June 12, 2017

36(ish) Hours in Dublin, Ireland

With everything that's been going on lately, I desperately needed to get away so last weekend, The Pilot and I made our way to Dublin.

We had both been to Ireland separately 10 years ago. He to Dublin and me, on a backpacking trip along the coast. I had been in Dublin for about three hours on my last trip so never got the chance to see the city. We landed at about 9 am after a quick flight across the pond.

We had booked an Air B&B the night before at the Jameson Distillery, which turned out to be a great location! We were pretty tired from the flight, so we took a 2-hour nap as soon as we checked in and then headed out for some lunch. We have a lot of friends who have been to Dublin in the last few weeks and all of them highly recommended Queen of Tarts in Temple Bar.

Their recommendations did not disappoint and, after indulging in a delicious lunch and out-of-this-world desserts, we made our way through the city to start exploring.

The whole purpose of this trip was to take my mind off of things so we had no agenda and just wandered the city. We found a free walking tour of Dublin's Northside which wasn't great but gave us the chance to check out Georgian Dublin, which was nice. After the tour, we did some shopping along O'Connell Street and wandered around Temple Bar.

We were anxious to have our first pints of Guinness in Dublin and made our way to The Brazen Head which claims to be Dublin's oldest pub, and while packed with tourists, it was a great place to listen to live music in a mellow environment (despite the crowd) while enjoying a few pints.

After a few hours at the pub, we called it a night and were up bright and early the next morning (thanks, jetlag!). It didn't hurt that we woke up to this incredibly European view!

Our first stop of the day (and the most organized thing we did) was to stop at the Guinness Storehouse.

I had no idea what to expect but this place blew me away. I thought it was just your run-of-the-mill brewery tour but boy was I wrong. Everything about this place is impeccable, from the display of the four ingredients that go into beer to the absolutely fascinating video of how those famous Guinness barrels were made, to the pour-your-own pint demonstration, and finally, the 360-view rooftop bar. I thought we would spend at most an hour at the Storehouse, but we ended up being there for over three hours!

After enjoying our perfectly poured pints and mulling over how it is that Guinness tastes so much better in Ireland, we left and made our way to Temple Bar, exploring a few of Dublin's key sites along the way: Dublin Castle, Dublinia and Christ Church, and St. Patrick's, before settling in for lunch at Gallagher's Boxty House. We both had hearty, traditional Irish stew with soda bread and some locally, craft brewed Jack Smyth beer flights, which is brewed only for the restaurant. The food and beer were delicious and we left with very full bellies after a morning full of Guinness and some hearty Irish food!

After lunch, we wandered around Temple Bar crossing back and forth across the Liffey wandering in and out of little shops. We found an adorable book store where we picked up the Galic translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!

Eventually, we made our way to Trinity College where I fell in love with Trinity College and never wanted to leave. Seriously, books on books on books on books, I was in heaven!

We left Trinity and made our way to Grafton Street for some shopping and stumbled on Avoca, an adorable shop with a cafe upstairs. It had started raining so we decided to pop upstairs for a tea break but, of course, we couldn't resist the dessert menu! I had sticky toffee pudding with the most decadent rum raisin ice cream and The Pilot had a fudge brownie.

When we left the store, the rain had calmed down (it basically rained on and off the whole day which is pretty typically Irish but it gave us some nice opportunities to take breaks in little, hidden places we might otherwise not have found) and we made our way to St. Stephen's Green. We wandered the grounds of the green for awhile and then did some more wandering around the area before hunting for a place to eat.

At the Guinness Storehouse, I learned that Guinness is the perfect pairing with oysters so I was on a mission to find a place with oysters. We settled on The Bank on College Green, a gorgeous bar with a fantastic food menu and yes, Guinness and oysters. We grabbed some seats at the bar and indulged in way too much Guinness, never enough oysters, fish and chips, Bailey's on the rocks, and orange creme brulee for dessert.

Whoever said that the food in Ireland is terrible is sadly mistaken. Everything we ate was Irish. Everything we ate was delicious. With that meal serving as the perfect cap on our trip to Dublin, we stumbled back to our Air B&B and into bed before an early morning wake up call and a flight back home.

We operated on a no-carb-left-behind trip to Dublin and spent more time eating than anything else, but we walked most of the city and spent some time unplugged and together, which was exactly what we needed. I don't think this will be our last trip to Dublin either. I would have loved to have visited the Jameson and Teeling distilleries, but hey, there's always next time!

What do you think? Have you been to Dublin?

May 30, 2017

A Restful Memorial Day Weekend + Beyond Words Link Up

I was supposed to run a marathon this weekend. After the GW Parkway Classic, I decided to drop down to the half.  Then, I ran a total of 2 miles this month, on a Tuesday at the beginning of May,  and I haven't worked out since. Needless to say, I didn't make my way to Ottawa this weekend to toe the line of any distance race.

