Delightful Design / Drury Buildings Restaurant in Dublin

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Dublin’s new-ish restaurant on Drury Street called Drury Buildings is currently sitting comfortably in my top three for my favorite interior design in Dublin. Something about the combination of camel leather, turquoise velvet and colored water glasses made me want to stay all evening.  drury buildings dublin 3 drury buildings dublin 4

So stay all evening we did! The cocktails were tasty and the food was delicious. And the company was pretty good, too.

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I’ll let them explain their design choices:

A mish mash of Berlin exterior, New York interior, fine wines, classic cocktails, craft beers and some really cracking food. Take a six story, derelict, old rag trade building in Dublin city centre. Mix a container load of reclaimed bars, floors, doors, church benches, glass, timber and steel from New York. Shake with 2 years of hard graft. Finally garnish with the extraordinary culinary skills of Warren Massey. 

Works for me!

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Drury Buildings / 52-55 Drury Street, Dublin 2 / (01) 960 2095

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Sneak Peek / Delightful Dublin Guidebook

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For the better part of a year, I’ve been working with my friend Julie on a Dublin guidebook, which we have lovingly called Delightful Dublin. Today, we’ve decided it’s close enough to finished that we can show you the cover!

Delightful Dublin will be available as an e-guide you can browse through like an online magazine or tote around the city with you when you visit so you don’t miss a single recommendation. We’ve broken Dublin down into six neighborhoods, introduced you to some of my favorite creative people, and outlined the best shops and destinations around the city. We’ve made sure to explain how to navigate public transportation and how to order a proper pint, and we’ve given you ideas for awesome day trips just outside the city. And of course, it’s packed from start to finish with Julie’s beautiful images of my adopted city. 

And as an added bonus, my talented friend and illustrator Ursula Celano has created illustrated maps of each neighborhood, which we’re hoping to have printed too!

I’m so hopeful it will be a beautiful reflection of the Dublin I love, inspiring locals to explore their city and giving visitors the best shortlist of spots to try.

We’re working as hard as we can to make sure the guide is out next month, and you’ll be the first to know when it’s available.

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Let’s Talk About Asking Someone to Take Your Photo

em and charlie 158 picket

Can we talk about asking someone to take your photo taken for a minute? I’m going to be really honest, I don’t know how bloggers rely on their husbands or partners to take their photo day in and day out. Did you know that’s pretty common (like here and here)? Michael and I would actually kill each other if I was a fashion blogger who relied on him to take my photo every day. One of us would not live to tell the tale.

I don’t think having my photo taken is the root of the problem, because I don’t really mind that most of the time. Heck, you know I’ve organized a whole bunch of photo shoots where I’m the subject so I can show you something fun and useful. But lately I’ve become more and more awkward asking anyone, and most often that’s Michael, to take my photo. Every time I see a photo of someone on Instagram that was obviously taken by someone else, I think, how did they ask someone to take their photo? How did they manage not to be completely awkward? How can you take yourself seriously when you’re asking that question?!

Michael is usually fairly obliging if I do ask him to take my photo (like with these lovely photos he took that only caused one almost-meltdown!), but I usually have an exact goal or vision in mind and I don’t always articulate it very well when I’m giving him direction. So then I get flustered and Michael gets frustrated and it almost always ends in one or both of us grumpy for a little while. We have not figured out a good system at all, so I’m continually amazed by people who don’t look totally awkward (and/or grumpy) asking someone to have their photo taken. How do you do it? What is the secret?

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(That’s my not-so-little-anymore brother! He’s almost never awkward. Hi, Charlie! :)

emily at 158 picket Funnily enough, I did not ask Michael to take these photos. Could you tell? That last funny-face one cracks me up. But they are some of the most natural photos of me he’s taken maybe ever, and perhaps that’s the key? Who knows. I’d love to hear how you get over the awkwardness of asking someone to take your photo! Any ideas?

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Back in Action!

dublin tour vayable

We flew back into Dublin this morning, very, very early. I’m trying out a new jet-lag conquering technique that involves giving a three hour walking tour to 8 Canadians and then having Michael boss me through a boxing workout before coming home to unpack. I’m exhausted and will hopefully wake up tomorrow morning back on Dublin time!

I hope you’re having a nice Monday! I’ll be back tomorrow with a little more regularly scheduled programming, including possibly a peek at my new haircut!

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One Day in Belfast, Maine

belfast maine

Only a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the wonderful day I spent exploring Belfast, Ireland, so I thought it would be fun to show you another Belfast I’ve been exploring! Maine (and most states in America) has a lot of towns and cities named after other places around the world. In fact, in addition to Belfast, we have a Vienna (pronounced Vy-enna), a Paris, a Berlin, the list goes on of names we’ve stolen from our ancestors’ home countries.

