Apr 24, 2014

Coffee Talk v.7

  • Why didn't you guys tell me that running a blog and planning a transatlantic move are two things that don't actually play well together? Last time I did this moving abroad thing, my blog was an embryo…today it's a full-grown needy teenager screaming at me because I'm neglecting my own flesh and blood (so to speak). I'm behind on EVERYTHING blog related and while I won't apologize for living life, I do apologize if it seems like I'm drowning. Hint: I am.
  • Speaking of the move…the process of moving stateside has been 10 times simpler than it was coming over to Germany. After our assignment dropped, we got our official orders in 10 days. 10 DAYS! Unheard of in the military realm (at least for us). Pack-out is scheduled, flights are booked, and there are piles of organized junk dotted all over our apartment. I'm still overwhelmed with all there is to do, but it's all much less foreign to me, if that makes any sense.
  • Remember how I said they would be dragging me kicking and screaming out of Germany? I'm now to the point where I'm kicking and screaming to go to Florida. I'm confused about it, to say the least. I'm still really going to miss Germany, but I think I'm ready to go. The finality of it all has set in and I've made peace with close of this chapter of our lives. I've checked out, if you will. More thoughts on this to come, probably.
  • I've officially pinned 1,000 pins onto my Good Eats Pinterest board. I wish I could say I've actually made all 1,000 different dishes, but then again, I'd likely be 1,000 pounds if I did. Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to shopping at Publix and cooking in an American sized oven again?
  • I'm afraid my Instagram feed is going to turn into one big unashamed advertisement for beaches and Disney World. We've already planned a Disney visit 2 weeks into being Floridians. Seems like the natural order of things. Hope you guys like sand and Mickey! #dontleaveme
  • I'm getting my hair cut at a German salon for the first time tomorrow. Over the last 3 years, I've been able to plan my trips home to include hair appointments with my usual gal…but since we leave Germany so soon (and I NEED a cut/color), I bit the bullet and made an appointment with the supposed "best in town". I'll keep you updated…unless I end up looking like Chewbacca. In that case, you'll never see me again.
  • Raise your hand if you saw the next to the last Parenthood episode (SPOILER ALERT-the cancer thing) and bawled your eyes out like a little baby? I did. D did. It's literally the only show we watch that is able to produce such raw emotions out of us both. D keeps saying he doesn't want to watch it anymore and then I catch him looking up from behind his laptop with one sullen tear on his cheek. That's my boy. 
  • This makes me excited. I'll be at that Mansion place all.the.time. And #22 confirms exactly why we were given this assignment after Germany. Didn't want us straying too far from our current comfort zone, I guess. ;)
  • We've been to 7 out of the 11 countries featured in Epcot's World Showcase in real life. Ok, I'll stop talking about Disney World now.
  • This week in blog land: I loved this post by Helene…this post by Rachel (#4 and #6 speak to me)…and this post by Emily (some powerful honesty…I just wanna hug her!).
  • Anyone have a favorite sunless tanner? They stopped making the kind I used to use and are sold out of the other stuff I really love, so now I'm in the market for another something new. It's hard being a girl. Suggestions welcome!
  • I've got a new favorite Instagram feed. If you've never visited @BevCooks, you've GOT to see her adorable twins…and the hilarious captions she comes up with. She's witty, has cute kids, and can cook up a storm. I want to be her best friend. Also, her blog is awesome.
  • 22 days until our last European cruise! It's going to be a much needed vacation…the calm before the moving storm, if you will. As soon as we step back onto German soil post-cruise, we'll have 3 weeks full of packers, movers, appointments, and hotel living before it's 'bye-bye Germany' time. I plan on taking full advantage of every rest and relaxation opportunity we get onboard. We might not even get off the ship for one of our 10 stops. GASP! Who are we?
  • On a somber-ish note, my grandma had surgery a few weeks ago to remove the cancer she was diagnosed with recently. Thankfully, surgery went well and they believe all the cancer is gone (praise the Lord!), but she's still got a long road to recovery. Age is a tough thing to battle when trying to bounce back in a timely manner. In addition, my Aunt was just diagnosed with MS after a scary few days of unexplained seizures. Prayers for her and my grandma would be much appreciated! I'm looking forward to coming home and getting to hug them both soon!

What's new in your world this week? Tell me something I don't know.

