Irish Castle

Ireland – Off-the-beaten-path Dublin Activities

So week two in Ireland was just as fun, if not quite as filled with touristy things. Now that the three-day weekend was over, it was back to work – 4 hours in the morning, a 3-hour break, and 4+ more hours in the afternoon.

Tuesday, based on a suggestion by Miss Model and Tall One, BFF and I went on one of those splash boat tours. The tour in Dublin is Vikings themed – complete with Viking helmets. The bus goes around the Viking area of Dublin, then into the river, but I didn’t think the information particularly focused that much on the history of Vikings in the city. Or perhaps that’s just because we already went to a museum that has a whole floor dedicated to Vikings so I was underwhelmed. We did, however, get to growl and scream at people as our bus went down the road. Our group managed to startle one person; most just looked at us with amusement. It rained on Tuesday for about two hours. Can you guess when? That’s right while we were on the bus! We were in the first row without a roof. Kind of miserable. Definitely plan for rain and sit where the roof will cover you. We treated ourselves to hot chocolate from Butlers afterward. Yummy! BFF and I tried different kinds, and we both recommend the marshmallow one.

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Wednesday was a girls’ day. BFF and I went out for some fish and chips (not actually worth writing about) and found a super cute gelato place, Isabella’s Gelateria and Cafe. It was decorated like and old school ice cream parlor. My recommendation?Get mint with cookies and cream (not cookie crisps to chew, just creamy goodness). We went with Miss Model to get our nails done – I did a bright color to celebrate (?) my new singledom. While we were there Miss Model got an invite to some fabulous event – premiere of Wonder Woman to be exact – so while she whisked away to the life of the famous, we went to a weird, but tasty Mexican restaurant, 777. Truthfully, I almost felt like it was too trendy for me, but the food was wonderful. You should definitely order the tacos. You basically make your own!

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Thursday (our last full day), BFF indulged me and went on a bit of a culinary adventure with me. Whenever I travel, I like to find at least one place that is barely known even the locals, but has good reviews. I knew we both wanted to go to botanical gardens, which are a bit out of the way from normal touristy locations, so I thought this was the perfect chance. I did some research and discovered at place called the The Washerwoman. The restaurant is located on Glasnevin Hill, which is locally called Washerwoman’s Hill after the many women who came to wash their clothes in the Tolka river. The owners converted a stone cottage from the 1700s into a quirky restaurant. With that history, how could we not try it?

It was DELICIOUS! I think a contender for the top three meals we had the whole trip. We indulged and got drinks, an appetizer, main courses, and a dessert. And everything was perfect. Plus the décor was adorable. If you make it to Dublin, you need to plan a meal here.

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Passion Fruit Fritz

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Irish Mezze Plate – Delicious Hummus

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Boar Nachos

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White Chocolate Raspberry Brownie with Peanut Butter Ice Cream

As you can see the dessert was so tempting we both ate some before I could even take a picture! We walked off the calories in the botanical garden. It was a bit misty, which just lent to the mystical feel of Irish gardens. Make sure to make it to the creek before you leave the gardens.

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Friday morning – we’re off to the airport after a last walk in the park with Tall One and Miss Model’s puppy and a quick coffee shop breakfast.

Little did we know, we probably should have skipped our morning activities and headed to the airport even earlier (we got there 2 hours early). I don’t say this very often, but do not fly Air Canada. Every bit of the experience was poor – their online check-in didn’t work so the line to drop of bags was so long they tried to tell us we were late, they claimed there wouldn’t be enough overhead space so they offered free 2nd checked bags, but only to some people, they made us run to security, but then the flight was delayed, they didn’t announce the flight was delayed so we couldn’t get food or drinks, their plane was so old it didn’t even have air vents let alone TVs or power cords. There were other things too, but man was it an unpleasant experience.

You know what’s also not fun? Having a 6 hour layover in Canada because you purposefully planned the 2nd leg of your trip so your now ex could finish work and come pick you up? Then after that long layover landed at 9 p.m. and not having a ride so you have to take SuperShuttle for an hour or so ride into the city. And then that shuttle plays your couple song. But oh well, because I’m back in one of my favorite cities with my best friend and we have an awesome conference to go to! Right? Right.

