Category Archives: Creativity

what a Saturday!

this ones for the books. we woke at 5:30am to hike towards Vancouver Convention Center where it’s Lululemon SeaWheeze Ground Zero.  To stretch, drop our gear bag and get ready for the run.  The weather was chilly, 60 some degrees and slightly drizzling. We were playing the game of what do we wear? What layers are needed? Knowing full well 1 mile in, we won’t want extra clothing and won’t stop sweating.
Keep in mind, neither of us trained for this one as a result of planning World’s Best Wedding.  A week ago I got turf toe in a yoga class.  Brett’s shoulders have been hurting.  His hamstring gets tight. Basically, we are a pair of hot messes and just wanted to finish the damn thing without having to drop out. Needless to say, we both finished. We both have smiles on our faces. We both are limping around the city, clearly struggling.  Don’t ask how many crosswalks we didn’t “risk it for a biscuit” because the fasterst we could go was a slow walk. 😂 (hint: more than 20)


Some key highlights from the run- on one stretch of the race, across a high bridge over the city, there were a ton of spin bikes in a row with people spinning and cheering us on as we ran past. So much energy! I half wanted to join them!  I cannot find a picture of it anywhere.  Pretend you took an entire spin class onto a high rise bridge and lined up 20-40 bikes, everyone cycling and cheering with music pumping as we ran past. You get the idea. Excellent!

The race route was great this year, the weather was perfect, the solitude on the SeaWall was glorious.  Running for miles along the SeaWall in a fog with a light drizzle, makes me feels as if I’m on the wharfs in some coastal city out east. (Never been, next trip?) 🙂

All around a great race.  We died, but it was still great!
After we met at the Digital Orca, we grabbed runner’s brunch (soy yogurt, a waffle with magical jam, cherries, grapes, and a baby quiche)

 

We applied a layer of Saje Peppermint Halo on every inch of the back of our legs. He gave me a stretch on the ol’ calves. We died, came back to life, and allowed a restart of about ten minutes and then laced up to head out.
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As we sloth-walked towards home. We wanted a shower and we were hungry for a real meal. Our first stop was JJ Brew, they gave free drink tickets to the SeaWheeze runners.  We both got a cup of java and split a chocolate chip cookie. It was nice to duck out of the chill for a moment, to regroup and try to find wifi.


Every little boutique is adorable, the fonts and marketing so well done.  Why don’t we have nearly the amount of awesome hidden gems in Minneapolis!?  A few blocks further we pass Nectar Juicery.  I’m a sucker for a good juice. Fruit, soy, greens, iced, I don’t care.  Love juice. We settled, after much discussion on a bottle of their Sacred.  It was refreshing, I’m super excited to make my own juice and use the glass bottle it came it. (3 stars, they were sold out of what we wanted, and this was just so-so).

  

  
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Down the way is a little spot called, Old Faithful Shop. A cute little boutique with hand picked curiosities.  Their shop mascot is a french bulldog, named Pierre, whose outpost is a small doghouse inside one of their bookshelf tables.

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And then, B realllllllllly wanted a sandwich. Like now. Well, like yesterday. He loves a well-made sandwich. Love that about him. We had seen a few spots when exploring, and noted to visit later on. Meat & Bread was open for business and busy! A very good sign. (5 stars)

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This is his domain, so I let him order. He settled on the Porchetta and the Daily Special. The bread was sliced in front of us.  Small wood boards held the sandwiches on top of a slice of parchment paper, with little mountains of condiments. We got ours to-go.

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We walked to the grocer next door and loaded up on liquids before heading home.

Showered and ate our sandwiches in the little quaint apartment we’re calling home.

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Explored their balcony in the day light.

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A slow rise to the 12th-floor gave us a chance to relax, recoup and enjoy the beautiful view.

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those white tent tops is where the Vancouver Convention Center is located!

those white tent tops is where the Vancouver Convention Center is located!

We took a nap and around evening time, headed to the Sunset Festival in Stanley Park. A chance for all the runners to get together, drink some beer, listen to awesome music, test out the trapeze, and have a beautiful evening.

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As the sun went down, the lights came out, there is an awesome drone that shot footage during the event – the video can be seen here – a quick view of everything that went on this amazing weekend!

