Claddagh Ring

Love, Loyalty and Friendship

I recently had the opportunity to explain my Claddagh ring to an inquiring stranger. I’m sometimes under the impression that everyone knows the meaning of the ring and understands the symbolism but that’s just not the case.

My particular ring has a significance to me individually above and beyond that of the history of the ring. My first trip to Ireland was when I was 15 years old: my grandma had the crazy desire to take my sister and myself there on a tour of the country. We got to see the countryside, the cities, the history (the good and the bad), and meet our Irish relatives, which ended up being a life-changing trip that broadened my vision and perception of the world. It was somewhere in the middle of our 10-day tour of the country that we checked out the Cliffs of Moher in western Ireland, which is where my grandmother purchased the Claddagh ring that I now wear daily. I take it off each night but have worn it nearly every day since that day it was purchased during the summer of 2003. It shows a lot of wear and tear from its 11 years of existence, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So for those who don’t know, the Claddagh ring represents love, loyalty and friendship, and it contains three main elements: the hands, the heart, and the crown. The hands symbolize friendship, the heart: love, and the crown represents loyalty. In Irish culture, the Claddagh is frequently used as a wedding ring. The way in which the ring is worn contains symbolism as well. If the ring is worn with the heart facing outward then it means that the wearer’s heart is open (i.e. that girl is probably single) and conversely, if the ring is worn so that the heart is facing inward toward the wearer’s body then it symbolizes that the heart is closed and taken.

four-leaf-clover-md

I’ve been back to Ireland twice since that first trip, once after obtaining my undergrad degree for a summer internship in Dublin, and another time during what I’ve now dubbed my “quarter century crisis” during a solo backpacking trip in the summer of 2013.

Both the Claddagh ring and Ireland will forever hold a place in my heart, and that, too, I wouldn’t have any other way. ❤

 

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Can’t Keep Trying to Make a Flawed System Work

I recently watched the documentary 180° South, which records a 5,000-mile journey down the Pan American Highway to the last destination: climbing Mt. Fitzroy in Patagonia.

There are so many thought-provoking quotes in this documentary, particularly for those who like to wander, travel and explore. This is my favorite:

“It’s easy for us to blindly consume when we don’t see the effects it has on other places.  The hardest thing in the world is to simply your life, it’s so easy to make it complex.  What’s important is leading an examined life because most of the damage caused by humans is caused unintentionally, I think.  And in response to people saying, ‘You can’t go back…’ I say, ‘Well, what happens when you get to the edge of the cliff… do you take one step forward or do a 180° turn and take one step forward?  Which way you going?  Which is progress?’  The solution to many of the world’s problems maybe to turn around and to take a forward step.  You can’t just keep trying to make a flawed system work.

If you haven’t seen it, this documentary is worth checking out.  Grab a glass of wine, your favorite blanket and snuggle partner then settle in for a few great hours of streaming Netflix ❤

180DS Movie Poster

Aside

It’s Twenty-Fourteen Halftime

Lots of things can change in a six month window… feelings, situations, physical locations… along with plans, wishes, and goals. All of these have changed, or, evolved, for me the past six months just like they do for many people.

It’s past July 1st and so we’re now officially halfway through two thousand and fourteen and have six months in the bag already. This is the perfect time to take a look at those New Year’s resolutions and see what has been accomplished so far. It’s the time to make tweaks and adjustments to our 2014 goals; take a step back to see what went right so far, what went wrong, and what might need to be dropped and focused on at some future time. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and celebrate our accomplishments! I don’t need a lot of reasons to buy some bubbly and pop those bottles, but accomplishing a goal is certainly celebration-worthy!

I don’t know about y’all, but I have a whole lot of tweaking to make to my 2014 goals. That’s just life though, how boring would it be if everything was static.

Cheers to 6 more great months of twenty-fourteen! ❤

2014 xo

Aside

A 5-Year Commitment… eek!

I’ve never been very good at keeping a journal, having started and stopped many many times in my life.  I’ve found it easier to keep a small notebook and a pen in my purse for those random thoughts that I want to jot down and keep.

But I was intrigued when I came across this 5-year journal.

5-year Journal

Five years is a long time to commit to anything at all, let alone a journal.  But I’m up for the challenge!!!  I feel good going into this because they’ve made the whole process easier by asking just one question per day.  Essentially I think I’ll end up with a time capsule of the next five years of my life, and it’ll be interesting to see how some of the answers evolve over time.

A few of the questions are:

What is your mission?

If you didn’t have any responsibilities for the day, what would you do?

Write the first sentence of your autobiography…

What is your motto?

What are you running from at this moment?

It’s almost time to turn the calendar into June, so I might as well start today: Friday, May 30th.

5-year Journal2

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

– Andy Warhol

Wish me luck! ❤

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Getting Inked

I come from a deep Irish heritage,

which I’ve always loved and respected dutifully, and so ultimately after many years of searching, a Celtic symbol spoke to me in the way I needed and was looking for it to, which finally led to my first ink! 🙂

Celtic TriskelionThe Celtic Triskelion… what is it?? Well… this is a very fluid symbol. So, that being said, what does it mean:

The triskelion is also known as the “tri-spiral” of life. The three spirals in the triskelion are interconnected with no open ends thus creating one continuous line.

Each spiral turns in the same direction… the three spirals represent balance, harmony and continual motion indicative of the flow of life and of the Earth in her seasons and cycles.  This ultimately respects a balance of Past, Present, and Future.Celtic Triskelion Tattoo

Downtown Atlanta
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Atlanta Bucket List

This is my Atlanta Bucket List (way more real than whoever those housewives are), working under no time constraints, this list shall follow me around everywhere until it’s 100% complete! Also, a HUGE thank you to the awesome people in my life who’ve shared many of the below experiences with me… you are loved immensely ❤

Please comment with suggestions – that way I can continually add to the list and my Atlanta experiences!

