An Irish Birthday | The Big 25

31 May 2016

Did y'all miss me? It's been over a week since my last post, but I won't offer up any excuses. It was my birthday week and I needed a much deserved break! 

In the weeks leading up to my twenty-fifth birthday people kept asking me how I was going to celebrate. A party perhaps? Maybe a dinner? Well if you know anything about me you'll know I'm not one for big birthday celebrations. Instead, I decided to do what I love the most: travel around Europe. I picked Ireland for my latest destination. 

I spent my birthday weekend exploring the beautiful country of Ireland. My favorite pastime happens to be eating, which made an appearance. 

25 is a big birthday! Most people hate the idea of growing old, but I'm part of the minority. I enjoy growing up and getting to do the things I love like travel. I've decided to embrace 25 and live life to the fullest! 

In case you were wondering, I basically took a million pictures this past weekend. Stay tuned for Ireland posts for days and days to come!


Texas on Instagram

18 May 2016

Ah, home sweet home. 

Aside for the two years I lived in England, I have always lived in the Lone Star State. Texas has always really been home. I recently read an article describing how Texas has became a major tourist attraction and I wasn't surprised. It's a big state and we do have a lot to offer! As John Steinbeck once said, "Texas is a state of mind". 

Over the past year, I have frequently posted on my travels around the world. From New Orleans to London, you can find it all here on Of Golden Roses! Something you can't really find? Posts on my home state! After reading some of y'alls comments on my recent Reader Survey, I thought it was about time to introduce you to some of the best things about this great state of mine. 

So why exactly is Texas so awesome? Well for starters, the history.

A photo posted by Jesse Clark (@jessejojames) on

A photo posted by Hen Lin (@henlin_tw) on

And then there's the nature
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And a little bit of everything else.
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A photo posted by Illeigh Emanuel (@illeighann) on


Life in the Most Unusual Places | Galveston, Texas

12 May 2016

I'll admit, a cemetery is a unusual place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

For Mothers Day, my mom and I decided to make the hour long trip down to Galveston, Texas for a little food and. Galveston is always a fun day trip destination. Just south of Houston, the city if full of character! 

As we drove down Broadway, colorful houses zooming past, the color yellow caught my eye. The Broadway Cemetery, normally a landmark that barely causes a second glance, was covered in a sea of wildflowers. I had never seen anything like it, despite the 20 something years I've lived in Houston. I was memorized.

The cemetery has no official name as it is actually a series of seven cemeteries jumbled into 3 blocks along Broadway. With over 177 years of history, the "Broadway Cemetery" is home to over 12,000 known graves. 

Houston has had a rough time lately. The April rain has brought devastating floods to the area, causing hundreds to lose their belongings and homes. For me, the beauty the cemetery had to offer on this Sunday afternoon was a reminder: April showers do bring May flowers. 

Unlike many historic graveyards in the UK, information on this hauntingly beautiful cemetery is hard to come by. I could find no website, nor a comprehensive history online. From what I understand though, the cemetery is open from sun up to sun down seven days a week. It was open on a Sunday afternoon after all.


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Traveling the World While Holding a Full Time Job

09 May 2016

As I sat at my local Starbucks, coffee in hand, the busy Houston traffic zooming past me outside the window, I came to a realization. Time is a luxury I no longer have. The past two years have been a whirlwind of changes, but the biggest change of all was that of finishing my academic career and joining the 'real world' as some people called it. When I first landed my full time job a common phrase amongst my friends was 'welcome to the real world'.

The phrase irked me a bit. What exactly is the real world? There were unwritten rules that I was obviously not following, such as settling down, buying a house, or having children. While I have absolutely nothing against my friends who are doing these things, my real world is a path I have created for myself, and in the center of that path is travel. 

Let's face it. You can't do what you love without a solid foundation in life. So, as I write this on a sunny Saturday morning, I am not only blogging but also aimlessly scrolling through my work email. My full time job has become not only rewarding, but allows me to live the life I want to live. I would like to share my the secrets to traveling the world while still holding a full time job. 