We beat the rush and left a bit earlier during the last set.  The shuttle took us back to Ground Zero and we walked home.  On the way, we grabbed dinner from Tacofino – probably the best place I’ve had a burrito, EVER.  B ordered the Spicy Chicken and I ordered the Vegetarian.  Mine was ON POINT!  (5 stars)

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During our trip, we tried to find something to spend our “When In Rome…” fund on, a ‘change and small bill’ jar that we save up in and then splurge on something during our adventures.  We decided to book a 1am float at Float House – the late night ones are 2.5 hours… we were excited beyond belief.

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The whole interior vibe is very calming.  Blue and purple neon lights throughout.  There are stacks of salt bags in the hallway that lines the chamber rooms.  We each had a room with a shower and our deprivation tank inside, a fluffy white towel, robe, and organic body soap and shampoo for afterwards.  They provided ear plugs (both foam and wax!).

After we were both introduced to our chambers, which each held about 850lb. of Epson salt, we said adios and rinsed before entering our tanks.  It’s a sort of indescribable experience.  I spent about 3 minutes floating on top of the water, getting calm and slowing my breathing… my head tilted back and held in place by the salt water (so dense, you float effortlessly on the surface) – it’s hard to know where the water begins and wear the surface is.

I swear, three minutes go by and the next thing I know, someone is knocking hard on my tank.  I slowly open my eyes in the pitch dark chamber and immediately think the Float House concierge is going to open my tank door while I’m on full-nudity display.  Turns out in was B.  He cracked the door open, I couldn’t hear anything as I had my wax ear plugs in and my eyes tried to adjust in the darkness with this new neon blue light shining in.  His voice reminded me of Charle Brown’s teacher, as I couldn’t understand any words with plugged ears.

Apparently I had slept through TWO 6-minute song cycles meant to wake you up.  I slept through the computer voice saying, “Your float is now completed, please exit the tank.”  The employee asked B, now 30 minutes out of the tank, to check on me and wake me up.

Three hours went by in what seemed like minutes, and yet I was so unbelievably relaxed, I felt like I was floating on earth.  Highly recommend this experience!

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Needless to say, we walked out of that Float House around 4:15am and felt like we could conquer the world.  Instead, we crashed and had the best sleep of our lives.

What an incredible Saturday,

em j

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(NYC) is incredible

Other creative outlets have consumed me… but I’m back to blogging.  Let’s talk about NYC for a minute. What a beautiful place!  We made 72 hours an adventure, chasing the subway, laughing, doing it all.

a few of my favorite images.

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Fresh off a 6am American Airlines flight and feeling like a pair of travel ninjas.

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A brief pause at Starbucks.. we felt it was appropriate considering the locals had one gripped in their right hand at all times. #caramelmacchiato

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Walking around at night is a whirlwind, people everywhere & buildings as tall as the stars.

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Enough said.

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95% of the time we walked the streets, everywhere, these boots aren’t half as comfortable as my purple New Balance kicks.

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Eyeing the rest of his Australian Meat Pie – what a foodie paradise at Chelsea Market.

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The entire underground subway system was amazing, efficient, and the only way we’d travel.

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SuperDry is a brand we love – smack dab in the middle of Times Square it sits. #shoppingspree

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Love.

NYC was our first adventure using airbnb – which rocks.  We stayed in a highrise apt and shared the space with a woman from France, a couple from England and a younger gal from Vancouver.  We had our own bedroom, shared everything else – what a perfect central spot to be able to affordably stay while in and out at all hours.  The host is a middle aged man : extremely personable and ended up buying us drinks at a little place he DJ’s… The Crooked Knife.  NYC, we’ll be back, many times!

xo

High five to Amacci for proving himself worthy with this song. (more about him later)

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Scottsdale : Monday

We slept in as long as we could before we had to get rolling.  Carley was the first flight out and we wanted to catch breakfast at Arcadia Farms first.  This sweet cafe is right out of Little House on the Prairie.  Wood floor, red doors, cute art on the wall.  It felt like going to a grandma’s house who knew how to interior decorate properly.

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photo 1-1In typical best friend’s fashion, we each ordered a Kir Royal to toast our remarkably great weekend.  While we recapped and perused the menu, our waitress dropped off a small plate of mini scones to nibble on.

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This was one of those spots where anything you ordered off the menu would be amazing.  I debated between the Fresh Berry Crepes and the Breakfast Panini.  The panini won: scrambled egg with rosemary ham and smoked mozzarella on a baguette.

photo 3-3Next, we had to hustle to make Carley’s departure time… never a dull moment!  Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is a city in itself, tons of terminals, north side, south side, ramps and overpasses.  Katie is a ninja navigating that space!

