Snow Days Are The Best Days

I was able to have an awesome snow day today!  I worked on some personal projects as well as some business.  In between that,  I went on a  photo adventure with a couple of my friends. There's nothing like the world being a giant softbox to create some beautiful portraits.  Or some silly ones. And I got a quick one of my dog because dogs are amazing and he was too fast to get anything else (He's not a fan of snow). 

Go Ruck Light

You guys won't be surprised to know that I was not the one doing the Go Ruck.  I was merely following along until I saw Unknown Brewery and then I bailed.  I still managed to get three gnarly blisters and also conned into walking another mile and a half at the end.  

Clint decided he was going to get all in shape so he's been signing up to do runs and rucks and things.  In July he signed up to do the Go Ruck Light, which is supposed to last 5ish hours and you "ruck" for 7-10 miles.  I think his lasted 7ish hours and they rucked 14 miles.  At least that was the consensus.  Started out in the glaring sun and ended in the rain!  

I just waited around downtown all that time for him to be done.  Ryan and Lori kept me company for a little while and then I sat in a very nice coffeeshop until Clint's phone GPS told me he was close.  I thought, "oh we're near the beginning! I'll follow along till the end."  But no, we kept going until we reached Unknown Brewery again!  Should have drank beer all day and relaxed there apparently. 

Family Vacation - Destin, Florida

Though Clint and my Dad couldn't make it this year (one off being a Marine and the other taking care of his own father), we had a pretty good family vacation.  It's hard to have a bad one when you're surrounded by pristine white sand beaches and water as teal and blue as I wish my hair was (#inspired).  Basically the beaches of Destin are my spirit animal, so pale the sun reflects off them and accessorized with anything remotely blueish.  See for yourself.  

Plus my little nieces aren't half bad as little models.  Silly little girls. 

We went on a badass dolphin cruise where we saw some dolphins but also had a lot of fun trying to keep our balance while dancing to the Spice Girls.  

We ate a ton of really good food from oysters at AJ's to a few gorgeous steaks between the four of us and even sushi at McGuire's; all of which I was too busy enjoying immensely to take any decent pictures of.  And we travelled all the way down the famous 30A Highway and back before deciding on one of the gorgeous beaches to spend our day at. We even stopped at the airstreams in Seaside which have all been converted into food trucks since their glory days of being offices for the architects in the area. 

And as usual the pictures of me are almost nonexistent.  Here's a few of me holding a camera courtesy of my mumsy...

Landsford Canal State Park, Part Two

We finally got to revisit the canals in a bit warmer weather.  Our friend Casey joined us on the hike along with our puppers, Oliver and Hugger. It was a beautiful day and I still forgot my sunscreen so if you've seen me then you know how that goes.  As per usual, there are no pictures of me because I'm the only one who knows how to use a camera.  So it kinda looks like I'm documenting Casey and Clint's date, or maybe Hugger and Olivers,' But, you know, whatever. We ended the hike the hike successfully despite Oliver jumping down from a bridge and doing a faceplant.  We then went to Carolina Beer Temple for refreshments and then Umami for sushi takeout! Because nothing ends a hike better then beer and sushi. 

Monroe Air Show

A couple months back I went with Clint and some of our friends to the Air Show, even though I know nothing about airplanes.  Clint loves them though so Laura and I followed him, Trevor, Ryan, and Jackson around from place to place. We did find the beer garden! Which they had hidden away in a back corner so the hooligans were properly corralled. And we also saw a truck with a jet engine inside of it.  Craziness. 

Lori and Ryan Engagement

Though we didn't get to drag race, we did get the strip to ourselves for the engagement. Lori was mostly in the dark especially when we got there and they had just closed because of the rain (even though we called before we left and they said they were staying open).  She did have her suspicions; apparently Ryan was acting a little more lovey dovey than normal the night before. And after she told him how cool it would have been if he proposed at the drag strip they met at (its closed since then); he said, "It would still be cool if it was another drag strip rightttt?"  Way to be subtle there Ryan.   We did convince Lori we were going to take some pictures of the truck on the strip, though I think the gig might have been up when Ryan told her to get into the pictures. 

So, Ryan and Lori met at a drag strip and eight years later Ryan asked her to marry him at another one! 

Glider in a Bucket Wish

As some of you may know, my grandfather moved in with my parents as he was recently diagnosed with stage four bone cancer. He shared with my father that he's always wanted to fly in a glider (something that would scare the bejeesus out of me.)  My father (an architect) just so happens to be doing a project for Michael Simmons, a man who frequently goes up and flies gliders.  He offered to take Papa up flying on Sunday so we made it a family affair.  So the whole family all headed down to Bermuda High Soaring and watched a 90-year-old man do something the majority of us are scared to do, get towed a mile into the air, and fly around in a plane with no engine. 

