Archive for February, 2012

Irish ice

This year, I’ll be turning 28 and when the big day rolls around I will have visited 4 out 7 continents. Admirable, I think.

I remember the days when I had never even been outside of North Carolina and when I did finally travel to Europe at the ripe old age of 14, I was amazed by everything. And when I say amazed, I mean educated.

I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I responded to comments with…

Really?
Wow!
No way!

Yeah, I was an American teenager through and through.

These days, there isn’t that much culturally that really surprises me anymore. If anything, I find myself rolling my eyes in surprise when I overhear another Yank asking a silly question. Like that one time in Australia, when a friend asked if there were white sheep in Australia. Or like that one time in Thailand, when a friend asked if Thai people ate spaghetti.

So when I do find myself surprised, I usually relish it. Whatever it is, no matter how small.

This past summer, BF and I went to Ireland, back to his home county. Of course I learned little bits and bobs about County Wexford while I was there, but I was pretty accustomed to the culture already having spent a lot of time in the UK and a lot of time with the Irish while in Oz. Here’s us in County Waterford after visiting one of his friends. While Ireland was beautiful, it doesn’t all look like this.

I digress.

We had a great time and while I asked questions about some of their family traditions, I didn’t find myself asking ‘What’s that?’ until his Mam (Irish for Mom…isn’t it cute?) pulled ice out of the freezer. It was stored in these little plastic baggies that had individual compartments. His sis explained that since most freezers are small, they don’t have room for ice trays, they just fit it in wherever possible.

I must have ooh’d and ahh’d a little too much because before we went home, his Mam took out the ice bags from the kitchen and stuffed them in my suitcase. She even sent me a new box when BF was home for Christmas.

I don’t know why Irish ice fascinates me so much. It must be that you can fill a bag with water (that has a hole, but no real closure), and the water won’t come back out. In fact, you’re supposed to turn the bag upside down after you’ve filled it. Whatever it is, I still smile when I serve up Irish ice. In fact, I just made some last night. Ever the top chef, I am.

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Just another grumpy Monday…

It was never my intention to start Monday off in a bad mood; in fact, I’m not really in a bad mood. I just have a nagging feeling that I need to blurt nonsense out to officially get it out of my system.

This weekend was so blah and I felt really frustrated for at least 75% of the time. I wasn’t stressed, I wasn’t angry, I was just annoyed and I put myself in a bad mood for at least 48 hours. So here it is, my nonsense…

#1 – Snubbed

For the past 2 years, I’ve tried really hard to make friends in DC (specifically by joining a sports club). It sucks here, because in a transient city where no one sticks around, it’s hard to make friends. It’s even harder when you don’t work in an office. And it’s damn near impossible, when the people you have tried to be friends with for the past 2 years still find ways to make you feel like you’re 14 and insignificant…like when you’re not invited to a birthday party that pretty much everyone else in the club is invited to. I don’t know if it was intentional and I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. It matters because I truly and honestly feel as if I’ve tried really hard (not in that awkward teen movie kind of way) and put in my dues as a relatively new member of the team; yet, somehow I’m still snubbed. And I find myself extremely annoyed that I don’t know why. I wish someone would just tell me and then at least I would know…

What’s worse, is that even though I’m snubbed I find myself still being polite and wishing people happy birthday or taking interest in their lives because that’s the right thing to do…right?

#2 – Taking steps back

I’ve also worked really hard this past year to not care about being snubbed and really focusing on valuable friends. This weekend, I felt like I took 5 steps back. I cared and I cared too much.

#3 – Not going to plan

Sometimes shit just hits the fan and there’s nothing you can do to control it. This Sunday, BF and I were supposed to go to a trampoline class that I got him for V-day as something fun and random to do. BF then tweaks his back while doing nothing overly strenuous. I know he didn’t do it on purpose (how could you?), but this was the one thing I was looking forward to this weekend after feeling like crap. The only bright side of it was that the company (who has a very strict cancellation policy) gave me a refund due to his injury and I was able to save the money spent and we can do it another time.

