Ireland Adventures Pt. 1: Kilkenny & Waterford

Hey, y’all!

As I mentioned in previous posts, we recently went on our belated honeymoon and decided to go to Ireland. It was absolutely gorgeous, and we were so sad to have to leave. We did a “Fly & Drive” travel package from Gate1 Travel, which was perfect. We had the freedom to go at our own pace and be spontaneous if something caught our eye.

Getting There

We flew United Airlines from Orlando to DC and then DC to Dublin. The flight from Orlando to DC was delayed because the AC wasn’t working (oh hell no). With a 4 hour layover in DC, it was no big deal. The flight from DC was delayed because one of the windowsills in the exit row came off (what the what?)

We flew overnight and landed in Dublin a little before 10am local time. Customs moved slowly but steadily, and then it was time to pick up the rental car and hit the road! Jeff did the driving for the majority of the trip because adding another driver cost an extra €10 a day. Driving on the left took some getting used to, but he got the hang of it pretty quickly. The Irish love their roundabouts, even when it comes to highways!

Kilkenny

 

Our first destination was the town of Kilkenny to see Kilkenny Castle. It was built in 1195 and was restored and added onto over the centuries, so it’s a combination of different architecture styles (hi, nerd here.) There were also some lovely gardens, and we were really enjoying the cool weather–okay, me more so than Jeff, but whatever :). We didn’t go inside because we couldn’t stay long. We had to get to Waterford!

Waterford

Waterford is the oldest city in the Republic of Ireland, and it’s the home of the House of Waterford Crystal (big surprise there). We made it just in time to catch the last factory tour of the day! The level of craftsmanship was incredibly impressive to witness in person. We bought a souvenir sterling silver Christmas ornament from the gift shop. We would have bought crystal, but we still had a whole trip and flight home ahead of us.

After our first pint and real meal in Ireland, it was time to head to our first castle hotel of the trip: Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Club. After a long 2 days of traveling, we were happy to finally take a hot shower and get some sleep.


Coming Up Next: Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park, and our fanciest castle hotel of the trip. Stay tuned!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Ireland-Bound Pt. 3: Gorgeous & Photo-Ready

Hey, y’all!

Part 3 of this travel-prepping series: skincare and makeup. I work too hard on my skin to slack off on my regimen just because I’m on vacation. We’ll be taking lots of photos, after all! When you have to worry about luggage weight, liquid limits, and just plain efficiency, how do you pack for a trip? Read on to find out my plan!

PS: any items marked with an asterisk (*) were part of my September Ulta Beauty Haul.

In My Carry-on

When I’m planning on checking a bag, I pack my beauty/personal items with the mentality that if my bag is lost when I arrive at my destination, what do I need with me to comfortably get through a night (or two) without it? I also factor in any items that I don’t want to subject to air pressure changes, as well as my pricier products that I want to make sure are handled with care.

The Liquids

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I’m able to fit A LOT into this quart-size bag from the Container Store:

I’ll also be adding the hand cream and rollerball perfume that I keep in my purse, plus my travel size hydrating mist from Juice Beauty. I’m choosing to keep my makeup look on the more natural side, so I’m not planning on bringing any liquid lipsticks, just tinted lip balm.

The Non-Liquids

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This cute bag was a nifty bridesmaid gift from a wedding I was in this year. In it I’ll be packing all the non-liquid items that I don’t want to leave my side:

  • A little mesh carrying case for my makeup sponges so they have a chance to dry between uses
  • Body and Face Mineral Sunscreens (in stick form)*
  • My small Z Palette for my eyeshadows (sticking with neutrals that I can mix and match)
  • Lip scrub
  • Silicone face scrubber (I’m leaving my Clearsonic at home)
  • Deodorant
  • Highlighter pencil
  • Brow pencil*
  • Eye Brightening Powder
  • Sample size translucent powder
  • My dome ZPalette that has my blushes, highlighters, pressed powder foundation (if I want to use it instead), and medium-sized Z Palette Travel Jars for my CC Cream so I don’t have to bring the whole tube

The Z Palette Travel Jars will be easy to pop out of the Z Palette and into my liquids bag to go through airport security. I’ll also be packing my epilator and its charger in my non-liquids bag before I leave.