Doctor Killion

Wanted to congratulate my cousin Elizabeth (AKA Sniz) for graduating with a Doctorate from Tufts this weekend.  She's amazing! We're all so proud of her and excited for her to start her new adventure in California and we all had an amazing time celebrating her accomplishments in Boston!

Lucky Box of Charms

As some of you may know, The Boy (Clint) and I took an amazing trip to Ireland a week ago.  We had impeccable timing everywhere we went, from getting to restaurants or museums before the crowd or narrowly missing rain when we did outdoor activities It started from the very beginning in the Chicago airport of all places.  It's possible we waltzed our way right into the First Class Lounge and relaxed for a bit before our plane was ready to board.

 And the plane! As soon as we were boarding a bunch of Irish international choir kids started serenading us. They were very talented, here's a video of the back of the chair in front of me with a soundtrack thanks to those kids. 

The flight attendant made them stop for the takeoff presentation though... They did sing again when we were getting our luggage in Ireland and it was just as amazing.  A great way to start a trip.

I did immediately leave my sweater at the rental car place and we had to go back for it, but that was a minor bump in the trip... and an extra toll pass (we set the GPS to avoid tolls after that, best decision we made). 

The first castle we stayed in was the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel and we immediately went out exploring despite my very pronounced jet-lag (Clint can sleep on planes; I clearly have some issues). We found our first pub (through tripadvisor) at the top of a hill, called The Druid's Chair.  Our bartender was super helpful about where we should go and what we should see.  Although apparently he had a summer job in Myrtle Beach as a rollercoaster operator of all places and all things so clearly his tastes have improved. 

After that we drove into Dublin (a mistake we didn't make twice- Clint driving in a city is bad, Clint driving on the wrong side of the road in a city is very stressful) and walked around.  We went to Walton's to take a look at all the Bodhrans. (Clint dreams of playing as good as our friend Jim.) Then we got coffee and beer at a pub, but the jet-lag was definitely getting to us and we headed back to the hotel/castle for a sleepy meal.  I mean look at us. 

Hellloooooo Jetlag

Then we went up to the room to watch Brave because it was on Netflix and The Secret of Kells was not. Clint still needs to watch it and you should too!

The next day we had a day entirely devoted to Irish Alcohol.  Starting at St. James Gate and Guinness and then heading over to Jameson's Distillery.  At Guinness we learned how to pour our own glass of Guinness and got a certificate like a little kid to prove it.  Along with a picture where we and a handful of strangers all look a bit confused and ridiculous.  We did learn a lot about the brewing process they use as well as the history of Guinness including it's transportation history and advertising history. 

After we had been up to the very tippy top of Guinness we headed over to the Old Jameson Distillery, where Clint wouldn't let me take any photo's so I only got this one.

 Everyone can blame him for how little good photography is in this post. We did both learn the proper way to make Irish Coffee's as well as the fact that we both like Scotch more than Whiskey (DON'T HURT US IRELAND, we really like Powers Irish Whiskey if that's any consolation).  In fact, the Irish Coffee was so good we got it again that night at the Fitzpatrick's bar, but not before we found out that there was a Captain America's Restaurant in Dublin!  It was crazy crowded and the food looked 'meh' so we just went in to say we went in and bounced. 

The next morning we headed North and West to get to Kilronan Castle Hotel which had the most amazing thermal pools. Just giant hot tubs (and cold tubs) as well as a steam room, a sauna, and a "relaxation room."  Again, the lack of photo's is entirely Clint's fault.... Though this is where I realized that the chances of getting any decent in-focus pictures of me where slim to none. Behold:

After I had my gut-wrenching realization we headed into town to go to church where I didn't understand much of what the priest was saying, but did manage to realize that he blessed Roscommon's football team at the end of this sermon.  We then headed into Carrick-on-Shannon and had some lunch at An Poitin Still where we saw the people getting ready for the game before going to Lough Key Forest Park (yes, I did walk for miles in that long dress and I have no regrets - except for not teaching Clint how to properly focus a camera).  I did get some of the best photos of the trip here though since I had Clint captive out in the wilderness.  As you can see, Clint has some problems focusing on my face, and I have some problems getting him to turn around so I can take a picture of his face without it being goofy.  It's okay, he'll just look stoic while he walks away from me in every picture I guess. 

