Friday, August 31, 2012

August Birchbox

My August Birchbox will probably be one of the last boxes I see for awhile. I'm not stopping my membership with Birchbox, I'm just letting them accumulate in my room so that when I come back Christmas eve, it will feel as if they were a ton of gifts from past me to future me. It's a little silly, but I'm grooving with the idea. Anyways, this Birchbox of "Back to School" was a great send off for abroad since it prepared me with some great travel sized essentials to pack away.

1 & 2. Oribe // Shampoo for Beautiful Color and Conditioner for Beautiful Color // So far I've used all of this since I've been here, and it makes my hair smell and look like I just got back from the salon. I'm so pleased with it. What's great is that it smells like edelweiss flowers and definitely isn't stripping like the last sample of shampoo (Kelly Van Gogh Color Protecting Caviar Shampoo) I got from Birchbox. But, hey the whole point of Bircbox is to try products and see what works for you. Oribe worked for me.

3. Whish // Shave Crave Shaving Cream // I'm loving this shaving cream. It's sort of whipped cream rather than a foam. It smells like pomegranate and works so well with the Schick razor.

4. Jouer // Moisturizing Lip Gloss // Most of the time I stay away from glosses since they just dry my lips up and are sticky, but this stays and feels soft on my lips. The color "peony" isn't too overwhelming and blends well.

5. Juicy Couture // Viva La Juicy La Fleur // Sweet and fun, this perfume is sure to be great for the young teen crowd. This would be great for going to a sleepover or even to the mall with some friends. Essentially it is like wrapping your arms in cotton candy.

6. Schick // Hydro Silk Razor // So this is the Birchbox bonus and the razor is on the market for $10. With this only being a $10 box I feel like I'm definitely getting way more. Anyways, I think I might be switching from my intuition razor to this since it's moisturizing and a closer shave.

Interested in your own Birchbox? Sign up for one here for just $10 and free shipping.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blarney Castle

Once I finally had settled in and had explored a bit of campus and the city of Cork, a group of u finally made the first treck into travel land as we visited Blarney Castle. Now, I've already been to Blarney before about four years ago with my family. However I can say that this trip was a much different sight, mainly being that it wasn't just 1,200 nudists and my family. Yes, the last time I came happened to be June 17, 2008 -- the day Spencer Tunick photographed a mob of naked people in front of Blarney Castle. Luckily, everyone was fully clothed this time around.

It was our first time taking the bus around Ireland and found out that it only took 6 euros for a round trip. That's cheaper than the taxi ride from the airport!

Blarney Castle was built for the third time in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy. The castle was passed down through generations and gained it's popularity through the mysterious Blarney Stone said to give good luck.

I have a few fears, but climbing stairs is definitely one of my biggest fears. It's not a height issue, but just a falling and tripping fear. These steps are definitely the worst I've ever encountered in my life since they are steep, narrow, and slippery. And I've climbed them twice!

The mud spot on my knee is from falling in the mud. I slipped as soon as I got to Blarney since it was raining, and fell backwards. But just as I did, I put out my hand into a breakdancer-like fashion and caught myself from falling. I was being an adventurer anyway so it didn't bother me.

Several types of gardens covered most of the grounds of Blarney. Some like the one above had a varied amount of flora. Other gardens farther back in the estate focused more on a more druid design.

Blarney House was built for the upkeep of the Castle by the family during the early 18th century. This is a great example of the Big Houses of Ireland.

Blarney on the second time around was a chance for me to see all that I hadn't seen before. I took my time examining every detail and learning new information about the building.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Elect Next


2012, the first year I have the ability to vote in the presidential election, and I didn't even want to vote at all. I wasn't happy with either candidate and I certainly had not researched enough about them. Then Gerred, finally said to me "Look, I'm fighting for your right to vote, you should at least exercise that right." That's when it really hit me, that I needed to have a say, and we registered me to vote as an Independent.

Now, I am not a political person. I don't like discussing politics because it's a lot of talking and no listening. Luckily, I found a website Elect Next from the amazing blogger and former WAC student, Call Me Hats. Basically Elect Next allows you to take a look at the issues, make your own stance, and then matches you with a candidate (not just the big guys.). 

It's great because I am not choosing a person straight on which political party they belong to, but rather I am taking a stand for what I believe.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cup Stacking Otter

Ever heard of speed stacking or cup stacking? I remember having to stack cups super fast and being just the worst at it in elementary school physical education. But, I found out there an otter who can stack cups way better than I could and could probably beat the record for 7.43 seconds if he really tried.

