Saturday, June 25, 2011

Welcome summer!

As usual I am late.  Usually when I say this out loud in a group of women they get all wide-eyed, gasp and whisper "you're late?!! You mean you're pregnant?!"  So sorry to disappoint, AGAIN, but I'm not that kind of late (as if you even really needed to know that...) and really, you should all know better by now.
I'm just late welcoming summer.
So, here goes:
Welcome.  Summer!

In case you didn't study your calendar this year the first day of summer was supposed to be the 21st of June.
I misunderstood and thought it was supposed to be today because today it feels like summer.
I feel it, so it must be true.  'Nuf said.
Anyway, due to the fact that it is now "officially" summer, I want to do everything and nothing at once
(everything because it's beautiful outside and nothing because it's too hot outside)

Because I can, I choose to tell you some of the everything/nothings I plan on dipping my toes into this summer:

I want to work out in my yard and make it beautiful, or at least tolerable,  instead of weedy and trashy.  I would like our little yard to be an escape and somewhat of an outdoor room during the summer month(s).
Maybe a little like this:

from Sunset magazine

Since I enjoy reading so much, I'm always looking for the next book to read even if I'm in the middle of another.  I plan on doing a lot of reading this summer. 
On that note, I went to a favorite book store today and  picked up several new books in honor of summer since summer and all that it embodies is fresh on my mind (ie. gardens, beaches, sun).  One is "the Secret Garden"- a true classic about a garden....that is a secret.  Hopefully I didn't ruin it for you.  I plan on reading that book right after I finish another book: Under the Tuscan Sun.  Yes, it is an older book (1997) and a movie was made based on the book and I didn't love it.  However, a friend recommended it to me and I decided to pick it up.  So far,  I've thoroughly enjoyed it.  In fact, to me it feels like the ultimate summer read because every time I pick it up to read it is like taking a drink of a tall glass of ice-cold water after being outside in the intense heat all day. 

Speaking of drinking, I plan on drinking a lot of sweet iced tea...(you have to say that with a southern accent) and any other icy drinks that find their way into my "hot little hands," as a creepy, older man who works at Burlington Coat factory told me one day.  True story.

I hope to (try to) sew a few summery tops
a hybrid apron (I'll explain that in a later post),
and cut up and "re-fashion" some older clothes of mine.

I plan on cleaning my house by a) weeding out all of the unnecessary items or things I haven't used in over a year from every room in the house and b) possibly having a garage sale to get them out of the house.

I will buy and then consume an unhealthy amount of watermelon.

We are planning on taking a few weekend trips here and there over the summer to enjoy some other states' summers.

I'm sure I had some other plans or will have new ones over the summer but I just felt the need to share.
Hopefully some of our summer will be spent with some of you guys too!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Have you ever...

Have you ever played a little game of "have you ever?"
No? Yes?
Same here.

Well.....let's not make this any more awkward than it already is and get things started, shall we?

Have you ever....
seen the movie "the Princess Bride?"
If the answer is "yes", then you'll (soon) realize what I'm talking about.
Have no idea what I'm talking 'bout? 
Just so you don't feel left out take a look at this and get caught up:

Okay, so the reason I wanted you to watch this little video was so you could see what we saw.
No more, no less.
If you want to see more of the movie, that is your responsibility.

Anyway.....Did you hear the little,bald guy mention "the cliffs of Insanity!?" 
Sounds great, doesn't it?
Well don't get too excited.  Last time I checked, cliffs by this name aren't really out there.
However, in real life there are some cliffs Ireland call the "cliffs of Moher."
And they are real. They can be found in County Clare on Ireland's west coast
In fact, word on the street is that the cliffs on insanity are actually the cliffs of Moher.
And they are a-maz-ing.  AMAZING!

Here is the insanity section that we saw:

Does it look familiar?
But wait!  There's more!

Here is the rest of the cliffs:

                                                and the tower that rests upon them....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ireland- Day 3- Random nothingness with a little something

Not every day in Ireland was amazing, over the top fun.  Some days were pretty ordinary but still fun.  Like day 3 was. 

Let's start out with something that became pretty routine for us Aaron: driving the rental car. He initially decided it would be a good choice both size wise and financially to rent a small car and we became the proud foster parents of a Nissan Micra.

Little Mr. Micra liked to be driven on the left side of the road, so Aaron obliged and I came along for the ride.

We saw signs printed in words we could not pronounce,

at speeds we (originally) couldn't comprehend.

Then, we saw sheep and they saw us. 
Good times.

But that wasn't all we saw that day.  We also payed a visit to Castle Coole. It was built in 1798 as a summer house.  House?   Don't be fooled by the name, it's actually not a castle but a VERY large, very "grand house".  I fell for Castle Coole because, A) It was the first ridiculous/grand house we took a tour of, and B) I kept imagining one of Jane Austen's characters visiting or living in a house just like this.  It was impressive, gaudy....and pretty wonderful. 