Belfast is one my favorite Maine coastal towns. It has lots of little shops and galleries to explore, right on a beautiful harbor, but not too mobbed with people. We went wandering on a kind of soggy warm day and discovered a few shops we’ll be visiting every year from now on!

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We saw a few incredible exhibits at the Northern Lights Fine Art Gallery, which showcases art from First Nation and Inuit artists. We loved the landscapes painted on aluminum that sparkled as you moved around them. And it doesn’t hurt that the outside of the building has an awesome color combination.  food shop blefast

We picked up a jar of Blonde Salted Caramel from Northwoods Gourmet Girl and had it over ice cream for days afterward. It was delicious and the shop was adorable – lots of jams, chutneys and sauces made locally. fiddlehead_artisan_supply_belfast_maine

 

Fiddlehead Artisan Supply was my favorite new-to-me find – a giant selection of beautiful fabric and art supplies. I wish I knew how to sew! It would be my go-to if I knew how and lived in Maine. bella_books_belfast_maine

Books plus antiques at Bella Books was a super combination had me browsing for quite a while. They had such a nice selection of Maine authors and lots of lovely antiques. belfast_maine_old_stuff

 

We always stop into Old Stuff Lamps and Shades, although we rarely look at their lamps and shades! I’m a bigger fan of their selection of other random antiques. They often have whole crates of antique cutlery and beautiful old Mason jars.

Since Michael wasn’t with us, we didn’t have to make our usual trip to Three Tides Brewery, but it’s by far his favorite beer in the state. He swears by the oyster stout, just in case anyone is trying to convince their husband or boyfriend to tag along and these shops don’t really appeal!

 

 

 

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Camping

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I just got back from 24 hours in the Maine woods and I can’t wait to tell you about it….just as soon as I take a shower and wash off all the sunscreen, bug spray and camp fire smoke smell! Maine is such an incredibly special place and I’m so grateful to have the chance to get out in it these last few weeks.

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Maine Exploring / Urban Sugar Donut Truck in Portland

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I’ve been ticking away at a very small bucket list for exploring Maine while we’re here this summer. High on the list was visiting the Urban Sugar Donut Cafe, Portland’s only donut truck. I stopped last summer when I think they were only new and only had plain sugared donuts. But I’ve been following their Instagram account and they have seriously jacked up their donuts. portland_donut_truck_urban_sugar_cafe

The Urban Sugar Cafe truck is run by husband and wife donut duo, Kevin and Valeri. They do mini donuts in boxes of 6 or 12, and they have 6 flavors, half savory and half sweet. I was tempted by all, but we landed on a box of the pecan, caramel and chocolate covered donuts. They were excellent, and not even too sweet, if you can believe it. portland_donut_truck_maine portland_maine_donut_truck

 

Michael looks so concerned with making the right choice in this photo – but I liked how his tattoos fit in with Valeri’s!

The Urban Sugar Cafe doesn’t have a set schedule, but you can find them through their social media – they’re at all the fun events around Portland and even do weddings!

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Maine Travels: Aboard the Schooner Heritage

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Happy Monday, friends! We spent surrounded by water, albeit much colder and less picturesque than the water I’m going to show you today. Hurricane Arthur meant we were bundled up and staying warm and dry with a few driving adventures, and we relaxed with my family with a few festive drinks. Not quite the way we had envisioned celebrating the Fourth of July, but we’re hoping our last week in Maine makes up for it!

A few weeks ago, Michael and I climbed aboard the Schooner Heritage in Rockland, Maine, for two nights and three days of sailing. It was such a special adventure for the two of us, and such a treat to get to do something so adventurous. I hadn’t slept aboard a sailboat since junior high, and Michael hadn’t since college, so we were a little nervous about how we would fare, but I don’t think I’ve slept so soundly in months! All that fresh air and hauling ropes and chatting with the other passengers wore us out, in the best possible way.  schooner_heritage_wheel

The Schooner Heritage is run by Captain Doug and Captain Linda Lee, who built the boat themselves (!) thirty years ago. They are an incredible couple, so charismatic, so talented, and so welcoming to their home away from home. They both regaled us with stories of their adventures sailing over 600 trips in the past several decades. Doug inherited his love of maritime history from his father, and we enjoyed his stories about famous inhabitants of the various islands we passed, and the history of the towns and villages we passed.  view_from_schooner_heritage

