Friday, December 28, 2012

Leaving Ireland

Nothing could be more bittersweet than leaving the beautiful country of Ireland. It's been four months and well I never would have imagined I'd experience all the adventures I've had here.

I really came to know the Irish landscape. I traveled all throughout the North, East, West, and of course the South. I saw Cork, Kinsale, Dublin, Limerick, Belfast, Galway and the Aran Islands. Not only did I travel in Ireland, but in England and Poland as well. I saw the Jack the Ripper Tour, England's National Wedding Show, the Harry Potter Studio Tour, Aushwitz, and Krakow. 

Not only have I explored the country, but who I am as well and I know I have grown as a person since coming here. I am now more independent. I ventured way out of my comfort zone. I went out on my own without the pack of girls in the beginning and made new friends. I constantly walk the streets at night alone without any fear. I crossed the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and didn't fall into the sea. I've tried "chips" with curry, mayo, and gravy on them. I had my first drink in a bar and my second and third. I went clubbing and stayed out until 3 am. I skipped class to play piggy in the middle. I've stood on the edge of a 100m cliff. I saw two concerts--Kormac and the Big Band and Mumford & Sons. And I've picked up on Cork slang even when I've tried my hardest to ignore it.

I even joined a club. I signed up for every club and society and chose the UCC Rovers or Scouts club. I joined and I have to admit it was one of the best decisions I ever made here. I made an exceptional group of friends that have introduced me to Irish culture, nights out, and all things new and exciting to me. Without them my abroad experience would not have been as amazing as it was. Luckily, I'll be seeing half of them this summer when they come to Maryland for their J1 so the goodbyes won't be too hard.

I'll have my memories of this country--the traveling, the landscape, school, friends, and Cork's night life. And of course who could forget I got engaged here. Studying abroad has been an eye opener to me. I've seen and I've grown and I could not be more thankful for the experience I've had here. So thank you Mom and Dad, Washington College, Cork, and all the friends I've made here for letting me Study Abroad at University College of Cork, Ireland. It's been grand.


PS. I'm enjoying the time I'm spending back home with my family and will probably be MIA until January 14th. By then I promise I'll be posting regularly again. For now I'm soaking up all of life in order to have something to write about.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Looking Towards the Return

With only 11 days left in Ireland I'm torn between wanting to stay forever in Ireland and wanting to rush back home for the holidays.I want to see more of Ireland, do more, photograph more. I want to hang out with my friends, the UCC Rovers, and enjoy the moment.But I'm very excited to see my family. I can't wait to show them my ring and catch them up with all my stories and adventures. I am excited for:

Dress Hunting
Mother-daughter Days
Christmas Eve
Jenn's Bridal Shower
Annapolis Bridal Expo

As well as my upcoming travels when I get back to America. Yeah, I guess I'm not quite done traveling.

Maryland (Home and Family)

Seeing Gerred, Katie, and Phoenix in Florida
Disney World
Harry Potter World

Dominican Republic (Brother's Wedding)

I have a lot to look forward to. And with 1 1/2 exams and 1 paper down I'm definitely closer to all that awaits for my return. I just need to write 2 more papers, and complete 1 1/2 more exams.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Birchbox Men November 2012

When Gerred's Novemebr Birchbox Men came in he skyped me immediately to show me all the things he got in this month's box and here's what he had to say.

Peter Thomas Roth // Mega-Rich Shampoo & Conditioner // Although this shampoo and conditioner combonation smell good, I didn't really think my hair was all that great after
using the sample.

Suki // Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser // "This scrub is literally sugar and lemongrass. It smells awesome, and is a great way to wake up and scrub off the sleep."

Atelier Cologne // Vetiver Fatal // This cologne smells awesome. There are two types of cologne; those that smell awesome and those that don't. I would wear this out.

Old Calgary // Oxford Card Sleeve Wallet // Made of 100% wool felt, this wallet allows me to carry the bare minimums of cards and/or cash. It's flexible, too, so I can sit on it and forget it's there unlike a bulky wallet.

