Monday, September 29, 2014

First weeks in Pensacola

I was nervous to come to Pensacola.  If I had to think of a US city to live in that was completely different from any other experience that I have ever had, Pensacola would be it.  This isn't the first time I've lived on my own, but when I did it was in the city in Washington DC and then Alexandria, VA.  While Alexandria was similar to Pensacola in some ways, but it was different in more.  There was public transportation, "fast food" that chopped up salad to your satisfaction and there were 24-hour grocery stores.  Those are the only things I miss, other than my former roommate and her dog.

A lot of people have asked me how my move went.  It went great! Peter and his brother Michael picked me up from the airport even though Peter tried to fake me out and say he wasn't going to be there because he had class.  But he was and I knew he would be.  The next few days were kind of blur because of sleep deprivation and sheer joy that I had actually made it.

We went to dinner by the beach for Peter's birthday.
 I know that I unpacked all of my stuff and went grocery shopping like nobody's business.  I expected there to be more vegan options than there were but I'm not complaining! I got vegan cheese and alfalfa sprouts! Also I bought more bags of Gardein and Beyond Meat than I would like to admit.  Also, who knew that there were like 40 different Amy's frozen meals?? The commissary back in Naples only has like five.  I love frozen meals.  I know that they are not great for you because they are high in sodium but I've been trying to eat them in moderation.

Because I don't have a car or a job and I usually finish up my online course work within the first two or three days of the week all I've been doing lately is cooking dinner and keeping stuff clean (who would have thought?? me... clean).

One of my new roomies
The amount of fast food here astounds me.  There is a quarter-mile stretch of road here where there is a Waffle House at the start of it, a Denny's, a McDonalds, a PF Changs, a Hardees, a Taco Bell and then another Waffle House at the end of it.  The quarter-mile stretch is followed by countless more just like it.  I understand the need for a takeout meal.  People have jobs and families and not enough time.  Maybe it's because I've been out of the country for so long, but as an outsider looking in, this shouldn't be normal.

You can get 20 chicken McNuggets for $5.  You can get a full meal for $5 from Krystal Burger.  Meanwhile a head of organic broccoli is $4.  The company logos are propped up proudly so that people driving can see from far away but it just embarrasses me.  Strip malls have four different restaurants/fast food places to choose from so that you can stuff your face while you take a break from spending your money on useless shit you don't need.

It's really frustrating.  Everyone is HEAVY.  Not everyone is obese like when they depict Americans in political cartoons.  I understand the whole "health at every weight" and anti-fat shaming thing but honestly, it's not natural and the fact that it's become normal scares me.  I swear Peter and I were at the mall the other day and the line for Cinnabon consisted of five people that honestly should not have been eating Cinnabon.  It's your body you can do with it what you want and be cripplingly unhealthy but I pay taxes and it unnerves me that money that could be going to a cause that I'm passionate about is instead going to pay for the diabetes medication of someone who just loves Cinnabon so much that they can't stop.  When did people get so lazy that Cinnabon is an acceptable afternoon snack? Eat some carrots for God's sake.

MEANWHILE ... In other news.
I made my first veggie burgers ever.  After being a vegetarian for 11 years and then switching to vega, you would have thought that I would have done this sooner.  Nope.  They always intimidated me.

I chose a super easy one from Pinterest of course.  Emphasis on the "super easy".  I didn't even have to grate the zucchini because I used my Vegetti, which makes noodles out of vegetables.  Get your own HERE.  It's literally one of the best purchases I've ever made.

Check these out!
Get the recipe for the veggie burgers HERE.  They were so easy to make and have fun flavors.  They have peanut butter, cilantro, oats, chickpeas and red onions in them.  I can't believe that I have been spending so much money on the frozen ones when I could have been making them all this time! We also made sweet potato fries, which Peter cut because I hate cutting sweet potatoes.

Check out that concentration.
Last but not least, I chopped up an avocado, a few tomatoes and a cucumber and doused them in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and called it a salad.  Not a bad dinner!  I've been making a lot of stir fries because they're fun but I really need a wok.  I can't believe I don't have one.  If someone doesn't give me one for my birthday then I'll just get one for myself I guess haha.

I miss Naples a little bit though.  Mostly I miss the food and the lack of driving rules but I also miss all of the CULTURE.  I don't think that's the right word that I'm looking for, or maybe it's just been used in that way that it has another meaning.  I miss walking by castles that are hundreds of years old and occasionally driving over cobblestone.  Before I left, Mandy, Erika and I had a marathon four hour lunch at la Regina Margherita right in front of the Egg castle downtown.  It's weird how we sat there for three and a half hours and no one cared.  Certainly not something you can do here.

