Dante as Muse

Well you heard about my little adventure in Florence so it should not come as a surprise that I have found a new historical figure to bring into my fold of muses. Dante and his Beatrice are one of history’s famous love stories–for those who do not know their tale, it is quite simple. They never kissed, never wrote love letters. Their romance is a good example of what would be called “Courtly Love.” Traditionally, Dante first saw Beatrice when he was nine years old, she a year younger, at a May Day party. He fell in love instantly and spent the rest of his life writing about this unattainable love. Nine years later, he saw her once again as he crossed paths with her and two female companions. Beatrice died young at age 24, only a few years after this encounter–but decades later in his middle age, Dante still wrote for her. By all accounts, she had imprinted on his soul, never leaving his mind.  In the most touching memorial to her, Beatrice is one of Dante’s guides into Paradise in The Divine Comedy. I always latched on to that detail…a beautiful, elegiac tribute to a woman that he could never have who had long since gone to the grave.

“She passes by, not haughty like her two companions—her emerald eyes flash back at me, intellect buzzing from behind them. Nodding slightly to her women gossiping over a banker’s wife, Beatrice smiles, half-hidden by the flutter of her hand. I wonder what she observes that we do not: a voice from the square that reminds her of her new husband; a child skipping rocks into the Arno; the thankful awareness of her body that has endured an illness to stroll the streets of Florence once more. Perhaps she looks past me on her left to the river, an opaque green alongside the yellowed stone buildings that curl along its banks. Beatrice’s pristine white dress melds with the paleness of her skin, youthfully brilliant in the Tuscan daylight. My eyes can focus on nothing else—she reflects everything. She has grown into a woman perpetually in motion. It has been nearly a decade since Beatrice, a girl of eight years old, blessed me with her stare during the May Day celebrations at her father’s palazzo. I have forgotten many stares, but not hers, the girl with the unpracticed smile. I held it like a scar upon my chest; neither the kisses nor the vows of my wife will wash it away. Gemma too has many scars upon her petite body, stiff under my hands, but we do not talk of loves past. I find beautiful symmetry in the fact that we married close apart, Beatrice. I offered congratulations when your father married you to your affluent banker; I had no reason to be jealous as I was already wed. Still, I mourned that your husband did not know you as a child, clad in crimson, entertaining me with made-up tales of the Romans. How could a man truly love you without that intimate knowledge of who you once were? Beatrice, you stride forward with intent like a mercenary on the hunt for the next venture. Your heart-shaped face swings from side to side—you will not miss a single color, cloth, or tradesman. You love even the ordinariness of a Florentine street. We will not meet again in this life. You will die young, still laughing to yourself at the things that only you can see. I will be exiled from our Florence many more years than you lived—despite spending my career trying to get back there, I will never stroll the place where I last saw you alive. You do not know this fact and neither do I so you keep walking without footsteps, tipping your head slightly to face the sun. I do not turn to watch you round the street corner, as I am certain, in the way only young people are, that we will encounter each other in time.”


Weekend Roundup


I am sure about 90% of you are going to be glued to your couches/chairs this weekend watching March Madness games. Enjoy a beer for me! I’ll probably be doing a little bit of that along with the usual things that I love (um, napping). Regardless of what you are doing, keep in mind…

Would you wear orchid lips?

Saturday’s Inside-Out-Pocket bag would be a perfect spring/summer purse for those looking for an excuse to spend a little of that tax return!

Emma Stone’s reaction to a personal message from Mel B of the Spice Girls is basically how any girl coming of age in the ’90s would act. Not going to lie I have watched Spice World in the last few months. TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT WHAT YOU REALLY REALLY WANT. (I want a personal message from one of the Spice Girls, preferably Baby Spice because she was my spirit Spice).

Francophiles/dress-lovers, this H&M dress has Eiffel Towers on it. Adorable doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Someone want to get me up to speed on Divergent? I can’t keep up with all these new-fangled young adult books! Side note: can’t young adults just read normal fiction books? What did they read in the past before YA was a thing?

Have a good weekend readers!


Your New Go-To Spring Hairstyle

It isn’t a braid or crazy updo that will take you hours to master even after studying ten beauty youtube videos. All you do is need to do is push your hair to one side. Let me break it down for you. Keri Russell, star of FX’s The Americans (and earlier, Felicity), rocks this hairstyle on the show and off-screen. I don’t blame her–if my hair looked that good, I would never wear it any other way. Side note: how did I not realize Keri Russell is so damn gorgeous?


The perpetually luminous Emma Watson’s interpretation is a little wilder, but still totally adorable. The exposed pins give it an edge.


Will you be trying out this style out? I will be once my hair gets a little longer!

