ONE little MOMMA: March 2017

Our Trip and Tips for Visiting Milan in February

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Well we're back. We have been back for a few weeks now and its even been long enough for me to start wondering if it was all a dream. :) It wasn't. But it really was such a dreamy trip. When we booked our flights for Italy it felt surreal, but boarding our plane is when it started to really set in. 

This is real. We really are going to Italy. Alone. No kids. 

And nothing could have prepared me for such a trip.

We flew out of Kansas City and our first flight was to Newark. We arrived there in the evening and switched planes to board our international flight. The first flight was just a few hours and we passed the time with the books and magazines that we had purchased. I dug into Joanna Gaines' book and things went great. I did have some flight anxiety every time we boarded a plane and took off. I don't exactly trust flying and with being away from the kids my nervousness was heightened. However of course, each flight went just fine. 

Since we had no kids around to feed we took every opportunity to eat and drink whatever we wanted. Fancy juice, candy, airport snacks, you name it.

Our international flight flew straight from Newark to Milan and it was one of those planes with eight seats across. Even though we flew economy, we felt pretty well treated. We each had our own screen and phone charging port and they brought us food and water pretty regularly. The flight was about 8 hours which I though would be so long, but it went surprisingly fast. I slept for some of it (with the aid of melatonin) and then we just watched movies the rest of the time. Since we never see movies literally every movie they offered was a new release to us. We watched a few of them together and then I caught some of the last Downton Abby season that I missed. It was so enjoyable. I really do not understand why my kids complain about sitting in the backseat on road trips. They watch movies and eat snacks the whole time- and it's the LIFE!

Flying over the Alps was so beautiful. Those mountains are amazing. We saw the Matterhorn and a few other mountains that Soren recognized. We landed at about 9:30 am Milan time, 2:30 am KC time. We were tired but everything was so new that I definitely couldn't have slept. After landing we collected our luggage and figured out the public transportation. Our hotel was in downtown Milan so we had about a 30 minute train ride from the airport to the hotel. However, as soon as we stepped outside I literally froze. It was so windy and cold and I was not dressed for those temps. My first priority became getting a hold of a scarf, socks and some more sweaters.

One of the best moments of our trip came as we exited the subway for the first time, into Milan's main square near the Duomo, Italy's biggest Cathedral. It was such an experience to walk up those steps, into the sunlight and see such an amazing building. We both audibly gasped. The entire square was so beautiful and pure Italy. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.

After we got ahold of ourselves we headed straight for Zara and H&M. There was a lot of shopping near the main square so we quickly found what I needed. And then we dragged ourselves and our suitcases to our Hotel. We stayed at Suite Milano, which ended up being more of an apartment rental. And it was nice! The owner was wonderful and the view, which you can see below was great.

We proceeded to pass out as soon as we had settled in. People say you shouldn't nap so that you can get over the jet lag as quickly as possible, but we couldn't help it. We shut the curtains and fell asleep for a few hours. It was the weirdest thing because we probably could have slept all night had we let ourselves.

Instead I dragged Soren out of bed and got dressed to go find some dinner. And it ended up being an amazing night. We explored Milan and just walked and walked and walked. There was so much to see and admire on every street.

Isn't the cathedral lit up so beautifully? We could not get over it's awesomeness. 

Socks were a funny thing in Milan. Everyone wore them. Except me. And I paid for it. I wore low socks with these boots but after a lot of walking they started to rub my ankles. We stopped at H&M again for me to buy tall socks and add extra padding to my boots. Thankfully it worked!

After wandering for a few hours we found a restaurant to eat at. It was just a small place on a back street and it ended up being great. We tried new things and enjoyed the Italian bread and real olive oil. The cannolis there were really good too!


