Ireland | Cliffs of Moher

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Cliffs of Moher.  It was AMAZING. AMAZING.

While visiting Ireland, Karen and I took two day tours with Paddy Wagon Tours. For our first tour we visited a few scenic spots and the Cliffs of Moher.  Our bus driver kept commenting how we may be in luck with weather at the Cliffs of Moher, and I didn’t understand that until we finally got there.  (My Irish friend’s comment about weather in Ireland. “There’s never a good time to visit Ireland [weather-wise].  It’s either cloudy or rainy or both.” I should have figured with the weather as such.)  It was very foggy when we first arrived.  So much so that when we hiked up to the vista point, we couldn’t see the Cliffs of Moher at all, just a blanket of fog.  Karen and I hiked back down then hiked back up with not much success until the fog started to roll out.  When the sky finally cleared, the cliffs were a sight to see, indeed! Beautiful.

We walked along the cliffs while I told myself, “My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Did you know the Cliffs of Moher are also the Cliffs of Insanity from Princess Bride?  You’re welcome for the fun fact.

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the bridal party

This is the picture you get when your bridal party is awesome.

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Renee & Brian

Muir Woods Engagement Photography | Renee & BrianMuir Woods Engagement Photography | Renee & Brian

I had so much fun for Renee & Brian’s engagement session.  We went exploring in my favorite spot, Muir Woods.  We had to park really far away, but thankfully, we found some great spots to take pictures.  Muir Woods is such a beautiful place.  If you ever get a chance, you should check it out and walk some of the trails.  It’s my favorite way to explore California’s iconic redwood forest.  

After Muir woods we pulled alongside one the roads and hiked to a beautiful lookout spot.  It was amazing.  From there we headed to the Mission District in San Francisco.  We had to stop at Bi-Rite for some yummy ice cream.

It was such a beautiful day in December.  We were really blessed with good weather.  I can’t wait to shoot their wedding in Woodside tomorrow!

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Tanner.

Connecticut Family Photography | the Izzo Family

 

 

 

bookish

1368 booksI realize I’m going on a trip to New York tomorrow.  I keep forgetting.  That probably explains why, the night before I flight out, I still haven’t packed.  But packing is simple and quick for me.  Although, it’s proving difficult for my mind to think of clothes to where in New York when it’s in the 80s here in the Bay Area. (Yes. Be jealous. I even got tan over the weekend.)

What’s one of the more difficult aspects of packing for me is choosing which books I want to bring with me and dwindling them down.  Packing books for New York is the hardest for me.  I read more in New York than I do anywhere else.  I can finish 3 or 4 books during a trip.  But even though I do finish a lot of books, I also buy a lot of books in New York for some reason.  Maybe it’s because I spend too much time at McNally Jackson.  Anyway I love going through all my books and deciding what I want to read.  Sometimes if I’m lucky I finish a book before I even land in New York.

*Above are the books I brought to Ireland/London.  What are you reading these days?

secrets.

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I thought I’d share some secrets today.

- I actually don’t like traveling on planes.
- I scrapbook. Actually it’s a little obsession.
- I wear pajamas all day. And if I go out, I change into my pajamas the moment I get home. (Also, did you know “pajama” originated from a Persian word?)
- I have a hooded adult onesie that I love wearing.
- I do happy dances all the time when I’m alone.
- I sing to myself.
- My answer to “Guess what?!” is almost always, “No.” I’m not a fun of guessing.
- I prefer that my main course and sides don’t touch each other. And I especially don’t like main courses and sides are on top of each other. (It weirds me out when there’s sung or gravy on my rice. Or when my fish are on my chips.)
- I like to spread out my toes.
- I love stretching and yoga.
- I like talking to cashiers.
- I really, really, really love manatees.
- I’m scared of snails. They really weird me out.
- I once ate only corn for a week to win a bet. (I won $5.)
- I’ve flown a plane before.
- I once felt a baby camel kick inside its mother’s tummy.
- I got whooping cough in college.

Ireland | the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

My birthday is the day after St. Patrick’s Day.  For as long as I can remember I loved St. Patrick’s Day.  I loved it because I loved having a holiday close to my birthday.  I think shamrock shakes from McDonald’s are awesome.  And one of my favorite things to eat is corned beef and cabbage.  (Oh and Karen and I learned that in London they call corned beef “salty beef”.  You’re welcomed for that fun fact.) So it comes as no surprise that I’ve wanted to spend my birthday in Ireland, and what better birthday to celebrate than my 30th!  Yay!