Makeup Brushes

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I’m certainly not bringing every brush I own, but it’s a decent collection of everyday essentials:

  • Spoolie
  • Angled brow brush
  • Small powder brush for setting my eyeshadow primer
  • A few different eyeshadow brushes
  • Harley Quinn blending brush
  • Concealer brush
  • Small blending brush for applying eye brightening powder
  • Angled blush brush
  • Buffing brush for blending
  • Highlighting brush
  • Foundation buffing brush for pressed powder foundation
  • Large fan brush
  • Stippling brush
  • Large powder brush

In My Checked Bag

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I reserve the folding toiletry bag for the items I’m not super worried about getting lost or damaged. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. are all items you can expect to find in most hotel rooms. Do I prefer my own? Of course, but I can’t fit my entire bathroom into a quart-sized bag. 🙂

  • Travel-size hair primer*
  • Travel-size hairspray
  • Travel-size dry shampoo
  • Hair balm (transferred to a travel bottle)
  • Micellar water (transferred to a travel bottle)
  • Shampoo (transferred to a travel bottle)
  • Conditioner (transferred to a travel bottle)
  • Body wash (transferred to a travel bottle)

I’m sure there are things I’ll remember at the last minute and toss in, but I’d say my beauty regimen is all set for a belated honeymoon in Ireland! Any recommendations for things to see and do while we’re there?

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Ireland-Bound Pt. 2: Cute & Comfy

Hey, y’all!

Our trip is getting closer and closer, and I’m getting more and more excited! This post is going to be about some clothing items and accessories I bought for this trip, as well as for future travel. We’ll start from the bottom up.

Storm III Waterproof Hiking Shoes for Ladies

from The North Face

Photo of Women's Storm III Waterproof Hiking Shoes from The North Face
$109.99; Bass Pro Shop

I’m pretty sure the last time I got new hiking shoes/boots, my age was in the single digits. (I’m not exactly Queen of the Outdoors–glamping is more my speed.) Anyway, I read several posts online that recommended having some waterproof hiking boots for wandering around the Irish countryside. The hightop boot style isn’t really my thing, so I was looking for an actual shoe. I found these at Bass Pro Shop and loved them! They’re super comfy; I wore them one Saturday thinking I needed to break them in, but they’re good to go as-is. This color way isn’t showing on The North Face’s website, but they’re the same price as Bass Pro.

They have a Vibram sole for extra grip, a breathable mesh upper with waterproof membrane technology, anti-microbial OrthoLite footbeds, lots of cushioning, and great mid-foot support. I also just love the fact that they look more like hardcore sneakers than stereotypical hiking boots.

I’m super pleased with the compression socks I bought for the flight, too. I have 6 more pairs on the way that I’m going to use throughout the trip, but they’re taking forever to ship from New Jersey.

Women’s Denim Leggings with Pockets

from No Nonsense

Photo of Women's Denim Leggings from No Nonsense
$14.97; Amazon

Ok, I’ll fully admit that I used to be super judgy about jeggings, but I get it now. They’re super comfy, and for a trans-Atlantic flight, they’re perfect. These have a fake fly and fake front pockets, but the back pockets are real. I doubt I’ll use them, but whatever. I like the dark color and the softness of the fabric.

Chloe Glow Women’s Jacket

from SCOTTeVEST

Photo of Chloe Glow Travel Jacket from SCOTTeVEST
$95; SCOTTeVEST

Last Christmas I bought my husband the BauBax Men’s Sweatshirt. We had seen it blow up on Kickstarter, and they were having a holiday sale. I thought about buying a women’s one for me but decided not to. Now I’m super glad I didn’t because I LOVE this SCOTTeVEST jacket!

The cut is really flattering; it’s not bulky or baggy. It boasts 18 pockets–it took me a while to find some of them, and I honestly still haven’t found #18 yet. There are even pockets inside of pockets! There are pockets for your ID, camera & SD card, passport, tablet…the list goes on. The glasses pocket even comes with a chamois attached, and the chamois has a map of the jacket printed on it (I’m gonna need that!) There are loops along the neck to hold your earbuds, and there are buttonholes throughout the jacket that connect pockets to each other, so you can feed cables throughout as needed.

