Friday, July 31, 2009

And the winner is...

Alicia from Delightful & Delovely! Alicia, please send me an e-mail with your choice of color along with your shipping address and we'll get the vase on its way to you. Thanks again to Maureen over at The Inglenook Decor for the generous prize -- and the generous store discount! For those of you who didn't win, the discount will run through August 9 -- simply enter the discount code "Te Amo" at checkout to enjoy 15% off on your entire purchase.

I'm out for the weekend. Dave and I will be installing cabinet hardware, waiting on the refrigerator to be delivered and satellite TV to be installed, and doing some more painting. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a lovely, productive and restful weekend! I'll be back Monday with more pictures of the new house (including, hopefully, some good "afters").

Photograph courtesy of Amy Atlas.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Preening like a Peacock

Recently I've been loving peacock motifs, both in home decor and in fashion. And while it's undeniable that peacocks (especially their feathers) have been having "a moment" in the world of design for the past few years, the peacock has been popular as a symbol of royalty, beauty, paradise (and even immortality!) throughout human history.

In India, the peacock has long been associated with the Hindu god Lord Krishna and has been used in Indian art and architecture for centuries. I love the abstract use of peacock feathers above the door on the City Palace inside Jaipur, Rajastan (shown above).

Among the Romans, the peacock was commonly associated with paradise, renewal and spring and many wealthy Romans kept peacocks in their gardens. Early Christians later adopted the peacock as a symbol of immortality because of long-held myth that peacock flesh did not decay. Examples of peacocks in surviving Roman mosaics (both Christian and non-Christian) are numerous.

The Peacock Skirt, Aubrey Beardsley (1894)

More recently, highly stylized peacocks and peacock feathers became a popular motif in the Art Nouveau and later in the Art Deco design movements. Today, the peacock has reemerged as a design element in both fashion and home decor and there's a "peacock style" for just about every taste: from ethnic to bohemian, flapper to rock 'n roll.

Preening like a Peacock

Preening like a Peacock by averillh1

In fashion, I can't get enough of peacock feathers-cum-jewelry or in art deco-style print dresses that reference the classic motif. Flapper-style headbands and head pieces covered in peacock feathers are a great way to perk up an ordinary cocktail dress. For the less daring, peacock feather earrings or a single feather on a necklace are a lovely and more subtle accessory choice.

Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather by averillh1 on

In truth, I am perhaps most drawn to the intense colors of a peacock -- the shimmery blues and greens are some of the boldest and brightest that nature has on offer -- and I think these jewel tones translate beautifully to your home. You can go big and bold with wallpaper from Ferm Living or Osborne & Little or you can just add a few small pops of color with a pillow or even some fun new dinnerware.

This Peacock Armchair by Cappelliani is my new obsession. If only $3,622 were within my budget!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What to Give When Your Friend's Expecting

At 28 I am in the process of transitioning from the "wedding stage" of my life (i.e., where most of your free time and disposal income goes into celebrating your friends' nuptials) to the "baby stage" (i.e., where said friends start having children and, again, much of your free time and disposal income goes into celebrating the blessed events). In short, my weekends in Vegas or Austin have been replaced with baby showers and "sip and sees". [By the way, the montage above is from the now-defunct Blueprint, which featured a spread on a baby shower thrown for two of its editors. This is definitely how an office baby shower should be thrown in my book.]

Sure, I could go the easy route and shop off the registry, but to be frank Babies 'R Us makes me nervous and I don't really enjoy the experience of gifting diapers and bottles. So I say let the new parents by the boring stuff and I'll play grandparent for a day by bringing the fun, unique gift. Over the course of the past year or so I've culled together a relatively fail-proof selection of "go-to" gifts for babies that with make just about any stylish mom-to-be happy and I thought I'd share them with you should any of the rest of you be in the baby stage of your life as well.

Without further ado, here are my favorites (in no particular order):

1. Pop Menagerie Piggy Bank from Jonathan Adler ($48). A piggy bank is a classic baby gift and this iteration (oh the polka dots!) from Adler just makes me smile. Perfect for the modern nursery.

2. Mary Jane Brights from Trumpette ($24.50). Sure babies can't walk, but that's no reason not to help kick start an early shoe fetish. Since baby shoes are impractical -- and not especially comfortable for little tootsies -- a set of these cute socks is sure to keep baby looking cool while keeping feet warm. For boys, try the Cowboy socks. The entire line of baby socks from Trumpette is available HERE. [Random aside: What is it about teenie, tiny baby shoes that make grown women coo and squeal in delight? Just try and surf that site without so much as a "so cute!" peep...just try it.]

