Honeymooning in Northern Michigan

Spending our honeymoon in northern Michigan this past summer was such a great decision that it became almost hard for us to leave when we had to head back home to the Big Apple. Not only is it always a joy for us to be able to swim in a lake that’s like the ocean (unsalted), but this particular area of Michigan holds so many of our cherished memories as Scott’s family has owned a cottage up there for over thirty years!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetBecause it had already been 6 years since our last trip to the cottage, we made sure to soak up every second of our time back up North. I’ll be real and tell you that we spent the majority of it either at the lake or a local brewery, but then again, what are vacations for if they don’t also involve some form of leisure activity for an extended period of time? ;) To give you an idea of what our week was like, here are some of my favorite memories from our time up North:Processed with VSCO with m6 preset

Petoskey Stone

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Scott wandering around some sand dunes in Petoskey State Park

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Private beach by the Cottage


Locals enjoying the last bit of summer from Petoskey Pierhead Lighthouse

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Views of Walloon Lake from lunch at Barrel Back

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Michigan Beach Park in Charlevoix

Sunset view from Bay Shore Michigan

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetTo sum it all up, our honeymoon was nothing short of amazing and we are already waiting for the next opportunity we get to head back. Also, just a quick shout out to my mother-in-law for creating this sweet surprise (pictured above); she even included some goodies for our dog, Baxley!




Capri on a Budget

Capri I love you - OSS

Capri, the island once home to Emperor Caesar Augustus’ summer home now inhabited by socialites in villas. It really is a special place with colors so vibrant it almost doesn’t seem real.

We visited Capri in early March, before the summer rush of tourists coming to get a glimpse of the famous Faraglioni peaks. Visiting Capri before the hoards of tourists means no lines to get onto the chairlift up to Mount Solaro and plenty of time to shoot the Mediterranean breeze with the locals.Read More »

Allora, Andiamo

I am so excited to share this with you guys! My husband, Anthony, and I are starting a new vlog series about the different adventures we take and things we learn while we are living abroad. We’ve decided to call it “Allora, Andiamo” which is Italian for “then, we go”. Although we have only been abroad for a few weeks we have heard this phrase about a thousand times and thought it was fitting for our new vlog series.
The first video we have posted is our trip west to Wyoming and the Badlands. We took this trip soon after we minimized our belongings and packed up the rest to store at my Mom’s house in Wyoming while we got ready to move to Italy. Our trip was two weeks long and we saw some amazing things. I must admit that the Badlands is one of my favorite places in the world, it is eerily quiet and the vast views are so awe inspiring. It was great to see some of my family and have some downtime before our big move. We are so excited to be starting this new vlog series so we can look back on our travels for years to come (not to mention share them with all of you)! Hopefully you enjoy watching our first allora, andiamo video as much as we enjoyed making it!

How crazy is it that both Jamie and I both moved in the same month?! Our Sweet Somewhere is really taking on a new meaning this year, that’s for sure.


I’ve Moved to New York City!

Hello all! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to actually sit down and write a post on here, but there is good reason for this! A couple of months ago, my fiancé Scott got word that he would have the opportunity to receive a job promotion within his company, but this promotion would also require him to transfer to their Manhattan office. Well, long story short, the offer went through and we have officially been living here (Brooklyn to be exact) for almost two weeks now!

I've Moved to NYC

I can honestly say that we never even imagined living in this part of the country before, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. I’ve been able to explore some more of the city throughout this past week with my littlest brother who has been visiting us since we moved, and have found that I am loving this area more than I anticipated! My camera roll already has at least 500 more pictures on it.

Please know though that moving here wasn’t an absolute breeze. There were some ups and downs that we experienced before settling in to our Brooklyn apartment, and a large hunk of it was trying to downsize all of our things within our previous two bedroom apartment to a smaller one bedroom on short notice. Thankfully, Kate was able to give us some great advice and quick tips that she learned from downsizing her entire home before moving with her husband to Italy!

Another part to our move that proved to be quite stressful was the search to find our apartment while living in another state. We quickly learned how fast the market comes and goes out here and at one point, almost made the decision for me to stay in Virginia with my family while Scott would rent through AirBnB until we could find something! Thankfully this wasn’t the case, but I have gathered quite a bit of useful information for those who also plan on moving to NYC from another state and will be sharing more details on this in another blog post soon!