John Allan's // Cool Face // "This product smells pretty good after a shave, and it definitely helps fight razor burn. I don't know if I really would need it all the time, though."

If you'd like to sign your man up for Birchbox Men for $20 a month or gift a subscription to him for Chirstmas just go here! It'll be a great holiday gift!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Irish Thanksgiving

Away from my family's table in Maryland, I was still able to have a feast as Karyn and I brought Thanksgiving to Ireland with the UCC Rovers Club. Karyn made the turkey, I mashed up some potatoes, and we made a little feast for our guests who were celebrating the holiday for the first time.

One of the biggest questions was "Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?" In order to answer this we played clips of the origins of Thanksgiving on the History Channel. The clips actually wound up being more convoluted then we intended since there are actually 3 separate events that lead to Thanksgiving (Pilgrim-Indian feast, the writer of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" who wanted to give thanks to everyone, and Abraham Lincoln wanting to celebrate after the Civil War) and none of those events explain why Americans eat turkeys. So maybe Thanksgiving is just a big excuse to eat food and be "thankful."

After dinner we tried taking a group shot and I never explained that I put it on continuous timer so we really got some interesting photos. We also tuned into the Redskins vs. Cowboys game because nothing screams Thanksgiving like Cowboys and Native Americans fighting. Football was also sort of a confusing sport to explain so we wound up tuning into Irish Donkey Derbys which I must say are a far better sport to watch on Thanksgiving.

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

This year is the first time I'm spending Thanksgiving away from my family. Miles away from them I'll certainly miss them and of course the food, but I've decided I've a lot to be thankful for this year.


I'm thankful for...

The English Market for having delicious, reasonably priced, fresh foods. My roommate
for being an amazing travel buddy. The friends I've met here (UCC Rovers) for showing me Ireland and teaching me slang. Studying abroad for the classes, the travels, and all the experiences I've had. My Fiance for his patience and love...and that ring. Skype for the ability to talk to my family back home and so that I can pop in at the dinner tables of the Kirby's and the Geimer's.

I'm thankful for all that I am given! Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Krakow, Poland

Traveling around Poland was a bit of a nightmare for me. I didn't know the language or the area which made navigating extremely difficult. To make matters worse, I witnessed an armed car jacking and was scared out of my boots for the rest of the trip. Basically, Poland wasn't being too friendly with me. But there was still a day to kill before flying back to Ireland so I took advantage of it and visited Krakow. Thank God for Krakow because it was certainly a relief from Aushwitz and Katowice.

I had a moment to calm down as we walked through the Main Market Square soaking up the rich architecture of the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. One of those beauties that really caught my eye was the 13th century church, St. Mary's Basillica. I regret not being able to go inside and see all its glory, but I was able to see the trumpeter play the famous Hejnal Mariacki at noon for everyone in the square.

When it came time to looking for food, we actually happened upon a Polish Folk Festival. There were so many Polish crafts, cheeses, beers, and meats. They were smoking fish and stirring cauldrons of soup, but Karyn and I went with the classic choice --Kielbasa! And as we sat down to eat we got to hear a folk band play right in front of us.

Poland was an adventure out of my comfort zone, but definitely worth the trip.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Back in October I traveled out to Poland to see Aushwitz. I'd been to the Holocaust Museum before in Washington D.C., read several books, seen documentaries, and learned about the holocaust in school--but nothing really prepared me for what it's really like to walk in a place filled with so much tragedy and pain.

I walked past gas chambers, old shoes and luggage, the barbed wire, the places where they slept, a mural of children getting off the train, and buildings knocked down in rubble in an attempt to "hide" what had happened. It was difficult to see, but I don't regret going. Though the trip was depressing, I thought it important to pay my respects for those departed and recognize all that had happened in WWII.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Postcrossing 50-54

It's time I catch up on the postcards I've received, which for the record has been quite a lot. The postcards featured in this post are from Russia (2), Japan, Germany, and Switzerland.

