Our Vacation - Ireland - 2nd Stop: Sligo

The "Why" - The Mannion's

Ray and I got married a little over 2 years ago and honeymooned in Punta Cana, DR. Two days before we got married, Louise and Liam got married in Ireland and also boarded on a plane headed to Punta Cana, DR for their honeymoon!

The Castro's - August 4th, 2012

The Mannion's - August 2nd, 2012

On our last day on the resort, we met over dinner and had a great time. We stayed in touch and this year decided to trek over to Ireland and pay them a visit after only having met in person once!

Arriving in Sligo

We arrived to Sligo at mid-day and met Louise at the train station. At first glance, even from the train ride, the country side was absolutely breath taking. Our first stop was at Louise's parent's house for a huge family dinner. We couldn't have asked for more!

From the moment we arrived, we received the warmest welcome filled with family, food, laughs and good country and farm fun! We even had the pleasure of having Louise's mom's amazing home cooking!

This is their pet lamb, Dusty Bin!

They even let us get on a tractor!

There is nothing as breathtaking as the Sligo sunset from their front lawn.

We stayed at the Mannion's home which is up a mountain with the most gorgeous views!

That meant time with little Ms. Alanna! Every moment with her has been a such a joy. Here she is, sporting the cutest tutu made by my good friend Brooke over at thearevalos.com.

Peace at its finest.

Our Vacation - Ireland - 1st Stop: Dublin

This year we decided to go to Ireland for our vacation. 10 days in paradise! (I'll share the "why" later!)

We took a red-eye flight into Dublin and as soon as we arrived, we learned our lesson, NEVER nap right after an overnight flight because we slept right through the day. Luckily, Dublin is perfection at night. Here was our night time stroll.

Next day, we headed out to the heart of the city to tackle the big sites!

Temple College to see the Book of Kells which was stunning but I didnt take any photos of it

And the old library. It was stunning!!!

Next off to Guinness! It was so interesting to see how much it takes to make beer. It was such an art form!

We are now officially certified to our the perfect Guinness pint! (which I'm sure I'll never use! haha!)

Then just off to enjoy some easy Dublin living - A little live music in the Temple Bar area

How cute was this?! Their Coke bottles say "Mum" instead of "Mom"!!!!!!

And the perfect Dublin sunset

Next up, Sligo, Ireland. Stay tuned! It's perfection!

Finding a Professional Photographer

My husband and I will be traveling to Ireland in a few weeks and want to do a holiday shoot while we are away. Its the first time in a long that that I've had to look for a new photographer in a new place. Here is how I went about it!

1. Check the wedding blogs for photographers in your wanted location

My favorite wedding blog is   100 Layer Cake  . I typed "Ireland" into the search box.

My favorite wedding blog is 100 Layer Cake. I typed "Ireland" into the search box.

2. Choose your favorite post and scroll to the bottom for details

3. Find them on Instagram! - I loved Poppies and Me's work!

Tip: Take a look at who they are following! Most likely they are following other photographers from the same location that have the same style.

Photographers we found in Ireland via #Instagram:


4. Make a list of their sites and listed contact info and write up a general email

"Hello!  I found your work via Instagram and fell in love with your style! You are absolutely amazing.  My husband and I will be on holiday in location, month, dates and would love to try and sneak in a photo session while we are visiting. 

  • Would you be at all available for a session between date-date in location?
  • What are your rates for a 1-2 hour session and how and when do you prefer payment?
  • What is included in your price?

I look forward to hearing from you! 

Best, Liz"

Other Tips and Tricks

  • If you know someone in that location, ask around for any recommendations. That is how I found Condoh Photography.
  • Check Lonely Planet or even Buzzfeed for dreamy locations you may want to shoot in.

Dominican Republic - Part 1: Distributing School Supplies

My family visits the Dominican Republic every year to give out school supplies to my dad's hometown. This summer, I was able to join them. This is part 1 of a 3 part blog to share our trip. 

Part 1: Distributing School Supplies

How: My dad works all year round to fill and ship tanks full of school supplies and clothing to be able to give back to his hometown. Some supplies are donated from friends and family but most supplies are  purchased out of his own pockets. He also pays to ship each of the containers before he arrives.

This is my dad. He is the oldest of 16 children. He tells the story about how him and his siblings shared school supplies and how not all of them could go to school at the same time. He himself was only able to complete up to the second grade. Each year he fills and sends tanks full of supplies to be able to give children from his community what he never had.

We emptied out each of the tanks and laid out all of the supplies in front of my dad's childhood home. Everyone pitched in to help!

Each bag was filled with a notebook, pencils, pens, a ruler, a small toy and where we could, crayons, calculators, a ruler and glue.

We were able to make over 200 bags of school supplies and we were able to visit 7 local schools and 1 church. My nephews ages 10, 6 and 3 helped to give out supplies in each of the classrooms.

This was a night when we visited the local church and gave out bags filled with school supplies to each of the children. We were also able to give out Spanish and French Bibles, a few toys and clothing. We are still in need of finding Creole Bibles for the Hatian members for next year!

Happy students, grateful to have received new supplies for the new school year.


Thank you to everyone that helped us with donations and well wishes. It was such a wonderful experience! We have already started to collect school supplies for next year. If you'd like to donate for next year, please contact me!