3. Sleep Thief Playsuit from Chasing Fireflies ($48). From what I hear, newborns can never have too many onesies (after all, they're making costume changes multiple times a day) so these are always a safe bet. Extra points if the onesie manages to be (a) adorable, (b) not pastel, and (c) rub it in just a little that you, as the childless friend, are still sleeping in on Saturdays. For more inexpensive clothing options, I absolutely adore the baby clothes from DwellStudio for Target; this gift set for a baby boy for under $20 is insanely cute. And speaking of DwellStudio....

4. Stroller Blankets ($40) and Hooded Towels ($44) from DwellStudio. For a range of adorable yet modern patterns and unbelievable softness, you simply cannot beat DwellStudio's line of stroller blankets and hooded towels. I've gifted these in the past with great success and have every intention of doing so again (after all, if it ain't broken...).

5. Take Me Home Gift Set from Serena and Lily ($68). I love this gift set (and, truth be told, just about everything else on offer) from Serena and Lily, the purveyors of all things baby chic. It's lovely, simple and organic.

6. Elsa Peretti Open Heart and Fork Set from Tiffany's ($265). A gift of silver baby utensils from Tiffany's is the gold standard in shower giving. Obviously not something you'd gift to a friend of a friend, but for a sister, daughter or best friend, it's definitely worth giving them something they will treasure -- a future family heirloom. Of those currently on offer, the classic open heart motif is my favorite.

7. Children's books (various). If you want to instill a love of books in children, you have to start them young. Favorites from your own childhood are a lovely, personal gift for new parents. My personal choice would be a selection of books by Tomie dePaola whose beautifully illustrated stories I remember fondly from my own bedtime rituals.

8. Baby's First Book by Rag and Bone ($68). And finally, one of my all-time favorite shower gifts is this handmade baby book from Rag and Bone, an old-fashioned bookbinding company run by a couple out of Rhode Island. The book comes with plenty of space for the parents-to-be to fill in lovingly with all sorts of pertinent (and not so pertinent) information for the child to cherish many, many years later when she realizes just how great her parents are. All of Rag and Bone's books comes in a wide array of cover choices. If you're looking for a less expensive option, the brag book ($34) would also be much appreciated (though perhaps not by all the coworkers and strangers forced to ooh and ahh over the pictures therein).

So what about you? What sorts of gifts do you like to give new or expectant parents? If you're a parent yourself, what sorts of gifts did you most appreciate or cherish?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Week Thirteen: Closing

Last Wednesday we finally closed on the new house (hurrah!), so now it's officially ours to move into (and, just as importantly, decorate as we like). Unfortunately I didn't get around to shooting quite as many pictures of the new house as I would have liked this past weekend, so a complete tour will have to wait for next weekend, but I thought I'd go ahead and give you a taste of what the finished house looks like.

Above is a picture of the kitchen -- I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially since I had rather limited choices for finishes. The light fixture/pot rack above the island is my favorite element and I really think it finishes off the space quite nicely. As for hardware on the cabinets, I've decided to go with these (both available at Lowe's and Home Depot):

The pull will go on each of the drawers while the knob will be on each of the cabinets. It's definitely a modern look, but I tend to prefer a more modern look in a kitchen, and I don't think it's so modern as to be incongruous with my generally more transitional tastes. I couldn't believe it when I counted it all up but it looks like I'll have to purchase 14 pulls and 23 knobs for the kitchen alone; Dave is going to have quite a job installing them all next weekend. [Love you, honey!]

Also on tap for next weekend is painting the dining room. I bought a gallon of trim paint that matches the existing trim to paint out the lower third of the wall to mimic wainscoting. Above the chair rail I'll be using Farrow & Ball's Drawing Room Blue. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

On Saturday morning while I was at a bridal shower, Dave was nice enough to install the sconces I bought to replace the cheap-looking brushed nickel ones the house came with. Here they are in the master bath -- basic, but pretty, and certainly a better match to the bronze faucets and shower door than the brushed nickel ones.

