Love Across the Atlantic

Sunday, February 15, 2015

In honor of Valentine’s Day, although I am a day late here, I thought it would be fitting to share my own love story. 

I met D on a cold Irish evening in January, 4 years ago.  We were brought together by the fates of the NFL playoffs.  I was an unsure, excited, adventure seeking 19 year old, just beginning my study abroad experience in Dublin.  He was an outgoing, charming, carefree 22 year old from Dublin, taking advantage of the free food and drinks his annual holiday work party was offering for the evening. 

We met at what can only be described as the most romantic bar in Dublin.  The only bar that televised NFL games, the Woolshed was packed with screaming sports fans from across the globe.  The floor was covered in spilled pints and wing remains.  The air smelled of cologne and sweat, with the faintest hint of cigarette smoke.  To put it bluntly—it was the type of setting that fairytales are made of. 

I feel like this is the part where I should talk about how our eyes met from across the crowded room, D tore through the crowd to make his way to me, and we shared the most romantic and passionate kiss that this world has ever known.  However, that is not quite the way things went down that night.  We would partake in our share of earth shattering, mind blowing, fairy tale worthy moments—but this night in the Woolshed was not quite one of them.

I was a woman on a mission that night—I was determined to meet an actual Irish person.  After already being abroad for over a week, the only Irish person I had interacted with was the director of my study abroad program.  This was just not acceptable.

As I sat at a table with my study abroad crew, I scanned the room, hoping that my self-proclaimed radar for Irish men would finally kick in.   That’s when I saw them—a small group of guys situated in front of the bar.  They were laughing and having fun over pints of Heineken.  It seemed liked something I needed to be a part of.  

So, I did what any 19 year old from the suburbs of Pennsylvania would do.  I chugged the rest of my beer, grabbed the arm of my newly made study abroad friend, and bravely approached the gathering.  Once we made our way to the guys, I did what any 19 year old from the suburbs of Pennsylvania would do—I stood awkwardly near them and said nothing.  Luckily, after a few minutes of uncomfortable lingering, I heard 6 words that would forever change the course of my life.

“ What team are you rooting for?” one of the guys shouted over in an Irish accent.  My lingering had paid off.  Being awkward and uncomfortable had actually worked. 

“Steelers.” I said, as I dragged my friend closer to their group.  “I’m not really a huge football fan, but I go to school in Pittsburgh so sort of have no choice.” 

“Oh you’re American?” I looked to my left to see where the question had come from, and there was D.  And the rest, is basically history.  

We talked all night—he was grabbing a drink with some friends before his holiday work party, he was a huge tennis fan and considered Novak Djokovic to be his favorite player, he thought that Rose should have moved her fat ass over to make room for Jack on that damn door.  Game over. 

Looking back on that night, it is so crazy to think that I was talking to the man that would change my life forever; the man that would become my best friend; the man that would move across the Atlantic Ocean to start a life with me; the man that would become my husband. 

I don’t think either of us knew what we were getting ourselves into that night at the Woolshed.  But if we did, I honestly don’t think we would have done a single thing differently.

We spent the next three months living in a fairytale.  We drank pints at every pub in the city, we listened to countless live renditions of Galway Girl, we watched Jake Gyllenhaall saving lives at the movie theater, we walked D’s dog in the park next to his house, we spent endless sleepless nights laughing together until the sun came up.  We fell in love.

One of the most difficult nights of my life was the final night of my study abroad trip.  I met D in the city after my program’s farewell dinner.  We attempted to grab drinks at one of our favorite pubs, but we could barely make eye contact without breaking down.  We walked hand in hand back to the dorm I was staying at, knowing that each step we took brought us closer to an impossible goodbye.

And it still breaks my heart, even thinking of it now.  It was our first of many impossible goodbyes. 

But we made a promise that night—this was not the end. 

The second my plane touched down in Philadelphia, I started planning my trip back.  3 months later, D was picking me up from the airport in Dublin. 

And thus started our 3 year relationship across the Atlantic.  Some of the greatest and most difficult moments of my life happened throughout those 3 years.  The heartbreak of the goodbyes was only made bearable through the extreme joy of the hellos.

When people ask me about long distance relationships and how we made it and if I would recommend it, I find it hard to answer.  Honestly, I think D and I were extremely lucky.  We talked every day on Skype, we never went more than 4 months without visiting each other, we were honest, we were committed, we trusted each other, and we were willing to do whatever it took.  Distance is not for the faint of heart.  It can honestly rip you apart if you let it.   You just can’t let it.

And when you meet your best friend, the love of your life, the man you want to spend the rest of your life wife, at the Woolshed, on a cold Irish evening in January, while you are studying abroad in Dublin, you don’t let them go.

