Irish I Was Back in Ireland

We all have preconceived ideas about countries we have never visited but I can tell you one thing is for sure, Ireland lives up to the expectations. When people think Ireland, they usually think of a country that is filled with big green fields, livestock, and friendly people. For the most part, you’re right! Being a small town girl it was hard not to love Ireland simply because it is not overwhelming and it somewhat reminds me of home with its laid back vibes. It’s a country that I could see myself going back to for more than just one more time.
DUBLIN:

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From England to Ireland, I traveled 3 hours by ferry. Upon arriving to Dublin, my tour group and I took a detour to Glenalough, Wicklow Mountains National Park. If you have seen the movie “P.S. I Love You” you might recognize the lake with its magnificent scenic views. After spending time in Glenalough, it was time to make way to Dublin.

In Dublin it is easy to get the small town feel along with its urban city characteristics. I was able to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral — Ireland’s largest church which conveniently has a gift shop inside (not your typical church).
Dublin is beyond amazing but a must see is Phoenix Park; where the only person to vacate the area is the Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland. To experience Dublin in an exotic way, I rented a bike to cover more unseen land but happened to come across a folk of deer. Wanting to get a closer look, the people I was with and I made our way to the field where we were greeted by two deer. It was an amazing experience that I believe will be impossible to forget. The park was great to visit due to the people and the location.
IMG_0911After parading around the park, a good pint was needed. I made my way to the Guinness Storehouse. Another must do while there because it’s a sin if you don’t, especially for my beer drinkers. There are tons of bars along the streets of Dublin and the  famous Temple Bar is a spectacular place with live music and a great selection of beer.
 Even with a killer hangover after nights of going out, Dublin was still shinning bright.
CLIFFS OF MOHER:
It’s as beautiful as you would imagine it. Every part of the cliff is captivating. People use to believe it was the edge of the earth but I can see why; I don’t think they believed it was possible for anything to exists past the beauty of the cliffs. Not only was I able to see the view while on the cliffs but I was able to view the cliffs from the ocean while on a boat.
GALWAY:
Before I start, I want to make sure we are all on the same page. It seems like it is an “american thing” to pronounce it “gal-ah-way” but don’t. I don’t think the Irish like it and you seem a tad bit misguided if you pronounce it that way. Correct pronunciation: “Gual-way”.
Just like Dublin, it was also really fun and inviting. People were beyond friendly and I was in awe with the way people held themselves. At this point, Irish people were my type of people.
ARAN ISLAND:
A small island that is gave you a sense of Irish traditions. Again, I was able to explore the land on a bike ( which was only five euros to rent for a whole hour – BARGAIN).
I was luck with the weather my whole trip there, it stayed at a 70 which felt a lot like home back in California.
 A lot of Ireland made me feel like I was home and maybe that is why I fell in love with the country. I cannot wait to travel again.
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Great Scot(land)

Although Scotland is apart of the United Kingdom, I would have never thought to travel there but I am glad I did. I traveled to Scotland via train; from King’s Cross Station in London to Waverly Station in Edinburgh. Traveling by train was by far the best way to travel within the two countries; the train ride granted me with gorgeous scenic views that left me in awe. I was able to catch glimpse of little towns on the way to my destination along with plenty of grasslands and British beaches.

EDINBURGH:

Staney TucciMy first day in Scotland I met 20 other individuals from all over the states and my tour director who is from Ireland. I was apart of a tour group called EFCollegeBreak and thanks to them I was able to meet and exchange information with these people through dinner. During dinner I tried the local dish, haggis(sheep’s liver), which was not too bad but the texture wasn’t favorable. As far as beer went, my goal was to taste as much local beers since we don’t have them back here in the states. Walking out of the restaurant caught sight of Stanely Tucci casually walking in the into the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh.

On my second day, I went to the Edinburgh castle which serves as an active military base while being a tourist attraction. I was able to see the Scottish Crown Jewels, and other medieval items, such as, swords, art, armor etc.

