Archives For August 2014

In early July, my husband and I found out our time in Ireland was coming to an end earlier than expected. I’d like to tell you together we consciously made the decision to cut our time here short, but that would be a lie. What happened really isn’t important, but just know the world ultimately had different plans from our own wishes, and there was nothing we could do but embrace what was shortly to come.

And so, our time in Ireland will come to a close in mid-September, two days after I run the Dublin Half Marathon. It has been an emotional roller coaster and I’ve cycled through all of the 7 stages (or 10 or however many there are — it was a lot, either way) — but we’ve come to grips with the time we have left and have spent every minute trying to savour it. And even though it has been a challenging road, this living abroad thing, it has been one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

And so, this post is about the journey; that reflection; the last 18 months.

There has been coffee.

Coffee

There has been adventure.

Adventure - Flying

There have been tears — lots and lots of tears; Which has led to wine — lots and lots of wine (and tequila).

Wine

Tequila!

There has been food — so much food!

Seafood

There has been laughter.

Laughter

There has been dancing.

Dancing

There has been running.

Running

There have been fashion firsts.

Fashion

There have been friends — friends from every corner of the world.

Friends 1

Friends 2

Friends 3

Friends 4

(It just dawned on me that in EVERY SINGLE PHOTO under this section I’m wearing pink. Even in the black & white photo, I know my dress is pink…. hmmmm… Seriously, look out Elle Woods!)

But perhaps, most importantly, there have been memories; And no one can ever take away the memories, even if the world alters the path a little. Our Irish chapter is coming to an end, but the book is far from finished; And memories last a lifetime.

So, as they say, when one door closes, look for an open window:

Closed Door

(Just make sure the window isn’t barred shut!)

America, I’ll be seeing you SOON.

Until next time, XOXO – K

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About a week ago, my hair left a lot to be desired. From the windy streets of Dublin to the salty sea waters in Spain, my hair needed SERIOUS help. It was dull; it was frizzy; and most sadly of all, I had split ends.

I promptly made a hair appointment to snip off those dead ends, but my gal was away on holiday for another week, so in the mean time, I had to do something to revive my locks!

I was scrolling through pinterest, when I came across a pin from the Rawmazing blog. I found, what I thought was an awesome, easy, solution for my hair: a Rosemary, Avocado, & Coconut Oil recipe.

Coconut Oil & Avocado

If you are like me, you are always stocked with avocados (great in smoothies) and coconut oil (try it in your coffee). Yes, you really can put avocado in your hair!

Just do a little blending of the ingredients and you end up with what looks like green baby food.

Coconut Oil & Avocado Combined

You’re probably thinking that it has to be the messiest thing anyone could put in their hair right? NOPE. I’ve had more trouble with a baking soda paste (clarifying attempt) and box hair dye than this stuff. It’s thick enough to paint right on — and even though I was wearing an old t-shirt, I managed to keep it off the bathroom floor (and walls!).

If you’ve ever stored homemade guacamole overnight in the fridge, you know it easily turns brown — you know, oxidation and all. It’s really no different in hair. I put the mask on and before I could even snap a photo it was melting into my hair & oxidizing.

Coconut Oil & Avocado Hair Mask

Now, I didn’t have any of the smell-good stuff on hand so after about 15 minutes I could only smell avocado — and admittedly I wanted some tortilla chips! Don’t worry though, I powered through the full half an hour project and hopped into the shower to get the mask out of my hair.

I shampooed and conditioned as normal. I toweled my hair to remove the excess water, combed my locks, and went to sleep. I woke up to a hot mess the next morning! My hair still looked wet, so I attempted to use the hair dryer. NO LUCK. It wasn’t wet, it was greasy! I quickly realized that coconut oil is a disaster to get out of my hair — and I had zero time to re-shower that morning as I was already running late! I threw my hair into the infamous blogger bun and went to work.

Once I was able to fully remove all of the coconut oil from my hair that evening, it was soft & silky and the mask had actually given a little life back to my otherwise dull hair.

I’m not sure I would use the mask again, but if I do, I’ll be sure to shampoo twice! (And use water that is warmer maybe?) All in all it wasn’t a complete pinterest fail and I did find another use for the coconut oil in the pantry!

Have you used coconut oil in your hair? Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to chat.

XOXO – K

 

Oh Chanel!

August 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

I was scrolling through photos recently and found all of the photos from my birthday bash. Have you ever visited Chanel? You know Chanel, that ever iconic name we all know and love (and I don’t care who you are, you covet Chanel as much as the rest of us, even if you won’t verbally admit it!) Today, I’m not referring to the magnificence that is clothing, oh no. I’m actually here to discuss the beauty counter.

For my birthday, I was smart enough to book an appointment to have my make-up done — because as much as I like doing my own, sometimes you just need a pro on your side, especially when it’s a BIG night.

