A Podcast about Delightful Dublin on Irish Fireside

Happy Friday, friends! What a short week in the land of From China Village, but we’re ending it with a bang! This morning, I woke up to an email from my friend Corey at Irish Fireside to say that the podcast interview I did with him a few weeks ago was live. In it, I talk all about Delightful Dublin, our process for creating it, how Julie and I both fell in love with Dublin and lots of tips for getting the best out of my adopted city. Honestly, for the first time maybe ever I thought gosh, I don’t sound like a total goofball! 

So I hope you enjoy, and if you’re in the market for a Dublin trip, you can get your copy of Delightful Dublin right here. And make sure to visit Irish Fireside for tons of podcasts with Corey. Doesn’t he make you feel like you’re sitting by the fire? Thanks so much for having me to the Fireside, Corey!

See you back next week for even more fun news, Delightful Dublin and otherwise! Have a wonderful weekend!

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Spicy Applesauce Recipe


I toyed with calling this recipe spiced applesauce because it’s full of autumn spices, but it’s actually a little zingy, too! Hence, spicy applesauce. I blame the star aniseeds, personally. They pack a punch!

Applesauce is one of the simplest recipes, and I love it because it uses up even those kind of mealy apples no one wants to eat. I used five large, tart baking apples, but you can use whatever you have on hand. If you’re in America, darn you and your ability to go apple picking! I’m forever jealous to be missing that American autumn ritual. One of these days I’ll be back in Maine in time for it, I swear.  autumn_spiced_applesauce_recipe

So you peel and core the apples and chop them up. Place them in a pan so they take up about 3/4 of the room and then add water to fill to 1/4 of the pan. It’s hard to mess this up, which is why I’m giving you barely instructions there. You just need to leave enough room for the apples to bubble up as they’re cooking.

Now, here’s the spice: one (two if you’re daring) star aniseed, a few hunks of cinnamon stick (this is from the Asian market and feels extra authentic but is also really cheap) and 5-7 cloves. Once the apples have broken down and started to look more like applesauce, add the spices and stir them in. Turn the heat down to low and let the applesauce simmer with the spices for 30-40 minutes. Taste and add sugar as needed – I try not to add sugar, but these apples were tart and needed a little help.

spicy_applesauce_recipe When the applesauce is done simmering, fish out the spices and serve with a pinch of grated nutmeg on top. I gave Michael a spoonful this afternoon and he said it tasted like Christmas. I think it tastes exactly like fall, but close enough!


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Happiest of Fridays




Today was a mostly-day-off for me and it was an absolutely wonderful Friday. I’m spending tomorrow giving a day-long tour for a German journalist who’s visiting Dublin, so I decided to give myself today off. I find myself doing quite a bit of work on the weekends, and when that happens I’m realizing I need down time on other days in order to not hit a wall mid-week.


The day started with babysitting my little niece until lunchtime. Michael and I took her out for a few errands and up to Howth for a coffee (us, not her) and to watch the boats. Then we sat in our living room for a picnic lunch on the floor (no highchair at our house but the floor cleans up easily!) in the sunshine. The weather has been gloriously warm and more sunny than we can usually expect and it’s making the shorter days feel a little more civil.

I spent the afternoon picking blackberries up in Howth with my mother-in-law in the aforementioned glorious sunshine. We’re making jam on Sunday! Tonight I’m watching Scandal and catching up on some emails while Michael is out. Such a good day.

Also good? These straw flowers on our dining table in the sunlight this afternoon. I picked up a bunch as a complete impulse buy from The Garden flower shop in Powerscourt and the smell of them reminds me of home. A neighbor, Nancy, always had them or made arrangements with them? I can’t quite remember but I’m absolutely sure I remember them from when I was little. And it makes me terribly happy to have their cheery colors on the table.

strawflowers_02 strawflowers_03

Have a happy weekend, friends! See you back on Monday!


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Fall-ing Back in Love with Veggies


{Autumn kale salad with maple bacon vinaigrette}

I go through phases during which I completely avoid green leafy things. Well, that’s not really true. If someone else is making the green leafy things, I’ll eat them, but I go through phases where the last thing I feel like doing is making something leafy. I am a big fan of vegetables, but the green ones are often my least favorite. Also, if anyone can give me tips on how to make the green leafy things last more than two days in the fridge, I’d be all ears!

But, I figure fall is as good a time as any to fall back in love with green veggies. Mostly by distracting from their green leafiness with lots of butternut squash, cranberries and pomegranates! Here are a few recipes I’m eyeing for a healthy and green start of fall.


