Top 10 Tips For Living In Ireland

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Since my time here in Dublin is quickly coming to a close (and I have a final on Friday that I'm avoiding studying for) I've decided to compile a list of tips for anyone planning on living in or visiting Ireland.  I'm sure there are plenty of more informational and useful tips, but these are the ones that I've personally encountered that I thought were good to know.

1.  If you haven't checked out my Irish Vocab List I would first suggest you go there.  Knowing the difference between those words could save you a lot of trouble when visiting Ireland.

2. If you plan on using public transportation you need to know that you have to hail down the bus you want to stop for you.  Even if you're standing under the bus stop sign, they won't stop unless you put your hand out.  The bus will also almost never be on time so get used to that.

3.  The Irish apparently have a fear that if you blow dry your hair (or use any other electronics) in the bathroom you will somehow turn the shower on and then proceed to fall into said shower, electrocuting yourself.  Because of this there are no electric plugs in the bathroom.  I would suggest investing in a good mirror for your bedroom because you'll soon forget all about the days when you used to get ready in the bathroom.

4. Say goodbye to your iced coffee.  I still haven't figured out why this country hates iced coffee so much but my countdown to home isn't so much to be reunited with my family but more to be reunited with my iced coffee.

5. Invest in a sturdy umbrella.  If you've purchased your umbrella for less than $10 then there is a 98% chance that it will end up as a twisted pile of metal and cloth after it's first use.  Just do yourself a favor and splurge on this one.  That being said, also never leave your house without it.

6.  Girls, discover Penny's.  (Guys, I've never looked to see what Penny's has to offer for you but feel free to also check it out.)  Super cheap clothes (in both price and quality) but you can essentially get a disposable wardrobe without feeling like you're wasting money.

7.  During the summer you may suddenly think that you've been transported to Spain.  No, the weather doesn't get any better, but the Irish flee the country for warmer climates and Spanish students take over.  You're more likely to hear Spanish being spoken in the city than English.  You'll spot them from a mile away because of their neon colored backpacks and/or hats... plus they move in a mob-like fashion.

8.  "Have you tried Guinness?" will be one of the first questions many Irish ask you.  You might as well just go ahead and tell them it tastes better in Ireland because they won't accept otherwise.  Many of them will also be genuinely surprised if you say you like Guinness and drink it at home.  I still don't think any of them believe me when I say I do...

9. Don't worry about tipping.  For great service while at a restaurant maybe 10%, but definitely not at a bar.  My first night out here my drink cost 4 euro so I gave the bartender a 5 and walked away.  He then proceeded to chase me down through a crowd to give me the change.

10. Do not move here if you suffer from seasonal depression.  There is only one season, and it is the depressing one.  

Olypms... All Day, Erryday.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I'm not one for abbreviating words but for some reason "Olympics" always comes out as "Olymps".  I really have no explanation for it but I apologize in advance if it slips out via blog.  I also apologize in advance for the number of Olympic related posts that I will inevitably do.

How wonderful were the Opening Ceremonies?  Yes, there were parts that were kind of slow and, of course, it's going to be hard to compare to Beijing, but it's hard not to love a show that took such love, pride, and dedication from the people involved.  They did conveniently skip over the whole "colonization" part of their history but I'll forgive them for that.  I loved the history part but I love the literature part even more.  I may have even gotten a little teary eyed throughout it.  Each of the stories they depicted had a significant impact on my childhood and the fantastical way they represented them in the ceremonies seemed to bring all those stories to life right there in the stadium.  (Also, giant puppet Voldemort actually did scare me a bit!).  And, most importantly, corgis made an appearance (read: stole the show) and any show that has corgis has to be amazing!
Our Opening Ceremony Sangria was delicious, by the way.
( I don't have a pitcher so we used a big pot, don't judge.)
As soon as they were done making it, my friends promptly said
"Erin come take a picture for your blog!" I think that's
the only reason they're friends with me...
And even though there was only a small amount left,
I couldn't let it go to waste.  Again, don't judge!
I have yet to decide if having the Olympics on this week is a good thing or a bad thing.  I don't have classes which means I don't have any real need to get off the couch for the next week, however I also have a final on Friday that I need to study for.  Hopefully I'll find some time for that.

I just watched Irish Boxer John Joe Nevin win his first fight and now we're on to the Men's Road Race Final.  I couldn't drag myself out of bed to watch the qualifying rounds of swimming (yes 10am is too early for me to get out bed, but to be fair I went to bed at 4am.) Luckily the finals aren't on until 7ish tonight.

Finals, Jobs, and The Olympics!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sorry for the last few days of silence.  I'm sure you've been crying yourself to sleep each night thinking, "how can I live another day without a post from Erin!?" Haha.

