Bright Dublin Cafe / Press Cafe at the National Print Museum

May 27, 2015

Press Cafe in Dublin, Ireland A few weeks ago, I joined my friend Ruth to explore her neighborhood, around Baggot Street and the Canal in Dublin 4. I have a long post about our adventure coming in the next few weeks, but as I was going through photos I realized the Press Cafe at the National Print Museum warranted its own post. It was such a treat to stumble upon the Press Cafe and I know it’ll be right up your alley, too.

Press Cafe at the National Print Museum, Dublin, Ireland I’d been meaning to visit the National Print Museum (spoiler alert for the coming post, I loved it), but I had no idea they even had a cafe. It’s been open for about a year and it sits at the back of the museum in a little conservatory that’s almost all windows. It was grey when Ruth and I sat down for lunch that afternoon, but the whole place was just so bright. Dotted around were just the right number of plants – not so many as to make it cluttered, but just enough to make it feel fresh.

Succulents at the Press Cafe in Dublin, Ireland


national-print-museum-ireland-cafe It was about three in the afternoon when we visited, and we were still able to order brunch! How fun is that? I had delicious eggs Benedict and Ruth had banana bread French toast (very much like cake for a meal, Ruth decided, so if that’s what you’re up for…). We had yummy coffee with beans from Cloud Picker, roasted around the corner in the Dublin Docklands. Love that!   dublin-cafe-ireland-lunch Isn’t that kicky yellow plant great? That flower at the top is really going for it.

cafe-dublin-ireland-national-print-museum press-cafe-dublin-ireland-lunchtime-spot

The cafe was filled with people who all felt like locals, which is always a good sign. Poor Ruth, I kept saying I can’t believe I didn’t know this was here! over and over again. I love finding a great new cafe. flower-pot-press-cafe National Print Museum cafe, Dublin, Ireland Stay tuned for more from our Dublin 4 adventure coming soon!

Press Cafe at the National Print Museum / Garrison Chapel / Beggars Bush Barracks / Haddington Road / Dublin 4


Irish Makers at Work / Gardener David Corscadden

May 26, 2015

david-corscadden-gardener-ireland Oh man, it’s perfect timing for this introduction to gardener and blogger David Corscadden because it’s finally a little bit warm out there in Dublin! Today’s Irish Makers at Work post about David is another collaboration with my friend and photographer Christine Burns. She takes incredible photographs and then I get to ask a bunch of fun questions and we put the two together for you!

If you have missed our previous posts, you can find interviews with a florist, a soap maker, a print artist and a ceramicist so far! 

David and I chatted by email, and since he’s a journalist and blogger as well as a gardener and horticulturalist, his answers were downright eloquent! So I’m going to veer from my usual storytelling style and hand David over to you in Q&A format. He’s dishing on his favorite flowers, what he learned from his grandfather, how he started reading gardening magazines from the age of 10, and how to deal with slugs and snails! Thanks, David!

irish-vegetable-garden What do your days look like at the moment? How much time are you spending in the garden? 

For the last 10 months my days have been spent at a desk staring at a Mac, editing news stories and features for a newspaper. In August 2014 I became the Deputy Editor of the University Observer newspaper in UCD and so horticulture and gardening was replaced with student news and features. Due to the way the paper is set up I lost every third weekend as that was when we produced each paper so my own garden has really been neglected over the past year.

I was also the Food Editor for the paper which meant I got to interview some fantastic chefs like Neven Maguire, Donal Skehan and Cuan Greene from Dublin Pop Up. Food has always been something that I have been interested in and try to tie in to my blog when I can. For me the two really go hand in hand!

While I was working for the University Observer I still wrote my weekly gardening column for the Kildare Post. This again just saw me sitting at the kitchen table writing about gardens and spending 10 or 15 minutes each week fighting with plants to get a good photo!

Since April however the paper has finished and my life has switched back to horticulture and garden writing. I started working with Bord Bia for Bloom in the media department and am getting to really dive into horticulture writing again. It is very interesting being on the other side of Bloom and seeing how it is organised as I have always been a big fan of the festival and spend the entire June Bank Holiday up at the show so now at least I have a genuine reason to be there!

