Week in Photographs: 5/23/2014

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It feels like F-O-R-E-V-E-R since I've done one of these, despite my intentions to do it regularly while I was in France. But hey, there's no time like right now to pick it up again, right? I didn't actually take a ton of photos this week as it felt kind of like a whirlwind -- seeing friends, applying for jobs, unpacking from my four months abroad, going through everything I own, etc etc. The day after I got back from France my dad and I went and watched the FA Cup Final (GO GOONERS!!!!) and I had my first real moment of reverse culture shock at how big the glasses were.

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I have had a LOT of good food + adventures this week, that's for sure! I met up with a couple different friends at Ramen Tatsu-Ya and Epicerie, made my own iced coffee, had my first tacos and horchata of 2014, sat outside at Starbucks and read The Ship of Theseus (which I'll do a review on when I'm finished, but it is AMAZING holy cow.) My dad is teaching me how to drive stick shift, I've been putting a lot of love and work into some new things for this space, and I've been (slowly) getting used to the Texas heat again.

I hope all of you have had amazing weeks of your own!

P.S. -- If you want to have an even better weekend, it's Pay What You Can Weekend over at Danielle LaPorte's site! Run, don't walk, over there. Trust me.

A Crash Course in Dublin

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The second stop during spring break was Dublin. I'd always wanted to visit Ireland in an absent way, lumping it in with my years-long goal of visiting every country at some point in my life, but had never seriously considered going until I was looking at the cities that the Generator had hostels in and realized, "Hey, I could actually go to Ireland!" I had allotted myself about a day and a half there but ended up with less than 36 hours in the country due to issues with RyanAir. So I set out earlier than usual the morning after I arrived (because I had literally just enough time to eat at the hostel and sleep by the time I got there the night before) and went for longer than I usually did, wanting to experience as much of Dublin as I could in one day. I started my morning with a cappuccino at the Generator, wanting a few moments of calm before I began on the journey to discover an unknown city. Afterwards I took the tram a few stops to get myself in a different part of the city and wandered around for an hour or so, observing the culture and architecture around me. It was so strange -- after months in France -- to hear English being spoken all around me, to realize that I could understand the main language of the country.

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I stopped at The Mercantile for breakfast and ordered the traditional Irish breakfast (pictured above) which included: "double fried egg, O'Neill's dry cured bacon, Loughnanes pork and leek sausage, clonakilty black pudding, vine cherry tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, cheddar and chive farls, baked beans and ballymaloe relish." It also came with toast and coffee. Now, you should know that I didn't eat the beans (although I did try them!) and that I ate the egg even though I hate eggs like that, where you can taste the egg. It's weird. I know. I liked the black pudding but refuse to find out what was inside because I have a feeling I would change my mind about it.

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After that I basically walked until I couldn't anymore and my stomach was grumbling loudly at me. Dublin was grittier than I had expected, obviously more worn than my own city of Angers, but it also made me feel strangely at home because of that fact. I was reminded immensely of Seattle, of how there is beauty and wear always coexisting.

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In Seattle there's an unofficial rule that from any street corner you can see a Starbucks on any street in your line of sight. While I had previously seen Starbucks' around Europe and seen how popular they were with the Europeans, nothing compared to the sheer number that exist in Seattle. That is, nothing except for Dublin. I was incredibly surprised to realize that Dublin could rival Seattle for the most Starbucks in a single city (even more than my own city of Austin, which has a fair number to boast.)

I grabbed lunch at the Merchant's Arch Bar and Restaurant where I had a BLT and a small cider and quickly realized that I was the only girl alone in the entire place and also the only person eating food.

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After lunch I walked around more, went into shops that looked interesting, asked for recommendations of places to explore from people on the street, watched a few groups of street dancers and performers, went through a couple shopping centers, and just tried to take in everything that was around.

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I also spent some time at Trinity College, which was a bit strange. While I was there I thought about how bizarre it must be to be going somewhere for school that is constantly inundated with tourists, who are taking photos and gawking at things that you see every day, that are just a part of your world.

