The Cats of Athens ▲

Tuesday, July 31




One of the greatest (and saddest) parts of our trip to Greece was being constantly surrounded by kitties. They were all super skittish and didn't want anything to do with my unsolicited petting, but I still always tried. I wanted so badly to save them all!


Pretty much every part of the city is inhabited by colonies of feral cats. Most of the people ignore them, but every once in a while you stumble upon an abandoned store front that is littered with cans of cat food and bowls of water. It makes me warm and fuzzy to know that a hand full of people out there take time to make sure that a few of these unwanted pets have what they need to survive.

Wine Night ▲

Monday, July 30




There's nothing I enjoy more than sharing a nice glass of wine with my cat, Buffalo. I got this bottle as a gift for my bridal shower (ahem, 4 months ago?) and it's the LAST one! (The shower was wine themed so we got quite a few bottles) It was probably my favorite one - I love sweet and bubbly bubbly! I broke it open and enjoyed it during the Teen USA pageant on Sunday night - it was a perfect pairing.

I also checked our left over wedding liquor stock and along we've got about 9 bottles of champagne to drink before they go bad. Mike and I need to start finding things to celebrate. Too bad he doesn't even like the stuff...

If you're in the market for some Gin, don't go to the grocery store, come see us. We have a ton of that, too. I hate it.

And the winner is... ▲

Sunday, July 29



Logan West - Miss Connecticut Teen USA


Peyton, Kat, and Shannon all made top 15, but weren't chosen as top 5 finalists. Oh well - at least they have the rest of their year as state titleholders!

Teen USA Update ▲

Saturday, July 28



[PHOTO EVE CANDY HEAVY]

Miss Teen USA Finals are TONIGHT at 8 PM LIVE on the Miss Teen USA website. Danielle Doty of Texas will be handing her crown off to one very deserving young lady - who will it be?

The prelims were last night - here are some highlights of my girlies:

Peyton totally rocks the pink, she wore a pink gown to the state competition, too:

Marlee loves her red - she wore red when she won in Louisiana:

Katherine looks so confident in this custom Gregory Ellenburg:

and Shannon in this great Sherri Hill:

Now here are some of my other favorite dresses from the preliminary showing (strictly gown speaking):
 Miss California Teen USA
 Miss Georgia Teen USA
 I don't usually like the skin-tight pleather thing, but I think Miss Michigan Teen USA's sequined dress is beautiful.
 LOVE this lace layover gown on Miss Pennsylvania Teen USA
I love the beaded cap sleeve on Miss Maine Teen USA's gown,
The slit is a bit much, but I think Miss Oklahoma Teen USA did the pleats and beaded waist-line right.


And now the two ballgowns...usually when I see a ballgown on stage I am thinking, oh - they must be strying to remain "age appropriate," but Miss Mississippi Teen USA and Miss Texas USA are 18 and 19, respectively.

Even though ballgowns (for me) are out of place in an evening gown competition, after reading these two girls' bios, I think the dresses are fitting for their personalities and I don't know if anything else would have worked. Either way, both gowns are very pretty (and the girls wearing them are gorgeous).

Here are some of the most unique dresses that I saw:

So what do you think? Did you watch? Have any favorites?

All of the photographs in this post were taken by Darren Decker at the Miss Teen USA Preliminary show last night.

Miss Teen USA ▲

Friday, July 27



Miss Teen USA Preliminaries are TONIGHT, y'all! They're in the Bahamas for the competition... the rough life of a state titleholder.


Meet my teen girls:

Peyton, Miss Alabama Teen USA -

Marlee, Miss Louisiana Teen USA -

Kat, Miss North Carolina Teen USA -
Shannon, Miss South Carolina Teen USA -
These girls are the sister queens to the four ladies that competed at Miss USA back in June. Remember? Miss Rhode Island won.

Unfortunately, the competition isn't televised. It will be live streamed from the Miss Teen USA website LIVE tonight at 8 PM, and the finals will be LIVE tomorrow at 8 PM.

I'll be planted in front of my laptop with a delicious glass of Prosecco cheering for our girls! Are you going to watch? Who are you rooting for?

I'll be tweeting minute-to-minute updates - @theannataylor - of the final competition.

To read more about my job, check out these posts.

If You Really Knew Me... ▲

Wednesday, July 25



The Italy recap posts are officially OVER. Thank God. I really did those more for myself - I know after my last two trips I regretted not blogging about them so I wanted to make sure I really documented my time this trip. I hope you guys weren't too bored.