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We also got to pretend to steer, and spent a lot of time gazing out to sea and looking at the beautiful houses along the shore.  schooner_heritage_charts schooner_heritage

There’s the gorgeous Heritage anchored in Boothbay Harbor for Windjammer Days. We were the biggest schooner in the harbor! She only has three of her six sails up right here, but when she gets them all up, she can really go!  schooner_heritage_morning below_schooner_heritage_cabins

Here’s a little peek at our cabin on the left. Some of the cabins have bunk beds, and all of them have sinks with running hot and cold water. Two cabins have bathrooms attached, but everyone else uses the heads (toilets and a shower) on deck. Michael was a tad too tall for the bunk, but he’s too tall for our bed at home, so that wasn’t new. We tucked ourselves in with the heavy woollen blankets and Heritage monogrammed sheets and slept like logs.  galley_details_schooner_heritage

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The galley of the Heritage was so impressive – a giant woodburning stove that powers the hot water for the whole boat and it is used to cook and bake all of the meals for the passengers. I’m realizing now that I only have photographs of Captain Linda working on meals but that doesn’t give you a clear picture of what she was up to all day – hauling lines, giving orders to the crew, singing songs to motivate the crew and passengers to get the sails up, and manning the little boat called Superman that would push the Schooner off the dock. I was in awe of her.

The wood for the stove is stored below deck and they go through 3-4 cords each summer. Each morning, the crew has to get up early and get the stove going to make coffee for 7am.  schooner_heritage_galley captain_doug_schooner_heritage

And here is Captain Doug giving us the lay of the land. He had a great sense of humour and a wealth of knowledge about the Maine coast.  old_ben_working_schooner_heritage strawberry_shortcake_aboard_schooner_heritage

We didn’t give much thought to the food before the trip, although we did stock up on a few snacks since we tend to eat frequently, to say the least. Well, we needn’t have bothered. The food was delicious – homey but better than what you’d make yourself. The first night, we had strawberry shortcake on the deck while watching the sunset over lobster boats. It was bliss.  emily_strawberry_shortcake_schooner_heritage schooner_heritage_port_clyde schooner_heritage_dusk

We had a wonderful adventure and we’d recommend it to anyone – just try to predict good weather, since even hot days on shore were chilly out on the water!

And here’s a little bonus proof that I was at least trying to be helpful with all those sail lines! A little Instagram video of me lending a helping hand.  Thanks so much to the Heritage for having us aboard!

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Staying Cool / Summer Berry (Vodka Optional) Spritzer

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I have to admit that each time Michael and I come to Maine in the summertime, we get overwhelmed by the heat and humidity. For all of Ireland’s rain, it rarely gets warm enough for humidity to be uncomfortable, but in Maine when it hits 85 and the breeze dies down, we can barely cope in the first weeks we’re here. We get so sweaty and sometimes a little grumpy, let’s be honest!

The heat and humidity mean winding down with my usual glass of red wine doesn’t sound that appealing, and since I’m having a hard time finding elderflower for my Elderflower Mint Lemonade, I’ve come up with a new go-to cool-down drink. It’s a summer berry spritzer, delicious with vodka or rum, but equally refreshing without.

Here’s how you make it:

Fill a tall glass with ice, then fill the glass half-full with cranberry juice. I use light cranberry juice to cut down on the sugar. Add the juice from half a lemon, and then fill the glass with diet tonic water. If you’re planning to add vodka or rum, use a little less of everything so you have enough room in your glass and add a shot of your preferred spirit. Garnish with mint, or even muddle some in. I love mint with everything, so I always muddle mint in the glass before I get started.

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I’ve made one or two of these every day for the last week and they really are so refreshing. We’re finally coping with the heat – of course, just in time to head home to much cooler Ireland in a week!

And here’s a little fun summer news for readers in the EU. Yankee Candle UK has just launched their new Indian Summer candle range, and to celebrate, they’re giving you a chance to win an Indian Summer Escape to Paradise £5000 bespoke holiday! To enter, visit the competition page on their website. 10 runners up will win four large candles from the new Indian Summer range plus £50 to spent on Yankee Candle’s online website. The competition is open to all European Union residents and closes on September 16th. 

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Happy Fourth of July!

strawberries china village

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! We’re in America again for the holiday and sadly, it’s quite soggy here! Hurricane Arthur is raining out fireworks and festivals all over New England, so we’ll be celebrating with indoor activities while my whole family is home for the weekend. Hopefully we don’t drive each other too crazy!

I hope you have a safe and happy weekend, filled with family and friends and festive treats!

(Those strawberries are from my mom’s garden – they’re growing like crazy!)

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