I miss this view.  
Long story short, I love Pensacola and I'm settling in nicely!  I miss Naples a little bit, but I feel like even if someone hated living in Naples passionately, they would still miss it a teeeeeeny bit if they left.

Well that's all for now!
More soon!

xo Katelyn

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ci vediamo, Napoli

On Tuesday, I'm moving back to America for good.  Since the O'Brien family landed in Venice in June of 2002, Italy has been my home.  We spent a good four years on the Army base in Vicenza.  My sister went to the same elementary school that my grandmother taught at when my dad was growing up, we lived only 45 minutes away from Venice by train and I met people that I still consider to be some of my best friends to this day.  Unfortunately all pictures of me during this time period have mysteriously disappeared because it was during my awkward stage.

I'm a frequent visitor to the Spanish Steps.
Although we lived in base housing, my parents still dragged me around everywhere... usually against my will.  We did Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Florence, Athens, Rome, London and more.  We went skiing in the Alps and ate Asiago cheese in Asiago.  We saw the live chess match in Marostica... twice! Usually when people asked me where I was from, I would say Tampa because that's where my family was prior to Vicenza but now if someone asked me where I was from, I would say Naples.

When we lived in Vicenza, we shared a duplex with the Coburns.  They had a daughter my age who was also in my sixth grade class, Dana.  She's still one of my best friends and I consider myself an honorary Coburn.  When we moved to Naples after my freshman year of high school... guess who we lived down the street from.  The Coburns! Yay! Already knowing someone in Naples made the move 100 times better even if I am painfully socially awkward at times.
Dana and I probably talking some shit in the thermal spa in Ischia
My home for the past five years... I jumped
Shelby, Twiggy and I went to a dog show, which was in the top 5 weekends of my life
My parents continued to drag my sister and I around against our wills, but we went some pretty cool places.  At the time, I kind of wanted to be a kid whose family never takes them anywhere and got to sleep in on long weekends but now I'm glad that I wasn't.  There were kids in my graduating class that left base two or three times in their three years in Naples.  Why are you going to live somewhere that has such a rich culture and is so vibrant and stay on Support Site the whole time?

Me: "What did you do over spring break?"
Lame person: "Nothing."
Me: "Oh, well I rode a camel in Egypt and I saw the Sphynx and the Pyramids of Giza.  Be jealous."
That little girl leading my camel was evil.
My usual partner in crime/BFF Mandy
Erika, Roberta and I!
My DoDDS (Department of Defense Dependent School) high school was a breeze and I left for college in Washington DC 100% sure that I was going to rule the world some day.  Long story short, about two and a half years later I ended up returning to Naples.  Now about two years after that (almost exactly) I'm on my way back to America.  As a dependent of a government employee, my visa and sojourner's permit expire when I turn 23.  I guess it's the government's way of pushing me out of the nest.  It's needed though and I'll be okay.

I'm going to miss this place so much.  My parents will still be living here but it can never officially be my home again.  95% of the people that made my time here so enjoyable are now living elsewhere but Naples will always be a special place for me.  As a military brat, I moved frequently.  The fact that we were in Vicenza for four years is uncommon and the only reason that we've been in Naples for so long is because my dad retired and became a civilian contractor.  It's kind of amazing because it's like living in a small town, but only 10% of the people that live there have been there for more than two or three years.  It's definitely a unique experience.  I've never felt an emotional connection to a place other than Naples.  Maybe that's because I've been here for so long, I'm not sure.

Vanessa, Kassi and I on Vanessa's last trip downtown!

My fave girl and I at her 1 year birthday party
Pozzuoli nights!

Living out here has been a little tough at times.  Some people grow up around their family and are best friends with their cousins.  I see my cousins maybe once every three or four years while most of them grew up seeing each other regularly.  With the passing of my grandma today, this really upsets me.