For those of you familiar with my schedule, I had a final today.  I attempted to spend the week studying which meant avoiding blogging (because we all know how you can get lost in that world for hours at a time!)  I didn't do the best job of the studying but the exam is done so I'm happy.   I have another exam next Friday and then just one final module stands between me and the end of the program!   I feel like I keep saying this but I guess I'll say it again;  I've had a great year here but I am more than ready to be done with school.
Best part of finishing a class?  Destroying the evidence!
For those of you eagerly awaiting my job search updates-  I think I've finally decided what field to go down.  In my mind there is this stigma against HR but the more I look into it the more I realize it really seems to fit everything I'm looking for.  There are several different branches that I could explore and there are opportunities to move up the ranks in almost all of those branches.  I reached out to some family and friends and the response has been great. No job offers yet, but I've applied to about a dozen jobs and have everyone on high alert for anything I might miss.

And the most exciting thing in my life right now?  The Olympics!!  I've had the tv on all day just warming up for the Opening Ceremonies.  I'm having some friends over for pizza, sangria, and the ceremonies and, while I think they're more interested in the food and drink, I will be forcing them to watch with me!

Weekly Running Recap #4

As much as I disliked Friday's run, once I came home and relaxed for a bit I just started getting excited for my next run.   A new week means a new distance!  As much as I hate thinking "they were right" I have to say that the method of the C2K program has really worked for me.  Starting slow and very gradually building up has helped me to not only improve my running but it has also made me enjoy it more.  I can enjoy little milestones like increasing distance because it was more than I was doing a week ago but I know I'm capable of doing it now.

I love where I run but I will admit I'm kind of getting tired of running in the same place.  I'm now doing two big loops around the river.  This is really the only place I can run without having to run through people and wait for traffic though...

Saturday: 2.2 mile walk.  I had a lot of errands to get done today so I didn't have the time to run but I didn't think I should discount the amount of walking I did.  It's not the same as a good run but it's exercise none the less!

Sunday:  2.5 mile run.  No bueno.  For some reason the quarter of a mile I added to this run felt more like adding 8 miles.  I was dragging from the get-go.  I was bored, tired, and uncomfortable.  I couldn't catch my breath and my mouth was dry.  While I was running I tried to figure out what it was that was making my last few runs feel not so great.  I know that there would be bad days but I didn't expect them to be several continuous bad days.  Then it clicked.  I drink a lot of water.  I'm that person that has a panic attack if I leave the house without my water bottle. I'm always super hydrated which is great, however this also means that I have to use the bathroom a lot (tmi? lo siento!) If I told you the number of times I go to the bathroom you would probably tell me to see a doctor.  I'm used to it but with the new roommate I thought I should try to control myself a little bit.  I didn't even realize I was doing it but I was cutting back on my water intake which obviously left me dehydrated (or at least less hydrated than I'm used to).  Obviously I can't prove this is why my past few runs were sub-par but it made sense to me.

Monday: 2.5 mile run. I spent all of last night hydrating myself and I felt a billion times better today!  It was warm and the sun was beating down which should have made me more uncomfortable than during yesterday's run but I really felt so much better.  I still feel slightly bored with the route so I'm going to switch that around but my body could absolutely tell the difference.  Really shows the importance of proper hydration!

Tuesday: 2.5 mile run. Today's run was really good!  I didn't change my route so the boredom is still there but I realized today that I'm well past the first mile marker before I even start breathing heavy!  A few weeks ago I would have laughed at you if you told me that's where I'd be today.

Wednesday: Rest day.  I have a final exam on Friday so my goal was to dedicate at least one full day to studying... I probably would have been better off just running.  I think it would have helped me focus a bit more on the studying part of my day.

Thursday: 2.5 mile run.  I loved this run. I felt fast and strong.  I also had a new playlist that seemed to give me so much extra energy.

Friday: Rest day.  I've been sitting here for a while debating wether I should run or not.  I had my final this morning and I was done and home before I would normally even be up to run but I didn't sleep well last night and was up early so I've decided to call it a rest day.

Total Miles: 10 miles.  

I definitely took to many rest / walking days this week.  I blame that on a mix of my lack of water and my exam.  I have a good feeling about next week though!

Liebster Award #3!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nicola from Our Little Balham Life nominated me for another Liebster Award!  We've only recently started following each other but I love her posts.  It helps that she lives in England so she's one of the few people that really understands what summer is like in this part of the world... I feel like every time I read a post I can totally commiserate with her!

I've definitely run out of interesting random facts about myself but I love answering questions since they are often things I don't even know the answers to until I sit down and think about them!

Favourite childhood memory? Camping with my family. I'm very lucky that we still do it today but I have such vivid memories from camping trips years ago.  I will never forget them!

Biggest pet peeve? Hmm. I really had to think of this one.  I guess it's good that nothing big immediately comes to mind. I do really dislike when people have strong opinions about something but then have nothing to back those opinions up with.  

