Monday, December 17, 2018

The Origin of the Christmas Tree

Hi! I haven't posted in forever, and plan to get around to finishing my Europe posts! While it is the holidays, I have decided to post some of my holiday themed posts first and post my other ones later! I apologize if you wanted it the other way around, but I just haven't had time with my new job! :)

So, let's talk about fun Christmas trees! :)

Christmas Trees have been around since the 16th century, where they were first used as decorations inside homes in Germany. Germans would decorate Christmas trees in their homes, and then also would have them outside in town squares. 

Also, rumor has it that Martin Luther was the first one to light candles in Christmas trees, because he wanted to replicate the view of starlight on the leaves of pine trees. 

When German families came to America, they brought this tradition with them. They did this mostly in Pennsylvania, where the German population was bigger. For years they were the only ones using Christmas trees because Christian Americans associated this with Paganism. 

Finally, in the 1840s, Christians came around to the beauty of the Christmas tree and they adopted the practice (thank goodness)! Since then, Christmas trees have been apart of the holiday tradition! 

Also, along with America adopting the tree - Queen Victoria did as well, and was possibly the one that made it popular!  Her and her German husband Albert, had a sketch done of them in front of a Christmas tree, and that really solidified the Christmas tree in the history! 

I went to a tree lot with my cute friend Brittain and loved taking pictures with these beautiful trees! It smelled so good and I loved how beautiful the different kinds of pine trees were! I didn't realize how many kinds there were until I was walking around the lot! :)

What kind of Christmas tree do you use? Real or fake? I grew up with fake but now do real ones in my own home! I love the smell, but hate the mess! I have been loving having my tree up in my house and it makes me so happy every time I walk by! 



Monday, November 5, 2018


I have always wanted to go to Milan, but never really made it a priority in my past trips to Europe. After visiting it, I am mad at myself for waiting so long & I am mad at myself for only having two days there! 

One thing you will learn about me as a traveler is that I do not like wasting time. Michael makes fun of the way that I don't like to relax on vacation. Honestly, I just love exploring and I love to jam-pack my days with everything! When it comes to Europe, I basically run on adrenaline cause my body is so so tired from the long long days & I am happy as can be when I am exhausted in Europe, haha! 

Ok, side note over... Back to Milan! My amazing & cute sister in law lived in Milan as an Au Pair, and so she gave us so many recommendations - check out her cute instagram here. We tried to hit as many recommendations as we could, and still didn't manage to get to them all! If you go to Milan, I definitely recommend this pizza place! Probably the best pizza I have ever had and my sister in law would go here with her host family, so we know it is native approved! ;) She also recommended Gelato Giusto, but we were unable to make it on our trip! 

Milan is an interesting city because we didn't really talk about it much in my art history classes. In the Renaissance, Rome & Florence were the centers of the art scene and Milan really took the back seat. Even though Milan wasn't super popular, it still was a place that Leonard Da Vinci worked at times, and is actually home to the famous Last Supper! 

Related image

Along with housing this famous work, Milan actually was the home base for the Sforza family. The Sforza family, who were basically the Medici family of Milan. They had claim to the Duchy of Milan and were rather large patrons of the arts! Leonardo Da Vinci actually traveled to Milan because he was searching for work & he was actually trying to work for the Sforza family as a military engineer.  In his application (see translated version of his application here), Leonardo lists all of his mechanical abilities, and leaves his artistic ones as a small side note! So crazy that his paintings are the reason he is so famous! The Sforza family is actually the reason the Last Supper was even created, because they are the ones that commissioned it! Sadly, I was unable to get in and see the Last Supper when we were in Milan (pro tip, if you are going to Milan, book a space to see the Last Supper ahead of time!).

While we were there, we did get to see the Duomo. The Duomo is a very interesting Cathedral, and one that was quite controversial since it took centuries to build (from 1386 to 1965!). Over its construction, it had 78 architects... speaking of architects, did you know that Leonardo Da Vinic actually contributed to the plans for the Milan Duomo? I only recently learned this and I am constantly amazed by Leonardo's genius! His plans didn't end up being used though, but Leonardo lived right next to the Duomo and would analyze it everyday! Look at his plans below: 

Along with having a bunch of architects,  there are more statues on the Milano Duomo than any other building in the world! The statues total at 3,159! The Duomo really has seen it all, and is quite hard for me to analyze since there are so many things going on stylistically. John Ruskin critiqued the Duomo and said that the cathedral steals from every style in the world and it spoils each one. He also said that the statues look like they were made by common stonemasons. While Ruskin hated it, Mark Twain visited it and loved it and remarked about how grand it was. When you walk in the Duomo, it is jaw-dropping how tall the entire structure is. I am always impressed by how they could build such grand buildings without modern technology! Although the composition is all over the place, I still think the cathedral is beautiful in its own way. 

One thing that is super fun about visiting the Duomo is the ability to climb to the top of it and see the city of Milan & look at the statues up close. I loved this aspect and thought it really was a neat experience! 

One thing that I really loved about the Milano Duomo was the color and texture of the marble & stone used on it. It is really unique compared to others that I have seen and I think it is my favorite marble that I have ever seen on a cathedral. 

From Milan, we traveled to Venice. I will be posting about that soon haha, I started a new job and I am just a little bit behind on writing all my posts! I am so excited to share all the pretty things I have seen in Venice!