Sunday, December 22, 2013
Gift Guide 2013
I'm honestly not the best gift giver. I've always obsessed over whether or not someone will like something, whether they already have it, or whether they'll throw it away the moment they get home. And if it's someone I don't know particularly well—forget about it. Luckily, I've figured out a few basic gifts that just about any gal—including myself—would be happy to receive.
1. A fancy candle. It's one of those things that most of us are hesitant to buy for ourselves, but that's so nice to have.
2. Pajamas. Who doesn't love a cozy pair?
3. Notebooks. Because it's getting harder and harder to find a page to scribble on these days.
4. Drinkware. Whether they like to sip Moscow Mules or bubbly, choose a vessel that's perfect for their favorite beverage.
5. 2014 Planner. The new year is here. We all need to stay organized.
6. Fancy soap. Again, most people won't spend $8 on a bar of pretty soap, but they'd be happy to receive it.
7. Jewels. This is a bit harder to pick out, but Baublebar always has a bevy of sparkly—and cheap—options.
8. Books. One of the best things to give, I think.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Earlier this fall, Todd and I drove up the coast with no real plans in mind besides making it to Portland, Maine in time for dinner. We stopped in Portsmouth, New Hampshire first, where we poked around the cute downtown area and escaped the drizzle in a little pub. It had stopped raining by the time we made it to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, so we took our time exploring the tacky beach shops then continued up the coast, stopping at Crescent Beach State Park and Cape Elizabeth. We reached the Portland Head Light just as the sun was setting and an old park ranger was shooing everyone away, then drove into Portland for dinner at Eventide Oyster Co. My favorite thing about this trip? Realizing how incredibly diverse this small patch of New England coastline is. One minute I felt like we were in Ireland; the next, Florida.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Todd and I had to admit that driving 12 hours was a bit far for a four-day weekend—especially since we'll be doing it again in a few weeks—so we decided to stick closer to home for Thanksgiving this year. We knew we didn't want to stay home and be lonely all weekend, so we rented a teensy little cabin on Cape Cod. Sadly, I don't think this monster storm is bringing us any snow, but I'm still excited to get cozy with a stack of books, movies, and magazines. If anyone has Cape Cod recommendations (specifically Provincetown), please leave a comment!
Sunday, November 10, 2013
I've always loved Boston, but for years I said I'd never move here because of the winters. Then I changed my mind. Being an obsessive planner — I always like to have a five-year plan, a 10-year plan, etc. — this change was a bit disconcerting. But it's also exciting to know that I can surprise myself. Who knows where I'll be in five years? I really can't say.
So here I am, prepping for my first New England winter. The autumn leaves are blowing away fast now, and it's pitch black when I get out of work. I thought this would be depressing, but I find myself more energized than ever as I watch the lights come on in downtown's tallest buildings. I've always loved a skyline at night. It makes me want to take a long walk through the city, even though it's dark and cold and the wind makes me want to cry a little. The other night, I bypassed the warm tunnels of the T and walked straight through downtown, across Boston Common, and down Newbury Street to meet Todd for dinner.
I'm stocking up on fleece-lined leggings, sensible boots, and crock pot recipes. I'm winterizing the house and car and piling the bed and couch with blankets, and we even bought the dog a coat (why should he get cold and wet on walks?). I'm obsessively tracking the first snow, which might come as soon as next week. Call me crazy, but for the first time in my life I'm excited for winter.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
We bought our pumpkins at a local orchard earlier this month, but we've been waiting to carve them until this weekend. But as much as I enjoy getting all gooey with pumpkin guts, I really like these less invasive approaches as well.