If you could up and move anywhere in the world, where would you go? I'd love to move down to Australia for a while to make up for the lack of sun I've gotten in Ireland this past year!

Which accent do you prefer...british, australian or irish? Ooh really tough one.  I guess it depends on who it is on... though you could never get me to choose between Tom Hardy, Chris Hemsworth or Jonathan Rhys Meyers.  

What are you most proud of doing in your life? Living in Russia for a semester.  It was something that I wasn't sure I was capable of doing but I did!

Stilettos or wedges?  Stilettos.  I like both but I think stilettos just add a little extra bit of oomph to a shoe.

Are you tidy or messy?...honestly now ladies! I'm generally messy but ironically I really enjoy cleaning and organizing.  Maybe I just have to build up a big enough mess so that I can really enjoy the cleaning.

What do you like most about the blogging world? I love connecting with so many different people who I have something in common with (even if that commonality is just blogging) who I would never get to meet otherwise!

Favourite season? This is tough.  I love all of them but I guess Fall (or Autumn) would have to be my favorite.  So many beautiful colors!

Worst job you have ever had? I spent a summer essentially working as a telemarketer.  I wasn't exactly trying to sell anything but the number of times I was hung up on is just sad.  I also think I suffer from PTSD whenever I hear hold music now.

If you had to choose; mascara or foundation? Mascara.  I'm lucky to have pretty clear skin but my eyelashes are very light... without some mascara you almost wouldn't be able to tell they are there!

Thank you again for the nomination Nicola

Busy Day

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yesterday was one of those surprising days when you have nothing planned but then you find yourself on the go all day.

After my run I had planned on reading Insurgent (I would highly recommend the first book in the series Divergent!)  Instead, I got a text from a friend asking to come to Merrion Square for the Street Performance World Championship.  It's just a block away and it was a beautiful day so of course I joined her!  There were a ton of people out so it was almost impossible for me to see the performers but I still enjoyed it.

While I was out I got a text message from my roommate who had apparently spent the night in the hospital.  She's ok luckily but she still had a bag at the apartment and was leaving this morning for the US so I offered to bring it down to where she was staying.  I wasn't planning on staying for long but a few of us had seen The Dark Knight Rises the night before and we probably spent a solid hour discussing the movie / discussing how wonderful Tom Hardy is (even as Bane!).

I ended up staying there for a while enjoying some good company and her last night in Dublin! I can't believe how quickly time is going by... and now I'm down to one month left here!

I have a final on Friday so I think it's time I start considering taking out my notebook... it's just the first step in the process but it is an important step!
People watching the street performers

some cute umbrellas in a tree

The Dockland's Urban Jungle at night

"Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream"

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The above quote, originally from the Beatles, was my mom's high school yearbook quote.  We make fun of her for it because it shows what a huge hippie she was back in the day.  It is, however, something I feel like can be pretty applicable these days.  I often fall into the habit of putting my head phones in, tuning out the world, and going about my day.  I don't enjoy crowds so generally the headphones allow me to pretend that I'm the only one out there and it makes everything a little easier.

Yesterday after my run I sat on the edge of the Liffey for about 45 minutes listening to music and doing some field research (studying seagulls for something I'm writing... don't ask).  It's amazing how you can  get lost in the music and let your imagination wander.  It's at times like these that I think I'm at my creative peak and I can't get enough of it.

There are other times, however, where you just want to see and hear everything around you...  live in the real world for a moment.

It doesn't happen often enough but today I went for a walk around the city centre sans headphones.  Grafton Street is generally a place I avoid because it get so crowded but today I just strolled down it, enjoying the street performers and popping into a few stores along the way.  I treated myself to some gelato and then to some Subway.  It was a very nice day out and even with the crowds I felt very zen-like (a rare occurrence for me!).  I know I won't get to walk these streets that many more times so I'm really soaking it all in at this point.

I sold my bike and did a few errands that I've been putting off for months.  I then wandered through Trinity.  It really was a great afternoon and the only thing I did differently was disconnect myself from my music and enjoy the sights and sounds around me.  And, while it was totally different from yesterday's river side reflection, I did get some good fodder for writing.
Molly Malone
Passion Fruit Gelato!
And more Trinity

Weekly Running Recap #3

Friday, July 20, 2012

I signed up for my first race!!!  I was going to leave this until the end of the post but I'm just too excited to wait.  It's amazing what a world of difference it feels from a year ago when I signed up to do a 3.5 mile race because a friend some how convinced me to.  From the moment I signed up until I crossed the finish line I just felt dread.  And even after that I still couldn't figure out why I had signed up.  This time is different though.  I actually feel a little giddy.  I've made so much progress over the past few weeks and I can't wait to get out there and see my work in action!

