Ships Ahoy!

Military man is leaving for deployment today. Thank God it's a short mission. I can't understand why this is so hard for me when in the past they have been six months long. This oneis about 2 monts and I'm so close to family that throwing the kids in the car and being with mom and the in=law is only a short afternoon drive. Going home is always a good way to break up the time and get some family attention.

[In full Military Dress Blues]
[daily uniform]
Lately, though, MM and I have been short-tempbered about the whole process. You would think that after 14 years of the Navy we were used to it. But who can get used to worry, seperation and anxiety. Explaining this feeling to my civilian friends and family is still a challenge. They look at me like I'm growing a horn out of my forehoead. My favorite comments lately, when I make what might resemble a complaint of having to be it all for Cory, Lucy and Nina is, "You should be used to it" or "Yes, but you don't have to work a forty-hour week." They are right. It's about an eighty-five hour work week not including overtime, no sick days or paid vacations. Yeah, it's a good thing I don't work. Have you sensed some sarcasm? Good, then I wasn't too subtle.

Of course, others, have been so wonderful as to thank us for making these sacrifices so that they can sleep better at night. We appreciate those people. These words are the encouragement military families need to keep going. They validate us.

So, for those of you with significant main squeezes, say a little prayer of thanks that they're coming home today to share in your day.


postcards from positano

positano seaside

positano sky

out from behind the camera

hello. i rarely make an appearance on my own blog, however, i still managed to stay behind the camera...can you say Control Freak?!  Recently, MM and I made a day trip to positano for a rendez-vouz sans enfants (terrible french, I know). 

please, don't be too nauseated when i say this..."it could not have been a more perfect day." everything was just right; weather, traffic (a big topic of conversation around here) the food, little tourists to fight for space, everything! we did a little shoe shopping; MM's new obsession but I left empty handed, though. no shoes for me. (*gasp) just some great shots and memories of a wonderful lunch date.

If you're wondering, why I'm back to lizabee & co...well, whom am I kidding? I'm nothing without the company I keep. These silent days without the wonder brats are proving it to me more and more. 



i'm thinking of you...really.

It seems that life has gone from coasting to roller coasting. However, I have managed to keep calm and write on...academically that is. A different kind of writing altogether. Writing here is so easy even if finding the time is not. As I was handing the professor my papers, she could see the fear in my eyes. But it didn't stop her from plastering graffiti over mine. Red is quickly becoming my least favorite color.

Well, it seems that the last place I left you was the night before the first day of school. Yes, I was a sappy mess for the first two weeks. The house is empty for a good portion of the day. The silence kills me but the school work is keeping my mind occupied. Oh...and there's always Italy...The greatest distraction! The school work is stifling my creativity, though. I'm hoping that time will show me how to make room for it all. Maybe, not as prolific over here but I'm hoping the quality will be just as good or if not better. The new challenges are giving me a different perspective and forcing me to give procrastination a piece of my mind.

Wondergirl & boy did wonderfully on their first weeks of school. And if you're wondering about the the little one...she's loving preschool. Too much if you ask me.

post script: I'm really annoyed how the new blogger upload is slightly changing the quality of the pictures. They were never this dark. Hope this gets ironed out soon. 


Sappy mom alert! Abort! Abort!


barely five

growing dreaming wondering

of her first day of


[*sigh of a melancholy mom] it's wondergirl's first day, tomorrow. wish us luck. Lord, knows i can use it. my thoughts are everywhere of her. it's hard to describe how i feel about not having her ALL to myself until next summer. i'm not too keen about sharing my girl. i just hope that the day is everything she deserves.

as i'm thinking of her as her day unfolds, this song will continue to play in my head. it pops into my head every time i see her play with her things at home. Enjoy! I'm being such a sappy mommy, I know. oh well, you can deal.

Now, I'm off to enjoy a glass of wine and a good night's sleep, hopefully. [fingers-crossed]


back to school, a vacation & a giveaway!

It's been crazy busy around here. We have been preparing for back to school for both wonder kids and me. I've decided to get back to school and work on a master's. The opportunity to get started was too good to pass up.

So, here i am... Just when i have all the cuties off to school or preschool, I'll be studying hard. My original thought was to savor the personal space, tour around this region and study italian but i'll be doing this plus hitting the books. 

With all this activity going on we have one last trip to round off our summer...Corfu, Greece .The suitcase is nearly packed. We're excited to get on that ferry with some of our favorite people and celebrate the beginning of a new school year. Or in the children's case...mourn the end of summer.

