Nominated by the oh-so-gracious Emma of Adventures of a London Kiwi, I hereby accept the mantle Sisterhood of the World Bloggers and do solemnly swear to pass the torch onto other bloggers that I enjoy reading and think you will too.
Where is your all-time favourite destination?
Oooh, I think that’s an easy one since I write about it here often enough. Hands down Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Wanna know why? Check out the love letter to Tofino I wrote earlier this year.
Which post are you most proud of?
I’ve been blogging for several years now, but it’s only in the last couple of them that I’ve really found my voice and focused on the things that I am truly passionate about. As you can probably guess if you’ve spent any time around here at all, one of those things is travel. During the course of our lives, we are often asked how we manage to find the (a) time, and (b) money to take the trips we do. Some people truly wanted to know where I felt like others were somehow condemning us for our travels. I don’t want to sound like a bitch here, but I think some of those questions were posed out of a sense of envy or feeling like we had something they didn’t but thought they should. So … I sat down and laid it all out. Timeshare. Reward points. Off season travel. Then earlier this year I updated that post because a new round of questions popped up. And you know what? How We Travel is the #1 visited post on this blog so clearly I was saying something that people wanted to hear. I can only hope that it helped people who thought maybe travel was out of their reach to realize that they too could take the trips they’d longed for.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party, alive or dead?
Oh my gosh. My dream dinner party guests could either make for the most awesome night ever, or the worst sort of debacle you could ever imagine. First and foremost, Hillary Clinton and Martha Stewart. These women are two of my personal heroes and let’s face it, they are pretty damn compelling. I’d love to see both of them in a private setting with no cameras – and alcohol – because you just know they would be hilarious. Kelly Clarkson would also make the list because I think she’s hilarious and I’m pretty convinced that if she met me we would totally be BFFs by the time dinner was over.
Do you have a favourite travel app?
I’ve been using Kayak a lot lately on my iPhone when I get curious about how much it would cost to fly from Dublin to Random City, but my first true love is TripAdvisor. I’ve been on that site for what seems like forever and I never plan a trip without consulting it first. I much prefer the web-based version over the app though, so be warned. And like many others, there’s no way we could get by without Google Maps (although yesterday it wouldn’t find our destination and we had to fire up Apple Maps). I don’t even know what we did before the age of the iPhone. How did we find our way around a city? I can’t even recall.
What are your favourite and least favourite things about blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging is the connection it gives me to others. Some of my best friends on Twitter I first found back in the day when I was blogging about transforming our historic Craftsman home in Oakland, CA. We were all going through similar things and had similar interests and it just made it really easy to put everything else aside and become friendly with people I never would have met at all. We sold that house back in 2013 but I still talk to most of the people I met on a weekly basis at least (sometimes daily). The best thing ever? When we had lived in Dublin for less than a week one of those couples reached out to me during their own Irish travels and we met up for drinks in a seaside village close to their hotels. It was amazing and truly made the world feel like a small place.
The worst thing about blogging? The guilt. The feeling like I haven’t posted in so long and am somehow letting people down. Or going on vacation and not necessarily being present in the moment but instead thinking, “how am I going to blog about this?” I’m trying to be less focused on blog content these days and more focused on the experience, so that’s good (you can probably tell since it takes me so darn long to actually write about these experiences after they’ve happened).
Is there anything you like to do any time you visit somewhere new?
One of our favorite things to do anytime we visit a new location is to (1) drink beer at a local brewery, and (2) check out indoor food markets.
We’ve loved both Deschutes and Hair of the Dog in Portland, Oregon; Shipyard Brewing Company (pretty much where this love of ours started) in Portland, Maine; Brew Dog in Edinburgh, Scotland; Kona Brewing on the Big Island of Hawaii; Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Mad River Brewing in Humboldt County, CA; and a whole host of others I am sure I’m forgetting.
In terms of green grocer markets, everyone pretty much knows about Pike’s Place in Seattle and The Ferry Building in San Francisco, but my absolute favorite is the West Side Market in Cleveland. We make it a point of going shopping there every time we travel to Ohio to visit my sister’s family. I also really liked Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver. When we were there in the summer we bought some pate, cheese, and a bottle of wine and made a picnic of it. When we were in Budapest last week, we were very excited to stumble on their own indoor market and spend some time wandering the aisles there.
What’s your most treasured possession?
That’s a hard one to answer since I tend not to be very sentimental. (Case in point: when we were packing for this move we found a box full of old cards and love letters between the two of us. We tossed ‘em all.) I do have a number of things I’ve kept from my childhood: my first teddy bear given to me when I was still a baby from my dad’s mom who passed away from breast cancer when I was in high school; a teddy bear given to me by my grandparents when I was about 8 or 9 (his name is Max and I love him); my grandmother’s wedding ring that my grandpa gave to me after she passed away when I was in college; and that same grandparents’ wedding crystal that I’ve carted with me from place to place (the movers broke the carafe) and actually make use of even though it’s not fancy crystal or anything.
So that’s a little more insight into the inner workings of my mind. Now I fondly nominate the following:
- Sara of Sara Sees, another Dublin expat who has a really fun and inspiring blog with lots of great pictures
- My friend Jamaila, who is a mom to twins and an awesome historical romance author (and one of the house bloggers I met way back when). If you’ve ever wanted to see into the mind of someone who has planning down to a science, check this woman out. You will be amazed.
- Kim at NewlyWoodwards is a must read for anyone who is interested in seeing what goes in to building your own home. Yes, yourself. She’s also a craftaholic and has an adorable son who thinks he’s a superhero.
- Speaking of building your own home … I have another (crazy) friend, Danica, who has taken this on as well. Country Chic Renovator is her story.
- And finally, my friend Sarah is an amazing photographer who loves the great outdoors possibly more than anyone I know. If you’re itching to see some beautiful pics of a side of Idaho you probably didn’t know exists, I strongly recommend you check her out.