Apr 8

Happy Weekend

Any fun plans for the weekend? We are mostly getting things in order. Doing taxes (I know we procrastinated but it is a billion times harder to do taxes when you are a freelancer.) I’m also packing my bags for a solo trip to San Francisco next week. We planned a trip so I could bring back the paintings for The Commission Project and to teach my letterpress classes. I’m excited to see my friends and eat all that good San Francisco food!

We are also trying to line up some trips this summer. In August we want to rent out a house in Italy for a month. Does anyone know of a place off the beaten path? We want it to be not very touristy, extremely charming and near the beach (also not crazy expensive.) I’ve never been to Italy so not sure where to start since Google usually gives you the most popular (ie: touristy places.) Any suggestions?

I also write for Babble.com. Here are my links this week.

Did you hear? My favorite person is pregnant.
Crazy huge Kate Spade sale. That perfectly aligns with my trip to the states. It’s FATE!
Bought these new dishes last month and they are so great.
Considering these super cute (and cheap) crib sheets for the nursery.
We bought a new stroller, (with stripes!)
We’re buying this book of maps to use as prints for the boys’ room. Very affordable art!


  • Colleen says:

    When I was living in Italy we spent a summer in Lido Di Camaiore, it's on the western coast, between Geneva and Rome. It's filled with locals, on the beach with cute trails that connect all the towns. We rented bikes and rode everywhere. It was a dream summer…I highly recommended that spot! Enjoy!

  • The Buckley Girl says:

    Why not consider a home swap? It will be free rent, and someone in Itally can enjoy your beautiful Paris apartment. I have found tons of things on Craigslist, I'm planning a swap to Barcelona for my San Francisco place this summer. I'm not sure where to begin looking in Europe, with the lack of Craigslist, but I will begin researching and send you over anything I find! Thank you for your constantly beautiful and inspiring work. You make my days brighter.

  • jordan says:

    We are already renting our place out for that month so a home swap wouldn't be possible. Though we are doing a bunch of mini swaps all over Europe this year.

  • katie says:

    Look here:


    Scroll down and read their Italy travels… sounds divine!

  • Erica says:

    I'd love to recommend Levanto. It's right outside of Cinque Terre. It has a lovely beach and public pool and a wonderful old fashioned charm. There's a great market and small shops and restaurants. It's a very welcoming place. It would be great for kids!

  • kim huish says:

    Cinque Terre! It is absolutely beautiful and consists of five villages that you can hike between or take a ferry. I went there with my friends a few years ago (it wasn't touristy then but I'm not sure how it is now) and I have been dying to go back. It is on the West coast by Nice, France.

  • Di says:

    My friends stay in Fermo in the Marche region of Italy – it's a little in land from the coast – about 4 miles so probably cheaper to rent accommodation there – but also you can get to the beach if you have a car or perhaps by bus. Marche is on the east coast and a beautiful region – the beach is at Porto san GIorgio. He's Italian, she's is American, married to an Italian with a 6 year old girl, a 4 year old girl and a 5 month old boy.

    But if you want somewhere in Marche or anywhere go a little inland and it might be cheaper.

    No plans for the weekend – get ready for my trip to Paris and Lille next week!!

  • Shauna says:

    Levanto is the "sixth" cinque terre. It is beautiful and is the kind of place where people hang out of their shops and talk to people on the other side of the street. It has access to the train the runs through the 5 others towns and a beach. It is heavenly!

  • Tyler says:

    The Cinque Terre! Absolutely beautiful piece of Earth, we spent 6 days there in October and couldn't get enough. Fresh pestos, wines, tomatoes, olives… hiking in between villages, peace and quiet. We stayed in Corniglia, the smallest of the 5, and rented an apartment. Certainly any of the towns is worth looking into staying in though.

    Enjoy Italy!

  • Bella says:

    Have you tried Airbnb (www.airbnb.com)? They have the most charming and cute houses in fun places. Like castles, house trees and villas! Not expensive at all. Take a look in Italy! :)

  • Courtney says:

    You should definitely check out Elba (I believe that's the name of the island…) it's where Napoleon was exiled to and from what I've heard it's beautiful.

  • Sarah says:

    How exciting–Italy is so beautiful! Good luck with your search. If I could stay in Italy for a month, it would be here (a working farm!).

