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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kylemore Abbey

Hey Everyone! I can't believe my Ireland/London trip was six months ago. Time sure does flies!! This was an amazing experience and it was the first time out of the U.S for my friend and I. We definitely enjoyed it, although there was hiccups along the way. I will be splitting the reviews for this trip up into a series. This was a 12 day trip and I want to make sure I can get into details. We landed in Dublin at 4:52am on 3 hours of sleep, and we left the airport around 7am. Collecting the car turned out to a little bit of a mess, but it all turned out ok. We began the two drive to our B&B in Galway.

Our hostess was so kind and offered us tea and coffee while we waited on our rooms. Rebecca actually fell asleep while we waited! We decided to drive up to Kylemore Abbey. It would be the only opportunity for us and it came highly recommended. Let me mention that my dad lived in Ireland for a couple of years and was able to give us great advice on what to visit. The drive through Connemara was so beautiful. The landscape was wild, rugged and dramatic. Much different then most of the Irish countryside. I seem to prefer the more wild and rugged landscape. There is just something so intriguing about it.


It was an experience driving through Connemara. At one point we almost went over a cliff into a lake! At our first glance of Kylemore I remember thinking how striking it was against the landscape. I would recommend visiting to anyone who has the opportunity. One thing I did learn is that student cards are golden! I was able to get discounts off of every attraction we visited on our trip.

Kylmore's history began with Henry Mitchell who took his new bride to Connemara for their honeymoon. It is said that Margaret fell in love with the area. When Henry came into a sizeable fortune he bought the land Kylemore is built on. Construction on the house began in 1867 and took four years to complete. In the mid 1870's Margaret died due to a fever she contracted on a visit to Egypt. A couple years later their daughter was killed in a accident involving a horse. Henry went back to England and sold the property to the Duke of Manchester, who resided there for a couple years before selling it. They were forced to sell it to pay off increasing gambling debts.

In the 1920's Kylmore and some its surrounding lands were purchased by Benedictine Nuns were converted it into a abbey. The nuns opened Kylmore Abbey as an international boarding school and day school for local girls (who were able to get a free education). There were some famous pupils that attending this school, American actress Angelica Heuston and some Indian Princesses. Due to a decrease in enrollment number the school had to close. The last students attending school sat for their exams in June of 2010.

In addition to the abbey there is also a church, mausoleum (Henry Mitchell and his wife are buried here), informal gardens, and gift store/ restaurant. We arrived just in time for lunch. I had a chicken wrap and I was disappointed in it. The chicken was bland and dry, but Rebecca enjoyed her food.  You can only tour the 1st floor of the abbey. I was a little disappointed, but I have discovered that is how it is with a lot of historic buildings. The grounds and trails were lovely to walk, even in the dizzily rain. It's costs 12.50 euros for an adult, 9.00 euros for a senior, 9.00 euros for a student. Children under the age of 10 get in free. Also, if you buy your tickets from the website ( you will receive 10% off your ticket!



                                                                                 The Church

The formal gardens were pretty. There is a shuttle available if you prefer not to walk. This is the only part of the grounds were this was available, so be prepared to walk!

                                                           Flower Gardens

                                                     Vegetable Gardens

We toured as much as we could before we were hit by some serious jetlag. We were in bed by 6pm and we were fully recovered by 8am the next morning. A long day on just 3 hours of sleep!

                                                                  I fell asleep on the way back :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Last Trip of the Summer

This summer has gone by so fast for me. This was my first summer since starting college that I didn't take any classes. I have packed as much as I could into this summer and it seemed to fly by. My first trip was to Ireland and England for two weeks, my second trip was a week in Big Bear, California and my most recent and last trip was to Des Moines, Iowa (my hometown). I just went for the weekend Friday- Monday. The last time I was in Des Moines was for my birthday and it was freezing and snowing out. I love summer and fall time in Des Moines. It's such a great city with so much to offer. If they didn't have freezing weather I may still be living there. I spent most of the weekend shopping and spending time with my best friend Meghan. Where I live the closest place to shop is Tampa International Mall and that still doesn't have all the stores I go to.

I save my money so whenever I go to Des Moines I can go shopping! I don't generally like to shop I like to save my money. However, Des Moines honestly has some good shopping. They have several adorable boutiques I shopped at in West Glen. One was a resale shop that had some pretty good deals and you would never had guessed that the clothes weren't brand new. Their purses and shoes were a little pricy (I thought) for being used. Some of the coach purses I could have bought brand new at a Coach outlet, here, in Florida. I bought a cute red skirt for work with a black flower design, a necklace and a blue and white Michael Kors top for work or casual.

I also shopped at Gordmans. This is my favorite place to shop for picture frames. They have a huge variety for great prices. I bought some really cute dog themed picture frames to put pictures of Gunner in. I bought one frame for the start of my Europe pictures. I'm slowly starting to decorate my home and I can't wait to share the process with all of my readers.

I don't usually shop at Valley West Mall. However they are the only mall in Des Moines that has a Limited. I love to shop at Limited for my work and casual clothes. They are always have some sort of sale and they are reasonably priced. Everywhere I shopped at on this trip had sales!! The one good thing about Florida is you can where summer clothes year round! This time at Limited they most of their stuff was on sale with an additional 40% off and the other sale items were buy one get one 50% off.

I really cashed in  here. I bought two pairs of dress pants (capri style) that had the additional 40% off, another pair of dress pants and an orange sheer top that were in the buy one get one 50% off, a pair of yellow skinny jeans and a pair of mint (with a zebra pattern), they were also buy one get one 50% off. I bought a cobalt blue top that was on sale and a pair of earrings that were on sale. My mom and I pooled our stuff together because on top of all that I receive a discount for being a student!

