Welcome. Merhaba. Benvenuto.

 

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I love the ocean. I love the mountains. I love coffee. I love chocolate. I love Ayran. I love vegetables. I love Greek food. I love Nutella…and peanut butter. I love scarves, skinny jeans and boots. I love shorts, flipflops and sarongs. I am a bohemian I would like to think…eclectic in so many different ways.

I love to travel. I love Italy, Turkey, Morocco, India, Canada, of course, and so many more places I have visited and have yet to visit. 

I am passionate. I am sensitive. I am deep. I am thoughful. I am intuitive. I am confident. I am pensive. I am funny. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am determined.

I love airports. I love coffee shops. I love mountain villages. I love the beach. I love Fiats 500s and Vespas. I love postcards. I love silver jewelry. I love short hair. I love my iPhone 6.

I am a fighter. I am compassionate. I am an advocate. I am all of these and more.

Simply put, I love life. And with this same love, I choose to photograph people, places and situations around me.

Love. Travel. Life. This is me. In a nutshell.

Have a look around my site. I have some travel galleries and blog posts in the links at the top.  

I hope you enjoy what you see and are inspired to see more of our beautiful world. xx

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FOR MORE INFO ON MY TRAVEL EXPERIENCES, VISIT FOLLOWYOURHEARTTOURS.COM

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ABOUT MY NGO ADVOCACY AND GIVING BACK THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY, VISIT PHOTOGSFORACAUSE.ORG

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mamou, too! || an OLIVE MAGAZINE PHILIPPINES feature

i love shooting editorial type stuff…especially when it’s food!

when i was asked if i could shoot for an article for OLIVE MAGAZINE philippines for their STEAK issue, i said i’d be happy to. and what was even cooler - my husband was going to be writing the article! fun, no?

here’s some of the extra photos from that day we ate at MAMOU, TOO! in rockwell, makati. 

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and then a few shots of the actual magazine article… :) {taken with my iphone 4!}

the cover..see? steak..carnage!! :) 

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and there’s lover and i! :) :)

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our article is featured in “meat chronicles”.. 

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and tada!! :)))) (but dont read too close - his last paragraph got cut off during the editing process. :(((( he was really bummed about that. if you want to read the ENTIRE article, email me - he closed the article so well..too bad the greater public wasn’t able to read it how it was intended!

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i’ll feature my other OLIVE MAGAZINE Philippines article next post!

xotracey

satisfying your palette in istanbul || turkey tours

with a new TURKEY tour announced on my Follow Your Heart Tours site, and the fact that i have NOT blogged about my turkey trip, except for it being published in Lonely Planet Philippines magazine, i decided today was as good a day than any to start showing the world how AMAZING turkey really is, if you didn’t know. :)

this post is going to showcase all the yummy food that i DID actually partake of in istanbul, during my 8 day stay in turkey.

let us begin our culinary tour thru istanbul…. :)

one thing that was very helpful while in istanbul was this chain cafe, simit sarayi, open all the time. they have pretty decent turkish coffee and pastries in a bind!

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i also loved seeing bright and early in the morning the bread being made and ready for delivery…

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then of course, there is the street food. so much goodness! everything from pretzels to freshly squeezed juices..and they seem to be everywhere which is great if you suddenly are overcome with hunger pangs!


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chesnuts..

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and corn…

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and mobile stores that make sandwiches and sell drinks of all sorts…

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then there is the pommegranete juice….

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are you salivating yet? good! now we’re gonna head into a few sit-down type restaurants that make some seriously AMAZING home-cooked type turkish food…

 buhara 93 - DELISH food…and right near the HIPPODROME in old istanbul…definitely amazing..the stew-type mains.. the flat breads…the fresh salads..the little baklava…and the turkish tea.. mmmmmmmm… :)

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even the hotels where we stayed had really great spreads in their in-house restaurant buffets…not gonna lie - i MOWED on the feta cheese… :) 

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when you go down to the fish district, you not only see the markets where the fish is buyed, but you see many many fish restaurants to choose from!

