Women’s March Madison + 3 Things I’m Pledging to Do

On Saturday I marched with thousands of women and men (and children and grandmas and families) to say that we will not be silent for the next four years. It was the first time since I voted for Hillary Clinton that I felt proud of our politics, that I felt any sort of hope for our future.

After living abroad for so much of the election the divisions here at home came as a shock. The last few months have been hard for a lot of reasons, but watching Trump throw tantrums at the media and scramble to assemble a (white, male) cabinet have been an underlying source of depression.

But the power, excitement, and humor of the Women’s March was so energizing and has me thinking a lot about my own actions and impact on the future. I’ve also seen so many poignant posts about the necessity of intersectional feminism and how much work there is to be done by my demographic (myself included) to support black women, trans women, and indigenous women.

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There’s a lot of discussion about now what – we did the march, but we have to keep the momentum. I’m so excited to see what comes next in this movement and here are a few things that I’m pledging to do:

1. Contact my new local representatives, especially Republican senator Ron Johnson who has consistently voted against access to contraception and abortion. Boooooo.

2. Dedicate a portion of my monthly income to local women’s organizations – I’m coming for you Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and YWCA of Madison!

3. Do more to celebrate the amazing women in my life – call my best friends more, go home for the weekend to hang out with my grandma, reach out to women at work who I find inspiring. Ever since I left Bryn Mawr I’ve felt like I’m missing my community of women, but I have so many great female friends, mentors, and family members right here. It’s time to cultivate these relationships again.

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Did you go to the women’s march? If so, where? I’ve seen so many amazing photos, signs, and stories from Saturday – would love to hear. And if there’s anything that you’re doing as a next step, let me know too! There’s a lot flying around about important actions to take from here and I’m all ears.

“As we go marching, marching, we’re standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.”

Bread and Roses, 1911

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Elk Season in the Rockies

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One of the days I was in Colorado, my stepmom and I went up to Rocky Mountain National Park for the afternoon. We had planned on driving up the mountain and doing a little hiking, but quickly got sidetracked as herds of elk appeared at the roadside. Just super casual, Colorado… We ended up seeing four herds throughout the day and were lucky enough to get pretty close – I didn’t have a zoom lens on my camera so that first guy was really that close.

It was such a cool experience to watch these huge animals in the wild and one of my favorite photography experiences to date. I totally understand the rush of the whole National Geographic thing now! My heart was racing after getting up close and especially after the buck of the group made it clear our little photo shoot was over 😳

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My favorite moment, though, was when we were driving home from the park and I spotted a herd taking over the local high school’s football field (above). We stopped to get a closer look to find them investigating the football team’s training equipment – one even stood on the big blue mat before deciding he wasn’t a fan 😂 It was like seeing two worlds collide!

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If you’re around Colorado any time from early September to early October definitely stop by your nearest national park to see if you can spy any of these guys! Apparently it’s particularly crazy at the beginning of the season so bring your camera and keep your eyes peeled!

Weekend Roundup: The Wild West

This week I got the chance to go out to Boulder, Colorado and visit my dad and stepmom who are in the process of moving out there. I’ve been hearing about Boulder for years and I finally get what all the hubbub is about – beautiful scenery, great downtown filled with restaurants and shops, and you’re never further than 10 minutes from an amazing hike. Although it was a relatively short visit, it was so fun to see what they’re up to and let me say, it certainly doesn’t suck. I’m back in Chicago now and here’s a little bit more about my week…

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What I Did This Week

1. Before I left for Colorado, I spent an excellent Saturday afternoon with my family at the Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Tap Room here in Chicago. Crisp beer, decadent nachos, and a band with a washboard player made for a pretty awesome day. It was a little bit impossible to find (hint: the entrance is next to the parking lot – go figure), but the trek made the beer taste that much better. Fun for both the brewery inclined and the professional beer drinker 🙂

2. On my first day in Colorado, my dad drove us out to Denver for the Dweezil Zappa concert. Him and my brother are huge fans and even though I didn’t know much of the music, it was clear that these guys are unreal musicians. Fun, weird, and filled with hippie dads, the whole thing was certainly an experience. Plus, you can’t go wrong when the tour is named “Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants”.

3. Yesterday was my beautiful mom’s birthday. We spent the day brunching, drinking mimosas, shopping, and eating – so just another average day, right? We even got a dose of lacrosse in there seeing my brother’s team make it into the championship finals game! We had appetizers and drinks and a glorious steak dinner at Wildfire before heading back into the city. Cheers to you, mama! I love you!

Culturally Consumed

1. I picked up this book by my favorite Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, at the spiritual bookstore in Boulder (because of course they have one of those). This time in my life is bringing a lot of change and, along with that, a lot of uncertainty and fear. I have so many of his books already, but I felt like it was time to read this one – will let you know how it goes!

2. Visited the Saks Off 5th store on State Street in Chicago this week and oh man is it good. I highly recommend it for investment pieces like cashmere sweaters and winter coats because they seem to carry a lot of those right now. I walked out with this cashmere sweater in navy for half off and these cole haan sneakers for 50 bucks!

3. Late night Maddie + trolling Twitter = me buying Repeal the 8th art for my future apartment. Bought this beautiful print through the Someone You Love campaign and cannot wait to frame it and put it up for all eternity. I’ve been looking for a piece of art from Ireland forever, but nothing felt personal until I saw this baby. Feminist, colorful, and I think it will compliment my other pieces beautifully. Definitely check out the rest of the pieces in their online shop – a great gift for the Irish feminist in your life!

4. Speaking of other things I don’t need for an apartment I don’t have, my mom gifted me the most amazing salt and pepper shaker on this earth. Guys, I’m completely obsessed. It’s beautiful, hilarious, and practical! I also think this totally shows my priorities – art and kitschy home goods over furniture and kitchen ware. I like this about myself.

Coming Up Next

1. I’ve got BIG news coming up this week! I’m waiting till everything is finalized, but I’ll definitely be sharing a huge life update very soon!

2. I’ll be sharing some photos and journals from my trip out west – think snowy mountains, yellow and red leaves, and some wildlife up close and personal. I’ll also let you know what my favorite spots out in Boulder were and things I was super thankful I packed.

3. I’m on the prowl for some new fall boots (both over the knee and booties) so I’ll be sharing a round up of the ones I’ve been eyeing. It also seems like there are a million sales going on right now so I’ll be sure to include some discounted options. Till then!

