Motivational Monday…Two-fer

Because I just couldn’t decide which one today!
Happy Monday…make it a great week!

Do everything with a good heart and expect nothing in return and you will never be disappointed.

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out…John Wooden

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

The Aran Island of Inis Oirr

Day 2 of my Irish sojourn took me to the Aran Island of Inis Oirr (pronounced Inisheer). Of course I’d done my research and saw that this, the smallest of the three Arans, had a lighthouse you could walk to. That sealed it for me! Booked my ferry ride over and spent a lovely day on this quintessential Irish island. Here are some pics…

these signs are at each notable stop on The Wild Atlantic Way (a somewhat new & brilliant marketing campaign for the west of Ireland’s beautiful coast)

love the way the Irish divide their land with beautiful stone fences

strike a pose beauty!
the remains of the Castle

At the end of the day I met up with Padraig & Grainne in Galway for dinner. We were joined by their granddaughter, Roise, who was off of school due to the bank holiday. After dinner we strolled the main pedestrian street in Galway called Quay Street and went into a, somewhat new, shop that carried items made in the Aran Islands. I didn’t have much room in my suitcase (I took carry on luggage size for almost 3 weeks away! I’ve become an efficient packer!) so wasn’t planning on buying anything…until I saw this chevron pattern throw in grey and teal that would go perfect in my home.

It included free shipping….BONUS! I had it mailed to my home and now, when I place this blanket over me for a nap, I’m immediately transported back to Ireland and the hug of extended family and cousins I never knew I had.

Next up…The World Got Smaller Part II My Irish Cousins

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

The World Got Smaller…Part I

“I think I may have made a connection.” I received this message in my mailbox on November 18, 2018. It was from my, soon-to-find-out, 2nd cousin, Padraig O’Callaghan, in Ireland. His first email was on October 24th and after a few back-and-forth emails we discovered that we were 2nd cousins…our grandparents were siblings (his grandma/my grandpa). This had all started because we had both done the Ancestry DNA test…and were signed up on the main Ancestry site for updates. (shocker that my results came back 100% Irish ancestry)

To say we were excited would be an understatement and by November 20th we shared our personal emails and continued the conversation, with pictures and documents relating to our families and ancestors. If you’ve read along on this blog, you know I’m a pretty impulsive, jump in, kind of person…so it’s probably no surprise that, after discussing possible dates that would mutually work for us, I booked my flights to Ireland on January 22, 2019, for arrival on June 2nd…with a 10 hour layover in NY to see Austin & Kate and this beauty…


It was, literally, a trip of a lifetime! Padraig and his wife, Grainne, live just outside of Galway and I was flying into Shannon airport at 5:50 am. I told him I’d take a bus to Galway, which is a little over an hour’s drive, and asked where I should get an Airbnb to be close to them. He didn’t hesitate in saying, ” I will collect you at the airport” and “You can stay with us while in Galway.” To say I was stunned is an understatement! I had stayed with my friends (through homeexchange) Gina and Andy in Dublin in 2013, so I’ve experienced the generosity & warmth of the Irish, but this was someone I’d never met!  It was a testament to the blind faith and true kindness of the Irish people. We were related and that’s all they needed to know!

We continued to converse back and forth and as the day approached to get on that plane I have to be honest, I had a little anxiety about staying with, what seemed like, complete strangers for three days/nights. What if we didn’t ‘click’? What if it was awkward? I’m sure you’ve already surmised that it was completely the opposite! I walked through customs and out into the arrival area where we quickly spotted one another and immediately hugged! Padraig suggested we sit and have some tea and discuss plans for the day. You know me, I’m game!

I honestly don’t know how to describe the connection I felt towards them within minutes of sitting down for some tea. It was so natural and easy…and I knew that this would be an unforgettable trip. With the time change…it was 9pm the night before here in California….my sister, Mariellen, texted me “Hug the Egans…and have a blast. Enjoy our people….” An hour later, sitting in their car, I texted her back, “So far I LOVE them! Such great, interesting people.” She texted back, “Dad’s smiling in heaven 🍀❤” That is how instantaneously I felt a true connection to my newly-found cousin and his wife.

