A Golden Moment

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While I recover from all that walking and talking around Amsterdam, I wanted to share some golden hour photos from Howth last week. Two days last week we managed to get outside and into the fresh air and we happen to catch Howth in some dramatic light – stormy skies mixed with blindingly bright sunshine. It was magical.  howth_pier_ireland howth_pier_dublin_ireland

I’ve been trying to carry my non-phone camera with me a little more regularly, for moments just like this one. howth_fishing_village_pier howth_fishing_village_ireland howth_dublin_ireland

And I’ve been trying to focus on different angles and details and action, trying to push myself a little to improve my photography and composition. fishing_village_ireland_howth fishing_boat_howth_pier I hope you’re all having a wonderful week! I’ll be back tomorrow with some flowery goodness ahead of Irish Mother’s Day this weekend!

 

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Hello from Amsterdam

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Hello from Amsterdam! It’s been so sunny I’m hopping on a plane back to Dublin with a bunch of new freckles and a lot of lovely memories of giggles with sweet friends. We walked and ate our way around the city for three days and I can’t wait to share a little more about it in the coming week. In the meantime, I’m resting up to launch straight back into the week tomorrow! Until then, bicycles on a canal. Such a fun change of scenery.

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Friday Finds

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Happy, happy weekend, friends! What a week! It’s incredible to think we’re already in March, but the daffodils are starting to pop around Dublin, so spring is really on the way! The days are starting to get brighter and I’m starting to daydream park visits and beach strolls.

What are your plans for the weekend? I’m the special guest on the LA Times This Week in Travel postcast tomorrow afternoon, where I’ll be talking about Delightful Dublin! And then I’m heading to Amsterdam for a few days with some girlfriends I can’t wait to see – in person and together. It’s been three years since all three of us have been in the same place! I hope you have a restful weekend with a little side of exploring. Here are a few things I loved around the web this week!

Visiting Las Vegas’ neon boneyard – where the strip’s old neon signs come to rest.

I made these oatmeal, chocolate chip, M&M cookies tonight and they were such a hit!

Why creatives shouldn’t work for free. Amen.

Did you know Maine inspired the lumbersexual? Now consider the lumbersexual. Ha!

These marbled papers are beautiful and inspire so many DIY projects!

The genius McDonald’s theory. Suggest something terrible and watch what happens!

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Styled in Ireland / Seaside Coffee Date

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I’m so excited to be resurrecting my Styled in Ireland series! After a year long hiatus, I finally got my act together and put on some lipstick to make it happen. This time, we’re getting all styled up for a seaside coffee date, something I happen to do fairly often. Well, the seaside coffee date part. Maybe every other time I bother to get all dolled up!

Actually, this particular episode took even longer than usual. I was starting to think this outfit was jinxed! I put it on for a coffee date with Michael a few weeks ago, and by the time we were ready to snap a few photos (one of us more willing than the other!), it was pouring rain. Luckily, we had another coffee date not too long after, so I re-ironed my shirt and cuffed my jeans again. We got all the way up to Howth and even though it was sunny, the wind was howling so hard it made my eyes water. My bare ankles were not having it! So we hopped back in the car with our coffees and drove over to sit with the heat on at “our spot” on the other side of the peninsula overlooking the city. It wasn’t a total failure, I have to say.  emily_westbrooks_style_ireland

But this time, I figured it was a much safer bet to ask my friend Naomi to take a few photos on a slightly balmier day up in our favorite seaside town. Third time was a charm! Thanks, Nomes!  styled_in_ireland_coffee_date_howth

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Michael and I happen to live very close to Howth, only a ten minute drive, so we scoot up almost every weekend for a coffee, sometimes more often. Howth is a peninsula north of Dublin city that has a spectacular cliff walk, hiking trails, rhododendrons in May, and a cute little fishing village. We grab coffee at a little market cafe called Chocolate Compulsion, such a bizarre name but they serve Badger & Dodo coffee and they know us by name.