I decided that it should've been mine.
But unfortunately, it wasn't for sale and a little sheep told me that even if it was, I wouldn't be able to afford it.

So we decided upon something else we could afford.

It was good.

The end.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Northern Ireland- Day 2

Did I mention the previous night in Belfast we got home close to 11 pm because we literally could not find a time OR place to catch a bus home so we walked for over an hour?
And I had to pee SUPER bad (as in def com 4).
And there were no toilets to be found?
True story.  But enough about that distant memory.

The next morning we woke up early, had breakfast prepared for us and it was amazing!!  I had french toast with cut up Irish bacon and cheese melted over the top of it...AND syrup and Aaron had an omelet.

From breakfast we decided to take off and head drove further up north.  On our way out of the B and B's driveway, we saw two people who were really dressed up and going door to door.  We decided they must be out in service so we stopped in the middle of the street and waved them over. We asked if they were Jehovah's witnesses and they replied "Yes," so we said, "us too!"  We had a brief visit and were so happy to start our day out with that!

The B and B owner recommended a castle, Carrick Fergus to start with. 
We did.
It was fairly interesting but a little too touristy for our taste.
So I talked to one of the tenants but he didn't have much to say back.
So I stared him down....still nothing.
Take a look:

Did I mention it rained and rained for the entire first week? 
Yes, so things were a bit moist and we had a bit of difficulty keeping water off the lense of the camera as it was blowing right into us. So my apologies for any water spots.

One of the places I wanted to see the most was the Giant's Causeway.
Legend is that a giant named Finn McCool built it.

You can read the rest of the legend here Giant's Causeway legend 

Others (as in scientists) say it is a lava flow from a nearby volcano.
Even though I think the latter is more like it, I do like the legend as well.
Regardless, the place is amazing and should not be missed.

We moved on and eventually out of the north.  We had no plans as to where we were staying that night and figured it would be fairly easy to find a hotel in one of the bigger towns.
We were wrong. 
We drove in circles, back and forth with very little help from the GPS.
We finally pulled over, asked someone where a place to stay could be and then drove in circles again.
The place we were told to drive either didn't exist (not likely)
OR the directions were awful (we're betting on that one).

We finally settled on a B and B that the GPS recommended.  By this point, it was 10 pm and Aaron was brave enough to knock on the door and ask if there were any rooms available.  It turns out there are very few hotels and that B and B's are actually Ireland's version of hotels.  It was okay that we had no reservations and the couple was so warm and inviting that they even served us tea and cookies in their sitting room.

One of the things we discussed was this amazing, "derelict" structure in the middle of a farm field.  They told us it was called the Ogilvy mansion.  Derelict or not, it was breathtaking and almost like it was straight out of the movies.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Since the last post on Tuesday, I've saved then deleted 3 different posts.  It appears my blog is "broken".  I can't get my blog on.  Uh-oh.

Maybe it's a side effect of jet-lag (probably not....but it's easy to blame). 

AND I got sick, AGAIN and my will to do anything other than breath through both of my nostrils is all but gone.  Maybe that's it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm trying....

So while I try to figure out what to blog about next, I figured I'd share two more songs that are new to me since we heard them in the car driving around Ireland.

First one up:

Imelda May- Inside Out

She's from Dublin and I like her style.

A lot.

Then there is this one from Lykke Li- I Follow Rivers... (what is with these names?!  I love 'em!)

The video is bo-ring, but if you do something else while you listen, it's not bad.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ireland- Day 1

We heard the best way to adapt to time change ( 8 hours for this pack of Worcesters) is to go all day until evening then get to bed a bit earlier.  That was the plan.  So with no sleep for over 24 hours, we (meaning Aaron) drove out of the Dublin airport, heading further north to Newgrange in the Boyne valley. 

On the way there I saw an old tower and old, old, old stone houses.  Unfortunately, no pictures were taken because we sped by them before I could even register what I saw.  But back to our next destination. 

Word on the street is that Newgrange is one of several burial sights for a culture of men that historians know next to nothing about other than they picked a beautiful spot to build and they were farmers.  They (meaning historians I suppose) feel it was constructed over 5,000 years ago making it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

No matter who built them or what they were built for, I have to say it was impressive and rustically beautiful.

these are ALL stones...all of them!

From there we drove to Belfast to find our B and B, Roseleigh house.

But it wasn't as easy as we thought it would be to get from point A to point B.  Since there are very few visible street names OR numbers, it became more difficult to reach our destination, as Belfast is a pretty large place.  Even our GPS couldn't tell us the exact place.  So after circling around the block where this place was supposed to be 4 times or so, Aaron pulled over on the sidewalk.  Not beside, but ON.  I was semi-freaking out about the parking job but as we sat in the car and looked around- voila- we saw the sign for the B and B across the street.  Oh and it turns out that however and wherever you want to park in Ireland is allright with them.  And allright with me.....'cause I was ready for a little down time.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things (for now)

Because we are fresh off of our trip ( I know, I know...enough already with the trip business), I feel like I'm still on a vacation high.  As such, I have some new favorite things from this trip that I would like to incorporate into my life.