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Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Ireland Weekend: In the Face of Sadness We Explore

Memorial Weekend, Tall One, Miss Model, BFF, and I planned on traveling to Amsterdam so I could cross of another country from my list. We couldn’t quite get our schedules to work (Monday was not an Irish holiday so Tall One (my sibling) had to work and Miss Model (sibling’s girlfriend) had an event on Sunday). Instead we checked off something else that was on both Tall One’s and my bucket list – Northern Ireland. Continue reading

Woman crouching to take pictures of flowers

Ireland, we have a problem out here…

There’s no way to talk about the rest of the summer without talking about a not-so-slight hitch that occurred the first Friday night of my trip. And that requires some background, so bare with me.

3 years ago, I graduated from my master’s program jobless, recovering from a stalker ex-boyfriend, and completely unsure what my next steps should be. I knew that in a few months when my apartment lease was up if I didn’t have a job the smartest choice was to move back to CA and live with my mom to avoid a rent I couldn’t afford. But while I love CA, I also love DC and so I kept searching for something that would reasonably keep me there. And as I tried to figure out that part of my life, I knew I had to get over the fear my ex had put in me. So I went on a few dates because I figured the chances were high I’d move across country and therefore I didn’t have to fully make myself vulnerable because I don’t think long distance relationships can work.

And then I met a guy who changed that. Continue reading

The Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

Ireland Week One: I brought the sun!

Landed in Dublin mid-morning on Sunday. I actually had great flights. The middle seat on both the flight from SF to London and London to Dublin was empty. Huzzah! I managed to nap a bit on the long flight, but the real trick to beating jet lag is to STAY HYDRATED. Every time the flight attendants come by with water, have a glass.

My sibling, Tall One, picked me up from the airport (so nice) and after dropping my super duper heavy suitcase off at the apartment, we had a lovely brunch at Angelina’s. I was skeptical about the quality of avocados being from CA and so far from where they’re grown, but I ordered an avocado toast and was most certainly not disappointed. Continue reading

Empty chairs at an airport with a plane in the background

Let the Adventure Begin…

My parents instilled a sense of wanderlust in me (and my sibling) at a young age. I was barely 6 months old when I traveled to a different state by plane – Hawai’i – and I was 7 by the time I traveled to Europe for the first time.

So I’m always up for a travel adventure. I enjoy skipping about different cities and countries, some times in style, sometimes not. Exploring the touristy options as well as finding fun spots off the beaten track thrills me. Recently, I kept seeing advertisements for Remote Year on Facebook and thought how cool it would be. A year might be a little much (my work does host a huge conference, after all), but the idea of spending months working remotely and staying in places long enough to feel like you lived there sounded like a dream.
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Pesto Pizza Poppers on a plate with dipping sauce

Pesto Pizza Poppers

My work held our second annual Spring Bake-off recently. We have both sweet and savory categories. I wanted to bake something a little different rather than a traditional baked good, so I went with the savory category.

Flour, sugar, salt, olive oil, pesto. yeast, mozarrellaI remembered from last year that a lot of our savory treats were yummy, but not very filling – read with bacon jam, savory shortbread cookies, etc. I thought it would be nice to provide something a little more substantive, but I needed it to be easily transportable and enough for 15 people to try. I was inspired by pizza monkey balls. That seemed easy to make into an eat-while-standing treat.

Thus, Pesto Pizza Poppers were born. Continue reading

Shirt says Science is not a Liberal Conspiracy, teal pants, running shoes

15 Things to Bring to a March

Happy Earth Day! I, like thousands of you, will celebrate today by attending one of the many satellite March for Science events. This is not my first protest, so I have a well crafter set of items to bring.Various items with text over it.

#1 Good shoes

This one may almost go without saying, but you may be surprised by how many people show up in their regular day shoes. I always am. You’ll stand for hours, without doing much. You will march – slowly – but still some distance. Leave the cute shoes behind. Wear your running/workout shoes.

#2 Comfy Pants

Don’t wear pants that you can’t wait to get out of by the end of the day. You’ll be on your feet for most of the time, so you want to wear something the lets you move and stretch easily when needed. You may have the opportunity to sit occasionally, but on things like the side of the road or parking lots. Do not wear a skirt. Or anything you’re not comfortable getting dirty.

#3 Supportive Bra

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory for those of us on the busty end. You may not plan on any running or jumping, but there’s often dancing and crowd mentality that leads to lots of bouncing.