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What I was possibly most excited for in Dublin though was the Literary Pub Crawl that I had come across while doing hours of research on things to do in the city, a tiny link on a random page that I was about to close. There was a whole range of people attending: a group of students from Florida and two of their professors there on a class outing, a girl who had been teaching English in France for the past year, a few other people on their own, and a group of elderly women who were there as a 50-year celebration of being best friends since college. We started at the Duke Pub and met the two Irish actors who would be our guides for the evening. They gave literary history lessons on Irish writers and acted out a few scenes. Then we moved to Trinity College for a "cultural note" and some more literary history. The second pub that we visited was O'Neill's, where we had 20 minutes to drink on our own or with other people in the group before we met outside of the Dublin Tourism Center across the street for our second cultural note and another round of acting. Our third pub was The Old Stand where we again had drinking time on our own. Then we walked to the fourth pub for the final cultural note and the last round of drinking. I've been trying for weeks to remember the name of the final pub we visited, but there has been no luck so far. All I remember is that the paintings on the walls were based off of regular patrons at the time.

Mood Board #1: Spring Break Vibes

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spring break mood board

Since last Thursday I've been mostly confined to my apartment -- only leaving to do grocery shopping on Saturday before the entire city closed for Easter, and to do my laundry this morning. I've been studying like a madwoman and writing final papers so that this Thursday, when I leave Angers at the crack of dawn for spring break, I won't have anything to worry about school-wise. However, this means I've spent a ridiculous amount of time daydreaming about spring break, planning outfits, and getting steadily more excited about tackling three new cities in three countries I've never been to in a week and a half. To satiate my longing to board my first plane I put together this mood board, giving myself an hour or two to anticipate warm weather, colorful clothes, flowers blooming all around, and a sense of fun. Because as much as I love being an English Literature major, there are some times I would rather be discovering a new city instead of analyzing Frankenstein.

Applications I Would Stake My Life On: Mac Edition

Image found on www.flickr.com
Image found on www.flickr.com

As a college student, a blog owner, and a member of society in the 21st century my technology feels like an extension of my physical form. And one of my most prized possessions, and largest tools for running my life, is my laptop. I use a 15" MacBook Pro and over the years I've accumulated my own cult list of applications I swear by, that I would stake my life on.

1Passwordis an absolute gem: it remembers every username and password you ever enter, helps you create impenetrable passwords, and can even remember the answers to security questions if you tell it to. I prefer to keep the answers to my security questions out of the app for the most part, but it is a handy feature for that obscure website you went to six years ago and need to be able to get into once in a blue moon.

Caffeinekeeps my screen bright as the sun when I'm working on a paper, which is usually a day-long intensive process. It seems like such a small thing, having your screen constantly bright, but when you're in the middle of writing something that carries 15% of your overall grade on it, you don't want to take the time to press the brighten button on the keyboard.

Calendar is a life-saver when it comes to coordinating my schedule with my parents' when I'm living at home, and for keeping track of all of my obligations and appointments when I'm at school or, you know, living in a different country. It integrates seamlessly with Google Calendars, I can color-code to my heart's content, and it syncs across all of my Apple devices.

Coffitivityhas been a favorite of mine for months now, the comforting and familiar track "University Undertones" playing alongside any music I have while I'm doing pretty much anything. It boosts productivity like nothing else for me, and in a foreign country it goes a long way for making me feel less homesick. I used the web application for ages and only recently downloaded the desktop application and am wondering why the heck it took me so long to make the switch.

Dropboxis a no-brainer in my book. I use it to back up my blog, my computer (as a back-up of the back-ups I keep on an external hard drive), to send files to myself that I have to print at school just in case the attachment doesn't work on the emails I send myself. It helps keep me sane, knowing that I have a backup of every backup in case something goes wrong.

Pages is my life and blood when it comes to applications on my computer. I do pretty much everything in Pages -- I write papers for school in it, I write drafts of my blog posts in it, I write and edit poetry, short stories, I keep a million lists and random ideas in documents, I keep an archive of quotes I find interesting or inspiring. If I didn't have Pages, I don't know what I would do.

SelfControlis another favorite productivity application of mine. You enter distracting websites into a blacklist, set the timer, and the application blocks you from those sites for however long your timer is set for. Quitting the application won't grant you access, nor will restarting your computer or uninstalling the application. I use it the most around midterms and finals, when I need to spend every waking hour studying or writing papers.

What are some of your cult favorites when it comes to desktop applications?

March Delights

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