However, before I share a few of my favorite-things-list, I would like to share a new favorite you tube video my sister sent to me that makes me laugh so hard that I cry.  I just can't get enough of this kid.  So I thought, "Hey, why not share this with others so they can get a laugh to."  Gracious, I know.  So with out further ado.....the video.

Oh and just one more thing before I move to my list.  Every time I see a list of favorite things listed on an individuals blog, I can't help but think of an episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon met "Oprah" and was able to learn some of her favorite things for the season, as seen here (if you've never seen this it ends in the realization that Liz did not meet Oprah but a teenage girl who helps Liz work out some of her problems).

Too funny (to me). for my favorite list and the reasons I heart them so much at this moment ( I wouldn't leave you hanging like that):

1. Barry's Tea served in a small cup placed on a saucer with a small tea spoon as an accessory


I don't know what is about this tea, but I loved it the first time I tasted it.  I'm pretty sure it's nothing extravagant, as I found a box in a "petrol station" mart, but it is tasty.  I also loved the fact that no matter where we went or what time it was, tea was always served with a matching saucer.  So sophisticated.  I was sure I would start using my tea cups and coordinating saucers (all two of them) as soon as I got home, but I found it is easier to nuke the water in the microwave an call it good.  The month is still young though, so we'll see how that goes.

2.  Coffee made with a french press

I know these are not a new invention and that they've been around for a while.  However, I've not had coffee made with a french press and let me tell you, I have seen the light!  The coffee was bold, it was so full of flavor. I would even go as far to say that it is the super-hero of coffees.  Yes, it is that good!  I can't tell you how many cups of coffee I downed because of this.  I've gots to get me one of these!

3. Triple distilled Irish Whiskey

Let me be the first to tell you that I was just as surprised as you may be to find out I like whiskey.  Who knew, right?  In fact, I was less than excited to try it, but didn't want to be for my first try I took a little sip.  Survey says? I liked it.  What?!  Then I took another sip....Yep! Still good.  I was able to try both Jameson and Killbeggan whiskey after touring through their distilleries.  I was told that this isn't your average whiskey, but a triple distilled Irish whiskey.  I'm not sure if this makes it better than others, but it does make it good.  No wonder!

4.  Avoca

I've never heard of this brand before, but as we toured through Powerscourt gardens we came back around into the house and there was this shop with amazing scarves and clothes (expensive but cute!)  At the store they had a pamphlet on Avoca and it turns out it is not only a small town but also a hand mill that has expanded into clothing, accessories, home decor and even restaurants scattered through Ireland.  I fell in love with the whole idea. This picture is one of their scarves on a sheep inside the mill in Avoca.

5.Clothing stores
This is purely my opinion, but the style of dress is pretty close to what you would find in bigger US cites. However, there were plenty of stylish girls on the streets of Ireland that definitely had a European flair to them.  I became obsessed at finding the stores they possibly shopped at.  One was a retailer of cute and affordable clothing called Penney's (I don't think it is associated with J.C Penney's because the clothes were completely different).  I also found several other stores that had amazing outfits and colors, but were too expensive for my budget or there were far too many cute things to chose from, such as A/wear, Oasis and River Island.  Oh how I wish these were in the states but they are primarily found in Ireland and the UK and their internet sites just don't do them justice!

6.Irish bacon

Once you go Irish (we're speaking of bacon here) you never go back.  I don't have any charts or graphs to prove my last statement, but it's how I feel. Honestly.  The bacon is twice the size of US bacon, is thick and chewy with this amazing taste and I couldn't say no to bacon. I am now on the great hunt for Irish cut bacon.  If you see any, tell bacon to call me.  I'm waiting for it.....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I'm ba-ack!

After a stressful 4 point security check at the Dublin airport, the 11/12 hour flight home then the 5 hour drive home....we are finally home.  In fact as I write this I'm sitting on my couch, on my computer, in our house.  It is sooo good to be home!  As a bonus, I even get to sleep in my own bed!  SCORE!!

For those who do not know, Aaron and I have been in Ireland for the past two weeks.  Because of this recent trip, I'm very excited to share pictures with you, but they aren't ready for viewing yet (read: I'm too lazy tonight to get the ol' ball rolling in that direction).

However, over the next couple of days or weeks....or months (?) I hope to give you a little view of what Aaron and I've been doing over the past two weeks. 

Overall, we would say the trip was a success and also (as mentioned before) a HUGE learning curve as Ireland is another country and they do things there a little different then what we are/were used to!!  I"ll explain all of this later.

But please, don't forget to stop by later for a little picture viewing.....if you want to.