Hope this made your day!


Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day In Cork

The day after I arrived in Ireland I began the journey into the center of Cork to get a feel for the city. I walked down the street into town cataloging most landmarks and sights in my head. I looked into many of the street shops and decided which ones would be worth a second look over and even did a bit of shopping at Tescos (the go-to grocery store.) 


Soon after I wound up exploring the campus of University College Cork so I would know where to go for orientation the next day. In order to enter campus, I had to walk through giant iron gates and across a beautiful stone bridge of the River Lee that surrounds Cork. Once inside the campus I discovered just how beautiful the campus was. Everything was stone and vines and I just felt like I was in a storybook. I definitely can get used to this campus.

Later on in the night I headed down to An Bodhran, a music pub off of St. Patrick's Street. I wound up ordering a Smithwick's and enjoyed my first beer in Ireland. So far, I've only tried Smithwick's and Bulmers (which is now my favorite Hard Cider) and cannot wait to sample different drinks here. As you'll notice the sign on the pub says Murphy's for Murphy's Irish Stout, which is brewed locally in Cork. In the South it's better to have a Murphy's, whilst in places like Guinness you're better off with a Guinness. 

Though I've walked down a few of the streets in Cork, there's still lots more to see here in Cork and the rest of Ireland as well.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Let's Fly Away

Flying across the atlantic for +14 hours with long periods of waiting between flights has left me with slight jet lag (I tried not sleeping for the first day I got back to remedy this) and a need to share my flying basics. I'm glad I dressed comfy for the flight and even more happy I brought a water bottle and scarf.

Light Pullover // Planes can get cold all the way up in the air so dress like you're going to live in them. Having a light sweater is preferable so you don't sweat to death.

Scarf // Ridiculous flight pillows are a thing in the past. Next time you fly just bring a big comfy loop scarf that will provide all the neck comfort you need, will keep you warm, and can certainly be used as a pillow.

Yoga Pants // Travel in your comfy clothes. Jeans will be a little uncomfortable for long flights and pajamas are just too casual. Yoga pants are the best option since all you do is look like you're running an airport.

Flats // Flats and moccasins are great, just about anything you can slip on and off easily is well suited for going past airport security.

Warm Socks // For when you're flats are off make sure you're feet aren't touching the ground at all. These warm socks will be great once it gets cold too.

Headband // Keep your hair up and pulled back when navigating through airport terminals.

Magazines // I seriously found a giant magazine and was able to go through it from BWI to London. Magazines are perfect since they can be tossed right after the flight and you'll have more space. You can't quite do that with books. But, hey I guess that's what people use Kindles for.

Water Bottle // Here's a great tip, next time you're traveling just bring an empty water bottle with you. Then as soon as you get past security fill it up with water. Money saving is beautiful.

Snacks // Airport food is awful and airport quick marts are ripoffs. Bring your own travel snacks to munch on.

Got any other in-flight tips?


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stationary Stamps

Since I'm a bibliophile, English major, letter and postcard lover I'm definitely in the category of people who would love having their own stationary stamps. I've realized that I do write a lot of letters, so the thought of having a stamp for a return address, book ownership, or even my own monogram to put at the end of letters would be worth the while. I was able to find a great selection of these custom stamps at Papersource & Sweet Tea Paperie.

Right: 1, 2, 3,  Middle: 1, 2, 3, Left: 1, 2, 3.

If I had a stamp like this I'd either be writing more letters or stamping everything I could find (including myself.)


Friday, August 24, 2012

Geocaching: Caches 1-2

My brother was the one that got me into Geocaching a few years ago, but the idea was all forgotten while away in Chestertown which is far from anything that might have a pulse. But recently, while I shoved all the fun and excitement of summer into one big end all in Maryland, I rediscovered the majesty of Geocaching.

Now you're either in the know and are nodding at the idea or like the vast majority probably wondering "what on Earth is she talking about this time?" I mean, geocaching is supposed to be a secret thing, but just like the first rule of fight club, I'm going to break the secret and tell you guys what you're missing.
Geocaching is a "a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location." Basically, you can either log on online or from your phone, look up your town, and see what geocaches are in your area and go out and search for them by answering riddles and looking for clues.

