Thursday, October 20, 2016

Escapade To Ireland.

I'm fairly certain that nearly every bad thing that could go wrong on a trip, went wrong on our trip.

On the lucky side (as we were traveling to Ireland), Siobhan and I somehow managed to go against all odds and defy these setbacks and have ourselves a grand ole time.

A trip means nothing without an adventure or two (or three, or four), and our twenty-four hour day trip was jam packed full of them.

Shall we start from the beginning?

12:48am: Siobhan and I finally settle down to bed after asking the rather loud flat mates to quiet down.

2:01am: Siobhan and I finally rise like mummies from the crypts of our bed and proceed to get ready for our trip.

2:53am: We arrive early to the Sussex Gardens bus stop only to discover that the bus is late and won't arrive until 16 minutes past our expected leave time. Realizing that we wouldn't make it to the station in time, I call us an uber and we go on our way.

3:08am: We arrive at Liverpool Station, only to find out that it's closed and opens at four. But wait, we have a Stansted Express train that runs at 3:30! Turns out, we got the days and dates wrong and that it only runs that early on certain days. So we sit outside. And wait.

4:25am: Once the station has opened, we make our way to the Stansted Express, about an hour past our original schedule. The second it starts moving, Siobhan and I pass out.

5:43am: Siobhan and I have exited the express and are standing in the security line at the airport. Gates for our flight closed promptly at 6:00am, so Siobhan and I were really growing a sense of urgency.

6:06am: Siobhan and I quite literally made it from the express, through the airport, through security, and all through the tax free merchandise (by darting and running through fellow travelers- sorry if I bumped into you!) and onto the plan in twenty minutes. How? How.

 7:55am: Siobhan and I arrive in the lovely city of Dublin, only to get through and realize that we have no clue as to where we're going in Dublin and how to get there. Luckily, a kind sir directed us towards the buses (#41 and #16) that would take us to the City Centre.

11:23am: We get dropped off in the City Centre and wander in circles looking for a place to eat and rest our weary bodies. We end up at Blas Café, where we enjoy hearty cups of coffee and Spanish eggs. The MENu wasn't too bad...

Afternoon: Siobhan and I simply take to the streets and find ourselves exploring what Dublin had to offer. We end up popping into a ton of charity shops (finding a surprising amount of Ted Baker) and we allow our eyes and ears to enjoy the male Irish population.

3:38pm: After hefty amounts of walking and shopping, Siobhan and I retire to the famous Guinness Storehouse Factory Tour, where we proceed to tour the interactive, five-story, pint-shaped building, housing all you need to know about this famous black beer. From making to tasting...

We've actually been Guinness models for quite some time..

The factory, right there!

Good morning innkeeper! Two beers for two beery weary travelers!

5:33pm: We finish up at the Guinness Factory (leaving just a little more tipsy than when we came in), and stop at Arthur's Pub just around the corner for some more alcohol and some grub. Warming up from the nip outside, Siobhan and I go full Irish and enjoy warm stew, potato and thyme soup, and classic Irish Coffees.

7:40pm: Siobhan and I cheers to the city of Dublin and make our way back to the airport via the 747 bus. We arrive and have all the time in the world to check in and make our way to our gate.

10:01pm: Our plane was due to depart at 9:55; however, just outside the windows, ambulances and police cars surround our plane and we find out that an inbound passenger had stopped breathing. Flight delayed.

12:05am: Eventually, we board, and after the short flight, we arrive at Stansted and book it to the express train, making it with minutes to spare.

1:37am: We finally make it back to London Town at Liverpool Street Station, only to find ourselves wandering around the city for a half hour looking for the #23 bus to take us home.

2:02am: The bus stop is found and we sit at top as we take our final leg of the journey home.

2:34am: Approximately 24 hours later, somehow still functioning on an hour of sleep, and eleven miles walked evident on our tired feet, we fall to bed and crash till two the next day.

Adventure? I daresay it was. Truly, it was an experience of a lifetime, one that we mastered all by ourselves. As much as we were setback, we ended up having the time of our lives.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Braidy Bunch.

G'day. I write to you from a cozy night in here in London, having a night in by myself, as all the roomies have departed to far away countries. Alone, without my cat, watching a rom-com with a glass (*bottle*) of wine, I've decided to share a little somethin' somethin' about the opposite sex.

I've recently dabbled in the dating scene here in London. Patiently, I waited the first month or so waiting for some dapper English gentleman to whisk me off my feet, maybe meeting on the tube, in a pub, or even at the club (although dapper English gentleman don't frequent the club). Frustrated at the lack of no one, my friends suggested I have a go on one of those dating websites, like Tinder or Bumble.