{Butternut squash and kale tart PAN-SEARED-BRUSSELS-SPROUTS-WITH-CRANBERRIES-PECANS-from-Rachel-Schultz1

{Pan seared brussel sprouts with pecans and cranberries}  quinoa_butternut_squash_chickpeas

{Roasted pumpkin and quinoa salad with chickpeas} sweet_potato_pomegranate_salad

{Roasted sweet potato salad with pomegranates and pistachios}

I have a bunch more pumpkin/sweet potato/butternut squash distracting from the green things recipes on my Savory Recipes Pinterest board, too!



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On Failure


I’ve been staring at a blank blog post page for at least an hour (while half watching that George Clooney movie The Descendants which is an absolutely depressing movie, by the way), and what I think I’ve really been trying to figure out how to say is that over the last several years of starting a freelance career, I’m glad I haven’t been afraid to fail.

Last night, over Gchat with my little brother, I was trying to explain why it’s absolutely okay to try all of the things when you’re trying to land on a career after collegeHow the heck else are you going to figure out what you want to do with your life if you don’t give things a shot? Some people (like my darling husband) figure out what they want to do pretty quickly, and others of us shop around for a while – and might keep shopping forever!

Over the last few years, I’ve tried so many ideas and pitched so many projects. Some of them have worked, and some of them just haven’t. But I’m glad I wasn’t afraid that some of those ideas would fail. I’m glad I was able to focus on the projects and ideas that were successful and capitalize on and replicate those.

So the moral of my story is that there is no shame in failing when you’re trying things out. It’s the only way some of us learn what success looks like.

Image above of me failing at taking a selfie a few weeks ago. There’s a little shame in that. 

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Inspiration / New Specs

inspiration for new glasses

I’m in the market for a new pair of glasses. Mine are a few years old and could use an update.

What’s your vote?

Sources, top to bottom: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

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Dublin in the Details


On my way home from Dublin’s city centre today, the sky was blue and the sun was shining warmly (and unseasonably) on my back. I stopped to snap a photo of this black lamp post against the autumn-blue sky. They’re almost always silver, so I was surprised to see several of these black sheep all in a row behind Dublin Castle.

Then as I walked toward the train I couldn’t help but look a little closer at the details above my head and below my feet. Dublin’s architecture may not be as grand as continental cities like Paris and Rome, but we do have some lovely details when you look a little more closely.


Grates with the Dublin crest.  dublin_castle_detail This guy spends his days overlooking the basement doorway to the chapel at Dublin Castle. door_knocker_dublin

Chester Beatty Library’s side door knocker.  chester_beatty_library_dublin And the swirly wrought iron panes at the Dublin Castle coach house gardens.

dublin_train_transportation Even the details at the train seemed lovely – I think the sunshine had gotten to my head by that point!

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Six Super Reasons to Fall in Love with Dublin

Fall in Love with Dublin

Happy Friday, friends! If you’re in Dublin, I hope you’re out in the city enjoying one of my favorite nights of the year – Culture Night. It’s the best buzz the city has all year.

If you’re not, and you’re just dreaming of Dublin, I shared six of the best spots around the city that will make you fall in love with it for the first time or for the millionth time.

Huge thanks to my friend Pol for featuring my picks ahead of Culture Night – he’s really the nicest!

Have a lovely weekend, see you Monday!

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September in St. Anne’s Park Rose Garden

rose_garden_dublin Several weeks ago, I realized I had never been to the rose garden in St. Anne’s Park before, so I put it in my calendar to remind me to go before the roses had all gone by. But with last minute work on Delightful Dublin taking up every spare minute, it took me until today to make it over there.

I waited until the sun was just starting to set before I threw my camera in a backpack and cycled over, winding my way through the park to the rose garden. I parked my bike and wandered around the rose garden, and managed to take 100 photos of roses in rapid succession.

And then I promptly came home and asked Michael why the heck haven’t we gone there before?! The roses were just about finished blooming for the season, but I’ve already put another reminder in my calendar for next year. I can’t even imagine what the rose garden would be like in full bloom. The smell of roses today was amazing, with only one out of ten beds still in bloom.

st_annes_park_dublin St_Anne_rose_garden_dublin orange_roses_dublin_rose_garden pond_st_annes_park_dublin peach_roses_dublin_garden ivy_tower_dublin_st_annes_park

Isn’t that tower covered in red ivy amazing? Just the beginning of fall here in Dublin.

rose_garden_park_dublin flowers_dublin_ireland_garden dublin_rose_garden Those yellow roses were like butter in the center. I may have taken just one home with me, tucked into the rack on my bicycle. I’m already planning for next year – can you imagine a picnic in the rose garden? Michael won’t even know what hit him! ;)

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A Peek Inside Delightful Dublin


Now that Delightful Dublin is live, I thought it would be fun to share a little peek inside! In case you’re on the fence about buying it, which you can do right here, this will give you just a sliver of what the book includes. I hope you enjoy it!

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