Tuesday Travels: Borgo Argenina

Welcome to Borgo Argenina, a truly magical stone estate in the hills of Chianti. IMG_2414.JPGIMG_2419.JPG

Visiting Borgo Argentina was an experience like no other and my absolute favorite part of our Newly Newlywed Italian Adventure. The 998 AD Peasant Farmer home had been abandoned for years when, now owner, Elena Nappa, discovered the property while on a holiday from Milan. A former fashion designer, Elena quickly fell in love with the estate. She knew in her heart it was a calling for her to restore the hamlet into a stunning seven room Bed & Breakfast and that is exactly what she did. Her story of how she transformed this property without electricity and running water into a fully functioning Bed and Breakfast is really remarkable. IMG_2416.JPG

Adam and I drove from Florence to the Chianti hamlet. Passing thousands of grape vines and olive trees, around curvy bends, narrowingly escaping head on collisions with Italian drivers and through the rolling hills to get to Elena’s. Upon arrival at Borgo Argenina we were greeted by Elena’s four-legged friends, Giuseppina and Pasqualina along with other guests who were sitting on the grand stone patio, enjoying a glass of vino taking in the sunset over Chianti. IMG_2420.JPG

“Welcome! You must be new! Elena is upstairs in the Kitchen.” one guest said. Instantly we were family.

Our journey at Borgo Argenina began as we passed the bell to ring for Elena if you arrive after hours and opened the original wooden double doors adorned with iron locks and handles. IMG_2415.JPG

Once inside the main house, up the narrow stone stairway with one tiny window over looking the garden, we found Elena, tooting around her kitchen. IMG_2433.JPG

“Ah! Bella! Benvenuto! I’ve been expecting you! Fett, si?” Elena asked.

She grabbed the keys and escorted us to the Piccola Suite, our home for the next four days. We had a quaint sitting room adjacent to our bedroom, an attached private bath and views of the rolling Chianti Hills and Elena’s garden. PicTapGo-Image-5.jpg

Each room is equip with a mini bar and tea kettle that is refreshed daily, wifi and a hairdryer. (Yay! One less thing to pack!) There is no air conditioning at Borgo Argenina, thankfully, even during the Summer months the nights were cool and a flowing breeze filled our room. Elena took us downstairs, showed us the Parlor and Breakfast Room before heading outside.PicTapGo-Image-2.jpgIMG_2434.JPGIMG_2423.JPGIMG_2422.JPG

After a tour of our suite and parts of the property we sat down with Elena on the stone patio outside. She shared some of her favorite places in Tuscany with us over a glass of wine. PicTapGo-Image.jpg

We chatted for what felt like hours of friends catching up before we realized the time and that we were late for a supper reservation she made for us at Giorgio’s. We will share that experience with y’all a little later. Delizioso!

Every morning, Borgo Argenina guests are greeting to a beautiful breakfast spread prepared by two of Elena’s three employees. On the daily menu: Fresh Coffee, homemade Yogurt, local meats, cheeses and honey, fresh fruit, and varieties of Elena’s Coffee Cake.  PicTapGo-Image-3.jpgPicTapGo-Image-1.jpgPicTapGo-Image-4.jpg

Elena also invites her guests to a nightly Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina. If you’re staying with her, this is a MUST! It was by far the best food we had during our time in Italy and if she had extra room we would have taken the class a second time! Each guest is gifted with her Borgo Argenina Cookbook-filled with Elena’s family recipes and traditional Italian dishes. The time we spent in the kitchen with Elena and other guests was a highlight of our trip. Pop over next Monday to see what was on our Menu! IMG_1196.JPG

Y’all, I really can not express how much HeliHubby and I enjoyed our time at Borgo Argenina. It is in a perfect location to be a “home base” for Montepulciano, Volterra, Siena and more little Tuscan Wine towns. It’s truly an enchanting, one of a kind Italian escape. Elena is absolutely wonderful. She is warm, welcoming and lovely. We felt like we had known her for years and yet we just met. Leaving we all three got a bit teary eyed as we said our “goodbyes.” I don’t know when the Newly Newlyweds will get to return to Chianti to visit Elena, but I do know HeliHubby and I both left a piece of our hearts in Tuscany at Borgo Argenina. It is just magical.

If you’re considering a Tuscan Vacation I highly reccomened you consider Borgo Argenina as your home. Have questions about the hamlet or want help planning your vacation? Feel free to message us- I am happy to help! PicTapGo-Image-7.jpg

Fino all prossima volta, we hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Wednesdays with Walt in Italy.

If you didn’t see our Tuesday Travels post, you missed out! We started the story telling journey of our recent Newly Newlywed trip to Italy. Over the next few days and weeks we’re going to share all the details from our two week trip across the pond. IMG_1518.JPG

We’ve got the perfect post for a Wednesday with Walt. If you’ve been following us for any link of time, you’ve caught on to my love for Disney. Wouldn’t you know, Disney just follows us wherever we go?