At first, I was leery because of the reputation of one night stands, but they encouraged me to see it as a way of meeting people, as it's sometimes awkward to meet people, especially in a new country.

And so I got it. And there were dates, mostly successful, but if there's a few things I've learned about the dating scene in Europe, it's that British men aren't very communicative. Or assertive. And they're usually only interested in one night stands, at least the ones I've met.

Which is a conundrum. My ideas of Jude Law in The Holiday and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill have quickly been replaced by airy, grabby, empty promisers, and kind of disinterested little boys.

So the apps went bye bye about a week later, leaving me some time to reflect and think about this all.

What I'm finding, is that it's not entirely the men's fault here. While they are very different from American men, the issue I have with 21st century dating is the method in which it is done.

Call me old-fashioned, but I always believed that the guy I would date would approach me, like I said so in the beginning. But nowadays, while we're so addicted to our screens, we have lost the valuable skill of communicating. Relationships are harder now because conversations become texting, arguments become phone calls, and feelings become status updates. And this addiction to online communication has caused "detrimental" effects on how we interact with each other.

While I know there are exceptions to Tinder and Bumble, I've just found it to be ineffective for me. I prefer to meet people the old-fashioned way and if I have to wait ten years for it, so be it, for the longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you get it. Because anything worth having is always worth the wait.

That's not to say I didn't have fun though! And I learned a lot about myself. It's good to put yourself out there and meet new people and discover what you do and don't like. Alongside all of this, I have also found that being single is actually quite fun. It's good to explore a different country as an independent and confident single woman, as this is your time and you learn to become comfortable with who you are wholly.

So for now, it's all about me and my time. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.

What I wore: light pink Ted baker dress with rhinestone shoulders (consignment), and Ted Baker hot pink coat (Nordstrom Rack).

Monday, October 10, 2016

Alaska -> Paris -> London.

I had one of the loveliest of weekends. Not only did I have a barrel of laughs, but I was able to laugh with one of my best friends, Caroline.

This is our year. From Alaska, we both chose to study abroad, her living in Paris for the year, and I living in London for the year. Being close has never been better, especially when we begin to get homesick. And in the autumn months, we get particularly reminiscent of home.

So on Saturday, I was reunited with her.

It was glorious. To see a familiar face is truly a special gift, and we didn't quite realize it until we were hugging the death out of each other!

Although we only had the weekend with each other (which was essentially 48 hours), we experienced so much and made some truly fond memories. It just goes to show that real and true friendships last through thick and thin, distance and time.

Plus, two Alaskans in London make for quite an adventure...

Meeting up on Saturday afternoon, Caroline and I caught up for a few hours and then made our way to a house party. She met this American in Paris at a club, he invited her to his tailgate party for the Notre Dame football game, and before we knew it, we were joining the plethora of college kids for what would be my first (and probably only) college party.

It was a good night. We played games, chatted with various other college students, drank, and had a casual but entertaining evening. The photos below sum up our purely joyful moods...

The next morning, after a hefty eleven hours of sleep, we made our way to Daisy Green for brunch. Seated outside in the chilly morning air, we warmed up with coffees and hefty amounts of brunch food.

Wanting to get some fresh air, we made our way to Shoreditch and walked along Brick Lane's weekend markets, stopping once again for a second coffee at this little hole in the wall called Belleboi. We had recognized these fancy cups walking all around and followed the pattern inside to enjoy some pretty unique cups of coffee. Whilst Caroline sprung for the traditional Americano, I splurged for the Fat Americano, which was vanilla Coca Cola on ice and two shots of espresso.

Absolute genius.

How did Alaska ever let us leave?

Thursday, October 6, 2016


There are two things in this world that bring me infinite joy and never cease to make my spirits soar.

Coffee & cats.

Call me the crazy cat lady I am, but there is something about the two together that just make me happy! So you can imagine my enthusiasm when I heard of London's first cat café called Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium. Located down in Bethnal Green, I wasted no time in grabbing a date (roommate), and making my way over.

After checking in and washing hands, we were led downstairs to the most peaceful dining area complete with cat tree, ledges, a box of toys, and about ten lounging cats.

It's a cat lady's dream come true. And while I was made fun of, I realized that it doesn't matter because here in London, you got different strokes for different folks. Some people like clubs and getting drunk, and others like sipping lattes and stroking cats. Whatever your pleasure, I guarantee London will have it.

That being said, if you ever find yourself in London and fancy the more purrrrrfect things in life, I highly recommend you go.

It's de-feline-tely worth it.

Cats, cats, everywhere, checking meowt from every nook and cranny.