The Kelpies
The Kelpies in Fallkirk, Scotland
I then took a stroll in old Edinburgh and enjoyed local history followed by a night out at the local pubs.It still puzzled me that the sun was setting at 9 pm which was just crazy considering that sunrise was at 4 am. There really is no such thing as an ordinary walk through the town without being captivated by something. Old Edinburgh was my favorite, mainly because that was where I mainly wandered about but the Royal mile is a street build for tourist looking for a good pint and wish to see street performers.

The last day I boarded a coach bus to the Stirling Castle, which played an important part in the battles for Scottish Independence, then made way to Trossachs National Park. On the way we made a pit stop to see the magnificent Kelpies. The Kelpies are two horse-head sculptures that stands approximately 98 ft in Fallkirk, Scotland.

Scotland is a great place to sight see since everything is so close together. Streets are packed with pubs, shops, and restaurants. Plus there is Arthur Seat near by if you want to get away from lively pavement streets for a nature walk. If I were to do Scotland again, I’d travel up north and to more places but Edinburgh something you cannot miss if you’re ever in Scotland.

 

 

 

England Calling

I’ve dreamed about England since a child. Despite Hogwarts being located in Scotland, I blame J.K. Rowling for my need to visit England. To me England was magical – yes I know that magic isn’t real… or maybe it is, who really is to say it’s not? The point is that when the plane circled the beautiful city that is London, I felt every bit of magic when the city’s skyline came into view.

LONDON:

I arrived at 7 am BST which meant I had a full day to myself. So me being me didn’t want to waste a second of it. As soon as I checked in my AirBNB that was located in Soho I went straight to Frifths Street Tattoo which was ironically a street down from where I was staying. The people in the shop were very nice and welcoming. I am absolutely in LOVE my tattoo ! The rest of the day went pretty well as I was walking around London; getting lost a few times if I’m completely honest. Luckily there was city maps located at almost every corner so I was able to find my way around. Being in a different country brought me back to my childhood years when my parents would have to print out the directions before leaving the house just to get to somewhere new. For me I had to go back to the flat(apartment) I rented to use wifi and screen shot the directions. After a day filled  exploring the city, I headed back to the flat to get ready for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child play. Needless to say, the play was AMAZING! I bought the 2 day play package. Part one was on Thursday and part two I watched on Friday. 10/10 would recommend!

 

 

My second day was another free day for me to explore, so for breakfast I made my way to one of the famous Instagram worthy places in called Neal’s Yard in Covenant Garden. Then I headed to the British Museum – best 4 hours spent! I had lunch at Nandos which was very satisfying and then had enough time to check out the artist of the Wizarding World, MinaLima.

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Neal’s Yard
I decided to then visit the landmarks but this time at night. Everything was beautiful when lit up. People were out about walking, musicians were on the sidewalks playing music and the landmarks were brightly lit.I explored more of the landmarks my second time around because I knew my tour group would cover it. I got to see the famous Elizabeth Tower / Big Ben. I was able to watch the change of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We also not only seen the London Bridge but we also took a walk inside using their glass walkway.

One the last day in London, I went to Abbey Road and rode on the London Eye along with a trip to Kings Cross Station. All fit the nostalgic criteria and worth seeing.

It is a underestimation to say London has a good night life. Everywhere is packed, the sun doesn’t set till about 9 pm, and transportation is easy to come by. One of the things I truly admired about London is how there was so much historic landmarks mixed with modern day buildings.

 

 

 

STONEHENGE AND BATH:

I boarded a coach bus for a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. The overall tour was great and I was able to meet people from all over the world. Stonehenge was a sight to see because instead of seeing countless photos online and in my text books, I was only a few feet away from the prehistoric monument. Our tour then went to Bath, home of Jane Austin, where the buildings seemed only like the ones you’ve seen in movies. Truthfully – everything seemed like it did in the movies! For the fews hours I was there I spent time at the Roman Baths where I learned about the romans and how they used the baths. And according to my tour director, Actor Johnny Depp use to live in that city, which seems pretty cool.