Would I recommend that anyone be in a long distance relationship?  Hell no.
Would I change anything about D and mine’s relationship?  Hell no. 

Because you know what?  We made it.  We made it through the goodbyes, the Skype calls, the loneliness, the waiting.  Because as I lay here in bed on a Sunday morning, D is laying right next to me.  And that is really all I ever wanted. 

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Current Favorites

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The 6 beauties that I currently cannot live without.  These bad boys are honestly game changers.  

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle:  This has to be the perfect fragrance.  Light, sexy, long lasting--perfect for day or night...really just perfect in every way.  I mean, what more can I say. We are talking about Chanel here.  

NARS Digital World Lip Pencils: This was a limited edition set that came out around the holidays this year.  I have been dying to try out the NARS lip pencils for such a long time now.  At $25 for a single color, I could never really commit to a single shade or finish.  When I first saw this set at Sephora, I was sold.  Such good value for money--$49 for 5 pencils, ranging from bold and bright, to subtle and neutral.  I have been loving the consistency and staying power of these--just an amazing formula.  Also, the perfect size to toss in your bag for touch ups.  In love.

NYX Butter Gloss: I'm not sure how or when it happened, but I have not been a huge user of lip gloss as of late.  Well, all of that has changed.  Enter the NYX Butter Gloss.  First of all, the price.  This is literally $4.99.  You just can't go wrong with that.  The range of colors they offer is incredible.  But the game changer here is the formula.  Not too sticky, and gives just the right amount of color and shine.  The shade I have is strawberry parfait, but I plan on picking up more immediately.  

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz: I am a relatively newcomer to the whole brow game.  I have naturally pretty thick brows, with just some sparse areas sprinkled throughout.  I was hesitant to try this product at first, despite the rave reviews and cult following it has.  I was afraid it would give too harsh of a line and an unnatural finish.  It has completely shocked me.  The small tip of the pencil allows you to draw in the tiniest little hair like lines wherever you need it.  And that spooly.  I mean, come on.  Combine the two and you get the perfect, natural looking brows of your dreams (I can't be the only one that dreams of this, am I right?).  

NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette: Oh my...where do I begin with this one.  I teared up a bit when I first unveiled this beauty under the Christmas tree this year (shoutout to the best husband in the world who is the best gift giver in the world).  It is literally the perfect palette.  You get a highlight, three blushes, and a bronzer.  Not just any bronzer--laguna.  Hell. Yes.  There is such a gorgeous range of color options within the blushes: Sex Fantasy, Deep Throat, and Final Cut--other wise known as pale pink, peach, and coral.  Another limited edition holiday style that is such an amazing value.  And that packaging...I just can't.  Beautiful inside and out.

Seche Vite Top Coat: I have been looking to step up my top coat game for quite a while now.  The search is over.  This does what is says on the bottle--quick drying, helps your mani stay put that extra bit longer.  A no brainer.  

Make It Happen

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I'm not the biggest fan of New Year's Resolutions.  In reality, January 1st is just another day--the same as the 365 that came before it.  If you want to make a change in your life, do it. Whether it's March 14th, May 3rd, January 4th--do it.

That being said, I have noticed myself falling a bit off course over the past few weeks.  I feel like I am not being the best version of myself--I am not doing things that I know make me happy, I am not pursuing the dreams that are the most important to me.  To put it simply, I have become a pretty huge lazy ass.

So here I sit, on January 4, 2015 ready to make some positive changes in my life.  Here is what I hope to accomplish, not solely because it is a new year, but because I'm tired of sitting around and waiting for things to happen.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Really, this line pretty much sums it all up for me.  I constantly fall victim to this: I wish I read more, I wish I wrote more, I wish I was in shape, I wish I lived in a different country, I wish I had job I get the picture.

Wanting all of this is great, but without action, without a plan, it remains a dream.  This is perhaps the biggest change I hope to make--to take action, to make a plan, to make it happen.


Miles that is.  The good old half marathon.  I feel like this really encompasses two goals: to get in shape, to accomplish something I set out to do.  Right now, I could painfully bang out a mile or two on the treadmill.  But I would be near my death bed and miserable by the time everything was said and done.  I want to start at the beginning, I want to train every day, I want to look back at where I am now after crossing the finish line.

Respect my body inside and out

It's all well and good to look amazing in a bikini, but really, health and fitness is so much more than that.  For me, this has been a really long journey, one that I have struggled with for pretty much my entire life.  I'm not looking for a quick fix--I want to put in the work, I want to earn the results.  I want to be good to my body.  And yes, I also want to look amazing in a bikini.

Be more organized

Physically and mentally.

Challenge my mind

Because spending the majority of your day wondering which model's ass will sell denim better on a website can sometimes start to rot your mind.  I want to write more, I want to read more, I want to wake up my mind.

