Thrifted midi

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Skirt, thrifted, Beacon’s Closet; Jacket, H&M, last season; Shoes, Catherine Malandrino; Earrings, Shashi via Cupcakes and Cashmere; Necklace, thrifted, Housing Works; Tank, JCrew, here

I love a good midi skirt. I found this one at Beacon’s Closet on 5th Avenue in Park Slope. I especially like the muted abstract stripes. There is no tag on it so I have no idea who made it, which is sort of fun to me. I paired it with the most comfortable tank, a pair of blush pink slides and minimal gold jewelry.

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Ireland, you’re awesome

In August of 2016 I took a solo journey to Ireland. What follows is by no means a comprehensive travel guide or even a “best of” but more of a reflection on what sites and experiences really stood out from a vacation packed with memorable moments.

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Dublin street scene

Traveling alone has its ups and downs. I am, by nature, a person who is comfortable alone and able to entertain myself for long periods of time. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to set my own schedule and rely on my own resourcefulness to get around. That said, there were many moments when I felt in need of familiar companionship and at a loss as to how to find it. There is nothing like being thousands of miles from home, on your own, to bring out feelings of vulnerability. On a positive note, I think this lead me to be chattier with random strangers and I ended up meeting many interesting people. My advice to others traveling alone would be to not let feelings of loneliness or vulnerability get you down or make you feel like you have failed as a solo adventurer. I think it is part of the process for many. Despite these feelings (or because of them?) I look back on this trip as a grand adventure. Ireland is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and I look forward to returning, as I feel I only got a small taste of what this country has to offer.

Dublin 
I started my trip with a day in Dublin, which is an intriguing city with tons of history but also a modern, artistic edge. Aesthetically, I loved the bright and graphic signage mixed in with older architecture. Dublin is a very walkable city and I took a relaxed approach to exploration. I made a few touristy stops in Dublin including the Oscar Wilde memorial sculpture (super cool!), St. Stephen’s Green (lovely ramble), the Book of Kells at Trinity College (fascinating) and the Old Jameson factory (meh). I also loved browsing through indie shops in the Grafton Street part of the city and stopping at antique shops and vendor fairs I came across, one of which was at the Generator Hostel pictured below.

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The Generator Hostel in Dublin
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A sign (of sorts) in Dublin
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Cheese toastie at The Stags Head, Dublin
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Blue skies in Killarney, Ireland
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I tasted all the whiskey!

Ballycarberry Castle and the Ring of Kerry
From Dublin I made my way to Killarney to explore the Ring of Kerry. I had read that Killarney was a tourist trap, which is accurate, but it is still fun to visit the many shops and pubs (sampling whiskey all the way :)) and meeting fellow travelers.

I debated renting a car to drive around the ring. As a city resident with a fear of heights, who drives approximately once a year, the idea of driving on the left hand side of winding coastal roads sounded borderline suicidal. I imagined hordes of honking, angry drivers trailing behind me as a crawled along the highway at 5 miles an hour. The idea of taking a tour bus was even less appealing. So for this part of the trip, I splurged on a private taxi tour of the Ring of Kerry. It felt ridiculously decadent, but ended up to be well worth it. The driver took me to places that were not on regular tour bus routes and would stop in any place that I wanted. One of our stops was Ballycarberry Castle, a tumble-down structure surrounded by coastal plains. It may be controversial in terms of historical preservation, but the best part of this experience for me was that you could climb all over and into the ruins. It really made me feel connected to the place and to history. The sweeping green landscape around it wasn’t too bad either. The scenery on the Ring of Kerry was more breathtaking and green than I could have imagined, and wandering briefly in the foggy, mysterious forests of Killarney National Park made had me making plans to come back for an extend hiking trip.

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Hello!
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Views on the Ring of Kerry

Coffee facing the ocean in Waterville
Along the ring of Kerry is the coastal town of Waterville. Spending a relaxing hour here drinking coffee facing the ocean and watching kids on the beach having an ecology lesson was mind altering. It had me wondering how feasible it would be to relocate all of my friends and family to this tranquil spot.

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Coffee by the shore in Waterville

Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoonvarna is the site of a famous matchmaking festival which draws hopefuls from all around Ireland and even the world. At other times of the year it is a quiet place. Without a lot of research, I had decided to use Lisdoonvarna as a jumping off place to visit the Aran Islands, rather than Doolin which is more popular among travelers. I arrived a week before the Matchmaking festival and it was fun to watch the town prepare for the coming crowd. There was definitely a sense of anticipation in the air. The Rathbaun Hotel is small and charming and has well-known live music nights, which I enjoyed both nights I stayed there. One thing I will note is that—as of August 2016— there were no ATMs in Doolin or Lisdoonvarna. I mention this because it took me by surprise and caused a little stress. Some establishments offer cash for credit at a fee, which saved me, but I would recommend getting the cash you need before you get to town.

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The Matchmaker Bar in Lisdoonvarna was about to see a lot of action.