 

 

CAMBRIDGE:

I saved the best for last! Cambridge my favorite little town out of all. Everything about it was beautiful, yet I was only there for two hours. I don’t recall if it was the architecture or the people in the city that made me like it so much but it was gorgeous. I went on a relaxing punting tour on the Cambridge River where I learned about the history of the famous University and town. If I ever go back to England, Cambridge is definitely on my list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discovering Self Love

I stood in my room disgusted. Everything about the image in the mirror looking back at me was mortifying. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and at the time I had no interest in disclosing that information about myself nor was conversation of being comfortable in my own skin ever brought up. It was not just the fact that I felt unhealthy but I could not see any trace of beauty within me. My eyes seemed dull, the bags under my eyes became more noticeable, and my presence never felt desired.

It was a major issue in a sense that nothing I did truly made me happy. From my dietary choices to my selection of friends; nothing was helping me and feeling sorry for myself added fuel to the fire. When your own self-esteem is at an all-time low it is hard to get out of the funk simply because you have to change your environment and sometimes your habits.

I started with my eating choices. I would eat some type of meat every day, also eat a lot of fried food, and I’d drink a lot of soda. The food I was consuming made me feel sluggish and bloated, also another issue adding to the situation was that I would never get off my bum. Growing up as an athlete, this was a major issue because I was always active in everyday life. Going from a fast-pace-always-doing-something lifestyle to just doing hardly any physical activity was not working for me anymore. I cut down on red meats, stuck with water (and beer-Yay for being 21!), and kept my bum off the couch. My goal everyday was to do at least something active (walks, jogs, runs, etc.). I started to eat foods that didn’t make me feel as bloated and, as nerdy as it sounds, I also kept track of my activity with my lovely Fitbit – which I LOVE!

As for the mental part of my self being, I had little to no self-love. I was not confident and everything I did was done with uncertainty. It was a battle within myself to wear a bikini to go swimming or to even wear anything with confidence. I started to look at my Tumblr to find some style influence because I thought my wardrobe was something I could easily change. I thought that wearing cute clothes would help a little and personally, it did work for me. While exploring Tumblr I started to follow fashion bloggers whose style would fit with what I wanted to do with my closet. That is when I found out that my interest with other bloggers (mainly fashion bloggers), poets, and finding influential people (usually people in the public eye) helped me gain confidence. I was able to gain confidence because they served as an inspiration for me due to their work and ability to put themselves out there with poise.

I then started to look at the people around me. Nothing was wrong with the people I was hanging out, they were all great but it was time to think of things in a different way. Since I was trying to change into a more positive version of myself, I decided to fill my time up with people who were more uplifting and honest with me. Entering my 20’s I knew that I would have to start looking at friendships and asking myself, “how are they going to help me grow as a person?”. It might sound strange or maybe even rude but as you get older, it is important to have a group of supportive people by your side. As an individual I know it is great to have people who challenge you in the best way possible. People who are going to do their best when giving proper advice, who are going to be understanding, who wouldn’t judge, and who are going to make you feel good about yourself. As soon as you make that change and surround yourself with better people, their energy will rub off on you.

After reflecting, I then asked myself the most important question: What will make me happy?

My answer didn’t lie with what people expected me to do or what people would think of me after but only what was going to make me better as a person. In my teenage years I would only think about the life choices that impacted “now” but entering my 20’s I now know that whatever I do will influence what happens in the future. Therefore my answer solely relied on how I wanted myself to feel mentally, how having positive people around me would be beneficial, and what goals I want to achieve.

I found that once you surround yourself with positive vibes and ask yourself what will make you a better person then things will slowly come into perspective. Everything in your life does impact how you are feeling in a mental and in a physical state. For me, taking a step back and asking what I really wanted in life resulted to not feeling as lost and alone as I once was and gaining the confidence I needed. Self-love is important; because of it I am now more sure of myself and content with my life.

My 11 Day Trip in Mexico

I don’t know what age it started at but I do remember how it started. I remember looking at pictures that people took from around the world, I remember the scenery photos of grasslands or city life of other countries and I was hooked. I remember thinking, even as a young soul, “there is so much more” and I still think that today. At first a small town was all that I knew, everything else just seemed a little scary. I remember taking my first plane ride by myself to meet up with some friends in Kansas when I was in 5th grade and my second plane trip to Colorado.