Saying that, I wanted to pass this along to you. I've noticed that there are quite a few new followers and subscribers to my little space and wanted to welcome you, as well as, thank all my loyal readers for joining my travel adventures. THANK YOU!!!

Please feel free to download the september calendar to print, use as desk top calendar or however you wish. Click on the picture and it will take you to my new just liza {download} account where you can easily take the picture for your personal use. But please don't be a CAD and take the credit for yourself. Remember that Supreme Beings are watching and that Karma can be a nasty girl!

Thank YOU!


{picture taken in sperlonga, italy}


verona, part two: how we travel

As we travel along with kids in tow, I usually am the one left behind while the two of them catch up on soccer, video games or tips on how to deal with friends or his sisters. It's never a glamorous shot but a memory worth archiving.

Traveling with a child in a backpack, stroller and one walking fast enough to catch up with us is never what I imagined when we decided to move to Italy. However, it's our reality. It's tough at times and a bit discouraging. We've had to pass up on several great adventures. We could have arranged for  a sitter and escaped for a few days of mommy and daddy time but politely have said, "no."

There's something to be said about doing it your own way and having those memories to revisit sometime in the future with them. I know what I'll remember as I snap and journal along the way.  Those sweet little faces in far away places.


a stop in verona, part one

We were like the thousands of romantics who flocked the Capulet home to feel just one degree of separation of the most famous star-crossed lovers. It was a welcome stop on our trip to Germany. Verona is such an enchanting little town with its own City sight-seeing tour bus (for those of you like to ride and listen to history). However, we chose to walk it for ourselves and experience it from the ground up.

"For never was a story of more woe. Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."
juliets graffiti
we went. we admired. we scribbled

I just wish we came better prepared for the wall. If we knew, we would have brought a Sharpie. I, now, have one in my camera bag.

next post: Verona, part two

{equipment used: Nikon d200, nikon 85mm, Photoshop Actions by Leah}


garmisch, finale : a hike through town

A bike-ride through a few neighboring towns to Eisen lake in Germany lead to a car-ride to Eisen lake in Germany. Those hills and the previous' day bike-ride to town killed me. MM is so sweet and patient. He was so anxious to get some exercise through Germany but I pooped out on him, instead. We did make it through two towns away and the ride downhill was great. 

Once at Eisen lake you are in awe at its size and the clarity of the water. The lake is basically a reservoir that sits not nearly at the bottom of the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany, but in a valley with trails around the perimeter. If you're feeling even more adventurous you can hike through the forest, too. It was so beautiful and peaceful, I recommend packing some munchies and making a whole day of it. You can take advantage of the great little beaches and boats you can rent hourly. 

MM and I ended up hiking for about an hour with our youngest, stopping along the way to play in the water and climb on some rocks for a few family snaps. Later, we ate at a quaint restaurant by the lake for a quick bite to eat before picking up the wonder kids from camp.

It was a wonderful work-cation at the Edelweiss Resort & Lodge in the end. I got my R & R and the offspring got a taste of camp. Finally, MM and I got some alone time. Yep, we're looking forward to our trip back in December. 

{equipment used, nikon d200, nikon 85mm, and leah's actions, again}

next post... A Stop in Verona


garmisch, parte deux


i'm not feeling especially wordy today just wanted to share more pics of the recent trip to Germany. Do you feel like you've seen the castle on the hilltop before? Let me give you a little hint...

it's a small world afterall...
Yes, even Walt Disney himself found inspiration in his travels abroad. 
It's Neuschwanstein Castle built but not finished by King Ludwig, II 

so from the top...
1. a view from Neuschwanstein Castle 2. farmhouse 3. Castle (front view) 4. Castle (rear view) 
5. cute little german girl anxious to show off her goats

the end...

{camera used nikon d200, nikonn 85mm, processed on PhotoShop CS4 with leah's actions}

...next post Garmisch, part three


guten tag.

Yes, we're on the road again. This time to Garmisch, Germany for a work-ation. Military Man is working and we're playing. Decided to take a little time away from everybody to play with this image a bit. I took this while on the way to Neuschwanstein Castle. The cows almost look like toys, don't you think?

Well, we're all doing are own thing. MM is working, the kids are in camp and I'm just relaxing. Getting a little taste of what life's going to be like when school starts...yikes...did i just say that? By the way, I like what I'm tasting. I'm not going to lie...after almost a decade of toddlers in the household I'm looking forward to some alone time. YES!

