Top 10 Things About Honeymooning in Dublin, Brussels & Paris


…Mostly about food!

  1. ) The European lifestyle is so relaxed. Things don’t open till 11, big stores close around 7 or 8, and some stores are closed Tuesday and Sundays. Now that’s the life! I now know why Dubliners and maybe other Europeans are so happy all the time. They’re not stuck at work all day.

2.) The bread and croissants are amazing. Mike makes some pretty banging bread (see here for some examples), but the Europeans really know how to do it. I think the one thing that amazes me is that it’s good for more than 2 days even when you don’t put it in a ziplock baggy. What is this trick? There were several days that Mike and I just bought a 1-2 Euro loaf of break and got cheese or meats to go on it. Probably one of the best ways to save money while traveling abroad too!

3.) Guinness in Ireland is better. I know a lot of people say this, but it really is true. I feel like the Guinness in the states is heavy and thick, but in Ireland it’s light and refreshing…even though there’s still the infamous foam. The tour of the brewery is also awesome. The view from their sky bar is breathtaking. You can see everything in Dublin and you get to enjoy a pint of Guinness. 4.) Never say no to an Irish Breakfast. It’s the most filling breakfast you’ll have. Eggs, sausage, a roasted tomato, mushrooms, their version of bacon, and rice pudding (it doesn’t look like rice pudding though). You’ll be full till about 4 PM after you eat one of these babies.

photo via Mike!
photo via Mike!

Continue reading Top 10 Things About Honeymooning in Dublin, Brussels & Paris

The Honeymoon Is Booked…What’s Next?


We’ve been married since September and we’ve finally booked our honeymoon. We’ll be flying into Dublin December 23rd and on to Paris the 27th! But what do we do, what do we pack, and where do we stay? Time to crowdsource. I’ve started a honeymoon Pinterest board, but I need some human recommendations.

We need bag recommendations, lightweight yet warm coats, comfortable boots, and places to visit. Please help! We found out that Dublin is practically closed December 25-27th, so any walking around attractions would be wonderful.

Thanks, Dreamers!!

 

Pins I’m Loving


original photo via soufflebombay.com

Pho is the best meal for cold weather. I think one of my goals to do this winter is to make a delicious pho. Who else has recipes worth trying?

image via Clairant Tumblr

I can’t stop dreaming about our future honeymoon. We don’t have a definite date for it yet, but I do know that we’ll be visiting Paris. This image is so gorgeous. A part of me wishes we could go sooner to catch the Eiffel Tower in the snow. 

Continue reading Pins I’m Loving

Dreamer: Danielle Alvarez


Danielle E. Alvarez

D.Alvarez-Birthday

Age: 25
Lives In: Paris, France
Current Job: Graduate student (Digital Project Manager at PageYourself – internship)
Ultimate Dreams: Have more than one “home,”be proud of the work I do, make a positive impact on society, and eventually, have a healthy family.

What are you doing to attain your dream?
My ultimate dreams probably seem basic, but they’re bigger than even I realized. I tend to have trouble with the status quo. Before graduating from college, I thought I’d continue dating my boyfriend, move to New York City (30 minutes from my hometown), and get a job at a food, health, or travel magazine or website. That alone would’ve been satisfying, right? What happened was that I became single, found jobs at startups where I did editorial and social media work, and eventually moved to the city only to find I felt “stuck” there. Plus, I realized writing about different parts of the world was not nearly as amazing as experiencing them. After much deliberation (and tears), I decided I needed to readjust my pre-determined course so I signed up for the GREs and started filling out master’s program applications. Now I’m interning at a Parisian startup (I finished my coursework this past summer) as I prepare my research for next semester. I can’t tell you what happens after that–and when some of my peers are getting married (congratulations again, Katie!), pregnant, and/or more settled into their original careers that’s a bit unsettling–but my enthusiasm for my impending thesis reassures me that I’m on the right track for me.

What do you think you ultimately need to attain your dreams?
Less doubt. More passion. I will probably never stop being scared, but as I get more mature with age and experience, I’m becoming more sure of my ability to “make shit happen.”

Have you attained any dreams? If so, what were they and what did you do to attain them?
What’s funny is that looking back I realize I’ve had this ability to “make shit happen” in me long before I actually recognized it.

In high school, for instance, I stumbled across an exciting and expensive leadership program in DC. Unfortunately, my parents couldn’t afford to send me. Rather than be disappointed and move on though, I sifted through the website and found they offered a select number of scholarships. I applied, got it, and months later, my dad drove me down to Washington, DC for an inspiring, all-expenses-paid experience.

Another example is my solo cross-country road trip. The idea came from a conversation between my best friend and I, but in the end, she couldn’t afford to join. Again I improvised. I knew if I didn’t take the opportunity to drive across the country as an unemployed recent college graduate, I probably wouldn’t get the chance to do so until I was older and retired, if at all. So, I mapped out my intended route, determined where I needed to stop and when, and spoke about my loose plan as often as I could. I ended up meeting friends and family and friends of family and friends across the country. As for the places I couldn’t find a connection, I turned to CouchSurfing. Not only did doing so allow me to make the trip on a tight budget (mostly grad party money) but also visit new places with locals and meet some of the most inspiring strangers-turned-friends.

