Fashion & Beauty

Honoring My Grandmothers’ Life

 

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Earlier this week, on January 22nd, my family lost its matriarch; my grandfather lost the love of his life, my mother lost her mother and I lost a very close grandmother who will never get to meet the baby I’m carrying – a baby she was so very excited to meet.

I’m not confident in my ability to accurately depict the immensely incredible life she lived and it’s getting harder to type every word as I’m constantly wiping tears from my face, but I’ll do my best.

My grandmother was one of twelve siblings and married my grandfather right out of high school. Together they had five biological children and adopted two additional kids when I was about three. She worked odd jobs throughout her life; I most distinctly remember her working at a local bakery and then serving as a lunch lady when I was in elementary school and into early middle school. Sometime after that, she retired and took to babysitting her grandchildren and neighborhood kids.

Some of best memories of my grandmother are lazy summer days with her. During the summer, she would pick us up for the free movie days at the theater, we’d get pizza, go back to her house and spend the rest of the day in the pool. Even as we grew older, my now husband would spend some days poolside with me and my younger siblings.

At 4’10” and 100 pounds soaking wet, my grandmother was a little ball of fire that I’m sure most people did not expect. She had a get it done attitude, but a playfulness that made even the most tedious tasks lighter and upbeat. That same get it done attitude also landed her in some rough spots over the years. For example, the week before her surprise 50th anniversary part she started a bonfire on her property with gasoline – little to her knowledge she was standing too close and ended up in the hospital with some 2nd degree burns and no eyebrows. Even through all her trials, she always remained strong and upbeat with a passion for life I have only ever seen in one other person.

What no one tells you when someone passes is that the little details you remember about that person are the memories you’ll hold most dear and pull at your heart the hardest. When we were little, she’d used to tell us “pizza crusts make your eyelashes grow” and “the bruises on bananas make you beautiful” – I obviously have reservations on the validity of those statements, but I know I’ll be repeating them to my own children.

My grandmother lived a beautiful life, loved and is loved by so many people. Before she passed, she told the nurse at the hospital that she “had a beautiful house with a beautiful bedroom with sunlight coming in” and that’s where she wanted to go. Grandma got her wish, passing away peacefully in her beautiful house, surrounded by the people who love her.

Even though she’s gone, her legacy lives on in her husband, 7 children (5 biological and 2 adopted), 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren (with an additional 3 on the way). Although I feel like 25 years with my grandmother was not enough, I am grateful for the time I got with her. She will forever be in my heart and in the hearts of those who loved her.

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Pregnancy

Pregnancy Update: 21 weeks!

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T Shirt Dress similar here / Vera Wang Leggings / Knot Necklace

Yes, I know. I’ve been AFK AGAIN. Truth be told, it has been so insanely cold I haven’t gone anywhere or done anything besides have to do errands. What does that mean in my terms? No makeup and sweats every day. Between being pregnant and the super low temperatures, I have had no desire whatsoever to do any sort of outfit post. Luckily it’s warmer here and I’ll try to get my butt back in gear. Santa brought me a new (excellent used condition) lens for my camera, so I’m super excited to try it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

On another note, I am officially (a little more than) half way through my pregnancy! You cannot imagine how good it feels to say that. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll bounce off a few quick tidbits first and finish off with a more lengthy “story” for those of you who want to read it.