The sleeves also have a contrast cuff you can fold up, and those cuffs have thumb holes. This jacket is going to be perfect for flying, and the moisture wicking fabric means it will be great for trekking around without getting too warm. One feature I don’t understand is the infinity zipper–the front zipper literally goes all the way to the top of the hood, covering your face completely. It’s too fitted for that to be comfortable, so it’s not like I can use that to nap on the plane. If I did, I’d wake up with a zipper imprint on my nose. Oh well, no big. Honestly my ONLY complaint about this jacket is the fact that while it is machine washable, you can’t put it in the dryer. I’ll live.

Women’s Ultimate Gore Windstopper Hoody

from Mammut

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This jacket is discontinued on the Mammut website, but you can find it in select sizes on other sites. I found this one on eBay for less than half of the original retail price. Somehow even though I live in Florida, where it rains all summer, I didn’t own a rain jacket, other than a short trench coat. This Mammut jacket is nice and lightweight, is a flattering slim cut, packs away nicely, and is really comfy. I don’t really understand the point of 2-way zippers on the front and sides, but whatever. I was kind of “meh” about the color because it looked like a seafoam in the photos, but in reality it’s a pretty Tiffany Blue. I would have preferred grey for versatility, but this will make it harder for Jeff to lose me in crowds. 🙂

I think Mammut’s jackets are made with climbing in mind, so several of their jackets have hoods that are helmet compatible. This appears to be one of them, so I should have room to wear a ponytail with little issue.

7-Piece Packing Cubes w/ Shoe Bag

from Mossio Travel

Photo of 7 Piece Packing Cube Set with Shoe Bag from Mossio Travel
$12.99-$15.99; Amazon

I picked up this handy set of packing cubes and laundry bags to help organize my suitcase, and it came with a shoe bag. Each cube has a handle on one side, and the non-mesh sides are a durable water-resistant nylon. I’m obsessed with anything organization-related, so I’m actually looking forward to packing……what?

Side note: as a woman, I hate the “pink tax” as much as anyone else, and for the first time ever, the pink set was cheaper than any of the other colors! Win!

Anti-Theft Signature Quilted Expansion Crossbody

from Travelon Bags

Photo of Anti-Theft Signature Quilted Expansion Crossbody in "Smoke" from Travelon Bags
$75; Travelon Bags

I only wanted to bring one purse with me on the trip, so I was looking for ideas on The Container Store’s travel section of their website. I came across several Travelon bags and was intrigued. Theft isn’t something I’m super worried about on this trip, considering that we won’t be spending a whole lot of time in big cities, but it will be nice to have for future travel.

Anti-Theft Features:

  • Main compartment has an organizer with RFID blocking card and passport slots
  • Main compartment and front pocket have zipper pulls that hook onto D-rings
  • Slash-resistant body panels and shoulder strap
  • Lockdown strap

I also like that the fabric seems to be water-resistant, and the pink lining is pretty. 🙂 The fact that it has a zippered gusset around the outer edge means I can expand it to fit everything I need with no problem at all.

PS: I got it cheaper on Amazon. 🙂

Slim Business 17″ Computer Backpack

from Kopack

Photo of Slim Anti-Theft Business Laptop Backpack from Kopeck
$36.99; Amazon

I have my Barracuda carry-on bag that I love, but I needed a personal item that was easier to carry than a tote. Since I’m planning on starting grad school next fall, it made sense to look for a backpack and kill two proverbial birds in one stone.

I ended up choosing this grey one for its features:

  • The laptop compartment is anti-theft in 2 ways: it has a zipper pull that clips to a D-ring, and it’s also located behind the straps, making it impossible for someone to take something out of it while you’re wearing it. It can also fit up to a 17″ laptop.
  • The main compartment has a double-layer anti-puncture zipper closure, and the zipper pulls can be locked together with a small lock (not sold with the backpack).
  • It has a USB port to be able to charge a phone/iPod/whatever, and the cable that connects that port to a power source is detachable. The backpack doesn’t come with a power bank, but it does come with the cable. I didn’t want a built-in cable because when the cable eventually goes bad (they always do), that feature would end up being useless.
  • It’s water- and tear-resistant.
  • It has a slim profile while still having lots of pockets to organize everything I need.

I was that nerd growing up that absolutely LOVED back-to-school shopping and getting my backpack, binders, etc. organized for the new year. Nothing has really changed, so I’m super excited to get this backpack all ready for flying across the Atlantic!


What are some clothing items and accessories you can’t bear to travel without? I’d love to hear about them!

Have a great week.

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Ireland-Bound Pt. 1: Charged & Organized

Hey, y’all!