Are you carving a pumpkin this year? What's your plan? (Click the photos for the links.)
and just because this photo cracked me up:
Friday, October 25, 2013
Now that I live somewhere where it actually gets cold, I'm having to do a lot of wardrobe adjustment — and believe me, I don't mind. I've been stocking up on scarves, cozy leggings, and even a fur-lined coat, but there's one thing I really need: Boots. Lots of boots. I lived in flats all year round in Charleston, but I've already realized that those just aren't going to swing it in Boston. If any of you New England ladies have boots-shopping advice, give me a shout. This is new territory for me.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
A year or two ago, Todd and I hosted a little party to celebrate our favorite season: fall. We decorated with pumpkins, built a fire in the backyard, and I made a seasonal punch that was gone within the first hour. I haven't been able to track down the recipe since then, but I remember it blended bourbon, apple cider (regular and sparkling), and Laird's Applejack.
That was my first exposure to Applejack, but I soon learned that the spirit holds a special place in American history. Back in the 1820s, evangelist John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, distributed apple seeds to his followers and taught them how to make Applejack. You can read more about the history here.
As for what you can make with it, you could swap it with whiskey in most recipes to give them an autumnal flair. I'll be mixing up these drinks, too:
|The Jack Rose|
|The Un-Pink Lady|
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Colder weather is definitely making its way to Boston, and I couldn't be happier. Fall has always been my favorite season, and I missed out on it the last six years living in Charleston. The mornings and nights have been chilly here, and I've already been able to whip out my new suede booties and tweed blazers (even though it's still in the 70s most days). When it comes to fall fashion, J. Crew always gets it right. Here are some of my favorite J. Crew offerings this season.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
It's hard to believe that it's been two months since I went from that /\/\/\/\ to this \/\/\/\/.
Two months ago I was living in Charleston, working at a local newspaper and living in a little 100-year-old house on the outskirts of downtown. My days were made up of two-minute commutes, long walks under the live oaks, $4 cocktails with friends, and small-town gossip. Life was easy, and it was slow, and I was happy. But ready for a change.
Our new house is about five miles from the heart of Boston, yet a 15-to-45-minute commute by bus, depending on traffic. I work as an editor in an office surrounded by hip restaurants with $15 cocktails, and my daily walk takes me through the skyscrapers of the Financial District and past the Tea Party Museum over Fort Point Channel. In the evenings and on weekends, we've had pasta in the North End, ridden the ferry to Spectacle Island, explored the Museum of Fine Arts, eaten fish tacos in Fenway, and taken day trips to Newburyport, Marblehead, and Walden Pond.
It all still feels very new, and I'm still catching up. But every now and then I stop for a minute to think about how far I've come in a few short weeks — whether I'm hurrying along to catch the T, organizing a photo shoot at my new job, or just walking through the streets of a city I can now call home.
Friday, July 26, 2013
When Alaina asked me to write a guest post for her blog So Alaina, I didn't hesitate. Her blog is one of my favorites in Boston, and even though we haven't met in person, I already feel like we're friends because we have so much in common. She asked me to create a cocktail for the post, so I took the opportunity to mix up a blueberry French 75. Two of them, in fact. And then I drank both, because, well, Todd doesn't like gin. And we wouldn't want to waste a good cocktail, would we?
Check out the full post here. Thanks again, Alaina!
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
I've seen the Instagrams, the tweets, and read the articles about hours-long lines to get a sweet taste of Shake Shack. So when I found out that one recently opened in Chestnut Hill, I knew I had to get me some.
It's inevitable that I'll compare pretty much any fast food-ish burger place to my current favorite, D.C.-based Five Guys. I've simply never found a tastier burger at a better price.
Shake Shack definitely wins for ambiance, clever branding, menu selection, and of course, the shakes. All burgers just taste better when consumed with a strawberry milkshake. It's science.
But the burger itself? Five Guys still wins in my book. There's just something about their thin, juicy patties, buttery buns, and all of the toppings you can pile on. Shake Shack doesn't even put lettuce and tomato unless you ask (we learned the hard way). And then there's the price. Todd's double burger cost almost $8 without fries. Speaking of fries, Shake Shack serves a smallish portion of crinkle-cut fries in comparison to Five Guys' ridiculously overflowing brown bag of greasy goodness. Do I need an entire greasy bag of fries? No, but it's a nice gesture.
