Ali assured me was much better than the average churro. It was a Brazilian style churro, made from scratch right in front of our eyes. The inside was filled with chocolate filling and the outside was smothered with cinnamon sugar. Safe to say my churro standards are going to be pretty high from here on out. After we ate, we wondered around Camden market until it closed and then headed back to the flats.

The next day, Ali and I began with the British museum where we spent hours looking at the Ancient Egyptian sculptures and mummies. The mummy exhibit included the tombs with the original bodies still inside, perserved for thousands of years. It was fascinating – there were even cat mummies!

Following the British Museum, we headed across town to the Imperial War Museum of London. At the IWM, we walked through the entire extensive WWI exhibit. It contained authentic pictures, black and white video, WWI artifacts, letters and diaries of the soldiers. The information and history available in that one place seemed endless as well as endlessly captivating. There was even a replica of the trenches which you could walk through and hear the automated voices of soldiers during an attack. We then went to the second floor to see the WWII section of the museum. It consisted of large machinery and weapons used in WWII complete with an airplane peppered with bullet holes on display. There was also an interesting display featuring a family during wartime. The family had ten kids and followed all of the family members through the war, focusing on the ways they had to adapt. This included rationing, women entering the workforce and men leaving their families to fight in the war. It was fascinating to be able to put real faces with the wartime hardships we so often hear about.

Ali and I quickly had to leave the IWM to rush off to our play that was starting soon. We had bought tickets to see the Jersey Boys at Picadilly Theatre right by the famous Picadilly Circus which featured a central statue people gathered around and the famous giant screens scrolling with advertisements. London is famous for its fantastic theatre culture so we figured it would be a good investment to go see a play while we had the chance. We ran to the theatre and got in our seats just in time for the beginning of the play. And what a show it was! The characters were charismatic with massive personalities, and most of all the writing was witty and humorous. The crowd laughed through a lot of the show, but also teared up during the raw, heartbreaking moments.  The absolute best part of the play though was the music. The sound Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons made was so unique and iconic that I just knew I was hearing something special. The audience was dancing and clapping in their seats, singing along to the hits like Sherry, Oh What a Night, Who Loves you and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. Jersey Boys is now definitely one of my favorite plays of all time!

Ali and I ended the night by walking around the Picadilly Circus area, enjoying the jovial atmosphere, happily singing the Jersey Boys songs in the streets. It was wonderful to be able to explore so many parts of London! My free weekend was simply bliss.


My Free Weekend in Paris

During the British Media Tour’s one weekend spent in Paris, we were granted a free day to do whatever we pleased. My roommate Ali and I got an early start to the day by walking down a block from our hotel to a little cafe on the corner. It was just opening right as we arrived so we were the first customers of the day. We ordered croissants and coffee for breakfast and sat at a window side table so we could watch the city wake up. The large, warm croissants flaked off easily when torn and the coffee, which came in small pink and yellow tea cups with plates, was delicious in a particularly French way.

After breakfast, next on our agenda was spending the morning at the Louvre Museum. The Louvre was an unending home of culture that displayed the height of human capability to create amazing things. More depth and wonder was held within the museum walls than I could ever possibly imagine. It revealed to me the incredible beauty humanity is capable of creating and what a wondrous place the world can truly be.

I have always seen myself as a life long learner, someone who loves knowledge that will further your understanding of the world. At the Louvre there was a gold mine of knowledge. I saw the famous Winged Victory, Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa. I also especially enjoyed the massive, classic French paintings whose sheer size amazed me. Another highlight were the Ancient Greek statues of people carved out of white marble. Ali and I also spent a large amount of time in the Ancient Egypt section which held artifacts, sphinxes and sarcophagi. After we finished wondering around the indoor maze of the Louvre we emerged into the fresh air of the courtyard where the iconic glass pyramid rose out of the ground. The courtyard was enclosed by the beautiful exterior architecture of the museum that was just as awe-inspiring as the inside. To say the least, the things I laid eyes upon at the Louvre were magnificent.

Next, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower area in search of a street called Rue Cler. Ali and I spent about half an hour rambling through side streets in search of Rue Cler. Finally, thanks to our indefatigable determination and Google maps, we found it – and oh was it worth it! Rue Cler is a little hidden street generally only frequented by locals and I only knew about it thanks to my dad who took me there once before. The street is an open air market mixed with shops that line the road as well as cafes with abundant outdoor seating which is always jam-packed.

The air was floating with the sounds of the beautiful French language, the yaps of little dogs walking along the cobblestones with their owners and the sweet notes of an accordion street player with a humorous, lined face and an authentic smile. The song he was playing when we walked by was La Vie en Rose. Ali and I walked into every shop on the street. There were flower shops overflowing with colorful boquets – my favorite were the light pink peones whose petals had a look of softness about them. There were rows of bright, fresh fruit in baskets and bins full of strawberries, cherries, berries, nectarines and white peaches to name a few. There were also cheese shops with cheese shaped like the Eiffel Tower, antipasto shops with salami sticks hanging from the ceiling and a bakery stocked with warm, fresh baguettes. Ali and I made a picnic of stick salami, Brie and Gouda cheese, artichoke hearts, sundries tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, guava juice and a French baguette. Afterwards, we bought gelato in the shape of a blooming rose and we strolled our secret street until our gelato was licked into oblivion.