The major project we undertook this past weekend though was painting my study. While the footprint of the room is relatively small, the soaring ceilings meant that we had an awful lot of square footage to cover -- and on a 14' ladder to boot! I'm so thankful that this is the tallest room we'll be tackling in the near future as it's definitely nerve racking to be up painting that high. In the end though, I'm really pleased with the result: it's exactly what I had in my mind and the dark walls really emphasize the height of the room. I also absolutely love the way the color looks through the french doors (which are on your immediate left as you walk in the house). Once we paint the dining room blue, I think the rich colors will balance each other and be a great contrast with the neutral hallway.

Some friendly advice though: painting a room deep eggplant [I used Benjamin Moore's Purple Lotus] is just like painting a room red. You'll need at least two coats to get the saturated look you're after. We didn't prim first (the paint was brand new after all), but it probably would've saved us a bit of time touching up at the end. For the first time I also sprang for low VOC paint and I will say it made a huge difference as far as smell went. The paint is virtually odorless and what little scent it does have is actually quite pleasant. While that may or may not have long-lasting impacts on my health, it obviously made it much more pleasant to paint in a confined space for hours on end.

Before I left for vacation I ordered this chandelier from ZGallerie (which is currently on back order). I can't wait to get it in so I can install it and see how it looks in the space. Not only should it up the "glam factor", but it will provide substantially more light than that undersized flushmount.

The next few weekends will largely be taken up with painting, installing hardware, waiting on various deliveries/installs and, of course packing (which I have yet to start -- yikes!). If I seem a little distracted between now and D-day [August 15], you'll know the reason and I hope that you'll forgive me.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Discount {and Giveaway}: Inglenook Décor

Last week I had the opportunity to interview (via e-mail) Maureen, a fellow Texan and the owner of the newly launched Inglenook Décor, an online boutique that features both vintage and new home accessories that range from pillows and candle holders to classic artichoke finials and vintage jamming jars. Maureen also blogs regularly over at Ingle Talk, so be sure to check her out there as well for plenty of fresh ideas on design.

Odi et Amo: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your design background? How did you get interested in design and in owning a home decor store?‬‪

Maureen: I'm from the Philippines and have been here in the US since 1995. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I really don't have a design background. But I do believe I have a good eye and I do a lot of design/decor research. I do plan to sign up for some courses though come fall (not really to get a full-fledged degree though). I remember even as a young child, trying to organize stuff at the house and I would get obsessive with the details -- turning picture frames the right way, straightening rugs, etc. I think as a child, my predilection was to use the right side of my mind (I drew and painted a lot...) but as I grew up, going to the medical field made better sense. I became interested in design and owning a store maybe about 2 years ago. I think all of us go through a stage of "finding yourself" and a feeling of dissatisfaction somehow as to the career path/life we are pursuing.

OetA: Is Inglenook Décor your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?‬‪

M: It is about to be my full-time job! I've been a physical therapist for 14 years, two of my college friends and I opened a private practice in Beaumont [Texas] in 2002. It's doing well and I've been preparing for my exit strategy for the last two years too! I'll still perform some administrative tasks, but I won't be there in the day-to-day operations. My partners and the whole staff has been very supportive. I'm so blessed!

OetA: How long did it take for Inglenook Décor to become a reality? What were some of the obstacles/hurdles you had to overcome in order to start up shop? Any advice for folks interested in starting up their own online business would be greatly appreciated I’m sure.‬‪

M: I guess, about two years. It could have been faster if I was pursuing it full-time. As far as advice for the online business....Gosh, I'm still learning and I'm certainly not a guru at this. But I guess, the time that I've spent so far, my advice is to be very, very picky with the website company or person you are thinking of making your e-shop. Sometimes, family and friends are not your best bet. They want to help you but if it's not their full-time job then their focus is not your website. Research and compare definitely. Don't feel bad to ask for references, check the Better Business Bureau, etc. Get one with 24/7 support. Believe me you'll need it in the wee hours of the morning.

OetA: Where did you get the idea for the name “Inglenook Décor”?‬‪

M: Ahhh, love this question. Inglenooks are built-in alcoves centered on a fireplace where friends and families gather. It's like the center of an old-fashioned cottage. Just like what this built-in alcove represents, I believe homes should provide warmth and should be a place of refuge from the outside world and a reflection of our own personal style and taste.

