seven question

June 30, 2012

funny photo:
Way back in the day playing at the park in the middle of the night.
1. If you could be any princess- which would you be and why?
The princess from the Disney movie Aladin, I always loved that movie. Plus she so pretty. I've always thought brunettes were prettier. 

2. Do you have any odd habits? (do things in order, words that you say too often, etc)
I get accused of saying "really" by kids all the time. If I don't know what else to say I just say "really?"

3. What's your "go to" outfit?

Skinny jeans, Toms, v-neck shirt, and a scarf. 
4. Do you have any siblings? What are their genders, ages, order of age, names, etc?
I have one sister Laura she's 21 and the baby. 

5. What's your favorite precious stone?

amethyst or sapphire

6. If you had a check in your hand for 1 million dollars, what would you do with it?

pay off cars and student loans, but a house & add every piece of furniture I have ever wanted in it, pay into a roth ira (is that how ya spell it?), and do the holy land tour and hit up ever country in Europe. 

7. What do you love most about yourself- physically (eyes, smile, hair, etc. I don't know a good way to word that question...)
I may be short, but legs. It doesn't take much of a workout to have a lot of muscle tone for me. There is a good chance I like them most because of the ease...nothing else on me works out that easy
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[guest post] Pretty Appliances: Don't Let Appliances be an Eyesore in Your Home

June 27, 2012

Here is another great guest post by Jessica Stark. I want to go out now and change my appliances...too bad they don't belong to me (dang apartment). 

Pretty Appliances: Don’t Let Appliances be an Eyesore in Your Home

When you think of your refrigerator, oven or washing machine, you might picture black or white rectangles that serve a basic purpose. However, new technology and modern designers have found a way to turn mundane household chores into treats. You can take advantage of this winning combination when you install colorful and luxurious appliances in your stylish home.
Kitchen Appliances
You probably spend hours in the kitchen every week. Instead of looking at boring white or stainless steel, choose colored appliances. An orange refrigerator, blue range or pink dishwasher adds a pop of color and retro style. For added luxury, modern refrigerators include door and temperature alarms, a digital readout and a sophisticated insulation system. In addition to keeping your food cold, the appliance adds style to your home décor.
Like your refrigerator, your range transforms your kitchen work area into an upscale gathering place where your friends will want to hang out. Available in sizes from 20-48 inches, you can choose a range that meets your space requirements. Certain models include four to six burners with griddle options, or you can choose induction cooking that speeds cooking time while the burners remain cool to the touch. With these available options, you can show off your professional chef skills while creating masterpieces on your attractive range.
Along with your range, don’t settle for a single oven that inhibits your ability to cook for a crowd. Install a double wall oven that includes space for traditional and convection cooking. The sleek styles that are available include a variety of settings and options like sensor cooking, easy glide racks, spacious cavities and a self-cleaning feature. These options enhance your kitchen experience and add style and luxury to your cooking chores.
While large appliances add prettiness to your kitchen, smaller appliances also add value to your favorite room. Purchase a toaster in one of 14 colors, and you’ll want to leave this eye-catching appliance on the countertop every day. With your morning toast, drink an amazing cup of coffee from your luxury espresso machine. Replace your outdated and boring coffeemaker with a machine that uses your fingerprints to create a personalized brew. Certain models use a simple touch screen code, and indicate when the water levels are low or clean themselves. With attractive designs and luxurious capabilities, these small appliances work alongside your larger appliances to make a big impact in your luxury kitchen.
Laundry Appliances
Laundry duty quickly grows boring. Spice up your laundry room with a colorful washing machine. Available in red as well as other colors, luxury washing machines include a reversible door, steam wash cycles and sanitizing capabilities. They can even send text alerts when your laundry is finished. Instead of hiding your laundry room, proudly display the machine that keeps your clothes clean and your laundry room stylish.
Cleaning Appliances
Your luxury home needs to stay clean, but you’re tired of struggling with the bulky vacuum that outweighs you. Now, robotic vacuums work with little input from you. Rechargeable, these compact machines sense the size of the room and automatically remove dirt. You can direct it with a remote control to sweep certain portions of your floor or allow it to find its own way. They navigate obstacles, detect stairs and sweep up dirt without the need for ugly and bulky vacuums.
These colorful and luxurious appliances accommodate your style and improve your life. You’ll be impressed with the ease of use, but the eye-catching designs and bright colors will be the traits that ultimately entice you to add these attractive appliances to your home.

