Sláinte Series: The Kennedy’s

History was the theme of our Ireland trip.  Did I mention I love history?  Especially Kennedy history.

I’m not entirely sure how much influence I had on the planning of our touring activities with Mom and Dad Schaeffer, but I’d like to think Brian and I had at least 75% input as we worked on the trip itinerary.  One viewing of The Quiet Man and some around-the-kitchen table sessions with three bottles of wine formulated some necessary to-do’s about two weeks prior to departure.  Casual planning at its finest.

It’s hard to pick a favorite history lesson because there was so much badass stuff to go around:  the Titanic museum in Cobh, intricate  and beautiful castles, insane Guinness family-owned homes, charming century-old landscaping and cobblestone streets.  And Muldoon.  (Seriously, someone bring that stuff to America. You’ll thank me.)  But there was something I really wanted to do beyond that.

The Kennedy’s

I knew of a famous trip that took President Kennedy to the homestead of his Irish ancestors in June 1963.  It so happened this site was on our route around the coast of southeastern Ireland.  That homestead is now a museum and preserved memorial of the visit to the birthplace of John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy (the namesake of the baby they lost just a few months later).  The family still farms there today.

After our walking tour of Waterford the first day in our we hopped into our four-door Citroen, our trusty van/car/go-kart, and headed to the homestead in Dunganstown in County Wexford.  Below are my photos of the museum and property…seeing the genuine notes and memorabilia was a humbling experience.

These Sláinte Series photos aren’t the best of the trip, but it was one of my favorite activities.  Those who know me probably find my Kennedy obsession a bit strange, but it was evident that the Irish are equally fascinated with the Kennedy family – they were everywhere.  And me?  I loved it all.

Sláinte Series: The Architecture

It’s been four months since the last Sláinte Series was published, and we’re coming up on the anniversary of our journey (and my 33rd birthday, ahem).  I had grand plans to get at least three more Sláinte Series posts written before the anniversary had arrived, and come hell or high water, it’s going to happen.  Read my lips.

After seeing the themes of my photography during the Ireland trip, we’ve seen the doors, the floors, the scenery and greenery, and now we arrive at the buildings, cathedrals, light fixtures and attention to detail.  So. Much. Detail, and this is just a sampling.  There is an easy and elegant way about Ireland — they embrace natural textures, materials, and beautiful design.

On deck for the sixth Sláinte Series?  The Kennedy connection.  In the hole?  The capstone….the Ambassador’s Residence…still hard to believe this amazing trip actually occurred.  Remembering it a year later still makes me proud and happy. To see the entire trip, go HERE, if you just can’t wait.  Otherwise, hold tight until the finale.


Sláinte Series: The Greenery

See what I did there for 4/20?  I’m so clever.  But really, let’s just legalize it.

I was 16 when I first traveled to Ireland.  That trip is deserving of an entirely separate post maybe later, but as a young lady, I remember desperately wanted to preserve my memories about the things I saw…how beautiful the landscape was, how green and vibrant the colors were. In July 2015, things were positively in technicolor.  It was exactly as I had left it, except better.

Sadly, the instant cameras I packed overseas in 2000 took pretty crappy pics.  The photographer probably wasn’t that great either at the time, and probably too busy flirting with boys and wearing the shit out of her Doc Martens with jeans that were too long.  I’m thankful my skill and equipment (and wardrobe) has improved since then.

Behold, some of the flora and landscapes, and a whole lot of greenery.  These images are were taken from coast to coast; at historic sites, our hotels, the Tralee golf club, and a ton of land once owned by the Guinness family in multiple locations.  Sláinte!

P.S.  I want hedges and mature gardens like this in my backyard, big time.  Someone tell me why I can’t have 8 foot tall boxwoods or a mossy rock retaining wall with 500 year old stones right this instant!?


Weekend Reads

This blog has take a backseat, maybe even a third row seat, lately.  After spending the last three months trying to navigate my new job, I have to say that I’m a little tired.  And my back hurts.  More on that later.

In the meantime, until I have something prolific to say, I’ve been gathering news articles.  And some hilarious videos I wanted to share to make whomever might be reading this smile.  Because these are just funny.  If you don’t think so, well…I guess that’s your problem, sucka.

In honor of the 40th anniversary of SNL, here are some my personal favorites:
Bill Brasky
Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals
ESPN Ladies Long Drive Competition – Sponsored by Stayfree Maxi Pads!
Fly High Duluth
Good Morning Meth!

This guy kind of nails the whole “Michael Brown” thing on the head.

In July, my husband, myself, and my in-laws are going to spend 10 days in Ireland.  Staying two nights with these folks.  No big deal.

And also staying two nights at the joint on slide 16.

I shit-talk my catalogs like this too.  I’m glad I’m not the only one.

The politics of change management.  Literally, the politics.

What is our world coming to?  I’ll never get my news this way.  Blech.

And speaking of the worst social media site of all time…An Open Letter from Your Horrible Facebook Friends – The New Yorker.
Excerpt:  We have a lot to offer the Internet, and we’re exciting friends to have. For instance, we’re unpredictable. Who else is going to tell the corporate Applebee’s page to fuck off and die? Or post random, out-of-context Fall Out Boy lyrics as a status update? We don’t think there’s anything weird about reminding you almost every single day how great our troops are. Are you saying that they aren’t great? Did you see the picture of the Marines that reads, “OK, ISIS, come and get it”? Hell, yeah!

 I want my eyes to look like this. I think I can pull it off, but seriously…wings are hard!

Fuck your Noguchi coffee table. A lot like catalog living; just as funny.