In the meantime, enjoy your summer and it's peaceful rhythm. Those little guys are...mooooo.

{camera used nikon d200, nikon 85mm, edited on iphoto and picnik}


I'm buried

under a mountain of pictures, once again. Difficult to find a starting point...So, I'll start here...

I turned 40 this past weekend. Yes, FORTY! It's a number that some people feel completely overwhelmed to turn but I can say that I LOVE IT!!!!! Am I strange? Is that weird? Oh, who cares!

I feel like I have a lot to accomplish and looking forward to all of it. I've left that twenty-something, thirty-something girl behind with all of her hang-ups, complaints and amazingly, overnight have become a full-fledge grown-up.

Now, a milestone like this doesn't go ignored in this family without some sort of celebration. We took a hour road trip to the town of Amalfi and sunbathed & boated like the natives. We spent the morning on a pebble beach situated on via Lungomare dei Cavalier, rented a boat and ate here.

Ristorante da Teresa is not only a great place to eat but a treat. You can get there by both land and sea and once there you can just rent chairs and an umbrella for  the rest of the day. It's much easier to get there by boat even with small children because by foot is a long climb down stairs. Once we were done we freshened up and took a five minute walk to downtown Amalfi for some gelato, of course.

There's something that comes with answering "I'm Forty" to the question "How old are you?"

I feel confident and centered. No, really. I had an unsettling feeling for awhile and it's not just my relocation but something that I couldn't put my finger on...THIS IS IT. I guess I have been shedding my old skin for this new one.

I love how it's slightly stretched, sun spotted and wrinkled.

{pictures taken with nikon D200, nikon 85mm, enhanced on Photoshop CS4}


venice part two

a gondola ride, a courtyard & an alley

gondola docked

gondola ride, venice, italy

nina on gondala

cory on gondola



Second and final of part of venice. In a recent conversation with a friend about my trip to venice, she asked me how much i liked it. I replied, "I loved it" of course. Her follow up questions was, "Did you take a gondala ride?" My response..."Well, YES! Who wouldn't!" 

To my surprise, quite a few. She later told me that most people don't because of one reason or another the expense. Those that did have a ride, LOVED their trip and those that didn't, thought that Venice was just okay. Just okay...well, that's just sad. 

My personal advice, if you're considering a trip to Europe have the full experience. Like when in Venice, get on a gondola or when in Holland, try on a pair of wooden shoes and see some windmills. This is my second chance to travel through Europe and I'm doing it just like the first. Taking it all in and seizing every opportunity. I will admit it's more challenging this time around with the kids. Half of the experience of traveling IS doing some of the cheesy or cliche things for the sake of getting the complete experience. They may feel "touristy" or fake but just remember that some of those very same "touristy" things hold hundreds of years of history and you're taking a slice of it home with you. So, just do it! 

Now, about our experience on the gondola. My first response was..."Wonder Boy, no problem but what are we doing getting a toddler and a preschooler on the boat?" You should have seen some of the expressions on people's faces while we were boarding. I'll have to say that the driver was a bit shocked, too. But, I quickly shook my initial response off, ignored the stares and said to myself, "sister, this is your chance...GET ON!!!!!" I'm so glad we did. Frankly, this is my adventure and if I continue to wait for the right or perfect time to do this or that, it will be gone. I will admit that Military Man and I are definitely the more adventurous type. Not many people would consider backpacking through Europe with a toddler on their backs, but why not? Our first gondola ride experience may not have been as romantic as others but its ours.

{pictures taken with nikon d200, 24-70mm lens, natural light, leah's actions}


yes, you've got the right place

not much has changed...

just the header
just my focus
just lizabee & co.

I have enjoyed over two years blogging under lizabee & co. however, things have evolved and my perspective has changed a bit. the company i keep is still the center of my world but i've been able to change my focus since the babies, have become toddlers, have become school-aged. 

i'll be happily blogging about our adventures throughout italy and europe and continuing to challenge myself, my photography and writing. i just hope that you'll enjoy ...just liza for now.


venice part one

While in venice, my shots were a record low. most NORMAL photographers probably ended their days with a sore shutter finger. not me...i thought i was being more thoughtful with the images and surely some are just that {like the first one}, however, honestly i was just in awe of its elegance. it has to be one the most spectacular cities on the planet. beauty was all around me and the images that i had seen so many times before in film or print were coming alive before my eyes. like the enormous Piazza San Marco with all its pigeons and cafes. San Marcos cathedral. the Grand Canal. Gondolas...oh, my.

