t h i r t y

Holy moley, I turned 30 this week!!! I really didn’t know how I would feel about it because it has always seemed like a pretty big milestone to me. I thought for sure I would have a total breakdown and panic that my life was “over” (I know, so dramatic), but I actually just felt so very content instead. Who knew that would ever happen??

I think as I’m getting older I’m finally starting to really learn how to be happy with myself and love who I am. I have always been someone who wants to please everyone else and avoid confrontation at all costs. Ask me what I want to do and I’ll immediately respond with “Whatever you would like to do is good with me” or something similar. I’ve slowly been changing that though because why wouldn’t my opinion be just as valid as someone else’s? Why should I so easily be able to cheer on and support and be incredibly happy for everyone else’s successes while nitpicking my own accomplishments? I really want to try to be better at that. Instead of second guessing myself or berating myself for things I could have done better, I want to be happy that I even tried. To be happy that I didn’t give up. And I want to keep trying new things, new foods, new places to travel. I want to become even more healthy and happy and content in my own skin. I’m super excited to see what turning 30 brings!

To celebrate my birthday, Josh and I finally took a trip to Indy for breakfast at Milktooth! I have been wanting to try this restaurant out for almost 3 years! The restaurant is a converted garage and such a cute place- very eclectic and kind of a retro diner vibe. The chairs were all mismatched and the bookshelves were lined with fun tchotchkes, just like being back at Grandma’s house when we were kids.  


We arrived a little before 9 am and were told that it was counter service coffee and pastries only until 9, but that we could grab something to drink and get a table until food service started. I’m super glad we got there early because every table was completely packed and there was a line of people waiting by 9:15. Josh ordered the bottomless drip- the drip of the day was a nougat, molasses, and milk chocolate coffee from Tinker Coffee Co. I had the Song Red tea in a tea press. I had never had red tea before, but I really enjoyed it!

There were so many delicious sounding options, it was very hard to choose. They have a rotating menu, so I know we will most definitely be going back to try even more. We decided on a biscuit to share. And not just any biscuit. A maple roasted sweet potato biscuit with cranberry butter and pomegranate port honey. It was scrumptious. The biscuit had a nice crunch on the outside, but was fluffy inside. The cranberry butter was sweet and worked really well with the crunch of the pomegranate seeds on top.


Josh had the cranberry walnut & geneva & raclette grilled cheese drizzled with black truffle honey and topped with a local sunny duck egg. The cranberry walnut bread was toasted and filled with so much ooey gooey cheese. I wasn’t expecting the honey to complement it so well, but it was such a great touch to all the creaminess of the cheese and the duck egg. Don’t even get me started on the runny egg yolk. I was a little jealous that Josh got to eat all but the few bites he shared with me.


I ordered the pearl sugar and sourdough lemon poppy-seed waffle with persimmon butter, candied pecans, and maple syrup. The waffle had a great crunch and a touch of sweetness to it from the pearl sugar. It was just savory enough to blend well with the richness of the butter, syrup, and pecans. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.


Milktooth was exactly what I had hoped for and while the menu may seem crazy and weird, everything we tasted was so delicious and well worth a visit!  


good food, good times

Last weekend, Josh and I had an awesome date night in Louisville. We used to go to Indianapolis all the time, but lately we have really been loving Louisville. They’re totally killing it with the food scene. The only problem with that is there are too many choices…actually, that’s a really good problem to have! Thankfully, I have compiled a spreadsheet of restaurants (from friends’ recommendations, Food Network shows, Instagram pictures, etc) we want to try in cities around the US. If you don’t have a spreadsheet of restaurants you want to eat at, you need to get on that asap. Instead of the forever argument of “where do you want to eat?… I don’t care, where do you want to eat?” we now have a foolproof plan of picking a restaurant. After deciding what city we want to drive to (we usually stay within an hour drive), we open up the spreadsheet and (usually) select the first restaurant on the list that we haven’t eaten at yet. How easy is that?! We decided instead of trying a new restaurant, we would visit one of our favorites again- Migo. We got there pretty soon after they opened and were able to get a table right away. It’s not a huge place, so the earlier you can get there, the better. We started out with mofongo for an appetizer. The plantains and potatoes were covered in chunks of juicy roasted pork, fresh cilantro, and salty crumbly cotija cheese served in a mini cast iron skillet. So. Good.   