@jmeelin in NYC

Until then, here is a quick round up (pictured above) of my most recent Instagram posts featuring some of the places and things I have experienced so far while living in this amazing city!



Moving Abroad Requires So Much Paperwork


I apologize now for the potential boringness of this post. The thing that movies such as Under the Tuscan Sun and books like Eat, Pray, Love tend to either skim over or completely avoid speaking about is the massive amount of time and energy it takes to actually move abroad. However, acquiring visas, insurance, passports, and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff is necessary to making the dream of moving abroad become a reality. So, if anyone out there is reading this and needs some assistance in being pointed in the right direction (or at least a little camaraderie in commiserating in the dull and repetitiveness of it all) then this post is for you. For the rest of you, you have officially been warned!

Wow. Moving to a new country means serious paperwork. I mean, yeah, I get why in theory: we are showing up to Italy’s doorstep for a couple of years and they want to just verify that we are there with good intentions and not like the random uninvited guests at the party who inevitably get too drunk and crash on your couch. I get it. But still, the mounds of paperwork is one of the craziest goose chases I have ever been on!

the boring paperwork and the nitty-gritty of moving abroad

So we spent almost a month preparing for our visit to the Italian Consulate. I plan on moving with a student visa while the hubs (pictured above with Papa Gino) who plans on getting dual citizenship (crossing fingers and toes) in order to make it is easier for him to find work while we are there. For those wondering, this is what I needed for my student visa:

+ Application filled out, but not signed so it can be signed in front of the consulate representative
+ Admissions letter (in Italian) to the school you will be attending
+ Proof of residency (if you are renting through the school, the school’s address will work just fine)
+ Proof of Italian insurance (I bought mine online before the appointment)
+ Your passport (you must give this to them until they mail back your visa)
+ A pre-addressed and paid-for envelope from the USPS
+ Proof of financial needs (AKA: a bank statement or investment account that has been notarized)
+ A letter from your current employer or transcripts from your school which you previously graduated from
+ A copy of your flight reservation

Really, it wasn’t too terrible for me. I had everything ready except for my transcripts, which I didn’t realize I needed until I got to my appointment. Luckily, I had a copy saved in my email and was able to forward it to them immediately. Another thing that I didn’t realize is how student visas to Italy are not issued more than three months before the start date that is stated on your acceptance letter. The Italian Consulate said that they would hold on to all of my information and send it out on that specific date since I was about two weeks early (story of my life..always the early-awkward one to the party)!

As for the dual citizenship, here is what my husband Anthony needed:

+ Application
+ Marriage Certificate, apostille, and translation
+ Spouse’s Birth Certificate, apostille, and translation
+ Original US passport and copies
+ Drivers license and copies
+ Certificate of Birth, apostle, and translation**

Getting these documents were much more difficult because we had to wait in several lines downtown for the Birth Certificates, Certificates of Birth, and Marriage Certificates. Then we had to wait in another line for the aposilles. On top of all of that, we had to find a Consulate-approved-translator to translate all of those documents. In the end, it turned out to be a very timely and costly experience, but worth it completely, yet expensive none-the-less. Also, Italy has a “blood right” citizenship law. Anthony’s grandfather was a citizen when his father was born, so both Papa Gino and Anthony are now getting citizenship since the law requires that you have direct linage to an Italian Citizen in order to qualify.

We head on back this week to complete paperwork for the passport. If anyone has any questions about any of this, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer in my very limited experience! I know there is not a lot of information on this process, so I feel that we must band together as future expats to make this happen.

Okay, enough of this boring paperwork talk. Sorry if you had to stop and take a nap half way through! To inspire/wake you up, here’s a lovely blog post I read telling you why the infamous “yeah, but…” responses to you stating you are moving abroad could kill your dreams. Let us know what you think.

**Does anyone else know that there is a difference between a Certificate of Birth and a Birth Certificate?! We sure didn’t. Not all state office of vital statistics issue a Certificate of Birth unless you specifically ask for it. Just another little heads up to add on to your planning process of moving abroad. ;)

Until next time, ciao!