Skipping a few days into our trip from where we left off, while in Florence HeliHubby just happened to find me a Disney Euro Store! Ah! Y’all my heart was oh-so happy! IMG_1704.JPG

No surprise to us Disney fans, the store was full of Disney Magic. Disney movie music filled the air, all in Italian of course. As soon as I opened the doors and walked in, I immediately knew I was not in the typical Disney Store. The decor was very Italian. Ceilings painted with Roman Disney Characters, paintings hung the walls featuring iconic Italian landmarks and of course hidden Mickeys everywhere!

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The store had the typical Disney Merchandise: shirts, toys, stuffed animals, all the coffee cups and speciality merchandise specific to Italy. I. WANTED. IT. ALL. Y’ALL!

If you’re a Disney fan roaming the streets of Florence make sure to pop by Via dei Calzaiuoli, 69/71/R, 50123 and say hello to Mickey and the gang! The store is in the same building as Hotel Maxim. {Feel free to pick up your favorite Newly Newlyweds a surprise too!}

Have you found another International Disney Store? Which is your favorite location? We’d love to hear all about it!

Join us tomorrow as we Throwback to more of our Italian Adventures!

Until next time, we hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Tuesday Travels: Ciao Italia

A little over a month ago Adam had the grand idea for a Newly Newlywed Adventure. We began our search of where the road- or friendly skies- would take us. Originally, our plan was to return to Hawaii. IMG_1426.JPG

The Big Island and Kauai were still on our Wish List, but with the recent volcano eruption (and taking a helitour over the volcano was a “must do”) we opted to save that vacation for another time.

We spend days researching. Toyed with Iceland, Africa and Australia. It wasn’t until I put my Key To The World Travel Travel Planner skills to the test and happened to find a fantastic deal to Italy, we just couldn’t pass up.

So, with three weeks until take-off the planning began! Once we decided on Italy, we were both craving Italian food. Naturally, we had to have our “planning meetings” at Antico Pizza Napoletana. (AKA: The BEST pizza in Atlanta!) IMG_0394.JPG

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Unlike most of our vacations, this trip was very unplanned. Besides knowing where we were staying, we had no other set plans.  [I’ll just go ahead and put it out there…Being the planner that I am, I did a really good job with being flexible. Just ask Adam.}

July 3, 2018 our bags were packed and we said arrivederci to the USA onboard a Delta PINK RIBBON Plane. IMG_1054.JPG

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We flew in style- Delta One -for our first 8 hour leg of the trip to Amsterdam. Such fun cheers-ing to vacation and our time away! Our cabin mates just happened to be The Mingos and their entourage. After a 4 hour layer over in Amsterdam, a short 1.5 hour KLM flight and two landing attempts later (the Florence runway is quite small) we arrived in Italy about noon local time on July 4th. IMG_2244.JPG

We grabbed our luggage and headed to the Rental Car Center…that’s right, you read that correctly. We decided to rent a car and drive in Italy! That was an adventure in itself!

{Travel Tip: BE CAREFUL if you decide to rent a car internationally. Even though we used Enterprise and booked the car in advance, they tried to over charge us and cut our days on the rental. Thankfully Adam had copies of the agreement stored in his E-Mail and I had printed copies with me.  Slightly stressful, but we survived and so glad we ended up having a vehicle to get around. Also, keep in mind the rental car center is made up primarily of trailers all on gravel roads. It can be a bit of a work out pulling your luggage to and from your car.}

Two bags full of clothes, two over sized wine suitcases and 4 carry on bags later the Newly Newlyweds were ready to hit the road and head to our first stop, Borgo Argenina. A truly magical Bed & Breakfast we cannot wait to tell you all about!

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Follow along our Italian Adventure over the next days and weeks to come. We’re so looking forward to reminiscing to our time in Italy as we share it with y’all! We can’t wait to return to the beauty of Tuscany someday.

Until next time, we hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Monday’s Menu: Blue Apron Delivery

“Yay! It’s here!”

I cheered with excitement as Adam and I returned home yesterday from lunch in the city with our friend and my sorority sister, Ann Marie. We both had anxiously been waiting for our Sunday delivery from Blue Apron and it had arrived!

On the Menu this week:

Bhindi Masala

Fresh Basil Fettuccine

Corn & Green Bean Empanadas

Tonight’s choice? Fresh Basil Fettuccine

Ingredients: 

Fettuccine 1

Recipe:

Wash the veggies. Fill a medium pot with water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Cut off the ends of the zucchini, quarter length wise and thinly cut crosswise. Peel the garlic and mince. (We have an awesome kitchen gadget that minces garlic- stay tuned for our Friday Favorite on that!) The original recipe says to cut the tomatoes in half, however, we quartered them.

