Dolce Vita Bloggers Linky, France, Italy, Traveling With Kids

Defining “La Dolce Vita”

July’s Dolce Vita Bloggers Linkup: Defining “La Dolce Vita”

What is La Dolce Vita? This month’s linkup is hosted by questadolcevita.com, italianatheart.com, and mammaprada.com.

Defining La Dolce Vita
Eat Dessert First

Defining The Sweet Life

How do you define the ‘sweet life’? For me, la dolce vita is best spent with family. My husband and two kids are based in Siena, Italy. Part of living the expat life is being away from our family and closest friends. Sometimes I feel lonely to be so far away from “home”. Imagine my excitement when my dad, mom, sister, and brother visited us from the Philippines a couple of weeks ago! I am writing this post just a day after we said our goodbyes. Together, we traveled to different places in Italy and France. I would love to share the highlights of our sweet trip. (A special thanks to Hershey of heyhersheyblog for the beautiful photos!)

Dining and Wining “Tuscan-Style” in All’Orto de’ Pecci Siena:

All’Orto de’ Pecci is a restaurant and pizzeria located in Siena, Italy. This Italian ristorante serves typical Tuscan meals in an outdoor setting. We had lunch and wine in an area surrounded by farmland and hills. It is a kid-friendly environment because the children can enjoy running around the field. Here you can find a mini zoo with goats, peacocks, ducks, and geese.

Our pranzo (lunch) includes grilled steak, beef with mushrooms and lamb. (c) Joshua Young

Strolling Down the Cobble-stone Streets of Florence, Italy

It was a perfect day in Firenze: there were few tourists and plenty of fun. The weather was amazing and so was the view.

Florence, Italy
With my fashion blogger sister Hershey Neri of heyhersheyblog.com (c) Joshua Young

Experiencing Venice and Its Wonders

Venice will always be magical!  My sons Leon and Lucas enjoyed exploring this ancient city with their grandparents, aunt, and uncle.

Venice, Italy
A Precious Moment in Venice with Nonno (Grandpa) and Nonna (Grandma)

Watching the Palio Horse Race in Siena, Italy

I am so happy to share my first Palio horse race with my sister. We left the kids with the grandparents because we know that thousands of people all around the world will be coming over to Siena Centro to witness this sports event. This world-famous medieval horse race (no saddles!) is celebrated twice a year in July and August. Congratulations to the Dragon Contrada for winning the first race in 2018. Please watch this short video to see the details of our Palio experience.

 

 

Going To Disneyland, Paris

Nothing beats the feeling of seeing your parents and siblings together with your children in the “happiest place on Earth”! During my son’s post-birthday lunch in a sandwich shop on Main Street, my mother said that for her, this was a dream come true. My favorite memories as a kid were in Disneyland with my daddy and mommy. Imagine my parents’ joy as they spend a day in Disneyland with their grandchildren!

Disneyland, Paris
Merci Beaucoup, Nonno Rey for the Mickey Mouse balloon! (c) Hershey Neri
Disneyland, Paris
A Magical Moment

Read this post for Disneyland Travel Tips

Attending My Cousin’s Wedding in Chateau de Bouthonvilliers in France

My cousin Tim got married to the love of his life in a chateau in Dangeau, France! Tim lives in Los Angeles, California. I am happy for him and his wife Stephanie because their friends and family from all over the world were able to witness their beautiful wedding. Felice matrimonio!

Chateau de Bouthonvilliers

Ma Famille
(c) Hershey Neri

Riding an Electric Boat in Bonneval, France

Do you know that Bonneval has a mini-Venice? Instead of a gondola, we rode an electric boat (which I also got to steered). It was a fantastic experience. The best part was ducking our heads under the low bridges! It was so funny.

Mini Venice in Bonneval, France
(c) Hershey Neri

Eating a Macaron in front of the Louvre in Paris, France

It was my first time to taste a real French macaron. I was pleasantly surprised because I did not expect it to taste “that good”! Délicieux! 

French macarons are the best!

Taking A Family Photo at the Eiffel Tower

We were lucky enough to run into Tim, his wife Steph, and their friends on our way to the Eiffel Tower! I love that we were all together in this photo. (Missing my other sister Yas who did not get to go on this trip. I hope that she will get to visit us in Europe soon.) 

Leon, My husband and Lucas, my mom, myself, my cousin’s wife, my cousin, my sister, my dad, and my brother in front of the Eiffel Tower in France (c) Tim Cruz

Loving the Good and the Imperfect

We so blessed that we got to spend time with the people we love the most. Aside from the “big moments” touring key places in Italy and France, I will never forget our not-so-sweet experiences. Those imperfect moments (getting a speeding ticket, family drama ‘mini-explosions’, toddler and baby tantrums, etc.) are still part of “the sweet life”.  I wish for my parents to live long enough to see their grandchildren get married. We already miss them so much now that we have said our goodbyes. I am so looking forward to being reunited again next year for my brother-in-law’s wedding in Manila!

What About You?

How do you define the sweet life? Let me know in the comments section!