My Ultimate Guide to Dublin

Although I’m already back in the US, I wanted to make sure to put together a list of all my favorite spots in Dublin while it’s still fresh. I love giving suggestions when people visit, so I wanted to share the spots that I have loved eating, drinking, dancing, shopping, and touristing over the past year. I put together a budget friendly guide earlier in the year and so many of those places I still love regardless of what I’m spending, but I wanted to share what I consider the best of the best in Dublin, too.

This guide has got a little bit of everything: food, drinks, nightlife, tourist spots, day trips, and even my favorite nail salon. I feel like putting this together was as much for me too because I want to remember all the great places I loved going and where I have some really amazing memories. I want to be able to read this guide in 10 years and revisit all my favorite spots!

Just a note: Since I lived near Trinity, a lot of these places are in the center of the city, which is where I spent the majority of my time. I say this because I know there are a lot of great spots outside the city center, too, I just didn’t frequent them.

Anyway, I hope these suggestions are helpful and if you’re visiting Dublin anytime soon, you have to let me know! There are definitely places that didn’t make it on the list that I might think are perfect for you – so feel free to message me, email me, or comment below!

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Best Hotels

The WestinWestmoreland Street – Located right next to Trinity and across the street from Temple Bar, it is definitely a prime location. Plus, it has the reputation for being one of the nicest places to stay in the city. I’ve had friends stay here and say it was lovely.

The WestburyGrafton Street – Another prime locale, The Westbury is right in the middle of the best shopping and eating in the city. But if you’re not in the mood to venture out, don’t worry, the hotel is known for its fabulous afternoon tea. I haven’t stayed here, but stayed at its sister hotel in London, The Marylebone, and that was probably the best experience I’ve ever had a hotel. I can only imagine the service is just as fantastic.

The MorganTemple Bar – My dad and stepmom stayed here when they visited me over the summer and at first I was worried about them staying in Temple Bar, which is the loud party district. But with a room facing away from Fleet Street and thick curtains, you couldn’t hear a thing! I was really impressed. The location is just as amazing as The Westin, since it’s across the street, but The Morgan is cheaper, if you book ahead. We had the best time people watching, sipping wine, and chatting outside the hotel’s bar – would definitely recommend!

*A note on this: I’ve never actually stayed in a hotel while in Dublin, but these are the places that I’ve heard from friends, relatives, and reviews are the best. I do know they’re all very centrally located and highly rated.

*Another note: Whatever you do, don’t stay in a hotel on Harcourt Street. The hotels are cheaper in that area for a reason: it is the home of the two biggest clubs in Dublin and it will always be loud.  Unless you’re going for a party weekend or a hen party or something, I would avoid!

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Best Cafes for Breakfast & Coffee

Keoghs Cafeoff of Dame St – My favorite spot for an afternoon coffee. My lovely friend, Aoife, showed me this spot and I’ve taken myself back numerous times to read, work, or just sit with a cup of coffee and relax. Get the cappuccino and raspberry scone with cream and jam – the cream is unreal.

LemonDawson St & South William St – The best place for a relaxed breakfast. This was our favorite Saturday morning breakfast spot for it’s outdoor seating, chill atmosphere, and hearty food. Perfect when you want more than a coffee, but don’t want to go all out for brunch. Get the Crispy Complete Crepe or the Strawberry Supreme with nutella.

Bewley’s (if it ever reopens) – Grafton St – Full disclosure, I’ve only been here once like 3 years ago, but it made that much of an impression on me. It’s a Dublin institution, but has been closed for the past couple of years for renovations – it keeps threatening to reopen, but it’s not looking great. If you are in town and it is open, go for the full Irish breakfast, it’s a classic.

*If you want something quick but hearty for breakfast, order an Irish breakfast roll. You can get them in most places that do sandwiches (I like O’Donovan on Pearse Street) and at a lot of rest stops along the highways, if you’re traveling. They’re basically everything in a full Irish breakfast on a small baguette. Be prepared for a food coma, it’s intense.

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Best Brunch 

Brasserie Sixty6George’s Street Upper – My go-to for a nice boozey brunch. Great egg dishes and a hearty Irish breakfast, if that’s what you’re looking for, but with a lovely wine selection and mimosas a plenty. Get the eggs and lobster and a glass of Marble Leaf wine.

Hatch And SonsSt. Stephen’s Green – Love for brunchy comfort food. They’ve got all the breakfast classics served with thick brown bread and the best jam everrrrr. Get the double baked eggs and take home a jar of jam for mom.

*There are definitely other great places around, but, for some reason, I just didn’t really brunch that often while living there. I’ve heard San Lorenzo’s is a great spot, same with The Fumbally, Whitefriar Grill, and The Exchequer‘s champagne brunch.

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Best Lunch

EathosBaggot Street Upper – Hands down my favorite lunch spot in Dublin. It’s a little on the expensive side for lunch so its more of a special occasion spot, but it is seriously the best food and the portions are huge. So it’s like 2 for 1, right? Order the lentils and the chicken thigh or tuna.

KC PeachesNassau St, Pearse St, St. Stephen’s Green, & Dame St – My regular lunch spot while I was in class. Great sandwiches and hot food, but the real MVP is the salad bar where you can stuff a box full of veggies, grains, and chicken salads. Also, they delicious coffee and a huge assortment of pastries. Get the California chicken salad, the steakhouse sandwich, and the cheesecake brownies.

SproutDawson St – The place I go if I’m feeling uber healthy. They specialize in seasonal, local, organic foods and have an assortment of green juices and super healthy desserts, if that’s what you’re into. Get the falafel wrap, the turkey salad, and the supergreen juice (I swear, it’s actually good!).

Mama’s RevengeNassau St – My go-to burrito place. Burrito spots have kind of exploded around Dublin and, to be fair, they’re all pretty good, but I always find myself craving Mama’s Revenge. If you’re coming from the States, you might find it too special, but when you haven’t had proper Mexican food in many months it really hits the spot. Get the chili burrito with veggies.

Super Miss SueDrury St – Best fish and chips in Dublin. I don’t care what anyone else says, this place is bomb and the best place for your fish fry fix. You can do takeout, delivery via deliveroo, or sit on the long bench outside with a glass of wine. Get the student deal, if you can.

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Best Casual Dinner

Fade Street Social – Fade St – My favorite place to take family and friends for casual, but amazing food. Their dishes are rich and unique and I have always had a great experience there. Full disclosure though, I think they were hit with some sort of health code violation recently, so I would check it out beforehand. If you do go, get the truffle hen egg foam, the soft shell crab, and the mini lobster hotdog.