Jessica was utterly done with dysfunctional appliances when she laid her eyes upon a front-loading turquoise washer. When she isn’t renovating her home, she is blogging on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands.
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the difference 5 minutes can make

June 25, 2012

You'd be surprised at what can happen in five minutes. Especially with fire in this south LA heat. But let me digress, I'll get back to the end of this later. 

So as usual on a Sunday afternoon we went to the church to workout, and made a pit stop at the BCM to pick up some music equipment. We were gone a total of an hour and a half tops. I was planning on leaving for Vidalia that night so I was pushing Jeremy to hurry up so I could come home and pack, because let's face it I do not like to drive through Baton Rouge in the dark. When we got home some guy had parked his huge truck behind my car, which immediately made me go on an on to Jeremy about how I had 10 minutes to hit the road and he had to move. Ha! Was I ever wrong.

Our neighbor's brother immediately runs to our can in a total panic saying how he needs in our attic and can barely spit out why, he just wanted our dogs our and in the attic. Something about a fire. And that right there is where the 2 hour delay of fun began. 

I walked into our house to fetch the dogs and was immediately hit with an overwhelming smoke smell. But I couldn't see anything so I assumed it was all out. We took the dogs out and our neighbor went for the attic. 
The was the scene in the backyard before the fire department arrived. Funny thing is I text this pic to one of our good friends and before I had the chance to explain what happened Gerard called and said he was coming over. Nothing makes a sucky situation light hearted like having friends around that you can joke with. 
I initially thought nothing was that bad because the firemen went in wearing nothing, however they immediately came out and put on full gear with oxygen tanks. That is about where I mentally lost it. My biggest irrational fear as a child was a fireman waking me up and being carried out of a smoke filled house. 
Apparently the whole thing got started because the guys next door had a fire going in their fire pit and they thought it was out, but some ash hit cardboard & a couch and went wild. It torched the couch and immediately spread into our attics. Luckily attic damage was restricted to the back of the house and all my antique and irreplaceable items are in the front. I would have died had something I couldn't replace had been lost. Died! 
I really couldn't say enough nice things about our pastor & his family, but to add to just had genuine and kind they are I had posted this on Twitter and within minutes our pastor had called Jeremy and his wife text me that we could stay with them. Most people would probably say sorry, but in a sucks to be you sort of way. But no we have honest to goodness good people as friends. I was very overwhelmed at the thought that people cared about us. We are really blessed with a great church family that cares about people and wants to live out the gospel and spread the word among nations. Of course I knew all this before a couch caught my attic on fire, but doesn't hurt to reiterate it myself. 
When we were talking to the fire chief after it was all said and done he told us that 5 more minutes and we would have been burned to the ground. Attic fires apparently eat your house up quick. 5 more minutes and I would have lost my furbabies, my antique Lincoln rocker that I cherish because my Nanny finished re-upholstering it hours before she died, wedding pictures, and a table that my parents had made for us when we were married. The dogs were in the back of the house, had the fire been in the front I would not have been able to get in and get them out. It just blows my mind. We got home just at the right time, the fire was put out just at the right time. 
God seriously protected us and my sanity. 
However with the sanity I did walk away with I am not sure what I packed, I know I grabbed a swimsuit and my wedding albums, and a few hair products. I have a sports bra and some shorts...but we will check and see just how much I am living out of my sister's closet for the rest of the week. Let's just be glad I was calmed down mentally enough to not take picture off the wall and strap a couple hundred pound table to the top of my car. 
Coping mechanisms for me apparently include but are not limited to eating string cheese and beef jerky I got at a gas station while blaring Hillsong all the way home. I did get home to find a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and we won't talk about the fact that I had four while I watched Dilbert on my iPad. I think I deserve the late night carb load after that though haha. 
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[guest post]Things to make your wedding more elegant

