Monday, 19 September 2016

CARLINGFORD, IRELAND

Hey guys!

We arrived home from Ireland last night and I wanted to write my first post before I forget our new Gaelic words!

This was our first experience staying in an Airbnb and it definitely set the bar high. The price was right and although staying in a room in someone else's home might not be for everyone, we would highly recommend the experience! Our host, Jacqueline, was so welcoming and helpful. She drove us to the bus station, spent an entire afternoon driving us around the mountains, and taught us a lot about Ireland. (She also warned us that our hostel in Dublin was going to be quite noisy...more on that later.)

This trip was a bit of a do-over because our trip to California this spring was full of bickering and seagull poop. I wanted something relaxing this time so we stayed in a medieval village (with castle and all) and spent our time being fairly low-key (living like locals, visiting the pubs, and walking).

Here's a taste of our little Irish village.


The entrance to the town. One of my new favourite expressions is "have in or take away" (instead of dine in or take out). You can see "take away" written on this Ma Bakers sign.

Other new expressions include:

Slainte - Gaelic for "cheers"
What's the craic - what's the fun/what's the gossip
Have a wee - as in, "Do you want to try that new restaurant? Why don't we have a wee?"
Cead mile failte - Gaelic for "a hundred thousand welcomes" (this was already very familiar to me because it is on a sign as you enter the campus of my alma mater)
Grand - great, wonderful, good


Our walk up the mountain led us through "Leprechaun Habitat" - ha! Of course, we found the pot of gold.



In front of King John's Castle, built in the 1200s. Everything about this town sparked my imagination because of the medieval ruins - so fun!


These are ruins of a Friary, built in the 1400s. Our Airbnb was directly on the other side of the Friary and our bedroom window faced the ruins. No hotel will ever top that!


Our host told us CS Lewis gazed over at this area of Ireland and the location inspired Narnia. I didn't want to look into these details too closely because I am very eager to just accept it. I was in Narnia. The end.


You know me and of course I had to throw in a food photo. This was from a Tea Room that was very kitschy and yet quite a novelty and very adorable. Hubby had an "Irish breakfast" which included... black pudding. (You may have heard this called blood sausage or blood pudding.) I tried a little taste of it suspecting what it was while he had no idea.

More later on a couple of little day trips we took.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

DEE WILKIE LAUNCH PARTY

If you haven't seen me in person lately I am flourishing in my new hometown. All kidding aside, we are so happy to finally be living in a city where we have many friends and social events are easy to find! Last week my cousin, Dee Wilkie, had the launch party for her new website at Maybee Brewery and I was so excited to be able to support her. That's why we moved here - so we can see the people we love!


Dee is a surface designer which means she spends her time dying fabrics and creating patterns. She isn't a seamstress or a fashion designer.

She is currently selling products including silk scarves and pillows. She calls them Unity Pillows and you can find them here. Dee dyed the fabric and the sewing was done by a local Syrian refugee. Each pillow is screenprinted with a word like "hope" in English and Arabic translations. Very cool.



The new website is absolutely amazing. This is just before Dee debuted a stunning video available for viewing on her new website here. The video was created by Sarah Kierstead and I highly recommend you click the link! It is beautiful.


It was mentioned multiple times over the course of the evening that Dee is a strong collaborator with local business. I love this about her. She created this event to promote her new website but included a local brewery, a local magician who used her silks in his tricks, and a local wood fired pizza place (Milda's Pizza). She (and I) believe in shopping local and supporting local artists and she is practicing what she preaches! Get it, girl!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

2016 SO FAR

I'm such an absentee blogger.

To ease back into it I thought I would give you a brief summary of my year so far!