  • Tanya says:

    How about Sardinia? I'm going there in a couple weeks and everyone keeps telling me how fantastic it is. I'll report back. So many exciting things to do and see :)

  • Anonymous says:

    I found this place and am considering it for not summer. We have two small children and it seems nice and quiet not really near much but not far from anything either. Car rental would be necessary. I have stayed in cinque terre also and it is very charming. http://www.boutique-homes.com/vacation-rentals/europa/italy/tuscany-villa-montisi-italy/

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Jordan,

    My old neighbors lived in various parts of Italy for 2 years and probably have some really good suggestions. They are artists (painter and photographer) and all around cool people. Contact them through their blogs: http://www.livecheapmakeartusa.blogspot.com and livecheapmakeart.blogspot.com if you are interested. Good luck!

  • Amy says:

    cinque terre it is paradise, I can't believe we almost didn't go…5 days was so not long enough, i dream of going back…heaven on earth!

  • --r says:

    couldn't agree with you more about the freelancing-and-taxes thing. luckily i married a guy with a head for numbers who agreed to take over that part of my freelancing life! now if only i could get him to do my invoicing as well…
    we're planning homemade pizza and a trip to the zoo this weekend. not glamorous, but fun.

  • Kasey says:

    Like so many others, I highly recommend Cinque Terre- one of the most beautiful, charming places in Italy. You can stay in any of the tiny little towns, and hike between them. The beaches are great, the food is delicious, and it's just this really unique place. Enjoy your trip to SF!

  • kristen says:

    Sardinia, and island off the boot below Corsica. The most amazing beaches! You will not be disappointed!

  • jess @ fushmush says:

    I'm putting in a vote for Cinque Terre! It's so beautiful. Lots of great hikes and beautiful places to swim.

  • Laura says:

    Home Exchange ALL THE WAY. We spent 10 weeks in Europe last summer doing home exchanges for all but 2 weeks. We actually exchanged in Venice for 10 days, and stayed in a huge apartment with a view of the Grand Canal. I know there are many sites for this, but we use http://www.homeexchange.com, and have met some wonderful familes along the way. We rented a villa in Italy in a TINY town called Torre Alfina, a couple of hours north of Rome. The villa was at the base of an abandoned castle, a bit on the traditional side, but came with chickens in the back, a plentiful vegetable garden and (you can't beat this) a wine cellar full of wine that was all included with the villa. It was beyond amazing. Here's the link to the villa http://www.villatorrealfina.com/. There are tons of photos, and lots of posts about our experience with home exchanging on my blog http://www.colorfulscheme.com. Our friends thought we were crazy to open our home like that, but it was so much better than renting a place, it was so much more authentic.

    Either way, have a wonderful time on your trips!

  • Heidi says:

    Lake Como is not near the beach (since it's a lake!) but it is absolutely breathtaking. I highly recommend it. Cinque Terre (which someone else suggested) is really awesome, but a major spot for backpackers so it's kinda touristy-but not as bad as the obvious tourist spots.

  • EMILY says:

    About 10 or 12 years ago, my family and I stayed in a tiny town, Volterra. We rented a house from a single American that lived there- it was beautiful and rustic and charming. Happy to dig up the info if needed. x

  • jerib-y says:

    If you were interested in the Amalfi Coast area, we loved Praiano. A bit less touristy and a lot less expensive than Positano or Amalfi, but the absolute most amazing views. Our hotel (Le Sirene – a simple place w/ the best hosts) overlooked the sea, Capri, and Positano.

  • Anonymous says:

    Pozzallo, Sicily…very beachy & relaxing…a secret place where italians holiday….plus it's only a 90 min boat ride to malta

  • Justine says:

    if you haven't looked at airbnb.com, I would look immediately! The best find on the internet by far :)

  • mile says:

    Italy in August can be so hot and all italians are on holiday… I would go in September!

    Since you are in France, please tell me – you are also going to check out the west coast – Atlantic! Such a beautiful coastline: long and wide beaches in the Bordeaux Area, rocky in the Basque Country (south). The Basque has some very cute towns, e.g. Guethary!
    Also, you can very easily hop over the spanish boarder and have a very different lifestyle. Go to San Sebastian (a place hemingway hung out)!!! And so good Tapas (Pinxos) and drinks!

    Italy is romantic, but often expensive – sometimes you even have to pay to go to a beach or rent a sun chair…

    Well, that's being said – by a half-italian… (maybe that why I find it more relaxing in france and spain)
    Anyway, enjoy europe!

  • Julia | Room for Dessert says:

    Have you tried vrbo.com (Vacation Rental By Owner)? It's a good site!

  • Laura says:

    I learned the hard way last year that taxes for freelancers are so much more complicated!

    Good luck

  • layzbugs says:

    Cannobio on Lake Como. It's gorgeous! A small town that with an open market, beautiful Alp views and not too touristy. It's definitely worth checking out!

  • hearttypat says:

    oh that kate spade sale is just the greatest!!!!

    though im really just feeling happy already looking at the colourful website!!