In a large pan, heat 2 TSP of Olive Oil. Add the zucchini, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes (to taste) season with salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until slightly soften. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook 3-4 minutes until soften. Remove from heat.

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While the tomatoes cook, add the pasta to the water. Cook 2-3 minutes until al dente. Drain. Reserve 1/2 cup of water.

Add the cook pasta, butter and half of the reserved water to the veggie mixture. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium-high for 2 minutes. Stir and throughly combine.

Plate. Garnish with cheese and ENJOY!

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This meal was WONDERFUL! It made just enough for Adam and I to both have plenty and be comfortably full. Highly recommend trying to make it at home or order from Blue Apron yourself! We will definitely be making it again!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

 

 

Throwback Thursday: Not even newlyweds take on New York

Are we just dating? Are we “together”? Did Adam or I know each other’s middle names, favorite colors or board games as a child? All questions we might not of known the answers to when we took our first BIG trip together.

As Adam and I prepare to take-off on our next adventure to the BIG APPLE I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than a Throwback Thursday post about our first trip together.

We began dating in 2012… do you know our story? We were set up on a blind date by a coworker of Adam’s and the Mother of the family I was nannying for at the time. Long story short-ish….Adrienne spent months trying to set us up. We finally gave in and I, yes you read that correctly, I (Holly) got the nerve to call him on fall football Saturday afternoon. {After a TCU victory of course!}

We spent a couple of weeks texting regularly, chatting daily and agreed to not look each other up on Social Media or send photos of one another.  If/when we decided to meet it would truly be a “blind date.” We tackled all the touchy subjects before our first date. Yes…kids, religion, politics…we covered it all.

Two weeks after our first date was Christmas and my birthday…poor Adam.

As a {one time only} joint gift he surprised me with a trip to NYC and so comes our Throwback Thursday post!

We flew into LGA on a brisk January 4th afternoon.

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As this was Adam’s first time to the Big Apple I played the part of tour guide. Our hotel was just a few blocks from Times Square. Shortly after landing and settling into out hotel we put on our walking shoes and started acting like tourists! We saw the lights of Times Square, the Toys R Us, Hershey and Lego Store. Strolled by Radio City Music Hall, the Rockefeller Ice Rink and Christmas Tree, where we took our first photo together after Adam got conned into buying a FDNY Beanie from a street vendor. {That’s a story for another post.}

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That night Adam took me to see The Newsies on Broadway…it was fantastic! His first Broadway show was a success! {Little did he know how much I love the theater and how many times he would be going to the Fox Theatre from there on out.} If you get a chance to see it live, do it! If not, watch the movie!

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Our second day in the city was spent roaming around like locals. Trying hole-in-the-wall restaurants, getting off the train on random spots, and doing a little shopping.

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That night we grabbed some Starbucks and went on a Horse-and-Carriage ride through Central Park. Not to get all mushy, but it was oh-so romantic.

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Our final day in the city was spent strolling through Central Park where I snapped one of my favorite photos of us. Until today, Adam didn’t know this photo existed. New York may not be known as “The City of Love,” but it will always be that to me. A magical city where my heart made room for Adam and a true love began to develop…oh lordy! Who am I being all sappy?

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We can hardly wait for our next BIG CITY adventure! Are you a native New Yorker or just love to visit? We’d love to know your favorite, non-touristy spots as we get ready to embark on our trip.

Stay tuned for trip details!

We hope you are enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds not experts!

Tuesday Travels: West Coast Wanders {Part 3}

Friday (continuation): 

{Just joining us? Check our West Coast Adventures on our Tuesday Travels and Throw Back Thursday posts- we started our trip in Napa.}

Adam and I finished up in Napa and headed South to San Francisco. We made sure to plan our way to the city with  a stop at the Muir Woods to take a glimpse at the gigantic Red Woods.  (Thanks to all our friends that suggested this stop.)

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The park was mesmerizing. I felt like I was in the middle of the Twilight Saga. Not as romantic with the crowds and local runners zooming by us, but just as majestic! If you have time while you are visiting the area, the Muir Woods are a must see! {If you don’t have time…make time. Trust us!}

From the Muir Woods we continued our drive toward San Francisco making a detour at the Muir Beach Overlook.

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Wow! Talk about beautiful views. We just happened to have taken a wrong turn that took us to the overlook. Even on a foggy day the views were stunning. Drive a little out of your way- seeing the views from the cliffs is so worth it y’all!

Muir Woods Over look

After a few wrong turns (are you seeing a pattern here?) and trips over the Golden Gate Bridge we finally made it to The Argonaut Hotel, another Kimpton property. (We came across Kimpton properties during a recent trip to Savannah, GA and fell in love!) Just like our previous Kimpton stay, The Argonaut was not a disappointment!

