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!

Apr 18, 2014

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop!]: Meet Vanessa & Jenna

Happy last Fresh Face Friday, y'all! Awww. Sad face. Don't worry, though…it's not the end of Fresh Face Friday forever (hello, alliteration!)…it's more like a "See ya later!" kind of thing. As you know, D and I are in the midst of preparing to leave Germany. With the task of moving abroad comes great stress and potential periods of time I may be without internet…or time to devote to writing on this little blog 'o mine. I have no idea what the next few months will bring me in terms of schedules and internet access, so I didn't think it was fair to my sponsors or myself to try and keep hosting FFF when there's a good chance I won't be around (as much) to give it my full attention. As of now, Fresh Face Friday will go on hiatus from May until August. Total bummer, but it's gotta happen. :( I have every intention of bringing it back in August once the moving dust has settled, but who knows where my brain will go with 3 months away from my FFF routine. Maybe better things will come to fruition…maybe not? I'm letting the wind blow where it may. Either way, I've so enjoyed sharing 6 lovely bloggers with you guys each month and hosting a hop that has drawn in a wide variety of bloggers from all different writing categories. It's been a joy to see new faces and old faces link up each week, and I'll definitely miss making new blogger connections of my own! I've had THE BEST sponsors come along over the last year…no greater group of girls out there! And I hope you all have enjoyed making connections as well. In lieu of having FFF sponsors, I am still accepting vacation guest posters (3 spots left!) and will be adding a few moving guest posting ad spots in a few weeks. If you want to take over my blog for a day while I'm away…head on over to my sponsor page to find out more!

Now, on to the main event…the last two Fresh Faces of spring! Please take some time today to say hello to these two gals and link your blog up ONE LAST TIME (for now) to the blog hop! Thanks for all the fun and support this past year, friends. Hugs and kisses from my insanely messy apartment! Can you guess what we'll be doing this weekend? I'm already sick of boxes. ;)


Vanessa, or Van, as she's known on her blog, is a German native, student, and travel-loving girl on a mission to explore the Arctic. Over on Van's blog, On the Road Again, you'll find great photos and recaps of her adventures in Sweden, Norway, and the Baltics! She also loves participating and in travel and photography link ups…and even started two different series of her own! Come get to know more about Van and her desire for the North. Another fun travel blogger to add to your reading list!

Vanessa's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:

Miss Jenna of the blog, Healthy Globetrotting, is fairly new to the blog world (welcome, girl!)! She's a teacher currently living in China and has devoted her blog to sharing her exciting travels around Asia, her thoughts on what it's like to be a teacher in China, and my personal favorite posts, how to eat healthfully while traveling! Jenna has tons of great insight and suggestions on the eating customs of Asia and how you can stay healthy while exploring the world...so make sure to stop by her blog and learn something new! Thanks for speeding the wealth, Jenna!

Jenna's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:


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