Delightful Dublin Guidebook Holiday Discount!

holiday sale

Just like that, Christmas is right around the corner. It’s not even possible that it’s surprising – we’ve been talking about it for months – but yet how is it so close?! I went to order a gift online today and was out of luck because it won’t get there in time for Christmas. Ack!

So I figured a few of you might be in the same predicament and are spending your last few days looking for great online gifts. Terrifying side note/trivia fact, did you know Amazon’s busiest time for ordering gift cards is Christmas morning?! I’m not sure where I heard that, but it’s a little depressing, so we’ll get back on track.

In case you’re in the market for a last minute gift that doesn’t rely on postage, you can order a copy of my guidebook, Delightful Dublin, and receive it instantly! If you’re like me and like to have something physical to accompany an online gift, order a copy, then send me a note and I’ll email you a file you can print and include in a card! It’s a pretty affordable little gift for anyone who loves Dublin or is planning a visit!

Use the code HOLIDAY25 to get 25% off the price of Delightful Dublin, so that’s only $9 for 250 beautiful pages of inspiration and information on this delightful city. Ho ho ho!

Order right here!

*Discount applies to postcard packs (see those right here) as well, but you’ll have to wait until after Christmas to get those! 

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A Glimpse

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Just a glimpse of the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona from our weekend visit this weekend. What an awesome space, in the most true sense of the word.

Since returning to Dublin, it’s been all go to get ready for yet another plane this weekend back to Maine for Christmas. But the real work is winding down and the Christmas festive cheer is ramping up in the next few days. I’ll have just a few more posts to share before taking a break for the holiday.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday!

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Simple Printed Wrapping Paper / Video on Evoke.ie

how to print Christmas wrapping paper

I’m over on Evoke.ie again today with a little video showing how to make this simple printed wrapping paper. One of my favorite tricks for wrapping gifts is to take inexpensive rolls and spruce them up with my own stamps or stencils. It instantly elevates just about any gift!

Have a peek here.

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A Christmas Card Magnet DIY and PicPack Giveaway

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Happy Friday, friends! I thought I’d show you our Christmas cards this year and how I DIY jazzed them up with some cute magnets from PicPack! And then I thought I’d do a little giveaway of a pack of magnets from PicPack since I think they’re fab. How’s that for a Friday plan?

First, a peek at our Christmas cards this year! When I was home in Maine over Thanksgiving, I read in the Design*Sponge weekly newsletter that Staples was having a Black Friday deal where if you bought any single thing in the store you could get a coupon for 25 free Christmas cards. So I stopped in for ten seconds and one very inexpensive pack of tissues and got my coupon. It’s the one and only Black Friday purchase I’ve ever made and I’m thrilled with how the cards turned out! They’re along the lines of all my other minty holiday decor this year, and they’re VERY cheerful.

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I used one of the photos Ashley took of us, sitting on the steps of one of Dublin’s iconic Georgian buildings, right in front of the most perfectly turquoise green door. The colors worked perfectly with the geometric photo template. That’s the back of the card on the right in the photo above. Well, minus the bits in the middle. That’s the DIY jazzed up part I’m going to show you!

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So once I had the cards all printed (you can pick them up 24 hours after you order them! Score one for Staples!), I ordered magnets from PicPack. I’ve used PicPack to print Instagram photos before and loved the quality of their magnets – the colors come out great and the magnets are really strong. This time, I used higher resolution photos instead of Instagram photos and they’re even lovelier! I ordered a selection of Christmassy ones, like pine boughs and Bean boots, as well as a few more of Ashley’s photos of us.

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The magnets arrived just a few days later and I started jazzing up those Christmas cards. The only complaint I have with the geometric back of the Christmas card is that it make it a little hard to write the actual Christmas greeting. So I used blank minty green cards I had left over from our save the dates about seven years ago! I tell you, it pays to hoard stationery supplies! I took out some washi tape and used that to affix the blank cards to the Christmas cards and stuck the magnets on top using regular Scotch tape. Metallic Sharpies are my go-to for all things wrapping, they make anything look a little more fancy!