Anyway,  the race I signed up for is the Jack Kerouac 5k on September 30th.  This is a very fitting race since it is in Lowell, the town next to mine and a town I spend quite a bit of time in when I'm home.  I've seen and heard about this race for years but this will be the first time that I get to do it myself.

Now back to your previously scheduled blog post:

Saturday: 2.25 mile run.  I've bumped up the distance!  I wanted to do it all of last week but I knew I shouldn't.  If I add 1/4 of a mile each week I'll be up to 3 miles before I leave Dublin and I'll be able to work on timing myself.  I think that's a good plan. Running on the weekend is always easier than during the week.  The thousands of people that seem to be on a perpetual lunch break aren't there so it's just a few locals out for afternoon walks that I have to avoid.

Sunday: 2.25 mile run.  The only thing better than running on a weekend is running on a rainy weekend where there is really no one out.  I realized that I'm in for a rude awakening when I go home and the temperature is above 55 degrees and I don't run around a river to keep me cool.

Monday: Rest Day.  It's strange to me that I only notice tightness in my legs when I'm walking up and down the stairs on the bus (yes, they have double decker busses in Dublin!).  Either way that, combined with classes and group meetings, made me decided to rest today.  I am a little nervous about how I'm going to be when it's back to working full time.  Everything's great when I can sleep in and go for a leisurely jog around noon but I know it's not going to be that easy for long.  Hopefully I can make some good habits that stick around once I'm back in the US.

Tuesday: 2.4 mile run.  I used a different gate from my complex so it added a bit more onto the run.  Today was warm... and by warm I mean it was barely 70 degrees which by Irish standards is sweltering.  I really don't know how all of you runners in the US are doing the 100+ degree heat these past few weeks.  That's dedication. I'm pretty nervous for jumping into that at the end of August when I get home.  At least we have a treadmill at the house.

Wednesday: 2.25 mile run.  I didn't stretch well after my run last night and I could really feel it during today's.  For some reason this run sucked every ounce of energy out of me.  During the run itself I was fine but as soon as I came home I fell into a two hour coma.  I never nap so it was strange for me.  I also feel insanely groggy right now and don't like the feeling at all.

Thursday: Rest Day.  I got the message that my epic nap on Wednesday was trying to send... rest.  I had my last Operations and Supply Chain Management class today so I felt like a good lounge wouldn't be the worst thing.

Friday: 2.25(ish) mile run. Eh.  That's the best word to describe this run.  For some reason I just wasn't feeling it.  My nose was runny, my throat was phlegmy, and I was stupid and ran during lunch time so there were way to many people out.  Not how I wanted to end the week of running but every other run this week was great so I'm still happy over all.

Total Miles: 11.4

Things I learned this week:

Stretching!  I'm usually good about stretching but I have to start doing more for longer.  A few minutes was fine when I was just running a mile but the more I do this the more I've found I need to stretch.  Here are some great tips and stretching suggestions!

My friend mentioned that the Kerouac race was kind of hilly and my initial reaction was, "what are hills?!"  The most elevation I see while running here is when I cross over the curvy part of a bridge.  So, on top of the heat that I'll have to adjust to when I get home, I also have to think about hills.  Luckily my neighborhood is pretty hilly.

I've started looking into what I should / shouldn't be eating to fuel running.  There is so much information out there that I've barely made a dent in it but there is one tip I remember from my old swim coach that I've found is pretty applicable in running.  He would always say that if you want to eat before swimming eat a banana and avoid apples.  The acid from apples can make you burp (which is much more of a problem while swimming than while running) but I had one before a run this week and could feel it the whole time. The banana will still give the energy but with out the acid/ burps and the potassium will help with cramps.  So, while apples are still a great source of energy, they are probably something I'll save for an after-run snack.

Liebster Award #2

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I was nominated for another Liebster Award!  I'm always amazed to find out that not only are there people out there who read my blog, but some actually like it!  So I just want to say thank you to Sarah at A Cat-Like Curiosity for the award!  I just received this award for the first time a week ago so I'm going to skip the 11 random facts because I am unfortunately a very boring person and don't have enough fun facts about myself!  I will answer her questions though... it's always nice having prompts to write from!

