An Education

MHC
Mount Holyoke College. The oldest all-women’s college in the country. My alma mater. Gosh, I loved my time there. Hard to believe that today the Class of 2017 moved onto campus.

Last week, I came across an article listing out the “Top 5 Reasons to Consider a Women’s College“. So for all your young ladies out there considering your schools of choice (Kate, this may be for you), here is my “Top 5” list of reasons to consider MHC:

1. The people – I know I am quite biased, but the student population at Mount Holyoke is the creme de la creme. The women I shared the classroom with came from literally all corners of the globe and truly taught me just as my professors did. And the friendships I made, they have stood the test of time. My nearest and dearest are my sisters from MHC!

2. The campus – Consistently ranked one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, the grounds at Mount Holyoke are breathtaking. Walking around upper lake after a long day of studies always provided that little bit of reprieve I needed. The gates, the ivy-covered buildings, the dorms themselves (walk-in closets, why yes). I still get shivers down my spine driving up Rt. 116 and seeing the clock and the infamous gates.

3. The food – