Tag Archives: music

i so excited

It has been a few weeks of engagement and a spontaneous, terrific decision to have our wedding this fall.  What are we waiting for?  I know this is right.  We both want it.  Our non-negotiables are available.  Our venue is “chosen” and just keeps getting better day after day.  Why have a year-long engagement?  Why put this off until fall of next year?  Why wait?  The time is now.

A handful of stressful nights, more than a few “what-the-heck-are-we-doing” looks to one another and then a late night planning session with B last night at Starbucks.  We’re sipping drinks and listening to bands and different ceremony songs… I had an epiphany when listening to a song I’ve pictured myself walking down the aisle to… I got goosebumps, full-body chills… I almost lost it right then and there.  I am so incredibly excited.  And terrified!

I have dreamt about designing invitations to this event.  And focusing on the fonts and the colors.  I have an idea the theme we’re headed towards and I’m confident everything will fall into place.

What an exciting adventure this is… and we still have a few months to perfect these details and make it better, or refine it, or change it altogether!  And what a freaking blessing to have incredible parents that are willing to support me and host this very special day!

add to blog planning meeting

This life is incredible!

e

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first kiss video

Have you seen it yet?  Of course you have.  All over every social media platform is this beautiful piece called, First Kiss.

After watching it three times once I had to do a little more research.  It got millions of views in just a day, right now it sits at 16,207,600 after being posted yesterday afternoon.  It’s a simple piece of strangers gathered together and their only task is to kiss the person in front of them.  Today, clothing line, wren, announced it was their video to showcase their Fall 2014 line.  Wren’s creative director, Melissa Coker is genius!  And the song playing in it?  It’s called “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” by Soko – guess how many copies were sold on iTunes today?…. apparently one million.  One million songs sold in one day.  Incredible!

I don’t know why, but I just love this video.

These are strangers, kissing, and it is so real to me.  It’s heart-warming.

xo,

a romantic

Sipping on.

Dreaming about.

Looking forward to.

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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 bound

Tonight I took a super late flight to Scottsdale for the weekend.  Time for a little R&R with some close girlfriends.  I’ve been out there many times and always come back feeling refreshed, renewed, with my core body temperature slightly out of sync in the red zone.  I have miles on Delta (more on that later) and booked a flight to the tune of 25,000 miles + $7.50 in taxes.

Knowing I paid the ticket taxes with my Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, means I have one free checked bag.  I decided to pack more than enough into a larger than necessary bag.  A girl likes to have options, 3 swimsuits for 4 days?  I think so!  I found my seat in the back of the plane and smiled to myself as I set eyes on my seat mates.  Both younger girls wearing yoga pants.  With a thankful sigh of relief, I scooted into my window seat.  Nine times out of ten, I have someone pushing 3 bills and reeking of cheap beer sitting next to me.  Flying takes on a whole new adventurous tone when you aren’t sure if the dude next to you is either going to try to hit on you or throw up in your lap.  Not pleasant.  I enjoyed not having a sweaty, hairy thigh pushed up against my personal leg space.  I enjoyed the camaraderie of using Apple products with competent, smart, healthy girls doing the same next to me.  Call me crazy, but that never happens and I was thankful.  As I was sitting in me seat, I watched my luggage roll up the conveyor belt underneath me into the plane.  That’s always a good sign.  The journey is off to a good start.

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Katie picks me up from the airport where I’m instantly sweating on the sidewalk.  This is going to be a test of strength and effort to not literally melt while I’m here.  No one likes a puddle!  We drive back to her apartment in Scottsdale and I haul my 44-lb luggage into the room I’ll be staying in while I’m here.  The AC is a blessing and I have a feeling we’ll be spending quite a bit of time near the pool.  Go for a run, jump in the pool.  Lunch date, then jump in the pool.

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This morning we woke up and had iced coffee + Rumchata – a true start to vacation.  Cheers to a hot, sweaty, adventurous-weekend!

Life is good!

xo,

Listening to this.

Current temperature in Scottsdale at 7:55 AM : 86 F

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weekly iPhone pic drop

weekly iphone pic drop

I enjoy advertising and graphic design in magazines where the product is set on a solid surface, sometimes a wood floor, and shot from above.  Here are some of my favorite things.  Candles (self-proclaimed pyro), the book I just finished “Girls in White Dresses“, brilliant brunette satin shine, eos lip chap, and Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Milk.

After the cleanse, I wanted to treat myself. Kinda like when people reach certain weight loss goals, they’ll buy a new pair of shoes, a nice bottle of wine, or something rewarding to them. This wasn’t a weight loss goal but a 5-day cleanse was trying and at times, frustrating. So… I decided to splurge on a few pieces of Lulu.  Ladies beware, it’s dangerous in there!  The colors of the season are bangin’ hot.

In February, my doll face lady from Scottsdale came home for a week.  Met this chick in 3rd grade and we’ve been best friends ever since.  The majority of the week was spent gossiping, hitting the gym, and drinking. Who are we kidding?  I can make a mean St Germain Cocktail and she can spot the perfect bottle of Riesling from a mile away.  #greatminds

This lion cub-looking puppy melts my heart. He makes me want to find a way to keep puppies small. Forever and always. I like big dogs, too, but there’s something about little puppies that can instantly change your mood. The next breed I’d like to own is either a Corgi or a Great Bernese Mountain Dog. A little and a big.

I don’t consider myself a brand whore. In fact, I prefer the term brand loyal. There are a few with which I happily associate myself and highly recommend.  This snapshot showcases four of them (artistic, no?).  The car I drive right now is a Lexus. I’m thisclose to having it paid off.  This model is one I saw on the freeway and secretly told myself I’d tote around my four kids in it one day… got the car, time to work on step two.  The thumb holes on my Lululemon tops are reason alone to fall in love with the Vancouver-based retailer. No more sleeves rolling up into your jacket! Bazinga! Gorgeous, comfy clothing, totally unaffordable, but that’s what wish lists are for, right?  I prefer regular water, by the gallon, I’m a water girl at heart. As long as it doesn’t taste like plastic, and doesn’t carry a strain of motezumas revenge (worst Mexico trip ever!)… I’ll guzzle it. After a good workout, I prefer Zico coconut water. After weightlifting, when my arms are like jelly worms, I pretend I spent all morning on a deserted island, hacking away at a palm tree to reach some of this glory.  Last, but not least, a year ago we discovered a new shop called Superdry. I figured it was a high end, boutique fabric softener store – boy was I wrong. Behold some of the best jackets known to man. Superdry is a company based in Japan that knows the value of a zipper (or ten).  This jacket (also with thumb holes I might add) retails for $140, it’s called the polar windcheater and worth every penny.

This tall, beautiful brunette is a breath of fresh air. I consider her one of my best friends and had to visit her while vacationing in her zip code. I made a reservation under a fake name (Debra Morgan, holla Dexter freaks!) and surprised her at the swanky salon where she works.  It only took me 2 hours of public transportation bus riding and a mile walk to get there, but well worth the effort!  Those annual girls trips I take?  She’s one of the six ladies, and I would not be as far along in my life as I am without her straight talk, cuddles and infectious laugh.  Mwah Carla!

Made a visit to Universal Studios. The best part? The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The cobblestone, Butterbeer [a nonalcoholic butterscotch and root beer flavored frothy drink that tastes spectacular with smuggled in whiskey], everything! There’s even a wand shop where you can buy a phoenix-feather wand. Whoever thru this place together paid unbelievable attention to detail – I swear the air even smelled like freakin Hogwarts!

There’s a franchise in Florida that must make its way to the Midwest.  Lime Fresh Mexican Grill has this magical salsa bar that is entirely glorious. Whoever thought to offer serve yourself pineapple salsa deserves a raise. Or an orgasm.  I literally ate three cups of pineapple salsa in record time.  Inhaled it.

Life is beautiful, I’ve got the pictures to prove it,
xo
Running to.
Sipping on.
Adding the ‘mellow yellow‘ to my wish list.
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timeline creative

Here are a few timelines I’ve created for my Facebook over the last few months.

One has the best, most true Bob Marley lyric of all time.

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It’s a fact when they say music can create a bubble of calm, relaxation within a chaotic life.

The newest one showcases my little gremlin, Oliver.  He has this thing where he will start sleeping on the floor, and at 3:04 am each morning, he makes small whimpers until I wake up.  I look down and he’s sitting there, looking up.  That’s the time he remembers he would rather be sleeping in my bed.  Contrary to what I should be doing, I’ll lift him up and let him snuggle on top of my covers.  Turns out, he’s the best cuddle on the market*.  Be jealous.

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Here’s to hoping you have a cuddler of your own… human or fluff ball…

xo

*Footnote: he is about to be ousted as best cuddler…

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Open heart, open mind

Many things running around in my head this week.  First and foremost, no matter what anyone tells you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes that light is golden (or purple. or pink.)  Chin up.  Open heart, open mind.