When it’s warm enough, we walk to the end of the pier, looking at the fishing boats and visiting with our friend who works in Mulloy’s fishmonger. We pick up salmon or hake for dinner, and wander back toward the car. Some days we drive all the way around the peninsula and talk about which of the swanky houses we’d buy if we won the lottery. One of us always says, “Well, if we played the lottery!”  coffee_date_style_nike_sneakers

And now, a little outfit info for those who are curious. These Nikes are my Christmas sneakers. Every Christmas, Michael gives me a pair of sneakers and a dress. It’s the cutest tradition and he always picks the coolest kicks for me. These Nikes were this year’s Christmas sneakers and they are loud enough on their own, so they get paired with a monochromatic outfit! My pendant necklace is from Irish designer Ali Nash, and Michael picked it out (with the helpf of the girls at the Irish Design Shop!) for my thirtieth birthday.  styled_in_ireland_what_to_wear_coffee_date   styled_in_ireland_coffee_date

Thanks for coming with me on a seaside coffee date! See all my previous Styled in Ireland posts here.

Sneakers: Nike / Jeans: Zara / Collared tunic: Zara / Cropped jacket: Banana Republic / Sunglasses: J.Crew / Watch: Kate Spade / Necklace: Ali Nash / Photography: Naomi Phillips

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Belfast Exploring / Lunch at the National

Irish restaurant The National in Belfast

I’ve been so impressed by the design I’ve stumbled across in Ireland lately. A year or so ago I was lamenting that every cafe felt a little bit the same – the same industrial style that wasn’t too adventurous or full of individual personality. But in the last few months, I’ve stumbled across some really fun and inspiring design, still mainly industrial, but with more intricate patterns and more cheerful colors.

Michael and I had lunch in Belfast a few weeks ago on a little afternoon excursion. He needed to have his phone fixed and the only Apple store on our entire little island is in Belfast. Isn’t it bonkers that there isn’t one in Dublin? There must be a very good reason, because I think they’d do very good business. But the trip to Belfast was an excuse to spend a few hours together in the car and try out a new spot for lunch.

While Michael waited at the Apple store, I went to grab us coffees at Established Coffee around the corner. On my way back, I spotted the National, a cafe/bar in the grand old National Bank building. Their menu had some healthy options, so we headed there after the epic phone wait.

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Yellow beams, patterned counter tile, and big hanging plants.  The National Restaurant in Belfast, Ireland Lunch at the National Restaurant Belfast, Ireland

But I think my favorite detail might be the gold lined conical pendant lights.  Gorgeous counter at the National Restaurant, Belfast, Ireland

Tied, of course, the badger crawling through the ceiling! Ha! I should have asked the significance of the badger, I’ve been wondering for a few weeks now. Ceiling badger at the National Restaurant in Belfast, Ireland

Michael and I both enjoyed our lunches – we each ordered soup and salad. I had a roasted egg plant and goat cheese salad and tomato basil soup, and Michael had a Moroccan chickpea tagine type salad and hearty butternut squash soup. All delish!

The National / High Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland

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Recent Baby Photography / Tiny in Tulle

Dublin baby photography Emily Westbrooks

I’ve been snapping a few more baby photographs lately, for friends, family and a few clients. Over the weekend, I got to take photos of our little neighbor girls. Baby Tillie Ann was so curious about her little tulle skirt. Ten year old Kasey was a much easier model, and so sweet with her little sister.

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Tillie didn’t make it so easy to take photographs over her gorgeous little face because she was busy trying to take big bites of pink tulle.

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But pink baby skin and pink tulle are are a beautiful and ethereal combination.  baby photography ireland emily westbrooks

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Are they not just the cutest sisters?

You can see more about my baby photography here.

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Friday Finds

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Happy, happy Friday! How are ya? This week absolutely flew by. But it was a productive one. I got two days minding my gorgeous little niece while her usual sitter (welcome back, Grandma Lolo!) was away, crossed some BIG things off my to-do list, and cleared a little more room in my life for a few big changes in the months to come. I spent some time helping my little sister plan her wedding (only 5 months away!) and worked on my chin-ups at the gym. I’m bound and determined to get strong enough to do them on my own!

Did you have a nice week? What are you up to this weekend? We have brunch plans, one last home basketball match of the season, and hopefully a little more time outside in the sunshine!

I found a bunch of interesting tidbits online this week. I hope you enjoy!