I felt this serenity that filled me. I’ve always had a hunger for traveling but at that moment, it grew. When I finally was able to drive and had money to do my own travels, I would take last minute trips to Los Angeles or the beach- pretty much anything to get a little taste of something different than my usual surroundings. Sure it wasn’t far but it was still something. Then I took another plane trip by myself but this time it wasn’t to another state but another country. It was more nerve wrecking than any trip I’ve ever taken, not because I went alone but because I was going to a country where I only could speak half of the language.

Once I did that, my next trips to Mexico was a breeze including my 11 days in Mexico with my dad this year in April.

Day 1 -2(Guadalajara):

My father and I arrived at Guadalajara Airport then we were off to my aunts house. We went out for dinner that night and spent more time talking about what was going on in our lives back here in the States. This time around, I knew more Spanish however talking to my cousins was still a task. Thankfully my cousins new a little of English so whatever I didn’t know, I was able to say in English.

The next day we woke up and headed our way to visit my mothers side of the family. I haven’t seen them since I was about 6 years old but I still remembered many things about them. The nerves were creeping in and I wasn’t too sure if they still remembered me. When I was younger I remember always hanging around the plaza and in that plaza my family owned taco stand(which is still stands there today). We walked up to the stands and instantly my aunt put on this huge smile in her face for she knew exactly who we were. We stayed and chatted with both my aunts who were working. We ate and talked(that is pretty much what we did the whole trip). The smiles that I received and the feeling of being welcomed from my family was amazing. It was great to know that I am able to feel at home in a place so far away.

Day 3-4 (Uruapan, Isla De Janitzio):

Day three me and my dad headed to Uruapan to visit, wait for it, more family. But this time, it was a little more difficult for me because they did not know any English so it was a bit of a challenge. Then my dad took me to the centro there to look for shoes and maybe find some things to take back to my friends. It was more 30533040_unknown30533424_unknownpacked than usual given that it was getting close to Easter. After the centro, we went to a national park located within the city. It was a beautiful park filled with trees and waterfalls. We did a ton of walking . Once we exited the park there was men doing a traditional dance called “Danza de Los Viejitos”.

The day after we headed to Isa De Janitzio, an island located in the middle of a huge lake. We took a 30 minute boat ride to get to the island and had to walk up steep steps to make it all the way to the top which had a museum.

Day 5-7(Arteaga):

The first day we settled into my dad’s hometown, said hi to everyone, and of course ate more food. I kid you not, I’m practically related to the whole town. My uncle and aunt who have lately been coming to visit the states more recently were happy to see me visit them in Mexico for a change. They had tears in their eyes and gave me tight hugs.

The following day I went out for a run a little bit outside of town with my aunt. After the run we went back to the house and went off to the beach and relaxed most of the day. Of course we also took a dip in the ocean and walked on along the shore.

The last day was by far the laziest day. All I wanted to do was lay down on the hammock and for the most part that is exactly what I did. Then my dad convinced to go get out and see this Mexican Easter tradition in which they have a group of people, mainly boys, walk around town dressed up in masks asking for donations. Then they hold a ceremony that is called “The burning”(in English translation). The whole town gathers to watch a paper based Manichean and burn it in symbolism to Judas betrayal. After the ceremony, once the sun sets people gather again to do a silent walk to honor Jesus.

Day 8(Moreila):

Now to my favorite part of the trip. Thankfully my dad was up to visit a place that I kept asking about(mainly cause my aunt and cousin kept talking about it and ya girl is a curious soul). The town was amazing, the architecture, the food( great now I’m craving the food from there), and the night life. I would 100% go back and recommend everyone who is able to go- go! I was definitely enamored with the city.

Day 9-11(Guadalajara):

When we arrived back to Guadalajara we went straight to my uncles house and they held a barbecue solely to celebrate our visit. The day was mainly filled with adoring family talking and laughing together. Then someone had suggested to go out for drinks and dancing. So we went from a family barbecue, getting ready, to ending up at a night club.

