Capturing Ireland’s Countryside…with A Phone!

Last week our Editorial Director had the opportunity to jet to Ireland for a truly unique look into the traditional world of Irish dairies with Kerrygold. The places Bianca got to see can only be described with a single word: stunning. I only wish little Carter and I could have tagged along! But here is Bianca’s take on the adventure. Own the envy!

Ireland has never been on my list of places I wanted to visit. For a hit-the-pavement, city girl like me, rolling green hillsides and nothing ‘ado wasn’t really my idea of a vacation – or so I thought! So when I accepted an invitation to see Ireland through the eyes of its most famed butter and dairy company, Kerrygold, I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But when I stepped off the plane, I was ready for everything the capital city of Dublin had to offer. Little did I know, Dublin was not on the agenda at all! In fact, the only Dublin I would see was the airport itself. After a two+ hours’ drive, I found myself in the heart of the Irish countryside and I realized my chic leather boots were going to need to quickly be replaced by practical wellies! The urban Ireland I had in my head was not the Ireland I was going to see.

As it turns out, I was getting the rare chance to experience a tourist-free itinerary and capture a unique and intimate Irish story! Armed with a ton of curiosity, but just a phone in my hand to capture it all, I slipped into wellies and set off!

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Luckily, I decided to pack the new LG G4 phone with me for this trip. Had I known we were headed into some of the most picturesque country side I’d ever seen I might have been tempted to haul the big ole SLR along with me, but we’d been asked to test out this new phone – which is also enabled for international travel – so I stashed it in my carry-on. I was thrilled to discover that I got the same photo quality out of something that fits in my pocket! Turns out, the LG G4 comes equipped with one of the best cameras on the market not only for any smartphone, but for digital cameras in general. I was so impressed with the Laser Autofocus and HighRes Sensors. Not having to worry about lugging an old school camera through fields {literally – we were hangin’ with the cows at one point}, was such a relief. I’m certainly stoked with how my photos turned out – but you be the judge!

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But now back to my trip! We spent most of our time in the village of Cork exploring the countryside and learning a great deal about the land and the generations of people connected to it. We visited a dairy, chatting with the farmer about his life and his land {with the killer views overlooking the Atlantic!} and even enjoyed homemade scones and tea with him and his wife. We also visited a family run cheese business and were invited to join the entire family for a literal farm-to-table lunch in their stunning farmhouse. As we explored, we came across the most gorgeous old castles, stayed in charming accommodations, tasted cream straight from the cow and spent an inordinate amount of time simply amazed by how green everything was. Everywhere you turned there were stunning green hills, extensive gardens and farmland you just don’t see here in the states.

My favorite activity? Playing with all of the farm dogs. I’ll never forget the smell of the grass.

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Upon returning to the states, friends could hardly believe that this city-slicker was now considering life on a farm. Albeit, the lifestyle may be a bit of a stretch for me at the moment, so I’m thankful I could properly capture my excitement and experience as proof that the magic of Ireland is real, people! Pictures rarely do traveling to a new place justice, but these come pretty darn close. You can practically feel the stone texture of the castles through the images and smell the grass – at least I hope you can!

Now, The LG G4 is not on the market quite yet, but you can still test the camera out for yourself. A LG G4 truck is currently touring the nation – how fun! – giving people the chance to play with the device before it’s released. You can follow @G4Preview for tour updates and pre-register for the phone HERE. With pre-registering, you’ll get notified when the phone is available and you’ll be entered to win one of 30 free phones!

As for me, not only were unforeseen wellies in my forecast on this crazy whirlwind trip, but so was falling into a deep love affair for The Emerald Isle – to think, a country never on my list! I’d love to hear if you’ve ever been to Ireland. Isn’t it a magnificent place? I’m dying to go back already. It truly was a life-changing travel experience. I’ll be sure to bring my phone.

original photography for apartment 34 by bianca sotelo

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LG. The opinions and text are all mine. We received compensation and access to an LG G4 phone. Thank you for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open. 

Gotta Getaway: {An Inspiring Island Retreat}

While cooped up in a house on maternity leave, one can’t help but get travel fever – dreaming of beautiful far away places like Morocco, Cape Town, and Bali. In doesn’t help that this time last year, our Editorial Director shared her incredible Balinese vacation and I was living it up on Mykonos! Since we’re homebound this year, dear friend Jaclyn from Blog Society kindly offered to share her breathtaking Indonesian island retreat. Hosted by Natalie of Eat Read Love, some of Australia’s top bloggers, stylists and photographers set out on a journey together that would change their lives! Warning: the following is likely to induce severe wanderlust!

Taking place at Villa Sungai – an award winning luxury villa in Cepaka, Bali, a group of amazing creative ladies joined forces on an international retreat to talk business and collaboration, creating a truly inspiring experience. The recounts of this magical trip will surely help you get through a lackluster Monday in the office! Jaclyn, take it away!