We headed home after dinner, crashed in bed and woke up the next day ready to take on Milan. The main reason for our trip was to attend a three day long convention for work. It ran Tuesday- Thursday so when we woke up Tuesday morning we packed our bags for the day and made our plan to get to the convention. Most people who go to Italy don't visit Milan because it is more of a big city and less of a destination. Because we had a work trip we were "forced to be there" and I was not complaining. It was definitely an amazing place to visit and I'm thankful we had multiple days there to just get to know the city.

I bought this backpack for our trip and it ended up being the perfect thing. A backpack is a must on a trip like this and this one fit my style and function requirements. Everyday we left our hotel in the morning and didn't come back until evening so we each took a backpack with us daily.

This was basically our breakfast everyday. We never had time to sit down and eat anything more and honestly the croissants and the juice or hot chocolate were really yummy. 

This is a view of the square we walked through every morning to get to the Subway. It was always full of people, pigeons and men trying to sell you a single flower or a bracelet. The weather was really overcast for our entire trip and the temps were in the 50's. I was colder than I wanted to be for the entire trip, but it never rained so that was a blessing.

Most of the details about the work part of our trip are either boring or top secret. But I had to share my lunch from the concession stand at the convention. Can you imagine finding something so healthy at any concession stand in the states? I was shocked and delighted.

The flower stands in Milan were so pretty, even in February. I couldn't resist picking up a bouquet from this one.

I really wanted to take this little lemon tree home with me. How cute is he? I think customs would have taken issue with it though.

These shoes were my go-to's on this trip. They don't have arch support, but they were really comfortable and never rubbed. I purposefully didn't take any sneakers on this trip, except my Converse, but while we were there I was wishing I had. The walking really was a lot of work and Nikes would have been so helpful.

This is a close up view of one of the doors on the Duomo Cathedral. The details on this building were just unbelievable. You can see where people have touched Christ's leg so many times over the years that the finish has rubbed off. Each door had maybe 30-50 scenes like this all over them. It was just a wonder. We never took the tour inside, but you can and it's on my list for next time. Supposedly you can go to the top and the view is just amazing.

We didn't get gelato everyday, but we did get it several times. And it really was yummy! Every time we bought it we would each get two different scoops of something so that we could try four flavors in one shot. ;) I can't even remember all of the kinds we tried but there was a lemon one that was really good and a candy bar kind that was also amazing.

Date night on the second night. Earlier that day someone had recommended we go visit this high end department store in Milan called La Rinacente. We spend the evening browsing there and ate dinner on the top floor. It really was quite the store with sections for every famous Italian designer and there were so many beautiful things to look at. PS- I got a lot of looks for my sandals. NO ONE ever showed bare skin while we were there. I didn't see a single other person in sandals on our entire trip.

I came THIS close to buying this beautiful red jacket- multiple times. It was really expensive, but I love it so much. We found it at the incredible La Rinacente store I described above. Soren was the only one who ended up getting a souvenir here. We found him the perfect Italian leather jacket. He looks so good in it and it was the perfect reminder of our trip for him to buy.

Day 2 of our convention. We were running late so I asked for our breakfast to-go. And once again I stood out. NO ONE in the entire square or on the subway was carrying a to-go cup or a bag of food. It was so bizarre to me.

One of the biggest attractions in Milan is The Last Supper painting. We took a tour of the church where it is located. And it was so interesting! I learned that Soren and I are tour-kind-of-people. We both love learning and have so many questions when we are in a new place that we love hearing from the experts!


After we saw The Last Supper we headed across the street to Da Vinci's Garden tour. It was really cool because we learned about the aristocracy of Milan and some of the history. The tour was a headphone tour though so it wasn't quite as engaging. As you can see below, it was BEAUTIFUL though. I will never get over the buildings in Italy.

For dinner that night we grabbed pizza and gelato. Both were delicious, however we bought way too much pizza. We might have eaten like 30% of what you see. If you ever go, just order one. Two is silly.

This was probably my favorite outfit of the trip. I bought the sweater in Milan at Zara and layered it with my favorite black dress. I still was a weirdo for showing my legs (everyone else was covered from head to toe), but I loved the look.