Dolce Vita Bloggers

Buonconvento, Italy
Buonconvento, Dolce Vita Bloggers Linky, Italy, Traveling With Kids

Italy’s Hidden Gem: Buonconvento

Buonconvento: A Hidden Italian Gem

First of all, I’d like to thank Kelly of Italian at Heart, Kristie of Mammaprada, and Jasmine of Questa Dolce Vita  for hosting June 2018’s Dolce Vita Bloggers Link-up! Dolce Vita Bloggers is a monthly link-up for lovers of Italy.

Dolce Vita Bloggers

 

A Unique Italian Experience

If you have time to spend exploring the small towns of Italy, visit Buonconvento to experience la dolce vita. Take a break from the crowded tourist places and enjoy a quiet passeggiata around the historic town.

Details of Buonconvento- Bellissimamma

A Happy and Lucky Place

Buonconvento (“happy and lucky place”) is a medieval village in the Val d’Orcia area. It is listed as one of the Borghi Piu Belli (most beautiful villages) in Italy. Also, Buonconvento is just 25 kilometers south of Siena, and is easily reached by train.

Additionally, if you are planning to drive around Tuscany, make sure to stop by this charming borgo for an aperitivo. It is an ideal spot for hanging out and enjoying a lazy afternoon with your family or close friends.

Also, Buonconvento has a chill and calm atmosphere. For me, it is almost surreal. Maybe it is time to forget the worries of daily life. Why don’t you take “a walk back in time” in this carefully-preserved historic town? Italy has a way of refreshing the soul just by giving you a glimpse of what life was like hundreds of years ago.

Furthermore, it is relatively child-friendly! I think that it is an ideal place for small children because there are plenty of green spaces for them to run around. There is a garden just outside the town gate where you can appreciate the view of a typical Tuscan landscape.

How To Get There From Siena

There is a direct train from Siena to Buonconvento. The trip takes about 25 minutes, and trains leave approximately every hour.  Make sure to buy return tickets at the ticket office. Also, have your tickets machine-validated before boarding the train. From the Buonconvento train station, you can easily take a five-minute walk to the historic center.

Buonconvento’s Historic Center

You can find churches, specialty shops, museums and cafes inside the historic center. My husband and I enjoyed a quiet stroll with my toddler and baby. Definitely a Saturday well-spent!

Buonconvento, Italy

Buonconvento

Buonconvento

 

Museum of Sacred Art (Museo d’Arte Sacra della Val d’Arbia)

When in Buonconvento, don’t forget to visit the Val d’Arbia Museum.  Here you can see sacred art and notable works by artists such as Pietro Lorenzetti and Matteo di Giovanni. My two-year-old son called it “The Jesus Castle”. Tickets cost 3 euros per person.

Val d'Arbia Museum
“He’s got the whole world in His hands.”- Leon (Two Years Old)

 

Have you discovered other hidden gems in Italy? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Read more about Italy’s hidden gems:

June 2018 Dolce Vita Bloggers Linkup

Read my past Dolce Vita Blogger posts:

A Love Letter To Italy

3 Reasons Why You Should Visit Siena, Italy

Finally, read my past posts about traveling to Italy with little kids:

Venice

Grosseto

Florence

 

Grazie mille!

Buonconvento

Bellissimamma

 

 

 

 

Bellissimamma
Featured Women, Motherhood, Traveling With Kids

25 Important Things To Say To All Moms On Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

We celebrate Mother’s Day to honor all mothers. Moms are amazing women who deserve only the best! I think these words are often left unsaid. 

This post is for all the mothers who have given so much of themselves to their loved ones. I hope this encourages you to say these words to a mother who has touched your life in some way. I tried to include all kinds of mothers in different seasons of their lives.

If you are a mother who needs to hear these words, I am your mom friend. These words are for YOU!

Things To Say On Mother's Day

To The Future Mom…

Mother's Day

You will be a wonderful mother.

You are amazingly strong.

I will support you in any way that I can.

I am really excited for you!

You are so beautiful.

To The New Mom…

Mother's Day

You are enough.

Wow, you are more beautiful now that you are a mom!

I am so proud of you.

You know what’s best for your child.

I love looking at your baby’s photos!

 

To The Seasoned Mom…

Happy Mother's Day

You have wonderful children.

I admire your style.

Let’s go out and do (something fun) together! (Playdate with kids/ Girls Night Out)

Tell me about your kids.

What’s your advice on ______?

To Your Mother-In-Law…

Mother's Day

You have raised a great son/ daughter.

I am blessed to have you as my mother-in-law.

Thank you for everything that you do to support us.

May God bless you with good health always.

Please come over.

To Your Own Mom…

Mother's Day

You were right all along.

Thank you for the sacrifices you did for our family.

Can I ask for your advice?

Let’s spend some time together.

I love you, Mom.

Filipina mothers
Happy Mother’s Day to My Mommy Fredee and to my Mother-in-Law Mommy Delia!

 

What would you like to say to a mother on Mother’s Day? Share your ideas in the comments section! 

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