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don’t have time to sit down? you can always hop into a “corner store” there and find familiar items to tie you over til you can. because sitting down for meals in turkey is all part of the culture and you get to take in your surroundings and do and see what the locals do. :) 

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and of course..there is ALWAYS room for dessert - ESPECIALLY turkish delight and baklava!!! :)

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thanks for eating with me in istanbul…the next post will feature foods from capadoccia and izmir! :)

xotracey

ps - dont forget to check out FOLLOW YOUR HEART TOURS website… :)

to rome, with love - travel photographer

anyone who knows me even a WEE bit know i LOVE italy.

i have only stayed 6 hours in rome, though, if you can imagine! but i took as many photos of rome as my 5D could take, let me tell you.

here is 6 hours in rome through my lens…

xotracey

 me, driving into roma and seeing roma first by car…

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the old wall that rome was built inside of…cool. :)

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for the record - i went to HARRY’S BAR in venice a few days prior..thats why the shot :)

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there is something about the italian flag that makes my heart flutter.. :)

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the INFAMOUS colleseum…. *swoon*

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this is me saying goodbye to my amazing italian friends who are now family, max and cristiana…soon friends, we will meet again!!  

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next was our little hotel we stayed and it’s hood”…our place was Casa Cleo…quaint and simple. exactly what one needs for a quick stop over in roma! :) the old elevator was sketchy..so i took the stairs.. :)

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this was at the end of my FOLLOW YOUR HEART…to ITALY tour in 2010 so my parents and the rest of the ladies were with us in rome and then going our seperate ways… we decided to have a bite to eat in our neighborhood…

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and then began the photo wandering…like seriously..photo wandering in rome. no big deal. ;)

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first sight we saw - the collesium during the day. boy was it ever grand!20101106_IT-0040.jpg

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oh hi! :)

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i know i know…so many photos… but it was THAT amazing!!! :)

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we then made our way to the ruins, the roman forum… WOW…as in. :)


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then we walked about an area i have NO clue what it was…wait..let me look on a map…i’ll be right back…………………………………………………..Monument of the Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome! it was really awesome around there… :)

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then we went back towards the colleseum to get some night shots…but first night shots around the roman forum!

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and then…we saw her from the distance..standing so tall…and so beautiful….

 

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ok and onwards we went! we  had things to see! we had the trevi fountain and the pantheon on our list yet…off on foot we set thru the streets of rome… i HEART wandering!!!!!!

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to be able to describe what i saw as i turned the corner to see trevi fountain is hard to do…the amount of people around this MASSIVE fountain was overwhelming!! and yes, i remembered to throw a coin in it - i will be back to italy! :)

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and then onwards we went…to find the pantheon! we found other beautiful places along the way…

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i’m not sure why exactly but i was looking forward to see the pantheon the most…it was like a first date sort of feeling in my stomach…i was suuuuuuuuuuuper excited! maybe cuz it’s the oldest standing building inthe world?!? anyhow… the moment i saw her, i literally had to sit and take it all in before i began shooting her… <3 she was even lovely with the scaffolding on the one side..however it was a little more difficult to get a “winning shot” of her. i guess i shall go back ;)

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the piazza or square where she lives..

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by this time, all the walking made us pretty tired but mostly hungry…to find food was next on the list…

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an incredible mother teresa display…it reminded me of my sisterinlaw so i had to shoot it…thinking of her, even in italy <3

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our map of where we went in 6 hours… :)

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and of course….caprese!

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this was the amazing group of us who experienced italy together, all for the very first time. i love these peeps…forever and for always! :)  

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oh! and who can go to rome and not come home with souvenirs? ;)

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love what you see? come with me this coming APRIL to italy! details here! FOLLOW YOUR HEART blog

steph & kent || the wedding {moose jaw, saskatchewan wedding}

this wedding has literally taken me MONTHS to blog. and it didn’t dawn on me until just a couple weeks ago as to why:

this would be my last wedding i shoot as a primary photographer under tracey l heppner photography.