This kid gets my love for ice cream  (source)

  1. What's your favourite ice-cream flavour? It's a tie between mint chocolate chip and cookie dough.  I also love cherry vanilla, black raspberry, oreo, coffee... there really isn't any type of ice cream I don't love, to be honest.
  2. If I made a film of your life who would you like to play you? This is a tough one.  I've never thought about it.  Oh, Jennifer Lawrence would be nice!  She's cute and plays some kick-ass characters!
  3. Who do you think would actually play you?As long as it's anyone but Kristin Stewart I'll be happy.
  4. What's your favourite store? 
    As much as I would love to dress nicely and be fashionable I always find myself spending money in book stores over clothing stores.  I also have zero fashion sense so it's much easier for me to buy a book than it is for me to pick out an outfit!
  5. Tell me about your daily routine - what is the first thing you do in the morning?
    After the bathroom I head straight for the coffee maker.  I then hop back into bed for a bit with my coffee and oatmeal to catch up on news / blogs / facebook / twitter.  If I don't have class (or if I can't find the motivation to go to class) I'll go for a run then shower.  Then I'll have some lunch, maybe do some school work or blogging, catch up on tv shows, and read for a bit.  I'm so screwed when I have to start working full time again!
  6. What's the last thing you do at night?
    Nine times out of ten I will read right before bed.  It has to be something non-school related though! If not that I'll probably be watching an episode of a tv show on my computer.
  7. Do you have any pets?
    Not right now but getting a puppy is one of the first things I'm going to do when I get back to the US!
  8. Do you have any nicknames?
     A select few call me "Rin" which I love... my name is generally too short to get a nickname.  I also have two uncles who call me "Arnie" but I've never figured out where that came from.
  9. What are you reading right now?

    I'm currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I was told that if I liked Hunger Games I'd like this.  I am enjoying it so far!
  10. What's your favourite blog and why?
    Hmmm... I'm not sure if I have a favorite.  I follow so many that I enjoy reading each day that I don't think there is one that I'd rank above all the other awesome writers out there!
  11. What's your favourite Etsy store and why?
    I'm always way too broke to shop online.  While I'm dreading going back to work I am looking forward to having a little bit of a disposable income so I can stop avoiding all the cute Etsy shops!

Well, that was nice.  I've been having trouble the past few days to come up with something to write so that was exactly what I needed right now!   Thanks again, Sarah!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I feel like the episodes of Friends being aired in Dublin are stalking my life.  Today's episode was Joey moving out and Chandler getting a new roommate.  Fortunately, my new roommate is not crazy.  In fact, she cooked me dinner so no complaints here!

I've been very nostalgic lately.  I'm not sure what it was that brought it on (it may or may not have involved hearing Genie in a Bottle on the radio) but I've been missing the 90's.  Missing the simpler times in life. Don't get me wrong, my life is in no way complicated right now and I'm truly blessed to have everything I have and to be experience everything I've been experiencing, but I can still miss the old days.  My biggest fears then were not making it home in time to see Power Rangers or that my scooter wouldn't move fast enough when racing down the street.  Nowadays I'm worried about paying rent and bills and finishing a Master's program. 

Then my cousin Kayla posted this, which basically summarized up all my feelings in one well written post.  I said to her and I guess I'll just repeat it here (to really drive the message home to myself), those days were wonderful but it doesn't mean today isn't, too.  I will never be able to be 12 again but it doesn't mean being 24 isn't any less of an amazing experience in itself.  I also have a niece on the way and someday my own children with whom I will get to make entirely new memories and traditions.

It also helps that we generally block out the bad memories of those times.  That devastating day my little sister stole all of my Pokemon cards and gave them to a friend?  I'm over it (...almost).  And while dropping an ice cream cone on the ground still makes me want to cry,  I've realized that it's not the end of the world and I can always buy another one.  Having a grasp on the bigger picture just means you can enjoy bigger things and aren't as negatively affected by the small.

In fact, as I went through pictures to find one for this post I viewed several years of amazing memories.  There isn't any one year that I'd trade for another and I know that I just have many more to come.  Some people think it's weird when I say this, but I'm looking forward to the day when I'm a wrinkly old grandmother, not because I can be crazy and blame it on senility, but because I will be so full of great memories that I can spend the entire day reminiscing of all the wonderful people and places I've experienced in life.

So, while I miss the days of dance routines in the front yard, and catching crayfish in the stream at the campground, I only take this is a sign that I really need to focus on enjoying the here and now so that I may someday look back and fondly remember this time, too.
One of my all time favorite pictures!  Me and Kayla enjoying the early camping days.

A Random Assortment of Pictures

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My roommate moved out today.  She's not leaving Dublin until next week but she found someone to sublet so she's staying with a friend for the next few days.  We made an event of our last day together by cooking dinner and having some wine and ice cream while watching some tv and a movie.  It was very fitting that the final episodes of Friends were on... sad but fitting.  It was even more fitting that it was followed by Perfect Storm as we were preparing to ship her back to Massachusetts.

I just helped my new roommate move in.  I think I've got my good deed points and my workout points in for the day!  It'll be strange living with someone else after so long with Kat but I enjoy getting to know new people so it should be a good next few weeks.

There isn't much else exciting going on at the moment so I've decided to share a collection of very random (and sometimes strange) pictures I've taken while wandering around Dublin over the last week.

