2012 in REVIEW

dear twenty-twelve,

you were good to me.   …let’s see why!

i started the year off in ITALIA with my mom. an unforgettable trip of a lifetime that i wouldn’t want to spend with anyone else.

here she is in Florence:

italy 775

here i am in Rome:

italy 048

We made it to Venice as well:

italy 950

….and Siena and Sorrento. and ate and ate and ate. took a cooking class in Florence. fell in love with the land. and had, case in point, the greatest time! perfect start for 2012 if you ask me!

.

NEXT…march 2012.    …and i stole the first hug from this certain Gossling boy who came home from his mission in Argentina…

mish

…i went to the beach!…

boat2

.

that Gossling boy and i became pretty close and enjoyed spring together in GA…

IMG_8577IMG_8606

i moved to UTAH in April and became roommates with this crazy fun blonde bombshell…

IMG_9215

…and reunited with this blonde bombshell….

IMG_8822

…i turned 25! and a certain Gossling boy flew out to surprise me!…

IMG_9494IMG_9548

…Summer 2012, i flew home to GA and that Gossling boy and i road-tripped back out to UT together…

road trip kansasroad trip fields

…long story short…that Gossling boy proposed,  and we started planning a party…and our forever together…

Engagements_137

…the DMOPC family grew…our family at work….

company_pic_2012_funny

…the big party happened in September…(Elissa turned 26 on our big weekend!)…

IMG_1844

sisterstemple girls

576937_10151124808708929_1894714582_n

…even my Grandparents came from Mexico!…

bluth gpa

…married life began. it treated us right. then the husband and i road tripped to California for Thanksgiving to visit family…

nancy&mikeIMG_5596IMG_5559IMG_5731

…we had fun on the way home stopping in VEGAS with our friends, Lora & Dan Grady (who made the road trip with us! so fun!)…we pinballed and dinner dated!…

pinballramen

frozen hot chocolate

…2012 brought new friends…we are so blessed to have…

whit lora175964_10151083712607041_231546777_o

…in 2012…Gossling Farms was established (best idea ever, Michael & June!)…which allowed for a kick-A wedding reception and for this to happen….woohoo!…

fourwheeling

 

…December brought family, friends, and fun as well with Christmas and New Year’s in Georgia….but that will get its own separate post. As well as a well-overdue post with more wedding pictures if I ever get around to it. 2013 in preview also to come…

so yes, 2012, you were good to me. thank you!

 

love, whit

p.s. – as it’s a new year…i decided to align my text to the left for Dave.

Continue Reading

Sorrento, Italy

South of Rome. South of Naples. Along the “almost” Amalfi Coast is Sorrento, Italy. I now know it for it’s small-town “country” hospitality, amazing ocean views, windy seaside fishing village, and lemons the size of your head.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled with my choice of hotel…right up on the ocean-side cliff…

our room was great, with a balcony view to die for…

we had to follow a little road to get into town, but I really enjoyed the 7 minute walk and the view…

once in town, the tiny cobblestone roads are filled with little shops (all on sale – holiday season perks!) — Did you know that in Italy, stores are not allowed to have sales whenever they want? Sales only happen twice a year…and when they do, everyone has to go on sale. Fortunately for us, all the sales last 6 weeks after Christmas! woohoo! In every city, too! double whammy!

Anyway…check out these ginormous lemons that Sorrento is so famous for…

i loved the paths leading down to the ocean…and the views of Vesuvius…

we walked down to the port one day…and ate at this restaurant…SO GOOD!…

I forgot to take a picture of our food before it was practically gone – my caprese salad…mom’s veal and cheese filled potato something-er-other…

she gave me one…and my Gnocchi di Sorrento (with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella) was heavenly…

a rainy night in the central plaza of Sorrento……more on Sorrento…and it’s fishing village – Marina Grande – later…

love, whit

Continue Reading

How I became an Italian chef in a day: Florence Food & Wine Academy

Italy is known for it’s food. Art, yes. History, yes. Fashion, yes. {now i’m only being reminded of how AMAZING Italy is}.. But the FOOD, oh the food! Cooking and food is a lifestyle and passion that forever lives on all over the country. Unlike the states, I saw very few “grocery stores.” In fact, I didn’t see any until we made it to our third city – Florence. Instead, you have fresh markets or little shops and stands specializing in a specific item (ie: bakeries, butcher shop, produce stand, etc). I even wondered if Italians ever ate frozen food like we Americans love so much (ick, why WOULD you with the alternative available??). My question was answered when we wandered into a tiny grocery store down the alley from our  bed and breakfast…in the very back was one freezer with some frozen vegetables and cool whip. Ha!

italy 673

Point in case: In Italy, food is about QUALITY, fresh, and in-season ingredients. Eating isn’t done on-the-go…maybe if you’re a student, in which case you would grab some “fast food”. Let me clarify that “fast food” for them is still a freshly put together panini, pizza, or salad that ranks better than Panera or Atlanta Bread Company. This is probably why overweight Italians are hard to come by. They eat well, and they get out and walk around town. …My kind of lifestyle!