The ShakespeareParnell St – Best hidden gem of Dublin; I always take my friends here when they visit. I know you probably don’t think of Korean food when you think of Ireland, but this place is truly awesome. Sort of hole in the wall, but delicious food, cheap pints, and relaxed atmosphere. If you’re lucky, there’s a guy who makes hotteok in the back sometimes, a sort of Korean pancake topped with nutella or tomato sauce and cheese. Get the bulgogi bibambap and the kimchi pancakes.

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Best Fancy Drinks

The Rooftop at The MarkerGrand Canal Square – Hands down the most beautiful spot for rooftop drinks in the city. Amazing cocktails and if you go at the right time you can watch the sun set and the entire bay begin to light up. It’s gorgeous. Book ahead if you’re a big group or show up early if its just two because they’ll sometimes make you wait around for no reason. And look nice, that always helps. Get the Marker Dream and the Classic Champagne Cocktail.

Sophie’s at The DeanHarcourt Street – Another beautiful pre-dinner drinks location. With views of the Wicklow Mountains, an airy interior, and another fabulous cocktail menu, it’s the perfect option for drinks during bad weather (which, let’s be honest, is most of the time). Get the 6:30 Wake Up Call.

Vintage Cocktail ClubTemple Bar – The best speakeasy in town. Tucked away down a dark street in Temple Bar, you’d never even know it was there, except for a door with stickers that read “VCC”. Ring the doorbell or wait for someone to come out and you’ll suddenly be in a prohibition era luxe bar and restaurant. Head to the smoking area on the top floor to grab a seat (if you can) or just stand around sipping the craziest cocktails in town. Skip the food (you’re not missing much), and get the Apothecary’s Delight or the Rosy & Jim.

Best Fancy Restaurants 

The Winding StairLower Ormond Quay – This may be my favorite restaurant on the entire planet. It’s just exactly everything I love: amazing, decadent food, awesome service, gorgeous views overlooking the river, but without the pretension of a “fancy” restaurant. It’s a particularly wonderful date spot, so if you’re in town with someone special I would highly recommend it. And try to sit near the book cases – we found an old Irish book from the 1920s there once with rugby game scores and journal entries jotted into it, so cool. Their specials are always unreal (if they have beef cheek, get it!), but I also love the steak or the clams with the bread and butter pudding for dessert.

Hugo’sMerrion Row – A great spot to take your parents. A little bright and fun restaurant with great food and wine and really lovely service. Let’s just say I took an especially picky family member here once and even they liked it, so it’s definitely worth putting on the list. Get the lamb or the chicken.

Best Dessert

Murphy’s Ice CreamWicklow St – My favorite place for a rich, creamy splurge. This place is soooo good. They have crazy flavors like lavender, brown bread, and gin (made with real Dingle gin!) and some of your standards like caramel and cookie, so there’s something for everyone. My fave combo is the sea salt and the caramel honeycomb – delicious!

YogismGeorge’s Street Arcade – For a little guilt-free pick me up. I may have gone to Yogism a few too many times while writing my dissertation, but it makes the perfect little treat after a long day. It’s your pretty standard froyo situation with classic tart yogurt and toppings a plenty, plus if you guess the weight of your cup at the end you get it for free! I love the classic flavor with strawberries and kinder bar.

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Best Pubs

Since this is Dublin, it shouldn’t be surprising that Best Pubs is the lengthiest section of this guide. The rumors are true, there are so many good places in Dublin that it’s really hard to go wrong, but these were the ones that I frequented, would go out of my way for, or generally think are notable.

Doyle’sCollege St – My most suggested pub in Dublin and an all around great place to grab a pint. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes Doyle’s so special, but I pretty much always made a point to bring people here if they’re from out of town. Just a great spot to have a beer and a chat.

The Ginger ManFenian St – Another favorite, especially if I’m looking to sit outside and have a chat with whoever happens to be sitting nearby. A more social pub than Doyle’s, in my opinion, and there’s just a great energy about being there.

The ShakespeareParnell St – Best dinner and a drink. I’ve mentioned this place in my budget friendly guide and in my favorite restaurants and now in my favorite pubs. This place is just my favorite, y’all.

Grogan’sSouth William Street – Fun fact: the first time I came here was for a job interview cause that’s just how they roll in Dublin. This place is a total old school, old man pub where you can get arguably one of the best pints of Guinness in town along with homemade cheese toasties they keep in a mini-fridge on the counter. Not pretentious in any way, just awesome.

The Brazen HeadLower Bridge St – The oldest pub in Ireland! I usually bring people here after a trip to the Guinness factory cause it’s only a few blocks away. It’s another spot with great atmosphere and their traditional Irish food is super hearty and delicious. They also do traditional storytelling nights here (although I’ve never been) that sound pretty excellent.

The BargeCharlemont St – Best pub on a sunny day (pictured above). The Barge really comes alive in the summer on those rare beautiful days. I used to walk past it every day after work and definitely stopped more than once to sip a cold pint along the canal.

The LombardLombard St – Our local pub. I couldn’t have this list without mentioning the Lombard since it served us so well all year. Just a block away from our apartment, it was always so nice to get a pint here after a long day or order a plate of chicken wings if we weren’t feeling like cooking dinner. Really nice people and never too crowded or loud.

GravediggersGlasnevin – Definitely stop by here if you’re up at the Glasnevin cemetery and the botanic gardens. The story is that the gravediggers would stop by here for a pint before they started their shift, sometimes leaving the casket they were about to bury on the table in the pub! But if you ask they bartender, he’ll say it’s just a story… with a wink.

The PavTrinity College – The true Trinity experience, especially when the weather is nice (pictured below). Grab a 4 pack of cans and sit out on the grass with half the student body for an afternoon of sunbathing and total relaxation. This basically got me through my dissertation tbh.

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Best Whiskey Bar

Dingle Whiskey BarNassau St – My go to when I’m feeling something a little stronger. Dingle has a great selection of single pot Irish whiskey and their bartenders will always point you in the right direction if you’re not sure what you want. My favorites are Writer’s Tears, Redbreast 12, and Green Spot.

Best Nightlife

Dicey’sHarcourt St – A Dublin institution. Located right next to Copper’s, the other big club in Dublin, Dicey’s will be crazy every night and is perfect spot to go out and dance all night. They play pretty good tunes and have 2 euro pints on certain nights. I’ve ended up here more times that I would like to admit…

XicoLower Baggot St – Best place to start the week off right. Xico has become infamous for its half price Mondays so think 2 euro shots of Tequila and a wild crowd, plus they play some of my favorite music in the city. They might give you a little trouble getting in, but stick it out, they never really turn people away.