Cricket at Trinity 
Filming of Ripper Street at Trinity
Only found out after leaving that the main charater is played by
Matthew Macfadyen aka MR. DARCY!
Stumbled upon this street while running yesterday.  Some seriously
amazing graffiti but a pretty scary area.
Found out after getting home that this is Windmill Lane,
another of U2's former recording studios.  
Then I met a puppy at the grocery store. 
...and saw a toilet seat while walking down the street.
Saw a sign that said "Free Beer" and got excited... then got closer and
saw this.  Sneaky advertising!

Mary Street, Dublin. The Spire in the background.
...and finally, I bought a massive strawberry.
The End.  Hope you have all had a great weekend!

Button Swapping

Friday, July 13, 2012

I've been thinking about starting to swap buttons for a while now but I wasn't quite sure of where to begin.  Then my wonderful cousin Kayla suggested we shared our buttons and I thought, "what better place to start than with family?"

I have my beautiful button that was designed by Laura so if you're interested in swapping please let me know!  

Weekly Running Recap #2

I've come to realize that one of the things I enjoy most about running is that every day is a small accomplishment.  Whether its running harder and faster than ever before, or if its just trudging through a terrible run, each makes you feel like you've overcome something.  And how can you not feel great when you accomplish something (anything) on a daily basis?!

Saturday: Rest Day. (sneakers were still soaked from Friday's run!)

Sunday: 2.0 mile run.  Today's run felt pretty easy.  I'm still taking it slow and not pushing myself too hard but I can really feel myself getting more comfortable with each run.  As much as I feel like I could step it up a notch I know I should stick to this distance and pace for at least the rest of the week.

Monday: Rest Day.  I had every intention of running today but I was exhausted from the concert Sunday night.  I had a presentation in the morning and it wasn't until I came home and sat down after class that I realized I had almost no energy.  I guess I could have made myself run but it wouldn't even have been a good "bad" run.  Instead I replaced a run with a nap.  Good life decision.

Tuesday: 2.0 mile run.  This run was pretty uneventful.  Nothing good but nothing bad either!

Wednesday: 2.0 mile run.  Today's run was great!  I initially didn't really feel like running but it all turned around once I got out there.  At the distance I'm running now I cross over bridges four times.  Normally I'll walk over the bridges because it breaks up the run nicely (and one bridge feels slippery and scares me so I just don't like running over it).  Today, however, when I reached my first bridge I thought, "why don't I just run over you?"  So I did.  When I got to my second bridge I thought, "hey why don't I run over you, too?"  This happened a third time.  At my last bridge I thought, "well, I just run over your three friends... why not you, too?  And why don't I run over you faster than I've ran before!"  It was a pretty amazing feeling (though I did feel a bit like Forrest Gump).  Of course as soon as I turned the corner I was met by 8 billion people leaving work for the day and ended up having to walk most of the last half mile.  Oh, well.  You win some, you lose some!

Thursday: 2.0 mile run.  Today's run was good.  It is beautiful out which means the Irish come out of the wood work and take over the sidewalks.  I can't really blame them.  It did cause me to almost get hit by three different things during my run though:
  1. A man opening a car door over the sidewalk without looking
  2. A man stepping off the sidewalk into my path (my fast dodging skills entertained him and his friends for a while.)
  3. A bold pigeon who decided he was not going to get out of my way and would rather get step on than cave (he won.)
Friday: 30 min yoga.  I thought to myself yesterday that I should maybe take a rest day but I've enjoyed the past few runs so much that I really didn't want to.  Last night before bed, however, I had a weird little pain in my hip.  It wasn't anything bad but I thought it was a sign that I should rest today.  I decided to do some yoga instead.  It felt great to really stretch out and I was very happy to find that the pain in my hip was gone after the work out!

Total distance for the week: 8 miles.

Things I've learned this week:

-It doesn't look like I'm going to get to do a race here in Dublin.  There was one on Wednesday but I've been very busy with class and projects this week and to be quite honest, I didn't want to do it alone! There also doesn't seem to be any other 5ks in the Dublin area... I guess that just means more time to really prepare for when I get back home.

- I need to keep an eye on my breathing.  I don't know where I got the idea that I should be breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth but I realized I just wasn't getting enough oxygen.  This article nicely outlines the ideal way to breathe while running and it has been very helpful! Key tips - use your mouth and breathe deep, not just to your chest but all the way down to your belly.

- The 10% Rule - I've seen this mention several times but its importance is highlighted perfectly here.  Basically never increase your distance by more than 10% in a week.  I know I'm not running crazy distances but aside from avoiding injury I think it will also help in getting me to run better instead of just longer.

I need some new music to listen to while running! What are your all time favorite songs to run to?

The Liebster Award!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Two awards in one week! I'm really feeling the blogging love these days!  I was nominated by Nathan @ Life & Everything Else In Between.  He is definitely one of my new favorite bloggers.  Aside from his great writing skills he is also a guy (we need more male voices in the blogging community) and he's a fellow New Englander... we've got to stick together!  