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On a few magnets, like the pine branch ones, I used the metallic markers to write on them, so they’ll be a little something our friends and family can put on their fridge and add a little holiday cheer. You could get really clever and write in speech bubbles over kids’ photos as well.

And now the fun part! I’m giving away a free pack of 12 magnets from PicPack to one lucky reader. To enter, head over to Facebook and like and share this post! I’ll choose a winner on Tuesday at noon (Irish time) so you can have your magnets by Christmas!

If you don’t win, you can still order your PicPack magnets today and have them in a week! They have free shipping worldwide, which always makes me particularly happy since Ireland hardly ever gets that!

Good luck and have a happy weekend!

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We’re Off to Barcelona!

barcelona

It feels like I only touched down in Dublin yesterday (really it was just over a week), but Michael and I are hopping on a plane tonight for a long weekend in Barcelona! Neither of us have ever been, but we’ve spent enough time in Spain to know we can’t wait for the wine and the coffee!

Have you been to Barcelona? Care to share your must-do, must-see tips? I’d love your advice for enjoying the city.

While I’m gone, I’ve set up a post with a little DIY Christmas card action for tomorrow, including another little giveaway!

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Simple Inspiration: This Is Why I Love Dublin

Irish Design Shop Dublin

Last week, I got a peek at a new video that Visit Dublin has put together to showcase Dublin. I had just returned from Maine, where, per usual, I spent a lot of time comparing where I grew up with where I live now. Fresh off all that ruminating over country versus city, American versus Irish, rural versus urban, should we move back tomorrow versus should we live in Ireland forever, I was energised by this little video of my adopted city and the inner argument that is always brought on by a trip home was put to rest for the moment.

The video highlights lots of the wonderful little spots I love to show visitors when I’m giving tours, spots that might go undiscovered by most tourists who read typical guidebooks. When Visit Dublin asked if I might want to write a little something to go along with the video, it was an easy and fast yes. That’s my Dublin they’re showing in that video! That’s the city I’ve fallen in love with and that I can’t shut up about! And that’s the city you should seek out if you’re planning a visit.

When I moved here a little over six years ago, the options for guidebooks about Dublin were pretty thin. They were, by and large, stodgy and dull, recommending only the most stereotypical and tourist-trapped sights. But as the city has ballooned with new shops and restaurants, galleries and festivals, the people who love the city have begun to change how the rest of the world views this little corner of the earth. And thank goodness, because Dublin is really an especially delightful place.

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Last week, I crisscrossed the city streets on a Dublin Bike, smiling to myself (well, except the one day I got caught in the rain, no smiles for me that day!) at the swans I get to watch along the canal, the ladies selling fruit and flowers on the sidewalks, the sunsets over the River Liffey. More than once, I found myself craning my neck to get a better look at a shop that had just opened or that I had never noticed before. I’d stop at red lights, flanked on either side by more cyclists, and we’d share a raised eyebrow at the cheeky manoeuvres drivers were trying to finagle in traffic.

By the end of the week, I’d put quite a few miles on those Dublin Bikes and on my boots walking along the cobblestones. I found myself a little weary of the city traffic and chattering crowds. Quick solution on a Saturday afternoon? My usual running route along the seaside bike path up to Howth fishing village, watching the seagulls drop mussels on the rocks to crack them open for lunch, and sucking in the fresh air. As the sun dropped lower, the street lights warmed up and I could see all the city lights across the water.

howth day trips from dublin

For the last six years, whenever I return to Maine for a visit, at least one person asks me something along the lines of so, you must love it there, right? Well, yeah, I do really love it. Sometimes I think not loving it might be a little easier, because I wouldn’t be so torn between two homes I love so much, but the truth is Dublin is just a super city. It’s a manageable size so I never feel overwhelmed but I’m always discovering new spots, and within minutes of downtown you can be looking out at the Irish Sea or heading out to hike in the hills. Dublin is buzzy city streets flanked by mountains and salty ocean, it’s big and yet small, it’s a city that feels like one big town.

All that to say I’ve resumed my usual Dublin cheerleader status after that brief New England vacation. If you’re planning a visit or just want to do a little armchair traveling, here are a few resources to check out.