The Czech InnTemple Bar – For when you just don’t care. I love this place because they truly do not care about being cool. They serve up some strong long island iced tea and I’ve known them to play the Taylor Swift 1989 album in its entirety on the dance floor. Great spot for when you can’t be bothered with the fuss of properly going out.

Workman’sWellington Quay – A popular spot amongst friends. The music is a little trancier than I like, but they have an enormous outdoor smoking area that is great for having a pint and a chat if you’re not in the dancing mood. I love this place because it feels like you’re at a giant house party.

Best Late Night Food

ZaytoonCamden St & Temple Bar – Hands down the best drunk food ever. EVER. Conveniently located at the drunk hotspots, right by Coppers & Diceys and in Temple Bar, they serve up enormous, delicious kabobs with all the toppings. I really can’t describe how satisfying it is to eat this after a night out. Plus, it makes unreal hangover food so its the gift that keeps on giving. Get the chicken doner meal with garlic cheese chips.

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Best Events

Longitude FestivalMarlay Park – The Lalapalooza of Dublin. If you’re around in July and are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, I would definitely recommend Longitude. It’s a much smaller festival, if you’re used to the ones in the states, which is actually so nice and it features a great mix of local artists and big names. We had a blast seeing Kendrick Lamar here last summer.

Gaelic Football or Hurling Matches – Croke Park – For sports fans and skeptics alike. I am not the biggest sports person in the world, but it was so fun going to a GAA game this summer. Both Gaelic Football and Hurling are traditional Irish sports and people get so into them, it’s fun even if you don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know exactly when the seasons are, but check the GAA tickets page and stop by Croke Park for an afternoon. It’s definitely an experience.

Music at Whelan’sCamden St – For great live music. Between their awesome lineup of musicians and their intimate venue, a concert at Whelan’s is pretty special. My dad dragged me to a random blues concert when he was in town and it ended up being my favorite thing that we did. Plus, if you’re lucky you can see amazing musicians (Hozier, Glen Hansard, James Blake) up close and personal for pretty cheap.

Best Nail Salon

Tropical PopicalSouth William St – For some quirky pampering. I know this is a random thing to include on this guide, but Tropical Popical truly is in a class of its own. A favorite of Saoirse Ronan, this little nail salon is filled to the brim with personality: cheetah print uniforms, flamingo decorations, Lilt soda served up in a coconut glass, plus some very talented nail artists. I like to get the file and polish because you get the whole experience, a manicure that lasts a week, and it’s only 10 euro.

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Best Shopping

Brown ThomasGrafton Street – The ultimate upscale experience. To be honest, I have done very little actual shopping here and a lot more wandering around looking longingly at everything. Ireland’s top department, it has all the great designers, a sprawling makeup floor, and an entire room devoted to Louboutin shoes. 😍 Their sister store, BT2, is across the street and is more my speed with younger designs and (somewhat) cheaper prices. If I was ever looking for something special or any kind of investment piece, this is where I would go.

Harlequin VintageDrury Street – My favorite vintage store. I pop by here every few weeks to see what’s new and I always head upstairs to their sale section. I’ve gotten some really fun pieces here: mom jeans, a crazy 90s romper, a beautiful navy trench, and a vintage Escada sweater for 10 euro. Be in the mood to dig around a little bit and you’ll certainly find some treasures.

Om DivaDrury Street – For a little bit of everything. It’s a little shop, but it certainly packs a punch: they have fun modern brands when you walk in, beautifully curated vintage in the basement, and a top floor filled with Irish designers. I love supporting local artists when I can and their stock is all around beautiful and quirky. One of my favorite going out tops is from here (made by a local designer) and I got the most beautifully fitting vintage dress here too. Definitely worth a stop in.

Bow and PearlRanelagh – For knits, jeans, and ladylike dresses. So I know I’m a little biased because I used to work here, but I had to include it because there are legitimately things I loved about the shop. Firstly, the Janet Byrne Knitwear: if you’re looking for a beautiful handmade Irish knit, but don’t want the same fisherman sweater that everyone else has, look no further. They’re definitely a splurge, but they are seriously gorgeous, so soft, and come in a million colors. Also, if you’re looking for unique formalwear, they always have a great selection of fun, ultra-feminine dresses and skirts. Plus, the staff is seriously the best, if I do say so myself 🙂

Kilkenny ShopNassau St – My go to shop for gifts. I made a huge dent here before Christmas and again before I came home because they have the largest selection of Irish made goods in one place. I like to pick up extra boxes of chocolates (with whiskey or Bailey’s in them, of course), locally sourced soaps and candles, and scarves and pashminas made from super soft Donegal wool for family and friends. I’ve always admired the kitchen wares there, too, but never found a good way to get them home. A great one stop shop for nice and not kitschy souvenirs.

Ulysses Rare BooksDuke St – For the English nerd. For anyone who loves books, especially Irish literature, Ulysses is a must see. They carry first edition Joyce, signed copies of Samuel Beckett, and beautiful antique children’s books, maps, and illustrations. If you’re looking for a gift for a bibliophile then you’ve hit the jackpot – it may be pricey, but you’ll find some really special here, I’m sure of it.

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Best Tourist Attractions

Guinness StorehouseSt. James’s Gate – You gotta say you went. Although a little pricey (around 17 euro) The Guinness experience does a good job: it brings you through the history of the famed Irish beer, how its made and distributed, their advertising campaigns, and you can enjoy a fresh pint up at the Gravity bar which boasts a 360 degree view of Dublin. Guinness is also filled with great restaurants, so I always like to get lunch there as well. Definitely great for any beer buff.

The Long LibraryTrinity College – Also very touristy but this is actually one of my favorite spots in Dublin. It’s in the same building as the Book of Kells at Trinity, which is also cool, but the real masterpiece is up the stairs past the book and into the Library. It often gets compared to the Great Hall at Hogwarts and holds hundreds of old volumes kept by the college, plus its famous rows of marble busts. It’s seriously breathtaking and a pretty quick trip, so I highly recommend it.

Glasnevin Cemetery and Botanic GardensGlasnevin – A little off the beaten path. If you want to get out of the city center, I would recommend heading up North to the Glasnevin Cemetery, which is attached to the Botanic Gardens. The cemetery is the final home to many important Irish figures, including Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera, and is a quiet, contemplative refuge from the rest of the city. Walking tours are available, but I’ve always preferred to wander around.

The Botanic Gardens, next door, are my favorite place in Dublin. With several enormous public green houses you can spend hours wandering through rooms of lush flowers, fun cacti, and tropical trees. It is especially reinvigorating in the midst of a dreary Irish winter and feels like a tiny afternoon’s vacation. Plus both the gardens and cemetery are completely free to visit, so there’s really no excuse not to visit!