OetA: Where do you get your merchandise? What do you look for when you’re out shopping for the store? Is there an archetypal customer you have in mind when shopping?‬

I started subscribing to trade magazines, I've checked importers from my country and have gone to several markets in the US. Of course, antique and flea market shopping. This can be tricky, you have to separate the trash from real great finds. A little self-serving but some of it, I kept for me.... As for my archetypal customer? Highly independent, confident and creative individuals that thrive on making all of their choices definitely unique and their own. I picture them as sophisticated men and women who totally agrees with one of Coco Chanel's famous quote: "An interior is the natural projection of one's soul." A little frivolous for these times perhaps, but they realize that a beautiful surrounding inspires.

OetA: What is your favorite item or items in the store?‬‪

M: I'm a little biased with this one as I love them all! Ok, I'll give you my top 5: the bird taper candelabra, the shoe forms candle holders, the black floral in beige pillow, the vaillanvourt bonbons tray from Montreal and the travel trug (it states" Paris, London, Rome..." -- ahhhh i love traveling!). [OetA Note: The travel trug is my favorite, too!]

OetA: I love the decorating tips and ideas featured on your website. Any other fail-safe tips for accessorizing a room that you’d like to share?‬‪

M: Very cool, a lot of people have commented positively on this feature. I do plan to keep it updated. Maybe once or twice a month. I do have the "decorating tip of the week" updated weekly of course at the homepage. I guess my other tip will be what's featured this week, to be creative & see your home decor items in a totally different way. I do have a small plate that holds some of my jewelry, it's just so cute to look at at my bedside table.

OetA: What’s next? Where would you like to see Inglenook Décor in six months? A year? Any plans for a brick-and-mortar store?‬‪‬‪

M: I do plan to open a storefront. I don't want to jinx the plans, but it's something I'm definitely working on slowly but surely. Maybe the economy and retail negativity has slowed my plans some but not entirely. There's a movement that's pushing people to shop locally and independently and a lot of big box stores are losing out because they're way too big, with unedited selections and poor customer service. The Inglenook Decor [store front] would definitely focus on what's most important: quality of [both] service and merchandise.

To celebrate the e-store's recent launch, Maureen has graciously extended a 15% discount on all merchandise to Odi et Amo readers. To take advantage of this great offer, simply enter "Te Amo" at check-out. This offer will be available until Monday, August 10.

In addition, I'll be giving away one beaker vase (shown above) in the reader's choice of color (I'm partial to the fuchsia myself). To enter, simply leave a comment here and I'll randomly select one winner on Friday, July 31.


Friday, July 24, 2009

{New to Me} Dabney Lee at Home

Before I sign off for the weekend I thought I'd leave you with a new discovery I made last night for a great source for personalized gifts: Dabney Lee at Home. I'm really digging the California preppy chic aesthetic. It's all bright colors, bold patterns, lucite and, of course, monograms. This shop is definitely getting saved in my files for future gifting. [By the way, Dabney Lee's original online venture, Dabney Lee Stationery, is equally adorable.]

I'm particularly impressed with the high level of personalization that you're allowed on this site. For all of the products, you have your choice of 36 patterns, 30 monogram styles and 12 colors (it's been a long time since I did factorials but I'm pretty sure that comes out to a really large number of possible combinations).

I had planned on picking up an Iomoi lucite tray for myself, but this one ($130) is cute, too -- and $70 less! Oh decisions, decisions....

I love these paper coasters, which come in a set of 125 for $80. Lucite holder included, naturally. The ice bucket ($60) would be a fabulous wedding gift. [Random aside: Anyone else notice the reappearance of those Coronas? I wonder if they sponsored Dabney....]

The clipboard ($50), in one of my favorite patterns ("batik"). Other favorites include the "happy tiles" (essentially a quatrefoil), greek key, and the zig zag. Many of the patterns definitely have a David Hicks vibe, but there's also a good number of Nantucket motifs, animal prints, and even a modern paisley.

The personalized stationery box set is adorable, though perhaps a wee bit overpriced at $75 for a box of just 25. The selection of design books, however, is spot on. Other products include spiral notebooks, calendars, mouse pads, lucite picture frames and recipe cards.

Well, that's it for me this week -- I've got a full weekend ahead of me between a bridal shower for an old friend, some painting over at the new house (pictures next week, I promise!), and packing up the old house (ugh). I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing and fulfilling weekend. I'll see you here Monday with a great interview and yet another discount and giveaway opportunity! Happy weekend!


And the winner is...