So, my camera stayed by my side for most of our walks because venice is just so grand and i focused on capturing a feeling and its details. what i normally feel while walking through most of italy is what i felt while watching movie classics like Karina, with Sophia Loren and Clark Gable, or Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. a feeling of timelessness...my goal was to capture a feeling of nostalgia. which is why i chose to use more actions with these shots. in addition to, the fact that it was the middle of the day when the sun is the harshest and brightest and i'm revealing a big secret here... sometimes you can hide poorly lit conditions with actions, which is what i did with some of these. 

ciao, venezia

venice skyline

around the corner docked pretty facade

he's laughing at me

the ride you've been waiting for

i have more that i'm editing of venice, and paris, and rome, and sperlonga {a beach south of Rome} but who am i kidding it will take me a lifetime to do them all. so, for now i have these and my most favorite one....

Venetian Blue

Venetian Blue.

Venice was magnificent.

{pictures taken with nikon 200 & nikkor 24-70mm, leah's actions}


all dressed up...

and ready for sale...this etsy thing has me very excited. I've had lots of exposure on my pictures and can't believe how many have chosen to heart my shop and some of my pics already. a couple of users even featured me as one of their treasures. it's all so flattering. i'm always so humbled when people like my work.

here are a few more that i've been working on...you may have recognized a few already if you been following me for awhile, with the exception of a new look.



a couple of shots from my travels through italy and I couldn't help to make them look a bit more vintage and aged. they feel timeless this way. dontcha think?


to etsy or not to etsy?

that is the question...and the answer is yes!!! i have been going back and forth with this so i decided to have a go with it and it's going well, already. i have had more views on etsy in the two hours that it's been open than the two months plus that the shop has been opened. goes to show you about the power of handmade.

of course, the new shop had to have a new header, too.
slightly different than the website but just barely. i'm really getting into playing with the photoshop and making headers and logos. it's REALLY a lot of fun. oh my...when did i turn into such a techie nerd. oh, well...i'm going with that, too.

on another note, the family's been great. we are feeling really settled here and it's a settled that feels a little too comfortable. i have really come to terms with the move and feel dangerously comfortable to the point that i can get careless. the kind of careless that can rock my world. and what i'm referring to is theft. as beautiful and wonderful as it is living here that seems to be the biggest concern. it's unfortunate but something that the ex-pats have to be conscious of on a daily basis. so, just as i open our french doors and windows i have to make sure that everything is shut tight before we leave home. small price we have to pay to live the dream, i guess. 

and if you want to bring some of the dream home to you check out my new etsy shop!



Burano, originally uploaded by Peter Bardell.

I'm reporting to you as a tired but very happy girl from our cozy b& b in Venice. We just finished our day trips to the neighboring islands of murano and burano and they were spectacular. Did i forget to mention that we were planning a trip to Venice. Well, it was a surprise to me, too. Military man just decided on father's day that he wanted to go and to help him make it happen. So, i did...i'm a good wifey that way. i never imagined that i would love venice so much even with the large number of tourists around me. But even among the masses you can feel like you're the only one in the streets. Then, one of the little ones screech and i'm back out of la la land and helping to diffuse a small fire.

Even with our little fires here and there, i can say that we all love it, the little ones have been entertained with the glass blowers, parks, the waterways and daddy's new video camera for all the home movies he likes to take. but it's been boy wonder who's been most interested in our new toy. this truly is one of the most magnificent cities i have seen and the people are amongst the most happy i've encountered...lovely and friendly.

more to come...oops, the fire alarm just went off...


to all the Mother Fathers out there! Word!!

so, I'm sure that many of you have met the sienna family but i just was introduced to them...toyota was brilliant to come up with this marketing masterpiece. made me laugh and miss my odyssey.

happy father's day for all the dad's pimpin a cool 'mini'



we can taste it...

summer that is. we can also feel it, smell, & see it. our senses are heightened and as the school year for wonder boy comes to an end, we have summer camps, pool time, sun and surf and a little reading to catch up on. 

i hope all this planning doesn't become a drag.


I'm still here.

Yes, I'm still here plugging away at the computer but these days it's been on a new website to showcase the photography. I've been less creative and more techinical and it's has me a bit worn out. I had found a great site that was giving me everything I wanted AND extremely easy to use. After two days and an all nighter, yes, can you believe it...an all nighter! I had uploaded almost all of the pics and my personal info without a hitch. Then this morning the bubble burst. I CAN NOT ACCESS MY GALLERY, THE WEBSITE, or any other photographers related to this website. It's not all gone. I just can't get to it.

