In perfect Harmony


So! I'm here to bring your attention to yet another random town in California (it's what I do best- there's so many hidden gems in this state alone and it puzzles me when I hear that some fellow Californians have pretty much only visited LA and San Francisco). This little town called Harmony (and I do mean little- with a population of 18- there's definitely more cows than people) is right on the Central Coast and boasts a Winery, a Glass shop/Art Gallery and of course, a post office (which, by the looks of it is made up of half a room, if that).

Harmony...what a pretty name, right? And let me tell you, the whole town lives up to its name. Even though the highway filled with roaming cars is quite near, the sound of buzzing motors in the background is easy to ignore when you see the natural beauty of Harmony. It's often surrounded by incredibly blue skies, lush green rolling hills (I definitely typed "heels" and then caught myself...) and sprinkled with a few visible farm houses here and there.




One of the main attractions of Harmony is Harmony Glassworks, an art gallery filled with the most beautiful (and colorful) handmade glass pieces. Along with viewing the pieces on display, you also get the treat of watching the glassblower create the pieces right there in the studio. It was really fascinating to see how glass pieces (vases, glasses, etc...) are made. To be honest, it's not something I ever really thought about but it turns out glassblowing is really quite an intense process.

While it would probably be a bit challenging to turn Harmony into a day trip, it's definitely still worth a quick visit if you're driving along the coast. Because seriously, they don't call it Harmony for no reason...


Polka dot forest




"There is no wi-fi in the forest but I promise you will find a better connection." 

(quote via)


Rock of Cashel || Ireland



It all seems like a blur now but one of the brief stops on my trip to Ireland was the Rock of Cashel. Upon hearing the name, I, of course thought it was just a rock on a hilltop, but in reality, it's a ruin of a cathedral with the feel of a castle. It was an unbelievable feeling to be staring at a real piece of history. The cemetery was quite fascinating as well (who were those people? how did they die? what were their lives like? were they good people?).

It was my first real taste of the Irish countryside. The views that surround the site were incredible- so typically Irish. I can't really formulate an intelligent enough sentence to describe how fascinated I was by this particular spot. There's something about rustic gray stones surrounded by lush green grass that just gets me, you know?

IMG_7650 - Copy


Unfortunately I only had less than an hour to explore this spectacular spot. I could've easily spent a day here, not just at the rock of Cashel but in the actual town of Cashel- what a quaint little village. Again, unfortunately, just as in Dingle, most of the shops were closed due to it being off season (seriously, Ireland, what's up with that?) Happily, one of the local cafe owners opened up his eatery especially for us tourists. I feel terrible that I didn't get a business card or anything and I can't remember what the name of his cafe was but if you're ever there, it's the first cafe to the right that you see as you approach Cashel (wow, like that really helps, eh?) Ah, well, all I can say is that the fresh scones and cups of tea were seriously delicious and it was just such a pleasant experience. Every time I think about that day (or just the whole trip, in general), I can't help but fall into a daydream...




Kilbeggan Whiskey Distillery || Kilbeggan, Ireland


Disclaimer: I feel like there needs to be a disclaimer saying that you shouldn't read this post unless you're 21 but that sounds sort of silly so, take it or leave it (it's not like I'm handing out drinks through the computer screen, ha). In reality, I don't even drink alchohol but a visit to this Distillery was on the itinerary so I decided to make the best of it and actually came away with a few good photos and a very nice unexpected lunch via the Distillery's quaint little restaurant. 



The Kilbeggan Distillery is located in (totally had to look this up, by the way) Kilbeggan, County Westmeath  (Ireland seems to have an unlimited amount of counties). The visit to the Distillery consisted of a guided tour (I admit, I hardly listened to what was being said but I did find a fascination with the guide's very Irish accent) in which she showed us where all the whiskey is made and of course it was damp and dark in the building but it gave it a nice-if not a tad bit eerie-feel, which only made it easier to imagine how life must've been back in the days when the distillery first opened (1757).



At the tour's end, a sample of whiskey was of course inevitable and it was also my very first taste of the alcoholic beverage (I only drank it to get the free shot glass- do you blame me?). Never again will Whiskey touch my lips. I almost died- well, my throat almost died. It burned, like, I can't even find the words to explain what a horrible feeling. My throat stayed irritated for the rest of the day.

The absolute best part of visiting the distillery was eating at the restaurant. It made the trip well worth it. I absolutely love how Irish eateries set up the tables and place so much emphasis on serving tea. It's just so comforting especially on drizzly days (which it so happened to be on this day). I ordered a super yummy ham and grilled cheese sandwich and a side of fries. It was probably one of the coziest and most satisfying meals I had on my trip.

