Wish You Were Italian launch bucket list

This week marks the release of Kristin Rae's Wish You Were Italian! I've been a fan about this book for months before I even read it because I took a trip to Italy seven years ago. Kristin and I became instantly bonded on Twitter due to our shared Italian experiences. 

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

Book Buy Links:
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In Wish You Were Italian, Pippa makes a list of the ten things she wants to see/do/accomplish while she's visiting. Her goals are: 
Don’t get arrested
Don’t make a fool out of myself in public
Get my picture taken at the Colosseum
Find random souvenir for Morgan
Get a makeover
See Pompeii
Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
Have a conversation with someone in only Italian
Eat a whole pizza in one sitting
Fall in love with an Italian

Out of this list, I have done...let's say five and a half things on this list. Don't get arrested? Check! 
I don't know why we called ourselves that, but we definitely did NOT get arrested! Front row, left to right: Brianna, Chelsea, David D, David S (who was one of my high school BFFs. We were in band [he's wearing our band shirt in this pic] and scholar's bowl [the academic quiz bowl team] together. He now works at Disney, lucky punk.). Back row: Brianna's dad aka my dentist, Caleb (avid UofTennessee fan & fellow band guy), our European history & US government teacher Reeves (I went to his wedding because my family was friends with his wife. I was probably about 6 when that happened. Weird), Graham (also a band guy; but he and I butted heads a lot), and me! I was the oldest student on the trip. The others had just graduated high school, but I had just finished my freshman year of college. The Euro class my senior year didn't go on the trip since Reeves' wife had just had a baby, but he invited my class to come back the next year for the trip. I was the only one who took him up on the offer. Suckers.

See Pompeii? Check. 
 Pompeii was one of my favorite stops. We had lunch at this AH-MAZING restaurant and walking around the ruins was unbelievable. Hee hee. Pompeii has a red light district. *is immature for a second*

Random souvenir & swim in the Mediterranean? Double check. 

 For some reason, I HAD to have this leather bracelet, and I wore it nearly every day for about four years.
 1. The Mediterannean is SALTY. Not only will your mouth taste super duper gross, but any miniscule cuts or scrapes on your body will burn very, very painfully as soon as you step in. 2. I scooped some rocks and water into a water bottle and brought it home with me. That bottle is now sitting on my trophy shelf in my room at my parents' house. 3. I'd apologize for blinding you with our whiteness, but if you just went blind, you wouldn't be able to read my apology anyway. 4. I'm the one on the right.

Don't make a fool out of myself in public? Wellllll....I think I behaved most of the time. so...check!
Making fools out of ourselves in private was an entirely different matter, though. We played an epic game of spoons throughout the entire trip (that was how we amused ourselves at night in our hotels), and we got into epic scuffles. David and I, though we were best friends, got into a full-on WWF match one night. I am sorry to say he kicked my butt, which is surprising because I'm taller and outweighed him by...let's say a bit.

Get my picture taken at the Colosseum? 
I went to the Colosseum on my trip, and I took pictures OF the Colosseum, but I don't know if anyone managed to get a shot of me there. That one's a maybe.

I definitely didn't get a makeover while in Italy, and at the time, I couldn't speak Italian (but I took it in college when I got back so now I could have a rudimentary conversation with someone about food), so those are no's for me. I also didn't eat an entire pizza, one sitting or no, but this pizza in Venice made me want to.

And sadly, I did not fall in love with an Italian boy on my trip. I was actually a little surprised because I only saw a handful of men who were anything close to handsome. That was kind of a downer. This boy, though, was my favorite. Yes, I'm a total creeper and took a picture of a cute stranger. Sue me.

I would love to go back to Italy one day because I had an AMAZING time. I saw so many beautiful places, and there are many others I'd love to visit! In honor of Pippa and Kristin and Italy itself, here are my top ten goals on my Visit Italy: Part 2 bucket list:

1. Explore Rome. I want to see EVERYTHING. Due to a flight scheduling error and one the worst weather delays in aviation history (I am actually not exaggerating. The day we flew out had some of the worst storms ever. Delays across the US were at a record high), we missed one of our Rome days, which was a real bummer. That meant the day we did spend in Rome, we were shuttled from the airport (while smelling like plane and travel and B.O.) directly to Vatican City (SISTINE CHAPEL!!!), then we walked around with our tour group (mostly at some church that just couldn't quite stack up to what we'd already seen at the Vatican), ate dinner, went to the hotel and passed out. No Trevi Fountain. No Spanish Steps. No happy meandering around cobblestone streets.

