Traveling Ireland: Dublin Part I

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Hey guys! I know it’s been awhile but I needed to take a break from things and just really enjoy Ireland. It was pretty much a life long dream come true to go and I decided that I wanted to focus on the trip and really take it all in. And it was refreshing and beautiful. More than beautiful, really. So beautiful that I’m going to break up the trip into two posts because of pictures. And while we’re talking about pictures, I bought a new camera because you don’t do on a trip like this and rely on iPhone pictures.

Victorian Dublin Ireland

So we spent the first few days in Dublin, the capital and it was beautiful! It’s not as big as either of us expected with only about a million people in it. What it lacked in size, it made up for in friendliness and beauty. The first night we stayed at an AirBNB up in the NW part of the city which was a charming area filled with Victorian area townhouses. Pretty much every street looked like the picture above. We loved the red brick against the green foliage. It was extremely quiet and picturesque- totally a neighborhood I would think about living in.

Dublin Cathedral

Oh and every little area has a beautiful and HUGE cathedral in it. This one, St Peter’s, was like a 5 minute walk out the front door. We ended up staying in 3 neighborhoods in Dublin and this one was my favorite by far. Even though we were tucked away a bit, a twenty minute walk put you smack dab in the middle of the city. And since we’re on the subject of walking, I feel like I need to give everyone some advice on transportation. DO NOT buy their Leap cards for the bus system. They take 48 hours to activate (no lie), they don’t make any stops in sightseeing areas, and if there’s two of you, it’s probably cheaper to take a cab. What I will recommend is buying one of these:

Dublin Green Bus Tour Ticket

The green sightseeing busses are a great way to see the town and are actually cheaper than buying a city bus pass. The hop on and off feature was amazing for seeing things and even just getting around. One of the husband’s coworkers gave me her’s since she didn’t have time to use it. Changed my life as far as a getting around town and the bus drivers sing Irish drinking songs, so I’m not sure what more I could have wanted. Oh and I’d say only about 60% of places take cash so make sure you’ve always got plenty of cash.

Dublin Historical Architecture

Even if you decide to take cabs or buses most places, make sure that you take time to walk around and really see the city. Dublin has so many historical places that only a fraction of them make it on the bus tours. We would have missed seeing this gorgeous building if we hadn’t decided to walk to the pub one night instead of catching a cab. And speaking of pubs, they’re everywhere and the food was actually pretty decent on average. We ate a quite a few of them and loved watching rugby matches with locals. It’s a definite must-do while you’re there, just make sure that you check when they’re open. We missed getting into the beauty because we wanted to eat a little too early.

O'Neals Pub Dublin Ireland

One of the most interesting, fun, beautiful places in Dublin is Dublin Castle. Pay the extra few euros and take the longer guided tour. You get access to more parts of the castle and you’ll learn awesome things about the beginning of Dublin, vikings, Irish independence, etc.

Dublin Castle

It’s a gorgeous hodge-podge of buildings, some almost a thousand years old! The architecture lover in me loves the medieval tower in between the gothic cathedral and the victorian state hall. The cathedral was spectacular breathtaking and while not huge, its detail and craftsmanship rivaled some of the larger famous cathedrals in France.

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Dublin Castle Ceiling

Now I love me some America but our government halls have nothing on their state rooms. Waterford crystal chandeliers, thrones, magnificent paintings and fantastic design in every. single. room.

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Dublin Castle Architecture Inaugural Hall Dublin Castle

This painting, kind of tucked out of the way as you exited the castle was probably my favorite. It so perfectly depicted the history and struggle of the Irish Republic. It’s beauty was just so haunting and my picture of it really doesn’t do it any justice.

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We wandered into St Steven’s Green afterwards and to say it was magical feels like a bit of an understatement. It’s a perfect place to take a walk and enjoy a beautiful evening.

 

P1010231 It’s located RIGHT next to Grafton street, Dublin’s main shopping center, but once you entered the park, it was magnificently quiet and serene.