baby size: a carrot
bump size: obviously pregnant, still smallish

symptoms: swelling, acne
cravings: sushi

worst part so far: uncontrollable gas
best part so far: feeling baby kick

Baby Size + Bump Size
Our baby is about the size of a large carrot and weighs about 14 ounces. Oddly, for being half way through, I don’t feel like I look “half way pregnant”. People around me constantly say things like “she’s expecting? she’s so tiny” and “your bump is so cute and little”. Trust me, I do not feel tiny and although my bump is “cute and little”, it’s already gotten to the point where I can’t bend over fully and I can literally feel the boundaries of my uterus through my abdomen. (TMI? I’m pregnant – it’s all TMI. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Symptoms + Cravings
I thought my worst symptom would be hunger. I was wrong. Then I thought the worst symptom would be exhaustion. Wrong again. Acne has been the (almost!) worst part of the process. I have NEVER had acne like this. My face has been consistently getting huge, swollen pimples no matter what I do and I told my husband that I feel worse now about myself than I did when I was almost 150 pounds. Mostly because of the acne. I can’t hide it and it’s right there where everyone is looking. I’m so embarrassed every time we go out because I’m supposed to have this beautiful pregnancy glow and I just look like I’ve been bitten by those spiders on Jumanji.

Honestly, pregnancy is not all cravings. People make it seem like that, but it’s really not. The first thing I started craving was peanut butter and chocolate. Yes, I did tear the entire house apart looking for those peanut butter balls we bought at a craft show, but it subsided and I haven’t gotten like that since. The second thing I craved was cheese and sopressata. I have now moved onto potatoes (all kinds – hashbrowns, fries, scalloped, baked), buffalo wings and the biggest one of all: SUSHI. Oh my goodness, the sushi. We have an all you can eat sushi/hibachi place where we live where you can order from the menu as many times as you want and they make it fresh. It’s incredible and we have literally been eating there every week for the past month and a half. No, I don’t eat the raw stuff – I actually don’t even care for raw sushi rolls even when I’m not pregnant – but I do still get the rolls with caviar on them.

Worst + Best
As much as I’d like to say that acneย  has been the worst, at least I can semi hide it and medicate it. Gas is another story. I have never had so much gas in my life – I literally have to stop eating because of gas before I ever get painfully full. Oddly, it’s a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I stop eating, so I won’t gain so much weight as fast, and a curse because it’s horribly uncomfortable and terribly uncontrollable. Luckily we have a couple pregnant women between both of our families so everyone pretty much understands.

The baby has been squirming and kicking me constantly (my husband just felt the baby kick for the first time on the 12th!). At our big ultrasound this week, the tech and the doctor were both constantly commenting on how much the baby was moving – the tech even went so far as to say we’d have a soccer player. Music to my husbands’ ears. ๐Ÿ™‚ The second best part is that I’m halfway through and that is just unreal to me! In another 19 weeks or slightly less, we’ll be meeting our very first baby! There are really just no words beyond that – I legitimately can’t even comprehend it. Come on, May!

Surprise!
People are still asking us if we’re finding out the gender. No. Are we waiting until closer to our due date to find out? Are we having a gender reveal baby shower? Are we keeping the gender a secret from everyone but we know? No, no and no. We simply want a big surprise when our baby finally arrives. Some people think that’s stupid – how will we know what color gear and clothes to buy?. It’s called gender neutral, folks and that’s what we want. However, to our surprise, just as many people are super thrilled that we’re not finding out until D-Day.

There’s more to it than just wanting a surprise. I’m 25 years old, I have been to my fair share of baby showers. Every woman knew what she was having and told all the guests; all of them ended up with a ton of baby clothes and practically nothing else. The other items they did end up with were all either boy colors or girl colors.

Here’s my thought process. If nobody knows the gender, they can’t buy gender specific items which means the gender neutral items will last me (in theory) through all my babies, girls or boys. If nobody knows the gender, the temptation to buy all those super cute outfits will be quickly thwarted by the fact that although there ARE gender neutral clothes, there just aren’t a whole bunch of them. As a rule of thumb, I don’t buy baby clothes for a baby shower unless the honorary guest is my sister – but then only as a supplement to other requested items that are NOT clothes. You have no idea how many times I’ve heard a sigh of relief when new moms to be open gifts that are not baby clothes.

The whole pregnancy process has been a huge roller coaster for us and we are eagerly awaiting our due date one week at a time. We cannot wait to meet our little boy or girl!