The site had great customer service, which, responded right away and gave me some tips but still nothing. So, after all that hard work I think I have to find a new host and site.  The customer service rep could access it, military man view it from work (MM could see it because they work on US servers.) It's an Italy thing. A problem i've encountered before but much earlier in the game. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have this problem. But since I don't want to change things over, just yet. I'm giving it the weekend to sort out...check it out here and tell me what you think. I had figured out Photoshop CS4, finally, to create my new logo and I really love it. I'm pretty proud of it.

Here's a preview. Maybe I should get into logo design? Any-takers?

Don't forget to check me out and drop me a comment. I sound pitiful don't I...? I just need a cyber hug...heeelllppp!


a simple confession...

"Each morning when i open my eyes I say to myself:
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead,
tomorrow hasn't arrived yet.
I have just one day,
and I'm going to be happy in it."
-- groucho marx

This is what i had to remind myself as i made the transition from the US to Italy. the confession is this. the move was never easy...easy to make, physically or emotionally. i've might have made it out to be a seamless, effortless move with little or no hiccups. there's been obstacles both big and little that had made me regret the decision to move abroad. And especially living in this particular part of italy. when you imagine gentle weather and sunflowers swaying in the wind, that you're shocked to discover many days of bad weather and serious issues with the region's infrastructure. real things that wake you up from the italian dream. 

in the begining, living abroad had taught me that i was much more attached to the american lifestyle that i ever imagined. never thought of myself overindulged or spoiled but i missed the little things that made life very easy. for example, closets and electrical outlets. 

sounds silly, but you never know how attached one can be to this particular use of space and convenience so greatly appreciated in the states. getting used to the idiosyncracies of a new place is daunting...there were a lot of tears, sweat and threatening to pack up and go home. there were other things that pushed me to my limit, like living in a home with no insulation in the cold winter months, having to deal with a gas company that continuously tells you they are going to fill your nearly empty gas tank "domani" {tomorrow}, mold growing on your walls, a damp basement, crazy driving and finally, stories of doom and gloom as well as the anxieties of the other families around base which if you listen to them enough can make you crazy. you sound surprised...don't be. Remember, i blog about what makes me happy and complaining about closets or electrical outlets is just plain STUPID!

all those problems have worked their way out. i'm not living in a dump with moldy walls. the place is fantastic but it took an open mind, a lot of {house}work and patience to work all these things out. I just decided one day...when i was just too exhausted to think, complain or cry... to sit back...to take the bulls by the horn and create peace & harmony out of chaos. 

here's an example of my to do lists...

1.  open french doors to air the house out and let the gentle breezes in
2. hang laundry out on my balcony while gazing at the sea
3. clean up after breakfast while listening to the birds outside our window
4. empty the dehumidifier's water pail before clearing out space in basement for a new play space & workspace for me & the kids to play and create.
5. have mozzerella di bufala for breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks
{a new obsession and if you've ever had it you'd understand!}
6.  wrap up the day with glass of my new favorite bianco on the terrace.

I hope that when i leave italy that i will miss it, as i've missed all my other duty stations.


fun in ravello

more fun in ravello

fun in ravello

wise guys...having some fun on a short day trip to ravello which by the way is breathtaking. i thought positano was beautiful! hmph, wait till you see some of my snaps of this beautiful town high on a mountain top in the amalfi coast.

OH, and the drive is an adventure all by itself. riding through all the amalfi coast is spectacular but for a person afraid of heights, like me, it can be tricky. these places are lovely but the roads connecting the towns are SCARY!!!! most of the images taken while military man is driving are shot through my fingers or one-handed because i can't seem to pry my white-knuckles from the door. it's actually pretty funny. so, when we arrive to a town i am so relieved and take hundreds of shots.

these are two of my favorites while letting out some steam from a very long drive to ravello. the staff at this restaurant, as all restaurants throughout italy, are warm and friendly. they really make you feel at home. the distance from our house to ravello is relatively short, however, the traffic is fierce with lots of stops along the way. no one usually complains because the stops are a great break from the twists and turns of the road and the views are relaxing.

now for a preview of what we saw...

scala {view from ravello}

scala {neighboring town to ravello and named for the thousand steps it takes to reach the mediterranean sea}

beautiful ceramics

a view from the car {white knuckles in place}

secret garden

and a secret garden.

we vowed to come back...maybe, i'll bring a blindfold for the drive up next time.