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It was the best way to end our first full day in Ireland. I wish I could fit in our entire time in Dublin into one post but honestly, there was no way that I was going to be able to fit even a quarter of the things we did into one post. I do feel like I kind of warned you with the title of the post being: Traveling Ireland: Dublin Part I. I promise that I’ll only post one more post about Dublin and try to cram in as much as possible.

Have a great hump day and with my luck wish this awful jet lag!

-Katy

 


Love It or Hate It? Fur Ottoman

Fur Ottoman

Guys, I wasn’t planning on posting again before I left for Ireland but I saw this and had to talk about it. This fur ottoman is sold by my beloved Target and I just don’t know how I should feel about it. In some ways, the texture would be perfect in the right room but then I look at it again and think it’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. So ladies and gents, what’s your take on this? Happening or hideous?

Let me know your thoughts!

-Katy


Lovely Links

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Here are some interesting, beautiful or inspiring lovely links from around the web this week as I’m hurriedly packing and trying desperately not to stress about leaving in a few days:

We love inviting people over but haven’t really had almost anyone over since we moved. I’m sure we’ll get back into the grove and have parties again once we’re a bit more settled because it feels so strange to not have them. But then I read that dinner parties a thing of the past?

The Pope chuckles meeting his tiniest fan- how adorable!

Trying to fit most of my previous apartment’s decor into the new house has been a bit of a challenge, especially when it’s already time to start decorating for the holidays. I’m trying to keep my decorations more muted and “grown up” this year so I loved these brilliant fall decor ideas without a single pumpkin in sight.

I’m leaving for Ireland Friday and packing this and this to help my skin stay fresh with all of the travel.

Every home decor blogger has mentioned this ottoman lately and it’s life changing (OK, maybe just room changing) abilities.

This FREE printable is beautiful and would be perfect to pop into a frame and give as a gift.

I’m not normally a hat person but I’ve seen everyone wearing these lately and it might be prudent to have something to cover my head out in windy Ireland.

Trying to talk myself out of buying this for our bed, especially since it’s still over 90 degrees here! But oh, the knit!

Self worth vs self esteem– which one we should actually strive for.

What awesome things have you found on the Internet lately? Make sure to check in next week and follow on Instagram and Facebook as I’ll be putting up posts and pics from beautiful Ireland!

-Katy


Mad For Plaid: Autumn 2015

It’s still above 90 degrees here in Austin but since I’m headed to Ireland in a week (I’m not even close to ready) I’m dreaming of brisk weather and falling leaves. There’s not a whole lot more autumn-y than plaid so I thought that I’d put together some of the cutest finds under $25. Even if it’s not cool enough to wear the sweaters yet, the plaid decor is enough to satisfy my craving.

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All of the decor items are from Target and they’re 10% off online with the code “FURNITURE” at check out which makes them an even better deal.

Have a great weekend!

-Katy

 

 


The Best Deal on Curtains

West Elm Curtains

I’ve been searching for curtains online and came across these for only $19 instead of $89. It’s an insane deal and if they fit into my design I would scoop them up in a heartbeat. Since they don’t, I thought that I’d share them with all of my lovely readers! Happy Shopping!

-Katy


Sometimes There’s Clouds

Cloud Art

Lately I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed. When I list out everything that is causing me anxiety, worry, or stress though, I feel like a bit of a whiney brat because so many of those things are awesome. We’re traveling, bought a new house, finishing up work projects, volunteering, etc. and while they’re all wonderful new changes, the happening all at once part is making me feel less than adequate. Back in college I remember learning about how any change, good or bad, causes stress and I’ve thought a lot about that lately. Even with all my great luck (or blessings if you’d like to call it that), I still feel a little “off” sometimes which then leads me to feel incredibly guilty for being ungrateful. This only leads to a downward spiral situation.