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Best Day Trips

If in you’re in Dublin for longer than a weekend and want to see more of Ireland while you’re around there are definitely a few easy day trips that will get you out of the city. There are many tour companies, such as PaddyWagon Tours and Dublin Tour Company, that have bus tours available, but it’s also possible to strike out on your own if that’s not your thing.

Howth – For a taste of the sea just down the street. This is definitely the easiest day trip to take from Dublin. You just hop on the DART train to Howth from Pearse or Connolly station and within in an hour you’ve replaced city streets with boats and lighthouses. Check out the Howth Pier and St. Mary’s Abbey and definitely grab some local seafood – it’s the best! I did a post about Howth a few months ago, if you’re interested.

Galway – For a cultural capital on the West coast. Full disclosure, I haven’t spent a lot of time in Galway, but I’ve passed through on several occasions and it’s a really lovely spot. Known for their festivals and emphasis on the arts, it’s definitely worth an afternoon wandering around the downtown and checking out what’s on. Plus, it’s home of the claddagh ring if you’re looking for a gift for someone special. You can read about my stops in Galway here and here.

The Cliffs of Moher – For some epic views. I would actually recommend a bus tour for this trip or, if you’re doing a road trip around the country, to stay close to the cliffs and get there early. There’s just no good way to get here without a car and it gets so busy during tourist season, but it’s seriously so beautiful that you don’t mind the crowds. I’m so glad I crossed this one off my list – it’s stunning. I recently put up a post about the Cliffs, if you’re interested.

Belfast – For a taste of Northern Ireland. Belfast is a little much to do in a day so I would actually recommend staying overnight to see everything. The main attraction in town is the Titanic Museum, which explains how the Titanic was built (in Belfast), the history of the shipbuilding industry, and tells stories of the those who were onboard. I also hear the City Hall and St. George’s Street market are great to check out also. I visited last fall and this past summer and have always wanted to spend more time in Belfast!

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So there you go! All my favorites in Dublin and beyond! This has seriously been so fun to put together and I hope it can be a helpful to anyone planning a trip out there anytime soon (which if you’re not, you should be!). Living in Dublin has honestly been the best thing I’ve ever done and to be able to share this experience with so many people, both online and in person, has been really special. I feel nostalgic for Dublin all the time and I can’t wait to get back there as soon as I can!

Let me know if you have any specific questions about anything and if you have favorites too, leave them in the comments! I would love this to be a sort of running document of the best places to go. Thanks a mill and I hope you love Dublin as much as I do! 💕

Weekend Roundup: Sweet Home Chicago

It feels really good to be home. The last several weeks have been crazy to say the least, but no matter where I go in the world there’s nothing like coming back to familiar places and loving people. I’m honestly just starting to feel settled back into the US and a big part of me still feels like its in Ireland, but having some down time to write, run, and catch up with my favorite people has been really centering. Here’s a little recap of what I’ve been doing, reading, and loving this week…

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What I Did This Week

1. Got dragged to a visiting artist lecture at the School of the Art Institute by my mother, a former student, and actually completely loved the whole talk. The artist, Tal R, is this sweet, silly painter from Copenhagen who preaches being “irresponsible” with art, something I totally resonated with after years of being told to be diligent and thorough while making theater.

2. Sat in on a rehearsal of my friend Kevin’s contemporary choir at Northwestern and heard a preview of their super interesting piece “Consent” by Ted Hearne. The text of the piece is a combination of love letters, marriage rituals, and text messages from the Steubenville rape case and explores the ways we use language of ownership and sexual violence to express romantic relationships. Haunting and fascinating. Looking forward to seeing more of his upcoming concerts!

3. Headed up to Concord Music Hall to catch Kaytranada with my brother and our friends. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, it ended up being a fun night of DJs and dancing. I loved one of the openers, I think a local female DJ, but didn’t catch her name – if anyone knows, would love to hear more of her!

Culturally Consumed

1. Finally got around to reading Animal Farm after all these years. Such a quick read, but I see why its required reading in high schools around the country: political commentary, easy to grasp and specific metaphors, and it’s actually engaging – I read the whole thing in like 2 hours. Feels good to start reading for pleasure again!

2. This ultra-brief gem from one of my very favorites, David Sedaris, on this election. Just when I think things can’t get worse too…

3. Love this new series that Cup of Jo is doing. I’ve always been fascinated by personal style and its so fun to hear people talk about why they wear what they wear. Especially obsessed with her use of the phrase “bitchy accessory” to describe a structured, see-through bag. Like I resonate with that term soooo much – definitely need more bitchy accessories (and clothes and shoes) in my life.

4. Also, I know that Stranger Things has already had its moment in the sun, but I would like to take a moment of silence for Barb. She was the real MVP.

Coming Up Next

1. Heading out West on Sunday for a little bit so stayed tuned for some picturesque views and me pretending to be outdoorsy.

2. A HUGE guide to all things Dublin that has actually taken me a century to put together, but I’m super excited to share.

3. A to-do list for all things fall! Fall has always been a huge time of change for me (and this fall is no exception) so I often feel this time of year the way I imagine people feel about new years. Time to get into new habits, shed harmful and distracting practices, and open myself up to saying yes more. I know it all sounds so cheesy, but we all need some inspirational cheeseballs when we’re going through shit, am I right? Stay tuned!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 🙌

I know I’m late to the game on this one, but today I’m sharing some of my favorites from Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale! This sale is particularly awesome because instead of waiting until the end of the season to get your favorite pieces for a lower price, everything for fall is on sale before hand. How nice is that?!

I’ve broken up my picks based on price – bargains (under $100), investments ($100-250), and dream buys ($250+) because this is typically how I shop. Being on a budget can make shopping particularly exhausting so I thought I would try to simplify things a little bit. Breaking things down by price helps me prioritize, especially for a big seasonal, department store sale like this one, and then I don’t fall in love with like 5 different things I can’t afford…

I feel like I’ve been going through a bit of a style transition lately (living in another country, getting a little older, dressing a little nicer for work) and I’m at a point where I’m not really sure what I even like anymore. I also always have to remind myself of what looks best on me and what pieces I could throw on today and they would already fit into my wardrobe. So it was actually a fun practice to go through everything and choose what I love – it sort of invigorated my shopping spirit again. There’s a lot to consider, but there are also about a million things in the sale, so I still have my pick of the lot.