I found an opportunity for us to take a private cooking class while in Florence and jumped on it! It was the best decision, and by far the most enjoyable day of our whole trip. Mom agrees.

italy 672

Our 5 hour class began as we followed our local chef to the fresh market in Florence to buy our ingredients. There we were also educated on olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette…VERY fascinating and taste testing included!

italy 675

italy 680

italy 683

Once we had everything we needed, our small group walked to the “ristorante” to learn how to be an Italiano in the kitchen!

That’s Andrea, our chef, turning on some background music to set the real Italian mood…

italy 689

we put on our aprons and were ready to COOK!

italy 690 b

we started off preparing our dessert – Tiramisu – all whipped and mixed by hand…

italy 692

italy 697

i was so PROUD of my accomplishment. after chilling in the refrigerator all afternoon, it tasted like heaven…

italy 699

my pictures are a little out-of-order : Here Andrea was drizzling the bruschetta (pronounced Broo-Sket-Uh…he always corrected my calling it “broo-shet-uh”) we prepared with extra virgin olive oil.

Note: toast the bread and then rub it with a fresh whole garlic clove and always only use ONE herb for seasoning. More than one confuses the flavors. We chose fresh oregano (with a sprinkling of sea salt and pepper). My favorite bruschettas that I had were topped with zucchini and mozzarella, and the other with grilled porcini mushrooms.  Tomatoes suit me though just as well. YUMMM!

italy 720

Before making our homemade pasta, we prepared a Bolognese Sauce (with soft fresh sausage…none of that harder crap) and a Vegetarian Sauce…both with simple ingredients but more flavor than I can describe!

Andrea is a funny man, he liked to give me a hard time. Though he showed me the trick to chopping fast like the pros and not worrying about my fingers! I still need to practice.

italy 702 b

italy 704 b

While the sauces were a-simmering, we made the pasta! Eggs, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and “00” Flour is required…such a pain that it’s not so easily found in the stores around Atlanta. Whole Foods let me down.

italy 717 b

i rolled out my dough paper thin…folded it over…sliced it my desired thickness….and voi-la! Ready to cook!

italy 724

I learned that after placing the fresh pasta in boiling water, you know it’s done when it floats to the top. (it only took not even a minute i don’t think)

italy 728

cook, combine, and ready to eat! (am i the only one who loves that mini ponytail?! i bet he plays soccer, too. i forgot to ask.)

italy 725 b

italy 734

Believe it or not, this was the best meal i ate our entire trip! I had seconds. And then dessert. I don’t think I can ever eat boxed pasta again and find it tasty.

and yes, we graduated!

italy 736

We’ve since re-created the entire meal for my dad….only I added caprese salad to the menu :)..of COURSE!

I am just a LITTLE italian food obsessed now. Or more, fresh food obsessed. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though. Just harder on the pocketbook.

love, whit

Continue Reading

walking through modern ancient rome

For me, one of the most incredible things in Rome (apart from reveling in the Sistine Chapel) was experiencing the Colosseum. You can see it from a distance in this picture I took:

anyway… up close, it is SO COOL (for lack of better words)!

Formerly known as the “Flavian Amphiteatre”, they started building it in 72 AD. Walking through a structure THAT old with so much history, is an amazing experience.

our tour guide, Alfredo – a Roman local, was so passionate and knowledgeable – he made it hard to not be even more excited about being in “Ancient Rome”…he knew everything, and smiled a lot while he talked about it…

i couldn’t help but be happy too!

pictures do not do justice to what it was like walking through this massive structure – CENTURIES old…with worn brick walls. It used to host THE main events back in its day – seating between 50-60,000 people. Obviously the main arena is worn off, but you can see underneath where there were once “elevator shafts” to let up the beasts for fights. Everything so ingeniously structured.

very fascinating.

afterwards, we wandered to The Ancient Forums … it’s a strangely beautiful combination and modern and old…

love, whit

Continue Reading

Roma, Italia – food and nightlife

Rome is a city of hustle and bustle, even in January. I can’t imagine what it’s like visiting Italy during spring and summer. I don’t imagine I’d like it very much. Though, the view from our fifth floor balcony was enough to make me happy. We stayed just a block or so away from the fascinating Campo De Fiori.