This was our last day in Milan and we spend most of it at the convention. After the convention we went back to the hotel for our luggage and then caught a train to Parma for the rest of our trip. And I'll save the rest of the trip for another post. 
Below I've got quick tips for Milan that I may or may not have mentioned in my post above. If you ever visit- these will hopefully help!

  • Stay near the city center. Get a hotel near the Duomo and you'll have a million things within walking distance.
  • Visit La Rinacente to get a taste of all of the shopping in Milan. All of the big brands are there. Great department store.
  • There is a Zara almost everywhere you go. Inexpensive, but great style. If you forgot anything, this is the place to pick it up.
  • Wear shoes with socks. 
  • If you go in February everyone will be wearing fur of some kind, black, a big scarf, no exposed skin. Fur was literally everywhere. And I have no idea if it was fake or not. To me all fur is fake because that is all I buy.
  • Get gelato from Grom.
  • Use the subway to get to sites outside of walking distance.
  • The Last Supper- buy tickets early. You can take pics inside- only get 15 min in actual room with painting.
  • Da Vinci's garden is across the street. Not so much about Da Vinci but cool tour of very old home in Milan. Learn about history and past important people. 
  • Be prepared for lots of walking. Exploring was our favorite thing to do in Milan.
  • The people aren't very friendly unless they work in the tourism industry.
  • Most places had someone who spoke English. No Italian was needed.
  • Almost everywhere took credit cards. It wasn't hard to find an ATM either.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments or on Instagram. Just writing this post has made me miss our trip so much. It really was an amazing experience!

Easter Dress Tradition



This month is just flying by and it feels so strange be more than halfway through the month! Didn't we just get back from our trip? How has it been three weeks?! I am still drafting up posts about our trip. I'm trying to compile pictures and stories and tips about traveling to Milan, Parma and Venice which means the posts are time consuming to put together, but they are still coming! 

Meanwhile, Easter is right around the corner! If your childhood was anything like mine- one thing I always looked forward to about Easter was getting a new dress. Of course Christ and the resurrection and candy and the Easter bunny were in there too, but my grandma would always make or buy me a new dress for Christmas and for Easter. 

Even as an adult I can't shake that habit. I love looking for a new dress or skirt for Easter and finding matching ties or shirts or something for my boys. One of these days I might even get a girl to dress up with, but for now I can coordinate my little guys and still enjoy it quite a bit. This dress is a little too black for Easter, although I love it and it worked beautifully for our trip. (Plus its a LBD closet staple!) Recently I stumbled upon and shopped Jessa Kae's dresses.  I grabbed this one and this one. She has so many fun Easter-y dress options. I've also found quite a few pastel or cream colored options for you below. 

Do you do new clothes for Easter? Do you head to church in them? Do family pics in them? What traditions do you have?

Sailor Stripes and Spring Shopping


There are several constants in my closet, and one of those is definitely stripes. I wear stripes year-round, but for some reason spring seems to be a particularly "stripe-y" season. I have an entire section of my closet dedicated to stripes, and it's got striped tops in almost every colorred, mustard, olive, black, and more! And our Nickel & Suede striped tee is one I wear constantly!

When we were in Venice one of our to-do items was to take a gondola ride, and I was very pleased when I found that the gondoliers really do wear stripesand sing! They were already handsome guys, but the stripes really made them even more so! When I saw this striped lace-up top at Old Navy last month, it just spoke to me. Something about the red, the rope, and the stripes felt so nautical and spring-like that it immediately fell into my cart. I love pairing this shade of red-orange with olive during March and April as well as with camel, white, and blue.

I've had several of you ask about spring shopping suggestions, and this top (only $14 right now) and this jacket (under $50 option) are high on my list. I've also linked a few other things below that I'm loving right now. 

I hope you are having a great week! We're preparing to launch our N&S spring collection next Monday, so life is definitely busy, but it's also great and fun and exciting!