Our belated Irish honeymoon is just a few weeks away, and I’m so excited! We’ve been buying stuff to prepare for our trip, and I decided to do a 3-part blog series about it. Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3, and in the meantime, let’s jump into part 1: traveling overseas as conveniently as possible with electronic devices. So far the only thing we haven’t figured out is what we’re doing with our cell phones. Since we’re going to be renting a car and driving around, we want to have navigation available. We need to go to the AT&T store and figure out what our options are. Any suggestions from fellow travelers?

When I think about using electronics, the first thing I think about is a power source, and traveling overseas means I’m going to need an adapter to keep my devices charged. When I spent a summer in London during college, I bought a set of adapters that had me covered for all the major plug types, but that only means being able to plug in one device at a time. Now it’s 2018, and I was able to get something way more convenient:

Power Plug Travel Adapter International w/ 5 USB Ports

from Sublimeware

Photo of Power Plug Travel Adapter from Sublimeware
$23.45; Sublimeware

It has 3 different switches that each expose a different plug type: C (used in Europe, South America, and Asia), G (used in the UK and a few other places, and A (used in the US and other places). The pins for the A can also be tilted in to become type I, which is used in Australia. This website is a handy reference. With this one adapter, I could have up to 6 devices plugged in at any given time: 4 in the USB ports, 1 in the Type C USB port, and one in the regular socket. It claims to work in over 150 countries, so hopefully we’ll be set for awhile. 🙂

It also came with a little carrying case, but we’ll be storing it in this with our cables and such:

Glendale 2-Layer Organizer in “Heather Coral”

from Bagsmart

Photo of Glendale 2-Layer Organizer in Heather Coral from Bagsmart
$27.99; Bagsmart

I saw this one of those lists of 30-something things on Amazon that you didn’t know you needed, and it was so true! Until I bought this, traveling with electronics meant wrapping each of my cables with double sided velcro and then putting all of those in a zipper bag of some sort. The velcro would get stuck on stuff all the time, and any bulkier plugs would have to go somewhere else in my suitcase. Now I can put it all in one place. The elastic bands in the top layer keep cables neat and organized, there are mesh pockets for things like batteries, and there are even little pockets for SIM and SD cards. The bottom layer has a padded pocket that fits up to a 10″ tablet and padded dividers that velcro together, so they can be configured in different ways to best accommodate items like adapters, a mouse, etc. It’s made of a water-resistant polyester, and its dimensions (10.8″L x 8.3″W x 3.7″H) mean it will fit nicely into my carry-on bag.


What are the electronic devices you can’t travel without? Any suggestions on the phone thing would be much appreciated.

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Spoil Me Sunday: Fly Me to the Moon

Hey, y’all!

Spoiler Alert: this post has absolutely nothing to do with beauty or skincare products. This Spoil Me Sunday is special because it’s my husband’s and my first wedding anniversary. After booking our (belated) honeymoon in Ireland, watching one of my best friends marry the man of her dreams last weekend, and spending a long weekend with mine, I’m brimming with love, happiness, and excitement. Frank Sinatra’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon” was our first dance at our wedding reception; it’s been stuck in my head most of the day, and it always puts a big smile on my face. I didn’t need to do any special beauty regimen this weekend because as Audrey Hepburn once said, “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls,” and our mini getaway this weekend made me really happy.

Friday

I’ll start this off with saying that as my anniversary gift, Jeff planned this entire weekend without any assistance from me, and as a bonus he did the driving. Perfect! We kicked off our long anniversary weekend with lunch at Fogo de Chão (thanks for the gift card, Aunt Cathy & Uncle Jodie!) It was delicious, as always, and met my meat quota for like a week haha.

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After lunch, we drove down to St. Petersburg and checked into the Cordova Inn, which is an adorable boutique hotel originally built in 1921. The location in downtown St. Petersburg was perfect: it was within walking distance of countless restaurants, shops, museums, and points of interest. I’d definitely recommend staying here, and it has a pretty interesting history, if you want to check it out on their website.

