Today is my 30th birthday.

In an alternate universe, I would have woken up in the very fancy hotel I had booked for myself on the Almalfi Coast in Italy. I'd have put on an amazing outfit, had the most decadent breakfast of my life, enjoyed a day of sun lounging and jumping into the glittering Mediterranean Sea from a private boat, and topped it all off with an indulgent pasta dinner & ALL the gelato, of course.

Alas, the universe had different plans. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mourning my 30th birthday celebrations, but I'm also VERY aware that in the grand scheme of things my birthday means nothing, and helping protect people's loved ones means everything. I have not for even one second been anything but grateful for my privileged position during this crisis. I am healthy, employed, sheltered in a lovely warm apartment with food in my cupboards and a private outdoor space to enjoy. Life is good.

This time has made me quite introspective, to say the least. Every day I've been in quarantine I've thought a lot about the things I want to do & change once this nightmare is over. It's also let me dwell a lot on all of the things I have already done! I'm ambitious by nature so I tend to always be looking forward to the future, making myself feel down bout all the things I haven't done yet as opposed to all of the wonderful things I HAVE done. So I thought it only appropriate on my 30th birthday to reflect on the last decade of adventures.


1. Backpacked through Europe (18 countries in 3 months!)

2. Spent a month living in Paris with my best friend

3. Graduated with my Master's Degree from my dream school

4. Achieved financial independence

5. Moved to Ireland

6. Zip-lined above a forest in Alaska

7. Watched a musical on London's West End

8. Explored the souks of Marrakech

9. Visited the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

10. Found someone special to spend my life with

11. Hunted for the Loch Ness Monster in the Scottish Highlands

12. Rode the craziest rollercoaster at Oktoberfest in Munich

13. Adopted a Pet

14. Went clubbing in Las Vegas

15. Bathed in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest

16. Went backstage at a concert (multiple, actually!)

17. Drove a Jeep through the Yukon in Canada

18. Saw the fireworks at Disneyland, DisneyWorld, and EuroDisney

19. Sunbathed on the beach in Barcelona

20. Ran through a lavender field in Provence



In this (hilarious) video I made with my friend Julie in 2013, we detailed all of the things we wanted to do before turning 30. If you've watched it, you'll notice I actually accomplished some of the things I wanted to do! Some of my goals are still pending (haven't seen the Northern Lights yet and DESPERATELY still want to go to Giraffe Manor in Kenya) aaaaand some of them I can nix (riding an elephant, blowing something up in the desert - WHY did I want to do those things?)

Very proud of my 20s, yet am feeling totally content to leave them behind and jump into a new decade. I hope my 30s are just as chock full of adventure, growth and fun!




20 Things I Did in My 20s




Today is my 30th birthday.

In an alternate universe, I would have woken up in the very fancy hotel I had booked for myself on the Almalfi Coast in Italy. I'd have put on an amazing outfit, had the most decadent breakfast of my life, enjoyed a day of sun lounging and jumping into the glittering Mediterranean Sea from a private boat, and topped it all off with an indulgent pasta dinner & ALL the gelato, of course.

Alas, the universe had different plans. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mourning my 30th birthday celebrations, but I'm also VERY aware that in the grand scheme of things my birthday means nothing, and helping protect people's loved ones means everything. I have not for even one second been anything but grateful for my privileged position during this crisis. I am healthy, employed, sheltered in a lovely warm apartment with food in my cupboards and a private outdoor space to enjoy. Life is good.

This time has made me quite introspective, to say the least. Every day I've been in quarantine I've thought a lot about the things I want to do & change once this nightmare is over. It's also let me dwell a lot on all of the things I have already done! I'm ambitious by nature so I tend to always be looking forward to the future, making myself feel down bout all the things I haven't done yet as opposed to all of the wonderful things I HAVE done. So I thought it only appropriate on my 30th birthday to reflect on the last decade of adventures.