  1. Purchase SweetWater t-shirt to sport around the country – DONE ✓
  2. Weekend backpacking trip on AT: Blood Mountain & Neel’s Gap – DONE ✓
  3. MJQ – DONE ✓
  4. Hike to top of Stone Mountain
  5. Shoot the Hooch – DONE ✓
  6. Farm Burger – DONE 
  7. Cheetah – DONE yes, I wore a cheetah dress to The Cheetah 🙂
  8. Two Urban Licks – DONE ✓
  9. Food Truck Park – DONE ✓
  10. Hike Sweetwater Creek State Park – DONE and DONE ✓
  11. Drinks at Glenn Hotel’s SkyLounge – DONE ✓
  12. Tequila tasting at Agave – DONE ✓
  13. Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles – DONE ✓
  14. Monday Night Brewing Brewery Tour – DONE ✓
  15. Braves Game – DONE ✓
  16. The Varsity – DONE ✓ arteries successfully & deliciously clogged!
  17. Dumplings at Takorea – DONE ✓
  18. 10th & Piedmont – DONE 
  19. Sunday Supper at Cakes & Ale
  20. Karaoke at Church Bar – DONE ✓
  21. Beltline tour – DONE ✓
  22. Little Five Points Bar Crawl
  23. Catch a Show at The Fox Theatre – DONE ✓ Sam Smith
  24. Day Hike the Loop Around Kennesaw Mountain – DONE ✓
  25. Drive-in movie at Starlight
  26. Laser light show at Stone Mountain
  27. Red Brick Brewery Tour – DONE ✓
  28. Roller derby game
  29. Tour Oakland Cemetery
  30. Prohibition in Buckhead
  31. Martinis & IMAX at the Fernbank – DONE ✓
  32. Atlanta Botanical Garden – DONE ✓
  33. Breakfast at Ria’s Bluebird
  34. See an in-store performance at Criminal Records
  35. Burrito at El Myr
  36. Hike around Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
  37. Shaky Knees Music Festival – DONE ✓
  38. Fried green tomatoes at Mary Mack’s Tearoom
  39. Dekalb Farmer’s Market
  40. Bodies Exhibition in Atlantic Station
  41. Breakfast or lunch or brunch at Buttermilk Kitchen – DONE ✓
  42. Hike up to Tallulah Gorge
  43. Burger from Holeman & Finch
  44. Ride the Silver Comet Trail
  45. Ice skate at Park Tavern
  46. Party in the Park – DONE ✓
  47. The Goat Farm
  48. Johnny’s Hideaway
  49. Atlanta Hawks Game – DONE
  50. Serenbe Farms for some sustainable organics
  51. Chateau Élan
  52. Hiking & wine tasting in Dahlonega
  53. Music Midtown – DONE ✓
  54. Volunteer at Atlanta Humane Society
  55. TomorrowWorld
  56. Friday Jazz at the HIGH Museum – DONE ✓
  57. SkyView Atlanta, the ferris wheel! – DONE ✓
  58. Speaking of sky… Skydive Atlanta
  59. Chicken biscuit at the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, the original one in Hapeville
  60. Take the CNN tour (touristy, I know)
  61. Watch the Peach Drop
  62. Historic Banning Mills Zip line tour – DONE ✓
  63. Try rock climbing at Atlanta Rocks – DONE ✓
  64. Hike around Big Canoe
  65. Go to Flux Night
  66. College Football Hall of Fame – DONE ✓
  67. Run through the water fountain rings at Centennial Park
What am I missing?!?!?!

most recently completed: #56 and #41
updated 2/24/16

…I became a Mad Men addict

My current time waster/procrastination tool is the show Mad Men. I haven’t been living under a rock, I was familiar with the plot from hearing all the ranting and raving from others, but I had other procrastination tools in place. Now, I’m one of those people who won’t shut up about how great the show is, how handsome Don Draper is, etc. etc.

This show definitely makes you think about different times.  I can’t comment on the accuracy, I’m not from the 60s nor have I researched that time period whatsoever, but it brings up some very obvious differences between then and now, particularly when it comes to women in the workforce and child rearing. I’m not getting into all that, only the 6 things that watching Mad Men makes me want to do on the reg:

Pink Lipstick

  1. Wear bright red or pink lipstick at all times. Is there much else that makes a girl feel instantly sexier? I went to a concert recently and wasn’t in the mood to spend a bunch of time getting ready, doing the hair, picking out an outfit, etc. so I went with dark jeans, a black v-neck tee and some mighty bright pink lipstick. Happened to get more comments on “looking great!” than when I waste all that time.
  2. Hair curlers. Whyyyy do these need to be so time consuming.   Continue reading

…I hiked Johns Mountain Loop and Keown Falls Trail

Saturday, March 30th was one of the first really nice weekend weather days of spring 2013, so I had to be outdoors!  I decided to drive up I-75 a few short miles – actually almost all the way to Tennessee – and brought along one of my favorite hiking partners, who shall be called Hulk.  Johns Mountain Loop and the Keown (“cow-an”) Falls Trail are both relatively short hikes, and it made sense to combine them into one hiking experience since they run into each other.

Total Length: 4.72 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Hulk and I parked down at the base of Johns Mountain at the Keown Falls Recreation Area.  From here we quickly hopped onto the Keown Falls Trail which follows the Falls much of the way.  The trail ascends up the mountain very quickly through a series of switchbacks, we passed a family that had two small children which I would not recommend bringing along.   Continue reading