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All the museums and such in St. Pete seem to close at 5, so there wasn’t a whole lot for us to do once we got settled in, but we walked around to scope things out, grabbed a small bite to eat, and came across a taproom that was right next to our hotel, called Pour Taproom. They started in Asheville, NC, and they’ve expanded to a handful of locations on the east coast and one in California. The setup is really cool: when you open your tab, you get a rubber wristband that has some sort of electronic component to it (I assume RFID). They have 85 different beers, ciders, & wines to choose from, and you just tap your wristband on the screen of the beverage you want to try, serve yourself as much or as little as you want, and you get charged by the ounce. At the end, you just turn in your wristband to close you your tab. It’s a great way to sample several different beverages without having to commit to a whole drink and rack up an enormous tab. It’s definitely beer-centered, but maybe the cider and wine selections will grow eventually (I hope!) Jeff was totally stoked that he could drink Belgians for around $.75/oz. We drank outside so that Jeff could vape, but I noticed they had all kinds of board games and card games you could play inside.

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Saturday

We slept in a bit, took our time getting ready, and made our way over to the Iberian Rooster for brunch. We had picked up one of those tourist maps in our hotel lobby, and Iberian Rooster had an ad boasting bottomless mimosas and brunch Saturday and Sunday until 3pm–we were sold! We got even more excited when we arrived and discovered that there were 10 different flavors of mimosas to choose from: classic, Bellini, Creme de Peche, Batida de Coco, Frambois, Creme de Mure (my favorite), Pamplemousse Rose, Cedilla Açai (my second favorite), Tipplers Orange, and Banane du Brasil. It’s a family-owned Portuguese Fusion restaurant and speakeasy near the Central Arts District. Everything we tried was delicious, and considering we didn’t even get to try their lunch or late-night menus, we definitely plan on going back next time we’re in St. Pete. PS: If you go for brunch, don’t skip on the cheese grits–they’re fantastic!

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After brunch, we made our way over to the Morean Arts Center’s Glass Studio & Hot Shop. We arrived just in time to watch a glass-blowing demonstration, which was absolutely mesmerizing. Seeing the demonstration before going to the Chihuly exhibit helps you further appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship required to make these glass masterpieces. The Chihuly Collection was just a short walk away, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The variety of colors and textures, as well as just the sheer magnitude of some of the pieces was absolutely breathtaking. I found it interesting that the building was designed specifically for this collection, so the architecture and the art work very harmoniously together. This collection is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss when visiting St. Pete.

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After leaving the gallery, we walked over to South Straub Park to check out the 5th annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival that happened to be going on this weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it over there until around 4:30, and they closed at 5. So we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our evening plans: dinner at Sushi, Inc. (I was craving seaweed salad!) and a show at the Palladium Theatre. We enjoyed one of the performances of the 10th annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, featuring the Helios Jazz Orchestra and vocals by Whitney James & Chuck Wansley. The music selection had a Big Band vibe, which Jeff and I both really enjoyed.

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We finished off the evening with some rolled ice cream from Dot Ice and another stop at Pour. I had seen rolled ice cream online before, but I’d never had an opportunity to try it.  I got the “S’mores Galore” flavor, so they started out by chopping up a graham cracker on the flat pan, which is kept at -17°F. Then they pour sweet cream on the pan, mix it all together, and spread it very neatly and evenly until it freezes to the point where they can roll it up and put it in a cup. My anal retentive soul found it very gratifying to watch. 🙂

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Sunday

After checking out of the hotel, we went to a 24/7 diner next door to Pour, called 2nd & Second. Oh my goodness, they had so many things we wanted to try, but I went with a “Grilled Cheese Your Way” (sourdough, cheddar, tomatoes, grilled onions, and mushrooms.) This is yet another place we plan on going back to next time we’re in town because there were just too many choices!

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After fending off the hangriness, we finally made our way over to the Salvador Dalí Museum. We had to rush through a little more than we would have liked because we needed to start heading home, but we enjoyed what we did see, both the exhibits and the gardens.


Now it’s back to real life: meal prepping, laundry, preparing for work tomorrow, etc. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, though, it’s that if you choose the right partner, even “real life” is pretty great. I might be a little biased, but I think I married the most wonderful man in the world, and you’d have a hard time convincing me otherwise.

Wedding Day

St. Petersburg might only be 2 hours away from home, but since we both left our work cell phones at home, we got to disconnect from our everyday life for a couple of days and explore a new place together. I’m looking forward to the next 70+ years of exploring this big world hand in hand.


I hope you had a great weekend, too! Have you ever been to St. Petersburg? What looks the most interesting to you?

 

Love,

Sarah xoxo