WHAT??!?! WHY!?!??! HOW COME!?!?

glad you asked. :)

you know when you see people doing something they DON’T love doing but USED to love doing?

i didn’t want to EVER be that person and i knew that it was “time” to end this season of my life…as “the wedding photographer”. 

it was after i shot this wedding that i knew…this was REALLY my last. and you know what they say: end on a high note! and i was happy and sad about it all the same time. which would explain why i took forever to blog about it - it would inevitably mean the end is TRULY final. 

so here i am…blogging this wedding. and for it being my last wedding, i could NOT be happier. 

i have known steph for…over a decade. not long compared to others who may know her i’m sure, but we do have lots of fun and meaningful history together. and when she asked if i would shoot her wedding, not knowing it was going to be my last, i couldn’t have been happier that i ended my wedding career shooting hers as my last.

it was a gorgeous prairie day. really, everything about it was so lovely. and steph was radiant. and her man, kent, was rather dashing himself. there were many guests who i hadn’t seen for so long and it was a reunion of sorts as well. 

it was a perfect day. :)

thank you steph and kent..for inviting me to be a part of your most celebrated day. and thank you for being a part of mine. i can say with joy that it was the GREATEST way to end my wedding career..it was DEFINITELY a “high note”. :)

much love and happiness to you both,

xotracey

HUGE thank you and loves to christan for second shooting with me - you were brilliant… xo <by the way, she is an AMAZING photographer and anyone in saskatchewan should use her as their preferred photog - she’s based in weyburn and ROCKS!>

{getting ready}

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{the details}

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{the ceremony}

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{the portraits}

 

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{the reception}

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can i JUST say i have the greatest couples EVER?!? :)

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brian & michelle - a stylized engagement session || manila, philippines

the studio was amazing…dozens of different “scenes” within..some artificial light, some natural. the couple was beautiful. it was a definite win-win.

i have never experienced an engagement session like this before! thanks to my dear friend and fellow partner in crime, pilar, for asking me to shoot along with her. :)

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creamy vegan carrot soup with coconut milk & quinoa greek salad with chick peas || my cooking journey

pick your jaw up off the floor.

it’s true. not only have i blogged twice inthe last week, but i have COOKED inthe last week, not once, but twice. it TRULY is a day to mark in the calendars folks.

the menu was easy - i had a bowl of carrots that something had to be done with them. so i went to pinterest, where i pin good recipes in my “gluten free yo” board, which i have for my journey, our family’s journey to get healthy.

creamy vegan carrot soup with coconut milk, it read. PERFECT. i had all the ingredients. it looked plenty easy enough for this novice in the kitchen.

so i decided i had not much to lose. :)

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CREAMY VEGAN CARROT SOUP WITH COCONUT MILK

Ingredients:

2-3 large carrots, chopped small
1 onion, chopped small
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
sea salt, to taste

i doubled the recipe - cuz i had lotsa carrots and cuz i thought if it happened to be good, i could freeze some. :)

Preparation:

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Simmer the carrots, onions, ginger and curry powder in vegetable broth for 20-25 minutes, until carrots are soft.
Allow to cool slightly, and then puree in blender, working in batches if eneded.

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Return to heat and stir in coconut milk until well combined.

Season generously with sea salt, to taste.

Serve hot, or, chill until cold and serve as a gourmet vegetarian and vegan appetizer soup. This carrot soup will thicken as it cools, so if serving this vegan carrot soup cold, you may want to add a bit extra liquid.

and then i made some of my new best friend QUINOA (said keen-wa) and made a greek salad with some homemade dressing for it.

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a buncha ground oregano, dried basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper to taste.

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DELISH. my KIDS even liked dinner tonight. #score. seriously..the soup is AMAZING.

and my lover said he was going to hold his breath when i told him i may turn into a someone who cooks…keep watching lover..keep watching.. ;)

xotracey

ps - iPhone photos again…can’t bring myself to picking up my DSLR yet..in time..maybe. :)

quinoa burgers and bbq sauce - my cooking journey begins

in the summer i decided that i was done with meat.

what?!?!?

ya..i had sooo much red meat this summer throughout our trekking thru BC/AB/MB that i felt so “heavy” inside.

it wasn’t a hard thing tho as i usually dont eat much meat. so the decision came easy.

my hubs, aka my personal chef as he is a trained chef out of the Art Institute in vancouver, has been gracious to make meatless things alongside his meatFULL things.. :)

last night  however, his birthday, he wanted burgers to grill on his new birthday gift given by a dear friend - a new charbroil bbq!

well. that was it. i had to find a recipe and thus begins this cooking journey of mine.

cooking journey? ya…i dont cook much and definitely don’t LIKE to cook. so hopefully this will be the beginning of new things in my culinary world. :)

QUINOA BURGERS

i found this recipe online. it’s really good! i shot the photos just with my iPhone 4. i may dig out my DSLR for succeeding posts :)

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Serves 8

Here’s a delicious veggie burger you can whip up from scratch. Any steak seasoning (which is just a combination of herbs and spices) will work to give the patties a rich, hearty flavor. Stash a few in the freezer for busy weeknight meals. For super-easy cookouts, bake the patties ahead, then reheat them on the grill. Serve with your favorite burger fixings.
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (¼ cup)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. dried steak seasoning
  • 8 whole-grain hamburger buns

1. Stir together quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in small saucepan, and season with salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (You should have 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.)