P.S. If anyone knows how to not pay an absurd amount in post office pick-up fees (1/3 of the value of any products shipped from the US into Ireland 😭), please let me know.

Bargains (Under $100)

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Love this simple Cross Front Tee: casual but a little sexy. // Perfect slouchy fit on this Thermal Henley.

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Love the waist cinching on this Crossover Sweater. // A little V-neck and a little sheer make me love this Lace Up Sweater.

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I’m a sucker for the gorgeous collar on this Oxblood Peacoat. // Diggin’ the fit on this (faux) fur vest.

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Not usually a huge bomber jacket fan, but this one is perfect. // Powder blue heaven.

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Would love to transition this Floral Romper from summer to fall. // Obsessed with the ease of this Suede Shift Dress.

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I’ve always loved some sweet back-to-school wear. // Mod denim mini.

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These pants look like the most comfortable things in the world – perfect airplane outfit. // Love the seem down the front of these leather leggings.

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I basically live in printed sneakers, so eying these. // Gorgeous suede mary janes.

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These earrings would completely elevate my typical jeans and a navy T. // Obsessed with these mismatched earrings!

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Been in the market for a hip belt for a while now and love the light leather on this one. // Not usually a fan of monogrammed things, but this makeup bag is too cute!

Investments ($100 – 250)

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This jacket with jeans and over the knee boots = fall uniform. // This Delicate Lace Top would be gorgeous under a leather jacket.

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Would actually wear this tank everywhere, from under a suit to date night. // Weirdly in love with this simple button down.

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God bless a cashmere mini dress. // Saw these OTK boots on the lovely Meghan Donovan and immediately loved.

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Possibly my favorite piece of them all. // Love these neutral, but still statement making sunglasses.

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This bag looks way more expensive than it is. // Loving a shorter heel now days and these don’t sacrifice a beautiful shape, either.

Dream Buys ($250+)

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My mom would love this cardigan. // Dreamy mustard Suede Motorcycle Jacket.

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Perfect for the professor look (I just hope the fit on them is good). // The most coveted boots of the season for good reason.

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Wore out my Longchamp bag to death in high school, so I love this grown up version. // This bag makes me want to take a road trip real bad.

It feels so weird to be shopping for fall already, but it’s also crazy to think that August starts next week! The summer is flying by – it’s so crazy! Would love to know if you’re also shopping the sale and, if so, what’s on your to-buy list. I love how many pieces are really versatile and I can buy now and actually wear, especially in Ireland where it is fall all year. Send me your faves! 💕

Leonardo da Vinci at the National Gallery

In my last post, I mentioned several of Dublin’s fab (and free) local museums, including the National Gallery of Ireland. Although the museum is small, down to only 2 galleries during renovations, it has some major gems right now. I came for the da Vinci, but stayed for the, well, everything else…

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After seeing ads around town for months, I finally got my shit together and checked out the Leonardo da Vinci drawings exhibition in the main gallery. Tickets are (say it with me!) totally free and, even though its the last weekend, seem to be pretty easily available. I booked last night and had my pick of times.

But onto the art: the exhibition is made up of 10 original da Vinci drawings on lend from the Royal Collection in England and although that might not seem like very much, they really make the most of the pieces. The exhibit includes historical context of each piece, discusses da Vinci’s process of study, and even presents a video explaining the way da Vinci created the paper, ink, and pigments he used to create the drawings. There was an interesting mix of content, as well: some studies of famous paintings, early representations of scientific theories (like the anatomical drawings below), and even, above, a map of the Arno river in Florence.

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But what I loved the most was how unusual it felt to see works-in-progress exhibited on their own, instead of as supplements to the finished pieces. It felt like seeing the dress rehearsal of a play with all its stops and restarts and unpolished realness. I’ve always loved looking at people’s beautifully haphazard class notes or finding old annotated books, so this felt like the ultimate journal porn. What also struck me was how amazing it is that these pieces even still exist; the exhibit talked about how the drawings were passed from artist to artist and then across Europe, eventually, making it to England where they were preserved by the royal family. But at any point over the last 500 years they could have just as easily been destroyed as a bunch of useless, unfinished papers. Sort of amazing when you think about everything that’s happened in Europe since da Vinci’s time…

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The National Gallery is also a beautiful space to grab lunch or coffee with a big light-filled atrium and lots of lunch choices so it makes a great midday break. And check out their other exhibit on early 20th century European painting, it’s actually so good. I ducked in after seeing the da Vinci and was seriously blown away by some of the pieces they have tucked away in there. Like I said before, small but mighty museum.

Needless to say, if you’re in town this weekend and have a free half hour, pop over to the National Gallery. Things seemed pretty slow so even if you don’t have tickets, just show and see what happens – it’s totally worth it to get a little glimpse into the mind of one of the world’s greatest thinkers.

Dublin on a Dime: My Guide to Doing Dublin on the Cheap

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So I love to travel and living in Dublin has been one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life. But as we all know, traveling can get expensive so even just pinching a few pennies here and there can really help. As part of my quest to be more cost-conscious, here is my (by no means comprehensive) guide to ballin’ on a budget here in Dublin:

Places to Eat

The Buttery – Tucked away on Trinity College’s front square is a little spot called the Buttery (just to the left of the Campanile if you enter from the front gate). You can get a hearty lunch of thick stew or fish & chips for about 5 euro. The Buttery (as well as the Arts Block Cafe) also has sandwiches and coffee for the cheapest I’ve seen – 3.65 & 1.15, respectively.

KC Peaches – Although not as good a value as The Buttery, KC Peaches makes up for its prices in portions. For less than a tenner you can get a large salad box, which you can stuff as much food in as possible since it’s a set price, not priced by weight. Available in cold (salad, pasta, chicken) or hot (shepherd’s pie, curried veggies, baked potatoes). And they have a 10% student discount with a student card.

Mama’s Revenge – Another solid student card deal, get a basic burrito (essentially all the fixins minus pica de gallo and gauc) for 5 euro. Or a veggie with gauc again for 5. I literally just ate one and may never eat again.

Lemon – Looking for brunch that won’t break the bank? Lemon on both Dawson and South William Street will be your cheapest option. Coffee and a crepe or hearty breakfast sandwich for under a tenner is hard to beat.

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Places to Drink

Pygmalion – If you’re visiting Dublin during the week and want to get a good buzz on, check out Pyg’s 2-for-1 cocktail menu. I believe they’re 13 quid so basically 6.50 a pop for whiskey sours, espresso martinis, and more. And you certainly can’t beat the energy of a night at Pyg with DJs most nights and people spilling out into the street.

