Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?
I have been on so many amazing trips (34 countries); it is really hard to choose just one. So I’ll just tell you about my most recent trip… I went to Chicago in May and had the best time!! Check out my blog post about it here.


2. What is your best idea for a girls weekend trip?
I have been on girls only trips to New York City and on a cruise to Mexico and Grand Cayman. Oh yeah, and all around Europe, Cambodia, and Thailand, but those weren’t typical girls trips. Although now that I think about it, I would recommend Southeast Asia as a great girls trip destination. Beautiful, lots of good food, and dirt cheap massages! Check out more reasons here and the best places to go here.

Kuang Si Falls, Laos

Laos, 2012

Oops, just realized the question said weekend trip… In that case, Vegas!

Sin City, 2008

Sin City, 2008

3. What is your best idea for a couples trip?
Italy! I loved it and would love to take a boyfriend/husband there one day. Eat lots of food, drink wine, chill on the beach…

Cinque Terre, 2004

Cinque Terre, 2004

4. What is the best vacation on the cheap?
Southeast Asia!! See above.

5. What is the place you most want to visit?
Peru… Planning a trip there for 2014. 🙂



Throwback Thursday


On this day last year I was in Moscow, Russia. Unfortunately my camera broke! 😦 But here is a picture of the gorgeous St. Basil’s Cathedral…



Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It’s National Bike Week… Do you own a bicycle? When did you last ride a bike?
No… The last time I rode a bicycle was when I lived in Korea about two years ago. But I was too scared to ride it anywhere so I sold it. I don’t like riding bikes around cars because I got hit by a van in a roundabout when I was cycling in Ireland. Now I only like to ride where there is no traffic! I am going to cycle on the Virginia Creeper trail next month and am super excited about that!


2. What’s something you learned in school that wasn’t part of the curriculum?
Online classes are a good time for a nap… 😉

3. What’s a food you’ve never tried, but want to try? What’s a food you’ve tried and will never try again?
I have tried to be more adventurous with food lately as I’ve been a picky eater my whole life. One of my goals for this past year was to try five new foods, and I accomplished that within a few months (see my post here). I would still like to try some more exotic meats. Things that I have tried and still hate are coffee, celery, and seaweed.



4. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Why? Do you think that’s a good trend?
Um, neither…

5. Who is your favorite book, movie, or TV show villain?
That’s a good one… Hmmmmmmmm. The first one that pops in my head is Clay Morrow from Sons of Anarchy. I was so mad at him in season four that I was screaming at the TV.


6. How concerned are you about identity theft?
Not at all really…

7. Would you rather have an ordinary home in an extraordinary place or an extraordinary home in an ordinary place?
Both would be nice… I guess I’d go for an ordinary home in an extraordinary place. Then I could leave my home and do cool things. And everyone else could too!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Don’t you love my new tattoo?



Travel Tuesday

Helene in Between

In July 2009, I went on a two week backpacking trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland, camping about half the time (which I was not a fan of!). I went with my boyfriend at the time and the deal was I would plan the first week of the trip and the second week we would be spontaneous and Daniel would make the decisions as long as I could shower every day. 🙂 Other than getting hit by a car while riding a bicycle (I’m scarred for life now), we had a great time. Irish people are so friendly and helpful!

We flew into Shannon Airport and then took a bus to our first stop, Dingle. We camped at The Rainbow Hostel for one night and had big plans to cycle the Dingle Peninsula the next day, but it ended up being too strenuous! On the way back into town was when I got sideswiped by a van in a traffic circle. Not pleasant, but at least I didn’t get hurt!





Next stop: Killarney. Now this is where we should have gone cycling! Gorgeous national park with tons of trails (and no vehicles!). We camped at Beechgrove, enjoyed some hikes and picnics, and visited Ross Castle.








On to Kilkenny, where we stayed at the AWESOME Foulksrath Castle Hostel, which is unfortunately now closed.