That said, I really liked Shake Shack and I will return. The food was good, it has a cool atmosphere, and the prices were still pretty reasonable. I just didn't experience the same level of fervid devotion as so many others apparently have.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Has anyone else been craving ice cream, like, every single day? Seriously, it's a problem.
It's also a serious problem that we have Cabot's, an old-fashioned diner/ice cream parlor just up the street from our house. I like to think the walk there burns some calories. But that's a lie when I'm eating monstrosities like this. (And yes, I ate the whole thing.)
Speaking of ice cream, some things I want to try:
Ritz cracker ice cream sandwiches.
Chocolate and salted caramel pudding pops.
Giant ice cream sandwich.
Blueberry muffin ice cream.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Hey friends, how was your holiday weekend? We spent the Fourth in the city, then headed to Newport for a few days, escaping Boston's hellish heat for a house overlooking the harbor — with air conditioning! Already I've learned not to take these things for granted.
We window-shopped on Thames Street, got sunburned at the beach, hiked part of Cliff Walk, and ate entirely too much good food — stuff like avocado fries and elote washed down with a pitcher of watermelon margs at Perro Salado (So. Good.) and this here lobster — my very first! — with clam chowder and a glass of crisp pinot gris.
I'll admit to being a little freaked out when this landed in front of me (especially when I broke it open to find eggs inside), but it was damn delicious. And now I know how to properly eat a lobster.
Pro tip: turn it around so it's not staring at you as you tear it limb from limb. You won't feel like quite such a barbarian.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
How are you celebrating America's birthday? We plan to wander around our historic city today, grab some al fresco dinner, then watch the fireworks over the Charles River — I've heard it's an impressive display.
Now, which outfit should I wear? I'm leaning toward Liz Taylor's Western-inspired ensemble...
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
I'm working on a round-up of summer books about drinking, and one of the books I'm featuring is True Brews by The Kitchn's Emma Christensen. It's a really useful guide to making everything from soda to cider to kombucha to wine, and it's got me excited to do some experimentation in the kitchen. I'm starting with soda because it seems surprisingly easy. And because a bourbon & ginger with homemade ginger ale sounds pretty darn tasty.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Full disclosure: The only reason Marblehead was on my radar was because I heard that parts of Hocus Pocus were filmed there. A.k.a. one of the greatest movies of all time.
But then I found out that it's a lovely little town in its own right, and just a few miles north of Boston, so we decided to make the trek up this weekend. The Old Town is filled with cute shops and well-kept old houses that have plaques boasting their age and their original inhabitants' professions (i.e. Josiah Bartlett, Mariner, 1712). The gardens are perfectly manicured, with lush hydrangeas and roses complementing the homes' nautical color schemes. The place is almost painfully picturesque.
We grabbed a coffee and cookie at a little bakery and spent most of our time in Marblehead sitting quietly at various overlooks, watching the boats head in and out of the harbor. It doesn't get much more peaceful than that.
Friday, June 28, 2013
The weather isn't looking too promising this weekend in Boston, but as eager as I am to explore, I'd also love to just sleep in, eat breakfast in bed, and read all afternoon (I'm currently on a Ron Rash kick). This chilly, foggy weather just brings out the lazy in me.
If things clear up, we'll probably check out the SoWa Market, find a dog park for Muni, drive up to Rockport, and do some al fresco dining in Cambridge. If not, you'll know where to find me.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
I've only been working from home a week, but I've already learned that I get a little stir-crazy after too many hours in the house — especially when it's in the 90s and we don't have air conditioning. When I wrap up my work, the last thing I want to do is sit on my couch and watch TV. Luckily we have a lot of exploring to do.
Tuesday night we spontaneously headed into the heart of the city as the sun was setting. We ate tapas and split a pitcher of sangria, then went to the bar at the top of the Prudential building, pretending to buy drinks while we stole a peek at the view.
And then two giant rats ran across my feet on posh Newbury Street. Rats or no rats, I love a city at night, don't you?