Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My Irish Heritage

Person: "Red hair and a name like that? You must be Irish! Hah hah!" *thinks they're hilarious*
Me: "Ha, yep..." *face gets red and wants to die*

That's a typical stranger encounter for me, but despite the fact that comments like that make me want to either A) punch a hole in a wall, or B) evaporate into thin air, I'm still very proud to sport a mop of red curly hair and have a bit of Irish blood running through my veins.

While Irish isn't the extent of my ancestry (I've got Polish, Norwegian, German, and a little Scottish and French ancestry as well) I thought it fitting to write about my Irish heritage because I've decided to study abroad next spring in Galway, which is actually near where my ancestors are from.

My Irish ancestry comes from both my mom and my dad's side of the family. My dad just recently informed me about how his Scottish ancestor Lord Something-or-Other married an Irish woman named Lady Lydia Auroria Moore, so there's that (my parents then went off on a tangent of how they should've named me Lydia), however, I'm much more familiar with my maternal grandmother's story. Most of the Irish blood comes from her side anyway. It was her great-great-great (one more great? two more greats? I can't really remember) grandfather, Dillon O'Brien, who immigrated to the Midwest (more specifically, Madeline Island on Lake Superior), and ta-da! Here I am. Thank you, Irish ancestors, for choosing America over starvation.

As far as my decision to study in Galway goes, I didn't choose Ireland SPECIFICALLY because I have Irish ancestry. I've actually just always wanted to go to Ireland. No rhyme or reason really, I just WANT to. I've started planning and looking at applications, and despite the fact that my bank account is going to completely dissipate, it'll be SO worth it.

When in Galway, I'll be a part of NUIG's International Student program and I'll be staying in an International Student house ten minutes off campus. Since I'm doing this next spring, I still have some time to go through the application process, but it's just nice to be decided on a program.

If you've stayed with me this far, you are a trooper and I appreciate you. Let me know in the comments if you've ever been to Ireland (or Galway specifically) and where you think I should go. Or if you've ever studied abroad, where have you gone and what did you think? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Women Who Inspire Me

I was planning to write this post and put it up earlier in the month, not even thinking about International Women's Day, but school work got the best of me, and I've been putting it off for quite some time. However, there's never a bad time to write about women who inspire you - better late than never!

Below is a list of women - both friends and family, celebrities and public figures - who inspire me, who I admire, or who just deserve a round of applause for being incredible women in my eyes.

I am so blessed to have such an amazing and supporting group of women in my family. My grandmother, who is coming up on her 95th birthday this June, is a spit-fire and a sass-master. My mom is kind, caring, and supportive. My sister is driven and joyous. My cousins are dreamers, activists, mothers, and comedians. I am lucky to have them.

I can tell my girlfriends just about anything. They each have their own wild, glowing personalities and we laugh, cry, laugh-cry, and cry-laugh together. I'm grateful for their presence in my life.


Karlie Kloss

I've followed Karlie on social media for some time now, and she is such an inspirational figure. Aside from being a drop-dead gorgeous ACTUAL REAL LIFE SUPERMODEL, Karlie started a program called Kode with Klossy. It's a program that encourages girls to pursue coding in order to create a world in which they have the opportunity to succeed and receive deserved recognition in the sciences. Karlie works hard to help others and the environment, and she spreads such positivity and power.

Estee Lalonde

Estee is one of my favorite Lifestyle and Beauty Bloggers/Vloggers/YouTubers. Her style is incredible, and I absolutely LIVE for her sense of humor. Estee's confidence makes me feel like I can do anything and be anyone I want to be. She created a hashtag, #personalbest, to encourage people to try to do their best and not to compare your success or failures to others', but to embrace who you are and what you're capable of.

Sarah J. Maas

If you're reading my blog for the first time, Sarah J. Maas is pretty much one of my favorite authors. I'm a total fantasy nerd, and Sarah has two successful Young Adult/New Adult fantasy series, the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. I admire Sarah for her creativity (I seriously LOVE her books), and for her determination. In several interviews, Sarah has mentioned how when she was younger, she stopped reading so that she'd fit in. Later, however, she rediscovered her self and her happiness in books - particularly in fantasy books. Because of Sarah's stories, she inspires me to read, to write,to embrace the things I love, and to express myself as much as possible. She also writes some boss female characters, which doesn't hurt.

