Barcelona, Spain | March 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Where do I even start with Barcelona? Luke and I loved everything about this Spanish city. It's definitely one my all-time favorite places in the world now. The trip had a questionable start, as we were both feeling under the weather (Luke had food poisoning and I had flu-like symptoms) but we pulled through and hit the ground running on our first day. Each day got better and better with sunny skies, delicious food and lots and lots of walking! My favorite part of Barcelona was visiting Park G├╝ell. Luke's favorite was everything!

Where we stayed: Four Points Sheraton (while we usually go the AirBnb route, we snagged a deal on this hotel and our stay there was fantastic!)
What we loved: the sun, getting lost all over the city, leisurely walks up and down the water, sangria, tapas, paella, jamon in a cone, pintxos, the boqueria market, public transportation, Spanish pottery, Gaudi architecture. 

Dublin, Ireland | March 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

This was our second trip over to Europe (see our last one here, here and here). Somehow I felt right at home walking around this small city. It was a pleasant surprise discovering that you could walk from your AirBnb all over town without even having to look at a map - that's how easy it was to navigate in Dublin. Everything was so bright and colorful and old and new. Dublin is truly a mix of past and present. We were lucky enough to visit on St. Patrick's Day to celebrate Luke's birthday and partake in all the festivities. Since we've been back everyone has asked us about our experience - they all suspect the place was CRAZY! Truth be told, Europeans know how to do life. While the city was a bit crazy and crawling with people it was more like controlled chaos. We found the parade to be more family friendly. 

Where we stayed: An AirBnb near Spencer Dock
Where we ate: The Boxty House, Seven Wonders, Oneill's Pub, Madigan's, Zozimus, The Stag's Head, The Larder, Klaw (I would highly recommend them all!)
What we loved: Temple Bar Pubs, The Little Museum of Dublin, Guinness Storehouse, St. Stephen's Green, Trinity College, Grafton Street shopping, Irish accents that were sometimes hard to understand, walking everywhere, pub culture.
What Holly didn't love: Driving a manual transmission on the other side of the car on the other side of the road.

Easy Peasy Artisan Bread

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My mother-in-law recently gave me a Martha Stewart dutch oven for my birthday (so in love with it!) and I couldn't wait to put it to use. I've been dying to try my hand at baking bread. I've been hearing a lot about this "no knead bread" recipe and everyone raves about how easy it is. I don't think I've ever baked a single thing with yeast that has turned out edible. I was skeptical, but willing to give it a try... 

This might be the easiest bread you've ever baked! The ingredients are minimal and there is no kneading required. You basically mix everything together, let it set, then throw it in the oven! The end result is a crusty exterior with a soft and fluffy interior. I'm typically not a baker and again, any recipe that requires me to use yeast usually ends in disaster. This one is fool-proof though. I'd recommend you give it a try sometime - you just might surprise yourself with the results!

what you need:
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water

dutch oven (ideally 4 - 6 qts)
parchment paper (optional)

make the dough:
mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl. mix in room temperature water with a wooden spoon or spatula - be careful not to over-mix. cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise overnight (or 10-16 hours) - the dough should more than double in size.

make the bread:
once the dough has risen, punch down and fold into a ball on a well-floured surface. let the dough sit on parchment paper for 30 minutes before baking. pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. make sure your dutch oven is in the oven pre-heating, you don't want to place a cold pot in a hot oven, yikes! transfer the dough on the parchment paper into the hot dutch oven and bake covered for 30 minutes. bake another 15 minutes uncovered. and you're done!

I found this recipe by searching "no knead bread" in google and pinterest. 
I kept seeing the same recipe/ingredients repeated over and over again.
I slightly adjusted mine (adding less salt than the other recipes I encountered).

Our next trip...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Our next trip is just around the corner - 36 days away to be exact. This time we're headed to Dublin, Ireland for a week and then on to Barcelona, Spain for a week. Two places that are total opposites, but two places that are near the top of our travel bucket list. We're lucky enough to be visiting Dublin for St. Patrick's Day, which is also Luke's birthday. The last epic St. Patrick's Day I experienced was in Boston with a group of girlfriends (around 9 years ago!) so I'm due for another wild experience I guess :) After a few days in Dublin we'll venture out to the countryside to visit the family castle in Northern Ireland, a major bucket list item for me! Then it's time to hop on a plane down to Barcelona for a few days! Only 36 days to go...

The only semi-relatable photo to add to this post. A photo walking around Southie in Boston after the St. Patrick's Day parade in 2008. I've either miss-placed the photos I have from that trip or the photos that I still have are not appropriate to share online, haha!

New Year, New Camera

Friday, January 27, 2017

I recently parted ways with my Canon 60D DSLR, 50mm 1.4mm and 18-200mm lenses. It was a hard decision to make - but necessary to move on to something new. I have spent the past 6+ years in love with photography and have taught myself so much along the way. Back when I used to maintain this blog on a regular basis I was out and about with my DSLR every weekend, snapping everything in sight. As the years have gone on and my interests have changed, I rarely used my camera. It sat on the shelf and gathered dust. Lugging around a heavy camera and a collection of lenses became burdensome and then having to download, edit and upload through my computer became just another annoyance. It became clear that I needed to make a change.

I did my research and landed on something completely different than what I'm used to! An Olympus Pen E-PL8. It's mirrorless, small and has a retro look. It has the capability for different lenses, so I can always add more down the road - which I will probably do because the quality and depth of field  I got from my old 50mm 1.4 lens is something that I'd like to have again. I've had this new camera for only a few short weeks - so I still have a lot of learning to do - but I'm slowing getting the hang of this new format. So far the hardest part is that this new camera lacks a viewfinder, which is something I loved about my DSLR. It makes up for it in some other areas though... with built-in wifi and a touchscreen - which are new and exciting to me!

I'm excited to get to know this camera better and hopefully share my images here (fingers crossed, haha!).

I sold my camera and lenses through They gave me a competitive quote the same day as my inquiry and set up an at-home pick-up through FedEx. All that I had to do was carefully package my equipment, they did the rest. After evaluation they paid me only a few short days later. If you're looking to sell your equipment, I highly recommend them!