1. Backpacked through Europe (18 countries in 3 months!)

2. Spent a month living in Paris with my best friend

3. Graduated with my Master's Degree from my dream school

4. Achieved financial independence

5. Moved to Ireland

6. Zip-lined above a forest in Alaska

7. Watched a musical on London's West End

8. Explored the souks of Marrakech

9. Visited the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

10. Found someone special to spend my life with

11. Hunted for the Loch Ness Monster in the Scottish Highlands

12. Rode the craziest rollercoaster at Oktoberfest in Munich

13. Adopted a Pet

14. Went clubbing in Las Vegas

15. Bathed in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest

16. Went backstage at a concert (multiple, actually!)

17. Drove a Jeep through the Yukon in Canada

18. Saw the fireworks at Disneyland, DisneyWorld, and EuroDisney

19. Sunbathed on the beach in Barcelona

20. Ran through a lavender field in Provence



In this (hilarious) video I made with my friend Julie in 2013, we detailed all of the things we wanted to do before turning 30. If you've watched it, you'll notice I actually accomplished some of the things I wanted to do! Some of my goals are still pending (haven't seen the Northern Lights yet and DESPERATELY still want to go to Giraffe Manor in Kenya) aaaaand some of them I can nix (riding an elephant, blowing something up in the desert - WHY did I want to do those things?)

Very proud of my 20s, yet am feeling totally content to leave them behind and jump into a new decade. I hope my 30s are just as chock full of adventure, growth and fun!




7:51 AM
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans! 🇺🇸


 Living abroad has it's beautiful moments, but missing Thanksgiving is certainly not one of them. My mom is an amazing cook and a great hostess who threw really elaborate gatherings when I was growing up, so naturally I feel quite homesick around this time of year!

Between being homesick and being a self-proclaimed F.A.B. (festive ass bitch) I have taken it upon myself every year I've lived abroad to celebrate Thanksgiving in some way.  My first celebration consisted of having a frozen turkey dinner alone in my living room, but luckily my Thanksgivings have evolved into much less lonely affairs over the years. My new tradition is to host a PROPER Friendsgiving with my fellow homesick American friends! 


This year there was 10 of us total, and as you can see by my photos my crew does notttt mess around with Turkey Day. 


Appetizers: 

Artichoke Dip
Raspberry Cream Cheese Dip
Truffle Chips 


Mains

Roasted Turkey with Gravy
Stuffing 
Green Bean Casserole
Garlic Mash
Potato Grain
Mac & Cheese
Brussels Sprout and Bacon Salad


Sides: 

Creamed Corn
Glazed Carrots 
Sweet Potatoes 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Accoutrements: 

Crispy Shallots
Zested Sugared Cranberries 
Cranberry Jam
Bread Rolls 
Mini Corn Muffins
Herbed Butter 
Honey Butter 

Dessert: 

Apple Tart 
Vanilla Ice Cream 
Homemade Cookie Assortment 



We have most of the classics in there, with a few non-traditional items thrown in to keep things interesting!




The best part? Almost every single thing was homemade (including the bread rolls!)

My group always has a Google Doc for our gatherings where everyone writes down what they're bringing so we keep organized. It might sound a little OTT but it is a crackin' way to make sure everything is taken care of for a big group gathering, I highly recommend trying it out! 

For drinks, we set up a bar on my kitchen counter. I made frozen cranberry skewers to stir the drinks and keep them cold, and my friend Lucy zested some oranges and threw in fresh cranberries as a garnish.  I made chilled apple cider and we mixed it with prosecco, whiskey, even rum to create festive cocktails! 



The best day, with the best food & the best people.

Now that I have shared the details on our spread, please enjoy this family photo where my cat looks like he is being eaten by a dinosaur: 


Friendsgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans! 🇺🇸


 Living abroad has it's beautiful moments, but missing Thanksgiving is certainly not one of them. My mom is an amazing cook and a great hostess who threw really elaborate gatherings when I was growing up, so naturally I feel quite homesick around this time of year!

Between being homesick and being a self-proclaimed F.A.B. (festive ass bitch) I have taken it upon myself every year I've lived abroad to celebrate Thanksgiving in some way.  My first celebration consisted of having a frozen turkey dinner alone in my living room, but luckily my Thanksgivings have evolved into much less lonely affairs over the years. My new tradition is to host a PROPER Friendsgiving with my fellow homesick American friends! 


This year there was 10 of us total, and as you can see by my photos my crew does notttt mess around with Turkey Day. 