Emma Watson

Of course, I had to throw an actress in my list. I love acting, I love film, I love stories, and man oh man was it hard to choose just one. Out of the extensive list of actresses I adore (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Audrey Hepburn, Kate Winslet, the list goes on...) I just had to go with Emma Watson. I grew up reading Harry Potter and waiting for the film installments to come out. But despite the fact that Emma has grown up in the spotlight and is a crazy talented actress, she's so grounded and intelligent. She's an advocate for equality, and I think she sends a great message to young girls.

Hope you enjoyed reading, and let me know in the comments below who you look up to and why!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Books I Want To Read

Lately I've been doing a lot of re-reading, simply because I need something familiar and easy to read when I need a break from the taxing, dense literature that I've been reading for my classes. I thought I'd share with you a list of books, both old and new, that I really want to get under my belt.


The Help

I committed a great sin in the 'book-to-movie-adaptation world' - I saw the movie BEFORE reading the book. I know. But when the movie came out, I'm not sure that the book would have entirely captured my interest. Now, however, I'm itching to open this novel to read for myself what my mom said she liked so much. 

The Martian

Again, I saw the movie first. But if I hadn't seen the movie, I wouldn't even know it WAS a book. My brother read this novel and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I thought I'd add it to my list. 

The Book Thief

I know. Most people read this book in what - high school? Well, not this self-proclaimed bookworm. Also, I'm fairly sure this was also turned into a movie a few years ago...I haven't seen it. Nevertheless, I feel like this is a classic that I should have read in high school like most other schoolchildren, and I've heard wonderful things about it.

Young Adult

The Lunar Chronicles 

I'm a bit late to the game with this one, but it has always been on my list because I know it's a popular series. I'm not sure how I'll like it, but usually I tend to love any Fantasy/Fairy Tale with a twist sort of story.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) 

Now, this one has not yet been released, as it's the final installment in a popular fantasy trilogy. (ACOTAR) Guys. This is one of my favorite book series. In fact, I did a blog post about the series last year, (click HERE to read) and now the third one is ALMOST here. I don't think my heart can take it, and yet, I need to read this book or else I might die. Not to be dramatic.

Carve the Mark

Veronica Roth has finally come out with a new book, after a brief hiatus following the success of her first series, Divergent. Now, I'll admit I'm not the biggest Divergent series fan. I read them when it was a big hype, and I liked them. I thought the writing was good, the story was creative - I really have no complaints other than the fact that I'm just not that into the story, or maybe I just got . I wouldn't re-read it unless the mood really struck me. But, this is not a description of how I only like Divergent a medium amount. No, this is a short-turned-long paragraph about how I'm excited to read her newest book, (which I believe is sci-fi? sci-fi-ish?) Carve the Mark. It was released only about a month or two ago, so I have yet to get my hands on it.

Memoirs and Biographies 


My siblings and I bought Bossypants for my mom for her birthday a few years ago, but I didn't have an interest in reading it, only because I think I was a bit too young for Tina Fey's humor. Now, however, I'm ready to delve into Fey's ingenious and hilarious brain. I've read Amy Poehler's Yes Please, and it was hilarious. So because I've got easy access to Bossypants, and because I love Tina Fey, I figured I should take a crack at it.


Estee Lalonde is one of my favorite YouTubers and bloggers, and when she came out with her book, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I absolutely love Estee's style and her humor, so I can't wait to read her book.

Adulthood is a Myth

I think I've read enough of these small comic-strip-like "scribbles" on Pinterest that I may or may not have read the entire book with really even knowing it, but still. I'm a huge fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and these "scribbles" remind me of Allie Brosh's endearing book. Plus, each scenario is so relatable that they often make me laugh out loud. Who doesn't love a book that can do that?

And that's that! I hope you enjoyed my list of books that I really want to read. Let me know in the comments if you've read any of these books, and what you think of them, or let me know what books are on your "To Read" list. I'm always looking for new stories!