Migo has a lot of options for tacos, from short rib to duck to catfish to sweet potato and so many more, as well as the option of having them served Mexican or Korean style. I finally decided on a pork belly taco served Asian style and a chorizo taco served Mexican style. The chorizo was salty and full of flavor and I loved the pickled onions and fresh cilantro on top. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth texture, so fatty, so flavorful. The kimchi on top had a bite and mixed well with the fattiness of the pork belly. It’s going to be hard for me to try any other taco after that pork belly.

Josh had a chicharrón taco served Mexican style and a pork belly taco served Korean style. The chicharrón had a lot of flavor, but the texture was a little too chewy. Of course, the pork belly was amazing.

We were halfway through eating our tacos when we realized our sides- Brussels sprouts and elote- hadn’t come out yet. Our waiter had accidentally forgot to put them in with our order, but it wasn’t a big deal at all. He brought them out to us really quickly and they were so hot we had to wait a couple minutes before digging in. The Brussels sprouts were crispy, caramelized, and covered in a delicious Mexican crema, fresh cilantro, and cotija cheese served in a little cast iron pan. I’m not normally a fan of corn, but their elote is amazing- the fresh corn on the cob is slathered in this really yummy chili-lime cream sauce and sprinkled with fresh cilantro. I could eat it non-stop.    

After dinner, you know what time it was…dessert time! I’m sure there are some other really great dessert places, but we can’t stop ourselves from going to Louisville Cream every time. We really just love that they make small batch ice creams and every week there are new flavors to try. Josh had a pretzel cone with their bourbon pecan and corn flake praline ice cream. The corn flake praline was really good, there were whole pecans throughout, and the taste of bourbon came through perfectly but wasn’t overpowering.   

I had the balsamic strawberry sundae with their homemade biscuits and jam ice cream. The ice cream was served in a cute glass dish and was covered in balsamic strawberry sauce, crystallized balsamic and cinnamon brioche crunch and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The brioche crunch was crispy on the outside, but so soft once you bit into it. The jam in the ice cream was just tart enough and the balsamic strawberry sauce was so full of flavor I could have eaten a bowl of just that.


I know it’s been awhile since I last posted and I have a very good reason for that! For nearly five years, Josh and I had been working together and had a great daily routine set up. We worked about ten minutes from where we live (so convenient), but I was slowly becoming more and more unhappy there and decided a change was necessary. So, I took a new job! I now travel a little over an hour to work and have later work hours which has been quite an adjustment to my routine. Change is so freaking scary (even when it’s by choice)! But, I’m slowly getting into a rhythm and I’m really loving my new job! In the last month, I’ve already learned several new things and I’m doing things I didn’t think I would ever be doing. It also helps a lot that I have friends that were former co-workers already working there.   

I think the hardest part about switching jobs is not being able to see Josh throughout the day. We didn’t work on the same team, but we both worked on the same floor, so it wasn’t unusual for our paths to cross. We still eat breakfast together every morning before heading our separate ways. And of course, we still text each other throughout the day. But, it’s just not the same. I have really come to cherish our time together after work a whole lot more since making this change. If I have extra time in the morning before I leave for work, I’ll do the laundry or clean up around the house so it doesn’t cut into our time together after work. I try not to be on my phone as much when I get home now and just connect more. It’s a work in progress, but every little minute we get together is becoming more special.

With the job change, my workout routine has also changed. I used to go to a CrossFit gym after work about 25 minutes from our house. This past week, I started going to a new CF gym (about 2 minutes from my new job) in the morning before work. I was pretty nervous about starting somewhere new and meeting a whole new group of people. But, I’ve been trying hard to be open to change and going to the new gym in the morning has actually been really great. The coaches have all been very welcoming, the classes have been much smaller so we get a little more individualized coaching, and I start my day being active and feeling refreshed/ready for the day. I still miss my other gym all the time, but I’m very happy to be getting back to the community aspect of CF instead of working out alone in our garage or the basement at work.

Not only did I join a new gym this week, but the CF Open also started! For those of you who don’t know what the Open is, it is a chance for you to compete against hundreds of thousands of people across the world in five different workouts over five weeks. You sign up online to participate. Every Thursday night for five weeks, a new workout is announced. You then have until Monday evening to complete the workout (with someone “judging” you and keeping track of your workout on an official scorecard) and submit your score online. After each workout has been verified, you get ranked according to your score against everyone else participating. For the majority of people like me, this is just a really fun time to get together with your gym and get a really hard workout in. And it’s really cool to see how you compare to everyone else. This is my fourth year competing in the CF Open and I still get soooo nervous before every workout even though it does not affect my job, my relationships, or anything else at all! I don’t know what it is about the Open, maybe that I know the workout is going to really hurt or that someone is judging me, but it gets me every time. My new gym is holding “Friday Night Lights” where we do the Open workout for that week all together on Friday night. Throughout the day on Friday, I was slightly nervous about doing 18.1, but I was more nervous about going to the gym for the first time in the evening and not knowing anyone but the coaches. I was so surprised that this was the very first Open workout I’ve done where it was just fun. I didn’t know anyone else working out, so while I did work hard and do my best, I didn’t feel any pressure to kill myself during the workout. And the guy who was my judge was so great- he helped me pace during the workout and cheered me on the whole time. Don’t get me wrong, the workout hurt and I was really happy when it was over, but it was so much fun! I can’t wait to see what the next four workouts are!    

I don’t know what the future will hold, but I’m slowly learning that while change can be scary it isn’t always bad and it can bring a lot of wonderful, amazing opportunities! Don’t let fear hold you back!


Slán go fóill, Ireland!

November 17- Our Last Day in Ireland

After almost two amazing weeks in Ireland, it was finally our last day…and I’ve got to be honest, there wasn’t anything over the top exciting or special about it. We were completely fine with that after the whirlwind of so many super amazing, magical moments. For breakfast, we walked a short distance from SkyBackpackers to The Bakehouse. It was a lovely little cafe with lots of fresh baked goods, coffee and hot chocolate. I ordered a hot chocolate and the bacon butty which was Irish back bacon served with two fried eggs and Bakehouse tomato relish on Bakehouse bloomer bread. The hot chocolate was super chocolatey and creamy and the bread was sooo fresh and soft. Delish!

Josh had a cappuccino (with the cutest snowflake design) and the salmon potato hash, a chunky wedge of potato hash with Wrights smoked salmon, spinach, poached eggs, and Bakehouse breakfast sauce. The Bakehouse sauce with the salmon and poached eggs was so yummy!

We still had a day left on our hop-on-hop-off bus pass, so we rode the bus over to St. Stephen’s Green. St. Stephen’s Green is a really pretty public park in the city. It was quite a chilly and cloudy day, so we didn’t enjoy the park as much as we would have had it been better weather. The park wasn’t far from Grafton Street, so we wandered over to peruse all the great shopping available. Grafton Street has everything you could ever think of- little shops and department stores full of clothes, shoes, food, home goods, toys, restaurants and cafes, everything! We spent quite a bit of time walking in and out of stores until lunch. We were definitely getting a little cold and ready for a break. I still had it in my mind that I wanted to eat at Stag’s Head since the beginning of our trip, so that’s where we headed.


We ordered the breaded Brie cheese for an appetizer. The golden brown breaded Irish Brie cheese was served with a house salad, red onion marmalade, and balsamic dressing. The red onion marmalade was so delicious, I could have eaten that alone. The gooey, creamy Brie with it took it to a whole other level of yum.



I was craving a big, hot bowl of soup and was not disappointed at all with the seafood chowder and brown bread. They used fresh, smoked seafood and it was made to order. So good!    


Josh had the fish and chips- fresh Atlantic cod in a light crispy O’Haras beer batter served with chunky chips and homemade tartar sauce.

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After warming up and filling our bellies, we headed back out for more window shopping on Grafton Street. Eventually we ran out of stores that we were interested in, so we came up with a great idea to go see Justice League at a movie theater on O’Connell Street. The theater we watched the movie in was so huge that there were restrooms inside. And assigned seating. I don’t know why I thought that was all so cool, but it was! We both enjoyed the movie and it helped us fill up some more time before heading to the airport.

For dinner, we decided to go back to Murray’s Bar and Grill. I’m really glad we did. We had to have our last meal in a pub and I just couldn’t leave Ireland without one last meal of fish and chips. The Irish cod was fried in a light beer batter and served with a homemade tartar sauce and crispy fries. Josh had the baby back ribs and chips…so random, I know! We really enjoyed our food and having our last meal in a pub filled with cold drinks and music and laughter and fun.

After dinner, we walked back to SkyBackpackers to pick up our luggage. We loaded up our car and drove to the rental car drop-off. We got to Dublin Airport around 9 or 10 pm, but our flight wasn’t until 6 am the next morning. We were really hoping we would be able to print off our boarding passes and get through security, but no counters were open to check us in, so we had to go upstairs to the food court to spend the night. I mean, who doesn’t want to sleep on the booths at McDonald’s? (We totally debated back and forth about staying at a hotel for our last night, but decided against it to save money and not have to worry about transportation to the airport at 4 am).


It was not glamorous by any means and we didn’t get much sleep, but it worked. If we had to do it over again, I think we would book a later morning flight so we could stay in a hotel instead of the airport food court. You live and learn, right?

The rest of our journey home was majorly uneventful- a short flight to Amsterdam, a 3.5 hour layover with naps and reading, an 8.5 hour flight to Chicago full of watching movies, a 5 hour train ride to Indianapolis with more sleeping and movies, and an hour car ride home. After all that time traveling, we were soooo happy to be home, words can’t even describe. And the best part was coming home to our cute pup!


Tip of the day: Don’t book such an early flight that you have to spend the night in the airport food court! But, please please please, take a trip to Ireland as soon as you possibly can!!!

dublin or bust

November 16- Kilmainham Gaol & Dublin Zoo

Thursday morning we woke up to sunny, but quite chilly weather. We walked just down the block to Cinnamon Cafe for breakfast. I had hot chocolate and the breakfast bagel stuffed with bacon, sausage, and scrambled egg. Josh had a cappuccino and scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. One part of the cafe I really liked was that they had a whole selection of fresh jams to try out. The cafe was nothing super fancy, but it was good, simple food and there were tons of options available to choose from.  

After breakfast, we had the whole day free to do absolutely anything. We had a few things left on our list of sight-seeing wants, so we purchased a 48 hour DoDublin hop-On-hop-off bus pass. Our first stop of the day was the Kilmainham Gaol. We found out on the bus ride over that the Gaol usually sells out pretty early, so if we hadn’t purchased tickets already there was a chance there wouldn’t be any tours left available. Thankfully, we arrived fairly early in the day and were able to snag tickets for a tour within the next half hour. If the Gaol is one of the top things on your list, I would recommend purchasing tickets online ahead of time just to be safe. The hour long tour was chock full of information. I was amazed at how many dates and stories about different rebellions (such as the Easter Rising) the tour guide was able to spout off from memory!


Seeing the small cells and feeling the chill of the air in the West Wing, I was super happy that I would never be a prisoner there.


My favorite part of the Gaol was the East or Victorian wing. It was the complete opposite of the West Wing- there was a huge skylight that let in the sun and every cell opened up into large airy room.


Our tour ended at the Stonebreaker’s Yard. This is one of the most famous yards at the Gaol and where several leaders of the Easter Rising were executed.


We waited for what seemed like forever to catch the next bus on the hop-on-hop-off tour, but finally it arrived and we were on our way to Dublin Zoo . I was super happy walking around the zoo, as it seemed almost every single animal was out and about, walking and moving around. We were super lucky to visit during November because they had just begun their Wild Lights exhibit which featured so many giant, beautiful, colorful lanterns shaped like the animals. We saw lions (we even got video of a male lion roaring!), leopards, orangutans, and penguins as we ventured through the Asian forests, orangutan forest, and the cove.


I thoroughly enjoyed the African savanna where several giraffes, rhinoceros, oryx, and zebra roamed free together.


Walking through the gorilla rainforest and the Kaziranga Forest trail, we unfortunately didn’t see any gorillas or elephants. I tried not to be disappointed because up until that point literally every other animal had been out and active.

Seriously, how amazing were these Chinese lanterns?! The elephant lantern stood about 52 feet high and the Chinese dragon was almost 100 feet long!

And there was a giant sloth!

We were getting really hungry after touring the gaol and the zoo, so we hopped back on the bus and made our way closer to the city centre. We couldn’t decide where to eat, so after a little research, Josh suggested Beshoff. It was the cutest little restaurant with cafe seating and black and white checkered floors. Unfortunately, the food was so disgusting. We both had the fresh cod and chips and were very disappointed. I was only a few bites into my fish when i bit into a bundle of bones. No thank you! And it was overly greasy, even for fried fish. The chips weren’t good either, they tasted like they had been fried earlier and reheated to serve. I would not ever recommend going there to eat.

To make up for our gross lunch, we popped over to Gelato Di Natura Dublin to drown our sorrows in something sweet. I had the Fabbri Choccomint which was a very creamy, yummy mint chocolate chip. Josh had the cookies flavor which tasted like Biscoff cookie butter. Yum!

For our last night, we stayed at SkyBackpackers Hostel. Our friend, Alex, recommended it to us from when he had stayed there a few months before while in Dublin. The hostel was really fun and hip with lots of bright colors and fun decorations. They had free luggage storage, a kitchen, laundry room, and lounge areas with couches, books, and a tv with a variety of DVDs to watch. The hostel was also really close walking distance to Temple Bar and all the shopping areas. I would definitely recommend staying there.   

After getting our luggage settled into our room (we stayed in a 6-person mixed dorm to save money), we headed south across the River Liffey for dinner at The Bank on College Green. The Bank was such a gorgeous restaurant housed in a previous bank building. While waiting for our table, we ordered some drinks at the bar and took in our surroundings. There were large marble columns, chandeliers, and mirrored walls. The ceiling was beautiful, made up of stained glass and floral plasterwork. It was the perfect date night atmosphere with live piano music and the glow of candlelight with the lights down low. I can’t recommend this restaurant enough.

We thoroughly enjoyed the goats cheese and red pepper croquettes served with apple and celeriac remoulade and a horseradish crème fraiche for our starter.

For dinner, Josh had the fish of the day which was pan fried halibut with turnip purée, gratin potatoes, asparagus, baby carrots, and a lime and dill Hollandaise. I had the slow roasted pork belly served with an apple and cumin purée, champ mash, crackling, spiced white cabbage with chorizo and red wine jus. The pork belly was melt in your mouth and so good.   

Dessert was just as delicious! I had a warm chocolate brownie with fresh berries and Tickety Moo vanilla ice cream and honeycomb. Josh had the orangecrème brûlée with a raspberry coulis and shortbread cookie.

We went back to our hostel after dinner for their free beer/cider night hosted in the lounge. We ended up playing a game called Quiplash with a few other guys staying there. It was a pretty fun game, but a little hard to play with strangers. It would definitely be a good game to play with friends though. Once we finished our drinks, Josh and I walked a few blocks up to Murray’s Bar and Grill for drinks and live music. We sat at the bar (it was packed) which worked out really well to see the stage. The music was really good and the whole place had a great pub feel.


Tip of the day: Don’t leave Dublin without eating at The Bank on College Green.

you & me & ireland

November 15- Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-rede Bridge, Dark Hedges, & Dublin

We had a nice little breakfast at the B&B Wednesday morning. The hostess had a table set up with juices, coffee, and cereal (cornflakes, of course!). She also made us scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast with butter and jam. I have to tell you, we got really spoiled staying at all the places that offered home cooked breakfasts in the morning.


After we ate, we made a quick pit stop at Dunluce Castle. We were too early, so the castle wasn’t open yet. We were able to walk down a path and some steps to get closer to the ocean and the castle. I can’t imagine living in this castle with such an awesome view of the ocean.

Next, we headed to the Giant’s Causeway. What an exceptionally amazing magical place! I had read (in my trusty guidebooks) that it was free to get into the Giant’s Causeway, but we realized upon arriving that we didn’t know how to get to the stones or trails without first going through the visitor’s center. And to get into the visitor’s center you have to pay (this also covers parking). Honestly, I was annoyed at first, but it was so very worth the cost. Thankfully, we got there almost as soon as they opened, so there weren’t a lot of people there yet. By the time we left, it was so crowded and there were several tour groups arriving. So get there early!

We opted to do the audio tour (it didn’t cost any extra) which was way more fun and entertaining than I expected. Legend has it that the Giant’s Causeway was built by an actual giant, Finn McCool. As we walked from the visitor’s center down the blue trail, the audio tour explained to us all about Finn building the Causeway or interlocking basalt columns/steps from Ireland to Scotland. We heard a tale of Finn falling asleep and borrowing a camel, Humphrey, to make it home in time so as not to upset his wife. He liked Humphrey so much he decided to keep him and Humphrey can still be seen sleeping on the shore today.  

We learned about several different rock formations, such as these bulbous rocks that peel layer by layer from weathering, much like an onion.


When we rounded the corner from Humphrey and the onion rocks, we were greeted with the view of the basalt columns in the distance (the Grand Causeway). The columns were all different shapes and sizes, ranging from just a few inches tall to towering over our heads.

We continued following the blue trail, listening to wonderful stories of Finn and his adventures. We even got to see one of the giant’s boots! It was so large that Josh and I both could have easily sat on it.


As the story goes, there was a Scottish giant, Benandonner, that Finn didn’t get along with so well. Benandonner came to visit and Finn’s wife disguised him as a baby because they knew Finn couldn’t beat this large giant in a fight. Benandonner was so afraid- if the baby was that large, how big was Finn?- that he turned and ran away, destroying the steps in his hasty retreat.

Not far past the giant’s boot, we veered off the blue path and headed up the Shepherd’s Steps to walk part of the trail along the towering cliff side. It was so gorgeous and so peaceful at the top. We were alone almost the entire time, only passing one small group of people near the beginning of the trail.

We only walked a portion of the cliff top trail before heading back down the Shepherd’s Steps to continue on the red trail to see the Amphitheater. As we walked the red trail, we passed the Organ. The Organ was a huge formation of the basalt columns and looked very much like a pipe organ.

The amphitheater was awesome. We saw lots of red rock which was really pretty. I wish that my camera could convey how huge the amphitheater actually was, but my pictures just don’t do it justice.

The scenery at the Giant’s Causeway was just gorgeous. We had the best weather to enjoy every minute of it. I loved listening to the waves crash on the stones and feeling the ocean breeze blowing by. Listening to the legends of Finn and witnessing the magic of the area, it was so easy to believe the Giant’s Causeway was in fact built by giants. I hope to visit here again someday. It was one of our favorite parts of the entire trip by far!


After a wonderful morning at the Giant’s Causeway, we went to visit the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. The rope bridge is suspended almost 100 feet above sea level. It was put in place in the 1750s by salmon fisherman in the area. Unfortunately, when we arrived the bridge was closed to visitors because they were replacing it with a new one. We were still able to walk the trail leading to the bridge and get some pictures of it up close. I was bummed we couldn’t walk across it, but I was also very relieved…I imagine it would actually be quite terrifying to walk across an unsteady old rope bridge so high above the sea.


There was a viewpoint near the bridge where we could see Scotland far off in the distance!


Our last tourist stop before leaving Northern Ireland was the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney. Being huge fans of Game of Thrones, it was a no-brainer that we would be stopping here for pictures. The Dark Hedges were featured in season 2 as the King’s Road.

We had worked up quite an appetite from the morning, so on our drive back to Dublin we stopped at The Millside, Cloughmills for lunch. It was an amazing find. The hostess was lovely, so kind and welcoming. The lunch menu featured a really good deal for appetizer + an entree or an entree + dessert and it was inexpensive. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

We shared the baked Brie served with a raspberry compote and salad for an appetizer. You know we can’t pass up baked Brie!


Josh had the lunch of the day which was peppered pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy, and veggies. I had the battered cod with peas, chips, and tartar sauce. Both meals were very good. The portions were so huge and very filling.    


For dessert, we shared the fresh fruit pavlova. The pavlova was huge, covered in fresh whipped cream, mixed berries, and a raspberry compote drizzle. It had a nice crunch on the outside, but immediately melted in your mouth. Delicious!


Besides a ton of traffic travelling through Belfast, the rest of our drive back to Dublin was uneventful. We hadn’t planned on heading back to Dublin when we originally planned our trip out, but we didn’t feel the need to stay in Northern Ireland any longer. We thought about staying at Abigail’s Hostel again, but had been recommended by the worker at Hertz to stay at the Generator Hostel in Dublin, so we decided to stay there instead. I’m really glad we did! It was located right in the city centre next to the Jameson Distillery and within walking distance of Temple Bar and lots of pubs and restaurants. There was so much room and everything was clean. It seemed to be well taken care of and they even had different theme nights/activities throughout the week- trivia nights, comedy nights, etc.


After we got settled in our room (hooray for another private room!), it was time to find somewhere for dinner. We felt like we had eaten everywhere we wanted in Temple Bar, so we searched for places closer to our hostel. We found the best BBQ place with the best name ever- My Meat Wagon! I mean, how can you not try out a place named My Meat Wagon?!

I know you’re thinking it’s a little weird we wanted BBQ while in Dublin, but it was really good. Josh had the (pulled) pork in a box and I had (pulled) pork on bread. Josh’s meal came with cole slaw and fries. My sandwich came with pickled veggies, a side of cole slaw, and the cutest little shopping cart full of fries. I would come back just to get the little shopping cart! Oh, if you want the shopping cart make sure to order the sandwich, as the box didn’t come with the shopping cart.

You know we can’t go out for dinner and not get something sweet too. So for dessert, we had a slice of their peanut butter pie and tiramisu cheesecake. They were both so good!

Instead of heading back to the hostel after dinner, we decided to make the most of our time and walk to Brazen Head for a drink. I think that was one of our best decisions and the best night of the whole trip! After we ordered our drinks, we sat at one of the bars just enjoying the night. The room had a cozy fireplace and was all decorated with garland and lights for Christmas. It was perfect!  

While sitting at the bar, we met an awesome couple who had just flown in from New York. We chatted for a bit before heading to another part of the pub for live music. The couple we had met made their way right up front next to the musicians and waved us over…how can you say no to front row seats to live Irish music?! The live music was put on by three older gentleman who sang and played guitars and banjos. And. It. Was. Amazing! That night at Brazen Head was absolutely everything I ever dreamed about a trip to Ireland being- new friends, a cozy fire, and cold drinks in a pub full of music and laughter. Pure magic.

Tip of the day: Make a trip to Northern Ireland even if just to go to the Giant’s Causeway. And spend an evening at Brazen Head enjoying the live music and atmosphere. You won’t regret it.

born to wander, born to roam

November 14- Slieve League & Old Bushmills Distillery

We started off Thursday morning with a great breakfast at Blas, the restaurant connected to The Gateway Lodge. It was a lovely little place with hardwood floors, chandeliers, and exposed brick walls- things that speak straight to my heart!

I had the Blas breakfast (full Irish breakfast with two fried eggs, sausage, bacon, black pudding, roasted tomatoes, mushroom, beans, and tomato relish) with orange juice and Josh got the eggs benedict with coffee. We also had toast with butter and jam. Great start to the day!

Seriously, how cute was The Gateway Lodge?

We packed up our luggage after breakfast and headed on an hour long drive to Slieve League. When we arrived, the area was gated off and there was no one in the parking area. I realized that we were about a half hour earlier than when they were supposed to open according to my Frommer’s guidebook. We checked out the signs and the gate. We didn’t see any hours posted, so we eventually just opened up the gate and walked through. Slieve League is a mountain on the northwest coast of Ireland. It isn’t as well known as the Cliffs of Moher, but the cliffs at Slieve League are almost three times higher!

We had the entire place to ourselves. There was a nice paved road that we were able to hike up to the top on. We saw tons of sheep everywhere, just sitting on the side of the road or grazing the mountainside. We veered off the paved road at one point to follow a trail through the grass. There were some great views and it made my day when a ram and sheep walked right in front of us across the trail (they were very nervous and trying to get as far away from us as possible, but it was still so cool).



We walked back on the paved road and continued on to the end of the “trail”. I think it ended up being about a mile total. What a sight! I wish so much that my pictures conveyed how enormous and wild and amazing Slieve League was. As much as I enjoyed the Cliffs of Moher, I loved the scenery and having Slieve League all to ourselves even more.


From Slieve League, we had a nice, long three hour drive to Northern Ireland. We stopped at a gas station/grocery store/coffee shop for candy bars and sandwiches to eat on the way. I opted for the safe option- ham and cheese (although the cheese was shredded which was different). Josh was a risk-taker and picked an egg and onion sandwich. It was surprisingly delicious, especially if you like the bite you get from red onion.

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I was really interested to see if crossing the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland would be noticeable. I thought that there was definitely a difference. There wasn’t a giant wall or border patrol or anywhere you had to stop (it was just like crossing from Indiana over to Ohio), but instantly the architecture and design of the buildings and the road signs changed. Everything became much more European which makes sense since Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. Our first stop in Northern Ireland was the Old Bushmills Distillery. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures on the tour, but it was a good one. We got to see the entire process of whiskey making, including the bottling portion. I thought this was especially neat as we hadn’t gotten to see that in any other distillery tour. Kind of random, but it also smelled amazing outside of the buildings…all those yummy alcohol vapors floating around!

At the end of the tour, we stopped at the Old Bushmills bar for a free drink. Josh tried the Bushmills 12 year. He said it was just ok, simple and smooth, but lacking any kind of spice. I tried a hot toddy (with the Bushmills Original) for the first time. I have to say, I didn’t really enjoy it. There was just too much whiskey flavor. So, Josh got my drink too!

After the distillery tour, we headed to Causeway Bed and Breakfast to check in. We were the only people staying that night, so it was nice and quiet. There was a living room with a tv, a sofa, and a loveseat and a dining area with tables and chairs. Our room was very clean and nicely decorated with an en suite bathroom.


For dinner, we made our way into Portrush to check out the restaurants there. We ended up eating at Neptune and Prawn. I loved how the restaurant was decorated. It was very nautical and fun. We did not enjoy the food though. While the restaurant seemed to be a seafood place, the menu was actually quite Asian inspired. Which is fine, I totally love Asian food. It was more that the menu didn’t match the decor at all. It just threw us off. For an appetizer, we had the chilli chicken wings and duck spring rolls with hoisin sauce. The wings looked really good, but were nothing special. Just hot wings. The duck spring rolls were actually really good and we enjoyed those a lot.

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For the main course, I had the chilli chicken special fried rice with prawns and coconut sauce. Originally Josh wanted to order the salt & chilli fish and chips, but was told by the waiter that it was in fact shrimp and not fish at all, so he had the chicken chilli big bowl with udon noodles in a coconut broth instead. Both things sounded great on the menu and looked amazing when they came out. We were both so disappointed though because both of our dishes just tasted like hot sauce. There were no yummy flavors, just heat.

After dinner, we walked around the corner to Harbour Bar. It’s supposed to be one of the best pubs on the North Coast. It was really tiny, only about 10-15 people could sit inside. We were there pretty early, so we didn’t get to hear any live music. I imagine we would have enjoyed the bar a lot more if we had music to listen to. There really didn’t seem to be anything overly special about the bar. Josh tried the Bushmill’s Black Bush whiskey. I started on a Magner’s cider before realizing I actually had to drive back to the bed & breakfast (almost everywhere we had been staying was within walking distance to pubs and restaurants), so Josh had the rest of my drink as well.

We were both in the mood for dessert after Harbour Bar, but nothing at the restaurants nearby caught our attention, so we drove back to the Causeway B&B. There was a gas station right next door, so we popped in for “dessert” there- a Drifter chocolate bar, a Galaxy caramel ice cream bar, a Cadbury Crunchie Blast ice cream bar, and a Cadbury Dairy milk ice cream bar. We took our treats back to the house, sat out in the common area, and watched Big Bang Theory and Say Yes to the Dress while eating them. They were all super yummy. I think my favorite was the Crunchie Blast bar because it was honeycomb flavored ice cream (yes honeycomb!) with chocolate covering and popping candies.

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We got ready for bed pretty early (we were both pretty tired from all the driving) and ended up just laying in bed watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives for a couple hours. It actually turned out awesome because the episodes featured restaurants from Louisville, so I was able to add some fun new places to try to our list!

Tip of the day: Fish and chips on the menu doesn’t always mean actual fish…