…looking down at night, the cobblestone streets were always busy with fiats, bikes, and locals. After 7pm is when everyone is out to get dinner or go shopping. We decided to try a little bakery/cafe that was just below us…i saw people go in and out of it so often, i figured it must be good! It was the perfect place to stop after a long day of walking all ends of Rome.

we got a small quiche to split and try (not very small in my opinion!) – spinach and cheese…i’ve never had a more mouth watering and moist quiche. Usually I’m not a fan of quiche crust, but this one had me hooked!

Mom picked out some of the fresh veggies and options to try. It was kind of a guessing game with the language barrier, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any food in Italy…

(artichokes and grilled eggplant…with a big hunk of fresh ham to be sliced sitting in the back)

the veggies were amazing … cooked, but served cold in olive oil. the mushy stuff, that’s broccoli, however they made it – delish!

and, the hot and melting homemade lasagna….OHyum! who needs a ristorante when you can buy this so much cheaper just around the corner?…

The streets in Rome (or Italy in general) are all so beautifully lit up for the holidays. It makes the feel of just BEING there that much better!

The main road, Via De Corso, is known for shopping (i especially fell in love with the four story H&M!). Around the holidays, the whole one mile stretch of road is canopied with these green, white, and red lights!!! so appropriate, no?

we stopped to actually taste “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”…turns out, they’re not my favorite…

walking down the narrow Roman streets full of shops and cafes to then happen upon THIS…it’s incredible.

the Pantheon is a sight of it’s own…but at night, it’s even more glorious!…

I’ve heard of trips where people “do Rome in a day” – ridiculous. impossible even! unless you skip 3/4 of the city. we had 3 1/2 days in Rome with still quite a bit neglected. Though we liked taking things slow and wandering a lot. The ART is fantastic and blows my mind…of course I’ll do a separate post on that. One of my favorite aspects of Italy however, is the nightlife. People get out and socialize and mingle.

I was upset that I left my camera in our hotel the night we made it to the Spanish Steps. I could have captured some great shots. Instead, I’m left with these:

mamita and me so happy

love, whit

Continue Reading

Oh, Italy – 2 weeks is not enough!

I started off 2012 with a 9 1/2 hour flight, 6 hour time change, and landing in Italy for my first European adventure! Bringing along with me my 61 year old mother (who hasn’t seen anywhere apart from the good ol’ U. S. of A. or northern Mexico where she grew up), it was “an experience of a lifetime!” she says.

it really was.

life bestowed upon me an opportunity to travel, and i’d always dreamed of Italy. So, after months planning which cities to stay in, for how long, what to see, and making sure i wouldn’t be TOO lost. it happened! my own personal tour of Italy via trains and buses and family owned bed and breakfasts was a success….and yes, everything i had dreamed of and more!

i over-indulged on tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil….in every form possible!…

(just a fresh snack in front of the Colosseum – no big deal)

i’m caprese OBSESSED! ok, FOOD obsessed…believe me when i say i ate well. the food is deserving of its own post.

.

Italy is an EYE-FUL! and just gorgeous! from the cities, to the rolling tuscan hills, to the coasts, the architecture, the nature, the tiny streets, the shops, the ART, the cathedrals, the details, and even the people.  it has so much to offer…

(mt. vesuvius)

we graduated from our “wanna be italiano” cooking class! (more on this later)

.

ok, so here is a taste!

i took, and this is no exaggeration…1500 photos! no, i will not post 1500 pictures, but i WILL break down my trip and give more details on the highlights. and there are oh-so-many!

until then…ciao

love, whit

p.s. – florence was my FAVVVVY!!!!

Continue Reading

out with the old IN with the new! best of 2011. goals 2012.

it’s that time…the LAST WEEK of 2011! icanhardlybelieveit.

let’s review 2011. last january started off with snow and ice:

but spring came…so did family…and the Atlanta, GA lds temple re-opened!

the temple made it possible for our friends to become a forever family!:

i turned 24:

the summer’s garden was a success:

(some of the first fruits!)…cinnamon and kids came to visit…we enjoyed july 4th together

(and i succumbed and chopped off all my hair)

my two best friends had their FIRST babies in the same week! i took prego pics of both:

and my SISTER had her fourth…happy new little nephew to ME…this is miles august ayres:

me and miles…i made it back to utah after like 4 years…for B’s wedding! and a reunion of friends:

mine and elissa’s reunion was WAY overdue.

same with ry guy.

and i even MET my blog bestie in PERSON!! miss chelsea vose.

and the year got even better, joe beau came to visit

and as you just saw..Christmas came, and so did my favorite Virginia family.

i try to reflect on the last year and it’s happenings. funny how it always feels like so long ago and yet also that the year sped by. i had to reference back to my old 2011 NEW YEAR blog post to see my list, how far i’ve come and what progress was made.

so, referring back to that list of goals, i DID in  R E V I E W:

– take more pictures: purchased a DSLR which was a major catalyst

– be more social? …eh, yes and no! haha.

