Exploring Dublin Castle | Ireland

28 July 2016


Located in the heart of the city, Dublin Castle can easily be passed up. Hidden amongst a row of fish and chip shops and bars is a giant hidden treasure. 

I was surprised to learn that general admission does not give you access to certain areas of the castle. We opted for waiting on a guided tour in order to see some of the restricted areas. Built in the 12th century (although a fortress stood at the same location hundreds of year previously) Dublin Castle has played a prominent role in Irish politics up until this day. 



The castle has a serious of structures built in different centuries. Each building served it's own purpose, ranging from state apartments to religious sanctuaries. With it's location in the heart of the city, the castle has played an important role in Irish history and politics for over a thousand years.  The current President of Ireland was inaugurated within the grounds in 2011. 


What are some of your favorite castles around the world?

xoxo

An Introduction to the Austin Food Truck Scene

25 July 2016


It took me awhile to jump on the food truck bandwagon. In my head, food trucks were these dirty places that only had one or two choices. Why waste my money on something like that? After a trip or two to Austin, Texas I began to really understand why everyone is falling for the food truck craze.

If you think about it, food trucks have always been a thing. From the first regulation of food carts in America in 1691, to the Oscar Mayer Wiener car in 1936, food trucks have been an essential part of city eating for centuries. However, the modern fascination with gourmet food trucks began with the growth of social media. Now, people can easily track there favorite trucks and let all their friends know about it. 


Austin is considered one of the best Food Truck scenes. With over 2,000 trucks roaming the city on a daily basis, Austin is a food truck lover's heaven. My favorite? Paperboy. If you happen to find yourself in Austin, head down to 11th street for the perfect breakfast sandwich.



A photo posted by S a r a D a v i s (@sararosedavis) on

On the Bookshelf | 2016 Reading Challenge Part II

19 July 2016


I hope everyone is having a great start to the week! Before we jump into what I've been reading lately, a quick service announcement. I've added ratings to my book reviews! I personally have always found book reviews with blogger's ratings more helpful for choosing the next book I want to read. As my book reviews come in sets of ten, my hope is that these ratings will help you easily chose what book to pick up next! All my ratings are the same ratings I provided these books on Goodreads, so if you aren't following me there make sure to add me and say hello! Okay, shall we dive in?

THE SILVER WITCH | Paula Brackston 
4/5
Adult fantasy is a hard art to master. I rarely pick up books like this solely for that reason. Having said that, I found The Silver Witch to be an exceptional fantasy novel geared towards an older crowd. The Silver Witch follows a newly widowed woman, Tilda Fordwells, into Wales where she discovers her mystical ancestry. There is mystery, suspense, action, and even a little romance. I personally love books that reference ancient magic and found this book very entertaining!

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM | Giovanna Fletcher
3/5
Recently I've been traveling for work, and I usually prefer a good audiobook to the radio. I chose this book for a little lighthearted fun. Unfortunately, I found myself depressed and slightly bored. Sarah, a woman who can remember every detail of almost every dream, finds the world she created in her sleep to be more exciting than reality. When the two words crash, it becomes a comically sad mess.

THE WARS OF THE ROSES | Alison Weir
4/5 
As the Wars of the Roses are becoming a highly sought after topic, the amount of historical works have increase drastically over the last 20 years. Weir's work, published in 1995, is one of the best comprehensive works out there for this particular time period.

THE COLOR PURPLE | Alice Walker
4/5
My friend and I challenged ourselves to begin reading more banned books by American authors. The Color Purple is arguably one of the most well known book that had been banned at some point in time. Walker's novel is immediately heart wrenching, and within pages I was crying. Celie, although uneducated and unappreciated, understands how to survive. As time goes on, she gains courage and strength to create a world of her own.

THE SECRET HISTORY | Donna Tartt
4/5
Where do I even begin with this book? A group of classic students at a small elite college become obsessed with the circumstances surrounding an accidental death. A well written physiological thriller that I would recommend to anyone willing to take on the daunting task of reading such a long book.

THE SCARLET LETTER | Nathaniel Hawthorne
3/5
Everyone knows the general theme of The Scarlet Letter. However, as I read this book (in one night I might add) the image in my head was completely broken down. The idea of adultery was of course the same, but there were many other themes I found to be even more interesting. Self vs public image, the ideas of childhood, living outside of society's rules. I throughly enjoyed this book, however, it is not something I will pick up again any time soon.

THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED | F. Scott Fitzgerald
4/5
Fitzgerald has clever way of creating characters that I absolutely despise, yet feel invested in. The book follows the spoiled Anthony and Gloria in 1920s New York. The two characters are toxic for each other. Their love slowly leads to each of their downfalls. An entertaining and somewhat biographical read, The Beautiful and Damned has to be one of my favorite Fitzgerald reads.

THE BURIED GIANT | Kazuo Ishiguro
2/5 
Hmmm, okay. So I really wanted to like this book. An elderly couple sets out to find their son, only they can't really remember him, let alone anything from their distant past. My biggest problem was the writing style. I LOVED it, but it had been a while since I had read something Tolkien-esk. The amount of detail that went into each conversation was borderline excessive which made it extremely hard to get through.

AFTER YOU | Jojo Moyes
2/5
Lousia Clark is a character I just don't understand. After reading Me Before You and balling my eyes out, I was interested to see how Louisa's life carried on without Will. (Spoiler alert: it isn't that grand). Would I recommend this to anyone who has read Me Before You? Probably not.

THE CASUAL VACANCY | JK Rowling 
3/5
I'm surprised it has taken me this long to finally read The Causal Vacancy. A spot for a Parish Councilor becomes unexpectedly vacant leaving the tiny town of Pagford in total chaos. Rowling creates a town of betrayal and secrecy, one that can be compared to almost any small town across the world. The overall theme of this book was fantastic, however the sheer amount of characters I was forced to keep up with was daunting and at times slightly confusing. 

A Little Bit of Hope | Austin, Texas

15 July 2016


I had completely different intentions for this post. Yes, I wanted to share with you the amazing Hope Outdoor Gallery in Austin, Texas. But after a long day of work and a glass or two of wine, I have realized there isn't much to say. The message of the gallery is hope, and that is exactly what we all need right now.

The word Hope means different things to people. For this run down block in downtown Austin, hope meant getting a second chance at a life. A failed land development, Hope Outdoor Gallery was created in order to give the people of Austin a place to truly express themselves. The gallery is full of messages of love, and yes even some messages of hate. But together, this worn down concrete is a piece of beautiful art. 


I don't know about you, but I often find myself feeling exhausted and trapped in this thing called life. Life is always going to throw you curveballs, but the way you handle these obstacles will determine your level of happiness. Hope and love are the two things that make me look forward to the future. It just took a little trip to Austin, Texas to make me realize it once again. 


xoxo

Jacob's Well | Texas Hill Country

12 July 2016


Tiny raindrops hit the windshield. The day before had been beautiful. Hot, but beautiful. Instead of the sunshine and heat we had been hoping for, we were given clouds and rain. 

That didn't stop us though. Elle and I bring out the adventurous side of each other. It's what makes our friendship so amazing! After meeting through the blogging community and essentially living the same lives (both went to the same undergraduate university, both moved abroad to Bristol, both ended up back in Texas), we had made the conscious effort to begin exploring some of our "Texas Bucket List" places. Jacob's Well happened to be on both of our lists. 

Elle and I had reserved our spot at Jacob's Well weeks in advance. We made the hour long drive from Austin to Wimberley just in time to be some of the first people there. Although attendance is limited to 60 people every two hours, we wanted to beat the majority of those crowds and get that oh so famous jumping photo (see below). 


 Jacob's Well has always been a well known spot amongst Texans. Recently however, with the help of Pinterest and Instagram, this natural well has become an Internet sensation. At 12 feet across and 120 feet deep, Jacob's Well is one of the deepest underwater caves in all of Texas. Thousands take the plunge into the well each year, sometimes at a cost. This tiny spring is also one of the most deadly places to dive in America. But don't worry, due to the force of the spring pushing upwards, it is almost impossible to dive to the bottom unless geared with proper diving equipment. 


I decided to break out my GoPro for our Jacob's Well adventure. Other than capturing some of these awesome underwater shots, I also shot a video! What do y'all think, should I break out the GoPro a little more often?


xoxo