What Gerred and I did was choose places we wanted to visit for day trips like St. Michaels, MD and Great Falls, VA and look for the geocaches around those areas. We found about 3 caches to choose from for each place. All we did was plug in the coordinates and follow them to the location to find what sort of cache it was.

There are many different types of caches you can find, but we found a traditional (camoflogued) cache in St. Michaels and an Earth Cache (an educational quiz on the environment of the area) in Great Falls. Our Great Falls trip was even on National Geocaching Day so we got a pretty nifty souvenir for that.  Seriously the super sleuth in me was so happy to do this and now I can't wait to try to find some all over Ireland.

Here is a video on Geocaching in case you wanted to start your exploration. Do any of you guys Geocache?


P.S. I just got Aileen (my flatmate) in on this while I was writing this and we are thinking about searching for some. We have our eye on one at the moment that we will be taking a look at soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Irish Apartment

After a long flight across the atlantic, I finally made it to the Cork airport in Ireland. As soon as I arrived and picked up my bags, I hopped in a taxi with what may be the nicest taxi driver I've ever met in my life. He helped me with my bags, talked about the world, and taught me the history of Cork in a short cab ride to my apartment. He didn't even laugh at me too hard, when I tried opening the driver's side door forgetting they drive on the left side over here.

When I was dropped off at the entrance to my apartment I was happy to see the brick building covered in ivy was gated and had security cameras at the front. I got my tour and since then have unpacked and settled into my room for the time being, so here is a little peek.

I've already had a day to walk around Cork and check in the stores around me as well as grocery shop for the little kitchen. Just letting you know that I am alive, safe, and well in Ireland.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Abroad Packing

This past week I was a little absent from the blog, but for good reason. I was jam packing adventures with everyone right before heading off to Ireland. This included some fantastic family dinners of sushi, crabs, and fondue. As well as day trips to St. Michaels, Great Falls, and a story worthy camping trip in the swamp of Chincoteague. It was a fabulous week and I will miss all these people terribly (even the ones who weren't there to spend the week with,) but now I'm ready to share my journey in Ireland with all of you. Starting with the difficult packing process.

I did a whole lot of research in order to pack for this trip and was able to piece together some of my own abroad packing rules.

Stick with the basics // Leave home trends since they're silly and go out of style quick. Be practical and stick with dark solid colors that can go with just about any outfit.

Layer // Using the versatile basics, layer your tank tops with v-necks, cardigans, and jackets or sweaters. That way you're able to adapt to the weather around you, which if it's Ireland is usually pretty cold and rainy.

Cut it in half
 // There's no way you can fit in everything you own and you don't need it all. I had to tell myself this a lot in my planning process. You're allowed to re-wear outfits and if you don't want to re-wear you can always be creative with what you have. Just don't cut down your underwear. No one ever complains about having to many undies.

Accessorize // Switch up looks abroad with just scarves, jewelry, or belts. Since you're not bringing you're entire closet you'll have to play the "create a new outfit" game as much as you can and accessories are just the way to do it.

Leave space // Anticipate travel and with it shopping and souvenirs, so leave room to bring back those kitchy salt and pepper shakers your friend wanted you to bring back

Toiletries // Here's a great place to cut out weight. If you can buy it abroad do so and forget the weight because lots of airlines will charge you for heavier bags. Though, if you like your high end make-up you may have a hard time finding it, so bring your MAC eyeshadows.

Carry-on // Put the things you may think you'd carry away in your carry-on suitcase. I was able to fit my camera bag in there and some people might even be able to stow a backpack as well. Don't forget to pack a pair of clothes and one book (don't go over that) or a kindle.

Have fun packing whether it's for vacation, study abroad, or going back to college!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cool Postcard Sets

I've been looking into artistic postcard sets and have absolutely fallen in love with the varieties I have found. Postcard sets would enable me to keep the ones I love and send out the others that I may have duplicates of. I've found four sets though, that have absolutely caught my attention.