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tshirt dressย LEGGINGSย knot necklace

Fashion & Beauty

Striped Tee + Cardigan

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStriped Long Sleeve Tee similar here / Cardigan similar here / Levi’s 535 in Mid Roast / Heels similar here / Earrings

It’s been awhile since my last post – between the eight or nine holiday get togethers we had starting last Friday I have had literally zero time to get anything done. On top of that I caught a cold during all of that and have been down the past two days alternating between sleeping and binge watching Ultimate Beastmaster (check it out on Netflix!) and the Jurassic Park series.

Pregnancy colds take you down hard. This is my second one and I’ll be really pumped if I don’t get another. The first night I don’t think I had an hour and a half of consecutive sleep. Between rolling around because I couldn’t breathe and everything ached to having to go to the bathroom every hour because a certain little someone is starting to press on my bladder and getting woken up by my husband because I’m snoring horribly loud now – I have been absolutely miserable the past two days. Today I’m a little better than yesterday, so I figured I could suck it up for an hour and get a post up, but then it’s back to the couch to binge watch something else. ๐Ÿ™‚

My baby bump has started to show now, so I feel like I look less bloated and more pregnant which has boosted my mood. I have also started to feel tiny little feet flicking my belly (they’re not really strong enough to be called kicks yet ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and as weird as I thought it would be, it’s really not. Luckily, I’m still somehow fitting into most of my pre pregnancy clothes so I’m grateful to not have to spend the extra money to get maternity items yet. (I AM wearing a belly band though!)

I hope everyone had a great holiday – we were super busy but saw a lot of people we don’t see super often and we had a ton of fun. To top it off, Santa was good to both of us this year; I think we ended up with more than we know what to do with (or have space for) but it’ll all find a home soon.

(I’m going to have to give my husband a crash course in lighting again – reminding him to watch the meter doesn’t seem to be helping. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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STRIPE TOPย MID ROASTย BLACK CARDIGANย HEELSย TRIPLE BALL EARRINGS

Travel

Ireland Travel Guide

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It’s hard to believe that its been two months since we were coming home from Ireland; the holidays are sure taking their toll on Father Time!

We spent a total of nine days in Ireland, making a loop around the island from Dublin to Galway to Killarney to Cork to Kilkenny and back up to Dublin – with all kinds of stops in between! It was a roller coaster from day one (technically day 0 because we spent most of our departure flight day driving to the airport), but we had a blast. Ireland is a gorgeous country with so much history, we couldn’t possibly do it all. But try, we did. ๐Ÿ™‚

We ended up driving ourselves – and by that I mean my dear, sweet husband tried his hardest to keep calm driving through roundabouts three times while I’m holding onto my seat, praying we make it – and we’d totally do it again. Honestly, it really wasn’t that bad. I think our saving grace was that we picked up the car in Dublin at the airport and immediately got out of the city and on our way to Galway and then we turned the car in when we got back to Dublin. Driving through the majority of Ireland is a piece of cake. Dublin, not so much.

And as much I’d love to tell you all that I wore so many cute outfits and got to show them off, that is not the case. It was so cold I ended up looking the exact same every day – jeans, walking shoes, sweater or tee and coat. Even with my plans of going to the hotel and changing into a nice dinner outfit were thwarted almost every night because we ran out of time or it was too complicated to get back or I didn’t want to walk a mile one way to the restaurant in heels. Reality, people. (The photo below is basically what I looked like the entire trip. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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Islands’ View Beach

Galway
This was my favorite city by far and one of my husbands’ favorites as well. This is closer to what we both envisioned Dublin to be like and honestly wished we had spent more time here than in Dublin.