Tasha only knew Naples for a few months
I always find the somberos when I go to Druids.
Sara, Eva and I on my 22nd birthday!
I didn't have a plethora of extracurricular activities to choose from and sometimes living in Naples is just ridiculously inconvenient.  Your house will probably have mold in it.  I just happen to be allergic to mold.  You can't drink the water, the "safety" of the fresh produce is questionable and a lot of stuff is closed for the entire month of August because of a holiday.  Some parts are a little rough on the eyes and if you're sensitive to stray animals- stay away!  I've been without water and internet in my house for days at a time.  I've been petitioning our commissary (on base grocery store) to stock fake meat/keep it in stock for MONTHS.  Guess when it's finally on the shelves? Yes, that's right, the week before I leave.
Amsterdam for Model United Nations... eventful trip
My dress was too short to go into the Vatican so we had to improvise
Throwing coins into the trevi fountain.  We'll be back! 
I can reconcile with most of that stuff because of all of the happiness I've known here: overnight trips to Rome where you just sleep on the way back, running into the ocean after a night out, fireworks at ALL HOURS/365 days a year, living in the shadow of a volcano, watching the sun set over the Med from my rooftop.  I went on school trips to the Olympics, Germany, Paris and The International Court of Justice in The Hague.  I have been to the Vatican and Pompeii at least seven times each.  I've had friends come and visit me and I get to show them my world.
People in Pompeii were short. 
Brighid was a three time resident of Hotel O'Brien
Synna and I in Amalfi after I drove the most treacherous road ever
There are a few things that I really really really wanted to do but never did.  I started crying because I've never been to Auschwitz, which is something that I have always wanted to experience.  I kept thinking that I had time to do it.  I've never been to the homeland aka Ireland and that really depresses me.  I have the rest of my life ahead of me to see them, but it would have been very convenient if I just did it while I was here.  But I don't want to be disappointed about what I didn't do, I want to feel grateful for what I have done.  
Check out my unfortunate hair color
We have like no pictures together
My favorite 1/2 American 1/2 Italian couple @ their Promessa
I've made so many friends here that I'll never forget- American and Italian, even some Brits.  I'm not going to list them all because a) I probably couldn't and b) I would forget someone and they would be offended.  There are people that are most certainly my friends but either we don't have any pics together or I don't look good in any of the ones that we have :). Most of my former coworkers at the NEX are some of the most interesting and entertaining that I've ever encountered and I loved working with them, even if it was at the NEX.  I met Peter here, which is something I'm so thankful for.  I'm going to Pensacola with an open mind and I'm genuinely excited.  Talking to my mom earlier she told me she didn't want me to go and I said, "Mom, I should have moved out like five years ago... let's be honest" and she said, "No no, you just needed some extra time."  It's true, I did.  I needed that time to develop productive habits and become the person that I am today.  

A pic with our idol
Stoop kids
I remember this night went from 0-60 in like 30 mins

Naples taught me so many things: how to drive defensively AND offensively, how to be a coffee, pizza and wine snob all in one, a basic level of Italian, Neapolitan curse words and hand gestures, how to not get frustrated when something goes horribly horribly wrong, basic responsibility and probably a lot more that I haven't even realized yet.

When I leave on Tuesday I know I'm going to cry.  Not only because I cry on average about once a day but because I'm leaving my home.  I'm leaving knowing that I have new and exciting things waiting for me though.  Naples will always hold a special place in my heart but I know that there's more room for other special places.

Goodbye Naples, I'll miss you.

x- Katelyn

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Makeup Routine

Peter's gone and I am super depressed.  It's only going to be a little more than two weeks away from each other, but it's still sad and I do not like it.  A lot of my friends are military wives so I know that two weeks is basically nothing but I'm still allowed to be sad.

So far I've distracted myself by 1) packing, 2) watching the entire series of The Tudors, 3) planning for my upcoming move and last but not least, 4) perfecting my makeup routine.

I have a LOT of makeup.  Not only is is my makeup numerous, it is also expensive.  I don't even want to think about how much my makeup costs all together.  While I consider myself more of a product junkie, I do like my makeup and I tend to purchase stuff that is widely known and liked instead of trying something new.  However, I have found a few of my favorite makeup items in my Birchbox or Ipsy bag.  If you're interested in getting a Birchbox, it's basically a box of makeup and skincare samples (and sometimes full-size products) that are delivered to your door each month for $10.  A lot of people complain if they receive a tea sample or a candle, but I love getting that kind of stuff in my box.  It's your birthday every month.

So now I'm going to list my main make up faves from the top left and then down.