Jet. Lag. (I am in the pink, questioning my life choices)

2. Return to Florence. Florence was my favorite of the cities we visited. Everything about it was grand and breathtakingly beautiful. I am not an artist, but I felt more creative, more artistic there than anywhere else I've ever been.

 Helloooo, Florence!

3. Hike Mt. Vesuvius. We went to Pompeii and Naples, but we had to skip the hike. I think it would just be cool to reach the top and look around.

4. Visit Milan. Milan wasn't on our itenerary so this would be a first-time visit. Not that I could ever afford anything, I do enjoy fashion. I'd love to walk around and just people watch all the pretty fashion people.

5.Visit Capri again. This little island is quite possibly the most gorgeous place I've ever seen, and I want to go back so so so so badly! We took a boat tour around the island (and it took less than an hour because it's so tiny) and saw the entrance to the Blue Grotto and took a rail car up to the top and I want to go do it all again!

Told you: GORGEOUS.

Yes, please!

6. Buy a leather jacket. I know what you're thinking. I could buy a leather jacket anywhere, and you're right. But here's the thing. There are master leather crafters in Florence. I went to this one shop and fell in love with this beautiful caramel-colored motorcycle jacket that felt like butter. It was absurdly expensive. I could have bought it, yes, but I would have been without funds for the rest of my trip. I did the Right Thing and left the jacket there. But I still dream about it. Well, at least one like it, since this was seven years ago.

7. See Tuscany. I don't drink, but I'm still sad we skipped most of wine country when driving from the coast up to Florence. It's supposed to be utterly enchanting so I'd like to be able to say I've been.

8. Hold up the leaning tower of Pisa. Cheesy, but it's classic, you know?

9. Skinny dip in the Mediterranean. Swim? Been there, done that. Skinny dip? Well, that could be interesting. ;)

10. Kiss someone special. I am single so I don't have plans for someone specific, but I also don't want to kiss a stranger. I saw that season of Jersey Shore, and while entertaining, so not me. Italy is a land of love. I hope one day I'm able to revisit my trip, but I think I would most want to do it and share that incredible experience with someone who means a lot to me.

That being said, there's no one else with whom I'd rather have taken my first trip abroad.

Playing cards with the spoons I straight up stole from 
our hotel in Florence. I told you I "mostly" behaved. 
In public.

Obligatory canal shot of Venice
Napping on the bus with my oh-so-stylish airline blanket.
Oh, my gosh. I just really want to go back!

So that's my list. A touch silly, a splash naughty, a healthy serving of nostalgia, and extra sentimentality, which I think is also fairly accurate if you're describing me. I hope you guys enjoyed taking this trip through my past. Now it's your turn: what would YOU do on a trip to Italy? Please share your thoughts & Italian travel plans in the comment section!

PS I get to see Kristin next week for Bloomsbury's First Loves tour. It is not unlikely that I might end up with an extra copy of Wish You Were Italian to giveaway... ;)


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  2. Thank-you for sharing your adventure and pics! If I traveled to Italy it would be cathedrals, museums, and food. :)

  3. Nice pics. Sounds you had a great experience. Would love to go to Europe someday.

  4. That was an awesome post. Thanks for sharing the pics, and the adventure :)

  5. Totally amazing! Thanks so much for posting these pics and sharing your experience with us!! Yea... Italy is that sweet and far away place that everyone want to visit! I've yet to go anywhere outside the US, but some day I WILL! I'll make it happen! By the way, you're an awesome person and thanks for being you!

  6. This looks absolutely fabulous!!! I love all the pics. Trips really are so much fun. Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  7. Ahh man im super jealous of you!! It is such a dream to go to Italy. Your pics are beautiful
    <3 Brittany