After dropping Carley off, we decided against our better judgment to a little hiking on Camelback Mountain in the 115 degree heat.  Plenty of water, working cell phones, crazy sports bra straps and sunglasses – we set off.  It got hotter and hotter as we climbed and pretty soon we made the executive decision that we were sweating faster than we could replenish with water, and that a descent was the best option.

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The rest of my afternoon, I dipped in the pool and packed up all of my things.  We stopped off at Sprinkles to pick up some goodies for the folks at home and I found my way to my gate.

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More than one time this weekend – Carley and I promised we would be back again next year for another long weekend in the hot box.  There’s nothing like 4 days with your best friends to really refocus on what’s important in life.  Friendships, memories, laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

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Until next time AZ,

xo

 

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Scottsdale: Saturday

Good morning sweat box! We woke up and got our daily caffeine fix at Village Coffe Roastery. Dirty Iced Chais and a pistachio muffin. Both of which we’d all vouch for. There was a small shelf for the locals to store their coffee mugs (kinda like beer mugs being kept in lockers in beer halls of Germany). Cool location, great coffee, definitely gave us some energy! photo 1photo 2photo 3 Next up : SPIN! One of the first times I visited Scottsdale – Kates exposed me to this exercise phenomenon called Spin. But down here, they do it WAY differently than I’ve been used to. The room is black, blacklights, concert-volume mixed pop music, and everyone is 110% balls to the wall. You leave dripping with sweat, feeling like you just scaled a mountain and conquered world peace after 60-minutes. We took spin at the Madison Improvement Club. Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 10.32.51 PM It’s a swanky spin/yoga boutique with a modern health cafe on the inside. You even have the option to preorder your food before your class so it’s ready and waiting for you to inhale afterwards. Yesterday was Orange Theory and today was Spin… let’s just say our thighs and quads were on FIRE. Like literally on fire. The music was excellent, the instructor faced us and called people out over the eardrum blasting noise to “sprint! sprint! spring!” At the end of the class, on a normal, non-Hell temperature day, they open up the front wall to a gorgeous view of Camelback Mountain. We were thankful they kept the doors closed this time around. photo 1 copy 2photo 3 copy 2 photo 2 copy 2photo 4 copyphoto 5photo Our refueling took place at a great place in Old Town Scottsdale called Chop Shop. Are you getting the theme of a Scottsdale visit? Workout, REALLY hard, and eat at REALLY awesome restaurants! Cardio, fuel. Spin, brunch. It’s a cycle (ha!) and we love it! At Chop Shop I had the Zen Bowl: scrambled eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, white cheddar and brown rice. Ah-may-zing. We dined outside under the misters and gradually live was returned to our legs. photo 1 copyphoto 2 copy photo 3 copyphoto 4
After refueling, we ran a few errands. Katie dropped her iPhone and completely shattered the screen. Is this a sign she’s on it too much? 😉

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It was time for a dip in the pool. Two hours of pool to be exact. After we cooled down, we showered, made a few drinks for the road and headed to Fashion Square Mall to get the heck out of the heat. The drinks were not, in fact, for the road but instead for a little adventurous shopping. We had a few dressing room dance parties, and enjoyed the latest in POS checkout technology. #nerd

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Something that lights my heart on fire when I’m with these girls is we always make friends where we go.  One stop at Fashion Square was to LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.  The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a young man who inquired what brought us in.  He told us about himself, how he’s a ballet dancer, and recommended tons of products to us!  I told him I really wanted to get a great facial mask and also something to tame down my insane long locks in this heat.  He recommended, and I purchased, Mask of Magnaminty and Sea Spray for my hair.  The whole place is well done with a beautiful font and the way they display their products.  The masks look like they’re displayed at a salad bar on ice.  The large wedges of soaps reminded me of the enormous wheels of Gouda cheese in Amsterdam.  I fell in love with Lush today after I read their We Believe statement.

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After we exhausted all that Fashion Square had, we drove to Scottsdale Quarter to continue our night. A stop at the Apple Store allowed us to get Kate’s a new iPhone and also allowed a little time for Carley to change the backgrounds of multiple devices to showcase a really hot picture of Hugh Jackman.