Appetizers: 

Artichoke Dip
Raspberry Cream Cheese Dip
Truffle Chips 


Mains

Roasted Turkey with Gravy
Stuffing 
Green Bean Casserole
Garlic Mash
Potato Grain
Mac & Cheese
Brussels Sprout and Bacon Salad


Sides: 

Creamed Corn
Glazed Carrots 
Sweet Potatoes 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Accoutrements: 

Crispy Shallots
Zested Sugared Cranberries 
Cranberry Jam
Bread Rolls 
Mini Corn Muffins
Herbed Butter 
Honey Butter 

Dessert: 

Apple Tart 
Vanilla Ice Cream 
Homemade Cookie Assortment 



We have most of the classics in there, with a few non-traditional items thrown in to keep things interesting!




The best part? Almost every single thing was homemade (including the bread rolls!)

My group always has a Google Doc for our gatherings where everyone writes down what they're bringing so we keep organized. It might sound a little OTT but it is a crackin' way to make sure everything is taken care of for a big group gathering, I highly recommend trying it out! 

For drinks, we set up a bar on my kitchen counter. I made frozen cranberry skewers to stir the drinks and keep them cold, and my friend Lucy zested some oranges and threw in fresh cranberries as a garnish.  I made chilled apple cider and we mixed it with prosecco, whiskey, even rum to create festive cocktails! 



The best day, with the best food & the best people.

Now that I have shared the details on our spread, please enjoy this family photo where my cat looks like he is being eaten by a dinosaur: 


3:23 PM


In the spirit of keeping with tradition, I've made a list to round up all of the activities I want to partake in during the upcoming leafy season. Last year I actually crossed a TON off of my list, including a road trip of the Scottish Highlands which was the highlight of my whole year! I also paid the Harvest Display at the Botanic Gardens a visit, started a fresh notebook, took a walk in the woods, and read LOADS of books. Needless to say, this year's list has a lot to live up to! 

If you're interested, you can see 2018's here and 2017's here


Host an outdoor movie night on my patio 

I bought Joey a projector for his birthday and we figured out that if we hang up a white sheet on our patio wall, it projects beautifully. Also, I want this night to include ALL the snacks - popcorn, ice cream, soda, gummies - the WORKS. 

Lord of the Rings Marathon

A roll over from last year's list that I did not complete! I watched the first one but never ended up watching the other two. It's a big commitment, okay!!  Question is - do I just start with the second this time round?  Or do I start from the first one again? 

Make a bomb ass pillow fort 

Ideally at the same time as the Lord of the Rings marathon. This is my ideal situation. I don't care if I am almost 30, one is NEVER too old to make a pillow fort! (Note: before this post went live, I crossed it off the list! You can find photos in my 'September' Instagram story!) 

Attend a Halloween Ball 

Tickets have been purchased to this and I cannot WAIT! Now I just need to figure out how I want to dress. Last year I was a sugar skull, 2017 I was a gypsy. 2016 I was a pop art girl, and 2015 I was Poison Ivy. We will have to see where my creativity stirs for this year! 

Make the following recipes:


 As a tech snob I am fed breakfast, lunch, & dinner 5 days a week at work - cooking is a bit of a novelty. Since I have the luxury of not having to do it during the week, I want to take advantage of actually being able to enjoy it at the weekend! However, I'm keeping the list small so that I don't disappoint myself. 

Acquire the perfect winter coat

Living in Ireland means my coats get DESTROYED over the winter and I need to buy a new one every year. This year I am learning from my past mistakes and starting the hunt early! 

Enjoy a visit from my Mom

She's coming in October and I am sooo excited to spend time with her! 

Indulge in an Afternoon Tea

I woke up like, 2 weeks ago CRAVING afternoon tea - and I'm talking the whole shebang. Finger sandwiches, bite-sized cakes, macarons, scones with cream and jam, and a GIANT pot of tea. It was not a normal thing to wake up craving but now I have a deep need to satiate this desire (potentially when my Mom is here?!)

-------

A quick ending note to say that I have been pinning so many autumn recipes and vibes on Pinterest lately - for more inspo, click here!