1. So-So Heroes // Funny cards are quite possibly the best cards out there.
2. Nancy Drew Mystery Series Postcard // If this isn't the perfect combination of my obsessions I don't know what is.
3. My Wonderful World of Fashion Postcards // Fashion sketches are perfect for a postcard.
4. Watercolor Postcards: A Portable Studio // I'd love to try to paint my own postcards --especially of the world around me -- and send them off across the world.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Crossbody Satchels

I've finally taken into consideration the ease of traveling with a crossbody bag, and though I'd love to go out and shop for a brand new one I do already have one. It's a cloth satchel I used as a purse in middle school and has a sun embroidered on a flap. It's a little out of date, but flipped the right way it's workable and there is no need to buy another. In the meantime, here is what I would get if, you know, I were made of money.
1. Modcloth // Stopped By to Say Hilighter
3. Kate Spade // Grove Court Cora
4. Modcloth // Cupcake Contest Shoulder Bag
5. Anthropologie // Colorblocked Tiny Legacy Bag
6. Epiphanie // Lyric

Have a crossbody bag of your own?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silopana Music Festival


My Dad's been a big fan of G Love & Special Sauce for a long time, I mean he's always singing around the house "stick it in the fridge! stick it in the fridge!" So when we heard that he would be playing in Annapolis along with Citizen Cope and Cake we rushed out and got tickets and headed to  Silopana Music Festival with my whole family.  Of course, I don't think I knew that going to a concert with my parents, brother, cousin, his fiance, and her mother would be as crazy as it was.

Gourmet DC food trucks were parked all around the place serving some pretty awesome food. I wound up heading to The Big Cheese and got a Mt. Fuji, a grilled cheese sandwich made of brie, fuji apples, honey, and multigrain bread. Best. Grilled cheese. Ever.

There was reggae-rock music playing all throughout the day and my dad was loving it. Seriously this guy was in his element, drinking with his family and walking up to random people and messing with them. Dad probably made the festival, that or the thunderstorm.

Yeah, right at the end of G Love & Special Sauce, lighting erupted in the sky and there was an evacuation from the fairgrounds as we made a B-line for the car. That's when the rain fell in buckets and I was covered in more mud than I knew what to do with. We drove Mom home and returned just in time for Citizen Cope in the rain. 

Can I just say there is nothing better than being pelted with rain and dancing around in a crowd with your family to some amazing music. Gosh it was perfect. Then Cake came and well he was just as mind-blowing as he was two weeks prior at the Firefly Music Festival, but just right in front of me.

Honestly, it was probably one of the best nights spent with my family and I love all of them tons.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Postcrossing Cards 27-33

I've rounded up the postcards I've received lately and have decided that I'm getting a hang of postcrossing. I love sending and recieving cards and I know I'm learning a lot from the postcards I recieve from all over as well as the research I do when I want to learn more about a place from the postcard. This time I recieved cards from Germany, England, (2) Russia, Croatia, Belarus, and Brazil.

1. Stralsun, Germany // This is the new bridge that leads to the island, Rugen. In the background of the postcard is the "yard" where many ships are built.

2. London, England // This Bon Bon postcard is fabulous. I looked into Bon Bon, the character designed by Noel Tolentino and discovered her artwork cute and very mod.

3. Brest, Belarus // I love the reflection of the bridge here in the river.

4. Bibinje, Croatia // Bibinje is a small town in Croatia great for vacations and is where the sender would travel from Zagreb, Croatia for summer holidays when they were young.

5. Tsarsjoye Selo, Russia // The Catherine Palace was the Rococo summer home for the Russian tzars created by architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rasterelli in 1756.

6. Curitiba, Brasil // The Jardim Botanico de Curitiba or Botanical Garden as it is known in English is a  public garden built in 1991 in the Art Noveau style. The statue in the front is Mae, or "mother."

7. Maxim, Russia // This is Gorky's Flat Museum, which the sender says she was very hot, but had read a lot from Nizhny Novgorod formerly known as Gorky. She even mentioned she went to "Nashestifie" a rock festival in Russia.

Happy Postcrossing!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

iPhone Cases

I've been told that I'm not allowed to say that I am "clumsy." However, I will admit that I am a little oblivious to the world around me and am therefore prone to crashing or dropping things. My phone is subject to most of the abuse since I've had to repair the screen twice this summer I'm thinking it's high time I replace the case I have (although cute  as it is) with something a little more practical and durable. But hey, I still want it to look a little chic. So the search begins.

1. Tech Candy // Barcelona (3-Piece Set)
2. Phantom // Aqua/White
3. Lilly Pulitzer // Chum Bucket
4. Case Mate //  Tough - Union Jack
5. Kate Spade // Airmail
6. Incipio // Stowaway 

Edit: I went with #2. It's not as cute as the rest (especially the Kate Spade one,) but I will try to possibly decorate it.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Songs

My music taste has shifted a little this summer and I'd like to share what I've been listening to this summer with a Spotify Summer 2012 playlist. It's a culmination of songs from music festivals and concerts (Childish Gambino, Firefly Music Festival, and Silopana Music Festival) as well as listening to friends iPods and listening to the radio at times. The reason for all the Cake is because I got to see him twice this summer in concert so I've been a little addicted.