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First off, Natalie is no stranger to hosting gorgeous events and our trip to Bali was no exception. She hosted a once in a life-time adventure – a complete ‘pinch me’ getaway that I was so grateful to be part of. Myself, Natalie, Lisa, Nadean, Luisa and Sophie were speechless when we arrived. There we were in the most luxurious villa we’d ever seen, surrounded by close friends and in a culture that is rich in tradition and history.

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Over lychee martinis by the pool, we shared stories of success and failure – talking openly and passionately in the kind of freeing environment that only travel can offer. Walking through lush rice paddies, we created the ultimate picnic spot and sat while sipping on rosé and taking in the local surroundings – almost in silence, each of us reflecting on the impact that travel has on the soul. We watched the sunset together while talking about what the future holds and laughed until the wee hours. We explored the countryside and enjoyed balmy mornings that were hot and humid, with still air that was was laced with incense.

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Looking back it was the small moments of luxury – being surrounded by exotic flowers, fresh cuisine and indulging in a relaxing massage that made these incredible few days such an escape from reality. But the true adventure was bonding with my soul sisters over cocktails, a new culture and endless conversation – the ultimate trifecta of blog travel!

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This trip that Natalie planned was just the beginning. She plans to create more international retreats coming up this year complete with gorgeous setting, brilliant company and a magical culture. Talk about dream getaway. It doesn’t get much better than that!

And if you’re planning an escape to Bali yourself, here what you’ll want to pack to get that perfectly chic island style!

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Get Your Shop On:

> 1. Illesteva Round Mirrored Sunglasses
> 2. Ryan Roche Crushable Straw Hat
> 3. The Net Bag
> 4. Dolce Vita Nude Sandals
> 5. Koza Elyse Dress
> 6. Rag & Bone Gracie Scarf

 

images c/o Luisa Brimble

What To Visit in LA If You Have Less Than 24 Hours

With spring breaks upon us, it’s time to start thinking about taking a mini escape! But where to go and what to do when time is short? A few months ago our Editorial Director went on a quick 24 hour trip to Los Angeles in search of big design and even bigger inspiration. With hours against her, but no set itinerary, Bianca hit the pavement running, at times quite literally, in order to beat the ticking clock and savor every second in sunny LA! She stumbled upon some hidden gems while she was checking out a couple of other mainstays. This all looks so fun, she’s even got me considering a quick trip to the City of Angels before le bebe appears! Here are her top discoveries:

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> The Line Hotel – A super modern hotel where no design detail was missed – we’re talking down to the “do not disturb” sign. Refrain from trying to sneak every gorgeous piece into your luggage. You also get an awesome view of the Hollywood sign from your room, but really, no one is looking at the sign when your hotel room looks like that!

> Poketo – The popular design focused store has a pop-up shop right in the lobby of The Line. It definitely goes above and beyond our average “pop up” and is well worth a walk through. From super gorgeous bath soaps, to chic zip pouches, clothing, bags and everything in between, you’ll likely find an excuse as to why you “need” it all.

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> The Commissary – The Line’s restaurant  is kind of the best thing about the entire hotel – because it’s in a greenhouse! You can enjoy the ambiance even if you’re not staying in the hotel and we highly recommend it. Vines and leaves hang overhead and mismatched English tea sets and plates make your food prettier, if that’s possible. A playful menu built like a bingo game and cocktails served in soup to-go containers will ensure sensory overload and surprise after surprise. Did we mention it’s in a greenhouse?!

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> Bottega Louie – If you’re headed downtown, it’s basically a sin not to stroll into this longstanding joint. Stop for a pastry {Nutella filled brioche!!} and coffee, stop by for a cocktail or enjoy lunch in the spacious restaurant. Regardless, don’t leave without getting something smothered in butter or sugar, or both. You’ll also want to check out Aesop if you’re in the area!

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> Aesop – Every Aesop store is designed completely differently, something the brand prides itself on. So if you’ve been to one, you haven’t been to them all which is exactly why you should go to every single one you possibly can! LA’s is filled with cardboard, yup cardboard, cardboard that looks so cool you’re going to want to wallpaper your own home in it.

> Joan’s on Third – It’s an LA institution and you should probably go just to feel the LA buzz practically humming off its outdoor patio. This place is always packed, so if humans aren’t your thing, go in, grab a sandwich {or cookie or cupcake or amazing salad} to go and head out.

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> Beckley Boutique – Alexander Wang, local LA jewelry designers, cool design books, they all live in this well curated women’s boutique. You’ll want something. And you should probably get it because it’s LA –  the land of looking good!

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So there’s proof postive you can literally hit all of these LA hotspots in under 5 hours – perfect for a pesky layover! If you only had a day in LA, what would you see?? We’d love to add to our must-see list for our next trip!

Looking for more last minute travel ideas?? Check out more of our fave escapes HERE!

images by bianca sotelo