June 22, 2012

guest post by Abby Bramski

A little creativity and imagination can help you stay within your budget and help you achieve the elegant wedding of your dreams. The first step is to find elegant wedding invitations at an affordable price. While you’re researching invitations, check sale sections and styles that may be discontinued from the previous year. When choosing your invitations, keep the time of your wedding in mind. Select simple but elegant wedding invitations with a fancy font for an afternoon wedding. Sometimes less is more, especially for an elegant day wedding. If you are having an evening wedding, then a more embellished invitation may be an option. Invitations in cream with gold or rich colored accents like deep purple or burgundy would be great color choices for your wedding invitations.

Selecting wedding invitations that match your wedding colors is a subtle way to add elegance and class to your wedding. If you have chosen wedding invitations in a simple style, then you can embellish them to match your wedding centerpieces and décor. When choosing the satin ribbon for your arrangements and decorations, purchase extra yards or rolls that can be later used to decorate your invitations. Wrap a piece of your leftover satin ribbon around the center of each invitation, tying ends together into a bow. Adding this ribbon detail to your elegant wedding invitations will give them a regal look.

Wedding centerpieces with candles are the perfect décor choice for an elegant wedding. You could also wrap a string of battery operated lights throughout your centerpieces to give a romantic feel and look to the place where you will be having your wedding reception. If you want to add a charming one-of-a-kind detail to each centerpiece, frame a few of your elegant wedding invitations to later be placed in the center of each centerpiece. You can also place the framed invitations at the center of your tables or throughout areas of your wedding reception. Another way to add a little elegance is to wrap tulle around the entryways of your reception area. Attach a large satin bow at the top and sides of your tulle piece. Place bunches of baby's breath throughout your tulle piece using florist wire. Wrap a white string of clear lights around the piece of tulle for added romance. This is an elegant budget-friendly look that will impress your guests as they enter the reception area.

Take some wallet sized photos of the both of you and glue them to the front of your elegant wedding invitations. Fill decorative cellophane bags with pretty wrapped candies. Attach a bag of candies to each one of the leftover elegant wedding invitations with a piece of satin ribbon. These decorated invitations can be your favors for the wedding tables. For added romance, sprinkle rose petals around each wedding invitation and centerpiece. Contact your local florist to inquire if they have fading roses. You can purchase the older flowers for next to nothing. This will help to keep you on budget without sacrificing the elegance of your wedding. Using your invitations for a multitude of purposes is a great way to stay on budget, while serving as a unique and lovely way to decorate your elegant wedding.

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seven questions

June 20, 2012

Funny Pic: in Rome, Italy getting gelato the last night. The tiramisu was to die for!

1. What do you do when you're sick? (Do you act like a baby? Tough it out? Have any weird cravings? Cry?)
I do a cross between act like a baby and tough it out. I act like I am dying at home but still go to work and get things done that have to be done. I have to be on my death bed to miss work for feeling sick.

2. What do you do to find motivation when you feel you've lost it?
Either wait for it to come back or find something to spark my interest again. With cooking I am always trying new recipes to keep things fun for me. With working out I tend to drag my butt massively, I wouldn't do it if I didn't have people holding me accountable. I don't know what happened though because I was a gym rat when I met Jeremy. Now for scripture memory I have been putting post it notes on the mirror so I see them...Jeremy picks on me for how long I take getting ready(even for bed). 

3. Do you wish time away or do you savor every moment?
It depends on what is going on. When traveling I tend to savor the moment easily. With life as it is now I am constantly wishing it away and for good reason. Jeremy has about a year left of school and a year of interning after that, I rarely see him these days and feel like the time I could spend with him is constantly hi-jacked by other yes I am wishing this time away like crazy. Sadly my ability to communicate sucks and instead of saying let's spend time alone comes out more like "I hate __________." Which most recently is eating out. We don't go on dates alone hardly ever...but group events seem to be abundant. I am so ready for this time of life to escape me. 