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Bohermore’s Victorian Cemetery

Things To Do

  • Quay Street
    Aside from being totally lost and relatively irate at the bathroom situation, this was the cutest little street! The shops were all quaint and the restaurants all looked so good! we ended up eating at the Quay Street Kitchen and had dessert at Gino’s Gelato – both of which I highly recommend. We also (somehow) managed to find our way to the Galway Market and picked up a handmade bell for my husbands’ mother.
  • Eyre Square Shopping Centre
    Getting lost seemed to be what we were best at and inside the mall was no exception. There were so many shops and places to eat; we ended up getting coffee at Insomnia and just people watching until the mall started to close. The real reason behind going to the mall was to see the Medieval City Walls. Yes, INSIDE the mall. Pretty cool.
  • Bohermore’s Victorian Cemetery
    I know you’re thinking, “she’s recommending a cemetery on vacation”. Yes. Yes, I am. The headstones alone are worth the trip; they are just simply magnificent and when you combine it with a rare sunny day (which we were lucky to have) and the hustle and bustle of the city around it, it is just unreal to be there.

Restaurants

  • Quay Street Kitchen
    First impression: super small and slightly uncomfortable. Second impression: cozy, quaint and totally different than what we’re used to (hello, B Dubs!). Joking aside, the food was really varied and really fantastic. My husband ordered a chicken burger which he said was the best chicken burger he’s ever had and I ordered a vegetable curry with grilled chicken and ate it all! (Eating my entire meal is not usually something I can accomplish. ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  • Gino’s Gelato
    Words. Can. Not. Describe. I mean, I am literally just staring at my computer trying to figure out what to write here. Let me start off by saying, if you have a Ferrero Rocher gelato, you are gold on my list. Gino’s IS gold. We only had gelato at this location, but we did track one down in Dublin to have a waffle. The plot thickens…
  • Insomnia
    After this first visit where they made my hot chocolate with a vat of molten chocolate we were obviously coming back. In Dublin we had Insomnia coffee every morning and it was just as fantastic as that first cup.

Killarney
Killarney is where we saw a lot of evidence of Ophelia and Brian. The national park was flooded and there were areas that were completely inaccessible. We did, however, get to see all that we wanted in Killarney without being affected by it.

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Muckross Abbey

Things To Do

  • Ross Castle
    Being right on the edge of the Killarney Lakes, this is where we saw most of the flooding – the roadways were underwater and I’m pretty sure the bathrooms were totally out of order, but the castle itself was peachy keen sitting on top of its’ hill. This was one of my favorite castles – not for the size or the style, mind you – but for our guide. He was so incredibly engaging and informative that we actually learned most of everything we learned about how and why castles were built a certain way and the lives that would have taken place in them.
  • Muckross House and Abbey
    If you walk to the house, you pass the abbey so these two are just going to be lumped together. The abbey itself is incredible – totally open to the elements, totally free and 100% slippery. You can basically just wander around wherever you want here and really get a feel for what it would have been like living in it. The house is also incredible, but I was a little frustrated that there were no pictures allowed inside. We walked over a mile one way to get there (in the rain), we paid something like 10 or 15 Euro each to get in and not allowed to take a single photo inside. As opposed to its’ counterpart (the abbey) which was a 10 minute walk, totally free and I could snap to my hearts’ content. Regardless, both are worth the trip.

Restaurants

  • The Porterhouse Gastropub
    We ended up walking a mile each way from our hotel to get to this little gem – we didn’t have to, but that’s what we did and I would even go as far to recommend it. We got to walk down Plunkett street which had a similar feel to Quay Street in Galway and it was really fun to feel like we were part of the local culture. My husband ordered some sort of steak burger with onions – it was definitely one of the best things we ate in Ireland – and I ordered the traditional lamb stew which was good, but I ended up wishing I had done the steak burger as well.