But I was driving the other day and saw the most beautiful cloud formations. I love clouds; they’re beautiful and grand and majestic and even sometimes a little moody. And even though they were covering up the sun and obscuring the beautiful sunlight, they were beyond lovely themselves. I thought about how when I lived in southern California I missed the clouds and the constant sun felt like a drain after awhile. I almost think that happiness can be the same way. Constant sunshine, like constant happiness, is not sustainable and we shouldn’t expect it to be. Sometimes there’s going to be clouds and we should not only accept it but embrace it as part of the human experience. As I’ve started picturing my anxieties and feelings as clouds, I’ve come to better realize that they’re fleeting. No feeling, good or bad, can last forever and there is beauty in experiencing the the spectrum. And I’ve come to realize that I’d much rather have a beautiful life than a perfect one, clouds and all.

 

-Katy

(Beautiful Painting Source)

 


Moody Bedroom Inspiration

In my non-blog life I run a marketing consulting company and we have been super busy which has put me a little behind on some (OK, a lot) of home projects so I’m going to have just salivate over other finished, beautiful spaces in the meantime. Blogger, SFgirlbybay posted a great home tour and I fell in love with this moody and beautiful bedroom.

Moody Bedroom

It’s moody, dark, edgy and yet somehow, a little romantic. It’s a beautifully styled room that would have intimidated me in the past until I started breaking down designer rooms the room piece by piece. I love this room and would love to take pretty much every single piece but I’m not entirely sure that the husband would be OK with the neon sign.

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So what are your favorite pieces? Would you put a neon sign in your bedroom? I’ve already convinced the husband that we should paint our room the glossy flint color, now to cajole him into agreeing to the swan print.

-Katy


Taking Time to Read: A Husband’s Secret Book Review

The Husband's Secret Review

I picked up The Husband’s Secret after seeing it on quite a few summer reading lists with readers swearing it’s worth the time it takes to get through the 400 pages. I’m not someone who devours book after book so I read several reviews on it before I ordered my copy, hoping that it would be a better written Gone Girl type novel. Well, it proved to be disappointing on that front as I could fairly accurately predict most every twist and turn far before I should have, but I was impressed with the character development and the real-ness of their choices. Maybe the story is predictable because the characters make such realistic choices.

No one person in the entire book was either mostly good or mostly bad- they were all flawed in such a human way. Each person in the story lived out their reality individually within the complete narrative and it made me think about how life is pretty much the same way. We all live life in our own heads, living and reacting to our unique perceptions of the world around us. It’s something that I know cerebrally but easily forget. This book was an enjoyable reminder that everyone’s lives are intertwined and yet can be so solitary. We’re all fallible, limited by our own insecurities complicated by our past and hopes for the future. The story doesn’t end up perfectly because it’s like life, and there are no tidy endings in the real world. This book is definitely a book that I’d recommend, and unlike Gone Girl, is one that can be read in bits and pieces and still remain enjoyable.

Anyone finish their summer reading and want to recommend a good book? I’m on the hunt for something new!

-Katy


Fall Outfit for Warmer Weather

fall-outfit-warm-weatherDress/ Wedges/ Necklace/ Bracelet (Under $20)

Living in Texas, Fall is a gorgeous and beautiful time but far too hot for sweaters, scarves, or even long sleeves. Right now I feel like so many outfit inspirations are gorgeous but not practical for all of us living south of the Maxon Dixon line so I thought that I’d put together a cute outfit that you won’t die in when you walk outside. Best part? The entire outfit is just over $100- including the Kate Spade necklace.

I just bought the dress and I think that I’m going to have to pick up the gold plated bracelet as well since it’s such a steal!

-Katy

 


Fresh Strawberry Cookies

Best Strawberry Cookies

Hey guys, I’ve been pretty busy this weekend but I thought that I’d let you in on my go-to recipe for anything potluck. We had a welcome BBQ this weekend but most of the cookies never made it- they’re too good to not sneak a couple every few minutes. I’ll warn you that this is pretty much the best sugar cookie recipe ever. I love that the dough doesn’t need to be chilled, perfect with or without frosting, and completely easy to make. I follow her recipe pretty closely except halve the frosting amount and add half a teaspoon of lemon juice.

It’s a great way to use up some strawberries at the end of the season that might be a little over ripe. Check out CelebratingSweets for the recipe!

-Katy