You won't be able to travel unless you make it a major priority in your life. Chances are you are going to miss a lot of things: birthdays, parties, weddings. That is okay. Do what makes you happy and make the right choices to achieve that. 

I miss the days of jumping on a train in England and being transported somewhere new and exciting within minutes. Here, in the US, it's a little more complicated than that. A common misconception in the US is because it is so spread out, you can never truly visit somewhere within a weekend. I'm here to tell you that is complete crap! It may require a little research, but planning a weekend getaway is not only do-able, but can also be affordable! Weekend trips I have been able to plan without taking any time off include New Orleans, Dallas, OKC, Nashville, and even Chicago! With one or two days off, plus the added weekend, I've been able to plan trips to London and Dublin!

Planning your travels will take a lot of dedication and research. There are MANY factors you will have to take into consideration. Do you have enough PTO (paid time off)? Will you be able to request off those days? How many hours will you have to work overtime to make up for the ones you plan on taking off? My first few months were spent building my PTO. I barely spent anytime traveling. But because I did that I was able to build and build and build! Now I have the luxury of traveling without worrying about going into a PTO deficit. All I have to do is make sure I plan my trips far enough in advance so I can easily request my desired days off!

One of the most expensive parts of travel is accommodation. Other than transportation, accommodation is easily the biggest money drainer on any getaway. Why not visit that friend who has moved away? Chances are, you know at least one or two people who have moved somewhere new and exciting. Take advantage of that! Spend a weekend with them catching up and exploring their new city!

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am a good at saver. I always have been. It might have something to do with the fact that I am a banker's daughter, or maybe it's just because I am borderline OCD (you should ask my coworkers). Regardless of the reason, saving is essential to being able to travel. Set aside an account and automatically transfer funds every pay check, however small. Once it's in your savings account don't touch it. Don't even think about it really! Act as if it never existed and eventually it'll grow.

I recently caught a stomach bug. It had been going around and by the time I got it, it had become a full blown nightmare. I had to take of two days of work, which could have been two days of travel. Take care of your health and your body so you don't have to take as many sick days. Your growing PTO will thank you later.

Working full time can often be exhausting, especially when you are using every spare moment you have planning your next vacation! Print out the desk planner below to keep you motivated and on track for your next getaway!

A Weekend in Chicago | The Ultimate Travel Guide

02 May 2016

Time Zone | Central
Average Summer Temperature | High 81F - Low 58F
Average Winter Temperature | High 47F - Low 18F
Major Airports | Chicago Midway & O'Hare International
Transportation | Divvy Bikes, $9.95 for a 24-hour pass
Average Hotel Price Per Night | $130 - $250
Average Meal Price | $17

+ Many different Native American tribes inhabited the area, however the Potawatomi's were the prominent tribe during the 17th century when fur trading and exploration began reaching west.
+ The first US settlement was established in 1803 called Fort Daerborn.
+ Chicago was incorporated in 1833.
+ Chicago became a major trading port on Lake Michigan, and by 1854 the population was 30,000.
+ In 1871 the Great Fire of Chicago destroyed one third of the city, leaving thousands of residents homeless. However, Chicago was rebuilt and by 1930 the population was over three million.

Millennium Park | Ice skating, music, and relaxation.
Navy Pier | Restaurants and rides overlooking Lake Michigan.
Lincoln Park Zoo | A free zoo!
Tribune Tower | Collection of world landmarks incorporated into the design. Fragments of the Alamo, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Pyramid can be found here.
Chicago Cultural Center | A free cultural center with impressive architecture.
Skydeck Chicago | Views of Chicago from above. 

Portillo's $
Sublime Sushi $$
Giordano's $$
The Purple Pig $$$
Bottlefork $$$

The Bean
Buckingham Fountain
Lake Michigan