Calling All Bloggers

Ever so often in life, I find that I feel the sensation of ‘perfect timing.’ In my case, this program gave me the opportunity to be overcome by this sensation. As a sophomore apparel merchandising student following fashion bloggers, via social media, is almost  second nature to me. I spend a good portion of my days checking up on the latest trends and newest hot spots through what I see on personal accounts. During practicum week, I had the opportunity to go to Fendi Roma and it just so happened to be the week of the big opening night of Zuma, their new top of the line Japanese restaurant. With every opening night in the fashion industry there comes the flood of celebrity guests from models, like Bella Hadid, to celebrities, like Kendall Jenner. The most important to me was Fendi’s spokesperson for the night, fashion blogger Shea Marie of “peaceloveshea.” Shea has been an idol of mine since the beginning of the boom of the instagram blogging takeover. The opening night was on a Thursday and just so happened to be one of our days off; talk about timing. I arrived in Rome and waited in the tiny crowds of the beautifully decorated Fendi Roma store. As I saw Shea walk outside the doors with the camera crew I couldn’t help but scream her name and wave. I thought nothing of it when she waved back and went back inside to continue filming, but when she came back outside and started walking toward me I felt my heart drop a little. She came directly up to me and I struggled to keep calm to hold the casual conversation we were having. As she walked away I couldn’t believe what had just happened and that I had actually just met one of my idols. Timing is a funny thing and I feel lucky enough to have caught it just right.


By: Caroline Porter

Shea Marie, of "peaceloveshea"

Shea Marie, of “peaceloveshea”

Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming

“Live in the moment”, “Take it all in, ” they said. “Do not let this life abroad pass you by”, “Make the most of the time you have been given.” The words of graduated students, retired travelers, and overcommitted adults bounced around my head as I prepared to embark on what we all knew would be an unforgettable three months. I was filled with certainty that these twelve weeks would be nothing short of incredible, but as I continued to receive these overused words of advice from nostalgic hearts only one thought kept reverberating in my mind: How?? How does one truly make a single moment in time last as long as possible?

The short answer: Italy.

From what I have tasted, seen, and experienced, Italians have perfected the art of living simply in order to fully live. The accomplishments and rich cultural presence they bring to the world comes from a long lineage of appreciating the air they breathe, the food they share, and fully engaging with the world around them. In America I get the sense that the busier we are, the more things we can check off a list, the more relevant, important, and meaningful we feel. If we measure our sense of success as a race against the clock to see how many errands we can squeeze into our morning before an 11:30 dentist appointment, or by slaving away all hours of the week with minimum sleep and maximum caffeine in hopes of getting the upcoming promotion, then when are we going to allow ourselves the liberty of a full, joyful life? This is not to say that daily chores and hard work are evildoers, but it’s a dangerous thing to let what you do consume and control who you are.

Since I have been here life has felt so exhilarating, pleasant, and surreal that it is as if I am dreaming. And yet, in this dream I feel more alive than ever. The colors seem more alive, the people more passionate, and the importance or dependence on time almost irrelevant. I have loved this change in perspective and know that it has almost become a part of who I am and who I will be as I return to the life I left at home. I have learned that in order to fully live in the present, one must be able to accept that each second they breathe, each moment that passes by becomes a part of their growing and evolving self. This idea gives me comfort because through it I am reassured that each gelato I have eaten, each wine I have tasted, every sunset I have witnessed, every lake I have marveled at, all of it has become a part of who I am.


Frances Oglesby

Lake Geneva, Lausanne

Lake Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland

It’s a Vogue World

The wall you see right when you walk into the exhibition.

The wall right when walking into the exhibition

Vogue100. A Century of Style. Everyone is familiar with the magazine “Vogue,” one of the most popular fashion magazines featuring the most beautiful models in the world. Well on my 10 day break, otherwise known as Spring Break, I decided to travel to London, England for a couple of days. While looking into things to do while in London, a Vogue Expo popped up and that was immediately the first on my list of things to do. Not really knowing what to expect when I went, I was so excited to see everything that was offered from Vogue in the last 100 years!

My mouth dropped immediately the second my foot stepped through the front door. Everything was so modern but it was not exactly what I had expected. I have been to some fashion expos before that housed couture dresses from the last fifty years, but this was very different. There was every cover of Vogue from the last 100 years. The girls on the covers were just amazingly beautiful. Each room was a different color housing different eras. Something different about this exhibition is that it was structured in reverse chronological order. It started with the magazine of today and moved back through the decades to the very first issue.

The passion that the photographers, editor-and-chiefs’, models, and everyone in between put into making the covers was awesome to see. I cannot imagine the hard work. Having to come up with different themes and positions requires lots of behind the scene work. I walked around for an hour and a half and was mind blown by all the detail. Each year had its own unique style to it. I was definitely able to tell which cover was from which year just from the style of each model’s hair, what they were wearing, and whether the cover was in black and white or color.

Each cover took my breath away in its own individual way because of the incredible detail that was expressed. It was truly an experience to be able to walk through this exhibition and look at all the timeless covers over the last 100 years. Thank you Auburn University, not only for the experience of a lifetime, but for the experience to travel and see the world in ways I never thought I would be able to!

By: Morgan O’Brien

Oh, Orvieto!