Anyway, The Liebster Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

This is how it works...
  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves. 
  2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer. 
  3. Choose up to 11 people and link them in your post. 
  4. Go to their page and tell them. 
  5. No tag backs!

I'm not sure if I can think of 11 interesting things about myself but I'm going to try!

  1. I was a vegetarian for 6.5 years because I bet someone I could do it longer than them.
  2. My hair is curly in the back but straight in the front. I also have a red streak that always impresses hair dressers.
  3. I don't really like chocolate but make up for it by eating copious amounts of ice cream.
  4. I had a big crush on Casper the friendly ghost when I was younger... sadly not even the part where he turns into Devon Sawa... just the cartoon version.
  5. When I did the Jameson Whiskey tour I got a little buzzed and then went shopping.  I ended up buying a giant floppy sun hat that I have yet to wear because 1. there's no sun in Ireland and 2. only my drunk-self actually believes I can pull it off!
  6. I don't have a lot of fears but whenever I hear a loud booming noise I instantly think, "T-Rex!" and get more nervous than I should allow myself to.
  7. I took karate for five years and stopped at my brown belt (the one right before black).  I was starting high school and the swim team but I still regret not making it to black!
  8. I generally have no less than three cups of tea a day (but only after my obligatory cup of coffee!)
  9. I played the saxophone for 8 years and was in my high school marching band.
  10. I'm trying to become a runner.
  11. I didn't go to class today but had every intention of catching up on reading... instead I've spent most of the day blogging (still reading, I guess!).

Now for the 11 questions Nathan has given me:

  1. What is your favorite thing to do during the summertime? Camping!  I've miss the last two family camping trips since I've been in Ireland but I actually have a countdown for Labor Day when I'll finally get to camp again.
  2. Do you have any pets? Currently, no.  My dog I had for 13 years passed away about a year ago. I thought it would be a while before I got another one but I've realized life just isn't the same without one so it's on the top of my list of things to do when I get back to the States!
  3. If you could do one thing right now what would it be? Eat ice cream.  In fact I think I'll go get some now.
  4. Why did you start blogging and is it the same reason you still blog?   I was studying abroad in Russia and I knew I wouldn't be able to call home frequently so blogging was my way of letting the family know what I was up to.  I still blog to document travels but I've added a few new pieces to it since then.
  5. Who do you look up to and why? So many people but one of the people I most look up to is my Grandmother.  She lived in Germany during WWII and lost almost all of her family there.  She made her way to the US where she worked her butt off to raise a family.  She's amazing.
  6. Coke, Pepsi, or both and why? Can I say neither?  I'm not a big soda drinker but if I was to have anything it would probably be Sprite!
  7. What's your dream job? I would love to be a travel journalist or something fancy like that! Getting paid to see the world and blog about it? I'd be down with that!
  8. If I could give you a plane ticket to anywhere, where would it be? Anywhere!  I don't care where it is I'm traveling as long as there is something to see and do when I arrive there.  I've never been to Asia so that's probably at the top of my list.
  9. What's the most random-est thing you've ever done? See above with the whole vegetarian because of a bet thing!
  10. When was the last time you saw a movie in theaters, what was it? Hmm... I went a few months ago to see Hunger Games. Loved it!
  11.  How do you feel about social media and technology in general today? I think it can get overwhelming and it's easy to get lost in it but I've kept some amazing friendships going because of social media so I wouldn't really change any of it!

My 11 questions for those nominated:
  1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
  2. Mac or PC?
  3. What is your favorite meal?
  4. What is the one song you can't resist getting up and dancing to?
  5. What is your favorite picture? Share it!
  6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  7. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  8. Do you have any tattoos?
  9. If money was no issue, in what store would you spend the most?
  10. Do you have any pets?
  11. Why did you start blogging?

I'm just going to nominate 5 people today because I'm about to run out the door but I really love all the blogs I follow and I recommend you go check them all out! Also, I'm not positive they all have less than 200 followers but they are great bloggers none the less!

  1. Morgan @ Miss DIY Monster
  2. Erin @ The Grass Skirt
  3. Emily @ Fate from 5'8
  4. Amy @ Ok, Amy
  5. Tere @ Un "Shake"Able

Phew, that was a long post but it was worth it.  Thank you again Nathan for the award!

Pugsy and Bull

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dublin is a pretty small city but it is still a city.  I can't help but be amazed every time I bump into someone I know on the street, or see the same random person on two separate days.  Of course it helps when I am doing some type of routine that other people clearly share.  One of my favorite people that I have now seen FOUR times is a man that is often out walking his two dogs.  These aren't just any two dogs... they are the most antithetical dogs you could imagine.