Padraig had asked if there were any sites or places I wanted to go in the west of Ireland. I had been to Galway and Connemara back in 2013 (beautiful should go), but I mentioned that I hadn’t seen the Cliffs of Moher. I had also mentioned that my grandma, Catherine (Ryan) Egan, had been born in O’Callaghan’s Mills. The plan they came up with was to go straight to the little town of O’Callaghan’s Mills on our way the Cliffs of Moher, then a drive through The Burren (famous for it’s limestone formations and unusual mix of wildflowers), the Burren Perfumery, and finally head to their home.

Pictures, as always, tell the story best….

this is the newer addition of the school where my grandma’s family possibly attended…translation St. Patrick’s School. The older section was in the back and still intact.
just because I like the cool, old rusty gate
the little town was, as it’s name suggests, an old mill town and here was a little homage to their past
unfortunately they weren’t open yet, but the Egans were definitely represented on my first day here!
the majestic Cliffs of Moher
Padraig, me and Grainne

next 3 pics are of the Burren

their inviting home…gotta love a red door

So….that’s the introduction to my cousin, his wife and my first day in Ireland. Stay tuned for Part II, Inis Oirr and meeting my extended family.

(if any of my new cousins are reading this, you can subscribe to my blog on the right and get email updates when I post anything new)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity & change”…Brene Brown


“We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful”…
Eric Micha’el Leventhal

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…more travel…

To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world….Freya Stark

Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow…Anita Desai

and lastly

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!…Susan Sontag

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Wanderlust/Openness

Wanderlust (n)…a strong desire or urge to travel and explore the world

Be open to whatever comes next!

I’m in Ireland to meet relatives I never knew I had, thanks to dna test from….more posts to come on my adventure

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Weekend Project…or Weekend Trip?

In the past 2 weeks I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of going on a weekend trip to San Francisco…and also doing a fun project for the grandbabies for my home. So…here are a couple of things to keep you busy this weekend!

My friend, Darci (designer extraordinaire…who also has grandbabies), said I had to check out the “Ikea kid’s kitchen hacks” on Pinterest and do one for my grandkids. OMG! It’s a super simple, very tiny, wood kitchen that people have transformed into the cutest little designer piece of furniture (paint, add a faux backsplash, etc). I, literally, went out the next day and bought the kitchen and started planning the project. My new place is tiny, but I happened to really need a table for my entryway that was a bit taller than the one I was using and the dimensions of the kitchen fit like a glove! I’ll let you go on Pinterest and see all the great ideas…but here are 3 versions…, how it comes out of the box (after doing the crazy Ikea assembly)…two, Darci’s adorable version…and three, my beachy version. Be creative..the sky’s the limit!

thank God she likes to put together Ikea furniture!
Darci’s design
my beachy version…still need a few accessories (it holds lots of toys too!)

Weekend in SF! My sister and I have been going to design/decorator homes for at least the past ten years in LA and Orange County. I noticed in a magazine that there was a San Francisco Decorator Showcase (benefiting a local high school) and knew we had to do a weekend trip up to see her daughter (who just moved into an amazing apartment on Chestnut…such a fun street!), son and my best friend, Mary Kay & partner, Laura.

We arrived late Friday at her daughter’s apartment to enjoy cocktails and appetizers…joined by her son, niece, nephew & significant others…before heading over to dinner at The Tipsy Pig ….a loud, fun, yummy restaurant.

The agenda on Saturday was the decorator showcase home, lunch at the Slanted Door (a favorite of ours) in the Ferry building, an afternoon nap and then, the pièce de ré·sis·tance, dinner at Che Fico (named Bon Appetit magazine’s 10 best new restaurants in 2018), where my friend Kathy’s son, Evan, is the Chef de Cuisine. The weather was gorgeous and every stop was better than the last…pictures tell the best story….

Decorator showcase ends May 27th, so you don’t have much time! 2nd largest home in SF…it can be yours for $30 million!

AMAZING flowers throughout the home!

mirror selfie of me & MK!

room with a view!

cool bar originally owned by Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall

Gotta love SF!!

Che Fico was one of the highlights of our trip. Chef Evan got us the perfect table at the kitchen bar, so we basically had a show while waiting for our meal. So much fun! The food was AMAZING!! (I didn’t take pics because I didn’t want to be too obnoxious) We had the pear & devil’s gulch panza; Suppli; mushroom sausage pizza; and the budino for dessert. He sent over a pistachio ice cream that my sister said was the best she’s ever had, and a tangy berry gelato. Everything was DELISH!! If you can’t get reservations at Che Fico, try their new downstairs space, Che Fico Alimentari. It looks just as inviting and delish!

There you go…make some weekend plans!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!