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Dinner took place at True Food.  Another Scottsdale staple – incredibly healthy, organic spot.  You can order anything and everything on the menu and be 110% satisfied.

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I always get the Chicken Chopped Salad.  There’s something about the way the manchego cheese, marcona almonds and jicama mixes together that it takes me to my happy place every time.  We split the Vegetable Crudités starter – it was like a wonderful garden on ice with fabulous dipping sauces.  Really cool presentation – we were impressed.

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Katie is friends with a manager and she brought us these delicious honeydew melon vodka cocktails (which we of course, cheers’ed).  The back end of the restaurant near the outdoor restroom held this garden, sink washing station that caught my eye in the setting sun.  Love True Food, always have, always will.

photo 2-1photo 2-2The end of the evening brought us to a 3-story Restoration Hardware, because let’s be honest, you know there’s going to be some good stuff in there.  I only fell in love with 75% of the store.  Carley tried out many chairs and we decided this one most resembles her walk-on role in Game of Thrones and thus she had to buy it ($15,000 later….).

photo 3-2As we walked up the flight of stairs, I marveled at these hanging chandeliers inside of bird cages, hung by thick shipyard rope.  I need a big house, with tall ceilings, so I can properly hang them. #wishfulthinking

photo 1-2We made friends with the gentleman that greeted us at the entrance, named Brian.  He took us on the Grande’ Tour of the store and priced out different couches we laid on.  We, of course, knew at this time they were out of our price range but we laughed and he enjoyed chatting with us.  He looked up prices on his iPad and we walked through all the different rooms, quickly falling in love with every duvet and medieval spoon we found.  We bid Brian a good evening, bought a few little trinkets, and made a swift stop at It’Sugar candy shop for some pineapple gummi bears and chocolate covered oreos.

The evening ended with another hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity.

Loving this adventure,

xo

 

Listening to.

 

 

 

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Scottsdale: Friday

Carley got in Thursday late night – we spent the evening hours giggling and catching up.  On Friday morning, we woke super early to catch Katie’s favorite Orange Theory class at 6:45 with Jesse.  I can see the attraction, he was HILARIOUS.  Think Will & Grace + muscles + fabulous smile + high-energy fitness.  It was somewhere between the second circuit and the side planks when Carley leaned over and said something along the lines of, “You two are insane for liking this.”  Needless to say, we were extremely sweaty, spent and ready for some refueling.

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Breakfast took place at Daily Dose.  We settled on Micheladas.  Served as a iced glass of lime juice, a Mexican beer, and a small carafe of tomato juice.  Kind of like a beer-garita or sorts.  We weren’t entirely impressed.  Decisions couldn’t be made on what to order, as everything looked good in our deliriously hungry and sore state of mind, so we decided to share the Banana Bread French Toast, The Hangover Sandwich and the Breakfast Nachos.  All of which were delicious and most of which we brought home as leftovers.

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After our refuel session, we grabbed a few supplies at Costco.  A weekend with your girlfriends requires a few staples.  For example, large glass bottles of vodka.  The one on the right was purchased, we plan to empty it.

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As we walked around Carley began to feel the muscle burn that Orange Theory brings.  She spent a bit of time lounging in agony.  At Costco… and at home.

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We hightailed it home, changed into swimsuits, made a cocktail and beelined for the pool.  There wasn’t any laying in the sun, there was strictly underwater lounging… it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.  Later into the evening, Scott treated us to Oregano’s.  We needed to get out of the apartment as the AC isn’t working properly and we were going slightly stir-crazy.  It worked out well because a trip to Arizona is.not.complete without dining at Oregano’s.  We shared the Vino Bambino salad (UNREAL) – and Uncle Ray’s Sausage & ‘Shrooms pizza.  Entire confection.  Totally satisfied.

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After dinner, it was time to doodle in Paper by FiftyThree and laugh at the good fortune of having close friends.

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Sleeplessly sweating,

xo

Dreaming of.

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Last full day to be Irish

We wake up to a chilly, rainy morning in Belfast. Surprise surprise! Last night was the worst sleep I’ve had in years. Roommate #4, Mike from Colorado, stumbles into the room at 4am, hammered. He proceeds to play something on his MacBook while simultaneously coughing so hard, I thought his lungs were going to dislodge. After ten ridiculous minutes of this, because really, who would subject 3 strangers to loud, icky bodily noises at 4am?! Finally, he passes out. We think the worst is over, but oh no ladies and gentleman. The fun is just beginning. He snores for the rest of the night/early morning. Not baby snores, full grown grizzly bear man snores. If you don’t believe me, I recorded audio on my iPhone. Come on over and I’ll prove you wrong over a pint.