Since finishing up with the paper I also have more time to actually get out and work in my garden which is great as there has been a lot of work to do. The work has not been helped by Lola, my 2 year old Labrador, who has a fondness for digging holes and pulling plants from the ground.

My end goal or dream job with horticulture would be to edit or set up my own gardening magazine. I just love the combination of horticulture and writing. The blog really was the first step along the journey and I would love to develop that into a magazine. My thesis project for my Masters in Griffith is going to be a garden and lifestyle magazine so I am treating that as a trial run to see if I can do it or not!

irish-garden-dublin sweet-irish-garden Are there flowers or plants you look forward to with every season? 

This has to be the hardest question you can ask a gardener. Each year my choices change! Spring is all about tulips and hyacinths for me. I have always loved them and tend to be the ones that I will buy each year from the garden centre but I am trying to get a few different spring flowers in to my garden too. I inherited a lot of bluebells from my grandfather which have made their way all over the garden at this stage.

Summer for me is the hardest time to pick a favourite flower in as there are just so many. I love peonies and sunflowers. They are the two main flowers that I love to grow or even to just buy in florists to have around the house. I am a big fan of roses (just not red ones!). They have a reputation of being hard work and old fashioned but I love them in a garden. I find yellow roses have the best scent and also the best impact in a garden. Lavender is a great plant to grow in pots and place around door or patios.

For winter I love violas and primroses as I fill up empty pots and hanging baskets with them to add a splash of colour around the house.

In autumn I pretty much ignore flowers and focus on trees. I am a big fan of leaves as they turn colour (sounds very sad) but it symbolises a change in the garden and I really like that time as the garden slows down a good bit. My phone is half summer flowers and the other half pictures of leaves!

david-corscadden-gardener-dublin-ireland ireland-gardening In an interview for Garden Heaven recently, you mentioned you learned your love of gardening from your grandfather. Can you tell us more about him and what he taught you? 

My grandfather was a big inspirtation to me. Not only in terms of gardening and horticulture but just in life in general. He was always happy and willing to help people which I was kind of brought up to be like.

In terms of gardening I learnt all the basics from him by just following him around the garden and seeing what he did. I think most of things I learnt came from be doing something and him telling me not to do it and then showing me what I should do! The biggest lessons I learnt from him though would be the importance of watering and deadheading plants. That really just sparked the interest in horticulture and from about ten I started getting gardening magazines and books and looking things up myself.

Do you have a favorite garden or park in Dublin or Ireland?

My favourite public gardens in Dublin are the Botanic Gardens because you can find such unusal plants to admire there, and Farmleigh House has fantastic gardens which I only discovered about two years ago now.

I love June Blakes Garden in Wicklow as it is a real plant lovers garden and she has some brilliant flowers there. It is also a lot different to my own garden as she has a lot of reds and oranges in it which I don’t have a lot of in my own garden. I am a big fan of Powerscourt Estate too. I blogged for them for a year and got to really explore the gardens during that time. Powerscourt during spring is fantastic with its tulip display.

gardening-dublin-ireland-david-corscadden What encouragement do you give to people who tell you they have no green thumbs? 

The one thing I find myself telling people I know is to not be afraid of gardening or plants. For many people it is a scary topic and Latin names can really turn people away from it. I just tell everyone to give it a go but to take it slowly. Start off by growing a few things in pots or on a window and build up from there. A lot of people take on too much and will try to redo their entire garden in a summer and then get frustrated when things don’t work out. Gardening for me is all about trial and error. Seeing if things will work and if they don’t moving them around until it does work.

My biggest advice would be to talk to plant people and admit you don’t know something and get the right advice. Garden centres are full of very knowledgeable people who are just looking to help. Twitter is also a great place to get advice!

This last one is purely selfish. How do you deal with the darn slugs and snails in this country?!