Love You Madly - Cake
Runaways - The Killers
Never There - Cake
Cold Beverage - G. Love & Special Sauce
Slow - Grouplove
Outside - Childish Gambino
Sick of You - Cake
Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare - Matt & Kim
Brother Lee - Citizen Cope
We're Alive - My Name Is You
20 Years - The Civil Wars
The Distance - Cake
Spread Too Thin - The Dirty Heads
Smile Like You Mean It - The Killers
Float On - Modest Mouse
King And Lionheart - Of Monsters And Men
Buddy Holly - Weezer
Cabin By the Sea - The Dirty Heads

Be sure to give it all a listen and share your own summer playlist with me!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Geralyn & LisaMarie's Engagement

Back in May I got the chance to hang out with Gerred's sister, Geralyn, and her fiance, Lisa Marie. The three of us strolled around the National Harbor where they were staying and captured a few memories for their engagement.

Congrats on the engagement Geralyn and Lisa Marie!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August Sent Postcards

While a batch of postcards arrived in my mailbox I decided to send out my own batch of postcards for August. They are a collection of cards I've collected from Gerred's since passed cross-country roadtrip, Katie & Phoenix's honeymoon around Europe, and a few of my own finds while traveling around D.C. and Luray Caverns.

These postcards traveled to (1) Russia, (2) Ukraine, (3)Germany, and (1) the Netherlands. The one that says "Greetings from Virginia" was sent to a 9-year old girl in Germany who said she loved ice-cream, butterflies, Hello Kitty, fruit, sweets, frogs, rabbits, seashells, moons, and stars. So I decided to draw them for her on the back of her card.

Next time I send out cards, they'll be from Ireland I assume. If you're interested in sending postcards of your own just go to and sign up.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Consignment Shopping

I happened upon the biggest shopping gem when I peaked inside the window of a shop called Savvy Consignment and saw some Lilly Pulitzer dresses. It was closed that day, but I decided that I'd have to come back with my mom the next day and show her the place. When we did, I found more than I even expected. There were tons of brand name clothes all at great prices.

I couldn't believe that a store like Savvy Consignment existed, vowing to shop Consignment over Marshalls from now on. The girl at the counter gave me a list of other consignment stores around the area so my mom and I took off and I did pretty well for the day. So I did a little research into what the regular price of the brand's item would be (by finding similar clothing prices from the brand) versus what I actually paid to find out how much I saved.

J. Crew // Coral Polo // Regularly $39.50 // Consignment Price $9
J. Crew // Navy Polo // Regularly $39.50 // Consignment Price $4.25 (50 % off, was $8.50)
Ann Taylor // Ruffle Top // Regularly $68 // Consignment Price $10.50

Ralph Lauren // Sport V-Neck // Regularly $34.50 // Consignment Price: $4.75 (50 % off, was $9.50)
Double Strand Pearl Necklace // Consignment Price: $9.25 (50 % off, was $18.50)

Lilly Pulitzer // Palm Green Eliza Kentucky Derby Dress // Regularly $188 // Consignment Price: $16.75 (50 % off, was $33.50)

In the end I saved $324.25 an estimated by shopping consigment and spending $54. It feels good.


P.S. I even found an Argus Seventy Five. But more on that later.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Katie & Phoenix's Wedding

June 2, 2012 my best friend, Katie, became a Mrs. when she married Phoenix. Their wedding was one of the best weddings I've been to and was a great showcase of just how much these two love each other. Seriously, the entire day Katie was dancing around singing "It's my wedding day!" and "I'm getting married today!" There wasn't a moment where she wasn't smiling. She smiled while her sister, Andrea, did her hair and make-up, she smiled while she walked down the aisle, andyou could even see the smile when she and Phoenix kissed. She didn't stop smiling once even after all the after parties. This girl was beaming because she finally got to be with her man. And I couldn't be more happy for her.

Here's a peak at their wedding courtesy of Tara Peddicord Photography.

Congrats to the new Mr. & Mrs.,
 I love you both and wish you a life full of happiness together.