To Italy with love…



Italy was filled with so many faces and spaces people and church steeples, moods and amazing food!

Read on below to go back with me up above the clouds where I first heard God’s voice and then down, down, down amongst the cobblestone streets, busy traffic, Michelangelo’s David, the leaning tower of Pisa, pasta, and wine, wine, wine and more wine… 

When in Rome:

After checking into our hotel, Danika and I navigated the busy streets of Rome in search of the metro station. Final destination: The Coliseum. Armed with our southern charm and slight city savvy the streets of Rome felt familiar, comfortable, and welcoming. Rome was busy, loud, gritty and full of life. A gumbo of languages flooded the air from French to Spanish to English and of course Italian. “Everything in Italian sounds like a truffle.” I thought back to Elizabeth Gilbert’s line from Eat, Pray, Love. 

A short train ride later there in living color stood the Coliseum. The pictures and film and documentaries and other media could never truly capture the intimidating strength the monument possessed.

We joined the crowd of tourist looking lost and shocked and overwhelmed and took selfies and pano shots and stared some more in awe of this historic structure. Ever step we took towards the Coliseum a tour group lead approached us with “special deals” and “VIP tours” and “skip the line” perks that my awestruck mood went to annoyance real quick. We had just flown across the world and in my excitement I had barely slept the last two days but thanks to zzzquill the plane ride was a blur and unfortunately my body hadn’t fully woken up. Luckily Danika was there to negotiate the best “vip tour” and after a few short minutes we were inside on the ground floor, earbuds in our ears listening to our tour guide describe the pit where the gladiators roamed and the animals slept and the dead bodies were collected. (Side-note: I hadn’t seen Gladiators before this trip.)

Inside of the arena you could just about make out where the bleachers use to be. Those of a higher social class would sit near the bottom tier and those of lower class (and women) sat in the nosebleed section. 

We walked up and down and around and took pictures and just breathed in the history of the space and soon my feet, more specifically my pinky toe, was yelling at me to please put it out of its misery. We came, we learned, we walked were the Gladiators once stood… now it was time to begin the journey back to our hotel. 

Our hotel was snuggled in what appeared to be the center of everything. You know, not too far from this, just around the corner from that. The only issue was every street looked the same. The short walk to the train station at the start of this adventure felt like a lifetime to my pinky toe during the return trip. After asking some nice police officers for directions and after each of them gave their suggested route (much like our men in American) we somehow located the building with the huge sign across from the tiny dump trucks that led to the statues near the supermarcati which was just a few doors down from BAR that only served non-alcoholic drinks which was next door to the long red carpet that led us home to the Rome Garden Hotel to our twin beds (most European hotels have twin beds versus full or queens… we are so spoiled in America) and our Italian TV and our shower and our toilette and our hand towels and my tennis shoes which barely left my feet for the rest of the trip and we were happy. “Bitch, we’re in Italy!” I said to Danika. We were. We really were.

After a shoe change and a short walk, the Industrial Eat restaurant was our first food stop with wine a charcuterie board filled with meats, cheese, bread, jams and other goodness followed by pasta and more wine. Our first day in Italy felt like three days in one but it was worth it. It was so worth it. 

To be continued…


Doctors Are Taking Action To Fight Breast Cancer With Knowledge

October is “Breast Cancer Awareness” month; however, you should not wait until October to discuss testing options. Early detection is important in the fight against breast cancer. For uninsured and under-served patients, this may seem like a problem. 1 out of every 8 women will develop breast cancer and surprisingly 1 out of 1000 men will develop breast cancer as well. Breast cancer is most common in African Americans, however, all Americans are affected.
The #DocsForHer campaign was inspired by an article written by a physician and medical journalist Dr. Amber Robins entitled Breast Cancer Awareness Is Not Enough.
Dr. Amber Robins, Dr. Nwando Okafor, Dr. KaNisha Hall, and Dr. Kim Jackson, are physicians who are dedicated to helping their uninsured patients understand the crucial nature around “not” getting tested. #DocsForHer aims to drive low-income patients to seek the assistance of free to low-cost breast cancer screenings.

Dr. Amber Robins

Roughly 44 million Americans are uninsured, while possibly 32 million are insured but their healthcare is adequate. The cost of a mammogram can range between $75 – $250 depending on the provider of the service. Not everyone can afford to be screened or they lack the necessary insurance coverage for the screening which causes them to delay testing or not get tested at all.  The good news is that there are more options available.


During the month of October in support of breast cancer awareness, several medical facilities offer free screening to the insured. Patients can discuss options with their family physician or local hospitals to gain a calendar of screening events. Also, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, as well as The National Breast Cancer Foundation, have partnered with several medical facilities around the country to provide uninsured patients with free breast cancer screening.


Dr. KaNisha Hall

Your local and state government may also provide programs that help with the cost of mammograms. These physicians are devoted to helping their patients understand the importance of proactive self-care and breast cancer prevention. Women and men are urged to inquire about free breast cancer screenings.

Dr. Kim Jackson

Early detection is key. The lack of insurance should not become a matter of life or death. Help is out there ready and available to help prevent and fight breast cancer. Our featured #DocsForHer extend their message to everyone. If you lack health care resources, take the life-saving action to find a screening assistance program in your area.

Co-written by Gin Crane