Slugs are one of the most annoying things in the garden for gardeners and I have to admit I am not the biggest fan of them. My girlfriend on the other hand tries to protect them and could be considered the snail saver by hiding them or moving them to different parts of the garden when ever I find them.

In terms of advice on controlling them in my own garden I am not the biggest fan of just scattering slug pellets everywhere. I learn a very useful tip at the Hampton Court Flower Show last year and that is to put the pellets in a bottle or jar which is on its side. The snails or slugs will go to the container and come in contact with the pellets but it is much harder or other animals to come in contact with it.

I have tried beer traps before too and they do work well but I tend to forget about them or stand on them when I am working in the garden. Around my vegetable patch I use crushed egg shells which have worked really well for me in the past few years. You just scatter them around the plants and it creates a barrier that the slugs and snails will not pass over. They then just break down over time. This is a great cheap way to control them.

growing-potatoes-ireland Thanks so much, David! I cracked up thinking of your plant-sabotaging dog and your girlfriend the snail saver! I have to admit, I can’t kill them but I do chuck them over our garden wall for someone else to deal with! Great tips and inspiration to get our hands a little dirty this week while the weather is balmy. And if you’re in Ireland, look for David’s article in the Lidl summer catalog for even more tips, and say hello if you see him at Bloom this weekend!

Photography / Family Photos in Howth

May 25, 2015

westy-family-photo-2015 It’s not a holiday in Dublin today, but I certainly feel like I need one more day before we get this week started. We had one of the most packed-full-of-fun weekends we’ve had in a long time, with warm sunny weather finally arriving.

I had been asking my brother- and sister-in-law if I could take a few family photos of them since Éabha turned one at Christmas time. But family photos with a baby aren’t terribly fun when everyone is all bundled up in jackets and coats. So we waited until it was warm enough that we’d actually see them! We woke up Saturday morning and decided on an impromptu visit to Deer Park (that same place with all the incredible rhododendrons!), but by the time we all got out of the house and headed that direction, it was pretty much nap time. We got mostly serious Éabha, except when she was being chased, and ended up with some very sweet family photos. These guys head back to Colorado next week for the summer and we miss them already.

DSC_0105_edited walking-family-photo westbrooks-family-photo-2015 eabha-and-teddy eabha-cleaning-teddy (Teddy came along, too. And somehow kept getting dirty ;)) isaac-angie-eabha eabha-being-chased eabha-isaac-angie eabha-running angie-and-eabha eabha-running-x2 westbrooks-family-shoes eabha-walking enchanted-forest-family enchanted-forest westbrooks-family-walking-field eabha-from-field family-photo-small I’m beyond biased, but aren’t they gorgeous?

You can learn more about my photography here and see past shoots of (teeny) Éabha, Elsie, Julius, Sam and Nicholas as well. 

Wedding Season Tips!

May 20, 2015


It’s wedding season! This year, we only have one wedding on the calendar and I’m in it! It’s my sister’s, so that means I get to help with the wedding planning as well. I figured at least a few of you are in the same boat (hehe!), so these tips I’ve been writing about for Wedding Party might help!

You can see more of my wedding party posts right here!

Image by my friend Ashley Ludaescher, Berlin and California based wedding photographer! 

A Public Service Announcement / It’s Rhododendron Season!

May 19, 2015

howth-deer-park-rhododendrons-ireland If you’re anywhere near Dublin at the moment or within the next few weeks, you just have to get yourself up to Deer Park in Howth to see the rhododendron trees in bloom. I’ve written about them in years past (lots more rhododendron photos from last year here), but I just went up yesterday and they’re in full bloom and look incredible. From white to pale pink to fuschia, it’s really the most incredible sight.  deer-park-rhododendron-trees Once you get to Deer Park, drive all the way up to the old hotel (someone really needs to re-open that place!) and park in the parking lot. Walk up along the right side of the hotel building along the path. When you get to the base of the cliff path, you’ll see the giant trees. You can walk all under and around them and I think you’ll be glad I made you go!