I want to thank the makers of Apple, the Pandora App, the Netflix App, and all of iTunes for creating such great products. Even though sleep was impossible, it drowned him out impressively well.

We woke up in the morning with a vengeance in our blood. We made as much noise as we could, thrashing around and packing loudly at 8am. We threw open the blinds and let the streaming Belfast sun shine into our attic hostel room skylight. In my head, as it was opening I was thinking, “let there be LIGHT bitcheeeeees!”

Breakfast was quick, as was coffee. We’ve perfected the art of unpacking and packing up again within 48 hours, so that was quick too.

The bus station was a 20-25 minute walk from the hostel. We swiftly checked out, and headed in that direction.

Time went quicker than we planned to the point where we were within 5 minutes of the bus taking off upon arriving. We quickly found a bathroom (per usual) and boarded the bus to Dublin.

About 2.5 hours is the time it took to cruise Belfast -> Dublin. The bus was double-decker, nice seats but crappy air circulation. Our dash to make it in time left me with small beads of sweat. I had half a mind to take off layers. AKA: everything. We took off our shoes, socks, sweatshirts and spread out across four seats. After ten minutes of cool down, the bus ride was relaxing and allowed me to continue reading my book. This trip has been nothing but adventure and close calls! Livin on the edge baby!

In Dublin we were picked up at the bus station by Conor (remember? Friend from work whose playing rugby here now and whom I almost got deported?) and his purebred Irish flatmate Ian. I spent a small amount of time today trying to convince him we should holiday at one of his families two homes in the South of Spain.

We purchased some spirits, walked thru a park filled with swans, Ian took us to a crepe shop with killer branding called lemon, relaxed on the patio of the apartment in the sun, ate free 99s, shopped for a few more souvenirs and watched Bridesmaids. The evening hours brought drinking, Jameson of course, ideal for our last night in Dublin. We also watched a bit of the new iPhone 5 announcement. All four of us are huge Apple lovers and pretty pumped!

At midnight, after I already had my fair share of Jameson, we went out. Chelsea wanted one more Guinness in a pub on our last night, and I couldn’t argue with that logic. It was bitchin cold as we walked many many blocks to Temple Bar. A round of Guinness for all. I drank mine fast and had my heart set on dipping out after one. A few more were had.  Chelsea and I caught a cab back to the flat in record time.

Eat two pieces of toast.
Brush my teeth.
I remember thinking to myself, I haven’t had much for water today.

The thought passes and it’s lights out Dublin.
Xo

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A day of history in Belfast

We woke up with the intent to do a lot of activities, and we accomplished all of them. Yay! Breakfast at the hostel was your typical cereal and toast. We found a cute small cafe to get coffee from called the French Village Cafe and Bakery on Botanic Ave. I got an apple cinnamon muffin for takeaway later.

The first adventure was a Black Taxi Tour. Our driver, Walter, picked us up outside the hostel. The first few sentences with his extremely rough Irish accent had me concerned I wouldn’t understand 80% of what he said. But, turns out it was easy to pick up on. Chelsea and I were the only one on this tour (£15pp), flying solo was slightly more expensive. Walter took us absolutely everywhere. The 90 minute tour spent a lot of time explaining the turmoil between the Catholics and the Protestants (or as Walter said, the British and Irish… because that’s how most of the people living in Northern Ireland view it). There are Irish flags and British flags flying on their perspective sides. We drove along the “peace wall” that divided the two sides of the city. Chelsea and I discussed later on in the evening, how can a wall, 9 meters tall… separating two conflicting groups, be called a ‘peace wall’? Walter stopped at one part and gave us markers to sign our names. We noticed a Steve Jobs graffiti mark nearby.

There were murals protesting many conflicts, political thoughts, people in jail, hunger strikes, everything. A few that showed up quite often were the idea to free Marian Price and memorials about Bobby Sands, the first man to die while on a hunger strike whom was in jail for 14 years because a gun was found in his car… yikes.

Walter said the worst year for Belfast was 1972 when 1,370 bombs exploded and around 470 people died.