Dog #1 is a Pug. He's cute and adorable and jumpy.  Looks kind of like this:

Dog #2 is some type of Mastiff...a Bullmastiff, I think.  He is massive and slow moving.  He looks like this:
He looks like he could take a deep breath and inhale the pug without noticing.  They are adorable together though.  I can't help but smile every time I see them out for their walks.  I have an entire backstory in my mind where they play detective buddies and solve crimes when they're off leash.

I need to remember to bring my camera out from now on because I would love to show them together.

Versatile Blogger Award!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I was nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award!  Up until a few months ago I blogged solely as a means of documenting my travels but then I discovered that there was an amazing community of bloggers out there.  In the past few months I've been influenced by many of these people and I've started taking on a much more active role as a blogger. To be nominated for  anything is exciting and I want to thank Peaces Ledwidge @ Conceive Writing for giving me this honor!

Now I have to nominate 15 fellow bloggers.  This is pretty difficult considering the number of amazing blogs I've started following recently!

And now time to share seven completely random pieces of information about myself!
  1. I drink my coffee black.  I never liked it with sugar but it wasn't until I was studying abroad in Russia and all dairy products smelled like farm animals that I decided to stop adding milk to my coffee.  I love it that way now and will never go back!
  2.  I'm very short.  My license says I'm 5'0" and that is a lie.  I'm really 4'11 and 3/4" (every quarter of an inch counts when you're under 5'!)  I've come to embrace my height but it can still get annoying when people walk into me because they literally don't see me!
  3.  I'm about to become an Aunt very soon!  My younger sister is expecting a baby on August 12th!
  4. I'm a lefty and proud of it! (even if that does mean I have a much lower life expectancy!)
  5. I have two tattoos. I have a celtic shamrock on my back and "in memoria aeterna" written on my ribs.
  6. My guilty pleasure is Ghost Hunters.  I watch a lot of tv but Ghost Hunters is the show that I probably enjoy the most and yet mention the least when people discuss favorite shows!
  7. My nose wiggles when I chew and talk.  It drives me crazy. People generally don't notice it unless I point it out but then they can't stop seeing it.

And now, here are the rules for all those nominated!
  1. Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award
  2. Add the Versatile Blogger Award
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger(s) who gave you the award and put a link back to their blogs.
  4. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers the Versatile Blogger Award and inform each nominated blogger by posting a comment on each blog
  5. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself
  6. In the same post, include this set of rules

Florence + The Machine & Snow Patrol in Phoenix Park

Monday, July 9, 2012

What an amazing concert!  

The concert was held in Phoenix Park which, as I’ve mentioned before, is the largest urban park in Europe.  It is massive.  As some of my friends discovered, it took well over 45 minutes walking from the entrance of the park to reach the concert ground, and there was still probably another 25 minutes of walking before you’d reach the other end. 
Entering the concert grounds
Now, you may be wondering what an outdoor concert in Ireland is like.  One word: MUD.  Mud, mud, mud everywhere.  There were warnings that everyone should wear their “wellies”.  I don’t have any wellies here in Ireland but I did have a pair of €5 Penny’s shoes that I bought a size too small. I’ve wanted to get some use out of them before leaving them behind to return home.  This was the perfect occasion.  I just accepted and embraced the fact that I was going to be covered in mud and fully enjoyed it!
So many wellies
Still 10x cleaner than they were by the end of the night
Irish creativity at it's finest
The full line up of the concert was:

Here We Go Magic
We Are Augustines
The Temper Trap
Florence + The Machine
Snow Patrol

While I would have loved to see all the acts, I knew that standing for 8 hours would not have been enjoyable and, seeing the way I feel today, I’m very happy with that decision.

We arrived while The Temper Trap was playing so I like to think they were playing our entrance music.  The three songs of theirs we heard were all great.

Then there was Florence and the Machine.  How can I fully describe Florence in words?  I don’t know if it’s possible.  It’s so rare to find someone who sounds as good in real life as they do on an album and it’s next to impossible to find someone who sounds even better, but she does!  She is just phenomenal.  Aside from singing amazingly, she also really got into the show.  There is nothing worse than paying money to see someone who just looks bored or drunk on stage.  She was also super classy and was drinking Guinness out of a champagne flute.

Snow Patrol was also awesome.  I was really there to see Florence, but Snow Patrol was an added bonus.  They, too, were just as good, if not better, than their recorded sound. By then the sun had set and the lights and lasers were flashing and everyone was having a great time. 
Snow Patrol! 
So, overall this was an amazing concert.  As muddy and gross as we all got, the atmosphere was amazing and, aside from the random drunk people stepping on the poor short girl's (my) toes, it was still a wonderful time.  (The previous night there had been some “issues” but everything about this crowd was great!)
Cold, muddy, wet, and sore but so happy!
Ditto to the above caption!