  • Deanna Pai says:

    In Italy, one of my favorite places ever was Sestri Levante (which, from my memory, wasn't at all touristy). It's on the northern coast, right on the Mediterranean and in between Portofino and Cinque Terre (which has awesome hiking and gorgeous views, but gets really tourist-packed in the summer — better for day trips, in my opinion). So jealous!

  • layne says:

    I served my mission in Italy and am going back this summer to do my ethnography work. I definitely recommend going to Sardegna (Castelsardo) and Cinque Terre!

  • Lisa says:

    One of the nicest bloggers ever is Michelle of Bleeding Espresso. She's one of the founders of World Nutella Day and is an American expat living in Calabria. She can probably give you a ton of suggestions.


  • lindsay marie says:

    you don't have to pay for a sun chair, you can always go to the public area thats free.

    santa margharita near portofino is beautiful and close enough to cinque terre. I would almost rather stay more north towards san remo bc then you can easily hop over to Nice, Monaco etc. Those were my favorites when I lived in that area for 4 months.

  • evelania says:

    You could check out homeaway.com. You can narrow your searches and maybe find a place you never knew existed in the first place. Sienna is a great area, Tuscany is just amazing. Eat as much gelato as possible. I've heard Rimini is a place where the Italians like to go, but I've never been myself. I also spent some time in Diano Marina and that was beautiful, but there were a lot of (German especially) tourists.

  • Auntie Fafa says:

    In August, ALL of Italy goes on vacation. Maybe September or July would yield better availability?

  • Anonymous says:

    I would highly recommend Albisola in Liguria. I spent a summer there (on the recommendation of Italian friends from the region) a few years ago, and it's just wonderful. It's a small town with a sweet little boardwalk and plenty of families. I'd stay away from touristy places like Cinque Terre.

  • Anonymous says:

    Puglia is definitely not touristic plus it's very inexpensive and there's sea almost everywhere. Very charming villages. It's the place Italians go to to spend their vacation. I was there with my husband two years ago and we enjoyed it a lot. Most of the tourists we met were Italians and some Germans with Italian origin. It's said to be undiscovered Tuscany which I don't know of since I haven't been there. As it's rather inexpensive, some places can be of less good quality so check before you book. We rented a car from Bari and drove to Lecce and surrounding villages by the sea (loved the ones on the east side) but also to Trulli village in Alberoville and a car zoo safari. Driving there is easy (but fast).

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh, but you're going for a whole month. I wouldn't maybe go to Puglia only, Amalfi coast and Capri and Istria (mainly Italian tourists) are so beautiful that beibg among the tourists might not hurt that bad. Also, Capri is really enjoyable in the evening and morning when the day trippers are gone. There are some hotels in Anacapri that aren't that expensive and restaurants that serve good food for reasonable prices so don't let the image of ab expensive island scare you. If you've never been there, I think you should give it a chance for a couple or more days.

  • Dyan says:

    I spent three weeks in Italy with my husband (he was working) and my 2 year old daughter. We stayed in Orbetello. It was a nice location because there are no American tourists but very charming and a good central location. It about 1.5 hours from Rome and 2 hours from Florence. I spent many days driving around and discovering villages in Tuscany. There are beaches all around too!

  • Emily says:

    I love the book of maps idea and I hope you won't mind me stealing it.

    However, I was wondering if you were just going to take them out of the book (i.e. rip). Or if there was another method.


  • Anonymous says:

    You should check out a rental in Croatia. It's much cheaper and much nicer than Italy!

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  • Peg and Crew says:

    Be advised that all Italians are vacationing in August. We loved, loved southern Italy, but most Italians will be vacationing there. I'd also recommend northern Italy on the coast, a little town named Bordighera. It was quaint, but the beaches aren't as nice as the south. Have you thought of Sicily? We were told by the locals that it was a must visit.

  • Elz says:

    The Cinque Terre! I have traveled extensively and this place remains my favorite. I haven't been in over a decade, but last time I went, we rented out a level of an apartment. It was very laid back, not too touristy with beaches interspersed.

  • Bobbi says:

    Italy is miserably hot in August, re-think your travel time if possible. I don't vote for Cinque Terre with children along. It's a charming, rustic old place but mad with tourists. The trails wouldn't really be safe for kids. And you are pretty trapped from getting to nearby places to visit (Pisa, Tuscany, etc.). VRBO comes highly recommended as a resource for renting good places.

  • jordan says:

    Ha! So funny. Everyone in Paris goes on vacation in August too. The whole point of the timing of our trip is to go to a beach town where we can be near the water instead of the hot city.

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