Sunday, August 28, 2016


Welcome to Ischia!

If you're thinking of a trip to Italy and want Capri without the crowds this is probably as close as you can get.  It's actually been awhile since I visited but just remember to post about it now.  I'd highly recommend a long weekend there. I'd also recommend that you rent a bright red Vespa while you're there. And wear a fancy 1950's sun dress and big glasses. And carry a great big purse with an adorable lap dog in it.  (This is that kind of place.)

So, what to do in Ischia:
  • Visit the above castle (during the day of course, though it was beautiful to see at night).
  • Shop! There are a ton of shopping possibilities on the main drag.
  • Sit on the beach!
  • Visit one of the thermal baths. We tried Negombo (bonus points for the very Sri Lankan name!) and it was fantastic.  It's not a 'bath' in the ancient Roman sense, but more of a low-impact water park.  I highly recommend it but naturally took no photos.
  • Explore the charming interior of the island by (small) car or motorino.
  • Do some boating. You know, if you brought your boat...
Ok, that's it for my recommendation. I'll let the photos speak for themselves!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

I've been on the lookout for attractions in Rome that offer a break from the crowds and thought I'd share with you this recent discovery - the Galleria Doria Pamphilj. It's right on the Via del Corso, just a block or so from the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and the Forum.  It's unairconditioned, but otherwise very pleasant. I love how peaceful and off the beaten path it felt - despite the fact that it has it's fair share of world class art just kind of hanging around. If you're headed to Rome and don't have the stamina for a big museum I highly recommend this little gem.

The inner courtyard is particulrly lovely.

Upstairs the walls are just about overflowing with artwork.

It's difficult to imagine a family living here...

One of the more famous pieces, a Caravaggio. There are also others by Caravaggio, a few busts by Bernini and works by Raphael.

Monday, August 15, 2016

What a difference a year makes!

One of my favorite blogs recently posted a series of 'room evolution' photos to document their getting settled process in a new home. Since they're professionals the end result (and even quite a few of the interim results) are pretty awesome. If you like that one check out another room evolution they did here.  

I thought it would be fun to do a version of my own - and what with the mobility of this lifestyle it seems like a blog idea that will just keep on giving, right? :)  And if this inspires anyone else to chime in and (please, please, please!) tell me how to decorate my house so much the better.

So, the evolution of a foreign service apartment (part 1 of ?):

Below is my living room as of August 2017.


Not wanting to spend a mint on furniture for the one unfurnished apartment I'm likely to occupy in my career - especially while saving up to build on and furnish the sand pile - I've been trying to work with the Ikea stuff I had from grad school.  Granted, the home design experts with the blog I mention above advise that you play around and try new things but it's a little harder to do that with a budget target of $0.

So how'd I do?

Well, 0 dollars was a little ambitious, but I haven't spent much in this room.  Once my stuff arrived I rearranged the furniture - for free! - hung some artwork I already had, and unpacked my big Ikea coffee table.  To get to this point: 

It still felt pretty empty though so in the end I did buy a few pieces including the clock/wall art behind the TV - $20, the TV itself $100, some dirt cheap Ikea lamps (only one is visible here) - $16 and the rug - $70.  Total $206.  This room still needs plenty of TLC but I'm happy with the progress so far given my budget and total lack of decorating intuition.

In the dining area I haven't spent a cent. I moved in my keyboard - now that it's in the living room it gets more use than in Lagos - my big brown chair and my own Ikea table - ironically to replace the Ikea table GSO provided.

Eventually I added some curtains, hung some artwork, and swapped out the brown chair for this white one.

And just to round things out, a view in the other direction.