Then came the day you've all been waiting to hear about! The day Clint randomly asked me if he should shave and weirdly told me that morning, "Yeah, I like that shirt. That shirt looks good." So obviously, I had no idea what was going to happen and I definitely didn't think his weird obsession with what day we were going to the Cliffs of Moher was suspicious.  Definitely not. We got up on the cliffs by O'Brien's Tower and Clint suggested we get someone to take a picture of us (which was also not weird since he had been so gungho to take pictures the rest of the trip. Hmmmm.). He ended up asking this awesome Australian couple because they had a DSLR and seemed trustworthy. Their names were Kerry and Adrian so clearly it was meant to be.  Kerry took pictures of us with my phone (Clint had no memory on his) while Adrian was nice enough to snap a few with his DSLR and emailed them to us later! Thanks Adrian and Kerry!

Anyway, Clint came back up the steps to where he told me to (very not suspiciously) wait and was like, "You know I love you right?" 

I said, "Yeahhhhhhhh?"

And then he got down on one knee, as one does, and said, "I asked your parents and they're down with it, so will you marry me."  It was very Clint.  And I'm not going to lie, I may have been making grabby hands at the ring and be leaving parts out that were a total blur in my memory. 

Here are the pictures that Adrian took (Kerry made an appearance):

Kerry got excited and shed a few tears when Clint told them he was going to propose.  Here are the one's she got with my phone.  Got to say, we don't look to bad.  Though I am mad that the roads were way too scary for me to put on makeup in the car.  And sorry Matt, he didn't propose with a ring box full of the diamonds from Lucky Charms.

And some great shots of the Cliffs! With a few of us looking goofy in there.  Maybe an out of focus picture of me or two. 

After the Cliffs we headed to our next castle, Dromoland Castle! Which was a super neat place.  And when we told them we just got engaged they gave us Champagne and had chocolates sent to our room with a congratulatory note! That night we had some oysters and breakfast for dinner before Clint had a celebratory cigar. Frank, our bartender, also serenaded us with, of all things, a few beautifully done Frank Sinatra songs. 

The next day, we went on as many adventures that Dromoland had to offer us that we could. We started with Falconry, then horseback riding, and then Archery.  After we flew Brian the Hawk, we went and met the other hawks in the mew as well as a few owls. One of the owls was awesome and his name was Pickles and I wanted to take him home.  That night I actually had a dream about sneaking back in to see Pickles. 

Then was Clint's first time on horseback! He did pretty great though we did get led around a bit by Clara because she was a bit nervous of his total newness and of my newness to the English riding style. 

Then came Archery.  We were both pretty good I must say, though my boobs are definitely a hindrance to proper form as the string kept hitting them when I pulled it back.  I want to make clear that Clint's bullseye picture has an arrow taken out of the white around the edge that he didn't want anyone to see. I'm telling you so that you know he isn't perfect at everything involving a bullseye.  Me on the other hand...

After our adventures we took a quick nap (Clint took a long one) and then we went into Newmarket on Fergus for dinner.  We stopped at The Hunter's Lodge for some great food, a beer and some conversation with and older man at the bar about baby sheep. Then we decided to hop to another bar.  We ended up at the aptly named, The Pub, and I immediately realized that my leather jacket's zipper had broken with me in it.  

Clint abandoned me to the bar to go pee and one of the older gentlemen at the bar watched as I struggled to try to fix the zipper.  He was like, "I'd try to help you, but I don't think your husband would like that."  I eventually had to take the jacket off over my head and once we got the zipper free try (and fail a few times) to remember that I couldn't actually zip it. 

It turned out that this gentlemen was the head chef at the Dromoland and once we had said that we just got engaged the day before him and the other three men at the bar started buying us drinks.  We literally paid for the first round and that was it.  A dude at the end of the bar that had such a heavy accent (compounded by the fact that he was definitely drunk) that I couldn't understand him was buying us different types of shots.  And they were all ribbing each other about things and getting into arguments over nothing (apparently the Chinese restaurant down the street is run by Malaysians). 

It won't be a surprise to anyone that getting up the next morning was not a fun experience, but we did, and we took an hour detour into Galway to explore. And I'm sorry to say, I got one picture. Totally Clint's fault.  And the downpour of rain right when I took my camera out. But! The picture legitimizing my love of whiskey and ginger ale and all the people that look at me when I order that can suck it.

From Galway we went back to the northern part of Ireland where we were staying at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel.  It too had a thermal room, but their pools did not seem as hot as Kilronan's. 

The next day we went back into Dublin for a day of actual history and culture instead of just alcohol.  Our first stop was the beautiful Trinity College to see the equally beautiful Book of Kells (again, go see the movie). I didn't get to take any pictures of the Book of Kells, for obvious reasons, but the library above it was magnificent. Apparently the library in Hogwarts was based off of it, and we all know how much I love Harry Potter. And books. And History. And, you know, Harry Potter.