A Bright Living Room Makeover

May 18, 2015

living-room-makeover-2015 Happy Monday, everyone! Did you have a nice weekend? I caught a cold Friday and wore my voice out chatting with friends all day and night. I’ve been squawking and squeaking all weekend, and not helping my cause by talking (and singing Old MacDonald to my niece – or as she calls it E-I-O? – at least 782 times) all day long. Tomorrow I will hopefully stay quiet and finally stop squawking!

Now, let’s jump into the week with the final room in our apartment makeover. I’ve shared all the other rooms in our house, which we slowly made over and turned white and bright over the last year or so. (You can see our hallway, bedroom, bathroom and landing strip in case you missed those, and you can see the before photos right here.). We rent our apartment, but we have a flexible landlord. We’ve lived here for five years, so everything needed a coat of paint and if I never see another inch of off-white paint, it will be too soon. We painted everything a chalk white, and the living room definitely benefited the most.  from-hallway-living-room Our living room is at the very back of the apartment and is also our dining area. It’s a little inconvenient because the kitchen is down the hallway, but it’s so bright that all is forgiven. If you can believe it, I took these photos when it was relatively grey outside and even sprinkling a little. Unless it’s nighttime, this room is bright and that’s one of the things I’ve loved about this room. It benefits from windows along two walls looking out on our patio, and in our white makeover I painted the dark brown trim bright, glossy white. Michael went away for a weekend and came back to a transformed room. He criticized my painting techniques (I’m not the most careful painter) but he came over to the light side quite quickly.  living-room-windows We swapped out the giant overstuffed leather couches that came with the apartment and sent them next door to our neighbors (we share a landlord) and bought this couch. It’s bigger than I would have liked, but I rarely sit on the couch so Michael got a bigger vote than I did. It’s very comfortable, but its profile is a little large for the room. But even though I don’t love the couch, I like that cosy rust-colored chair in the corner the most. And so does Coco. He can be found there sleeping most days. When my mom came to visit a year and a half ago, she re-covered its ugly brown fabric and this last Christmas gave me those fun pillow covers to match. In fact, she made the covers for the blue flowery chair as well. Thanks, Mom!  dining-area-living-room This is our little dining nook. We swapped out the too-big table for a square table from Ikea that expands to fit six in a flash. Given, we have to scoot the couch over to fit that many people, but it has happened on occasion. I picked up the two chairs for maybe €10 at Second Abbey vintage shop. I painted them white (sensing a theme?!) and gave them green velvet covers. They’re not ultra comfortable, but they’re pretty to look at! When I work, I sit at the table but I swap out one of the chairs for a big blue exercise ball.

The giant piece of driftwood hanging above the table is from my 30th birthday party decor, pulled from the Irish sea an hour before the party. I’ve hung a few non-Christmas-colored Christmas decorations and kept them there year round. I think most people think it’s weird, but it makes me happy. dining-table-living-room living-room-table Pillows I made from tea towels from the Carolyn Donnelly collection at Dunnes! I just sewed them up into envelopes, so easy and so washable! living-room-sitting-area On the other side of the room, we have a bookcase and this slightly typical Ikea chair that’s so comfortable it’s worth the eyesore. My friend Joi at 31 Chapel Lane managed to source us some cushion inserts and my mom made the flowered covers from old curtain fabric I picked up at Goodwill in the States a few years ago. The side table and the lamp benefited from coats of paint at some point along the way. side-table-living-room coffee-table-plant This is probably the last life this coffee table is going to have. I bought it for €10 second hand on our version of Craig’s List and painted it blue. I love the lines, but it’s had a hard life in our house. In our next home Michael is getting an ottoman for his giant feet instead of the coffee table! coffee-table-living-room flowers-living-room The little corner TV unit has been with us since we first moved into this apartment. I still can’t believe I found it on the same Craigs List type site for free! I gave it a new coat of white (!) paint and a new drawer pull. And having the TV back up to those windows has mostly meant it’s impossible to watch television in broad daylight – sneaky, huh? 😉  Also, that is the plant that will not die. I’m not complaining, but I am shocked! I bought it several months ago and I have to keep pruning the blossoms because they get so top heavy – but they never die on their own. It’s so incredibly cheerful. double-doors-living-room Our patio has been getting less and less green in the last few months. I don’t think we ever realized that so much of the greenery was actually overgrown from our neighbors’ gardens until they started pruning things back! It’s looking a little bare out there, but at least my flowers have finally taken off. I have one peony bud that’s on the verge of popping and hydrangeas that I’ve finally figured out. In Maine, you prune the heck out of hydrangeas after every season. In Ireland, apparently you do not. Took me four years to figure out why my hydrangea bush never grew an inch.  bookcase-living-room bookshelf-living-room coco-living-room And finally, Coco. He loves finding the sun spots in this room, and occasionally the shady spots when it gets too hot for his black fur.