Delightful Dublin / Visit Dublin / Totally Dublin / Dublin Town

A selection of photos taken by Julie Matkin for Delightful Dublin – a beautiful and useful guide to my adopted city. 

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The Simplest DIY Advent Wreath

DIY Advent Wreath with eucalyptus

Last week, I mentioned I was planning to make an advent wreath this year. Well, just in time for the second week of advent I managed to whip up the simplest, prettiest version.

Make your own advent wreath with candles, ribbon and eucalyptus

I found a white platter (a gift from my godmother a few years ago) and some pillar candles left over from my birthday last year. I tied each candle with a ribbon, three gold and one pink, which I think is not quite right but it does happen to be very pretty. Then while I was out on a run on Saturday, I spotted a eucalyptus branch by the side of the road. It had been pruned from someone’s tree and just left there, so I didn’t even need to justify trimming the tree in our neighborhood! A Christmas gift to me, I think.

DIY Advent Wreath with Eucalyptus and candles

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It’s making the most perfect holiday centrepiece on the dinner table during the week. I can’t believe we’re already on to the third week of advent this Sunday! The holiday season is flying by! Are you getting in the spirit?

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Giveaway / Festive Christmas Ornaments by Jenny Walsh

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Time for a little holiday giveaway this happy Monday! Jenny Walsh (maker of my favorite bee clocks) has a lovely range of geometric Christmas ornaments new this year and she’s generously offered a set for one of my readers! jenny_walsh_christmas_ornaments

I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday (5pm Irish time), announce it on my Facebook page, and put them in the mail so you have them before Christmas! To enter, leave a comment below and tell me your favorite holiday tradition.  jenny_walsh_christmas_ornament_3

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find a way to leave these up year round!

And if you aren’t the lucky winner, you can order a set of Jenny’s ornaments from her website.

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Love in Dublin City

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These photos are 1000% out of season. We haven’t had cherry blossoms in Dublin in several months, but that hasn’t affected the giant smile plastered across my face as I flip through these photos. My incredibly talented friend Ashley Ludaescher, a fellow American ex-pat I met at the Hive Conference in Berlin more than two years ago, came to Dublin to shoot the Sister Mag feature I was in during the spring.

Somehow we found time to do a little shoot with Michael and they are probably the most romantic photos we’ve ever had taken. And the smile is absolutely stuck to my face as I get to see the looks Michael and I give each other.  Every time I flip through these photos, I feel those laughs and smiles and admiring looks we give each other. Those are our looks, and Ashley captured them perfectly.

Michael and I didn’t really have fancy wedding photos taken – that was only becoming trendy when we got married more than six years ago. And since then, we’ve had our photo taken by Julie a few times but even that was mostly business. These were just meant to about us – no other motives whatsoever. I think you can tell (and I’ve included so many photos here you should probably be convinced!).

I should also mention that what you can’t tell is just how weird and goofy I was feeling during this shoot. When shoots are business, I can get my game face on and work. When shoots are just for fun and romance and smooching, I fizzle into a puddle of giggles and can barely keep a straight face. Thankfully, Michael managed to keep us on track, and Ashley managed to work her magic and make us (me, really) look sane.  emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-2 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-3 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-4

emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-23 mike and em 2 em and mike emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-9 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-10 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-11 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-12 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-14 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-13 mike and em 3 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-17 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-18 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-20 emily_michael_ashley_ludaescher-22 You’ll be seeing just a few of these photos in a Christmas card DIY next week!

If you’re in the market for a wedding photographer or a love shoot, Ashley is wonderful!

 

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DIY Stained Glass Christmas Ornament Video with Evoke.ie

christmas_ornament_evoke

A few weeks ago, I packed up my craft supplies and spent the afternoon in the Evoke.ie studios making holiday decorations and wrapping paper. The first of three holiday videos is up on Evoke.ie now (right here!) and I think you’ll like it! It’s a super simple Christmas tree ornament using a plastic ball, tissue paper and a little mod podge. I think it looks a little like stained glass, and I’m really enjoying the combination of mint with red and gold. You’re probably not surprised, mint is high on my list of favorite colors, especially at Christmas.

Check out the instructional video (and my extra festive outfit!) and let me know what you think!

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