Travel with Riva | Italy

If you were to tell me that I was going to Italy the same year we went to Paris, I most likely won't believe you. 2017 has been so good to us. This is truly one of the best blessings we've ever received this year. The ability to see Europe. I already mentioned before, my top 3 places are Paris, Italy and Jerusalem. So thankful that I was able to celebrate my 30th in Italia!

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Italy is something else. It's a whole 'nother world. In my opinion, you can't compare Paris from Rome, Florence or Venice (I have yet to see this dreamy place!). They're in different calibers. They have their own distinctions and beauty that you just can't compare them both. But Italy is by far, my most favorite. I know it took me a long time to get to this blog. It's so hard to move on, haha. And so much happened that you just needed to attend to. You know, life right? But seriously, I'm thankful that it was that hard to get over this trip. It just means that it impacted me so much and it's forever embedded in my memory and my heart. Sounds cheesy, but ask someone who's gone to Italy, it's definitely one of their favorites.

This is going to be overwhelmingly loaded with photos. You can also watch the video that I posted 2 weeks after this trip! 

 

ROME

If you love history, appreciate the oldest ruins, architecture, and culture, you have to see Rome. This place is massive. I had to keep telling myself we were in this place. What you read in history books, movies, are right there in front of you. Crazy. What I love most is that these must places to see are super close to each other. You have to wear your most comfortable shoes. Whoever told you to wear your sandals, doesn't know what she's putting you into. We probably walked 10-15 miles a day in Italy. So if you don't mind dirt, blisters and calluses, then you do you. Also, I'm sure you've heard of this before, but their food there? No words. I'm forever ruined! Ha! The people too are so warm, friendly and very hospitable. We've encountered Italians who stopped what their doing just to help us. Not just gave us short answers, but even suggested routes and tips!

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We usually care less to touristy places but not Rome, you have to go see it. It's history at its finest. We did the 3 hour walk tour at the Colosseo, Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. It's definitely worth it. 

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FLORENCE

The heart of Tuscany, Florence is so much different from Rome. This is the birth of Renaissance. The colors of Florence are much more vibrant and very laid-back. Just like Rome, everything is within walking distance. They also sell a lot of leather goods here. If you see one, buy it. Please learn from me, I wanted to buy something leather in Florence but thought I had more time towards the tail of our trip but I ended up not taking anything with me cuz the stores close early. Ugh, I guess one good reason to go back! Also, I'm madly obsess with their narrow streets and alleyways! Kev and I prefer going to less commercialized areas, but get lost in their streets.  

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CINQUE TERRE

We used one of our days in Florence to go to Cinque Terre. This was a spontaneous trip that we don't regret. We had to buy our swim suits there, even our flip flops! If you happen to have an extra day to squeeze Cinque Terre, I highly recommend that you do so. If you have more time, you can also stop by the Tower of Pisa. Unfortunately our time was so short that we didn't get to. 

We went to 3 towns in Cinque. It's also recommended to buy the pass so you can hop in and out to all five cities. We went to Riomaggiore, Manarola and swam in Monterosso. There's also a trail where you can hike all the 5 towns, but sadly when we went it was closed. We didn't really want to hike anyway since our time was short, we just wanted to relax at the beach and enjoy the nice Italian beach. The water was crystal blue and moderately warm! It felt so nice to swim when the weather was so toasty! 

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VATICAN & TRASTEVERE

We spent our last full day in Italy in exploring Vatican and Trastevere. I'm sad just typing this, haha. Just uploading these photos and remembering this trip brought back all these awe feelings. Vatican as we all know is the smallest country just right next to Rome. I suggest getting the tickets ahead of time cuz you might wait an hour to get in. We didn't even get to Sistine Chapel cuz the line to St. Peter's Basilica took so long. 

Trastevere, just lil outside of Rome, right across Tiber, this quaint town is so picturesque. It's known for traditional and innovative trattorias, craft beer pubs and artisan shops. This town in spite being small is my favorite part of Rome. You see more locals than tourists, so you feel like you're getting a glimpse of their everyday life. If I could live in Italy, I'd probably live here. 

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I hope you enjoyed this long post! I didn't want to split it in parts. Cuz our experience in Italy was indescribable as a whole. I'd go back to these places in a heartbeat. And go to more towns like Venice and Milan.

Oh to dream of places! Keep dreaming, and anything is possible. 

Talk soon!

arrivederci

Style with Riva | What I Wore in London

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The past month has been crazy good. I turned 30 and went back to Europe. I posted yesterday our travel in London, and mentioned that I'm posting what I wore in London. 

Disclaimer: You won't see any heels or cute sandals here. If you want to see how I style my sneakers and still look good, then I'm your girl. 

Before I start, can I just say that I did bring a cute pair of Madewell sandals on this trip. Only worn them once for 20 minutes before I suffered and said forget it. Ideally for pictures, yes oh my goodness, it would be so nice to actually wear them but I'm not gonna fool you guys. When it comes to traveling, comfort is my priority and style is secondary. 

You already saw from previous post what I wore in the plane. Just a simple Uniqlo long sleeve top and a pair of joggers from Tobi and my Ultra Boosts. I also don't carry a camera bag, cuz it just screams, "I have a camera in here!" So I use my Fjallraven Kanken and I have camera inserts that you can get from Amazon. 

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On our second day, it got pretty warm so I wore this cute peach crop tank from Zara and this new pair of jeans that I bought from Primark for 13 euros. They're supposed to be mom jeans but yo, thunder thighs, so they look more like straight jeans. Ha! But I love it! 