So that is the grand finale of our apartment makeover tour. I’m realizing now how fun it is to look back and have a record of each room (clean and tidy!), and I’m sure we’ll be grateful for these photos years from now. And when I’m trying to convince Michael of the benefits of painting everything white in our next house, I can use the before and after photos to make my case!

Poet Patrick Kavanagh Sitting on the Canal

May 14, 2015

Patrick Kavanagh on the Canal in Dublin Last week, my friend Ruth graciously agreed to show me her neighborhood, down near Baggot Street, so that I could share with you some of the fun things to explore in that area. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting and walking, and as we walked along the canal, we happened upon the poet Patrick Kavanagh, sitting on his bench. I decided I should look up some of his poetry this week and since it’s a wet day in Dublin, this one seemed appropriate (if a month late).

Wet Evening in April

The birds sang in the wet trees
And I listened to them it was a hundred years from now
And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.
But I was glad I had recorded for him
The melancholy.

Quite melancholy altogether, and not reflective of our day along the canal last weekend, but I do know that feeling. Today is a soggy, soft grey and everything feels slow and fuzzy and a little lower than usual. It’s a wet evening in May and boy am I ready for some real summer sun!

Isn’t that statue great?! Such amazing texture, and the glasses! It’s so lifelike compared to most statues you see. Ruth said sometimes locals put a hat on him or a scarf, depending on the season or the holiday. Like an inanimate neighbor.


New Souvenirs and Gifts at the Irish Design Shop

May 12, 2015

Souvenirs and gifts at the Irish Design Shop in Dublin It had been a while since I’d had a chance to stop in and chat with my friends at the Irish Design Shop, so when I was in the city centre the other day I had a nice long chat with Clare about life, Drury Street, shop facades and all their new beautiful products. While we talked, I snapped a few photos of new souvenirs and gifts that caught my eye. Whenever I stop in to the Irish Design Shop, I want to buy everything. Since that’s not always the most economical idea, sharing them with you might be the next best thing!  New homewares at the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland First up, these wall hooks from the furniture design company Snug. Just €9.50 each. I’m contemplating one in each color for if we ever get a new house (I’d fill you in on the saga if it didn’t bring me to tears!)!  Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland Irish notebooks from the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland The Irish Design Shop teamed up with Irish designer Fergus O’Neill and Duffy Bookbinders to make this range of gorgeous little notebooks inspired by spots around the city. Printed and bound on Dublin’s northside, they’re beautifully made and a super duper souvenir or gift idea.  Notebooks printed in Dublin, Ireland Irish Handmade Glass Light fixtures I’ve been ogling the custom lamps in the Irish Design Shop’s new(ish) location on Drury Street since they opened. Now they’re selling a whole range of these hand blown glass lamps, both hanging and standing, from the Irish Handmade Glass company. Great housewarming gift, in my humble opinion, you know, in case we ever get that darn house! Can’t find them on their website, but they make these colored votives which are also nice and probably more affordable. Souvenirs from the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland

The best spot to get souvenirs in Dublin, IReland One last sweet gift or souvenir – these Irish laser cut bird prints from Snow. That robin with the turquoise background must be tweeting my name. If you’re looking to buy them online, you can find them here. Prints, books, pottery at the Irish Design Shop, Dublin, Ireland If you stop in to the Irish Design Shop, tell Clare and Laura I say hello! And to save me a few of those hooks, I’ll be back for them soon!