This month has been unspeakably hard.

I'm sorry for being cryptic but I'm not quite ready to post about why. For most of this month, I haven't left my house, except to walk Peyton. This weekend, The Pilot was finally able to get me out of the house. We had a relatively low key weekend but it was good to finally get out of the house.

On Friday, we went to Ikea. We didn't need anything specific but it was fun to just wander around and I finally got this mirror that I've been eyeing for years. Since we moved into our new place in December, I've really wanted to repaint our bedroom but don't want to deal with the hassle of having to repaint it when we move out (it's a hideous shade of pale yellow) but somehow, this mirror just helps brighten up the space.

Saturday morning, I started a DIY project that I've had planned for awhile. One day in February, I went out for a run and found this old secretary's desk on the sidewalk. I've always loved these old desks so I ran home as fast as I could and went back for it. It might not look like it but it needed a lot of work which I started this weekend. The Pilot was pretty skeptical of this little DIY project but I love the way it's turning out! I'll share pictures soon!

Saturday afternoon, we made our way up to Baltimore for dinner with our friends, Ally and Ted. We went out for pizza and then spend the evening enjoying a bottle of wine on their roof deck before making our way back home.

On Sunday, slept in and lounged in bed reading before I got up to make us some waffles. We haven't used our waffle iron in ages but I made one of my favorite waffle recipes (which I'll share soon!) and then I had to work for a few hours. When I finished, we made a trip to Lowe's to pick up a few things for our DIY project and then I spent the night in bed reading. I finally finished "The Wrath and the Dawn," the book chosen for the Beyond Words Book Club. It's one of only two books I've read this month but the other book is, coincidentally, the book we chose for our June pick, "The Handmaid's Tale."

I really loved "The Wrath and the Dawn." I normally don't like YA books but this book by Renee Ahdieh captured me from the first sentence. A take on One Thousand and One Nights, the book begins with Shahrzad entering the monstrous caliph's palace as his wife to seek revenge on the death of her best friend, Shiva, and all of the other brides he has killed before her. I've always been fascinated by this tale and I thought Ahdieh's take on the story brought a fresh approach to the centuries-old tale.

Monday, I slept in again and started my next book, "In the Woods," by Tana French. I had some work to do which I took care of in between painting extra coats on the secretary desk. When I finally wrapped up for the day, The Pilot and I made our way to Anxo, a new cider that opened in the Brightwood neighborhood of DC this weekend.

We sipped some cider and then headed to dinner at The Pub and the People. After indulging in a round of drinks and each getting dessert, we headed home and took Peyton for a long walk and a play date before settling in to watch Harry Potter. We finally got a new DVD player (after our old one broke almost 3 years ago) and we've started watching all of the movies again (outside of the Harry Potter marathons on TV all the time). Last night, we watched "The Chamber of Secrets."

I needed this weekend to try to get back out into the world. It wasn't exactly a great weekend but it was what I needed. I've got a long week ahead of me at work and I'm hoping I can get back to running and try to find my new normal.

How did your Memorial Day Weekend shape up?

If you read, "The Wrath and the Dawn," you can link up with Carolann and me here!
Note, some links may be affiliate links, which means, if you click, I get a small percentage of the purchase. 

May 18, 2017

April Recap

Sometimes you write a blog post and forget to post it. Oops. 

April was a pretty great month. See, in February, I got summoned for grand jury duty in DC. Grand jury in DC is a five-week, five-day per week commitment. In short, it's a full-time job. Except, I already have a full-time job, one that keeps me very, very busy. I dreaded my jury summons and what my life would look like being at jury duty Monday through Friday from 9-5 in a windowless room without access to a cell phone or a computer (yes, seriously) and then working every evening. 

On my first day of jury duty, I reported to the courthouse and, after several hours of processing, learned that they had selected one too many jurors. With Katniss Everdeen speed, I volunteered as tribute and was released from grand jury summons to petit jury service, which I finished that day. For the next five weeks, I woke up every single morning grateful that I didn't have to go to jury duty. Sometimes, it's the little things. 

With my life back, I dove right into a pretty relaxing month. Here's a look at how it went in numbers:

Miles Run: 

Minutes of Yoga: 90...if you count an hour-long barre class I went to as yoga. Ouch. 

Books Read: 2 (I'm pretty behind on my Goodreads challenge)

Trips Taken: 1 13 hour trip to Detroit (to be recapped soon!)

New Recipes Made: Ouch...I was really lazy in the kitchen in April and The Pilot did most of the cooking for me. 

Blog Posts Written: 3

30 Before 30 Items Completed: 0 but I'm one ballpark closer to seeing them all!



  • Feeling burnt out from running and training. I took a lot of time off last month and, while I think it's what I needed, I felt pretty lazy.
Since it's already the middle of May, I'll skip "the month ahead" and let you read all about May in a few weeks.

What's new with you? How have your last few weeks shaped up?
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