Move abroad

A goal I have had for many years.  My husband and I always dream about our life abroad--what apartment we would live in, where we would work, what restaurants we would eat at.  For him, it would be moving back home, returning to the friends and family that he misses on a daily basis.  For me, it would be the adventure of a lifetime.  Starting over in a new place, with new experiences, new people, a completely new life.  Obviously, this is something that requires tons of planning.  The planning starts now.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes

"The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one."

Let go of that fear.

The Bits & Bobs

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A roundup of the random, extraordinary, and mundane things that put a smile on my face this week…

The Walking Dead is back---tonight is the night we have all been patiently waiting for.  I know where I will be at 9:00 with my popcorn and my husband.  

Old Navy is stepping up their game--I casually popped into the store with my mom last weekend, and was completely shocked at their selection.  I left with several items, many of which I have worn and even been complimented on.  Well done Old Navy, I salute you.

Ed Sheeran dancing in this video--Does this even need an explanation?  The perfect video for the perfect song.  The boy has got moves.

I cannot stop listening to Miracle Mile--Not a new song or even a new discovery.  However, I heard this on the radio last weekend while running some errands, and it has pretty much been on repeat every since. Come up for air, come up for air, come up......

Tresemme Keratin Smooth treatment---gave this a try last week after realizing that my hair very closely resembled hay that had been glued to someone's scalp.  I feel like I noticed a difference, as there seemed to be a distinct lack of frizz protruding out of my head.  I shall test this again and see if it can do the trick two weeks in a row.

September Favorites

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  It is so surreal to think that, at the start of this month, I was happily exploring the streets of Dublin.  Since then, I have ate, drank, watched, listened to, and applied.  Here is the best of the best.  

Benefit's Gimme Brow: Gotta love a product that does what it says on the label.  What's so great about this product is how easy it is to apply.  The small applicator makes this completely full proof, especially for a brow product newbie like myself.  A few quick swipes on the brows, and just like that, Cara Delevingne.  Well, not quite, but I’ll take what I can get.

L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga: I am a mascara junkie.  I just can’t get enough.  I love experimenting with new drugstore mascaras on the regular.  This one found it’s way into my makeup bag in the middle of August, and has been a staple ever since.  Volume, length, minimal clumping, basically everything a girl could ask for in a mascara.  

Burjois Cream Blush in shade 01: I picked up this beauty on one of many trips to Boots during my time in Ireland.  This is my first foray into cream blush and I have been absolutely loving it.  It gives such a subtle flush of color on the cheeks.  Perfect for everyday use.  

Soap & Glory Solar PowderAnother Boots acquisition.  I have used this product every single day since purchasing it.  It is honestly the perfect bronzer.  It has two shades of varying darkness, to be used either separately or together.  I have been swirling my brush in both daily for the perfect hint of bronze.  

Urban Decay Naked Palette: Ok, I know I am late to jump on the Naked bandwagon (obviously talking eye shadow here people).  Only now do I realize how much I was missing out.  This is honestly the only eye shadow palette you would ever need.  It has every neutral shade imaginable and can create such a diverse array of looks.  I typically do not wear eye shadow on a daily basis, but have found myself reaching for this palette during my morning routine.  Totally worth the investment.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow in fuller fudge:  I just love this.  It is the perfect product for easily transitioning your makeup look from day to night.  I recently threw this on my lids before a dinner out with my team from work.  It adds a little something extra to your look, without being too over the top. 

Burjois Healthy Balance Compact Powder:  Yet another Boots purchase (I told you was obsessed).  This is just such a great product.  Not at all cakey and leaves the skin looking natural and shine free.  And there is a mirror in the compact.  I’m hooked.

This Is Where I Leave You: I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago after my friend received a few free tickets to an early showing.  I went in barely knowing the plot line and was so happy I did.  I came, I saw, I laughed, I cried, I consumed large quantities of Sour Patch Kids.  Just such a good movie that anyone and everyone will enjoy.

El ReyI don’t know what it is about this place.  It's definitely not the most attractive place on the block.  But what awaits inside is incredible.  I’m sure my recent obsession with Mexican food has something to do with my love for this place (chips, guac, and margaritas?  Yes please.)  My husband and I ate her last weekend and had such an incredible meal.  I’m sure we will be back again soon.  Maybe tonight.  

Ed Sheeran:  I don’t know if this qualifies as a monthly favorite, considering I have loved Ed Sheeran since I first watched this version of Lego House three years ago.  I would call this more of a monthly “reignited obsession”.  I was lucky enough to see Ed Sheeran live earlier this month.  He never fails to blow me away with his sheer talent.  Still one of the best live performers you will ever see.


Now…time to start brainstorming a three-person Halloween costume.  Any and all suggestions are welcome.