The Shakespeare – A great pub (and Korean restaurant) on Parnell Street. The Shakespeare has Guinness for 4.20 and you can get a loyalty card, which I’ve literally never heard of anywhere else. Something like 6 pints and you get one free – challenge accepted.

The Pav – Located on Trinity’s campus, The Pav is generally the student bar, but they serve a solid pint on the cheap. The real pro tip here, though, is if you’re around on a particularly nice day and everyone is sitting outside on the grass (as pictured below) go to the Centra across the street from campus and buy 4 cans of Prazsky for 5 euro. Come back to the pav and enjoy the atmosphere at half the price. Just make sure it’s a brand of beer they serve at the Pav (like Prazsky) or else they’ll know you’re BYOB.

Note: Across the board, Foster’s will be the cheapest pint you can get at around 3.50, depending on where you are. Guinness will also be quite cheap since it’s local. Most places also do a Zaconey (a bourbon based spirit) and coke deal for 5, which is decent too if you’re not a beer fan.

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Night Life

Dicey’s – If you’re looking for a night out on the cheap, the infamous Dicey’s will have you handled. On Mondays and Thursdays, they have a 10 euro cover but pints are 2.50 or cheaper all night so you’ll be set for a night of drinking. Pints are also 2.50 every night before 10, if you’re looking to turn up early. (Just beware this is PINTS only, not shots or cocktails, which will be crazy overpriced. Trust me, I have made this dire mistake. Don’t be me – drink your beer.)

Xico – On Monday night, Xico is the place to be – half price drinks! That’s 2 euro tequila shots and 2.50 pints. Once again, Xico has a cover but it’s worth it if you buy like 2 drinks. And they’re music selection is one of better spots in the city.

Workman’s – With no cover and lots of loud music every night, Workman’s is a solid choice if you’re looking to save a few bucks. They usually have a 5 euro cocktail special and reasonably priced pints.

Temple Bar – The famous bar scene comes alive in Dublin essentially after noon with lots of places having traditional music at night, if that’s something you’re after. For the price of a pint and the hassle of finding a seat, you can settle in for a night of live music and fantastic people watching. Whelan’s on Camden Street also has great (arguably better) music, a lot of which is free as well.

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Shopping

A general tip for shopping in Dublin, if you’re a student or recent graduate, is that most shops in the city centre have some sort of student discount. Levi’s, Office, TopShop, and a lot of other brand name places do 10-20% discounts for showing a student card.

Harlequin Vintage – If you’re looking for something a bit more unique than Zara or H&M, Harlequin Vintage is a great spot to find some treasure. The upstairs is a big sale section and I’ve found gems like AllSaints dresses and an Escada sweater for 10 euro. (Another great spot is Lucy’s Lounge in Temple Bar, check out their enormous basement!)

Penneys – If you’re a bargain queen then you must check out Penneys (the Irish version of Primark). It’s like target on crack. Of course the quality isn’t spectacular, but I’ve found adorable shoes for like 12 euro, as well as cute home goods and trendy clothes for huge discounts. It’s bomb.

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Sightseeing

The nice thing about Dublin is that it really is a walking-around-and-drinking sort of city so you won’t miss out on much if you skip the tourist sites. The biggest trap by far is Guinness, but if you are gonna go use the card machines to the right of the long line inside and get a student ticket (over 18) regardless of whether or not you are, they don’t check and you’ll save a couple quid.

Kilmainham Gaol – One of the more interesting historical tours in Dublin and definitely the cheapest: students are 3 euro and regular adults are 7. Just flash an old student card and you’re set.

National Botanic Gardens & Glasnevin Cemetery – These two spots are literally connected to each other and are both entirely free and open to the public. I’ve done a couple of posts (here and here) on them and why they’re my favorite spots in the area. The Botanic Gardens, especially, are totally amazing. Bus fare will run you about 5 euro round trip or make an afternoon of it and walk.

Science Gallery – On the far end of Trinity’s campus there is a little museum that merges the science and art worlds together. With some of the most interesting exhibits I’ve seen anywhere, the (entirely free) Science Gallery is definitely worth checking out.

The National Gallery of Ireland – A small but mighty art museum, the collection has pieces by Caravaggio, Monet, and Picasso and often houses interesting smaller exhibits throughout the year. And it’s completely free.

National Museum of Ireland, Archeology – Home to the famed ‘bog people’, this museum on Kildare Street is a tour through time in the form of decorative objects, craft art, and incredibly preserved dead people. And once again, admission is free.

Other free outdoors spots to check out, if the weather is good, are St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square, Trinity’s Rose Garden, and Iveagh Gardens. All great spots to sit outside for lunch or spend an afternoon reading. Just bring an umbrella because, well, you’re still in Ireland.

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This is by no means the be-all-end-all guide to cheap things in Dublin, but when I’m tight on cash or have people come into town who want to stay on a budget these are the things I recommend. As you can tell, most of my suggestions are in the city center because that’s where I live, but, generally, if you get out of the busy parts of Dublin you’re likely to find a lot of cheaper pubs and shops. Moral of the story: if you’re considering coming to Dublin but the price is stopping you, know that there are plenty of ways to enjoy the city on a budget without feeling like you half-assed your trip.

I’ll also be putting together a guide of my favorite spots in Dublin regardless of price, since I get a lot of (real) adults and relatives who ask me for suggestions who aren’t necessarily on a tight budget and probably wouldn’t want to end up at Dicey’s on a Monday night… So keep your eyes peeled for that!

And if you have any other specific questions about things to do or life in Ireland, please let me know! I can be an anxious traveler myself so I totally understand how helpful it can be to get all of my random and seemingly useless questions answered. Plus I totally love talking about my time here, so fire away! And if you’re from the area and I’ve missed something in this post, definitely let me know! I’m always on the prowl for a good bargain myself.

Love or Hate: The Neon Demon

Last week, my friend, Aoife, invited me to see an early screening of the movie The Neon Demon. I was excited to see a sharp critique of the modeling industry and beauty culture from the director of Drive. But what started as an interesting commentary ended up being something entirely different…

Warning: there are a few spoilers in this post – if you’re planning on subjecting yourself to this film then don’t read any further! Just know you’ve been warned.

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Continue reading

London Travel Journal

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If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that last weekend we did a quick trip over to London! I have to say, we really made the most of our three days there: hitting up museums and local markets, spending an afternoon in the country, and drinking and eating our way through several parts of the city. Of course there was so much we didn’t get to do, especially sight seeing wise, but we ended up having a totally lovely weekend. So often quick trips feel like more work than vacation, but we really hit the right balance this time.