2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in 3/4 cup black beans, garlic, steak seasoning, and 11/2 cups water. Simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add 3/4 cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining 3/4 cup quinoa and remaining 3/4 cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cool. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (1/2 cup each), and place on prepared baking sheet.

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(the next part my hubs just did on the BBQ)

4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray.Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crisp and brown. Serve on buns.

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well no sooner did i start making my burgers, i realized i didn’t have any bbq sauce! so i took out my good old iPhone and googled for a bbq sauce recipe. :)

BBQ SAUCE

Yield - approximately 4 cups

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Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed

1-1/4 cups Ketchup

1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup Water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard ( i used prepared mustard cuz we are out of ground mustard!)

2 teaspoons Paprika

1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions:

Measure and add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are thoroughly distributed. Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge or freeze!

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 so i used this for my veggie kebabs..

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and here was my delicious supper!! veggie kebabs and homemade bbq sauce and quinoa burgers! i topped the burger with avocado, red onions, cheddar, mayo, horseradish mustard and lettuce with tomatoes!

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i DEFINITELY will be making these again. :)

what sort of quinoa recipes do you have that you’d like to share with me? :)

xotracey

tregonings - saskatchewan lifestyle session {FAMILY}

the love i have for these 4 is remarkable. they are friends who are family. and they are some of my most favorite people on the planet.

matt & kim also do a remarkable job balancing cultivating their relationship and parenting their littles. it’s such a joy to watch the little grow up to be amazing little people.

the last time i photographed them was…hmmm..i can’t even remember! but not since before the arrival of miss K. and miss K does NOT like getting her photos taken, or rather, she doesn’t much like to smile for the camera. so i knew i had my work cut out for me this session. but she shone..brilliantly. and mr nater mater - well he was a glorified, handsome ham! what a blast!

of course my dear kimmy doesn’t like getting her photo taken, but she’s so gorgeous, how can i not?? and her man, matty, LOVES getting his photo taken, so there were no issues there.

love you guys..to the moon and back. here’s to you - a wonderful little family.

xotrace

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steph & kent - regina lifestyle session {LOVE}

i think i first met steph back in 2001, right when we moved back from the manila, philippines to estevan, saskatchewan, canada. she was in our youth group. not only was she this gorgeous young lady who was quiet yet so fun, she played the bass guitar. she was my inspiration to leave the bass, which i did a few years later!

she came with us on a 3 week shortterm missions trip with the youth group in 2003. she loved it so much she decided to move there and stayed there and volunteered at several places for just under a year. it was awesome!

we have kept in contact over the years and when she contacted me in january of this year asking me if i could shoot her wedding, i was delighted!

i knew OF kent, but had never met him. we had our first consultation and my first impression was that he was quiet. i guess i didn’t know him really. :) because when we did their engagement session the week before their big day in july, steph brought kent, her cool fiance that loved getting his pictures taken and was a lot of fun!

here are some of my faves from their session. good times were had by all. :)

xotracey

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follow your heart tours || PUGLIA, ITALY - April 6-13, 2013

Mark your calendars for the italian tour of 2013!

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Puglia…also known as Italy’s “heel”. It has it all…all except the tourists! Puglia has some of the
most brilliant seas, the most diverse culture and architecture, the most delectable cuisine, and
some even say the most kindest people in Italy.

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Our authentic Italian hosts, Max & Cristiana Brunelli, will be our personal guides. Their love and passion for
their country, along with Max’s longevity in the tourism industry, will make our tour absolutely
memorable and very enjoyable.

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Puglia, Italy is calling you. Succomb to her.

Mark your calendars today - April 6-13, 2013.

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