Irish Design Shop / 41 Drury Street / Dublin 2

How to Cope with Braces When You’re 30

May 11, 2015

I’ve been keeping a secret from you all for the last eleven months. Well, I think I have. Maybe you’ve noticed and you’ve been too polite to say anything. In June last year, at the age of 30, I got braces for the second time in my life. Just last week, I got them off and I’m so glad I sucked it up and got them. I thought I’d write about how to cope with having braces when you’re a little older than their typical target audience.

How to cope with braces when you're over thirty Here’s me with braces, just a few hours before I had them taken off. Read through for an after photo!

First, a quick little note. Having braces is a luxury, I know that. It was an expense my husband and I considered seriously and for quite a while before we made the decision together. I don’t want this post to sound flippant, I know not everyone can afford to have braces, even in their thirties. But the decision to get braces in my thirties was also difficult because I have a somewhat public persona. I knew the choice to get braces would impact on my daily life for quite a long time.

That said, let me give you some background. I had braces when I was twelve because my teeth were crooked and my bite was a little wonky. I had them for about two years and when I got them off, voila! Straight teeth. That lasted until my early twenties, when they started to shift and my bite began to bother me. As it turns out, my bottom jaw continued to grow after having the braces, which is pretty common for girls in their late teens.

When I was 21, I went to an orthodontist who recommended an oral surgeon who recommended jaw surgery to correct my underbite. The expense and recovery time (a chunk of my lower jaw removed and then wired shut for two months!) terrified me, so I decided to live with it. But my teeth really bothered me. When I bit down, they only met at my fron teeth, which was uncomfortable and not really great for my teeth in the long run. They were also starting to get more and more crooked, collapsing in places. Sometime in the last five years, I stopped smiling with my teeth quite so much, to the point that my sister-in-law (who has really only known me for the last five years) thought that’s how I always smiled.

Not the case. I was such a toothy smiler growing up that my mom used to suggest “Maybe a little less teeth?” when I smiled for photographs. Ha! But over time I had become embarrassed by my bite and the increasing crookedness, to the point that I used to try to press my bottom teeth back under my top teeth. That obviously didn’t work!

So last year I went to a few orthodontists to explore fixing my teeth again. I went to one orthodontist who said there was no way to fix my bite without surgery, another who said I could have teeth removed and then braces, and finally I went to get a third opinion to break the tie. I actually went to the orthodontist who used to be our landlord when we first moved to Dublin, when we lived in our little basement “Hobbit House” in Clontarf.

Dr. Shona Leydon of Clontarf Orthodontics broke the tie by recommending that I have two of my bottom molars removed, and then 18-24 months of braces. I hemmed and hawed and then hemmed and hawed some more. Then I had lunch with Julie while we were shooting the last of Delightful Dublin and she gave me some sage advice. She said that when she’s making big decisions like this, she tries to think about what her future self would like and appreciate. She said, “Think about Future Emily.” Future Emily was going to be really happy if I sucked it up and had braces for two years in my 30’s. Future Emily was really fed up with her uncomfortable bite and increasingly crooked teeth.

So I bit the bullet and the next week I had two bottom molars removed, which was miserable and made me realize there’s no way I would have been able to cope with surgery. Two teeth (and subsequent impacted gums) were more than enough. It felt like I couldn’t eat for a month because I had a hole on each side of my mouth. A week after having the teeth pulled, in June of last year, I had bottom braces put on. Then in September, I had the top ones put on. Last week, after eleven months (6 months earlier than Dr. Leydon’s minimum estimate), I had them taken off.

Tips for having braces at thirty

Ta-da! No more braces, and no more underbite! I searched and searched for a photo of my teeth before the braces went on, but I must have deleted the evidence. There was a lot of closed-mouth smiling!

And now I get to write about how it wasn’t really the most fun thing I’ve ever done, but it was well worth it. Here are a few ways to cope with braces in your 30’s (or later!) that worked for me.