While I’m not a big celebrator of my birthday, I was very excited to go to the Guinness Storehouse and learn how to poor a proper Guinness (a dream come true).  Karen and I woke up extra early for the St. Patrick’s Day parade which was basically a bunch of American marching bands and very weird European theatrical performers. The gaps in American and European culture were very wide in the parade.  But another post on that later.  Once we were done with the parade we went straight for a taxi and off to the Guinness Storehouse.  We arrived at a perfect time when it was relatively empty.  (Karen suspected everyone was probably still making their way from the parade.)

First thing we did was go through the tour of the “brewery” which, like the Jameson Distillery, was only a mock up.  Karen and I breezed through it and went straight for some yummy food.  We had several restaurants with different types of food to choose from, and we decided upon Gilroy’s.  I ordered the “Rich Guinness and beef casserole with mashed potatoes” with a half pint of Guinness and a dessert of Guinness ice cream and fruit.  The casserole was absolutely delicious.  It melted in my mouth it was so good.

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At first we thought, “Is this it?” as it seemed like the Storehouse wasn’t as big a deal as we had heard.  We had already explored a couple of levels, when we realized we had totally missed a bunch of floors. Because it was St. Patrick’s Day different parts of the Storehouse were buzzing with bands and performers.  And on each floor there was some kind of demonstration or exhibit to explore. The Guinness Storehouse was really great fun, and we spent a good portion of the day enjoying it all.

I went crazy when I discovered a pouring class was included in our entry ticket.  The little lady showed us the proper way to pour a Guinness, and I felt so giddy doing it myself.  Guinness in Ireland is so much better than in the States, and I wondered if it was because it’s being poured incorrectly.  Needless to say, I love learning and taking classes, so of course I loved learning how to pour a proper pint. Yay! Hurray!

If you’re ever in Ireland, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is a fun touristy thing to do.  Make sure you buy your tickets online; you get a discount and don’t have to wait in the long line to enter.
1366 guinness storehouse photography08 1366 guinness storehouse photography09 1366 guinness storehouse photography10 1366 guinness storehouse photography11 1366 guinness storehouse photography12 1366 guinness storehouse photography13All the images were taken using my Fuji x100s and iPhone 4s.

 

the stop doing list.

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I’m going to take a little break from my Ireland and England adventure to share a few of my thoughts.  I just got off the phone with a friend who’s having a hard time finding balance in his life.  Because he’s amazing, I kept telling him, “You don’t give yourself enough credit.”  So the conversation got me thinking.  We are such a goal-oriented culture (especially us who are both Chinese and American), and it seems if we don’t see results we make ourselves feel like we’re not making the cut.  But to the contrary, I believe we need to savor all the small things, all those small victories that go unnoticed in our quest for Supreme Fudge.  (Like my interjection of HIMYM?*)  Those amazing struggles we’ve overcome or those baby steps that took us through our journey… these are things to be celebrated.

So when I came across this blog, I thought their idea of a Stop Doing List was a fantastic idea.

I will stop:
- Comparing myself to others.
- Falling asleep with the lights on.
- Worrying about what people think of me.
- Making unnecessary purchases.
- Trying to live up to other people’s expectations or standards
- Censoring my feelings.
- Being okay with crazy sleeping hours.
- Letting disappoints cripple my spirit.
- Being untrue to myself.

Instead I will:
- Be content.
- Watch movies that make me happy.
- Talk on the phone more.
- Get out of my house.
- Listen.
- Hug more.
- Read more.
- Spend all my working days with the window blinds drawn
- Eat cereal for dinner.
- Ride my bike.
- Love myself.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .

*Marshall called himself Supreme Fudge when he decided to go for a judgeship with the supreme court.  That was just about the only thing I liked about the HIMYM series finale.  Oh, and Cristin Milioti. She’s the best; I cried (maybe bawled) when she sang La Vie En Rose.

 

Oh. And the picture above was taken in Cambodia in 2013 that time I missed my flight and had to get a new passport. :D