Cork

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St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral

Things To Do

  • Old English Market
    We most likely looked like goofy Americans as we walked through this little market, but it was just so unlike anything we have in America. There were butchers and bakers and stalls selling local produce – it just seemed as though we stepped back in time to, well, an old english market. The only thing we ended up buying were two desserts from a bakery that we ate the next morning for breakfast. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral
    Full disclosure: I almost had a melt down when I realized I left my camera in the car almost a mile away-this cathedral is the most beautiful church I have ever been in and it still makes me mad when I look at my sub par iPhone photos from that day. Just walking into the cathedral feels like you are stepping into history. It’s just the most unexplainable, surreal feeling – I literally had tears in my eyes as we were leaving, I was that moved. If you’re going to see a cathedral, this is the one you want.
  • The Everyman Theater
    This was probably the most stressed I was during our entire trip. We were literally driving around and around the (if I remember correctly) Merchants’ Quay area trying to find parking. (When you are used to rural American parking, Ireland – and my best guess is most of Europe – parking is a NIGHTMARE.) We ended up picking a direction from the parking deck, praying it was the right way, somehow miraculously finding the theater and getting to our seats with maybe five minutes to spare. Totally stressed. However, since it was around Halloween we were lucky enough to see The Addams Family and the theater itself is just gorgeous. Even if you don’t see a play – just go to see the theater. Seriously.
  • Blarney Castle
    Not technically in Cork, but close enough. We got here literally at the last moment – last admission was 5pm I believe and we got there at 4:50. We did have enough time to see the castle and some of the gardens and to do the most important thing – kiss the Blarney stone! The castle itself is not renovated so it has that dark, castley feel to it – I just happen to love that, by the way – but it is slippery so you have to be super careful walking around. My husband is afraid of heights so kissing the stone for him was a big deal and he got a bit concerned when it was my turn; I was about 8 weeks pregnant at the time, so he was understandably a little agitated. ๐Ÿ™‚ But we kissed the stone and are now blessed with the gift of eloquence! We even got our pictures done and received a little certificate. ๐Ÿ™‚

Restaurants

  • Gourmet Burger Bistro
    Adding to the stress of the night we went to see The Addams Family, we hadn’t eaten since lunch we were 100% positive that by the time we got out of the theater we wouldn’t have enough time to make it to the restaurant we had picked. However, as soon as the lights went up, we booked it out of there and (again, fingers crossed) picked a direction and walked. We ended up getting to the restaurant maybe a half hour before closing and we were the only people there. Regardless of the fact they were obviously tidying up and closing down for the night, our waitress was friendly, the food was fresh and absolutely perfect. I believe my husband had a lamb burger that was on special and I had the pulled pork burger. Oh my, it was incredible! If we ever go to Ireland again, we definitely be eating here. ๐Ÿ™‚


Kilkenny
We did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked in Kilkenny. I honestly would have opted for a second day here over having three in Dublin. We didn’t get to everything on our list, but we did see the big things we were most interested in. Bonus points for the fact that it feels like I (and probably most Americans) think Ireland should feel. Lively and quaint, old and beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Jerpoint Park

Things to Do

  • Kilkenny Castle
    Everywhere we went around Kilkenny we were asked “have you seen the castle” and told “make sure you go to the castle”. Yes, it is impressive and a bit of a shock when you come down a bustling street into shops and restaurants and there’s this huge, looming castle right smack in the middle of it. Truth be told, it was my least favorite of the trip. It just wasn’t very engaging – I much prefer the tours with guides who tell you obscure little details and keep you guessing than just wandering around reading facts. However, it is a beautiful castle, both inside and out and I’m glad we made the stop.
  • Jerpoint Park
    It’s out of the way. It’s wet. (The guide actually gave us little “waterproof” slippers to cover our shoes and they still ended up totally soaked.) And oddly, we were told by our guide that he was the “foreign language” tour guide and he hadn’t done a tour in English in well over a year. But it is 100% worth it. If you have the opportunity to go, it is an absolute gem. For those of you who don’t know, Jerpoint Park was a medieval town that is home to the grave of St. Nicholas. (Our tour guide told us he tells people he watches over Santa Claus’ grave. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) It’s steeped in history and still has a lot of the original buildings that were part of the town. Through the years it has been neglected and forgotten, but it now under the ownership of people who are really proud of it and treat it with the utmost respect.