1. Get the porcelain braces if you can afford it.

Invisalign wasn’t an option for me, so the next best thing was porcelain braces. They cost more than the metal kind, but they are very barely noticeable. In fact, you can’t see them in these photos or these photos, even though I’m smiling with my teeth!

2. Embrace your newfound cheekbones and plump lips.

I was actually asked at one point if I had had a lip job. A lip job! It was possibly the most fun question anyone has ever asked me. All that extra action in your mouth means you have prominent cheekbones and extra plump lips. Kind of a fun bonus!

3. Start noticing how many people your age have braces too!

Tons of older-than-teenage people (at least in Ireland) are getting braces now, so you’re not alone.

4. Stay away from curry and turmeric.

I was worried red wine would stain my braces, but it didn’t really. What did stain the little clear elastics around the porcelain braces? Curry and turmeric, and instantly.

5. Know that you have way less food stuck in your teeth than you think you do.

Braces make you self-conscious eating in public, but realistically you have so much less stuck in them than you think you do. I carried a toothbrush and toothpaste and brushed after every meal, but I was almost never embarrassed in public with spinach in my teeth.

6. Do everything your orthodontist tells you to.

I had to wear elastics for a few months that connected my top and bottom teeth to correct my bite, and it was by far the most noticeable phase of my braces. It made speaking a little lispy. When Dr. Leydon suggested I could wear double elastics for a few weeks to speed up the process, I don’t think she expected I was going to do that every minute of every day until my next appointment. I followed her every instruction, and my teeth moved seven months faster than her minimum estimate.

7. Own it. Remember Future Emily.

Time flies, people hardly notice until you point it out to them, and you know what? It’s brave. Wearing braces when you’re older than a teenager is a little hard to swallow, but it’s brave and your future self will thank you for it!

In the midst of my almost-year with braces, I decided the two things I missed most were eating burgers without cutting them into very small pieces and making out with my husband. Those were the two rewards I looked forward to for eleven months of braces! And they were well worth the wait.

If you’re thinking of getting braces, I’d be happy to chat with you about it! I’m a cheerleader for Future Emily’s all over!

Thank you to my mother-in-law, Lois, for the before photo, and to my friend Naomi for the after photo! 

Spruced-Up Friday!

May 8, 2015

Cherry blossoms in Dublin, Ireland

Hey, friends! How are you? It’s Friday again! Sometimes it’s a little shocking how quickly those weeks fly by. This week was much less wobbly than last week, thank goodness. The weather didn’t get the memo, but we managed some walks along the sea nonetheless.

First things first, I wanted to point out FCV’s new look! If you look at From China Village on a reader, like Bloglovin or Feedly, you might not have noticed, but FCV got an update! I’m still tweaking a few things and trying to make navigation to the most useful and popular posts easier, but it’s vastly improved. I had had the old look for over three years! It aged well, but Google was demanding some changes with its new responsiveness rules, so I finally made it happen. I’m pleased, and I hope you enjoy it too! If you see anything wonky, do let me know.

Now, on to the weekend! What do you have planned? Michael is coaching his dad’s team in a tournament and I’m going to use the peace and quiet in the house to take some photos of our living room to share with you and working on the invitations for my sister’s bridal shower this summer. Then on Sunday, I’m spending the afternoon with my friend Ruth exploring her neighborhood. I’ll have a whole bunch of One Day in Dublin posts for you coming up!

Ready for a few places around the internet to explore this weekend? Here goes!

I’ve watched more Foyle’s War this week than I care to admit. It’s so thoughtful and an interesting insight into how World War II affected all aspects of life, from a British point of view.

Have you seen these sad animal facts? They’re a hoot!

Wet dog, dry dog is also equally a endearing and entertaining.

Life with eight rescue dogs and Bikini the pig. Yes, a pig named Bikini. It doesn’t get better.

Michael and I reference this talk show appearance by Taylor Swift at least once a day. #RIPme

Happy weekend, friends! See you Monday!