4. If you could be any mythological creature, what would you be, and why?
For some reason I can only think of Medusa and the Sirens right now. I am in a bit of a bitter hateful mood so let's go with Medusa. 

5. What is your current biggest weakness and are you working on fixing it?
I'm a huge chicken. My fear of insane dogs(the neighbors psycho pit-bull) and lizards is just crazy. If a lizard or frog gets in my house its game over. Lord help me if a snake ever comes inside, I'll move out. I did good today though, I saw a dead frog and 2 dead lizards and did not freak out. 

6. How do you greet someone when meeting them for the first time?
I usually just say "Hey, I'm Emily." and shake hands. I'm not much for hugging or that awkward fist bump mess.

7. How do you grocery shop? (Do you write up a list? Go in with no idea what you're looking for? Havemeal plans? Bring your own shopping bags?)
I'm a bit obsessive with lists. If I think of it ahead of time I will start working on my list for a full week. Otherwise I make it Sunday before shopping. But I have to have a list or I forget things,and even with one I still forget stuff.

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Donut Bread Pudding with Chocolate Glaze

June 18, 2012

I absolutely adore bread pudding. My grandmother made the best one I have honestly ever eaten, only problem was that she didn't have a recipe. I find that to be a problem I have too, all the things I really enjoy eating I have no recipe for. Therefore, if I don't make it for a long time I sort of forget what goes in it. Once Nanny made Paula Dee's Donut Bread Pudding...but the only problem was the fact that it had so much stuff in it. Paula calls for raisins and fruit cocktail in hers. I can seriously live without those, so I did. 

Yesterday while I was working out Jeremy decided to do some wandering in the Sunday School rooms and came across a few uneaten and left behind boxes of donuts. Such a shame really that those lovely things were gone to waste...I can't exactly say I ate them during SS. I do my best to avoid the little rings of fat like the plague. But Jeremy was insistent about them coming home with us. I couldn't just have them laying around so I decided to whip up a bread pudding. Granted I had 9 glazed and 3 chocolate, so I had to have a chocolate glaze to compensate for the tiny amount of actual chocolate in the pudding. This is definitely an add this, add that, stir it around and try again type of recipe. It's about what works for you and your taste. This would also be great with any combination of donut flavors and taking the coco powder out of the sauce entirely and adding something different. I'm all about experimenting. 

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Chocolate Glaze
Ingridents(for the bread pudding):
1 dozen stale donuts
7oz sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1/2 milk (I used almond)
1/2 & 1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Combine condensed milk, eggs, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Tear apart donuts and add them to the mixture. Add milk until you get custard like cosistancy, not overly thick and not too thin. The donuts will soak up the liquid. 

Pour donut mixture into a greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350* for 40 minutes to an hour. My oven runs hot so it only took 40 for it to brown well. 

Chocolate Glaze:
1/4c butter
splash of milk 
1 cup of powdered sugar
1tbsp (heaping) of coco powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Add butter, coco powder, and milk to a nonstick sauce pan and whisk until butter is melted. Gradually add in powdered sugar until you get a consistency you like, sometime I like it thicker so I add more. At the end add your vanilla, otherwise it is likely to evaporate with the heat. Pour over your bread pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven and eat!
**adapted from Paula Deen's Donut Bread Pudding Recipe. 

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FITBF - Downton Abby Style

June 15, 2012

I would invite...

All my friends...especially the ones I rarely see these days.

The theme would be...

Considering my obsession with Downton Abby it would be Downton Abby. You could either dress up as a character or in your best turn of the 20th century British best. But I would really like it to be a garden party or high tea. English dinners are not my favorite thing, I faked sick many a night when I was in England. Lunch and tea tend to contain much better tasting foods. 

I would host it...

At the closest thing to Highclere Castle in the south...any respectable Plantation home. But since I adore the house we were married at let's go with Twin Oaks. It's beautiful and filled with antiques inside. Then again you could host outside as a garden party and seriously make it look 1900's. But if at all possible it would so be held at Highclere Castle:

We would eat...