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The hotel is nestled inside the historic century-old Haslett Building smack in the middle of Fisherman’s Wharf. There was a nautical theme throughout the hotel. Original exposed brick and timbers gave our room a bit of character.

Kimpton Hotels really know how to take care of their guests! We were welcomed with all sorts of Birthday Treats for Adam’s 30th Celebration. Fresh flowers, personalized notes,  a bottle of wine, a fruit and cheese tray and more were waiting for us upon our arrival in our upgraded suite! It was fantastic! We really can not wait for our next trip to a Kimpton Hotel! (Wish they had a Nashville location- hint hint!)

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Once we settled into our room Adam and I were ready to explore the Wharf! First stop, The Blue Mermaid Chowder House for some of their famous Crab & Corn Chowder in a Bread Bowl….OH-MY-GOSH y’all…it was so delicious! If I could only have some now! After supper we did a little window shopping and headed back to the hotel.

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(Insider Tip: If you don’t know this already, San Fran is FREEZING in June. This was something we had heard, but did not realize the severity of it until we got there. Needless to say we did not pack the right clothes! Our first night in the city was cut short- we were two freezing cold southerns!)

Saturday: 

Unlike most of our trips full of “touristy” things we felt more like locals! (Someone even asked us for directions-ha!) We started at the Ferry Building Marketplace‘s Saturday Farmers Market. Rows and rows of fresh produce, flowers, seafood- it was unbelievable. We found a local company who specializes in flavored salts- stay tuned for new recipes using it! Wish we could have brought home more of what the market had to offer.

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We tasted Italian Donuts stuffed with Nutella and shared a breakfast sandwich from the Golden Gate Meat Company-oh so good! You can’t go wrong with Nutella!

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We walked the streets of China Town-peeked into the different stores, stopped by one of the local restaurants for a taste of, well who knows what we actually ate, but it was tasty! We found the Original Fortune Cookie Factory and of course had to have a taste! (The factory created the Fortune Cookie in 1962. They have very strict rules about photos- so we grabbed one outside.)

China Town

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Adam knows how much I love Social Media and took me by the Twitter Home Office….yes…true story! I tweeted from Twitter y’all! I was probably overly excited about this, oh well! Are you following me @Hollywoodhollyc?

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We drove around the city by the “Full House” House and the House from “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Around the curves of Lombard Street and took in the delicious, hints of chocolate from Ghirardelli Chocolate. Yummm!

Market Place

We finished the night with supper at Cioppino’s– an Italian Restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf. We spilt a Margarita Pizza and a few Blue Moons- delicious! We finished the night at The Buena Vista Cafe for an Irish Coffee. The Buena Vista is the home of the Irish Coffee- make time to stop by for one…of three!

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Such a great first night in San Francisco! Stay tuned for details from our final day on the West Coast! We can’t wait to start planning a trip back! If you have favorite spots, be sure to share them with us!

Hope you are enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts.

Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking

This  Sunday, Adam and I are hosting an Easter Lunch. It is not going to be the traditional family lunch with ham, mashed potatoes and pie, as both of our families are out of town. Instead we are welcoming all of our friends who’s families are not in the Atlanta area over for a non-taditional Friends are Family Sunday Funday.

What’s on the menu you ask? PIZZA!

I started tinkering around with Pizza Dough Recipes last night and let me tell you…it is not photo worthy.What a mess I made! Who knows if they are going to turn out! Flour was everywhere! I called my Aunt Tina about 5 times during the process with questions:

“How much is 7/8 ounce?” “Does it roll into a ball pretty quickly? What do I do? I think its too runny!” “Now what?”

Tonight will be the ultimate test when we give Recipe #1 a taste. Poor Adam- he is sampling pizzas tonight, tomorrow with Recipe #2 and then again on Sunday. There is always Plan B of buying crust from the store if they don’t work out.

Want to give it a try? Let us know how it goes!

Quick Beer Bread Pizza Dough:

*Substitute unbleached all-purpose flour if you don’t have semolina. We were unable to find Semolina. Other posts may say to use Cornmeal, we found this was not a good idea.

1) Mix and knead together all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until you’ve made a smooth, soft dough.
2) Cover the dough, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes, or for up to 2 hours.
3) Preheat the oven to 450°F with the pizza stone (if you’re using one) on a lower rack.
4) Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 10″ to 12″ round.
5) Place the rounds on parchment paper, if you’re going to use a pizza stone. Or place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. For thin to medium crust, bake the pizzas immediately. For thicker crust, let them rise for 30 to 60 minutes.
6) Transfer the pizzas, parchment and all, to the baking stone. Or place the pans in the oven.
7) Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, top as desired, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the bottom crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbly and browned.
8) Remove from the oven, and serve hot.

Cheers to trying new things and learning to be a little Susie-Homemaker! Hope y’all are enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly