Friday, June 30, 2017

house planning: my office (my favorite room!)

So our house has three bedrooms, but one of them is very very small. It's an odd shaped room, and has an open door up to the ~finished attic. It's not big enough to put our guest bed in any of the corners, so we chose to use the other larger bedroom as our guest room, and this room as my office and keeper of my clothes. CR keeps his clothes in our bedroom, and the attic will eventually become his space (once we actually finish the walls and replace the carpet).

So let's talk about the most fun part, about where my clothes go! I mentioned before that our house does not have huge closets, being that our house was built in the 50's. I don't have a TON of clothes, but I have a fair amount, so this one bar was just not going to cut it for my closet.

CR spent a whole evening taking out the old bars, sanding down the walls to make them smooth, painted it white, and then spent a half a day installing this simple Closetmaid system we got at Home Depot. It's just a 12 inch shelf system (he added a few extra shelves) with one bar on the left for dresses, and two on the right for blouses, skirts, and blazers. It has made SUCH a difference, and is so much more practical than it was before! Here's a peak at what it looked like before I found the rest of my pants ;)
and the instagram shot ;)
In addition to my closet, I recently purchased this dresser from Amazon after searching all over the place for a white dresser. I fell in love with this one because it's so darn practical! It has drawers for all my under garments and work out clothes, but then the right side I keep all my make-up and hair accessories - I love that I can just close the door and it just makes the room look so much tidier! Best part is that the dresser is actual wood, so I feel like I finally own at least one "real" piece of furniture. If you're interested in it, keep an eye on the price as it's been fluctuating over the past month - I got it for $200 less than it's listed for right now!
So the dresser goes along the right wall in the above picture, and then I bought this gold bookcase (also from Amazon) for the wall on the left side of the picture. I spent a long time trying not to buy that bookcase because it's a bit of a blogger cliche to have a gold open bookcase (at least I feel everyone has one!) but it was really difficult to find something that was open enough to fit in that space without blocking out a part of the room (because you basically walk right into that went you enter the room). Eventually I caved though and bought the gold bookcase (here's a similar Ikea hack if you want to save a bit of money). I am obsessed with it! I just love how pretty it is, how it holds my jewelry box, my most special purses, my perfume, and all my other accessories. It's just the stand out piece in this tiny room!
Above is what that space looked like before we painted everything (and before we added my mini chandelier!). My desk goes in the left corner, as you can see in the diagram above. I was thinking about putting a rug down under the desk, but the more I think about it, I feel that may look a bit weird and also be impractical with my office chair constantly rolling over it. I may end up adding a lighter pink one in the middle of the room (something like this rug from Wayfair) - what do you guys think?

So that wraps up the house planning tour (see the downstairs here and our bedroom post here). While all the painting is finally done, it'll be a while until our rooms are ready to really be shown off, so hopefully we will resume the house posts in a few months! Thank you for all of your help in this process - we really appreciate all of the helpful tips and encouragement you guys have sent our way!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

we all want to wear what we are told we aren't supposed to.

top on mannequin // top in collage // jeans // necklace // belt // shoes

Last weekend I went up to Cleveland with my mom and my sister, and we stopped at the mall just to look around (and buy lipstick). We walked around Madewell, mostly admiring their totes (mine is now five years old and has seen much better days). As we were walking out of the store, I saw the outfit on top, and immediately stopped to snap a picture of it because I loved  the look - high waisted skinny jeans, a loose half tucked top, an open neckline. It was just so cool.

I uploaded the picture to instastories to share, and said I wish I could pull of the look. In my mind, that look only looks good on the thinner, straighter body typed girls. A bunch of fellow hourglass women shared my sentiment...and one said, why the hell can't you?

That's right, why can't I? Of course I can. But I've been spending years finding "the most flattering" way of dressing, and not just trying to make looks and trends work on my body. High waisted skinny jeans that showcase my size 10-12 hips, and a shirt that doesn't cover them has never really been something I've considered. I feel like about once a year I come to the conclusion that I should "stop playing by the rules" and just wear the outfits I think are cute without being so so SO concerned that it's not THE MOST FLATTERING ever. I don't really actively discuss how every outfit I show on here is about "finding clothes that flatter your body" because sometimes I fail (hard), but I do try to find clothes that look good on me and that I actually want to wear. That's why I order so many clothes and review them - because for every one piece of clothing I keep, I try on at least five that didn't work at all on me. But then you start figuring out what looks good on you, and you keep just buying variations of that same thing. Over. And over. And over again.

Maybe sometimes being in a clothing rut is because we don't feel comfortable trying new things, so you keep wearing the old ones, and then the rut continues. And continues. And continues. Until you have five years worth of pictures that document the same kind of style, just in different patterns and colors. I look through my closet, full of clothes that fit me and am just so bored. I see outfits like the one above and just wish I felt comfortable enough with my body and bold enough to just put it on and not care that maybe there are pant styles that are more flattering or that a top that goes in at the waist may be better for my frame. Maybe I just want someone to look at my outfit and think "wow, good for her for wearing something she loves, she really seems confident in that outfit" rather than "that girl sure found a way to minimize her larger bust and show off her waist without showing off her love handles". Doesn't that statement make me sound like a crazy person? Because I bet you that not a single one of you thinks that...but that's what I think every day when I get dressed.

So... I bought the damn jeans and the shirt. Because I loved the look and it's been a long time since I saw a whole outfit and just wanted it immediately. Maybe I'll try it on and go dammmmnnn I look good, won't this be fun to wear on a date sometime or to dinner with a girlfriend or just for an afternoon walking around Home Depot.

Or maybe they just really won't suit me and I'll try something else.

But I'll never know until I actually try.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

top three [06.25.2017]

a few updates around the house: actual chairs to sit on //  no trees :( // our new countertop!

spotted //
  • Buying denim shorts is pretty much the worst. I'm hopefully that this rolled pair from Gap is exactly what I've been looking for. 
  • A polka dotted linen skirt is basically the cutest thing I've seen all week. 
  • After spotting these Madewell jeans while at the mall yesterday, I decided it's time I finally try some higher waisted skinny jeans. I love the look on others, so I want to try to make it work for me too!

on the internet //

throwback //

ask me anything //
  • I'm an Ob/Gyn wannabe at medical school in Canada and applying for residency this year. Not sure if it's different in the US, but here we are encouraged to apply for more than one specialty to reduce the chances of going unmatched. I'm wondering whether you thought about applying to another specialty as a backup, and what you think you would have done if you'd had to deal with going unmatched.
    • Oh man, that's such a tough one to really answer because I know the matching system is different here in the US than it is in Canada. I chose not to apply to a back up speciality. I personally would have been really unhappy if I didn't get to do ObGyn, and it would have been unfair to a field like internal or family medicine for me to have that as my backup, because I just don't have the passion for it. All of my friends who are doing IM/FM really love it, and I know it wasn't for me. So while I was wrestling with the idea of having a backup, I chose to take a big chance and throw all my efforts into matching ObGyn. If I hadn't matched, which obviously is always a real possibility, I wasn't 100% sure what I was going to do. It's hard to answer now retrospectively - CR and I discussed me scrambling into to a transition year spot so that I could re-apply to ObGyn, but I am so so so thankful that I didn't have to go down that route. Best of luck in this crazy process!
  • What kind of bag did you bring around to classes during medical school? Would you recommend something more formal than a backpack?
    • During the week, I used a leather tote bag from Kate Spade (mine was very similar to this). My school had a dress code, so I liked looking a bit more pulled together. On the weekend, I would use my Everlane backpack for carrying all my books (and bookstand and noise canceling headphones and snacks) to the library. I personally liked having something a bit more formal for when I was at school, but that's just me! 
  • You graduated from a DO school, but are doing an MD residency. Will you be able to use both MD and DO after your name?
    • No, I earned a DO in medical school, so that's what goes after my name! 

on franish //

notable sales //

at home //
  • Lots of things happening at the house this week! We wrapped up "Phase 1" of the projects - so now everything is painted, all the receptacles and switches and hinges and door knobs are replaced, and all most lights are switched out. Now we are doing the fun things, like building floating shelves and painting the fireplace! My gold bookshelf also arrived, as did our dining room chairs (although still no table). It's slowly coming together!
  • One more week you guys, and I officially start residency! We have about two weeks of orientation, and then I start on gyn surgery. I am so nervous. 
  • My mom was here this week to help my sister move into her place and to help me with some house projects (hello, white fireplace!). It's been so nice to have family around and explore our new surroundings! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

house plans: the bedroom

hi guys!

is this the worst style blog of all time?


Anyway, not much going on here besides house things all day, every day. A lot of people have commented that we are really banging out the projects, and to be honest, we have really been hustling. We want our house to be pretty much set by the time we start residency - CR starts next week, and I start the week after, so we want to have a livable house by that time. We're getting there!

Thank you for all of your helpful suggestions on my post about our downstairs - I'm just patiently waiting for our dining room table and couch to come (...any week now...). I am still looking for the right dining room chairs - I've decided that even with a cat, we will probably go with upholstered chairs, something like these ones from Wayfair, that can easily be vacuumed off when we have guests. Still looking for a rug and coffee table as well...among other things.

But today we're talking about our bedroom!

So this is basically what it looked like before - a pretty typical 11 x 14 foot room. It has as small closet to the right of this picture that we had already decided was going to be CR's closet (as my office has a closet). Like the rest of the house, we painted it a light grey color, painted the trim white, retouched the ceiling, and replaced all of the outlets with white ones. We also removed that super dated boob light (any one else call them that?!) with an awesome black ceiling fan (our cat is obsessed with it!). Since we both will be working nights during residency, we are putting in black out blinds in the windows...and then probably getting some kind of curtain (...still tbd). This is the after:
As far as actual things in the room...

We have a queen sized bed, and have this dark grey headboard from Overstock - we've had it for two years now, and it looks brand new, so highly recommend if you are looking for something new! Our one set of older bedding has definitely seen better days (cat claws and non-textured fabric are just not a good combo) so it has been donated. I just ordered this beautiful duvet from Pottery Barn as our other duvet (they just had a great bedding sale, so keep an eye out for code if you are interested!). We still have our older night stands from Ikea and our bedside lamps (that I spray painted black to match the rest of the hardware in the house). CR's dresser is actually the first piece of furniture his parents bought when they got married, and so we have repainted it the same white as the trim, and made the drawers a dark navy. We used the old cupboard pulls that we replaced in the kitchen as the new knobs - saves us a bit of money for something you can't really see anyway! I love that the dresser has such a great story behind it (it used to be CR's changing table too), and I can't wait for it to eventually be a changing table for the next little one in the family. In a house with so much "new", it's nice to have some history too. 

Under the bed we put a rug (you can see the concept in the top picture - that outside square is the rug, not the bed). I was debating between something darker, like a really dark navy rug, or something with a bit more lighter colors in it. We decided on the lighter rug in the end because it was a bit more modern and brighten up the room. I can't wait to show you what it looks like! 

I would also like to add a chic mini symmetrical gallery wall above the bed - I was thinking something like these sleek black frames from Framebridge with some pictures from our past years together...and maybe a space or two for wedding pictures ;) I think it would be the perfect finishing touch. 

Other than that, we have a whole corner and mini wall to by the door to come up with something for - mini table for CR's things? Corner bookshelf? Giant plant? Any suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

top three [06.18.2017]

I'll take one of each from Everlane's new beach collection: dress // shorts // sweatshirt

spotted //

on the internet //

throwback //

notable sales // 

on franish //

at home // 
  • This was our first week in our house and boy, have we been busy! We are just about done with all the painting - every single wall and piece of trim in the house was painted, so it's taken us almost a whole month to get it done. A few pieces of furniture have arrived (notably my dresser and gold bookstand), light fixtures have been changed out (no more boob lights!), and door hardware is almost all done being exchanged. I can't wait to share all the progress we have made!
  • After a month away from any form of real exercise, I went to my first Orange Theory class on Friday - it was such a great work out! My co-intern Marissa and I immediately signed up for a monthly membership. Having the membership will force us to at least work out four times a month during intern year ;)
  • On Friday, us incoming interns were invited to our residency's graduation banquet. It was so much fun to hang out with my co-interns and our future upperclassmen. It made it all seem so real - two more weeks until I officially start! 

ps. happy fathers day to my own dad, who I know does not read my blog, but deserves a shoutout anyway! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

love for elemis 24/7 super skin system

I am working with QVC to review some of the products they sell. I am receiving compensation to review these products, but all the opinions are always my own. I'm excited to share these amazing skin care products with you!

One of my favorite parts about blogging has been that I get to try new products quite often - as I continue to try to perfect my daily skin care routine, it has been such a treat to try skincare products from brands new to me. One of those lately has been Elemis!

Elemis is a British brand that is now sold on QVC that is science led and results driven. QVC sells a bunch of their products currently, from toners to enzyme peels to face oils. I got to try out their three piece collection plus their rose scrub, and honestly, I can't pick a favorite because they are all amazing in their own way.

ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
I was initially the most excited about the cleansing balm because I am always on the look out for a new way to remove my makeup. The Elemis cleansing balm has a very clean smell to it. I take about a dime sized amount out of the jar, rub it between my fingers to liquify it slightly, and then rub it all over my eyes and face to remove my make-up. After rinsing with water, all of my make-up is gone, and it doesn't leave a residue like I've found with other balms I've used in the past. I took this with me to Ireland, and used it the whole time I was there - the container is perfect for traveling because nothing can spill out of it or leak. 
 ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
The other two items in the set are the Night Recovery cream-oil, and the Pro-Collagen day cream. I love that it's very clear about when to use each product and that they are formulated for either moisturizing under your make-up, or for your skin recovering overnight. Over the years, I've really found that you just need different products depending on what time of the day it is. The night recovery cream-oil combo is a new one for me - it looks like a cream, but has the highly moisturizing effects of an oil. You know I'm currently all about the face oils, so I love how moisturized my skin feels after using this. I use this on the nights I don't use my prescription retinoid. 
 Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator
Not included in the three part set, but one I wanted to mention, is the Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator. As someone with dry and flaky skin, I am constantly looking for something to help with making my skin look fresh and not dull. If you love the smell of roses as much as I do (my grandma has a huge rose garden and the smell of roses always reminds me of her), you will love this scrub. It's definitely on the gentle side, so I use it about every third day. It removes all of those flaky spots without rubbing your face raw, which is something I've experienced with harsher scrubs in the past. I usually follow with a face mask and then the recovery oil. My skin glows the next morning 👌

QVC is currently selling the 3 part set for $99 (if purchased each item separately, it would be over $250!). Below are a few more Elemis items being sold on QVC. I have my eye on the bliss capsules - they are basically little capsules with concentrated oil, which I think is just so clever. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

visiting kylemore abbey

Women's Cargo Vest Dark Green - Mossimo
You know who's supposedly a style blogger, goes on vacation, and forgot her memory card for her fancy camera?

This girl.

I didn't notice until we went to go take outfit pictures on one of the last days of the trip, which is why I didn't go and buy a new one. I was still so mad at myself! Luckily I remembered this post that AJ wrote some months ago about the portrait mode on iPhones working pretty well in these kind of situations, and you know what, it actually worked pretty well!

Anyway, enough about #bloggerproblems. These were taken on our last full day in Ireland, when we drove from Galway to visit Kylemore Abbey. What a beautiful place! Built in the 1800s, it is a former castle turned monastery situated on a gorgeous lake in Connemara, about an hour north west of Galway. I saw pictures of it while doing my research for our trip, and knew I wanted to go see it. Unfortunately, half of the building was undergoing renovations (as you can see in some of the pictures) but it didn't take away from the real estate message of location location location! It is seriously stunning. I really wish we had had more time to go walk through the gardens, as everyone says they are gorgeous...but as always, we need something to come back for, so next time!

The weather in Ireland was the best because it was cool all the time - you guys know that summer weather is not my favorite, so having a week in 50-60 degree weather was amazing! I wore a variation of this outfit most days we were there. I've owned this vest from Target for a few months now, but just realized it's the first time I've actually shown it on the blog! If you were reading blogs about 4-5 years ago, you know that these olive vests were a big thing then...and I actually owned a similar version that I donated two years ago because I wasn't wearing it anymore. Well, here we are, now I own another version. I actually like this Target version so much more though - it's longer and drapers nicer than my previous version. It's just the perfect layering piece that adds a bit of warmth and a lot more interest than if I had just worn a long sleeved tee. Anyway, I'm a big fan of it!
what to wear in ireland
kylemore abbey
vest //  target [exact]
jeans // gap [exact now 50% off]
tee // banana republic [exact]
scarf //  ann taylor [similar]
shoes // michael kors [exact - debating getting the black ones!]
purse // coach [similar]

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

house plans: the downstairs

This is a long overdue post - I wanted to post it the week that we closed on the house, but then actually working on the house, graduation, Ireland, and moving have all taken over my life for the past here we are, a month overdue! I wanted to share what the house looked like room by room, and what my initial plans for the space are! When we went for our inspection, I went through all the major rooms and measured out the rooms so I could have an idea of what we were working with. Below are my simple drawings, actual pictures, and a few ideas for furniture and decorations for the downstairs. We will cover the upstairs in a separate post! 

Our plan for the house was really to make it feel bright and light and welcoming. We ended up painting all of the walls a light grey (universal grey by Glidden), have painted all of the trim and doors bright white, and replaced all of the yellowing outlets and switches with white ones. We are in the process of exchanging all of the door hinges and door knobs (we went with these black ones). We are going with black hardware throughout, which I really love because there is less variation between items, and it ties it all together. I'm very new to this house thing, so I really want to make it as simple as possible to keep it cohesive. 

It's crazy looking at these pictures because it already looks so different in the house (which if you follow along on instastories, you already know!), but those final reveals are for another post ;)

kitchen // 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

ireland: the logistics

Our recent trip to Ireland was one of the first trips where I was going to and traveling in a country where I didn't know anyone or have someone else make the plans. I've done a bit of traveling over the years, but I've always either stayed with people who lived there or traveled with my family. This was really the first time I've travelled somewhere completely new and without knowing a local! So it was exciting to completely make up our itinerary from scratch, but it was also a bit overwhelming to figure out where we wanted to go in Ireland. There is just SO much to see, and every place is more interesting and beautiful than the next. You could spend a year exploring all of Ireland and still not have seen it all. On top of that, there are so many different ways of traveling through the country. From hopping on a tour bus and having it shuttle you to all the highlights to backpacking across the country camping, there are so many options. We went pretty middle of the road when it came to all aspects of our trip - we visited three cities, saw a lot of the major things to see, and just thoroughly enjoyed our time in the country.

It seems that so many of you guys are going to Ireland in the near future, so I am going to talk about the logistics of planning our trip and an overview of where we went. I'll have a few more posts about our time specifically in Dublin, the Ring of Kerry, and Galway in the near future!

flights // Ideally the way to fly to Ireland is overnight - that way you "sleep" on the plane (sleep used loosely as I don't know how anyone gets a good amount of sleep on the plane), land in the morning, drink a large coffee, and then spend all day exploring! Stay up all day, and by the time it's 9 PM, you'll fall into bed, and then you'll be on normal Ireland time the next day!

One VERY important note about flying back into the US is that Ireland is one of a few countries that has pre-clearance customs. I had never heard of such a thing in all of my travels, so I was shocked when we spent about two hours before our flight back to the US going through customs (on every other international flight I've ever gone on, you go through customs in the airport in the US you land in). Even though we got to the Dublin airport about 2.5 hours before boarding started (I'm a bit nervous about missing flights), we were running to the gate and were one of the last people to board because I got randomly chosen for extra screening. So really take that into account when coming back! I would plan for at least an extra 1.5 hours more than you normally do.

packing // We went to Ireland in the beginning of June, and boy did we get incredibly lucky with the weather! It was like the perfect early fall weather I wish I lived in all year round - cool enough to wear jeans and a shirt, and really only needing a lighter jacket at night. We discussed packing plans a few weeks ago, and for the most part, what I showed there was what I brought! For packing, I would suggest the following
  • If you are doing both cities and country, and are bringing a big suitcase, I really liked having two jackets. I brought my rain coat for when we were out in the country exploring, and then had my J.Crew field jacket in the city. If you are only going to bring one coat, I'd suggest a sleek rain coat, something like this cute packable rain coat from Cole Haan. My raincoat is red, which was fun, but you'll blend in more and it's more versatile if you wear a darker one. 
  • Bring a small umbrella to keep in your purse. On days where there wasn't a large amount of rain in the forecast, I just wore my regular coat and then used the umbrella the few minute of showers throughout the day. 
  • I wore my short rain boots only once, when we arrived in Galway and it was pouring. Otherwise, I wore my leather driving loafers (currently 25% off!) basically the whole time. I'd suggest something similar, either loafers or sneakers (something fun like these slip ons from Steve Madden!). You'll be doing a ton of walking, and want to be comfortable. 
  • Things I wish I had brought: my baseball cap. It's very windy on the coasts, and it would have been nice to have something to keep my hair under control. 
  • Extras: we used this converter for the outlets, and then also brought a travel strip so we could charge multiple items at once (a tip I learned from Jessica recently). Phone and computer chargers worked great, but if you are bringing hair tools, make sure they are the dual voltage ones. I'd also suggest an extra phone pack - I have this one from Anker that I used all the time, and never had to charge it while we were there!
  • My sister gave us Lonely Planet's travel book for Christmas, and we really liked having a book on us for quick references and to get the inside scoop on places without using our phone data. 

phone use // On other international trips I've gone on, I've always purchased the international data plan from Verizon...which frankly, isn't too great. When I went to Santorini, I got 1 GB of data for like $50 - I basically couldn't use my phone other than to quickly check our location. One of my readers suggested getting an Irish SIM card instead, which was such a great suggestion. Before you leave the US, make sure you phone is unlocked (I just called Verizon and asked). If you are flying into Dublin, you can buy a SIM card at the airport. There's a SimLocal in the terminals (they supposedly install it for you), or you can buy a card from the little convenience store outside of the arrivals gate/baggage claim (which is what I did - here's how you put one in yourself). I got a 7 GB card for 20 euros - I didn't get texting or calling, but our data lasted us the whole week, which included a ton of navigating and instagramming. We really couldn't have done anything if it weren't for having that data!

money // Ireland uses the Euro for money (note that Northern Ireland uses pounds though, so be aware of that if you are traveling there - we did not, so it didn't matter for our trip). We ended up using about 100 in cash for things like parking, tipping (10% is considered the norm), and smaller purchases. Just about every place takes Visa and Mastercard though, now typically the "chip and pin" version of cards that most of us probably are already forced to use the US. Some places will offer you to pay in euros or dollars - our banks didn't charge us for using our cards internationally, so we just paid in euros. Check with your bank to see what their policy is, and make sure you let them know of your travel plans.

travel in the country // There are a bunch of different ways to travel, from public transportation to tour buses, to renting a car, even biking the whole country! We chose to drive so we could be on our own timeline, and even though we didn't take a tour bus on this trip so I can't compare the two, I am so happy that we had our own car for this trip. We could stop when we wanted, could stay in locations as long as we desired, and really got to actually experience the country rather than just being bussed through it.

We rented through Enterprise - we booked our car online, and picked up the car at the Dublin Airport (we had spent two days in Dublin first where we relied on ubers/taxis). Things to note about renting and driving a car in Ireland:
  • They drive on the opposite side of the road. This can be a bit scary, especially the first time you have to go around a roundabout (which there are heaps of)! I would say if you are a confident driver at home, it won't take very long for you to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road. Many guides say that having a good navigator is key to driving here, and as the navigator of our car, I agree ;) Because I was focusing on where we were going, CR could focus on where to drive. CR actually really took to driving on the left, and I think will miss it!
  • Most people will tell you to book an automatic car if you aren't used to driving on the left side. We booked an automatic, but ended up with a manual car when we picked it up because we weren't really paying attention to that detail when getting the car. CR and I are both manual car drivers at home, so it ended up not being a problem for us. But if you do not drive a manual car every day, then definitely make sure you get an automatic! 
  • Insurance issues are somewhat confusing. Ireland is one of the few countries where credit card insurance typically won't cover rental cars. When booking online, we chose to basically take all the insurance we could (so the CDW and then the excess insurance offered online). When we went to pick up our car, we also paid an additional ~$75 to lower the potential deductible from $1200 to $100 - we both agreed that we'd rather pay a little more in the chance that something happened, especially on the tight roads we were going to encounter later on in our trip. In the end, renting a car cost us about $440 for one week with unlimited miles. 
  • Some of the roads, especially in the Ring of Kerry, are pretty incredibly tight. If you follow along on instastories, you know what I mean! Take it slow, pull over to let locals pass when possible, and be on the lookout for sheep ;)

accommodations // I have really enjoyed using Air BnBs on my travels - it is really nice to come back to a home where you have a bit more space and where you can "live like a local", even just for a few days. There are a range of other options, of course - hostels are a big thing in Europe, and you can get a bed for like $45 in most cities, and hotels are always an option as well. For the AirBnBs, typically you have to book them for at least two nights. We had great experiences in all three of ours (email me if you want the specific places!). I just make sure to read the reviews and keep open communication with the hosts - it really was a wonderful way to experience "living" in Ireland for a week!

food and drinks // Before we left, Katie said to enjoy all the scones and seafood chowder, and boy did I take that to heart! European bakeries are really the best in the world, and so we had a great time sampling various croissants and scones with jam every day. I'm going to cover specific restaurants when I cover the cities we visited, but some of the food items we had the most were scones with jam, fish & chips (my favorite!), guinness stew, seafood chowder, and all the bread. There are all sorts of restaurants, obviously, but we tried to stick with more "traditional" food. If you are gluten-free, a lot of restaurants have GF options, and all have really clearly labelled allergy information. If you are a beer drinker, CR always asked about local breweries and had those, or went with Guinness. I'm a cider girl, and quickly grew fond of Orchard Thieves (technically a Heiniken cider, but not something sold in the US).

where to go // I had such a hard time figuring out where in Ireland we wanted to go. By size, Ireland is the size of Indiana, and no offense to Indiana (I live in Ohio and am from Wisconsin #midwestisbest) but there is SO much to see and do in Ireland that the size of the island is very...misleading. We could have spent a week in every city we stayed in, and still not have seen everything we wanted to! Another big thing was trying to figure out what was worth seeing and how much time we wanted to spend there. We could have really rushed around and seen more cities and managed to make it to Northern Ireland too, but I really wanted to also have it be relaxing and have time to explore, so we decided on a mix of somewhat popular touristy things and the relaxing exploring things.

So what we planned was to fly in Dublin, stay overnight two days, drive down to the west coast and stay in Killarney for two days as a jumping point for the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula, and then drive to Galway to spend two days in that area before heading back. We ended up losing a whole day in Dublin due to a flight cancellation, and during the trip we wish we had done things a little differently, so based off our experiences, here are my recommendations if you want to go to similar places:
  • Day 1: Fly into Dublin. Check into your hotel/AirBnB, take a quick shower and change, and then go out and explore the city (more on that to come). 
  • Day 2: Explore Dublin
  • Day 3: Dublin > explore along the way (we loved Killiney Hill south of Dublin and Port Louise) > visit Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney stone > stay in Killarney overnight
  • Day 4: visit Killarney State Park and then drive clockwise around the Ring of Kerry. Stay in a bed and breakfast towards the end of the Ring of Kerry
  • Day 5: Drive to and around the Dingle Peninsula > Cliffs of Moher > Galway (stay in hotel/Air BnB)
  • Day 6: Explore Galway and/or go to Aran Islands for the day. 
  • Day 7: Drive up to Kylemoore Abbey. Drive back to Galway and back to Dublin
  • Day 8: Cry about leaving Ireland

We were discussing how disappointed we were that we couldn't spend more time in Ireland as there is so so so much more to see than we were able to, but as CR put it best, if we saw everything on this trip, we'd have nothing to come back for! So here's looking forward to future trips to the Emerald Isle!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

wedding wednesday: engagement pictures

I'm so excited to share a few of our favorite pictures from our recent engagement shoot! We've had them for a few weeks now (we even already ordered our Save the Dates!) but it's been so busy that I'm just now able to share them with you guys.

I always knew I wanted to do something really soft and pretty outside for pictures. When I was looking for inspiration online, everything I liked were taken outside. But I also wanted us to be a bit dressier, so finding a location that made sense for both was a bit difficult because we wanted to take them with our wedding photographer, who is located in Rochester, NY, where I'm not from. I was researching picture locations online, with one of the places suggesting Highland park. I asked CR about it, and he said that that's where the annual lilac festival is...and wouldn't you know it, the weekend we had planned to take pictures was the weekend the festival was supposed to happen. Our photographer wasn't initially convinced it was going to work because the area of the festival is full of food trucks and people, and if the lilacs were even in bloom (they aren't always blooming the actual week of the festival), there would be so many people around. I was somehow convinced it was going to work out anyway, so I insisted we try it.

So we agreed to meet at 8 AM, hoping to beat the crowds. We got lucky in that sense, because the whole time we were there, we only saw two people. But that may be because it was drizzling/misting basically the whole time we were there! My curls lasted even less than they usually do, but I think you can't even tell in the pictures that the weather conditions were less than ideal - if nothing else, the cloud cover really made for some great lighting. We also got so lucky because the lilacs were actually blooming!  I love how the photographs turned out, and I'm so glad we worked with our photographer once before the wedding because we got some of the kinks out, and feel more comfortable taking pictures together. There are a few pictures that are not our favorite, but those are in the minority.

As far as what we wanted to wear, I knew I wanted a white dress. I ordered and tried on several, but fell in love with the Leith pleated dress. It was just the perfect combination of dressy enough without being stiff. I didn't really know what shoes to wear, but didn't really stress out about it too much because I knew you would hardly see them in our pictures, so I wore my Jack Rogers sandals as they were thin and not really noticeable (also, I just noticed that they are finally on sale! They are my favorite summer sandal, so it may be time for that gold pair to be mine!). I kept everything else simple with just pearl earrings, my diamond necklace, and of course, my engagement ring. I wanted to look like myself, and myself is pretty simple ;) We decided on CR's outfit pretty much last minute, and went with navy pants and a striped dress shirt. We wanted it all to look as timeless as possible, and I think the combination turned out pretty good! We were debating doing an outfit change to something a bit more casual, but we ran out of time. I'm fine with just having this one outfit as the main reason for taking the pictures was for our Save the Dates, and having a few pretty pictures from this happy time in our lives is a great bonus.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

top three [06.04.2017]

IRELAND. never leaving. 

on the internet

  • CR and I now have our completed schedules for intern year, and it looks like we will be taking a vacation in February - somewhere warm, if I have it my way! I just ran across this inexpensive straw tote that will most definitely be in my suitcase!
  • And along with that tote, I'm going to need these inexpensive espadrilles. I've wanted a pair for so long, but never pulled the trigger!
  • Got heaps of weddings to go to this summer? I found you the cutest dress to wear! We don't have a single wedding this summer!! A bit of a change from that year I had 7...


ask me anything
  • Any tips for someone who is super anxious about seeing an OB/GYN for the first time?
    • I completely understand why going to see your ObGyn is not most people's idea of a good time, no matter how much you actually like your doctor. I would say an important first step when you first meet your doctor is to express to them that you are nervous! Chances are, they may go a bit slower, and explain more about what they are doing - I find that understanding what is going on down there helps the process go so much quicker. Also, keep reminding yourself of how important this appointment is, and if you are due for a pap smear, how vital it is that you getting this test done - it is made to literally detect cancer (the world's best screening test for cancer!!!), and it could save your life. Take a few deep breaths, try to relax "your bottom" (I promise, it makes the exam less painful and go by quicker), and it will be over before you know it!
  • I'm starting medical school in the fall and am looking for a few key clothing pieces that would come in handy in clinical settings.
    • Yay, congrats on getting accepted, that's so exciting! I assume you have some shadowing and OSCEs you'll be doing during the first two years. This is a great time to start building your professional wardrobe, as you'll need it once you get to the clinical years! If you've never really had to wear professional clothing, a really simple place to start is with black dress pants, a top, and comfortable flats. For pants, my favorites are from The Limited, but that's recently closed - many people have suggested trying Express for their pants. For tops, you want something you can move around in, and something that doesn't show cleavage (bend over when trying to them on to see how much your patients may see) - try something like thisthis version from Everlane, or lots of items from BB Dakota are appropriate for work when it's a bit cooler out, and my favorite secret is wearing a short sleeved blouse in the warmer months (it looks like any normal blouse under a white coat, but isn't as warm!). Lastly, you'll want some comfortable flats - try something with a bit more support, and if that's still not enough, add an insole! I've had really good luck with Sam Edelman shoes as well. Here are a few posts I've written in the past - comfortable shoes for clinical rotations + what to wear on clinical rotations. Good luck during the next four years - the days are long and the years are short and before you know it, you'll be starting residency too!
  • This may be a little TMI but.... how do you avoid the infamous VPL when wearing dress pants or scrub pants?
    • I'm a fuller coverage kind of girl, so I wear these seamless underwear from Victoria's Secret. Are they perfect? No, you can still see a bit of a line under scrubs, but I don't stress about it - I'm basically wearing adult pajamas at work, so no ones going to be too offended by a little thin line. If you are looking for something completely seamless, a seamless thong is your best bet. 

on franish

at home
  • Good morning from Ireland! Going to keep it short and sweet today because we're about to leave for the Cliffs of Moher!
  • It has been such an amazing trip thus far. We lost a day in Dublin due to our flights being cancelled, but we have been making up for it since getting here! If Ireland is at all on your radar for a future trip, you must come. It's breathtaking. 
  • It's been a crazy month, from buying a house (and painting all of it) to graduating to this trip. We officially move in to our house on Saturday, and hopefully that means my life goes back to normal a bit before work officially starts in July! That means there will be more posts around here, and getting back into the healthyish ways (but now, I'm off to go eat scones and jam. When in Ireland!). Can't wait to share it all with you!