He was a wealth of knowledge and pulled the taxi over every now again for us to jump out and snap pics. He kindly dropped us off on the northeast side of the city. This was time and money well spent. To hear firsthand experience while viewing the actual locations was better than any travel book could offer.

Our next adventure was the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience called Titanic Belfast. This is a six-story, six month old, unbelievably awesome exhibit. Student admission is £9.50 and well worth the price. The level of interaction and digital multimedia was amazing – it was truly built to cater to our generation. Halfway into the exhibit was a gondola-style ride that took you thru a day in the life of a shipyard worker (recap: 63 hour workweeks, below minimum wage, paid by the number of rivets completed, death by falling into water/being hit by falling materials from above).

The extensive, real dialogue used by way of telegram was typed out on the walls from the moment Titanic hit an iceberg to when the power went out and there was no more communication. The air became somber amongst the exhibit viewers. I’ve never learned about the Titanic beyond the 21st century movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. There were replicas of the different first class, second class, third class state room on the Titanic. Examples of linens, flatware and carpet. They really detailed every bit of the ship itself as well as the passengers. Impressive.

One small part of the first floor had the actual outfits worn by those actors from the movie, on loan from Century Fox. And last week, the director James Cameron had flown out to view the exhibit. After about 2 hours, our brains were filled up with information.

We walked 20 minutes to the Victoria Square Shopping Centre. The only Apple Store in all of Ireland was located there. We just had to request a tour since we’re so close.

Lunch, in the mall, took place at wagamama, a chic noodle bar. I had the ebi raisukaree. Coconut and lime curry with grilled chicken, peppers, pickled ginger, yum!

The mall was a beautiful covered yet open-air multilevel facility. Many restaurants, a theatre, tons of shops that we explored. Six floors up at the tip top is a 360 degree dome that showcases a rewarding view of Belfast.

We walked towards the hostel and on the way, stopped at The Crown for a Guinness. During the taxi tour, Walter mentioned it was worth visiting. The Crown was packed with both locals and tourists. A small bar with wood ceiling treatment, gold fixtures, and small booths for being separated from the masses at the bar. We shared a small booth with a handful of locals and truly enjoyed all of our conversations. The Guinness was £3.75 and after one, we both counted the pounds and pence that we had left…. not much. We had to head out after we each had a brew.

Continuing in the direction of the hostel, we stop and buy a cheap bottle of red wine to split (£4.99) and Chelsea picked up some pizza for dinner. Back at the hostel, we drink wine out of hostel mugs while eatin some grub (me: leftover wagamama). Our conversation ranged everywhere from religion to love to travel to life and death and I realized, as I have before… I’m so very blessed to have a friend like Chelsea.

It’s not where you are, but who you’re with, that make experiences memorable,
Xo

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ready or not Belfast, here we come

Everyday feels like a gloomy Sunday here, with the rain. Except for us, it’s not gloomy, it’s an adventure. But, could you imagine living here? No sundresses, no skirts, no swimsuits. Pale skin pretty much year round. I love, love passing through but don’t think I could spend my life here in Ireland.

Today we woke up and took super hot showers which resulted in very foggy castle windows. #castleproblems When else are we going to spend the night in a castle? We had to make the most of it! Breakfast was much appreciated before we packed up and shipped out. We took one of the four local taxis to the bus stop where we were dropped off our first day in Collooney. It is on the side of the road, next to a stone wall. The bus was a tad late and it was raining, drizzle-raining that Ireland is so well known for. I passed the time by perfecting my handstands and wearing my hipKNOTies in strategic placement.

The bus arrives at 11:10 and we board. We pay the bus driver in Euros (€17.50) to get to Derry. We make a 15 minute pit stop in Sligo (super cool surfer town that I wished we had a chance to visit… next time!) and spend about 2 hours en route to Derry. In Derry, we really quickly find a toilet (not restroom, or bathroom, they call them toilets) and pee. Then even more quickly we buy our bus ticket to Belfast. This happens within 2 minutes as the bus leaves on time. The currency now has changed to pounds (£) and the fare to Belfast is £11, about $17.58 in US dollars.

The train ride is about 2 hours and the majority of it is spent passing very yellow fields. How are they so yellow and dried out when it is always raining in Ireland? Don’t get me wrong, there has been a TON of greenery here… I’m just shocked to see any dry grass whatsoever.

