My Two Weeks in Italy: Venice

Jul 22, 2022

I am back from Italy! You may have seen my Instagram posts and stories, but I'm sharing all of the details of our trip. You can also go back and view all my stories on Instagram. It's highlighted as "Italy 2022" in my profile information. 

This was our second trip to Italy. We re-visited some of our favorites and added a couple of new destinations. My husband and I traveled with another couple, which made it so much more fun. Neither of them had ever been to Europe so it was fun seeing it through their eyes. Our itinerary was Venice, Lake Como, Florence/Tuscany, Rome, Capri/Positano. Venice and Lake Como were new to us, and we absolutely loved both. 


Our first stop was Venice, which we had never visited. We left it out of the last trip after hearing from many people it was not worth it. I still wanted to go there despite the negativity, but only planned two nights in case we didn't care for it. We absolutely loved it! It's a beautiful city. Two nights were perfect for our group with everything we wanted to see. Our sightseeing list included the Doge Palace, St. Mark's Basilica, The Rialto Bridge, The Grand Canal and a gondola ride.

We arrived by water taxi from the airport that we booked online about a month or two before our trip. You can also take a bus, which is less expensive. However, since we were traveling with another couple we were able to split the cost. It's also a great way to start off a vacation! We also took it to the train station when we left for our next leg of the trip to Lake Como.

It's a great way to see the canals of Venice, too. 

The boat dropped us off right at our hotel since it was on a canal. We stayed at Hotel Dona Palace, which is right around the corner from St. Mark's Square where the Basilica and Doge Palace are located.      It's a boutique mid-range hotel. In my opinion it's worth it to stay at a lesser hotel if it means getting a bigger room. Hotel rooms in Europe are notoriously small. Some of our showers were so tiny that I couldn't even shave in them so check those out as well. 

Our favorite part of the hotel was the patio on the canal. We enjoyed a drink there every night before and after dinner. Here is the view from our window. Breakfast is included, and we happened to be right around the corner from the buffet on the second floor. I always took a second cappuccino back to my room to finish getting ready for the day.

Our first night in Venice-We ate around the corner from the hotel at a highly rated, but inexpensive restaurant called Rossopomodoro. We had a Caprese salad and a pizza, which was wonderful. They have a Naples style pizza that is considered the best. The house wine was also amazing. We laughed that we never got a bad glass of house wine then entire time we were in Italy. 

Of course we had to check out St. Peter's Square since it was right around the corner. I have a video of it on my Instagram stories. 

We came back for a drink out on the patio and watched the gondolas go by. There's a video on my Instagram stories of it as well. 

Restaurant tips:

-Most restaurants open at 7pm in Italy. We're used to eating early so we always went as soon as they opened, which is perfect if you don't have reservations. The busiest times are between 8-9pm. Rossopomodoro is open all day so we could go as soon as we got there so we didn't fall asleep. 

-The restaurants on St. Mark's Square are more expensive, but great for people watching. We avoided them because there was no shade, and would have been uncomfortable in the sun. The side streets are shaded and much cooler. The weather was perfect in the shade, but could get hot in the sun. If you do go when it's cooler I would recommend Caffe Florian for a light breakfast or snack. Another one we considered is Quadri. Make reservations if there is an event in St. Mark's Square. There was a concert our second night, and a table without a reservation is impossible. Italian's love to say "it is impossible." 

-There is a lot of fine dining in Venice. It was a little too highbrow for our taste with lots of black squid pasta and octopus. We were happier with pasta and pizza. Our plan was to visit the bars at the Aman, Hotel Daneli or Cipriani for the ambiance since the restaurant menus didn't appeal to us. Most of those places charge a small fortune for one drink, plus a cover charge. It's worth it to get a feel for luxury hotels without the four figure a night price tag, but keep in mind some of them require reservations for even the bar. We ended up skipping them because we loved our quiet little patio at the hotel so much. 

Our first full day in Venice we got up early to see the Basilica, walk along the Grand Canal and tour the Doge Palace before lunch. 

Doge Palace

View from the Bridge of Sighs in the Doge Palace-Prisoners would walk along this bridge and sigh at their last view of Venice.

The Grand Canal

Bridge of Sighs from the Grand Canal

We had lunch and then took a little nap at the hotel. In the afternoon we walked to the Rialto Bridge, took a tour of a museum that was included with our Doge Palace ticket and stopped for gelato. 