Word on the street is we are going to get some snow, 100% chance of it, in fact, – check out this weather doppler right here courtesy of the trusty iPhone…

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Not saying she’s never been wrong before… I’m just hoping for a Christmas-load of snow to fall on this state.  For once this winter.  And after we get that first inch, I’m hoping traffic signs will read something along these lines, because we all know Minnesota cannot drive in these harmless terrible conditions.

I’m a little apprehensive for tomorrow as it’ll be the first time, in a while, I go to church.  And I’m excited.  Very.  But nervous too, because all this time in between since I was at my “take a number” church… I realized I’ve formed these preconceived ideas about how it’ll all go down.  I was so involved with my old church between plays and church retreats – the whole nine-yards, that I lost sight of what it really meant to be there.  So I’m excited, and nervous, which usually go hand in hand.  Open heart, open mind!

Earlier today I finished (finally!) Gone Girl and it was a shocking ending to say the least.  Highly recommend that book.  I also finished The Unnamed, which was painful and really not worth reading after about 40 pages… but I had to finish it.  Highly do not recommend that book.  Next on the list, The Happiness Project.

On the ride home from an adventure yesterday, I heard this on the radio and almost peed my pants (typical) because I loved it so much!  Is it healthy to love a song?  I adored it… I felt strongly toward it… you get the idea.  Listen, now!  On high volume!

And I’ll put a little plug in about the lyrics… they don’t resonate with me… I like the beat, and can run a mean 10K with this on repeat.  But the lyrics?…. they are not my life right now, I refuse to believe in them.

My new mantra is open heart, open mind because you never know what’ll happen,

xo

Wearing these.

Rubbing this on my legs.

Sipping on.

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weekly iPhone pic drop

After a promotion one afternoon, I fell upon Teavana.  A tea emporium.  Loose leaf tea, white tea, oolong, everything. I highly recommend a visit. Shop wisely, it’s expensive!  I treat it as a splurge.

My new favorite fuel is steel cut oats.  Sliced apples, raisins, a dash of brown sugar and slivered almonds.

This gorilla ring is the best item I bought in Ireland.  All 8€ worth.  I wear it with jeans and a white t-shirt.  A black dress and neon heels. It doesn’t matter, this is my go-to piece of jewelry.
Blog-surfing brought me to the doorstep of MayBooks.  A site to create custom journals.  My new journal has golden pineapples and my name in hawaiian doodled across the front… tres chic.
Snow is on the way.  And every morning brings a heavy thick fog straight out of the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, Strangers.
Stressful days are followed by nights that deserve a strong pour of Grey Goose and soda water.  The world will always need a drink.
I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful state. This season is my favorite, by far. The world is covered in orange, red, and gold. Bring on the hoodies, boots, fires and snuggling.
Per tradition with my best girlfriends, we toasted and had a ridiculous amount of cheers during the entire wedding weekend celebrating Carley & AJ.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

These are the most gorgeous flowers I’ve ever been given.  Every color under the rainbow.  More about that some other day.

Take a breath,
xo
Listening to this.
Sipping on this.
Adding to my wishlist.
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Dublin -> Minnesota

Oh. My. God. My body. It hates me.
I feel like I’ve been smashed in by a pot of gold.
I feel like I’ve been on a month long Jameson binge.
I feel, for lack of a better word, like shit. With a capital ‘s’, Shit.

It’s been ages since I’ve had a hangover and now I remember why I avoid it like the plague – because it is the absolute worst feeling ever. Aside from childbirth I hear, but That Is A Miracle Happening, people! You cannot compare the two. They’re not mutually exclusive. (good phrase, right dad?)

Apparently, I let my tolerance guard down a little. I should have said no when I said yes and I won’t be making that mistake again.

In the wee hours, I even had a mini-pass out session. Mini because I stopped it just before it happened, but felt as if it still occurred. My body passes out on occasion. It’s like a reboot. More often than not it happens around alcohol, but not always. I’ve passed out on a plane, in my bathroom, in other peoples bathrooms, heck, in the bathroom of Ed Debevics in Chicago just two weeks ago…

I ran to the bathroom, stripped, jumped into the tiny 3’x3′ shower and blasted the water freezing cold. Ten minutes like this and I felt the feeling pass. Afterwards I always feel uncharacteristically tired and very weak.

I slept a bit longer and dreaded the alarm clock that woke Chelsea and I at 6:45am. We didn’t start moving until 7:00 and by that time, we were already running behind. They say to get to the airport at least 2 hours early for international flights, right? Our flight leaves at 10am, boarding starts at 9:15.

We pack speedy fast, rouse the sleeping boys, and load into the car. No coffee, tea, breakfast. I couldn’t have handled it anyway.