There was seriously nothing that could put a smile on my face yesterday and while I was a big mope yesterday, 2 more bitchy thoughts popped into my head as BF and I watched Drive and scoped out Oscar buzz on the interwebs.

#4 – Ugly knees

What was wrong with Angelina Jolie’s knee? She’s not fat nor has she ever been, so she shouldn’t have weird ‘I used to be fat’ knee sags, right?

#5 – Don’t watch Drive

Who said this was a good movie? Everyone that mentioned it to me said it was a great flick. Did they even watch it? It was terrible and glad we only paid $1.27 on Redbox. It needed MORE words and LESS head bludgeoning. I think I’ll start reconsidering friends who give out crappy movie references.

That is all.

Runway looks IRL

I admit, I get a little excited when fashion week rolls around. Not because I’m a mega fashionista, but because I like to see what’s new and different out there. I also try and challenge myself to incorporate something funky into my style because even the smallest change really stands out in a DC crowd.

Refinery 29 just put out this beauty edition of Runway vs. Real Girl and I had to share it with you because it made me LOL. Incorporating the runway styles into everyday wear was fun and admirable, but I loved the social experiment even more. So without further ado – eye feathers by Prabal Gurang on the runway and IRL!

The runway look…

The real girl look…

The social experiment lol…

Southern rules abide

In 2003, when my eldest sister brought home her fiance, Mama made them sleep in separate beds. They weren’t married yet, so not under her roof.

2 years later when my middle sister brought home her fiance, Mama allowed them to sleep in the same bed/room citing that there wasn’t enough room in the house to separate them.

She later confessed that it wasn’t a big deal since middle sis and her now hubby had already been living together prior to the visit.

Eldest sister was miffed that she had to abide by Southern rules, but that Mama had somehow been swayed (likely by his English charm and/or accent).

In June, BF and I are going to NC for eldest sister’s babies birthday party. Did that come out right? She has 2 kids – they’re having a joint birthday party/family get together. Clear? Ok!

This will be the first time BF meets all the family, Dad included (he’s met Mama before several times when she visits DC).

As I was sorting out the details on the phone with big sis I asked if they would have room in their house to accommodate us and she said they would figure something out. She mentioned a blow up mattress which I said was fine. She later called back to confirm they would have room and then made sure to say that because BF and I were not married, we would not be allowed to stay in the same room/bed.

Can’t say I’m overly surprised to hear her say this, but I honestly thought since we were adults now, it wasn’t a big deal. Either Southern rules still abide or it’s payback to make sure I’m not let off the hook like middle sister.

I understand big sis has children in the house, but I can guarantee our behavior as a couple would in no way negatively influence them. Get what I’m saying?

Suppose I really think it’s funny as Mama has no illusions about me and BF. I also know (for a fact) she wouldn’t enforce this rule at her house. Maybe us liberal women still scare some of the ‘bless her heart’ ladies of North Carolina.

West coast adventures

Last September, the North American GAA finals were in San Francisco. I was beyond excited, not only to play in the finals of my second year of Gaelic sports, but to travel to the west coast! The only other time I had even thought about traveling west was to catch another plane somewhere else and only visited the LA airport.

This time, I took full advantage of the trip and spent 5 days in San Francisco and a week in Portland with my friend, Andrea. BF and I packed in as many activities as possible while in San Fran.

We biked the Golden Gate bridge stopping many times to take photos, only to discover each view was more breathtaking than the last (ps. check out my mini-me in the photo too! lolz).

We also went to Alcatraz and toured the prison. I had no idea Indians had occupied the island at one time!

And, of course while we were there, I played a lot of camogie and a little bit of gaelic football. Here’s a gratuitous picture of me in the finals against Denver. We lost by a point. And yes, that’s a skort. Hello 1998!

After I said goodbye to San Fran and the BF, I said hello to Portland and Andrea. I was amazed at how beautiful it was there, and also how truly weird it is! I loved the 90’s vibe within the city and couldn’t believe that you could be surrounded by beautiful mountains and rivers just by driving less than an hour outside the city. I know I kind of have that luxury here in DC, but it just seemed so much more impressive in Oregon.