There are these billboards that say “Old age isn’t a problem, loneliness is” and it makes me want to cry for all the old Irish folk that are lonely. Then I see the many kegs set outside the local taverns and pubs and a string of lyrics come to mind, “I stopped by the bar at 3 am, to seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend” (“Closer to Fine” – Indigo Girls). A therapeutic song, YouTube it.

I continued reading the only book I have loaded on my iPad, the second book of the trilogy series, 50 Shades of Gray… the lady a few rows up was reading it, too. Funny how those best sellers span other continents like that.

Finally, finalllllllllly, we arrive in Belfast. One of the bigger cities in Ireland. There are people everywhere, cars everywhere… it really has the hustle and bustle of city life. Urban life. We like it and we find our home at the Global Village hostel about 15 minutes walk from the bus station. I don’t know what has happened but apparently, my bag is bigger than it was. I’ll have to revise my packing strategy as I’ve only bought two tshirts?! The hostel is £55 ($88.00) for 2 people, for 2 nights. This is the way to see a country cheap people. Public transportation and hostel sleeping. You sleep in bunk beds and share bathrooms, but it’s extremely cheaper than a 4 star Hilton… and you meet other people from around the world!

We searched for a dinner spot and settled on boojum, a replica of Chipotle. But better, more eco-friendly, and their burrito bowls tasted very good. We hiked around the city and realized the Apple Store Belfast closed at 6pm. That’s a hell of a time to close?! Six!? How do they make any money? We plan to visit them tomorrow! And request a back of house tour. 🙂

The weather here is much colder than we expected. Between the 50 degrees and drizzling rain, it’s downright bitchin cold. My sweatshirt hoodie and two layers of long sleeves will have to do. A wise man once told me, “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing….”

Chelsea and I end the night sharing a bottle of wine, dark chocolate, and planning tomorrows adventures.

I got the chance to FaceTime the parents home in Minnesota and for the first time I had a pang of homesickness. It’s the people that make time for you, that I plan to make time for. Whether we’re in the same time zone or not. Technology is absolutely freaking amazing. I was able to iChat with them as I vacationed in Costa Rica a few years ago, and now as I adventure throughout Ireland.

I’ll end with a quote I read on the side of a building tonight that, for some reason, resonates with me… and very well may end up as a tattoo someday, in some form….

Today’s plan is already yesterday’s – the streets that were there are gone.

Seize the day people, you only live once,
Xo20120911-011525.jpg20120911-011537.jpg20120911-011544.jpg20120911-011553.jpg

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good morning Dublin!

Good morning Dublin!

Today we woke refreshed and sprinted downstairs for a last minute free hostel breakfast. We figured instant coffee wouldn’t be sufficient and splurged for macchiatos at The Bald Barista. We are happy to find the peanut butter here is excellent – peanuts, peanut oil, cane sugar, vegetable oil, and sea salt. How come in America there are so many ingredients?!

Off we hiked to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour (€13). This is the thickest, darkest beer I’ll drink. And only slowly. We toured the premises and learned how to pour our own pint. We’re pretty much rockstars. The 6th level is a beautiful glass wall overlook at the surrounding area – absolutely stunning!

Conor met us at the Guinness exit for our next stop : Jameson Distillery! I’m more into Jameson than Guinness, thus super stoked for this tour (€10.60).

On our way we grabbed a small snack…a roasted tomato and spinach wrap at The Food Gallery.

The Jameson Tour was narrated, very informative and ended with a glass of Jameson. Which we downed immediately. This is the best whiskey in the world. Period. Delicious.

We hopped on the light rail and visited a free local art museum, Hugh Lane Gallery. There were a few works displayed by Claude Monet there.

(check out Battleship Potemkin and Massacre of the Innocents at Chantilly)

A wee bit later we found ourselves at Cassidy.. a local pub… drinking beer, eating some killer pizza… and playing chutes & ladders. Throw back!!

4 some hours later we headed back to Conor’s apartment and spent the evening speaking Irish with his adorable flatmate, Ian.

At night it gets down in the 50s, and that’s quite alright with me.

Cheers!
Xo

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My favorite picture so far this trip took place in the seedy dark basement of Cassidy’s where there was a toilet tank suspended above the toilet with an arrow pointing down and the words “Ministry of Magic”… because here in Dublin is the closest I’ve ever felt to being in a Harry Potter movie. Wicked!!

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