What I'm reading:
The Neapolitan Novels
The Chronicles of Narnia (for the first time since I was a child)

Where I've been:
California (San Francisco, Carmel, Monterey, Yosemite National Park)
Prince Edward Island
Halifax


What I'm listening to:
The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast
Candi Staton (a really good 1960s/1970s find - some gospel, some disco)
Japanese Breakfast (a band I discovered from a podcast)

What I'm watching:
The Olympics (specifically diving and gymnastics)
Bloodline on Netflix
The Gilmore Girls (this could fall under the 'listening' category because mostly I leave it on as background noise)


What I'm doing:
Working (a lot)
Playing board games (especially Pandemic Legacy and Tikal)
Pilates (as of tonight)
Going to Dee Wilkie's launch party on Thursday

What I'm thinking about:
Setting up my office
Completing my CME credits this year
How skimpy all the Olympics gear is (male and female)
To vacation or not to vacation...always the question

I'm also going to make a big effort to keep the blog running! Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

OSCAR DE LA RENTA EXHIBIT

My friends know I love fashion (although my day to day wardrobe doesn't necessarily scream fashion forward my instagram feed is full of haute couture) so it was such a pleasant surprise the Oscar de la Renta exhibit was in San Francisco! It was at the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park and the park itself was beautiful. We went on our last day and I wish we had more time to explore the grounds (especially the Japanese Tea Garden).

On our vacations we almost always compromise by doing something the other person enjoys and then switching. For instance, in New York we went to a baseball game and then to the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). In San Francisco the baseball game was followed by the Oscar de la Renta exhibit. Fair's fair. Basically his favourite thing is baseball. My favourite thing is art.

I was so excited and the dresses were stunning. In particular I loved seeing older designs (from the 1960s) and the more recent Met Gala dresses - in particular the black and white design Sarah Jessica Parker wore a few years ago. I took about a thousand photos as inspiration for my cousin, the surface designer - see her blog here. She creates hand painted silk designs so of course I sent her photos of the same medium from the exhibit. Enjoy a very select few of my photos below!







Wednesday, 11 May 2016

SAN FRANCISCO

We began and ended our vacation in San Francisco. Although I liked the city as a whole very much we were off to a rocky start from the beginning. Driving in SF was a complete nightmare and totally convinced me road trips are not for us. (We picked up a rental car at the airport because of our plans to go to Yosemite National Park - otherwise we would never have driven.)

And of course after 8 months with zero offers on our house we were in SF all of 2 hours when we received an offer. This couple had no qualms about letting us run back and forth to our hotel room on vacation to make calls and send paperwork when they had no intention of actually purchasing our home. YEAH. (We find out later they have done this before. Multiple times.) That will put a damper on your vacation.

Regardless we managed to enjoy San Francisco but I didn't leave my heart there...this time. Maybe we'll visit again. If so, we will take a cab and we will not answer real estate calls.


I'm quite proud of the photo above. It is quite difficult to get a photo like this without tourists roaming around!



The two photos above are of "Crooked Street" on Lombard Street. It has 8 (9? 10?) hairpin curves. Search it online for a good pic! When we returned to SF for the last few days of our vacation we stayed at a hotel on Lombard, but further up (not on the crooked part)! We saw multiple cars drive down this little street which was surprising to me and I can't help wonder if they were tourists. Also I still can't get over how STEEP the streets are in SF!! I have a recurring nightmare about driving up a steep road and the car I'm in flipping over backwards so I did not enjoy the city driving! Haha.


On the trolley! Or as it's actually called, the cable car. They have wooden breaks! And you can actually hang off the side. We weren't able to do that because they were usually packed full of people and we could only find room in the back.


We spent quite a lot of time down on the piers (Pier 39 has many sealions lounging about)! Above is the view from the pier - do you recognize Alkatraz? I was surprised it didn't feel very far away from the docks! We had so many things we wanted to see and do in the city we did not take a tour. You could easily spend a week here and fill your days with activities. 



At the top of Lombard Street again.



It is no secret I am not a sports lover. However, I can always be easily convinced to see a professional sporting event and always enjoy myself. In super nerdy news we got certificates at AT&T stadium that said it was our first time there. And in sporty news we saw their ace pitch - Madison Bumgarner. That's apparently a big deal according to my dad and husband. Also - that head to toe Blue Jays outfit was quite a talking point.



This is the size of one of the cables on the Golden Gate Bridge! On our way back from Yosemite we thought we would be crossing the Golden Gate but GPS took us to the Bay Bridge (which was actually larger and more impressive but not orange).


Thanks for the memories, San Francisco!