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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How to Survive Driving in Dublin


I wrote this post in my head while I was sitting in traffic last week (and believe me, there were no rainbows in sight!). I almost always manage to avoid rush hour traffic in the city centre, but one day last week I had to pick up a few cumbersome things I couldn’t manage to take on the train. So I drove. And by the time I crawled all the way home in traffic, this post was pretty much written and I was about to abandon the car by the side of the road and walk. So, let’s talk driving in Dublin, shall we?

The first tip for driving in Dublin? Don’t. If you can avoid it, just don’t drive in Dublin.

I’m no driving wimp, and even I avoid driving in the city centre like the plague. I learned to drive when I was fifteen, got my license in a blizzard when I was sixteen, earned my fair share of speeding tickets (I like to consider myself an efficient driver and my mom is definitely rolling her eyes), and at the age of twenty planned motorcades for Senator John Kerry (now Secretary of State) as he ran for President. I’m generally a pretty happy camper behind the wheel. So my distaste for driving in Dublin has nothing to do with my ability or interest.

After moving to Dublin, it took me a few months to get up the nerve to learn to drive a manual car on the left hand side of the road, but once I did, I was back in action. Just so long as I don’t have to go into the city centre between the hours of 7am and 7pm. It’s just not worth it.

So if you can’t follow my first tip and avoid driving in Dublin*, you’d better read the rest of these tips!

Be Aggressive

I have a sneaking suspicion that this tip might get me in trouble, but drivers in Dublin drive pretty aggressively. They’re not wildly aggressive or dangerous (most of the time), but they’re pushy. If you want to turn into traffic and no one is letting you out? Stick your nose out there a little, then take heed of the next tip.

Be Polite

The one redeeming thing about driving in Dublin is that drivers are overall pretty polite. If you let someone in front of you, they’ll often flash their hazards at you to say thank you. And you can do the same thing – sometimes you need to nose your way into a lane you didn’t realize you need to be in to make a turn. So nose your way in, then say thank you by giving your hazard lights a few flashes.

Obey the Speed Limit

Says the girl who was nicknamed speed racer on the campaign trail, but even I obey the speed limit. Those navigation apps should give you the speed limit at any given time, because it can be hard to find marked speed limits. Know that most of the city centre is a 30 kilometer per hour zone. And yes, that’s basically the same speed as fast walking. I used to think it was outrageously slow, but then everybody and their mother got a bicycle and started cycling around the city and breaking every traffic law possible. So now I think the 30km zone is safer for everyone involved.

Watch Out for Bicycles and Motorcycles

They’re everywhere and they sneak up behind you. Watch when you’re opening you car doors and when you’re changing lanes. They do not stop for red lights, so you should really even watch out for them when you’re crossing at cross walks.

Watch Out for People

Dublin is a jay-walking city, and you never know when someone is going to try to squeeze between cars in traffic to get across the road. I’m telling you, that 30km zone is a blessing.

Watch for Bus and Taxi Lanes

Most streets in Dublin have bus lanes, and most of the time you’re not allowed in those. There will be signs that say what hours the bus lanes operate, but in the city centre, the bus lane could be 24 hours. During rush hour, a whole stretch around Trinity College is blocked to all traffic except for taxis and buses. Police officers will stop you and redirect you if you try to go through.

Beware of One Way Streets

They’re everywhere. When Michael and I first moved here, we got stuck driving in circles around Stephen’s Green trying to figure out how to get out of the one way system! Last week, I went about a mile out of my way trying to cycle from one side of the city to the other because I couldn’t turn right for block after block. Rely on those navigation apps – they almost always have a good handle on the one way roads. Keep in mind, as if one way streets aren’t frustrating enough, that many streets don’t have street signs – or they might be high up on the side of a building. I’m telling you, sat nav will be your friend!