1) Marcelle New Age 8 in 1 Power Serum.  I got a sample of this in my Birchbox and I LOVED it because it made my face feel moisturized and smooth but it also reminded me of my Smashbox primers, so I bought the full size.  Learn more about it HERE.  Do I know what the eight things it does are?  No I don't, but I love this stuff and the fact that it's anti-aging makes me feel like I'm being proactive.
Eeeee no makeup! Don't look at me.  Just kidding.
2) Bare Minerals Bare Skin Pure Brightening Serum - I bought this at the recommendation of a friend .  It is so lightweight and it has really improved my skin tone.  The only qualm I have with it is that I feel like it makes my skin look dry/flaky if I don't use a primer or moisturizer immediately before.  Other than that I love this.  I don't have the brush that you are supposed to use with it, but i usually just use my fingers or a kabuki brush.  Also it comes in twenty different colors, so it'll be easy to find one that fits your skin.  I use Bare Shell and so does my sister.  I'm really proud it's only the second palest one.  Learn more about it HERE. I didn't splurge and get the brush and I'm glad I didn't because I got one at the Italian mall for 12 euro.
After using 1 and 2
3) Lancome Effacernes Longue Tenue concealer - This is literally the best concealer that I have ever used in my life.  I have deep set eyes which makes me look like I have bags under my eyes even when I'm VERY well rested.  This stuff is amazing.  You only need a teeny tiny amount.  I make a triangle from the inner corner of my eyes, to around my nostril to the outer corner of my eye.  Sometimes I mix a litter bit of highlighter in it, like Benefit's moon beam.  This concealer has the best coverage OF ALL TIME.  Learn more about it HERE.
4)   MakeUp Forever Professional Sculpting Kit - I bought this kit because I had been using half assed products to try and contour my face and decided to take the splurge.  It's amazing and I love it.  The only thing is that I feel like the lighter shade isn't enough to highlight my face because my face is so pale.  I use the MAC 190 Foundation Brush to apply it because it gives me clean lines and then I blend with my fingers.  Read more about it here.
Before blending in #4
5) Benefit Watts Up highlighter - Just a high lighter that I like.  It's easy to use because it's a stick.  I use it on my forehead, under my eyes and under my lips.  It is super easy to use, but it's super pricy-- $30.  I feel like I could find something that works comparably that isn't also a million dollars.  Check it out on Sephora here.
6) Pro Beauty Blender - This is THE BEST.  When I was using liquid foundation that wasn't the Bare Minerals one, this was the best thing that ever happened to me.  It makes your foundation look like your skin is actually that color.  I need to buy the cleaner for it, because both of mine are filthy.  There are a few different types now.  I wouldn't mind trying the "royal" one. Check it out here. 
7) NARS Orgasm Blush - I'm a huge fan of this blush.  I'm not sure if I can vouch for spending a large amount on blush, but this one is higher quality than Covergirl or Revlon and other drugstore brands.  It's more 3D because it has golden flecks in it and it s rosy color that I'm pretty sure is flattering on everyone.  The NARS blush comes in 28 colors so you can find one if you don't like this one.  You can see them all on Sephora here.
8) MakeUp Forever HD Pressed Powder - I got a sample of this in one of my packages from Sephora and I loved it.  I used to use Bareminerals Illuminating mineral veil and I liked this one better because I felt like it set my makeup better and gave kind of a blurring/matte effect that was much more flattering.  I read the reviews on Sephora here and basically what everyone is saying is that it's better for lighter skin tones because it might wash some people out because it's a lighter color.
Blended #4 w/eyebrows, blush and highlighter done
9) Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion in Sin - You can't have a good eye shadow experience without primer.  Sorry, it's just not possible.  I especially like the color of this one.  You can even wear it without eye shadow because it's a very flattering color. Especially with my blue eyes.
10) Benefit They're Real Mascara - This is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Whenever I recommend mascara to someone, I recommend this one, and most of the time people say, "Omg you spend that much on mascara?"  Honestly guys, there is a reason that this mascara is $20.  Because it's amazing.  It doesn't smudge or flake, it lengthens and separates.  You can't spend $3 on a tube of mascara and expect to look like a million bucks.  I like to get mine at Birchbox here because Birchbox has a really nice point system.
11) Eyeko Liquid Liner - This is a good liner.  I've used a lot that are similar but this one I like because it's not too expensive and it never smudges and it's really easy to draw a cat-eye with it.  I recommend it
Eyeshadow (Naked3 palette), eyeliner and mascara done.
I'd give you the down low on my brow routine, but I already did a post about that and it hasn't changed much since then.  If it's not broken don't fix it.

I hope that you enjoy this post and don't make fun of all of my selfies, but you are fully entitled to do so because I would do the same thing.

My friend of eight years, Mandy Sullivan is visiting Naples so I think we're going to go downtown on Wednesday, which should be fun and I'm looking forward to that.  As a military brat, it's rare to find a friend from that far back and lucky for me, I have a few!

So look for a new post before I move to the states on September 16!
Ciao ciao!
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