Upon my arrival to Milan, Duomo di Milano was my first stop. Duomo, the largest cathedral in Italy, is rich in history and architecture. This beautiful cathedral is the center of Milan (much like Times Square in NYC), and is absolutely breathtaking. Tourists are able to tour the cathedral and light candles for their loved ones.

While at Duomo I worked up an appetite chatting with a friendly African-Italian model. He introduced me to Luini Panzrottie, an amazing bakery nearby. For some, the long lines can be off putting, but it was well worth the wait (even for just one bite of the panzerotti ham and mozerella). Just steps from Duomo we found one of the world’s most exclusive shops, la Rinascente Milano Piazza Duomo. The name comes from the Italian word Rinascita, meaning ‘rebirth.” The giant Italian retailer included divine household products and features top fashion brands like Mui Mui, Prada and Dolce and Gabbana. As a makeup artist, this was the perfect place to stock up on familiar brands like MAC, Chanel and the latest in Armani Beauty.

As a beauty expert, I tend to be very hands on with my day to day look. While bouncing around the shops near Duomo, I stumbled upon Sephora and cashed in on frothy shampoos, creamy conditioners and dreamy serums. The shops around Duomo were also really well connected and wifi was available at the drop of a dime. I was constantly receiving Facebook messages, tweets and Instagram notifications.

Beyond the shopping and technology, I was able to really connect with the locals. Despite the jovial and overly expressive stereotypes of Italians, they were classy, conservative and friendly. I never felt strange or out of place. The truth is, I felt more at home there than I do in many parts of the US.  The elderly locals often called out “Capella Bella” which meant  “Pretty Hair.” Some highlights of my stay in Milan included being invited to an american football game, soccer match and an Armani basketball where I taught the Rhino cheerleaders how to dougie (super fun!). If you are kind and open minded, Italians will send you home with a piece of La Bella Vita. Ciao!

This story was curated by Kenecia Lashae