After Trinity College we made our way to St. Patrick's Cathedral for some more history lessons and architecture.  When we got there we were lucky enough to be in time for an unscheduled choir performance.  And let me tell you, It was awesome. 

After that we tried to find oysters.  We failed miserably, but we did find a cool bar that led us to Darkey Kelley's where we saw an older gentlemen drink six Guinness' while we drank one beer.  He was watching the horse races and he didn't get up to pee once. It was insane. 

After our adventure's running around Dublin that day we went back to the Dunboyne for a final huzzah dinner. We even got champagne and chocolate again because ENGAGED!


And that's all she wrote about Ireland. Well, we'll see. 

Boston 2015!!!

Last month I went on a wonderful trip to visit my cousin.  We went to Fenway Park and I had a freakin' flight of scotch which I have evidence of. Unfortunately, I did not take a ton of photos so there is not a lot of evidence of the beer crawl and the Boston Marathon except for iPhone photos.  There are certainly a lot of selfies though.... I am sorry for that.  Kind of.  

My cousin was amazing and found Boston Brew Tours, a service that drives you all around Boston in a big white van.  I promise it isn't as creepy as it sounds.  So we joined a group of 12 that were celebrating a birthday party and made our merry way around Boston's breweries.  We went to Sam Adams, Idle Hands, Meadhall, and Night Shift Brews.  The whole experience was awesome.  Not only did they let us sample amazing beer, but Meadhall fed us a very awesome meal. 

We went to Citizen Public House where I had an awesome brunch (that was definitely not vegetarian) and then I may or may not have tried a flight of whiskey.  Okay, I definitely did. Then onto Fenway Park where I saw my very first Boston Red Sox game and even bought a hat.  No it was not the insane Green Monster hat.  Sniz is an Orioles fan so she was disappointed in me being a Red Sox fan (I'm really a Cubs fan but we don't talk about that).  

The night before I had to leave we went to the North End for some amazing Italian food at Carmelina's before going to Mike's Pastry shop so I could bring my family back the best of cannolis.  

I can't wait to see Sniz again and/or go back to Boston. 

Landsford Canal State Park

Clint and I took a trip down to South Carolina this weekend to hike.  We went to Landsford Canal State Park and have plans to go back in the summer when it is not 32 degrees and we can canoe!  How I managed to get a sunburn walking through the woods in mostly shade, we may never know.  Also, as you can see from the first picture, I've got no jumps. 

Testing + My Favourite Color

As many of you know, I work in a mostly product oriented studio.  And as many of you also might know, I don't have much of a product portfolio, but I'm working on changing that. Lately I've been working with different stylists, mostly the lovely Lauren Skrobot, to make some awesome images.  I'll be posting different ones up here periodically.  Starting with this very finicky image combining both of our favourite colors: teal and gray. We've got three personalities in one; the hipster-photographer, the fashionista, and the crafter.  Yes those are 7.62x39 rounds made into a bracelet, and yes that is a purse-sized hair straightener, and yes we did own all of these items. Which personality do you most resemble?

Boston, Beer, and Boats

In May, I went to visit my cousin Elizabeth - better known as Sniz- in Boston.  Boston is an awesome town because it's just a tinier, more clean version of New York City and we all know how I feel about New York City.  My Amazing Aunt gave me a ticket to see Sniz anytime I wanted for Christmas/my Birthday and I finally cashed it in. 

We got to do all sorts of fun cousin things; like actually try on a bra that fits me (I could blog about this for days), drink beer, shop, watch scary TV shows, and go whale watching.  

First we drank beer. Both at The Whiskey Priest, which has an awesome upstairs deck that looks out on the harbor, and at Harpoon Brewery.  It was the first time I got to experience the brewery's beer hall and I have to say it was awesome.  In addition to having amazing beer, they also have ridiculously good pretzels with different sauces to soak up all that alcohol.  It was supposed to rain all weekend, and instead we ended up having absolutely beautiful weather- especially for the whale watching. 

We went whale watching on Sunday.  It was also supposed to rain, and it clearly did not.  We did get majorly lucky and saw about 11 or so different Humpback and Fin whales. You can read about it here on the NEAQ's website.  Apparently seeing so many whales is uncommon, but there was a large population explosion of what the whales fed on at the time so we got lucky. 

Uncle Steve

A few weeks ago my uncle took my request to make me gazpacho for my Mom's birthday (which was delicious, but perhaps not the first thing my mum wanted).  So I took his request to take some handsome, head shots of him.  As well as his request to look trustworthy and not like a cranky old man.  How did I do?

PS: You should take a look at his website- He's one of the smartest people I know.