1. Moscow, Russia // This is "Summer in the Country" by Nina Panina. I just love the berries here.

2. Kyoto, Japan // Pictured is the famous Ninnaji Temple founded in 888 AD. The temple is also a UNESCO world heritage.

3. Izhevsk, Russia // This is the monument to the founder of Izhevsk arms factory, A. F. Deryabin

4. Germany // Multiple views of German sights.

5. Switzerland // The sender wrote "Well, I think Ireland is a very good starting point for further travels. If you need any ideas this card maybe has a few hints. When I was younger I travelled the whole world-- nowadays I stick a bit more to Europe. Enjoy your stay in Cork!" If a card like that doesn't warm your traveling heart what will?

Happy Postcrossing

P.S. Let me know if you'd like a postcard.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ireland 2008

Four years ago my family traveled to Ireland on what must have been our best family vacation. We had a car and just drove around exploring whatever we could find without a tour or guidebook. If we saw something on the side of the road we were going to explore it whether it was blocked off or not. Since I've been in Ireland I keep thinking about all the hilarious stories from that trip. So I thought I'd dig up the pictures and tell some of the stories.

We stopped by a lot of Cliffs. The ones that they generally let you see like the Cliffs of Moher are beautiful, but completely railed off. No, we liked finding cliffs on the sides of roads and just climbing to the very edge (my mom hated me getting too close to the edge though) where we could sit and watch the waves crash into the rocks. 

While I was in Dingle, we were eating in a restaurant and I found a cat sitting on the windowsill outside. I excused myself and headed outside to see the cat and it started to walk away and I followed it. The cat lead me through some bushes and onto a beach that was blocked away with this colorful boat. 

Also, the picture on the right is of Foxgloves which my Dad and I found on a walk. We then decided to have a photography competition to see who could get the better photo of the flowers. I was just getting into photography at the time and snapped away with my super thick point and shoot until I got this.

Great family bonding trip. I think this is one of the best photo of my brother and me.

Coolest castle we ever trespassed upon. It was definitely about to crumple underneath of us.

I mentioned before that we were exploring everything we could see, well we were driving through hills and hills when we saw a castle on the highest hill. We decided we'd drive up and check it out, so as we got up to the top there was no sign of the castle, just a stampede of cows coming our way.  Behind the cows we saw a farmer waving his hands above his head and shouting. So my Dad backed the car all the way down the hill chased by these cows until we were safe on the road surrounded by all the cows.

And here is my favorite photo I took on that trip of Dingle of all the colored buildings right on the water.

I'm glad I got to travel to Ireland with my family four years ago and even happier that I got to come back and see this great country again.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Birchbox Men: September 2012

Since my Birchboxes won't be opened until I come back home for Christmas, I'm living vicariously through Gerred's Birchbox Men. We Skype one another and he opens the box and sort of acts like a youtube guru as he reads off the card and gives his comments. Here's what Gerred had to say about his September Box.
1 & 2.  Oribe // Ultra Gentle Shampoo & Conditioner // "This shampoo and conditioner set not only smells great, it also leaves your hair feeling like silk. It has some special ingredient that makes your hair feel very soft. I would not mind trying it again."

3. Balla Powder // Original Powder // "I never knew why baby's needed powder until I used this sample. After a shower, putting this powder on makes you feel smooth and clean in the places that take longer to dry. It also smells awesome, so I have a better understanding why baby powder exists."

4. C. O. Bigelow // Mentha Lip Balm Stick SPF 15 // "This chapstick is EXTRA minty. I think that's why I find it so appealing. It is also smooth, too. Smooth and soft seem to be a key highlight in the september box."

5. MeUndies // Boxer Brief // "This underwear is the best pair I own. I understand why it costs almost 30 bucks a pair. the material is soft, the cut is better than any boxer-brief I've ever tried."

Gerred enjoyed everything he got in his box. If you're thinking of getting your own Birchbox Man or gifting them to someone special for the holidays they are only $20 a month and free shipping and you can sign up here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

1 Year Blogiversary

Today is Shenanigans Rose's blogiversary. That means I've been blogging for one year now, after my first post announcing what this blog would be about: photography, being a Navy girlfriend, and fashion.