Day 10 was hard, at this point I just wanted to go home to cuddle with my cat. I know it sounds like something a typical cat-lady would say but homesickness was hitting me hard. We lounged around the house, went to the bank, walked around, and by that time, we went to have dinner with the family once more before our early flight the next day.

The final day was definitely a bittersweet. I was happy to go home but I know I would miss my family dearly. This trip was great and I broadened my Spanish vocabulary( I mean it’s still not the best but way better than what it was). I was able to see the Mexican traditions in a way I have never seen and I was able to see family that I have not seen in a long time. It has to be one of my favorite trips up to date so far. I am very grateful for my family in Mexico and I’m looking forward to the day I can go back.

Going to places that I never have been to made the trip much more exciting and I cannot wait for my next trip: Scotlond, England, and Ireland.

My Personal List of 21 Life Tips

I just turned 21 this week and to someone who is very much into birthdays; this one was a huge one. Not because I am now able to enjoy a nice cold beer when I want but because I now have the option to do everything(except rent a car). There are a few things that I’ve come to find and now I understand what Kylie Jenner meant when she said she was finally realizing stuff. We all have these side notes in the back of our heads that we go back to everyday whether we realize it or not. Here is a list filled with 21 things that I have found helpful in my 21 years of living:

  1. Make sure you are dividing your checks and saving money. Just like I always say to myself, “your future self will appreciate it“.
  2. Keep a pen in your purse, car, backpack, etc. with you at all times. I’ve needed a pen so many times, and keeping one in my purse has kept me from waiting to barrow one (I am sort of an impatient person, so this helps).
  3. Pick your battles. I’ve come to understand this phrase pretty well ( whether I actually pick the right battles or not are debatable but lets be honest – not everyone picks the right battles but it is important that you learn to get better at picking what battles are worth it). There is just some things not worth the effort or drama so keep your 2 cents out of it.
  4. Have a group of people around that are helping you grow as a person. People who challenge you in a positive way are the ones that will also help you develop more as an individual.
  5. Always make time to better yourself. Whether it is reading a new book, watching an educational documentary, going on a hike, eating healthier, going out and getting fit, getting more hours of sleep.  There are loads more ways to better yourself but no matter what it is, make sure your doing something for yourself.
  6. Plan a getaway every once in a while. It doesn’t matter if it’s an hour away trip or across the country just try to make sure you give yourself time to explore the world around you.
  7. Invest in your hobbies. Hobbies are great to have, they distract in the best way possible. The way that I see it: hobbies are like a breath of fresh air.
  8. Do what makes you happy. No matter what anyone tells you, no matter how hard someone tries to push you down, make sure your happiness comes first. But also keep in mind to not hurt you and others close to you in the process (yes, it is possible to be happy without hurting anyone).
  9. Disconnect yourself for one hour or thirty minutes a day. Disconnect yourself from all social media apps and/or pretty much anything that has to do with technology. I believe we – or maybe it’s just me – are too wound up on our phones. Just take a part out of your day  to step away from your phone for a little while.
  10. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. It’s always nerve wrecking to just strike up a conversation but it is totally worth it. I’ve actually met a few great people that have now become my friends because I simply started a conversation.
  11. Share your interest with others. When you share your interests with others there is a slight chance that they might have the same interests as you, thus causing a great conversation.
  12. Be open minded. This is the best way to enhance your thinking and understand topics in different stand point.
  13. If you’re going to invest into a materialistic thing, do your research. If I am really keen on an item, I do my research on that item and think about it before I buy. This might sound really nerdy but it is what I do. For example, I wanted to buy a camera for the longest time and I finally did in December of 2015. The process of finding the right one was long. I wanted a great quality camera that fitted my needs and I was determined to save if I needed to. What I then did was look into multiple cameras(specifically Canon) , look at reviews, asked people that have knowledge about camera questions, asked one of the employees what they heard about the product, looked at YouTube videos, then asked myself if the camera fit all my personal requirements. This might sound intense for some of you but that is just how I am when it comes to buying certain things – now I have a camera that I absolutely love because it takes great pictures and I can take it to concerts with me!
  14. Always get a cart when shopping at Target. Do not try to fool yourself by saying “I’m only going to buy one thing” because let’s face it – you’re not. I’ve made the mistake of not getting a cart or a basket and had to struggle with holding 6 items in my arms.
  15. Do not get involved in social media conflicts. The outcome of Twitter fights or Facebook beef is hardly ever a positive. The truth about social media arguments is that people will say the first thing that pops up in their head without thinking clear throughout responses. And honestly, most of the beef that I’ve seen comes from anger or “what I say goes and screw what you think” type of attitude. So bottom line: Do not start any beef online.
  16. Do not be afraid to ask questions. If your curious about something, ask questions and don’t be afraid that the question might seem rhetorical to you despite the lack of understanding. It doesn’t hurt to broaden your mind.
  17. You can never have enough socks. I say you can never have enough because items like socks will magically disappear and never be seen again. I can start the month off with 10 new pairs and 4 will more than likely go missing. It’s sad, but it is a likely thing to happen.
  18. Remember that you are only human. We, as human beings, make mistakes and that is okay. Just be sure you learn from the mistakes. Another thing we will do is be hard on ourselves because we take on loads of pressure to try to fix everything. Just remember to “Control what you can, confront what you can’t“(The Maine).
  19. You create your own destiny. There is this quote that I think is crucial given any circumstance that you have been in, “Even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there“(Perks of Being A Wallflower). You don’t choose where you come from but you have a 100 percent choice where you end up; don’t let other people let you think otherwise.
  20. Stay clear of toxicity. Doesn’t matter if it is a person or an object, make sure you stay clear of things that put you down.
  21. You come first. I don’t mean this in a selfish way, if anything I say this because I know many people, including myself, that have put others before them when it was entirely okay to put themselves before anyone. Now, I will not give examples or a in depth explanation as to what I mean. This is up to you – as the readers – to think about what this statement truly means. We all have our own perceptions of everything and now that I’ve come to where I am now, I know that we have to make judgments on what things mean ourselves and “realize stuff” on our own(sometimes with the help of others of course).