And here we are on a boat. We randomly got in a ski boat with some guys who needed 2 extra people so they could water ski. They were also nice enough to not kill us and teach us how to ski as well! Don’t worry Mom, I notified friends before getting on the boat. Maybe not the smartest decision, but we had fun!

So why exactly am I reminiscing about my west coast adventures? Because I’m going back, baby!

I just booked a flight out to Seattle to visit Andrea again in May (all part of my Do More campaign, of course!) and we’ll be participating in the Color Run 5k! Basically, we’ll run and people will throw color on us. Sounds fun, eh? Stay tuned for pictures of that adventure!

Dating Irish lads – a guide for non-Irish girls

I came across this article, Dating Irish girls – A guide for American lads, and thought it handy if you’re a dude, but what about us ladies? It’s a bit of a pointless read unless you’re trying to bag an Irish girl. So I thought I’d help you out a bit from my personal and current experiences and whip up this little guide for you.

1. Learn to love carbs, especially spuds
As a personal rule of thumb, I try to avoid complex carbs. They don’t do me any favors when I step on the scale. But if you’re going to date an Irishman, you’ll need to concede every now and then. Irish boys live off spuds, pasta, and bread.

If you can’t bare to give in all the time (like moi), then you’ll have to find a way for him to have his spuds and you not starve. I usually opt for modified, healthier options. Things YOU have to prepare for, because he may not understand why you don’t want spuds 24/7.

2. Drink at your own pace
It’s simple; he probably started drinking when he was 13 and knew how to pour a proper pint a week later. He also likely worked in a pub, so don’t think you can keep up. No one wants to be that girl, so just be you. Yes, I speak from personal experience.

3. Irish lads are NOT from the UK
Do your homework. The Republic of Ireland (Northern Ireland not included) is not in the UK. The English are not the same as the Irish, just as the Scottish are not the same as the Welsh. If you refer to that part of the world, it’s the UK and Ireland, not just the UK.

4. Learn some slang
You don’t have to know every slang word being said, but learn a few. It’ll make the conversation a lot easier. I promise.

Also, don’t be offended by their slang words. While you may choose to not use words like ‘cunt’ or ‘fuck’, it’s pretty much a part of their vocabulary. Same way we say ‘Awesome’…a lot. And if it really does bother you, see rule #5.

5. Grow thick skin
Even if your BF is super lovey dovey to you and knows better than to ever ‘take the piss’ (see rule #4), you’re still fair game for his friends. Learn how to take a joke, don’t be sensitive, and know how to give it back. You’re going to have more fun when you’re in on the joke, instead of being the joke.

6. Irish lads don’t “date”
Maybe this should have been #1, but what I mean is, Irish lads (and this goes for English and Scottish too) don’t date in the same sense of the word like Americans. They don’t take you out for 2 dates to see if they like you or 4 dates before you get to meet their friends. It’s all or nothing and you’re either in a relationship or you’re not (varying degrees, of course). You probably met at a bar, a party, or a sporting event and they’re going to know instantly what type of friendship/relationship/situation you will have.

And ladies, you and I both know what it is if you’re just meeting up at the end of a random night. That’s not dating – in Irish or American terms. #facethefacts

Friday night noms

I’m not a chef. I’m not even really a decent cook and I hate cooking anything that has more than 5 ingredients. Tonight, I splurged and used 6 ingredients for this tasty roasted chicken & veg. I got the recipe out of my March issue of Real Simple.

So what exactly are you drooling over? That’s roasted red potatoes with broccoli and very thin pieces of chicken with red pepper and feta cheese rolled up inside. I had to brown the chicken in a frying pan before putting it in the oven to roast, but only a minor hassle, really.

I guess I could have really stuck to my 5 ingredient rule, but I’m a big fan of flat parsley. It just gives a really fresh taste to everything.

Happy belly, over and out.

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