Please watch this video of an artist creating alongside her toddler. It’s a hoot (and her art is beautiful).

Living stylishly and minimally in 340 square feet.

The lost art of free time – and how to recover it. “Not only can scheduled rest renew your joy in life, but also, make you more creative.”

Springy desktop downloads – so hard to choose! I have blue florals on my screen as we speak!

I’m strongly considering a capsule wardrobe for the summer. Erin wrote a little about her experience“Less has been freeing for me, in a lot of ways. Mostly it’s kept me from spending precious time on the meaningless: shopping, amassing, stuffing.” 

How the kids’ menu is ruining children’s diets.

What ISIS really wants. And what it wants is terrifying. “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” Ugh.

And how to get 100,000 Pinterest followers, if that’s your thing.

Have a happy weekend!

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Delightful Design / Blas Cafe at the Chocolate Factory

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When Michael was on school break last week, we took a little field trip to the Blas Cafe in the Chocolate Factory. I had been meaning to check it out – it’s always great to hear about a new northside spot!  chocolate_factory_cafe_dublin

I was a big fan of their giant tall ceilings and mix of natural, grey and turquoise-y green chairs. And Michael and I decided that someday we will have hanging lights that twinkle like these (mostly I decided, let’s be honest). They were a little daintier than typical industrial lights so they seemed more glittery than bare.

It’s also just nice to have more space to move around in a cafe. Most Dublin cafes are quite small, so the Blas Cafe felt enormous!  chocolate_factory_dublin_blas_cafe

We only ordered coffee and they were having a problem with their machine so it took forever on the day we were there. When the coffee finally materialized it was yummy, so we’ll be back to give it another shot soon.

Blas Cafe / 26 King’s Inns Street, Dublin 1

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How Dublin Bikes Took Over the City

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This infographic on Dublin Bikes, our city’s public bike system, arrived in my inbox last week and I thought it would be fun to share with you. I get a lot of infographics in my inbox but I usually delete them because they are cheesy and confirm every stereotype about Ireland that I work so hard to change! But this one was interesting, especially becuase it arrived in my inbox about ten minutes after I made one of those thirteen minute journeys on one of our fifteen hundred Dublin Bikes!

I have to admit, I had a Dublin Bikes card for two years before I got up the guts to use it! Two years! That means I renewed it after not having used it for a whole year! Luckily Dublin Bikes cards are so cheap when you subscribe annually – just €20! And I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of them in the last few years. Sometimes it’s the fastest way to get from A to B, but sometimes it’s just the most fun. I’ve pulled over so many times to take a photo that I wouldn’t have been able to snap if I was on the train or a bus. That said, I’ve also cursed Irish weather on those bikes – there was a stretch when I swear it was only raining on me as I cycled across the city!

Here are a few tips from a regular Dublin Bikes user:

  • Obey the traffic signs and lights
  • Watch out for pot holes, they can be lethal on Dublin streets!
  • Cars often run red lights, so don’t go without making sure all the cars have stopped
  • Don’t wear earphones while you’re cycling, it’s my biggest pet peeve – so dangerous!

You can see the full infographic with lots more Dublin Bikes info right here.

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All Over the World with Conde Nast Traveler

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about places all over the world for Conde Nast Traveler. I thought I’d send you on a little journey through those articles today!

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10 Best Free Things to Do in Dublin – I love directing people to the free things to do in Dublin, like stroll through the many beautiful parks, or visit the Chester Beatty Library. These are ten of the best things to do in Dublin that won’t cost you a cent!

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The Restaurant Guide to Portland, Maine – I had such a fun time writing about my home state, especially because there are so many great places to eat. The image above is from Slab, where food writer and photographer Ted Axelrod describes the Sicilian pizza as a pizza pillow and he couldn’t be more right. Special thanks to Ted for snapping the photos for this story!

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The Best Cities for Chocolate Lovers – This was one of the harder stories to write simply because I wanted to be munching on chocolate continuously, chomping with every word! This girl with a sweet tooth has her eye on Brussels soon!

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Scenic Day Trips from Dublin – I can’t wait for the weather to warm up just enough to go out for a few day trips. We tried to brave Howth pier for a walk this weekend and it was just too cold and windy. Time for spring!

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