Well, I'd say some of those I do touch on, but the blog adapted into just a big lifestyle blog. It's not just three things but about beauty, photography, fashion, postcrossing, college, love, food, recipes, DIY, books, art, games, travel and much more!

And a lot has happened over the course of the year. I've learned a few blogging skills and design. I designed my own layout in illustrator and brought it to life. I even attended a blogger event in DC and got to meet some amazing bloggers I hope to be like.

But the thing is I'd like to learn more, do more, and see more in the blogging world. I've set goals for this blog at its beginning and I'm ready to set some for the future. Let's see what this blog looks like, next blogiversary.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ring of Kerry

I've traveled around the Ring of Kerry before. In fact I spent an entire week back in 2008 traveling in the south west of Ireland, so when I heard Student Tours Ireland (a cheaper way to travel for students) was taking a trip down there I hopped right on board. I needed to see Dingle again and might I say the whole trip was very very scenic.

I traveled across this bridge before and saw Puck the Goat, but this time I got to get out of the bus/car and take a moment to really take a look at it.

I got to see Torc Waterfall for the first time. Gorgeous and the woods around were very green and mossy. I also saw Ross Castle again, but this time it wasn't raining and the view of the lake and the mountains around it was breath taking.

Inch Beach, I remember running across this beach with my family.

Then we visited Dingle and saw all the little houses and shops that I remember. We then set out on a boat to find Fungi, Dingle's famous dolphin. And we found him and he started jumping in the air and swimming by our boat. Then we went farther out to sea to see all that we could. And the water was sincerely that blue at one point.

I remember so much from the trip four years ago and loved it so much, but this trip prooved to me that even if I may have been to a place and seen all that I thought I could see there's always still things left to discover.


Sunday, November 4, 2012


You may have noticed I haven't been posting every single day and it's not because I've forgotten about the blog. I know it's there and I do love blogging, it's just I'm happy exploring the world around me. I'm in Ireland right now so I'm taking breaks from blogging and letting myself enjoy each day. 

I'll keep you all updated on all the things that are going on when I can, don't worry. I just want you all to know I'm really loving being abroad in Ireland. It's a great experience and I'm not wasting a minute of it.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Harry Potter Studio London

The last part of the weekend trip to London ended perfectly with the trip to the Warner Brother Studios for a tour of The Making of Harry Potter. I was calm all the way there until we walked inside and I lost my cool and started jumping up and down in excitement because I was going to see where the Harry Potter movies were filmed and walk through them discovering all the movie magic!

When I walked through the doors of the great hall my jaw dropped. I got to see everything in the films up close and it all just seemed even more magical just being there. I walked by the uniforms, the fire place, the tables, the gargoyles, all the way up to the head table where the house points were along with Dumbledore's owl podium. I just felt like I was about to be sorted into my house right there.

After exiting the Great Hall, I came across the Boy's Dormitory and the Gryffindor Common Room. The deep red and golds, the tapestries. Such a beautiful set fit for the Gryffindor House. Did you know the portrait on the wall is supposed to be a young Minerva McGonagall.

Another great part of the tour was that not only did they show the sets but all the rest of that movie magic. I got to see the beautiful costumes of the Yule Ball, Snape's wig, Creature masks and animatronics, and architecture. Everything just seemed so alive. 

Dumbledore's Office. I was never fully aware of the architecture of the room before. It has three levels that extend into an observatory and a lower basement like area. There's books everywhere and astronomical devices. I loved seeing the pensive in there along with the sorting hat and the sword of Godric Gryffindor.

Then came the outdoor part where I got to see the flying car, Number 4 Privet Drive, drink a glass of Butterbeer, see the triple decker night bus, and Godric's Hollow.

And at the very end there was a ballroom sized room filled with a large model of Hogwarts. I walked around and the Harry Potter theme began to play as the lights changed from day to night. Little yellow lights went on inside the castle and everything was magical. I really almost cried because a childhood dream came true.

This was an amazing trip to England and The Making of Harry Potter made it so. I advise anyone traveling around England to pay it a visit especially if you're a Potter Head like me.