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Our first stop once getting into the city (from Stansted Airport) was the South Bank where Ian had a quick business meeting. While he chatted fantasy sports, I took the opportunity to do a speed tour of the Tate Modern’s newly opened Switch House! The gallery spaces are mostly dedicated to conceptual art and preserving past performance pieces – there was even a small performance going on during my quick visit, which totally rocked my weird art world.

My overall highlights were original photos of Marina Abramovic’s Rhythm 0, a Cy Twombly-esque piece by Julie Mehretu, and the artist room of Louise Bourgeois, who is definitely my fine art spirit animal. Also, a conceptual work that was literally a piece of string intended to be held by two people and exploring concepts of intimacy and space – too good😂. I could go on forever about this sort of thing, but I’ll spare you and just say that if you’re interested in conceptual art or performance art from the last couple of decades then the new Tate Modern building is a must.

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Marina Abramovic’s Rhythm 0 exhibit. Photo from here.
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Part of Louise Bourgeois’ 10AM is When You Come to Me. Photo from here.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of wandering around the South Bank and making our way through the city to Covent Garden, where we chowed down at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Union Jacks.  Along the way we stopped at the South Bank Centre’s food market for Pimm’s cups and duck fat french fries with garlic mayo (thanks for recommendation, Burke!) and took a ride on the London Eye. The views were fabulous, as you can imagine, and, despite the price, it was fun to get a little touristy while we were there. Afterwards, we walked by Big Ben and the Parliament Building and made our way along the Thames to dinner.

After a much needed meal of gourmet pizza (can you say braised brisket & artisanal cheese?), we headed home for an early night of late night British TV and room service in preparation for our trip out to the country the next day. The weather was a little spotty our first day in town, but we didn’t mind the incredible rainbows that accompanied the on-and-off showers. Seriously, they were the most vivid ones I’d ever seen – photos didn’t do it any justice!

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Day two started out with a train ride out to Bicester for an afternoon of driving. Well, Ian driving and me timing laps and taking photos… But all the same, the countryside was totally beautiful and the lambos were pretty alright too. 😉

If you’re in Europe or planning to visit and want to do some sort of driving experience, I would recommend TrackDays. They’re really the only company that does one-day test drives with driving instructors, which is what we were looking for. There are a lot of other companies who will rent out sports cars for full track days or do super luxury weekend long driving trips (😍), but if you’re looking for more of a casual thing this totally fit the ticket. Well, as casual as driving a Ferrari can be…

After lots of planning and attempting to keep the trip a secret (as it was a surprise graduation gift from Ian’s lovely parents), it was so great to see the whole thing come together. Even as we were driving up to the track, I was so nervous it wasn’t going to be what I had thought, but it really turned out to be perfect. Seeing Ian get to blow off some steam after working his ass off for a physics degree was awesome – so grateful it all worked out!

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I will keep the grainy, embarrassing, proud-girlfriend photos to myself but seriously the whole thing was so cool! I thought I would be bored watching, but I actually got super giddy seeing him fly around the track in each of the cars. I even got to ride in the ‘hot lap’ car at one point, which was driven by a pro – I felt like I was on a roller coaster those things get so much speed! Ian’s report card: the Lamborghini got the A for drivability and top speed.

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We ended our day by heading back to the city in time for happy hour, grabbing a bottle of rosé for our hotel room as we got ready. We got a quick dinner at the hotel restaurant, which Ian totally won by ordering the grilled tiger prawns, and headed out for drinks.

We were feeling fancy so we hit up Gong in The Shard for cocktails. The whole thing was an experience – from the 45 minute wait in the lobby to the heated toilet seats in the bathroom (I have seen heaven) to the drinks that come in birdcages – but be ready to have a good sense of humor about the whole thing. It was pretty pretentious and the cocktails themselves were, like, fine, but it’s really nabbing that window seat that makes the whole thing worth it. So dress to impress, be persistent, and steal a Vogue magazine from the toilets.

If you want the same view without the hassle, I believe you can book in advance at The View from The Shard, which is a champagne bar at the top. I think it’s a little more touristy, but has student ticket discounts and you will have a reserved time so you don’t have to creepily wait around the lobby…

From there we headed into Soho for some late night bar action and I honestly couldn’t even tell you where we ended up. I basically remember being creepily hit on by an old dude, hugging the bathroom attendant, and freaking out when Toxic by Britney Spears came on. I remember 4am samosas and chips were involved and I was coherent enough to take this photo of the sunrise from our hotel room. If you have more information about my night, please contact me.

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Sunday obviously began with sleeping in, a long hot shower, and a real solid hangover. But we didn’t let that get us down – we spent the day wandering around Marylebone and exploring some of my favorite little spots in town. One of my oldest friends, Janine, used to live in the area in high school and I got super nostalgic walking around the streets she used to take me down, showing me all the little shops and the best places to eat. I remember the whole neighborhood seemed to have some sort of magic to it and, even thought I’m old and jaded now, it still sort of feels like it does.

We were luckily enough to be staying in the middle of the neighborhood at The Marylebone Hotel, which we loved. Our room was small, but the service was outstanding; seriously, one of the best hotel experiences I’ve ever had. They just had all the little things that make a vacation feel luxurious, from turn down service to fuzzy slippers, and were so helpful throughout our whole journey lending us umbrellas and holding our bags the day we left – even charging our phones while we were out. Total pros, highly recommend.

We got Daylesford suggested to us for brunch and it was certainly worth the wait with their light, refreshing bloody mary’s and delicious eggs benedict. The whole place is really into all-natural foods and has a pretty incredible little food shop attached to the restaurant. Seeing all the fresh veggies, beautiful cheeses, and cured meats made me want to have a picnic real bad.

My next go-to was my favorite of all bookstores, Daunt Books, on Marylebone High Street. A little independent shop organized by region with just the most beautiful architecture; I could literally stay in that place for hours. I picked up this book while I was there and so far I’m loving the lyrical prose and the way the whole narrative feels steeped in regret – will keep you updated once I finish it.

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The rest of our afternoon consisted of sitting outside drinking cocktails and beer and watching the world (and the fancy cars) pass us by. Then before we knew it, it was time to catch our train back to the airport and our flight back to real life, but not without a stop at the Liverpool St. Station Krispie Kreme first…

A huge thank you to Ian’s parents, Kathy and Jim, for making our weekend so totally special. We couldn’t believe how much of a full vacation just three days away felt, especially only a 45 minute plane ride away. Just goes to show that you don’t have to go too far to really get away. 😘