Autumn To-Do List Pt.III



In the spirit of keeping with tradition, I've made a list to round up all of the activities I want to partake in during the upcoming leafy season. Last year I actually crossed a TON off of my list, including a road trip of the Scottish Highlands which was the highlight of my whole year! I also paid the Harvest Display at the Botanic Gardens a visit, started a fresh notebook, took a walk in the woods, and read LOADS of books. Needless to say, this year's list has a lot to live up to! 

If you're interested, you can see 2018's here and 2017's here


Host an outdoor movie night on my patio 

I bought Joey a projector for his birthday and we figured out that if we hang up a white sheet on our patio wall, it projects beautifully. Also, I want this night to include ALL the snacks - popcorn, ice cream, soda, gummies - the WORKS. 

Lord of the Rings Marathon

A roll over from last year's list that I did not complete! I watched the first one but never ended up watching the other two. It's a big commitment, okay!!  Question is - do I just start with the second this time round?  Or do I start from the first one again? 

Make a bomb ass pillow fort 

Ideally at the same time as the Lord of the Rings marathon. This is my ideal situation. I don't care if I am almost 30, one is NEVER too old to make a pillow fort! (Note: before this post went live, I crossed it off the list! You can find photos in my 'September' Instagram story!) 

Attend a Halloween Ball 

Tickets have been purchased to this and I cannot WAIT! Now I just need to figure out how I want to dress. Last year I was a sugar skull, 2017 I was a gypsy. 2016 I was a pop art girl, and 2015 I was Poison Ivy. We will have to see where my creativity stirs for this year! 

Make the following recipes:


 As a tech snob I am fed breakfast, lunch, & dinner 5 days a week at work - cooking is a bit of a novelty. Since I have the luxury of not having to do it during the week, I want to take advantage of actually being able to enjoy it at the weekend! However, I'm keeping the list small so that I don't disappoint myself. 

Acquire the perfect winter coat

Living in Ireland means my coats get DESTROYED over the winter and I need to buy a new one every year. This year I am learning from my past mistakes and starting the hunt early! 

Enjoy a visit from my Mom

She's coming in October and I am sooo excited to spend time with her! 

Indulge in an Afternoon Tea

I woke up like, 2 weeks ago CRAVING afternoon tea - and I'm talking the whole shebang. Finger sandwiches, bite-sized cakes, macarons, scones with cream and jam, and a GIANT pot of tea. It was not a normal thing to wake up craving but now I have a deep need to satiate this desire (potentially when my Mom is here?!)

-------

A quick ending note to say that I have been pinning so many autumn recipes and vibes on Pinterest lately - for more inspo, click here!


3:03 PM


Visiting Iceland has been a dream of mine for at least ten years.

The Weekend Wander: Iceland



Visiting Iceland has been a dream of mine for at least ten years.

2:26 PM



A couple weeks ago Joey and I flew to France to spend five glorious days in Provence soaking up some sunshine. Ireland is not exactly at it's finest in the summer (think warm rain and clouds, gross) so I was craving a proper summer climate fit for swimming, tanning and lazing about.

I've wanted to go to Provence ever since I was a child watching Beauty & the Beast on repeat. Fast forward to recent years of browsing countless pictures on Instagram of beautiful towns and lavender fields and boom - flights were booked. What possibly sounds better than 5 days of running through lavender fields and stuffing one's face with croissants? NOTHING.

We didn't have much of an agenda for this trip as I knew most of our schedule would consist of sitting by the pool. However, I did make a list of places I wanted to see so that if the mood struck we could go where we wanted, when we felt like it!

Some favorite spot to share with you:

Summer in Provence




A couple weeks ago Joey and I flew to France to spend five glorious days in Provence soaking up some sunshine. Ireland is not exactly at it's finest in the summer (think warm rain and clouds, gross) so I was craving a proper summer climate fit for swimming, tanning and lazing about.

I've wanted to go to Provence ever since I was a child watching Beauty & the Beast on repeat. Fast forward to recent years of browsing countless pictures on Instagram of beautiful towns and lavender fields and boom - flights were booked. What possibly sounds better than 5 days of running through lavender fields and stuffing one's face with croissants? NOTHING.

We didn't have much of an agenda for this trip as I knew most of our schedule would consist of sitting by the pool. However, I did make a list of places I wanted to see so that if the mood struck we could go where we wanted, when we felt like it!

Some favorite spot to share with you:

2:41 PM

@alyseya