#4 Water

Don’t wimp out on this! Yes, it’s heavy to carry in the morning, but you’ll be so happy by the end of the day that you stayed hydrated. So spring for the larger water bottle.

#5 Snacks

Chances are there won’t be food nearby. So bring some protein-heavy snacks with you (nuts, bars, etc).

#6 Sunscreen

A perfect suggestion for Earth Day. Make sure to protect yourself as you fight to protect our planet. And don’t forget to reapply throughout the march!

#7 First Aid and Personal Care

Various items like sunscreen, water bottle, first aidYou’ll never know when you’ll need a Band-Aid (especially if you skip #1, blisters anyone?). But make sure to put some painkillers in as well in case you get a headache – or someone steps on your foot. Sadly, some protests can turn violent; this item may be more useful than you plan. Also bring wet wipes, menstruation items, ChapStick, or any other personal care things you may need.

#8 Weather Items

Bring layers if you need them. Bring a hat to keep your head warm or protect your face from the sun. Check the weather – if it’s going to rain bring a poncho with a hood (not an umbrella).

#9 Identification

Don’t leave home without a valid identification (students, your school ID does not count). This item is extremely important should any incident occur in which the police get involved. Don’t be scared; be prepared.

#10 Tech chargers/batteries

Bring whatever portable chargers and extra batteries you need – phone, extra camera batteries. I highly recommend solar chargers, so even your extras don’t run out of juice.

#11 Empty bag

You and your fellow marches will create trash. Don’t just dump it on the street! Bring an empty bag to put your trash in so you can dispose of it correctly at the end of the day.

#12 Emergency Contacts

Keep your emergency contacts on paper, just in case your phone and chargers fail.

#12 Small Bag

Keep all your stuff in a small bag than can close. Don’t bring a large backpack. They may not look cool, but fanny packs are actually some of the best kinds of bags to bring because they are hands free.

#13 Signs

But only those you want to carry the whole day. I gave up on them a while ago because after an hour or so, they’re mostly burdensome. Stick to ones you can fold or roll for easy transportation. Most organized marches and protests (included March for Science) ask you not to attach signs to posts as these can turn into weapons.

#14 Money

Have your public transit card loaded with enough to get you there and back. Carry enough change to make a phone call. Bring enough cash for a cab ride home.

#15 Friendly Spirit

Remember your fellow protesters are there to support the same cause as you. Let’s win this together!

Black schoolgirl with molecular structure at the desk in chemistry laboratory

#MakeWhatsNext – Misses the Mark This Year

Three years ago, Microsoft launched a spring campaign to encourage girls to join STEM fields. Girls Do Science, the first of their ads, was inspirational. They gave girls hope – in the form of letters – that they could one day be the inventor, the maker. Year two (2016) gave them women to aspire to be. Inventors who made their mark in history.

This year, they released multiple advertisements in a row. The first two were great, again following the inspirational nature of the original campaign. The girls featured in the ad got to play with awesome technology (proving it is in fact still an advertisement for Microsoft products). They are even named inspirationally: Find the Cure and Be the Solution.
The third 2017 advertisement, however, dangerously misses the mark. Why dangerously? Because it follows the same common theme we teach girls and women (and honestly all minorities). Continue reading

Wardrobe Switching – Saying Goodbye to More than Winter

Okay – I’m perhaps a week late with taking on this project, but it’s that time of year again: switching my wardrobe. Goodbye warm, tranquil colors of fall and winter. Hello bright, boisterous colors of spring and summer.

I like to change my wardrobe around the first day of spring each year, although I do bow down to the weather occasionally. Last week I went to storage to grab some of my summer clothing for a work trip to Orlando – more on that in a later post – but I didn’t actually do the full change until this week. It’s somewhat like seeing old friends again. I do miss my clothing, but swapping out my clothing allows me to have even more!

As I went about repacking my colder clothing, I realized something important; this winter was a discovery of sweaters I kept just because I dreaded not having enough, not because I loved them. Continue reading

I Voted sticker

Recovering from Election Woes

I feel like I’ve been mourning all month. It’s hard to explain to my more conservative friends and family. If the past year and half did not convince them of Trump’s danger, then explaining my grief at his success will not.

It was important to make space for such sadness. I am lucky to work at an organization that recognized that and encouraged people to take the time they needed. I was also lucky that family respected my heartache and did not push for discussion.

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