Before dinner we hopped on a gondola ride. There are many areas you can get on a gondola ride, but we chose a smaller canal behind St. Mark's Square. We were all nervous about the choppy waters on the Grand Canal. It costs 90 euros for a 30 minute ride at sunset that we split between the four of us. Talk to your guide first to see if they offer commentary or singing. It's all the same price. I've heard some people say gondola rides aren't worth the cost, but I have to strongly disagree. We loved it!

Rialto Bridge

Our guide was quiet at first, but as we asked questions he began to give us a history of Venice the entire ride. 

We headed out to dinner after our gondola ride and then listened to an orchestra perform in St. Peter's Square before having our late night cocktail at the hotel's patio. It was a full day, but we took a couple of breaks at the hotel after lunch and before dinner. It's nice to have that option since we were so close to everything. If you are interested in touring other islands, such as Murano, you would definitely need another day or two. 

The next morning we were a little sad to leave such a beautiful place, but since we saw everything we wanted to see it was time to move on to Lake Como. 


This Week's Instagram Favorites

Jun 10, 2022

It's the weekend! We have plans to wake up early, and buy a few more magnolia trees for the backyard now that Houston Garden Center has their plants 50% off. The forecast is predicting 100 degree weather and no rain in sight. I'm halfway hoping they sold out of the trees so we can just hang out by the pool instead! 

Here are a few stories and LTK posts I shared this week.

I linked this dress a couple of weeks ago, and I was so excited it fit as expected. It's lined so feel free to order the solid white version too. I love that it's washable. I'll probably air dry mine because the petite version I bought might end up being too short if it shrinks. FYI, I'm 5'3 and a half. I paired it with my Amazon earrings that are a dupe for a much more expensive pair that are so popular right now. My husband isn't a fan of these because of the size, but I love them!



Southern Living is knocking it out of the park with these summer entertaining pieces. They are affordable too!



I almost didn't post this quick selfie because I had zero makeup on (thank you filters), but I'm so glad I did because this cotton dress probably got the most clicks ever. I have worn it every single week for many years every summer. It still looks brand new despite being washed and dried so many times. It works no matter what you're doing-dressed down with flip flops for the grocery store, a small heel for dinner out, lounging around the house. It's definitely my go to dress!



This is what caught my eye this week. I still haven't decided what I'm going to order!



Aren't these just the prettiest? I was shopping for a client on Pottery Barn and came across these items that I had to share. I love the scalloped details, and I've been looking for new outdoor chargers. I have a set of seagrass ones, but they are a bit ragged from so much use. I'm ready for a new version of them anyway!



Have a great weekend!

Instagram Fashion Roundup

May 20, 2022

Have you been following my fashion posts on Instagram or the LTK app? It's a bit different from my usual design and home decor, but I get excited about clothes shopping for a new season. I've done several fashion posts here, but these are outfits I only featured on Instagram or the LTK app until now. 

I wore this dress in France last summer. I'll be taking it with me on vacation this summer too. 

I just bought this dress a couple of weeks ago. It's the perfect day to evening dress. You can wear it to the grocery store and then out to dinner that night. 

I threw this outfit together for a country concert we attended a few weeks ago. I bought the white cowboy boots for the Houston rodeo in February and wasn't sure I would wear them again. I find any excuse to wear them now.

Summer uniform-cutoffs and a cotton tank top

One of my favorite outfits I've bought! This two piece set is so cute. I sized down in the shorts, and found that most reviewers agree it runs big. The top is true to size. The gladiator sandals are also popular this year, but not tied all the way up the leg like we saw several years ago.

I have more fashion coming soon!


My Birthday Weekend!

May 16, 2022

I have never been a fan of my birthday, but I'm trying hard to celebrate it this year. Someone said aging is a privilege. I'm trying to get on board with that by repeating it over and over in my head. So instead of ignoring my inevitable birthday, I put on a nice outfit and made it special. I can't say the mantra helped, but a great night out did make me feel better. My husband was out of town for my birthday this week so we saved the celebrations for the weekend. We had cake with the kids Friday night at home, spent the day by the pool on Saturday and then went out to dinner that evening.

We went to Guard and Grace in downtown Houston. The gnocchi was amazing! I've never had it before, but will make sure we order it when it's on the menu from now on. The restaurant itself was beautiful. Check out the chandelier in the lobby!

I was excited to have a reason to wear this two-piece outfit I posted about a few weeks ago. I knew it was special the minute I saw it on the website. It's still available, but sold out of many sizes. Hopefully, they restock it since it went so fast.

I already had the bag and shoes (my favorite), but needed a pair of earrings to go with it.

I had my eye on a pair of designer earrings that were a little too pricey for something so trendy, but ended up finding almost the exact pair for less than $14 on Amazon!

You can find more of my favorite finds by following me on the LTK app!