We passed through Dublin and Belfast on our bus ride to the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland, where we checked into the Mill Rest Hostel in Bushmills. We visited Giant’s Causeway the next day… Amazing!




We also visited Dunluce Castle and Old Bushmills Distillery before checking into Rick’s Causeway Coast Hostel in Portstewart.



Daniel had talked to a traveler who recommended Glencolmcille as an off-the-beaten-trail place to visit, so that was our next destination. We stayed at Dooey Hostel for three nights (camped one of the nights). There wasn’t much to do in the town… We walked around, went to the beach, and Daniel got drunk a lot. He also hiked the Slieve League which sounded too intense for me.







We ended our trip in Doolin, where we camped at Nagle’s. We were running out of steam at this point so we didn’t do much except wander around town.




Before we flew out of Shannon Airport, we stayed at Rowan Tree Hostel in Ennis. Highly recommended!


Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Do you play games of luck/chance for money? Have you ever played bingo for money? Visited a casino? Placed a bet on a horse? Bought a lottery ticket?
All of the above! Haven’t played bingo or bought a lottery ticket very many times or in a long time for that matter. Casinos/slots are fun, especially in Vegas! I love betting on horses… I have been to the track in Dallas and Seoul and every year I go to Steeplechase.

Vegas 2008

Vegas 2008

Lone Star Park 2009

Lone Star Park 2009

Steeplechase 2010... It's all about the hats

Steeplechase 2010… It’s all about the hats

2. Will you be preparing and/or dining on the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal this St. Patrick’s Day? Mashed, baked, hash browned, french fried… Your favorite way to have potatoes?
No, I will be making bangers and mash and Lucky Charms cupcakes! I like potatoes any kind of way.

3. What’s the last thing you felt ‘green with envy’ over?
Women who are naturally skinny… Not fair!

4. What’s at the end of your rainbow?
A pot of gold obviously… I could really use it.

5. March 12th marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Frank. Anne’s diary detailing her time spent hiding from the Nazis during the war ranks as one of the best-selling books of all time. Besides your blog, do you keep any sort of diary or journal? Was this a habit you developed as a child or is journaling something new for you?
My blog is my journal. As a kid and teenager I did keep diaries though. I have them all in a trunk. It’s hilarious to read through them. I even wrote really bad poetry!

6. What’s an item in your home or closet that contains every color of the rainbow?
I have a rainbow flag that says PACE that I got in Italy. (Pace is my last name but it also means “peace” in Italian.)


7. Write a limerick with you as the subject.
There once was a girl named Jen
She’d been wanting a job since who knows when
Finally she has one
So much shopping to be done
Heck yes, can I get an amen!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I got a free ARC of Jeanette Walls’ new book in the mail yesterday… Super excited!!



Saturday 9

1. Have you ever been to Atlanta?
Yes, twice to get my Korean visa. The first time we stayed downtown and went to an NBA playoff game. We also ate at The Varsity. The next time I just stayed at an airport hotel.


2. Do you enjoy traveling by train?
I do, for short periods of time. It’s more relaxing than flying or driving. I did the Trans-Mongolian Railway from Beijing to St. Petersburg last summer. We stopped three times but there still was one leg of the journey that was five days long! I really needed a shower.


3. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I don’t really have one. My ex and I used to sing “Hit Me Baby One More Time” as a duet. Here you can see me and my friend Kathryn singing karaoke on a cruise last September.

4. Do you drink tea?
On occasion… I’ve been drinking these teas lately since I received them in a blog swap.


5. What’s the most recent thing you purchased for your home?
I bought cupcake salt and pepper shakers for my future cupcake-themed kitchen.


6. Are there dishes in your kitchen sink right now?
Not sure.

7. Have you ever been fingerprinted?
Yes, for jobs.

8. What was the last check you wrote?
To my mom to pay for the internet.

9. What color are your eyes?