Ian drives us in his sporty car to the airport. The windows are down (by request) and the cold air is refreshing and energizing (it’s the simple things in life, right mom?). He pops in a Michael Bublé CD and turns it up.

Here we are: four people, packed into a car, weaving thru the streets of Dublin with the windows down and Michael Bublé blasting.

I just wanted to recap for you because, hangover or not, it was the best exit ever.

We arrive at the Dublin Airport and get our boarding passes at the American Airlines counter. The lines are short but take longer than necessary. I waver while I stand and I’m nauseous as all get out.

We get thru the first security checkpoint. I get buzzed when I walk thru the sensor so a nice woman asks if she can “pat me down”. What are my options? Closed room strip search or in-the-open pat down? I’ll take the pat down. Unless the strip search agents are Michael Bublé and David Beckham. In that case, I hope there’s favorable dim lighting… 🙂

I don’t know how I could have caused it to buzz. I’m wearing Lululemon socks, yoga pants, a sports bra and tank top…

We hear the overhead PA say, “Passengers flying on American Airlines flight XX to Chicago, make your way to the lower level U.S. Preclearance“. We walk a bit faster, just to stand in another line. This is US Customs, it is nice to get out of the way now versus once we arrive. The time is 9:05, we board at 9:15. We get thru customs, part of which includes them showing us an aerial photograph zoomed in on our luggage after it was checked at the counter. The customs agent asks, “is this the luggage you checked earlier?” I reply in the affirmative. Holy creepy, big brother! I guess I would rather have more security than less but, yikes.

Next stop is security checkpoint número dos.. It’s 9:15. We get thru relatively quickly and find the nearest restroom (sensing a pattern here, folks? We pee a lot.)

9:20 and the gate is packed. Standing room only. They are seating individual sections and ours has been called. There’s no need to board and sit so we won’t board until the last possible minute. Nearby is a small cafe. We have leftover euros and decide to pick a few things up. A chicken sandwich, a blueberry muffin and a bottle of water. I probably would have paid €40 for that water, my body was crying out for it so terribly bad.

We board the plane and exhale a sigh of relief. We made it. What an adventure!

I love traveling and seeing the world. I love the cultures, the music, the locals, the food, the memories. I enjoy it all and feel blessed for the opportunity.

But there is nothing, absolutely nothing like the feeling of going home.

We toast one last time onboard, with oj and water.

Sláinte,
Xo

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Rainy Galway

Rainy! Cold! Gloomy!

Today we head to the Cliffs of Moher. A student out&back ticket on the bus is €21.50, significantly cheaper that any tour we found… and we can spend as long as we like. We grabbed a lunch and got outta dodge.

The Bus Èireaan is the Ireland bus company. We ride in a nice coach bus thru the rain and fog about 2 hours away. There’s no bathroom on the bus, and for me, that’s like saying there’s no air to breath when you need it. I just have to pee. Always. Every 25 min it seems like. And not having a bathroom onboard is slightly nerve-racking. Deep breath.

Small side note: It’s amazing how much mileage I can get out of this car. Both domestic and international. Students get discounts on food, hostels, bus tickets, Jameson tours, everything. I’m going to milk it for all I can. And when the card is unreadable. I’ll regress and buy a fake… how’s that for ironic? We spend our younger years striving to have an older ID just to become legal and strive for a younger ID.

Anyway, we made it to the Cliffs of Moher. The entire ride was bumpy. Entirely. The ride home was extremely bumpy over the cobblestones, like we were in a giant blender. Despite that, both Chelsea and I fell asleep on the way there and on the way home.

The Cliffs of Moher were invisible. The fog was so heavy and thick we were unable to view any of the steep cliffs. Mini photo shoot at the teeny castle on the bluff and we jumped right back on the bus again. Really shitty too because these cliffs are in The Princess Bride, one of the best movies of all time!

Back in Galway, I take the deepest nap ever. Chelsea wakes me up and we shop for an authentic sweater for someone at home. Our reward is gelato and enjoying more street musicians. Mmm.

An old Irish man rolled many kegs down an alleyway… straight out of a movie I felt like.

Dinner turns into an exploration in other parts of this small town. We dine at Busker Brownes. The hostel gave us a free pint of Guinness there.

After dinner we pub hopped to three spots that had large crowds, intimate lighting and live music. We enjoyed Jameson at each. Everywhere we went two Jameson neats were €8.40 – no one can charge more or less.

We toasted to friendship, silly Irishmen, our futures….

Laughing all the way back to the hostel.
Goodnight.

Xo

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