One of my favorite times on this trip so far has been the two-day adventure we all took to Umbria. Over these two days, we visited Perugia, Assisi, and Orvieto. While all three have unique features to offer, the most memorable for me was Orvieto. I love spending the night in new hotels and getting to share a room with two girls I had yet to travel with on the weekends was a good way to shake things up.

Walking around the small town that first night, it was easy to feel how the energy there was more alive than the other small towns. The face of the clock tower in the middle of the town illuminates the sky at night, looking like a full moon. We ran into some other American study abroad students in Orvieto. It was refreshing to talk to other people who can relate to what we are doing.

The next day, the group split in half to either attend the woodworking studio or the ceramics workshop. Since I am an Interior Design major, I went to woodworking. I was blown away as soon as I saw the entrances and benches surrounding the shops of Michelangeli, the woodworking brand we visited. One of the designers showed us around the stores and the studio. She described the process and how they have four designers heading up the brand. The custom furniture I got to see reminded me of the endless possibilities in this industry!

One of the masterpiece benches by Michelangeli

One of the masterpiece benches by Michelangeli

Ashton Bobo

In Need of Vitamin Sea

Since I couldn't build a sand castle, here's my pebble castle.

Since I couldn’t build a sand castle, here’s my pebble castle.

Everyone loves the beach! The salt breeze in the air, the sun on one’s skin; it has a calming presence. Growing up spending whole summers at a time living off the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, I’ve grown to appreciate the beach. It makes me relaxed and reminds me of simple times, especially during the off season when there are fewer tourists and the towns are quiet and filled with only locals.

Every year for spring break, I go to my beach house. As spring break approached, I decided it would be a good idea to go to a beach in Italy. It would be comfortable and remind me of home, which I was in need of. I chose to travel along the Amalfi coast. I had heard so many amazing things about the beaches there. All the photos I saw online showed a large beach with a unique atmosphere. It was filled with liveliness and tourist. I thought it would be a great way to meet people.

What I found was much different. When I got off the bus in Positano, a city along the Amalfi Coast, it was nothing like I had imagined or seen in the photos. There was no one around. All the shops were closed and there was no beach in sight. The bus had dropped me off by a huge set of stairs. Stairs at the beach? I had never ever seen that before. Florida beaches are flat. As I walked down 567 stairs, I came to the city center. It was smaller than Seagrove beach on 30A. There were a few people in the city square that informed me that it was the off season for them. That was the reason all the shops were closed. They were preparing for the season opening. Since, I could not do much of anything in the square, I decided to check out the beach. What I encountered was the Mediterranean Sea and a pile of pebbles. Where was the sand, I thought. So much for relaxing and getting a sun-kissed tan. I could not lay out on a pile of rocks! I couldn’t event build a sand castle.

As I hiked along the beach, each step sinking deep down into the pebbles, I thought, this isn’t that much different than home. As I sat, I thought of how easy life seemed at this time here in Positano. It reminded me of the off season back home in Flordia. I felt at peace and calm, which is why I love my beach house so much. I had been so upset at what I came to find of the Italian beaches, but I didn’t realize till I was forced to take it in, how amazing it was. It was just like being at home; sitting on the beach listening to the waves break, taking in the scenery and allowing my mind to rest. Even-though this wasn’t what I thought I wanted, it was the highlight of my vacation. I found a little bit of home, here amongst Italy’s beaches. As I climbed back up the stairs to catch the bus back to Ariccia, I thought “I am so lucky”. Being part of a program like Joseph S. Bruno Auburn Abroad in Italy allows me to have personal travel time and opportunities to explore Italy and all its beauty, like I found on the Amalfi Coast.

Miranda LaTourette


Espresso Unlike Any Other

I can remember our initial drive into Ariccia seeing ‘BAR’ written on nearly every other building in town. I was a little caught off guard to see such a bar scene in a town with well under 20,000 people. I quickly came to find out that a ‘bar’ in Italian is simply a coffee shop. This actually was great news for me, as I recently became an avid coffee drinker prior to this trip abroad. And, if I thought I loved coffee before I came to Italy, I really, really, really love it now.

First, coffee drinks in Italy, especially Ariccia, are cheap. By cheap I mean €.80 for a caffé macchiato and if you are I want to splurge, I can buy a cappuccino for €1. This allows me to really justify going to the Bar to get my espresso each morning compared to in the US, where I would be forced to pay upwards of $5 for my tall caramel latté.

Secondly, the quality of espresso in Italy far exceeds that back in the US. I realize that some hipster coffee shops are on the rise in the US, but compared to what most Americans drink every morning to what the Italians have is unparalleled. The time and thought that goes into each shot of espresso is just crazy. Even with lines wrapped around the corner at the Bar in Roma Termini, the baristas are grinding the espresso beans fresh with each shot. The passion behind each drink is so great.

Finally, I just love the entire atmosphere in which Italians choose to drink their coffee. Each morning, I walk into the bar and all of the locals are standing around the bar, with their cappuccinos and eating their cornettos (Italian pastries), talking about the latest football game. Actually, I really can’t understand anything they are talking about, but at least that’s what I would guess. Regardless, it is clear that stopping by the bar each morning on the way to work is a part of most Italians morning routine.

As you can probably tell by now, I am taking full advantage of the Italian espresso any opportunity I can get.

Maddie Kreamer

My Morning Café Macchiato con Cioccolato

My morning caffé macchiato con cioccolato