Restaurants

  • Kyteler’s Inn
    Founded in 1263 by an accused witch, we were obviously eating there! It’s a bit difficult to find – I would have walked right by the little alley leading to it had it not been for my husband – but well worth the adventure. My husband had some sort of a steak burger that he really liked and I had the vol au vent. My meal deserves its’ own blog post, I swear to you it was that good. It was literally the best thing I ate in Ireland and that’s saying a lot because, well, I ate A LOT.


Dublin
Dublin was supposed to be the highlight of the trip, spending a total of three days here for our grand finale. By day two, I was telling my husband that I hated Dublin. That may have been an exaggeration brought on by pregnancy hormones, but in all honesty we were both pretty disappointed with Dublin. We still had tons of fun and we don’t regret it, but in hindsight we’d have only spent a day or two here.

As many things as there are to do in Dublin, there were a lot of complications. Unknown to us, we happened to be in Dublin for some huge marathon weekend and were told that there were an additional 20,000 people in the city for it. Holy crap. We had so much issue getting around that we wasted a load of time just travelling to where we wanted to be. And half the time when we got to where we wanted to be, it was closed or sold out. (And when I say closed, I mean we literally checked the hours on the website the night before and when we got there, they had a paper on the front gate with new hours – I’m looking right at you, Botanical Gardens.)

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Library at Trinity College

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St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre

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on the Butler’s Chocolate Factory tour! ๐Ÿ™‚

Things to Do

  • National Museum of Ireland – Archeaology
    This was one of our favorites and we wished we had had more time to spend here but we were on a schedule that day and could not miss a tour we had already paid for. This was the only museum we visited in Dublin and it’s a miracle we even made it to this one by accident – all we knew is that we were headed for the National Museum (there’s a couple different ones right next to each other and we happened to fall into this one). There are tons of artifacts from jewelry to swords to skeletons – really something for everyone here. Bonus points: it’s FREE!
  • Book of Kells
    This was extremely packed – marathon, holiday weekend, add in the fact that it’s a functioning college and you have yourself a can of sardines. The exhibit was neat – a bit overpriced in my very honest opinion – but I actually ended up loving the library more than the Book of Kells. It was just incredible.
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
    Also extremely packed; there was a line of probably 100 people waiting to get in. It just really took away from the whole experience and that’s probably why I had such a crappy time in Dublin. Too many people. Everywhere. In everything. There was just no escape. The church itself is beautiful and unique, but St. Fin Barre’s was just a whole different experience. Being able to walk around in silence and be the only two in a cathedral is just magical.
  • Butler’s Chocolate Factory
    One of my favorite parts of Dublin! This Butler’s chocolate factory is the only one in the world. How cool is that? So even when you see Butler’s chocolate in America,ย  this is where it came from. I have actually never been on a chocolate factory tour, so it was all really interesting for me. There were a bunch of samples and we even got to decorate our own chocolate pumpkins to take home. I highly recommend it!
  • Grafton Street andย St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center
    People overload. The shopping is great if you’re looking for fashionable clothes. There does seem to be an over abundance of Irish souvenir shops everywhere, but not much else. We were really looking forward to have our caricatures done in St. Stephen’s Green, but he wasn’t there. So there really wasn’t much else for us to do than finish up our gift shopping.
  • Dublin Hell Fire Club
    We were lucky enough to be in Dublin close to Halloween, giving us the opportunity to attend the more frequent ghost tours. We chose the Hell Fire Club in the Dublin mountains. Our guide took us up to the mountains after dark and the entire group hiked up to the structure and were able to go inside and hear about all the macabre happenings that are said to have taken place here. This was absolutely my favorite thing we did in Dublin.