A Month, By The Numbers

A month has flown by.  A dozen times I’ve sat at my laptop thinking about writing about losing my job.  I’ve been nervous about what to say.  Not to mention a little conscious about who might be reading this blog of mine (especially now that potential employer eyes may be prying).  But it happened nonetheless.   Continue reading

Oh, me.

Okay. Today, I did something that required a fair amount of courage. So much so, that I spent hours upon hours preparing. Upon hours. With multiple edits and saves.

I took a step out on the ledge, put myself out there, and sent out an unsolicited email to my friends and family with a link to my photography site. If you didn’t receive the email, you may be a total stranger. Or I didn’t have your email. It also has a link to this blog on there. Really trying to represent on social media in 2014, folks. Except on Facebook because I think it may be the devil.

The advertisement of my biggest hobby took a fair amount of courage. I think I’ve been spending these past few years in fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, especially on this site, afraid I would offend someone or seem preachy. This is a continual internal argument, and after several months and a pretty quiet summer here at Purposely Sidetracked, I’ve decided to go a little easier on myself. About lots of things. And I’m going to stop teasing future posts that may never happen because I really just have to stop doing that. (Here are some pics from my birthday in July, as promised….

The first step was introducing people I love and respect to my photography, for reals, and then opening this blog up to a bigger audience which I assume will happen because people are curious by nature. I know I am. That said, I hope you like what you read. Know that most things on here are meant to be sarcastic, sort of funny in a self-depricating way, and I talk about the things I do because I hope that they resonate with others. If you think I’m being ridiculous, or sound pompous, you’re probably right.

Weekend Reads

Mari + Jon = 4ever

My youngest first cousin was married in Mexico this past June, and I was asked to photograph their hometown reception.  I was a little nervous, having never really shot an actual reception.  I charged my batteries and hoped for the best.  Turns out…I did pretty well and they thought I did too.  Beginners luck?  Maybe.

It was a pleasure to do this for my cousin Mari and her new husband Jon, and their sweet little girl Molli.  The full reception gallery is on my SmugMug site, but below are just a few of my favorites.  Happy wedding memories ahead!

IMG_1203 IMG_1283 IMG_1309 IMG_1349 IMG_1359 IMG_1399 IMG_1483 IMG_1500 IMG_1547 IMG_1578 IMG_1683 IMG_1687 IMG_1705 IMG_1771 IMG_1790 IMG_1808

Wish Granted

One of my dearest friends, Jillian, and her husband Reed moved to Milwaukee earlier this summer.  I started missing her the moment she told me they were moving.  Once the last few weeks began to dwindle, we tried our best to capitalize on the time we had left in the same city.  I cried, a good amount of tears.  They’ve since moved, begun the home-buying process, Jills is interviewing for jobs, and all things are in full swing for their new life up north.

While I am so very happy for their new chapter, it was very sad to bid them adieu.  A trip to Grant’s Farm was in order to send them off properly and to cheer us all up a little.  Here are the pics:

We miss you tons!  The goats do too!

SRQ: Chapter 3

A few weeks ago, my pal Rachel and I took our annual trip to Sarasota, Florida.  It was insanely refreshing, even though it rained two of the three days we were there.  Don’t worry; we shopped instead.  It’s a good thing we soaked up the sun Sheryl Crow-style that first day for a solid four hours after we slept in until noon without a care in the world.  We ate excellent food, drank potent and delicious drinks, and saw some really cool things.  Rach, we are too much fun, and I relish this annual getaway we take.  Thank you for being awesome, even when I get sick the first night with a migraine.  Photos below were taken with the VSCOcam app, something else I’m totally loving.

Me, in front of a giant Banyan tree at the best restaurant we've discovered in SRQ.

Me, in front of a giant Banyan tree at the best restaurant we’ve discovered in SRQ.

Downtown SRQ wall mural.

Downtown SRQ wall mural.

Downtown SRQ wall mural.

Downtown SRQ wall mural.

Restaurant downtown SRQ.

Restaurant downtown SRQ.

Apartments downtown SRQ.

Apartments downtown SRQ.

The best crab legs I've eaten in years.

The best crab legs I’ve eaten in years.

Rachel, wearing size 20 shoes.

Rachel, wearing size 20 shoes.

My husband called us lesbians after seeing this picture.  We disagreed.

My husband called us lesbians after seeing this picture. We disagreed.

Sandpiper love.

Sandpiper love.



The Coquina, from the beach.  It was pretty perfect.

The Coquina, from the beach. It was pretty perfect.

Flying a kite because I'm 10.

Flying a kite because I’m 10.

Beach love.

Beach love.

The second floor garden (parking lot) view of our balcony.

The second floor garden (parking lot) view of our balcony.

Our 1950's style condo at Coquina on the Beach.

Our 1950’s style condo at Coquina on the Beach.

Bird love.

Bird love.

The famous gigantic kissing statue.

The famous gigantic kissing statue.

Tad windy.

Tad windy.

The first song we heard in the Camaro convertible we rented.  I can't listen to it without picturing Amy Pohler in the SNL skit...look it up.

The first song we heard in the Camaro convertible we rented. I can’t listen to it without picturing Amy Pohler in the SNL skit…look it up.

This time we felt like we really knew the city, and spent a good amount of time tooling around the downtown area.  I saw where my dear friend Troy worked while he lived there, drove on the street he lived, and I saw a lot of signs of sweet reminders of him being there.  When I returned, my trip inspired me to reconnect with our mutual friend Addie, who’s been keeping up with me via this blog for longer than I knew!  We visited this week and because I know she’ll read this, Addie, it was so good to catch up with you.  Helps put things in perspective and reaffirms that old friends that come back through your life in special ways and in times when it just makes sense.