I met up with a few gal pals for a pre-beauty application drink, you know, to calm the “I’m thirty” nerves a bit.

Cosmo

 

Then I headed off to Brown Thomas on Grafton street to have the lovely and talented ladies prep my face for the evening out. And I was pampered like you wouldn’t believe!

The whole session took about an hour. (Unfortunately, photos of the products were not allowed, but don’t worry, I have a feature coming soon.) The application involved moisturizer, primer, foundation, highlighter, powder, bronzer, blush, a subtle smoky-eye, and my favorite part, the lipstick. VOILA!

Up close & personal with Chanel beauty: a bold lip to match the subtle smoky eye

Up close & personal with Chanel beauty: a bold lip to match the subtle smoky eye

 

Now, I’ve never done a perfect smoky-eye before, so it took me quite a minute to get used to the look….but every time I see the photo now I absolutely want to recreate the look! It really makes my eyes pop, which is something I’ve never been able to successfully do.

And of course, like Elle Woods, one of my signature colours is pink. So I opted for a bold, shiny, pink lip. (It was actually coincidence that my top matched my lip!)

Rogue Coco #80 - Suspense

Rouge Coco #80 – Suspense

 

Chanel - Suspense

The lipstick is undeniably amazing and lasts for hours and hours, even through who-knows-how-many cocktails! It glides on easily and is highly pigmented so a little goes a very long way. And if you want an extra bit of shine, opt for a Chanel tinted gloss on top. You won’t regret it!

Masquerade 30th

Have you ever tried smiling with a massive mask tied to your head? It is certainly no small task! And of course, a look at my birthday outfit.

Until next time. XOXO – K

August is a great time to holiday in Spain. All the locals flock from their city living ways to the holiday homes for a month (yes, you read that right. A MONTH) of relaxation, friends, family, and a way of life that is so completely different from anywhere I’ve ever been.

Valencia

The major cities are left quiet, almost uninhabited–except for the tourists on city breaks and those left behind working the tourism & restaurant scene. The first of August is not a day I’d wish to be traveling on any of the autopistas out of these cities, especially if that day falls on a Friday or Saturday!

Honestly, this is much what I imagine NYC is like as locals flock to the Hamptons during the summer. I can just envision the mass exodus of people from the city in my head; see the cars jammed onto the highways; see the umbrellas lining the beaches…but no, I’ve never set foot in the Hamptons, so I’m really going by what I’ve seen on TV & in the films. 🙂 Leaving the New York visions in my head, let me spin back to the reality that is.

It’s August and in the coastal region of Valencia (map above!), which is where my holiday begins & ends, beaches are filled with noisy locals and visitors alike. The visitors stick to the major beaches, like Alicante or Benidorm; but I know better. I’m one of the fortunate visitors who has friends from the small villages of Benitatxell and Pedreguer and know the ins and outs of the beaches in the Marina Alta area.

These friends take me to small, rocky beaches where the water is bluer than blue, the food is fresh from the sea, and the days are filled with conversations & wine.

The rocky beaches

The rocky beaches

The cure for the blues -- the salty waters of the Mediterranean

The cure for the blues — the salty waters of the Mediterranean

A three hour, mid-day lunch with all of your friends to escape the sun is a must.

A three-hour, mid-day lunch with all of your friends to escape the sun is a must.

A heaping plate of fresh seafood paella

Direct from the sea: A heaping plate of fresh seafood paella (and I know the seafood is fresh because I watched it being caught!)

Black paella -- made black from squid or cuddle fish ink.

Paella Negra — made black from squid or cuddle fish ink.

The Market  Don't forget to pick up your supplies to bring home from the local market! Meat, cheese, fruit, you name it.

The Market
Don’t forget to pick up your supplies to bring home from the local market! Meat, cheese, fruit, you name it.

Late July and early to mid-August is not only for the beach, but a time that each town & village celebrates its roots & origins. The towns more or less shut down for a solid week as locals take to the streets for festivals and parades, that carry on well into the night and it’s not common to see everyone from the town out and about at 2 am–from the young children shooting fireworks to the grandparents taking a spin around the middle of the road as a local band plays on a make shift stage on the town square. Each town has their own festival so it’s possible to attend more than one during your stay as well!

Denia Festival - a four hour parade celebrating the history of Denia with tributes to the Moors and to Christianity

Denia Festival – a four-hour parade celebrating the history of Denia with tributes to the Moors and to Christianity

I personally don’t think a person has experienced life until they’ve experienced the local way of life in August in Valencia. As if you didn’t believe me from the photos above, the sunsets alone are worth the trip! (And no, I do not have Photoshop, so outside of playing with a little contrast in the Microsoft platform, what you see in the photo is what you actually SEE in Spain.)

Sunset in the hills of Alta Marina

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight: Sunset in the hills of Marina Alta

Until next time. XOXO – K