– get back to school: i DID take some online classes in 2011. got a 4.0 in them! win!

– get in shape?: i joined a gym and fell in love with zumba. i would say a definite improvement/obsession for a healthier lifestyle was made. win!

– i HAVE done some painting in 2011. wish i’d done more.

– did i make it back to Puerto Rico? pick-up my old guitar skillz? or was there a boda? no, no, and…no. life goes on.

all in all, 2011 was a rough year for me. no lies. and although there weren’t many HUGE events for me…there was a lot of personal reflection and growth. i feel i have come a long way (but still with a long way to go). i feel i am so much more honest with myself and much more trusting in God and His timing. i also was employed full-time all of 2011…and blessed with a great job this year, too! i will count my blessings.

as for my Whitney Tutt 2011 BEST OF list…looking back, i have very little to offer as far as movies and music and all of that this year. so…please excuse my pathetic list.

MY top 2011 album releases:

haha…love how i had to throw in the Biebs there.

Feist, Wilco, Coldplay, and Adele all had noteworthy album releases in 2011 as well. I just haven’t spent too much time listening to them to be able to properly rate them. OH…and Pitbull…Planet Pit has some good ones! ha!

.

M O V I E S. i was the worst at seeing movies in 2011. but i did make it to THE END:

also, of course i saw the new Twilight. i should be ashamed of the few times i made it to the theater this year. i didn’t see the new X-Men. or Green Lantern. or Thor. or Cowboys and Aliens. or Bridesmaids. or The Adjustment Bureau. or…well. what DID i see?

that i can remember…Limitless. Fast Five. Super 8. Something Borrowed. Pirates 3. HP7. Breaking Dawn. Jane Eyre.

oh…i did thoroughly love this movie, if you have even heard of it, came out in Feb:

and, i’m such a fan of the 80’s classic, i loved the new one:

so, that’s that.

B O O K S!

my 2011 favvy:

and that concludes my 2011 review.

.

NOW

time for my 2012 goals. considering the last couple months of 2011 have been rather positive. it gives me hope for the NEW YEAR!

i mean, i WILL be spending my first two weeks of the new year in Italy. what better way to ring in 2012?! i feel like the year will be as eventful as it’s start.

2012 GOALS:

1. Thanksgiving Day half-marathon (with my sisters, that’s the plan)

2. maintain health and fitness (which will be needed to accomplish #1 – i also have new yoga dvds i need to try more regularly)

3. allow my hair to grow out at least long enough for a ponytail. ha! dye it less. 🙂

4. be more assertive

5. work on my sewing skills

6. practice piano often

7. maintain an eternal perspective

8. develop my art more – paint/draw more (aka: spend less time on Pinterest and more time actually DOING the great ideas)

9. complete one book a month

10. notice/do more for others. serve.

11. try a new recipe each month (i have so many “pending” to be attempted)

12. figure out my “continuing education” plan

13. travel somewhere new

14. work on my “technical” photography knowledge

15. true love

…i think i can handle those. realistic. attainable. worth it. i’m ready.

2012…bring it!

love, whit

Continue Reading

italy is almost here

ok, i will!

when i first made the decision to go to italy – i was obsessed. every day i was researching and looking up things to do…making plans. but it always seemed so far off.

but it’s HERE now! ohmygoodness!!!!

and for a while i didn’t think about it…until mid december when i freaked a little and realized i needed to finalize my bookings. 4 hotels are now booked….Rome, Sorrento, Florence, and Siena. but of course time will be spent along the Amalfi coast..Pompeii!…Pisa…Venice…i will ride in a gondola. i will eat gelato. and cannoli. and legit italian margherita pizza. and we willllll be taking a private cooking class in Florence with an Italian chef! – making a three course meal in which going to the market to buy fresh ingredients and homemade pasta is included (i’m soSOso excited about that!). and of course museum tours. and historical sites.

to stand in the sistine chapel! – i can’t wait.

and it’s….just around the corner!

i start to get nervous…thinking i forgot something in my planning.

oh well….it’s happening!

flight = January 2nd…the best way to start off a new year…i’ll get to check a couple items off my bucket list!

any suggestions/tips/must-do’s for while i’m in Italy are very welcome!!! in fact…do you have any??

Continue Reading