If you like whiskey, definitely make a stop at the Kilbeggan Distillery. Or, if you're just in the area and want a bite to eat, also pay them a visit.  Either way, you can't go wrong. Just make sure you actually like whiskey before you take a sip or don't say I didn't warn you...



The hills are alive






I've been taking Djinn Djinn on walks through the hills lately and he actually really likes it and prances around the whole time (surprising, really, as he tends to be a little grumpy old man in most new places). The only thing that makes me nervous is knowing that all the other dogs are allowed to be off leash as well and while I know most are friendly, I fear that not all are and one might end up scaring Djinn Djinn (especially since a lot of bigger dogs roam around and they can be intimidating to a little wannabe Chihuahua like Djinn Djinn-he's not an official Chihuahua, at first glance, people just think he looks like one). I guess I'm just being paranoid although I try to act like I'm calm, for his sake. Parenting is tough. ;)

That one time I visited Dingle, Ireland

Are you bored of the Ireland posts yet? I've finally been going through all my photos from the trip and have been uploading them to multiple photo storage websites because I'm paranoid that they might disappear into thin air if I just leave them on my computer. So, I thought now would be the perfect time to [gradually] continue to share some of them here and divide them into appropriately titled posts. 

That said, sorry for writing two Ireland posts in a row- it's just that I don't really feel like talking about anything else at the moment. Ireland has consumed my mind lately. But, the fact that it's so far away from California annoys me (whose idea was that to put them so far away from each other? ha!). In all seriousness, though, with a little bit of planning, many self pep talks, and a lot of courage, I am *this* close to convincing myself that a temporary move to the Emerald Isle is in order. It would be life changing to say the least.



On this particular day, I visited the Dingle Peninsula, a beautiful drive along the Atlantic coast. It was the most narrow road I've ever been on but it was incredibly peaceful with no other cars in sight (quite a change from California's traffic I must say). Come to think of it, I didn't see any people either. I saw many houses but no people. Hmmm? Maybe that's what makes this country so peaceful...

Eventually, we made our way to the actual seaside town of Dingle (which had a similar feel to Morro Bay here in CA- they could almost be cousins, except Dingle is the cooler cousin). I was super fascinated by all the brightly colored buildings but sad to find that many of the shops and even the restaurants were closed because it was off season (whaaaat?).



My dad and I finally found one open restaurant (so that's where all the other tourists were hiding...) and I decided on some fish and chips with a side order of vegetable soup (the soup of the day) which came with a side of brown bread (still trying to figure out if that's the same as wheat bread) and a cube of that amazing creamy Irish butter (seriously, I could eat that butter all day long). Sorry I don't have a photo of the food- I gobbled it all up before I could even think of taking a snap- you know how it is. 

When you visit Ireland (yes, you), you'll want to make time to explore the Dingle area because you will not be disappointed (except for, of course, the closed shops and restaurants). Notice I said, when you visit. Because, seriously, everyone needs to visit Ireland at least once in their lifetime... 

P.S. Be honest- will you be annoyed if I post a few more Ireland posts in the coming weeks? I don't want to be one of those people who just talks about Paris all the time (or, you know, in this case, Ireland...)



Dromoland Castle -- Ireland



I know it's already been a good few months since I went on my first trip to Ireland but I kind of feel like I talked so much about the trip leading up to it but then never really shared enough of my actual adventures on here apart from Dublin and Blarney Castle. Honestly, it took a long time for everything to sink into my brain and the excitement was just too much to handle. For me, it was incredibly difficult to choose a highlight of the trip but I have to say that visiting Dromoland Castle was quite unforgettable. For normal people like me, it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

At Dromoland Castle, guests are treated the way I imagine Royalty to be treated. In fact, I actually found myself feeling a bit clueless like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries --sometimes being  proper isn't as easy as it seems (does that make me sound like a cave girl?)! It is a full 5 star hotel experience and the wonderful staff leave no detail left unnoticed: newspaper delivery every morning, an incredible dining room where guests actually get all prettied up for dinner, meals that look like artwork, and when you come back to your room, the beds are all unfolded nicely waiting for you to jump in and fall into a deep slumber (which, you will certainly have no trouble doing in such a comfortably quiet atmosphere). I wonder if someday I'll get another chance to revisit the Castle because I definitely didn't get enough time to discover everything this beautiful location has to offer (tennis, horse riding, etc.).

I'll go ahead and let the photos do the rest of the talking...

Oh Ireland, why are you so far away?







P.S. Happy February! I'm off to a good start- I practiced the piano for a good hour today!