Restaurants

  • Golden Palace
    We ate here on a whim the first night in Dublin – it was late, we were starving and we did not want to navigate our way into Dublin to try and find food in the dark. It was actually one of our favorites of the whole trip! It’s an all you can eat Chinese place were you can order whatever you want from the menu and it’s made fresh as you order it. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in my life. Between the two of us we ordered the Cantonese duck (twice), sweet and sour chicken, Thai noodles, another chicken dish of some sort, fried rice and two orders of fries (I was newly pregnant – don’t judge ๐Ÿ™‚ ). For the price, it was a welcome dinner for two (and a half!) very hungry travellers.
  • Boojum
    Basically a Chipotle. Service was fast and friendly and the food was fresh and tasty. What more could you possibly ask for?
  • Bleecker Street Cafe
    Another late night dinner. We both ordered the special which happened to be beer battered cod and fries. It was our first and only fish and chips. We are just not big fish people, but had to do the traditional dishes. I really enjoyed mine, where my husband said it was okay and that it just “tasted like a big fish stick”. Which is fine by me, because I really like fish sticks. ๐Ÿ™‚ All in all, a good place; we’re just not fish people.
  • Bunsen
    One of the best burgers I have ever eaten. From a fast food place. Incredible. The menu is really simple: single or double, cheese or no, add pickle, lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup, mustard, mayo or not, hand cut, shoe string or sweet potato fries or not and soda, milkshake or beer. Best idea ever. They’re also cooked as requested and my husband was super impressed that his medium rare was actually medium rare.
  • The Old Storehouse Bar & Restaurant
    This was a spur of the moment option when we realized we wouldn’t be able to eat where we had planned. The moment we walked in we were greeted with a band and the entire pub singing along – it was sort of a moment where we both looked at each other and thought “this really doesn’t happen”. But it does and continued to do so most of our dinner. My husband ordered the lamb chops and I ordered the cottage pie – they were both absolutely perfect and my husband could not stop raving about the gravy.


Other Stops

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Charleville CastleOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cliffs of Moher

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Dingle Peninsula

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Kilmacdaugh Tower

  • Cliffs of Moher
    The Cliffs of Insanity! At least that’s what it feels like. Considering Ireland had just received two massive blows from Mother Nature – Ophelia and Brian – everything was wet, so my intentions to hike along the cliffs was thwarted. It was just a muddy mess and the path is so close to the edge, we just did not feel like risking it. The cliffs themselves are incredibly beautiful and you get a real sense of just how small you really are compared to nature.
  • Holy Cross Abbey
    This was a really neat little side trip for us. The abbey itself is beautiful and houses the oldest bell in Ireland. It is also home to a relic of the true cross. This was our main purpose for stopping – even if you’re rolling your eyes and saying “everyone claims they have one”, we have never seen one and it was a neat little artifact.
  • Dingle Peninsula
    This should be on the top of your Ireland to do list. On the top of your bucket list, in fact. We did not do the Ring of Kerry or the Ring of Skellig (we wanted to do Skellig island, but the boat tours to it were closed for the season – I just wanted to be a Jedi!). We instead, opted to do the Dingle Peninsula. It is hands down one of the highlights of the trip and one of the most beautiful places we have ever been.
  • Rock of Cashel
    Another one of my favorites. I just really love old, crumbling walls and cemeteries. The guided tour was fascinating and quite sad, hearing about the attacks on the fortress and how a family is letting a grave go to ruin.
  • Kilmacdaugh Tower
    The tallest tower in Ireland and, apparently, little known. It’s completely free and there was no one else there with us. There’s not a lot in the way of historical information available at the site, but it is an incredible place to visit and see the old graves and buildings. I preferred this to Glendalough.
  • Glendalough
    Sort of the same as Kilmacdaugh in that it’s an old monastery site, also free. The biggest difference is the location. Although it’s in a beautiful, mountainous area, it’s so close to Dublin and that means more people. There were about 50 other people all wandering around the site with us and it just takes away from the awe. Especially when those people are letting their children run around screaming and jumping off the laid down headstones.
  • Charleville Castle
    This was our first real stop in Ireland and it was such a great first impression. I think it actually spoiled us a little as we were the only people on the tour so we really got to interact with our guide (who was an absolute blast!) and we could really take our time in the parts of the castle we were most interested in. Bonus points for no people in our photos! This is off the beaten path, but 100% worth it – on the way there we saw our first and only fairy tree the entire trip.
  • House of Waterford
    This was an interesting little tour. Again, we were the only ones on the tour so we really got to ask lots of questions and hang back in the spots we were most interested in. My husband went into this thinking “why is this stuff so expensive” and came out saying “now I understand why this stuff is so expensive”. He actually enjoyed it more than I expected him to and now we’re on the look out for a piece of Waterford crystal we can display in our house.
  • King John’s Castle
    Not my personal favorite, but an education little stop. The coolest part of the castle is the view from the walls; we stood up there for probably twenty minutes looking at the river and the surrounding town. The second coolest part of this castle is that you can actually walk underneath it to see the foundation and where the sieges took place all those years ago.