Riding bike through stone walls of Inis Oírr
Inis Oírr (pronounced “sheer”) is the smallest and southernmost Aran Island. I took the ferry from Doolin and rented a bike to explore the island. August is the height of tourist season in Ireland and yet I found myself alone riding between the island’s famous, interlacing stone walls. Inis Oírr is small and you can see most of the highlights in a day including a magnificent, rusty ship wreck, cool coastal rock formations dotted with tide pools, an interesting wind-swept grave yard and the ruins of a castle on the uppermost point of the island.

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Open road
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Famous interlacing stone walls
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These Superga sneakers were the best for walking

Fish chowder and brown bread at Café an Chaisleán, Inis Oírr
This was my favorite meal in Ireland. It was delicious, lite and simple. The adorable, chatty waiter made me feel like I was eating in a friend’s house.

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So good!

Dolphins dancing in front of boat by Cliffs of Moher
On the ferry ride back from Inis Oirr the boat made a special trip to view the Cliffs of Moher. At first it was rainy and the cliffs were covered in haze but then the sun broke through and highlighted these spectacular formations. A school of dolphins rode the waves at the bow of the ship heading back into the dock. I have never been so close to a dolphin and it was a memorable experience.

The bus ride from Lisdoonvarna to Galway
For the most part, I traveled by public transport through Ireland. I love doing this when traveling. The act of having to negotiate a foreign transit system has the instant effect of making me feel engaged in the daily rhythm of the place I am visiting. The bus route I took hugs the burren coast from Lisdoonvarna to Galway. It was an unexpected opportunity to see more of the countryside and to get inspired for future travels further up the western coast of Ireland.

From Galway I made my way to Dublin by bus and caught a flight to Nice. Stay tuned for highlights from my Nice adventure.

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Interesting rocks formations and flowers on Inis Oírr

Stripe on stripe

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I was almost out of Target when I saw this dress. I have been trying not to buy a whole lot there, as mentioned, but it was as if this dress, which was the only one left on the rack (in my size, no less), was destined to be mine! Hey, you win some, you lose some, and I’m pretty happy with the purchase as it is super comfortable and striking in a simple way. If you scroll down, you also get a peek at my new tattoo. I got the original idea from a beautiful button I found in Paris (although it has certainly been voiced by many recently, as well) and it really speaks to me.

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La femme en blanche

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T-shirt, Sézane here ; earrings, Old Navy; jeans, Target, similar here; shoes, H&M, last season

I’ve been drawn to monochromatic ensembles lately. I feel like it automatically makes a statement to dress head-to-toe (or ankle?) in one color. I ordered this shirt from the French company, Sézane. They have beautiful clothing and it felt special to receive a package from France. Also it fit well with my goal of starting to build a wardrobe of better quality pieces.

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Welcome to Fashion Spirit

Welcome to Fashion Spirit! My name is Anna. I love whiskey, fashion and my cat (and my friends and family, of course). I have struggled my whole life with the same problem—too many hobbies and interests. I’ve dabbled in a number of careers including fashion, culinary arts, a variety of craft enterprises, scientific research, journalism, photography, travel writing and graphic design. Thankfully my career trajectory, at least in terms of day jobs, has settled over the past few years, but I still find myself seeking an outlet that will allow me to explore some of my other interests. I’m not sure how it didn’t occur to me before (I am a notorious late adopter) but authoring a lifestyle blog might just be the one-stop-shop I’ve been searching for.

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I hope to infuse this blog with all the wonder and inspiration I feel every day, living in NYC. It may sound a little hokey, especially to my fellow New Yorkers but I still get a rush when I come out of the subway into the sunlight and see the buildings rising up and the sky. I still smile every time I see the skyline from an airplane or bus window upon coming home from a long trip.

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That said, I also love to travel and I will be sharing some details of adventures that I’ve been on and places I am dreaming of going. Watch for posts on Nice, Ireland, St. Croix USVI and more in the coming year.

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There will also be tons of fashion. It’s hard to sum up my personal style but maybe the best term for it might be “personal classics” as I enjoy borrowing from my own mind bank of fashion inspiration and reorganizing things into unique combinations. Shout out to mixing patterns! In the past, (you know, up until yesterday) I have been addicted to what is being called “fast fashion.” After reading about the impact this kind of clothing manufacturing has on our planet and people, I will be attempting to move away from old habits by buying a smaller amount of better quality pieces and shopping second-hand stores. It will be a slow process, but I am looking forward to the challenge and will keep you posted on my progress.

One of the reasons I have relied on inexpensive fashion is that I am constantly in the process of “losing weight”. I will be sharing the (literal) ups and downs of my fitness/nutrition journey. Let’s just say I may have issues with consistency in this area, which is something I think many of us struggle with.

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And speaking of nutrition, you can expect a variety of recipes some healthy some not so much.

And speaking of home décor (well not really, but I couldn’t think of a good segue) I am always refining my one-bedroom apartment in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. Stay tuned as I tackle clutter and attempt to define my interior design style.

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I look forward to sharing my adventures with you. And hopefully hearing about some of yours. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at fashionspiritbklyn. Till tomorrow ☺ Yours, Anna