Beware of Construction

It seems like all of the construction projects that needed to happen in the last five years are happening right this minute throughout the city. As the recession has lifted (or maybe as the streets reached new lows of disrepair), construction has been on the rise. It makes traffic worse and often means closed lanes or even closed roads. Why they can’t manage to do most of this work at night when there’s less traffic, I do not know. What I do know is that the projects mean cyclists and buses and cars are squeezing into fewer lanes than they’re used to and it’s making everyone’s travels more difficult.

Have I fully terrified you with my rant about driving in Dublin? It’s certainly possible, but you’ll want to be on your A-game while you’re behind the wheel! And you might need a stiff drink once you park for the night!

If you’re a local, I’d love to hear your tips – or do you avoid driving in Dublin like I do?

*If you’re planning on renting a car when you come to Ireland, don’t worry. Driving outside the city is way more doable, peaceful and pleasant!

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Happy Friday!

mike and em church flowers and leaves julie and sunset em and marker eabha at angie's class


Oh, what a week. Long but fast at the same time, full and sunshiny and exhausting. Finishing and releasing Delightful Dublin to the world was so exciting, and I’m so, so pleased with everyone’s kind words about it (including this review from my friend and fellow writer Rachael, who is biased but still!). It’s been a very good week.

I thought I’d share a few highlights. Left to right, top to bottom.

— Michael and I dressed up for church and taking photos in the alleyway

— Flowers leftover from a video shoot (I’ll be sharing DIY videos soon!) and the leaves are a-changing

— Julie and I on our last day shooting for Delightful Dublin and the sun setting over this delightful city

— Trying out some new lipstick, which I later could not get off. Such karma for taking selfies! And the rooftop of the Marker Hotel, all to ourselves on our Delightful shoot.

— I brought my niece to see her mom (my sister-in-law) at her classroom this afternoon and it was such a fun treat for all of us! Eabha got to meet Angie’s class for the first time – and the kids were beyond excited! Then we got milkshakes and took the train home. Such fun.

I hope you all have a happy, bright and full weekend. I have some fun posts planned next week – driving and dining and probably some flowers! See you back on Monday.

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Dublin City Bridges Tote from Clover Rua


I had been wanting to take a few photos with my new Dublin Bridges tote from Clover Rua for months now. In fact, I carried it and my camera to church six times, since our church is near the Liffey and I figured it would be easy enough to have Michael snap a few photos before we headed home. Turns out? Not so much. Every single time, something came up. We were hungry (this happens a lot), we forgot we had plans, we were on welcome team and just couldn’t wait to sit down. So, the bag just kept making journeys back and forth – close to the Liffey but never on the Liffey.

Until Friday, when Julie finally snapped a few photos of me and the Dublin Bridges bag on my very favorite bridge, the Samuel Beckett. And lo and behold, we loved one of those images so much, we made it into the cover of Delightful Dublin!


How sweet is that tote? It’s very sturdy and Anita from Clover Rua assures me it can get dirty because it’s very washable. I’m still a little careful with it!

We’re also going to have to talk about my shoes for just a sec. I don’t own a single other item of clothing this psychedelically bright and yet I love these shoes. And I found them at Gap this summer for $4. $4! They make me way more than $4 of happy.


The Samuel Beckett Bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava (which is a super fun name to say) and it reminds me of a cable-stayed bridge in Maine. The entire thing turns when a ship needs to come through, which is very cool to witness.

I actually used to be quite scared of bridges, but I think it was actually the height of some of the bridges in Maine that bothered me. I used to crawl down onto the floor of the car when we were going over one! All of the bridges across the Liffey in Dublin are so low to the water, I never get worried. Julie, on the other hand, was a little nervous!


And on a somewhat unrelated note, I am having a love-hate relationship with my new haircut. It just has a mind of its own and only responds to air-drying, which still takes so long even though it’s shorter. It looks pretty okay in photos but in person I think it looks wild and crazy. Anyone have a long bob of wild and crazy hair? What do we do with it?!

Delightful Dublin Cover And here’s that cover again! I’m so excited about the positive response Delightful Dublin has been getting. It’s been a very fun few days!

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