...Beth from Style Redux and Chinoiserie Chic! Beth, please email me with your address and choice of pillow and I'll pass it on to All Modern. Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks again to All Modern for donating the prize.

Photograph courtesy of
Rebecca Thuss.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

In the Pink with Jamie Drake

One of the biggest drawbacks of marriage is that a woman is constantly forced to compromise -- not just in the big, important areas like money, but in more superficial areas as well, like home decor. While there are many joys to sharing your home with a man, it does by default restrict a girl's decorating choices. For example, few men (and Dave is no different in this respect) would sign off on a bold pink bedroom, like the one shown here, which was designed by Jamie Drake for Kip's Bay 2007. Too bad, too, because this room is a gorgeous fantasy for just about every woman I know.

Generally, I'm not what I would consider a "girly-girl" -- I tend to eschew pink in favor of blue, doilies in favor of chrome...and yet, I can't help but feel giddy about this room. It's playful and fun, but it also manages to come off as sophisticated and smart thanks to a fearless mix of serious antique furniture, modern art and a generous dose of gilt. Pink walls aside, this is definitely not a little girl's bedroom. Deep wood tones and pops of black add gravity and rich contrast to a room that might otherwise run the risk of looking (to quote one of my all-time favorite movies) "like it's been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol".

Jamie Drake is a master at using bold colors -- in fact, House Beautiful dubbed him the "King of Color" back in 2001 -- and I think a great part of his success with color is his willingness to keep a room relatively monochromatic. Even bold choices like turquoise or pink can come off as sophisticated and calming when paired with neutrals like white, ivory or even metallics.

I love the visual tension created here by pairing a very traditional and ornate inlaid wood desk with a very modern lucite and pink-upholstered chair. Pink orchids next to a white ceramic snake ups the ante further with the additional contrasts of soft and hard, safe and dangerous.

I adore this amoire -- the black lacquered trim really pops against all the pink in the room. That ceiling fixture is great, too. I think a more typical crystal chandelier would have made this room look prissy rather than edgy.

This is the bedroom of a very, strong confident woman who mixes without fear: vintage with modern, lucite with gilt, and stripes with checks. All in all, I think the room is a very sexy space. The pièce de résistance, however, has to be the gorgeous walk-in closet...or should I say, boudoir:

Be still my beating heart. Floor-to-ceiling wall of shoes? Check. Open storage to display fabulous purses? Check. Luxurious bench on which to perch and stare at all your gorgeous things? Check.

I dream of such a space. Perhaps Dave will agree to a pink closet, even if a pink master bedroom is off the table....

What about you? In what ways do you have to compromise your design style to accommodate the tastes of your spouse/partner? If you live alone, in what ways do you indulge your own design eccentricities?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Win a Blissliving Home Pillow!

Today I am absolutely thrilled to bring you a giveaway courtesy of, an online retailer for all things hip and modern for your home. Part of CSN Stores, All Modern is just one of over 260 retail sites that offer a diverse array of products from Herman Miller’s popular Aeron Chair to cookware by Rachael Ray. All Modern carries just about all of the hottest home decor brands out there like Amenity Home, ferm LIVING, DwellStudio, Thomas Paul and many more, including modern classics from Knoll and Hermann Miller. In short, they're a great one-stop shop for modern furnishings and accessories. Even better, all items over $69 ship free of charge to the continental U.S.

When AllModern approached me to host a giveaway I suggested that the prize be the reader's choice of one decorative pillow from Blissliving Home, one of my absolute favorite brands for bedding and soft home accessories -- in fact, I featured their modern chinoiserie-style pilows from their Spring 2009 collection in the mood board for my new bedroom. I've selected a few of my favorites in the collage above, but there are many more styles and colors available on AllModern's site.

So here's how this is going to work: One winner will be selected at random to receive a free Blissliving Home pillow (up to $75 in value) courtesy of AllModern. To enter, simply visit AllModern's extensive collection of Blissliving Home pillows (HERE) and then leave me a comment here letting me know which one you would select if you were chosen as the winner. The contest will be open until noon on Friday, July 24, and a winner will be announced that afternoon. This giveaway is only open to residents in the U.S. and Canada and only one entry per person will be counted.

