• Travel

    A Few Snapshots from Colorado

    Last week I was in Denver for work and got to tack on a weekend in Boulder to visit my dad and stepmom. I don’t travel a lot for work (unlike a lot of people) so it’s nice to be able to make an event of it when I do. My parents have been living half the time in Chicagoland and half the time in Boulder for a while now and are planning on setting up shop full time out there soon so they were happy to show me around. They know the good hiking spots and fun bars and it was such a treat to relax after a week…

  • Kyoto Garden Japan
    Travel

    My Trip to Japan: Heian Shrine + Kyoto

    Day Four – Kyoto, Heian Shrine, and Teramachi Street My first full day with Betsy started out with a serious hangover and an incredible lunch. After a night of drinking a boat load of mugi the night before – a potent Japanese liquor – and still being very jet lagged, I was not in great shape. But we dragged our asses off our mats and went to grab yakiniku with Betsy’s friends from the night before. They seem somehow unfazed by the entire ordeal or maybe I just couldn’t tell in the flurry of Japanese. Hangover or not, though, yakiniku was by far the best thing I ate in Japan,…

  • Miho Museum
    Travel

    My Trip to Japan: The Miho Museum + Betsy’s Birthday

    Day Three – The Miho Museum My third day’s adventure started with a bus ride up into the Japanese mountains. I discovered the Miho Museum on social media because Louis Vuitton presented their Cruise show there just a few weeks before. The entire setup looked incredible: the museum features super-modern architecture set against a backdrop of pure forest green. Once I found out it was only an hour away from where I was staying in Otsu, it made the top of my list. To get to the Miho Museum, I crammed into a small bus leaving from Ishiyama station. This is the only way to get to the Miho Museum so…

  • Japan Fushimi Inari Shrine Toro Gates
    Travel

    My Trip to Japan: Fushimi Inari Shrine

    About 2 weeks ago, I went over to visit my best friend from college, Betsy, who has been living and teaching English in Japan for over 3 years. We were inseparable in college (we sometimes got mistaken for a couple) and I hadn’t seen her since she graduated from Bryn Mawr in 2014. She had plans to come visit me in Dublin last summer, but her flight literally got cancelled while she was on the plane. It was tragic, there was lots of crying on both ends, I almost rented a puppy in my grief. But a year later, we finally got it together, prayed for no flight cancellations, and were reunited. Once again,…

  • Travel

    Biddies Abroad: Emily Schumacher in France

    Hey there! This is the first of a series I’m doing here on TOAST called Biddies Abroad. After having my own experience living abroad, I’ve become really curious about the lives of other young women who are spending time outside of their home country. So, I decided to ask! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing stories of some majorly amazing women and the challenges, joy, and growth that came with living abroad. Up first, we have my lifelong friend, Emily Schumacher, who has spent the past year living and working in France as an English Teaching Assistant. We talk about letting go, living in a second language, and how…

  • Travel

    Winter on Lake Monona

    With all this beautiful weather we’ve been having, I had to get outside so I took a long glorious walk down by Lake Monona last weekend. I feel so lucky to live right on the isthmus (the best geographic term, right?) and to be so close to both of Madison’s gorgeous lakes. Winter has been a tough time to move to a new city – everyone is in hibernation and there’s not so much going on – but this little thaw we’ve had has gotten me so excited for Spring. After being away from the Midwest for so long I’ve forgotten how much the cities come alive with the weather! I…

  • Travel

    Snowy Days in Madison

    Although I woke up to a wet morning today, Madison has sprinkled some gorgeous snow on the city on and off over the last few weeks. After living in Ireland where it maybe snows once a winter it was really fun to see everything coated in the white stuff. These photos are from the first snow back in December, but I wanted to share as a reminder that winter is still magical (and not terrible because there’s no sun and it’s freezing and everyone’s in hibernation)! Haha okay it’s true – I’m so ready for spring, but I know soon enough I’m gonna be wishing it was chilly and cozy…

  • Travel

    Elk Season in the Rocky Mountains

    One of the days I was in Colorado, my stepmom and I went up to Rocky Mountain National Park for the afternoon. We had planned on driving up the mountain and doing a little hiking, but quickly got sidetracked as herds of elk appeared at the roadside. Just super casual, Colorado… We ended up seeing four herds throughout the day and were lucky enough to get pretty close – I didn’t have a zoom lens on my camera so that first guy was really that close. It was such a cool experience to watch these huge animals in the wild and one of my favorite photography experiences to date. I…

  • Travel

    The Official Toast Guide to Dublin

    Although I’m already back in the US, I wanted to make sure to put together a list of all my favorite spots in Dublin while it’s still fresh. I love giving suggestions when people visit, so I wanted to share the spots that I have loved eating, drinking, dancing, shopping, and touristing over the past year. I put together a budget friendly guide earlier in the year and so many of those places I still love regardless of what I’m spending, but I wanted to share what I consider the best of the best in Dublin, too. This guide has got a little bit of everything: food, drinks, nightlife, tourist spots, day trips,…

  • Travel

    Beaches and Beer Part 2: Berlin

    Part two of our trip was a stop in beautiful Berlin. My friends had really hyped Barcelona and it was definitely so fun, but I just totally vibed with Berlin. The crisp air, the sense of history, and the low-key atmosphere of the city were right up my alley. Barcelona was exciting, but Berlin was truly relaxing. My favorite moment was simply walking around and experiencing the city with good people and warm coffee. Sometimes that’s all you really need… Where we stayed: We skipped the AirBnb this time and stayed at the Grand Hostel in Kreuzberg, which we had a good experience with. Clean rooms, cheap drinks, close to…