At Jordan Creek we shopped at Francesca's Boutique. I bought a dress, belt and two pair of earrings. I don't believe any of that was on sale. I also visited the Loft where they had a pair of mint jeans that were original $55 on sale for $25. Another favorite of mine is Banana Republic, but they are pretty expensive (they also offer student discounts). I bought a cute top there that was on sale for $15.

My all time favorite place to shop is Barnes and Nobles, and Des Moines has a beautiful two story one that I always visit when I'm in the city. I was lucky enough to be armed with gift cards for this part. I always say I'm not to be trusted with a credit card in Barnes and Nobles.

Any time Meghan and I get together we bake. We both love to bake! This time we decided on cookies (last time was cupcakes). Meghan did most of the baking and I did most of the decorating. It's relaxing for me to decorate cookies and cupcakes. I tend to be a perfectionist though. I'm really proud of how the cookies turned out. The frosting on the bats was pretty thick so they were a little messier.

                       All the cookies we made. It took awhile to decorate them!
Palm Trees and Feet. I think the Palm Trees and Tulips are my Favorite,
                                                           The base ball bats
Stay tuned for my next post on student discounts. I love student discounts and use them whenever I can! Where is your favorite place to shop at?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Father's Day

This Father's Day happened to fall on my brother's birthday. Double Celebration! This Father's Day I created a gift for my father and I bought him a $20 gift card to the movie theatre. The gift that I created was very simple. These are the supplies that you will need:

-Mason Jar (or something similar to hold the candy)
-glue gun
-Reese's Pieces
-Hot glue gun pad (optional)

I really love my hot glue gun pad that I bought at Michaels. It was only a couple dollars. I also love my new hot glue gun! It seems more fun to do crafts with it. Michaels has a variety of colors and designs. Mine cost around the same price as a regular hot glue gun.

I just glued the ribbon around the middle of the jar for decorations. I made a little sign saying "Love you to Pieces"
Stay tuned and I will show you how to make some Father's Day cupcakes!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July! I spent mine with my family, and it was nice to be around them outside of the office. We started out by going to the Fireworks Festival in our town. However, as this is summer time in Southwest Florida it started pouring down rain soon after we got there. We decided it didn't look like it was going to stop so we headed back to our car, with our chairs over our heads for protection from the rain. I can only imagine what people thought when they saw us running through the rain with our chairs over our heads. We were still soaked by the time we got to the car. We went home to change and put plan B into play. We went to a late dinner at Red Lobster and then we saw The Heat at the movie theatre. The Heat was actually pretty funny, although it was full of cuss words (for any parents with young kids) and was a tad bit cheesy. I also made some delicious cupcakes to brighten things up! I did want to make snowcone cupcakes but I didn't have the time or materials. So I settled for these instead.

4th of July Cupcakes
How did you guys enjoy your fourth of July? Did anyone stay at home or have a party? Does anyone have pets who don't like fireworks?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Back to Reality

Hello Everyone!!!

It's so nice to be back. I apologize for my long absence. I went on my trip to Ireland and England for two weeks and I'm just starting to get back into the groove of things. It was such a blast and a once in a lifetime opportunity. I will definitely start blogging about the trip. I have so many pictures, I went through 3 memory cards and have over 1,000 pictures to sort through. I can't believe it's already June. Father's day is just around the corner and then I leave for another trip. Destination: California! It will be nice to just be home for awhile. I missed Gunner while I was gone, especially towards the end of the trip. I think from now on I will do one country at a time and a week max. Twelve days was a long time to be away. However, my brother, who was watching Gunner; was kind enough to facetime with me on our iphones so I could see him!
He was interested at first
Then he got bored
I took him to the vet today and he now weighs a whopping 70lbs! He is growing so fast! Stay tune . . . I will tell you all about my trip and show you a nice present to give the father in your life!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Learn All About Me

                     Hey there everyone! I'm so glad you could join me. My name is Amber and I'm excited to start my own blog. I'm sure you're all curious about me so feel free to ask questions! I work full time and go to college. I have a german shepherd puppy that keeps me busy. I got him on Father's Day last June at 7 weeks old. His first birthday is coming up here on April 28, which just happens to be my mom's birthday also!

Gunner the day I got him (Father's Day)

He is the sweetest dog ever. This is my first time owning a German Shepherd, I mostly grew up with labs and Pit Bulls. I'm very impressed by this breed. He is so gentle, docile, and protective. He is a little headstrong, but we have a trainer that we work with. Recently, my older brother, his cat and pit bull moved in with me. Ruger (his dog) keeps Gunner busy and that helps a lot with his energy level.

Here is a more recent picture of him, so you can see his size. He is even bigger now.
He grew up so fast! I have always heard German Shepherds were smart and boy is that the truth! He has learned to operate the water and ice buttons on the fridge when he gets thirsty. We had to disconnect the water because he was making such a mess!

As you can probably tell Gunner is a huge part of my life. I dont have any children yet, so he is my child. My family and friends are extremely important to me. I love to work, in fact I can't stand not doing anything. I have learned that a lot of people my age don't like to work, and I find that really sad. I get enjoyment out of accomplishing something. I'm also the manager of my co-ed softball team. We play fall and spring seasons. It's too hot in Florida for a summer season. So I'm kept pretty busy. I love to travel! I LOVE it! I'm leaving in 11 days to go to Ireland and England with my best friend for 12 days. It will be the first time out of this country for the both of us and we can't wait! I also like to bake, make crafts, and read. Feel free to ask any questions!