What’s your advice to other dreamers?
Don’t accept “it’s just the way it is.” You can move in the right direction without making crazy, inconceivable changes to your current situation. Take one step at a time. There are no supposed-to’s. As long as you’re spending your time with people and activities that make you feel good, that is enough. That good feeling means you’re doing it right. Then again, as soon as you feel a little bit off, mix things up. With your intentions and values in mind, adjust your schedule or relationship(s)/job/living situation as needed. You’re entitled to your own path and all of it’s successes (and failures). Revel in that gift. Take chances. Scare yourself. I promise things will turn out better than you ever imagined. And if at any point you realize you haven’t reached that dream you’d envisioned at 12 or 21, ask yourself as to whether or not your current self cares. Our dreams evolve as our priorities do and that’s actually a wonderful thing.

Thank you so much for sharing your adventure Danielle! Who else wants to travel after reading this? Best of luck with your thesis : the communicative relationship between diversity issues and “ethnic” food scenes in notably international cities: New York, London, Paris. I can’t wait to hear about some of your findings!

Follow Danielle’s blog to read more about her adventures abroad and check out her professional page to hire her! If that’s too much reading, at least follow her on Twitter!

Dreamer: Reveca Torres


Reveca Torres
Age: 31
Lives In: Prospect Heights, IL (NW Suburbs of Chicago)
Current Job: Executive Director of BACKBONES, a nonprofit providing support for people with spinal cord injury.
Ultimate Dreams:
My ultimate dream is to live in a world of understanding and equality (you know, with bunnies and rainbows!). I want there to be equal access to education, employment, recreation, and housing for people with disabilities…and I will work hard for that to happen. Once it does, my dream will involve a small house in Costa Rica or Mexico where I can design and create art when I’m not doing yoga.
What are you doing to attain your dream? 
As director of BACKBONES I have been able to merge my skills in art, fashion, and theater with awareness, empowerment, and education. At one point I wanted to be an event planner with one of my good friends who is a florist. As cofounder of BACKBONES, her and I have been able to host some fantastic events for the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Community such as a fashion show featuring models in wheelchairs, a scavenger hunt where participants must complete tasks using a wheelchair if they are non-wheelchair users, a 5K with extra-hand cycles available for able-bodied individual to try, and an art show featuring artists with spinal cord injury. These events are not only fun, they have an awareness component to educate those without disabilities on what it’s like, and it helps them lose the fear of the unknown. It works because when people are having fun they let their guard down and just enjoy the moment, learning and understanding from others whether they have a disability or not.
Reveca Torres
What do you think you ultimately need to attain your dreams? 
I want to use art and imagery to change perspective and misconception about people with disabilities. I need an army of people to help me start an image revolution! I need people to start viewing images of people with disabilities in a positive manner, photographers to take shots empowering the person, large corporations to use successful people with disabilities as their spokesperson or face of the company, fashion editorials to include the beauty and style of men and women with disabilities, school systems to include their students with disabilities in mainstream activities and use it as an opportunity to educate other students that differences are normal, Hollywood to begin casting the role of people with disabilities with ACTUAL people with disabilities not actors pretending to be so. By doing all of the above, people begin to view persons with disabilities as contributing members of society and valuable to our community and see access as a way of life for everyone.
Have you attained any dreams? If so, what were they and what did you do to attain them?
Yes, I have attained some dreams, although I sometimes feel like I am in a constant state of dreaming. My childhood dream was to become a fashion designer, have a clothing line, fashion shows, and a boutique. At the age of 13, I was in a car accident, broke my neck, and was paralyzed from the chest down. I thought my fashion designer dreams were over until I got to high school and the sewing teacher took an interest in me.  She showed me how to sew again with an adapted sewing machine. Having her believe in me gave me the confidence to pursue a degree in fashion design after high school. The school was apprehensive to take me as a student because I was the first in a wheelchair and they didn’t know what my needs were. It was my responsibility to advocate for what I wanted and needed. At times I needed to do extra work to keep up with my classmates or research on how I could successfully travel abroad for a fashion competition with my class. It was a dream come true to be in Paris at a design competition and to visit museums with artwork I had only seen in books! I eventually became a fashion designer, studied theater, and designed costumes for dance companies.
At one point I felt I was doing all of this for myself only, and I knew there was something else I had to do. I wanted to help people.
So in 2009, I created BACKBONES with the purpose of providing peer support for people with spinal cord injury. I would think back to the 13-year-old me and wish that at that time I would have had somebody my age who I would’ve talked to someone who knew exactly what I was going through. I didn’t meet others with SCI until I was in college and it made a difference in my confidence, ability, my relationships with others and self-esteem. I knew others probably needed it as much as I did, and so BACKBONES was born! Although I never thought I would be here, it has been amazing and rewarding to help others and see them transform after their injury. The loss in their eyes turns into empowerment!
Reveca Torres
I am currently at the cusp of this revolution I dream of. On June 29, BACKBONES  launched Reinventing the Wheel: Stories of Life After Spinal Cord InjuryWe have paired 22 photographers with 22 people with spinal cord injury all across the country. Each team has created a photo story with the purpose of documenting the REAL lives of people with spinal cord injury and highlighting ability rather than disability. The premier is at the National Museum of Health and Medicine – Chicago and then tours to Portland, Oregon this fall and continues to Los Angeles and New York in 2014.
With this tour we will begin to shift attitudes and challenge current stereotypes of the lives of people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) – leading to better access to housing, employment, education and recreation for people with disabilities!
What’s your advice to other dreamers?
In my case, I’ve come to realize that one person doesn’t make dreams happen, it’s many! Valuing what every person has to offer and absorbing knowledge from anyone you interact with is key to help me even imagine my wildest dreams!
Be bold! Dream big! Ultimately if it makes you cry and sweat, and makes you a little bit scared, but you still can’t wait to get up in the morning to do it all over again. It’s what you should be doing…and THAT must be what some call “living the dream”