2016 Reflection

Each year is about something and this year, for me, was about preparing for next year’s adventures while establishing who am I am as a person. As cliché as it sounds – your life is a book filled with plots, themes, and unexpected events. With every year comes a new chapter and new lessons to be learned. This year was a crazy one with everything going on with the world and in my own life; I launched my biggest adventure yet – happiedaize.

Happiedaize has always been something that was mine, even before it was publicly created. I finally took a leap to try something new and out of my comfort zone, made something on my own – something I could show to the world [thank everyone who read, liked, commented, and shared]. It started as a simple tumblr blog until the bloggers that I was following inspired me to start my own personal blog. When creating happiedaize, I wanted to create a place where I could express myself without any limit or by one category. I wanted to reach people around my age who feel like misfits because words are what I look(ed) for when I am at my highest or my lowest. My goal is to write pieces that inspire people the way that I was inspired by other blogger. If I accomplish that, I know I’ve done my part as a writer.

2016 was a year of doing and that is why I believe it was a pretty good year. Instead of thinking or talking about what I was soon planning to do and never do it, I went out and did it while establishing some of my independence. I traveled to Mexico by myself (it was nerve wrecking but I did it), I went on another trip that I funded myself, I moved out of my dad’s house, got jobs while studying as a full time student, and I decided in the middle of the year that it was time to broaden my adventures and take a solo trip to the United Kingdom in 2017 [which I cannot wait to do]. I definitely surprised myself this year by finding confidence in myself that I was not sure that existed. 

After this year of new experiences I know more of the woman I want to become. Sure, I do not have it fly figured out but I do have an idea of what direction that I want to go. All I can think do is take control of what I can and see what follows after. It’s time to start thinking about what I have to do to become better to help my future self out. As for 2017, I think it will have the same amazing  impact for me as 2016.

Thank you to all who have supported me, I appreciate all the support and love; Happy New Years!

Photography: Anthony Fuccella (coolpoolpix.com)