All in all, we had a blast! I 100% recommend Ireland if you ever have the chance to go, but keeping Dublin a short stop instead of the main event. You’ll meet wonderful people, eat incredible food and experience beautiful places.

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Fashion & Beauty

Metallic Tunic + Glitter Clutch

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMetallic Tunic / Levi’s Super Skinny in Mid Roast / Glitter Clutch similar here / Glitter Heels similar here / Soulfeel Charm Bracelet & Charms / CZ Halo Studs similar here

We attended our first Christmas dinner of the season this past Sunday. Where is the time going?! Because it’s still early in the season this was a casual get together, I opted for jeans and a tunic rather than a fancy outfit.

As concerned as I was about the metallic tunic being scratchy or stiff, it wasn’t at all and I was pretty surprised. The material is super comfy with just a faint shimmer to it. I may have to get it in a couple more colors (it comes in 9!).

The clutch I literally just got at Target on Black Friday, but I could not find it on their website. You may want to check your local store to see if they have one in stock; if not, the bag I listed comes also comes in silver, gold and pink!

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Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Winners

We are chugging right along into this holiday season! I can’t believe we’re already half way through December! A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway and fingers crossed your name is on the list below!

Day 1 (Peppermint Bark Tea): Shelly E. L. blea…@gmail.com

Day 2 (Plaid Blanket Scarf): Amber S. amberand…@yahoo.com

Day 3 (Makeup Brushes): Andrea L. mommy…@hotmail.com

Day 4 (Yankee Candle): Erin D. M. erin…@gmail.com

Day 5 (Nail Polish Set):ย Melissa C. mcra…@gmail.com

Day 6 (Cable Knit Socks): Ashley C. ang…@cox.net

Day 7 (Bow Earrings): Julie T. jat…@gmail.com

Day 8 (Pom Pom Beanie): Kelly S. D. kellyw…@gmail.com

Day 9 (Coconut Mint Drop Lotion):ย Karen karend…@yahoo.com

Day 10 (Christmas Bead Charm):ย Crystal A. tryingnew…@gmail.com

Day 11 (Cookies For Santa Set):ย Dana R. tat2…@hotmail.com

Day 12 (Touch Screen Gloves):ย Jean E. B. jemfree…@gmail.com

Congratulations to all the winners!ย Watch for an email from laura@thepetitenoir.com so I can get your mailing address. If I don’t receive a response back from you within a week, your prize will be forfeit. Although I will ship out the prizes as soon as possible, due to the holiday season, I cannot guarantee Christmas delivery.

Merry Christmas!

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Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway: Touch Screen Gloves

touch screen gloves

Here we are – the last day of the giveaway and only thirteen more days until Christmas! I hope you all have enjoyed my twelve days of Christmas and remember to check back tomorrow for a list of the winners.

I’ve done a hat, a scarf and socks, so I’m wrapping up the giveaway with a pair of really cute touch screen gloves. The gloves are feminine and classy – perfect for pairing with all your holiday outfits.

To enter the giveaway, fill out the form below and cross your fingers! You can enter from now until midnight tonight. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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