iiiiii have seriously fallen behind on my blogging for 2015, so i'm going to make the most of the few days we have left and blog my little heart out!

“i am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

my time in ireland with my incredible friend nicole (of boonetown story!) will go down as some of the most beautiful, adventurous and well, (in one word) SPECIAL times of my life. to travel is always fun, but to go and explore a beautiful country with someone whose company you enjoy immensely, to have time to wander and explore the beautiful (and i mean BEAUTIFUL) scenery, to try new foods and drive on the other side of the road, and be scared and in awe at the same time.. it's really not something i can accurately put into words. and i literally couldn’t have done this without her, for so many reasons. so huge, huge thank you to Nicole for being my wing-woman on our crazy adventure.

so, instead of writing an ode to Ireland and blabbering on about how much i love it, i’m just going to just bullet point some things worth mentioning/my favorite things/funny memories i encountered along the way on our trip to Ireland.

+ everyone in Ireland is so. freaking. nice. literally. even the TSA agents had huge smiles on their faces while they were searching each and every bag. get it together, USA.
+ research what black and white pudding is, and don’t eat it. gross.
+ never in my life have i seen grass as green or skies as blue as they were in Ireland. it was absolutely stunning. and yes, it totally rained, but when the sun came out, it was a little bit of heaven on earth.
+ invest in some legit sleeping pills for a 6+ hour flight across a huge ocean. Benadryl doesn’t cut it. Nicole and i were a tad (and by tad, i mean completely) loopy by the time we landed.
+ if you’re worried about driving on the other side of the road / other side of the car, don’t be! it’s totally fine. i was sweating bullets just thinking about it, and while the roads are super thin and windy, and nobody goes the speed limit or obey’s traffic laws… it was kinda fun. i picked it up in no time. right, Nicole? ;)
+ forget the navigation and get lost. our gps must have been a little outdated because there were several times we had no idea where we were going! to be honest, though, getting lost in the irish country is one thing i’ll never forget. spending hours driving up winding coastal roads with a generic idea of where we were going, just sightseeing, stopping to take photos wherever we wanted, enjoying the beautiful scenery and animals .. it was totally worth it.
+ choose people to work with that trust you and want to spend days with you. people that have kind hearts and joyful spirits and amazing, welcoming families that are HAPPY on their wedding day. they make the memories so much sweeter. (i’m talking to you two, julia & derek!)
+ sheep are definitely “sheepish”. they ran away from us every time we tried to get close. not cool, guys.
+ ask the locals where to go! everyone had different amazing suggestions of where to go and sight-see. of course, every conversation lasted 10+ minutes because eventually you got into where you were from and who you were as a person and your deepest hopes and darkest fears because apparently irish people skip the small talk! our b&b owners were incredible people, and we never left our room without chatting with them for at least 10 minutes about anything and everything. breida and john, we love you!
+ when faced with the opportunity to do a tiny hike and look over cliffs where waves are crashing against it and there are “danger: erosion” signs everywhere with no guard rails to hold you back or protect you, and it’s raining and crazy windy… go on the hike. it’s worth it.
+ when Julia first told me she was getting married in a cathedral, i was a little nervous, because as we all know, i rarely shoot inside! but she gushed about the church and how beautiful it was, and what with the beautiful history of decades of her family members having been married there.. i knew it would be such an amazing time to share with them.  and it was! the rituals, emotions, and traditions we witnessed had us both in tears over the course of the ceremony.
+ Julia has become one of my dear friends over the course of shooting her engagements and traveling to be with them and all the times in-between we’ve hung out! so seeing her, at her happiest, in a country she loves so much, dancing the little irish dances she learned at her classes back in charlotte… well, it just made me so thankful to be with them and celebrating all day long. (and night. her friends were amazing and persistent in wanting us to indulge in the whiskey ;)
+ a true friend is one who will sit with you while you’re cracked out on unisom and laugh with you the next morning about how you mumbled responses to a dakota fanning movie on tv.
+ as someone whose favorite movie is "ps, i love you" - ireland was always on my bucket list. so being at a pub the evening of the rehearsal dinner surrounded by all of derek & julia's family and friends, hearing a true irishman singing "galway girl" will probably go down as one of my favorite memories, ever. in-between laughing in disbelief and tearing up because my sister/sister-in-law couldn't be there to experience it with me, i was so, so happy.

and lastly, i feel like with all of the incredible trips and opportunities i was able to experience this year… all the places i explored and sunrises i witnessed.. it really clicked in me how important it is to travel. to stretch yourself, to push past your comfort zones, to try new things. i let ireland’s beauty and wonder fill up the little cracks in my heart i didn’t know existed, and i know Nicole will agree with me in saying we both can’t wait to visit again, hopefully sometime soon.

so, without further ado, here’s a glimpse into sweet derek & julia’s beautiful day. cheers to two people i cannot thank enough for letting us tag along on the beginning of their new, wonderful adventure together as husband and wife. you guys are the best. love you both!