My brain is pretty much fried - I'm still nursing my vacation hangover and day-dreaming about my next great adventure. In lieu of a nicely written and well thought-out post, I've decided to hijack this idea that I originally saw posted by Jenni and then later by Stephanie.


If you really knew me, you'd know:

- I make up ridiculous nicknames for my animals.
  • Bella becomes Bella Roo, then Roo Boo, then Pooh Bear, then Boo Boo, then Smelly Belly or Smella Bella.
  • Moose becomes Goose, then Goosie, then PompleMoose, then Moosie Roosie, then Poopy Pants, then Chubbulubb.
  • Buffalo becomes Buffy, then Buffins, then Muffin, then Muffles, then Buffle Muff, and on and on and on. It's a problem.
- I am obssessed with my pets, but I think that goes without saying.

- I am more faithful to cheese & wine than any other food "group..."

- but I could eat Mexican or Italian for every meal. 

- I am 100% an advocate for online dating. 

- I cringe at the thought of negative confrontation and avoid it at all costs. 

- I give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

- I would always rather think than talk. Probably because I am the most awkward person on the planet. 

- My pipe dream is to write a book (as it seems to be for most bloggers...lol) 

- I find the idea of childbirth absolutely terrifying...it defies the laws of physics. 

- I cry more when animals die in movies than when humans do.

- It takes me forever to fall asleep. When I go to bed, my brain relentlessly replays the day's events, thinking about things I should have done differently. A lot of time I rehearse something coming up soon - either pre-writing a blog post or chapter of my novel. It's annoying.

- I'm obsessed with photographs and feel the incessant need to document everything around me. I love having the memories to look back on, but sometimes I feel like I miss the forrest for the trees. Apparently life is more interesting when you experience it first hand rather than constantly looking through a camera lens. 

- I'm an eternal optimist and very outgoing in certain circles, but I am AWFUL at making new friends. There's a certain level of "comfortableness" with the people who already know me that I can never recreate. 

- I often wish I had gone to school for graphic design or something more business related - writing would have been my passion whether I'd pursued it as a degree or not. I also wished I taken a year off between high school and college so that I'd have been more appreciative of my education. Grad School is still looming on my horizon - I so want a masters degree!

- I love to read and once I start a book, I get ridiculously committed to finishing it in one sitting. 

Parco Termale Negombo - Ischia ▲

Tuesday, July 24



Our last day in Italy was the most relaxing, by far. It was definitely a nice way to end my two week stay, and I'm sure my Aunt and Cousin enjoyed themselves.

Negombo is a thermal park on the island of Ischia. It gives the illusion of being secluded - it's surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs and hillsides, and the fourth side opens up into a rock-walled bay. It's very beautiful.

In reality, it's only a 5 minute taxi ride from Casamicciola (the second port on Ischia), and is essentially in the middle of a neighborhood and bustling tourist district. The entry fee (29 Euro) probably helps to keep out the riff raff. Ischia is made up of several pools (close to 20, I believe), all of different temperatures - and it's natural thermal water. Most of it is salty. It was always one of my favorite destinations in high school - my friends and I visited frequently.


We got up bright and early, took a ferry from the port of Pozzuoli, and arrived at Negombo right around 9:00 AM. We stayed until around 4:00 PM. If you're ever in southern Italy, this is somewhere you have to see!

Mini Cruise to Positano ▲

Monday, July 23



After our exhausting 2-day Rome excursion, we enjoyed a much needed "day of rest" at my dad's.

On Sunday, our second to last day in Italy, my aunt, cousin, and I spent several hours enjoying a mini cruise to Positano.

We met our tour bus at the Naval base and then boarded our boat at the port of Castellamare. From there, we enjoyed a couple of hours lazing in the late morning sun. The first stop on the boat cruise is for a dip in the sea off shore from the island of Capri. The water is crystal clear and super salty.


After the swim stop, the cruise passes by the Faraglioni rocks (I talked about them in this post).


The boat then heads back towards mainland Italy. At around 1:00 PM, it arrives at Positano. You can either get off here, or continue further down the coast to the town of Amalfi. They are both beautiful cities. We opted to get off at Positano so that we'd have more time to spend at the beach.


On the way back, a storm was rolling in. The conditions on the water were extra windy, but it made for some great photos.


After a long day on the water, we arrived back at our port of origin.


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