Good luck, y'all!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Vacation Part Two: Ireland

The last five days of our trip was spent in Ireland, and we definitely took a slower, more leisurely pace through the Emerald Isle than we had in our six days in London. After arriving in Galway following a painfully early flight from London-Luton (not an airport I'd recommend, by the way, as it's about an hour's trip by tube, train and then shuttle from central London) we collapsed at our hotel The G and only made it out again for a traditional dinner of fish, chips and mashed peas. [By the way, The G is every bit as fabulous as advertised. My sole complaint would be their restaurant The Matz, which managed to serve up the worst dinner we had during our trip.]

The next day though, we managed to rally and drive out to Kylemore Abbey (pictured above), which is about an hour north of Galway in a remote region known as the Connemara. Originally built by a wealthy English family in the mid-19th century as a summer house, the house became an abbey in 1920. While the building itself is relatively modern (especially by European standards), the order of nuns that now lives there has a rich history dating back to the 17th century.

The grounds surrounding Kylemore are particularly striking and Dave and I enjoyed a pleasant day of walking around the lake, woods and Victorian gardens. We were particularly fortunate to enjoy sunny weather -- a rarity in Ireland.

Above are the vestiges of a 12th century castle, complete with moat. Today, cattle graze lazily around it. For me, at least, this picture encapsulates the Irish countryside, which is chock-a-block full of ruins set amidst grazing land.

Our second full day in Ireland was greeted with more typical Irish weather. In short, it was overcast with intermittent (though not particularly hard) rain. Undeterred though, we set out to visit Clonmacnoise, a ruined monastery situated about halfway between Galway and Dublin. I should state here that the vast majority of historical sites in Ireland are ruined abbeys, churches and castles, many of which were destroyed first by the Vikings and then by the English. Because of the island's tumultuous history, you just won't find the same level of beautifully-preserved historic sites that you'll find in England or even Scotland.

Clonmacnoise was originally founded in the 6th century by St. Ciaran, but has gone through numerous incarnations through the centuries as it was built and rebuilt following devastating raids by Vikings and even fellow Irishman. The surviving stone buildings date from the 10th century, when the original wood buildings were replaced with more permanent structures. Sacked by the English in the 16th century, the site was reduced to ruins but continued to be considered a sacred site for the Irish, who used it as a graveyard through the last century.

Clonmacnoise is also home to some of the best surviving examples of high crosses and dates (and the only one that remains in situ).

Driving in Ireland is a bit harrowing -- and not just because you have to drive on the "wrong" side of the road. In the countryside, most roads are extremely narrow and have no shoulder as they're surrounded by overgrown hedges. The shot above shows a road that was alleged two-way. We spent the majority of the time praying that we wouldn't meet any oncoming traffic.

Another castle just outside Galway. To be perfectly frank, I can't recall the name, but it was rather lovingly restored by an English heiress in the last century, making it one of the best preserved castles in the Republic of Ireland.

The view from the ramparts was rather stunning. On a clear day (i.e., twice a year) you can supposedly see the Aran Islands.

Dave and I were both amused at how "Irish" he looks. In fact, I'm fairly certain we met several of his "long lost cousins" during our stay. The irony is that I'm actually more Irish than he is.

After two full days in Galway we took Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) to Dublin, which was a pleasant three-hour ride through the countryside. Dublin reminded me a lot of Glasgow, except that it's cleaner and perhaps a bit prettier. All in all, it's a city I could see myself living in as it boasts a number of excellent restaurants [my favorite being The Pig's Ear], good shopping and about 1 million friendly Irish.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is also the final resting place of Jonathan Swift, one of my absolute favorite authors. I took a course on satire as a senior in college and found a new appreciation for Swift [I think high school is actually a bit too early to read him].

Dublin Castle, which is now houses quite a few governmental agencies, so most of it is not open to the public. We did, however, spend a wonderful afternoon at the Chester Beatty Library, which houses the private book collection of Chester Beatty, the late American mining tycoon. I was absolutely floored at some of the outstanding works he had been able to acquire, from third century papyri of Paul's letters and gorgeous Medieval illuminated manuscripts to amazing 17th century copies of the Tales of Genji and a huge collection of Oriental snuff bottles. This is definitely an under-the-radar gem and not-to-be-missed for any bibliophile.

A final shot of Dave in Dublin near the River Liffey. Our last night in Dublin was spent on a literary pub crawl. I'm not sure how "literary" it actually was as we only went to one bar with any literary connections (Davy Byrnes, which Joyce's main character Leopold Bloom frequents in Ulysses), but we had a great time. Such a great time, in fact, that we boarded our flight home to Houston a wee bit hung over.

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