A Little Orange is the New Black News to Last You Until June


June 6th, to be exact. That’s when the second season premieres on Netflix. Elle has some second season scoop that only makes me miss those crazy Litchfield ladies more! If you haven’t watched the first season yet, do yourself a favor and do so. Personally, I think this series is far better than Netflix’s other hit House of Cards. House of Cards made me feel sleazy after a few episodes. The Underwoods and everyone associated just seemed far too much on the side of villainy for me to really care what they were doing. Orange is the New Black blew me away–it is a show primarily made up of women–and diverse women at that, which is rare in this age (I’m talking race, sexuality, body types, personalities). Learning their stories as well as seeing real issues that are happening in our prisons made me not only appreciate the show but love it. Mark your calendars, fellow fans! June 6th and 7th shall henceforth be reserved for binge-watching.

The Winter Blahs

A sad view outside my classroom

A sad view outside my classroom

Sigh, another day, another few inches of snow on the ground here in Minnesota. Last week, the snow had basically all melted and we had some wonderful 50 plus degree days where I could actually go out of the house and not want to curl up and hibernate for a few months. But alas, yesterday we got a few more inches of snow and it’s really beating me down. By this time in winter, it’s hard to get too excited or happy about anything. I feel like I am just in a blah mood all the time. Our short trip to Ann Arbor this weekend helped but still, now back to normal life and this icky time of year. I’m dreaming of summer vacation (2 months away!), trips to the cottage and elsewhere, and just some time to be outside and feel not like a groundhog living underground without access to sunlight. I’m dreaming of sundresses, flats (goodbye ugly thick boots!), and freckles (I’m too realistic to dream of a tan). Hopefully it all comes here shortly! Since I only have one long weekend break left in the school year, I’m getting antsy!

I’m Ready to Talk about My European Vacation



It’s been criminally long since I blogged–I am going to blame it on my post-vacation malaise. You know, that time after you get back from vacation where your mind just replays whole days of the trip and you spend hours staring at pictures. As you probably deduced, I had a fantastic trip to France and Italy. It would be hard to describe every aspect of the trip in detail so I am going to break it down by some of my favorite/weirdest/funniest moments.

  • Montpellier France was as inspiring as I remembered it being several years ago. Isn’t it strange that you can be away from a place for so long yet once you are placed in those streets once again, you know the way? I got to discover all new places as well. Despite it being named after my least favorite writer, Papa Doble provided my Mom and me drinks that were sinfully good. Good enough to make me forget that I was enjoying myself at a place named after Papa. Puke. Speaking of which, after eating only a baguette and some cheese all day, I may have vomited all over the bathroom. I’m blaming it on Hemingway, not the very attractive French bartender who my mom coerced into taking a picture with me.
  • We hit a little train hiccup on the way from Nice to Florence. When we got off at the Italian border, we were told that the train tracks that we were supposed to take to our connection in Milan were “not there” (thanks for the detail, train station lady!). The solution was to shuttle us on to another train (going to a city that we had not heard of) where we would get off and then hop on a bus which would take us to another train. Easy, huh? If you are confused reading that, imagine having to follow those instructions in broken English while your head feels mildly squishy from a hangover. Luckily we were not the only ones forced into an unwanted adventured–my mom took under her wing an Asian girl who was equally lost (and traveling alone! If I was doing so, I would have ended up in England instead of Italy). I thought my mom’s concern for this girl quite heroic until she turned to me and said, “At least if we don’t end up in Milan, we’re bringing someone down with us.” Oh mom…Once we got off our first train, we were herded in the direction of several buses. Only one was loading so we assumed that was our guy. Cut to an overcrowded bus with people sitting the aisles weaving through tiny roads with a large drop to the Mediterranean on the other side. We were not told how long we would be on this bus or where it was even going. Note to self: bring a map of the place you are going to next time. Anyways, after being on the bus for about an hour and a half, we got off at this tiny, grungy train station where another train was not, in fact, waiting for us as the train station lady had suggested. Instead, we had to wait another two hours, which also meant there was no way that we were going to make our connecting train in Milan to Florence. Somehow we managed to get to Florence that night and I think our pitiful tale got us an upgrade to a junior suite at our amazing hotel!
  • Mom and I fell in love with Florence. There is something magical about it. I now understand Dante’s love for the city from which he was exiled. From the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo to the Palazzo Vecchio…each place left me breathless as if I was discovering Europe for the first time. I could have spent my whole life there and never bore of the city. On one of my favorite nights, we had a spectacular dinner of pumpkin ravioli, Floretine steak, and glasses of wine. The restaurant was on the smaller side, intimate, near the Palazzo Vecchio. I am sure I have dreamed of places less atmospheric than this place. A table of six or so middle aged Italian men sat at the table next to us, buying a few bottles of wine. During our meal, the men sent over a glass of wine each for Mom and me. Oh those Italian men, quite suave. They know the way to a lady’s heart is wine. But it didn’t end there. As they were leaving, one of the men blew me a kiss. I am not sure that I have ever seen anyone over the age of five blow someone a kiss, but he certainly made a case for it.

If you made it through those long paragraphs, congratulations! Can you believe that this is the edited version?

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