Our next few stops were very scenic. First, we rested on the lawn out front of the Eiffel Tower where we made some friends and enjoyed the ambiance. Then we took the metro to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a grand and beautiful church with intricate architecture. Fried there we walked along the Rivee Seine past the green canopied memorablia stands. I bought two old fashioned post cards with beautiful Parisian scenery decorating them. We crossed a bridge that had a great view of the river and love locks covering the rails.

Our last stop of the night was Montremarte – Sacre Ceur. The view from the top of the steep hill the basilica was located on wS breathtaking and seemed to encompass all of Paris. Ali and I went to the artists’ quarter where I bought a small painting of Sacre Ceur. We walked inside the basilica and got to witness a segment of a mass in French which included Bible readings and religious song sung by a French nun with a beautiful voice. The arching ceiling was colossal with grand, thick pillars holding it up and the walls were decorated with colorful, detailed stained glass windows that threw rainbows against the stone walls. To finish the evening, Ali and I ate dessert crepes on the front steps of Sacre Ceur and looked down at the city as the sun dropped lower in the sky.

It was the perfect day in Paris! Au Revoir!

British Media Tour

For my study abroad program this summer, I chose to go on the British Media Tour. This is a program done through the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications, led by Dean Foote. During our trip, which lasts from May 12- May 30, we stay in London for the majority of the time, but also embark on weekend trips to Paris and Bristol.

BMT is a largely a mixture of work and play. We are primarily there to visit major media companies in France and the United Kingdom, but we also get to enjoy being abroad and spending our free time site seeing and exploring the cities. As for the site visits, we go to media organizations that apply to all the majors in Gaylord – not just journalism. During these visits we speak with leaders of the organizations, listen to them talk anout their experiences and their organization, ask them questions and often get tours of the buildings.

The site visits included on BMT are: the Journalism Innovation Summit, Ogilvy and Mather (Ad), CNN Paris (Euorpean Correspondent), Sky News (Broadcast), Ketchum (PR), Bell Pottinger (PR), ITN News (Broadcast), Guardian (Print), CNN London (Broadcast and online), Bloomberg London, Al Jazeera English, BBC Broadcasting House, BBC Monitoring, the University of South Wales (Visited with professors), and BBC Bristol.

A few interesting things for the group to do as a whole include: a historical site seeing tour of London, a Seine River cruise, the Louvre museum, a street art walkimg tour, punting on River Cam In Cambridge, a Memorial Ceremony at the the Cambridge American Cemetery, BBC 4 taping of It’s Not What You Know, lunch in the Pump Room at Bath, Cardiff Bay, Skittles night with the Clifton Rotary Club, and a closing dinner at Zerodegrees Microbrewery.

As there are only a few days left in my trip I am going to share two blog posts of some of my favorite memories of the British Media Tour! Looking back, they are my free weekend in Paris and my free weekend in London.

Italia 7

The visit to Cortona today was amazing. We got off the train and walked up to a viewing spot and it was gorgeous. After we were on our own and Abby and I decided to walk to the very top. The top was so far away so Abby and I took random breaks by what looked like little alters so people didn’t know we were out of shape. We finally made it to the top and we looked at the amazing view and went into the church there. There was a cloth that was said to be the cloth Jesus was wrapped in but since then it has been proven other wise, but it is still cool to get to see something like that. After, we went even further up and toured a castle that was there. It was so beautiful and there was a wall that went around a courtyard and we all got up on that. On the way out we saw the irrigation system and the water was oddly clear in the castle. It was cool to see how they stored water in ancient times. We went to a restaurant after we came down and I had gnocchi and it was pretty good. The lady put bread on our table and we asked if it was included and she said yes so we ate it and then she charged us a euro for each piece of bread.. boo.  After lunch we went into a shop and I got an apron and a couple of other things, and then we headed back to Arezzo. It was an eventful day!

Italia 6


Today we we had a free day to do what every we wanted and a group of us went to Pisa. The train station was confusing and I am glad I was there with other people because I would not have validated my ticket and would have gotten in trouble. On the first train ride, a women came up to me and gave us a piece of paper and I was trying to read it but she came back and was expecting money. Whoops shouldn’t have touched it. Once we got to Pisa and found the tower, we took the typical tourist pics. We walked around and looked at the church next to it. I loved seeing the architecture used in the buildings and style in which they were all built. It is amazing to me that these churches are so old yet so grand and that there is so much embellishment on the buildings. I definitely made the right choice visiting Pisa!