Apr 23, 2014

In The Burren: Corcomroe Abbey

On the second day of our Ireland trip, we booked a tour with Irish Day Tours and ventured out of Dublin to explore Ireland's Southwestern Coast. Our final destination was the Cliffs of Moher, but along the 3 hour drive to the cliffs, we made stops in several areas such as Kinvara, Galaway Bay, and The Burren. The Burren, meaning "great rock", is a large region in County Clare famous for terrain consisting of rolling hills of limestone rock and criss-crossed cracks known as "grikes". The whole Burren area is rich with history and numerous archeological sites, one of the most popular being Corcomroe Abbey. Corcomroe is a 13th-century Cistercian ("white robed monks") monastery constructed of local limestone and noted for its detailed carvings, uncommon of most structures built during this time period. Up until the 17th century, the abbey was inhabited. During the English Reformation, Catholic monasteries were dissolved in Ireland, thus leaving the abbey to fall to ruins. Today, the abbey sits a bit isolated, just slightly on a hill overlooking the rocks of The Burren. I imagine the monks intended it to be that way so as to preserve the quiet and serenity of the area, as well as to maintain their independence from outside society. The graveyard is the only part of the abbey still in use, with caretakers from the adjacent village still maintaining its tombs.

Our stop at the abbey was short and sweet (and a bit drizzly), but the landscape and history surrounding this stone landmark was absolutely Irish. Lush green pasture dotted with stone walls, Irish cross headstones, and cattle grazing in the distance…I felt like I had stepped into a story-book land. Just as we were walking to get back on the bus, two sweet pups ran up with their equally-cordial owner to give us an Irish welcome. Even the dogs are friendly in Ireland! Up next…a ride along the Irish Coast to Doolin!

Apr 21, 2014

Style Files: Exploring the Irish Coast

[This post features items ℅ Blacks Outdoor and Millets Outdoor Store. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Our trip to Ireland was one of my favorite trips to plan during our time living abroad. Not sure if it was the allure of vast rolling green countryside or the fact that we were visiting an English speaking country for once, but we were so excited to finally be able to explore all Ireland had to offer. We spread out our 4-day visit among a number of different areas of Ireland…many with different terrain and weather, but all super flippin' gorgeous. 

When packing for our trip, I remember telling D to pack boots, gloves, and a heavy coat. Even though we were visiting towards the beginning of spring and Europe had already been giving us some unseasonably lovely weather, I knew we still needed warm duds. Ireland is known for having bouts of rain, sharp winds, and mud puddles the size of a Guinness hangover, so being prepared for all of the above seemed like the safest bet. The insanely kind folks over at Blacks sent over a fabulous Jack Wolfskin 3-in-1 coat for me to stay dry and warm during our Cliffs of Moher experience. While the sun shined for most of the day, thank goodness for that coat! It saved me from the multiple random hail showers we encountered along the coast. Seriously, it sun-hailed like 7 different times over the course of our 9 hour tour. Ireland weather might just be more bizarre than Germany weather, if you can imagine such a thing. And just a note (because I wish someone would have told me this years ago)--if you guys are scratching your head thinking you've never heard of the Jack Wolfskin brand before…it's because JW is a European retailer (German, to be exact!). When D and I first moved to Germany, we noticed everyone around town sporting Jack Wolfskin attire, but neither of us had never ever heard of him before our time abroad. A few short weeks later, I bought my first rain jacket from Jack W and have only grown to love the brand more as I keep adding pieces to my wardrobe. Especially since my Jack gear keeps me looking European. Note to future expats to Germany…buy Jack Wolfskin anything and you'll blend right in. Swear it! 

Another seriously awesome piece of Ireland-necessary wardrobe? These North Face Etip gloves. They are a blogger/instagrammer/smartphone-lovers DREAM! When that Millets box arrived in my mailbox, I had no idea I'd fall in love with a pair of gloves so much. With one fingertip, I could toggle any touchscreen WITHOUT having to take my gloves off. I spent all of Christmas market season sliding my gloves off and on, freezing my hands to ice cubes just to snap photos with my iPhone. In Ireland, I Instagrammed to my hearts content thanks to my new gloves. I know we're on the brink of summer, but seriously, y'all…go do yourself a favor and stock up on a pair of these for next winter. I may have to book a ski trip just be able to use these bad boys again. Thanks, Florida. ;)

I'm happy to report my new coat, gloves, and even my favorite wellies were well used and appreciated during our Ireland adventure. After traveling all around Europe the last 3 years, I've learned to invest in quality pieces that are not only cute, but also hold up to whatever terrain or weather condition I might put them through. You tend get more milage from the good stuff. This dynamic duo definitely passed the test! 

Look out for more from the Cliffs of Moher this week!
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