Scones, trifle, mini quiche, sausage plait, roast beef & horseradish sarnies, salmon and cucumber sarnies, petite fours, victoria sponge cake, Scotch eggs, Pea and Mint Soup, Coronation Chicken Salad, Jelly & Custard...and the British list goes on and on.

It would look like...
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home sick induced by cabin fever

June 14, 2012

It's days like this that I really miss Monroe.

It's storming, the satellite is out, and the dogs are so under foot I've given in to just sitting on the couch so they can sit on me. So far I've swept, mopped, and ran the dishwasher. There is a huge laundry pile with mostly my name in it, and I am almost positive I'd rather never eat again than hang a single pair of pants. Laundry is the death of me. While I'm here, trapped in cabin fever I can do nothing more but think about what I'd do back in Monroe.

For one I could go up to ULM and swim or walk the track...along with the Precor eliptical. My dream at home machine. Love some Precor.

The mall and the tons of shops around it were always great to browse in my infinite boredom.

Lest we not forget Paul Michael, the best home interior store on planet earth. Oh why don't you exist here?

Dirt Cheap was another treasure trove of cheap wanderings. I could walk out with an arm load for $10.

I'd really love to go buy that blue door in Antique Ally that Jeremy never gave into.

The difference between there and here is no where near the shopping. Houma has a little, but I'd rather fold laundry than drive on MLK. Worst traffic ever, and for all corporate shopping. I honestly don't know where the fun little antique junk store are here. I don't really know where much is, but what I do see usually cost much more than I care to spend.

I need another 7 dollar door in my life to repurpose. Or a random girlfriend to window shop with.

But right now I am just feeling a little home sick, and something I never thought I'd feel...Monroe sick.
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[guest post] Saving Up for Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

Saving Up for Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

When it comes to special events, few are as fun, exciting or expensive as weddings. If you're currently planning your big day, you may be quickly finding out that even the smallest expenses start adding up quickly, and this can make it seem as though you'll never get the money together for your dream wedding. Fortunately, by following a few simple tips, you can save up for your wedding quicker than you thought and still have money left over. Having browsed We Know Money for ideas, here are a few of the most effective ways to get the cash saved for your special day without having to take on a second job or an expensive loan:

 Create a Plan
The first step in saving for your wedding is to make a savings plan. This means writing out a budget for all of your wedding expenses and then figuring out how much your will need to save each day, week or month in order to achieve your goals. An easy way to do this is to set benchmarks that must be met by a certain date and then marking them off as you go. Keep your plan in plain sight on a refrigerator, counter space or beside your bed so that you can't avoid looking at it daily. Having a set wedding date is also a good idea, as this can create a sense of urgency and force you to start saving now.

Make It a Family Affair
In the past, many people followed the tradition of having the bride's family pay for the wedding while the groom's family paid for the honeymoon. These days, unless your families can afford these things, you may want to go a more modern route by getting everyone involved in paying for your wedding expenses. This means both the bride and groom can enlist the help of family members to contribute to a savings fund, and the bride and groom themselves can contribute. You can also ask family members who are planning on offering a cash gift for your wedding to put that money toward your wedding savings instead.

Be Disciplined
As with any type of saving, it takes discipline to pull it off. If you're one of the many people who have trouble forcing yourself to save, you may want to speak with your bank about setting up a separate savings account for your wedding. After this is set up, your bank can then take a portion of your paycheck each time you get paid and the money can be placed in your wedding savings account. Another way of doing this is to enlist the help of a trusted family member. Make an agreement with this family member that allows you to give them a portion of your income in cash each time you get paid, and they will then hold the money for you until you need it for your wedding purchases.

Don't Limit Yourself
Another great way to increase your wedding savings is to put in extra money, even if it's not in your plan. As mentioned, your wedding savings plan should document a specific dollar amount that you will need to save each day, week or month, but this doesn't mean that you can't put in extra if you run into unexpected money. Things like bonuses from work, tax refunds or unexpected gifts should go directly into your wedding savings plan. The best part about doing this is that you can have extra money for your wedding, but you can also choose to hold onto the extra money and begin a new savings account with your spouse after you're married.

