Does This Country Make Me Look Fat? Guest Post By Melissa Kulp Frankenfield

This morning, someone asked if I was pregnant. Again. *Sigh* And she was a beggar. So, it was practically a hate crime.

Since this faux-pregnant gal is all for improving human-relations, I just graciously smiled (and swore off eating) as I assured her “No, bambini! No bambini! Mi dispiace.” I actually apologized. For not being pregnant. Does this country make me look fat? Apparently. No thanks to my steady diet of wine with a side of wine.

Here are my (unsubstantiated) anthropological findings: Italy is a study in contrasts. Legislation and liberty. Restraint and moxie. Beauty and decay.

For example: The Italian government gives trash removal the same oversight a TSA agent grants a passenger named “Kamil” with pilot’s license. Clear plastics must be separated from colored plastics which must be separated from glass which must be separated from paper and so on. Basically, it’s the IRS of trash laws.

So, you have that regulation. And then you have this liberty: While recently dining at a local trattoria, the proprietor/probable mafia godfather approached my entourage. The invariable first question is always as to whether all three are mine. All. Three. Friends, “three” does not even qualify me for a TLC reality show.  But, maybe I just seem that overwhelmed. Or like a child-trafficker.  You decide.

*Tight smile* Yes, yes, they are all mine. But, we aren’t sure about the father.


Then, suddenly, this hairy godfather reached down and plucked my toddler right out of his seat, holding him in his floured arms as he pinched his cheek and kissed his head.  Kissed. His. Head. And I hadn’t even signed a “photo release” form yet. Liability release forms. That was my first thought as he affectionately stroked my toddler’s chubby face. On one hand- I can hardly blame the guy. My man-child is edibly adorable. It’s his fatness. (An unfair asset for only the very young.) But, still, can you imagine a comparable situation in say- an Olive Garden? Um, never.  You would be on Megan’s List, labeled as a predator before the day ended.

But, to be honest- my “creeper radar” registered nothing on this old mafia kingpin. Most likely, he was one of those fabled Italians, who actually love children. And frankly, it is the trash police that we could do without. Cause ain’t nobody got time for that.

About The Author:

Melissa Kulp Frankenfield is a washed-up high school actress. Obscure pageant finalist. Child-wrangler. Homeschooler. Wannabe spy.


5 Steps To A Non-Conventional Night Out In Florence

English: Florenace, Italy at night, seen from ...

So you’re either on vacation, you’re an expat, or you’re a student, you’re maybe new and looking for something to do for a night out. I’m not big on the clubs in Florence because most of them are just creepy and rapey. My husband and I have a sort of spring/summer designated date night every weekend that I love, particularly because it’s something so specific to Florence. It really doesn’t work the same in other countries or cities. So, if you’re looking for something to do besides the usual dinner out, here’s an idea or two (especially helpful if you’re new to the city).

1) Get bikes. Throw something to sit on (large scarf or mini travel blanket) and a bottle of wine in your bag.

2) Hit Sant’Ambrogio for aperitivo (a cocktail and snack) around 6:30. Sit our stand in the little square, have a drink and a light snack.

3) Ride your bike to Giuggiolo. Eat your face off (but not literally, this scenario shouldn’t involve bath salts or other drugs that prompt zombie behavior because ew).

4) Hop on your bike and cruise to giardino della fortezza. Lay under the stars. If you’re with friends chat and watch other people do the same thing. If you’re a couple, make out or go ahead and make a baby! It’s Italy, nobody cares about your PDA! 

5) Drink your bottle of wine. Peddle drunkenly home, or be like me and walk your bike half way, then sit down and whine “this is too hard,” then throw your shoes and wander off to pee somewhere.


1) Ride your bike to Santa Spirito

2) Watch your wallet and purse because shit always gets jacked there.

3) Have aperitivo and dinner in the piazza, or nearby, though there are a few great places right in the square. Eat your face off and drink a bunch.

4) Hang out in the Piazza with all of the other Florentines who are there. Get to know some people.

5) Peddle home awkwardly.

What would you add to this list? What’s another good idea for an alternative date night (something other than dinner out)?


Announcement If You Are A Writer/Blogger In Tuscany! 

The Sigh Press, a literary magazine for English writers in Tuscany is currently accepting submissions. They take fiction, nonfiction, flash fiction, poetry, and artwork. If you’re a writer and looking to submit, or if you’re a reader and looking for something interesting to read, check them out: The Sigh Press

Random Things I Found While Looking Around:

This Capybara Being A Badass

The Strangest Best Friends I’ve Ever Seen

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Italy On The Internet

The internet is buzzing about Italy these days. Vintage photos, singing nuns, economic crisis, the pope, aaah Italy. I’ve gathered some of my favorite Italian news from the internet so I can share it with all of you.

This Singing Nun Makes That One Dude Cry And Shocks Everyone Else

These Vintage Snapshots Of Italy From Charles H. Traub

 The Evolution Of Pizza In This YouTube Video 

Photos Of The Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital In Tuscany 

Pope Addresses The Mafia And Asks Them To Stop Doing Evil 

(Unlike religious institutions who historically only do good).

Singing Nun On The Voice

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Street Style In Florence In October: Stalking People And A Day Out Embarrassing My Husband

I spent the day out with my husband stalking people in the center of Florence. My husband finds it highly inappropriate to take pictures of people I don’t know and he followed me around whispering, “stop DOING THAT!”. He needs to loosen up a little bit OR I need to have a different attitude about documenting other people’s lives. Anyways, I took a variety of different people all rocking their personal style for fall in Florence, Italy. You’ll notice the men in Italy are dressed very well with perfectly coordinated outfits. The women are similar and most of them were sporting the standard black boot that is ever-popular in Italy every fall/winter. This is an excellent Italian style guide for traveling to Italy because magazines are usually more focused on Milan style and what celebrities wear. This is how real people dress in Firenze. I threw in a few pictures of the city too because it was a beautiful day and because sometimes when people would stare at me for stalking them I had to take a picture of a building or something to look “normal.”


First Time On Surviving In Italy?

Your First Time Here? STOP. This is not a traditional travel blog. If you’re offended easily or struggle with sarcasm or irony you should skip my website and watch this instead. Also, I swear ALL THE TIME and ramble on about the capybara. You still there? Winning! I’ve Put Together Some Of My Most Popular Posts For You To Start With:


21 Ways To Survive Being An Expat 

Why Everyone Should Live In Italy At Least Once In Their Lives

Italian The Hard Way

10 Reasons That I’m Surprised That Someone Married M.E.


7 Best Things To Prepare You For Italy

5 Steps To A Non-Conventional Night In Florence

A Weekend In Chianti


Moving To Italy: Studying And Living 

Frequently Asked Questions: Jobs, Immigration, Circumcision, Love

31 Reasons You Would Be Better Off In Italy

How To Move To Italy


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