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I wanted to take these outfit shots in Notting Hill, but you can't really have everything. I'm so glad we took our time in Brick Lane and found this cute street and it just paired with my outfit so well. I love these Ultra Boosts. I wore them 90% of our trip especially in Italy which I'll be blogging soon. I just wish they were white but the gray color blends well too. 

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I wanted to bring my Adidas Stan Smiths in this trip. They're not the most comfortable shoes but they definitely go better with any outfits than them Ultra Boosts. Just like I said, I wish my Ultra Boosts were white. Kev suggested to just buy a pair of white sneakers in Europe. Of course that's fine with me. Another reason for shopping! BUT if you tell that to an indecisive person who has a limited time to shop, oooh that's gonna be a challenge.

So my plan on the first day was to buy those white sneakers to wear for the entire trip but that didn't happen. Did I mention that I'm indecisive already? I freakin ABSOLUTELY regretted leaving my Stan Smiths. You know when I bought these white sneakers? Last day of our trip. Told myself, yeah, I'd buy them in Italy, nope didn't happen. So ladies, when you're traveling, if you see something nice, just buy it! My tendencies are to always look for the next store or the next block. The next thing you know, there's no more next! I actually didn't buy anything in Italy. Shocking right? Learn from me. 

So to console myself on our last day, I bought these pair of white Classic Reeboks. They're comfortable and go well with anything. Reeboks are everywhere in UK. Thought it would be a nice souvenir for me from London. 

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This is the other way I styled my red scarf. I used it to tie my big bun. And look, it matched with the telephone booths. I wore my polo shirt cropped top from Tobi with my favorite Madewell denims and Transport bag. 

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Travel with Riva | London

Dear 30-yr old Riva,

Age is just a number. Still keep dreaming and doing what you love.

Love, 30-yr old Riva

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Never did we imagine that we would go back to Europe again this year. I turned 30 about a month ago. This was truly the best birthday present ever. You should know by now that Kevin and I love Europe so much. The art, history, the richness of culture and the old architecture, those are what we look for when we travel. And Europe is that. 

London is a mix of old and new. We all see it in movies. You get that old classic sophistication with a nice touch of modernness to it. 

We were in London for three solid days. I say if you're going to another country apart from London, this is a good amount of time to see London unless you want to go to museums (cuz it's free!) then I suggest staying longer. 

We arrived in the morning of the 16th and basically knocked some of the touristy sights down along the Thames River. Our Airbnb was literally a block away from Shadwell station so taking the tube is the way to go for us. Plus, it's super easy! Get the Oyster Card, download the CityMapper app and you're good to go. It gets pretty crowded in the morning and afternoon but as if that'd stop us from taking public transportation. Ha!

 

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We were lucky we still heard the bell ringing cuz it's now silent for 3-4 years for renovation. 

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Straight from the airport, we just dropped off our luggages and went exploring. I thought I could have at least freshen up and change clothes, but no bueno but it's okay. We went to Big Ben, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Circus, Carnaby Road, and Tower London and Tower Bridge. To be honest with you, our first day in London was a blur for me. I remember drinking two espressos to stay awake that day. 

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Our second day includes Buckingham Palace, Green Park, Notting Hill, Bond Street, Brick Lane and Financial District. We also rode the double decker bus to Notting Hill which I highly recommend!

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Notting Hill is everything you'd expect on a beautiful quaint town is. The houses and the shops are too adorable. They have nice antique stores that are a must to go to. I even saw a vintage camera store that I regrettably didn't take a photo of. 

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On our last day, Kevin and I met up with his cousin, Angela, and her friend Je and explored more of this wonderful city. We went to Covent Garden, Somerset House, Saint James Park, Royal Mews and went back to Tower of London. 

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The phone booths are so iconic, I cannot not take a photo. They're everywhere too! And boy oh boy, look closely, and you see some unnecessary adverts. If you see it, good job, you actually read this! *I purposely left that untouched*

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Our Top 5 Memorable Experiences in London (That You Probably Should Also Try)

1. We saw a fox running in London Eye. I kid you not. We thought it was a dog but no, it was a fox. What I was gonna say is, be mindful of your surroundings. Crossing the street could be trippy if you don't look down to check where to look. LEFT is right. 

2. Fish n Chips, English Breakfast, and tea, y'all should try it. Believe the hype, it's good. Once is enough though haha. 

3. Shopping at Primark. Yo, they're not joking about this store. We went to the big one on Bond Street and it was crazy packed. They have a lot of good stuff that are really affordable. I highly recommend bringing your patience and endurance. LOL. I bought a pair of jeans for 13 euros. DUDE.

4. Of course, we tried copying their British accents. Just believe in yourself, go with it even if you suck. Can I have some wotah pleaase?

5. I already mentioned this but ride the double decker bus. If you're going to a place that has the option for you to ride the bus, go for it. Saves you money, you see the city, it has some nice views = win! Since we're talking about transportation, ride the Metro too. When Kevin and I travel, we like using their train system to get around the city. You see, learn and observe so many interesting and fascinating stuff when you're around locals. You can read their newspaper for FREE. Just take one and read it. 

If we're going back in London, I definitely would love to see Hyde Park, Harrods, The Shard, and have some tea time party. 

Can you tell based on Kev's last photo that we got hella dark? And he wore the same shirt too, ha!

Anyway, up next is what I wore in London. I'll keep you posted.

Have you been to London? What's your favorite part?

Talk soon!