It's also important to remember that your wedding is ultimately about the special union between you and your spouse. If you aren't able to get every penny together for your wedding, remember that no matter what, the event will be one that you and your spouse will cherish forever. In fact, you'll probably be so caught up in the magic of the occasion that you won't even be thinking about what you do and do not have. Enjoy your special day and create a lifetime of happy, loving memories!

GenTM is a freelance writer and a blogger. One of her greatest dream is to become a wedding planner but found herself following her mom's footsteps and became an entrepreneur. Her personal blog is called 365 Slimming Days, where she writes about her love of beauty, fitness, and health. 
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Meal Pinning Monday & my Green Monster Recipe

June 11, 2012

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 

Skinniest Pasta Ever

Cottage Pie 

Baked Brown Sugar Chicken Wings with Red Pepper Cream Sauce (I think I am going to grill them and lighten up the sauce some with greek yogurt)

Skinny Taste Turkey Cuban Sandwich (whole wheat and less cheese)

Kale Chips

Green Monster Smoothie 

Green Monster:
1 cup Kale or Spinach (stems removed from kale)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1 sliced frozen banana (slice before freezing)
1/2 fresh pineapple
dash of vanilla or coconut extract 

Blend all ingredients until greens are broken down completely. You can add a little more almond milk or water if you like it less thick. 

WW Plus Point Value: 3

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Italy Day 7: The Vatican [part one]

June 9, 2012

I initially thought, "Oh, I'll just make the Vatican one post", and then I saw how many pictures there were. We are just taking this from entrance to the Circular Hall peeps...I'm even in photo overload looking at it. 

So let's start.
 Entrance to the Vatican. I thought we'd enter through the area by St. Peter's that I've seen on TV, but instead we hopped off the subway, walked uphill past a lot of olive trees to this lovely place.
 I love the details. Everything in Rome had such great detail. I had to keep reminding myself this was hand carved and it wasn't poured concrete like in the States. Lazy lazy States.
 I thought it was a pinecone, it was in fact a pineapple.
 Now this may seem a little vulgar, but it is history...and interesting. One of the Popes, I forget who, really didn't like all of the statues with men parts hanging he had them all cut off. They were placed in a box and burried in this courtyard. Years later someone dug up the box of weenies. Now, this story only led to a bunch of goofy people acting goofier. When Christine, our guide for the week, told us this we all kinda simultaneously started singing that Justin Timberlake SNL song "______ in a box". Being that she was Italian and hadn't seen it we then had to go into detail about what the song was picking on. Priceless.

 Don't be fooled by the picture, this head was giant.
 Finally entering into the Vatican. When you enter you wander through tons of rooms filled with art. I didn't expect that at all, I was really just imagining the overly popular well known areas of the place. The art here spans from Roman pagan times to present. We only focused on ancient and art from the Renaissance. Because seriously who wants to look at modern art when you are in the midst of all this.
 Apoxyomenos - athlete scraping himself. 1st cent. A.D. roman copy of bronze original by Lisippus.

 Some of our group talking to Christine in the courtyard. I loved talking to our guide, she had a degree in archeology. So smart and interesting. I just love picking the brain of people like that.

 I wanted to eat one of the clementines so bad but with all the guards I didn't want to get in trouble. We were told one wrong move and your out. Pope don't play.
 I think this was supposed to represent Caesar or Rome, not 100% sure.
 Is that face to the left not creepy!

 The tiles were absolutely amazing, the border looked almost 3D.
Every square inch of this place was amazing. I could have laid on the floor and just stared at the ceiling for days. 
We'll end today on the Belvedere Torso. This statue us just absolutely stunning. Christine said Michelangelo thought the Belvedere was the prefect male torso. If you look at most men he painted they have this torso, especially God and Jesus in the painting of the Sistine Chapel. 

Next post, and I promise I will finish Italy this week, will start at the Circular Room. 

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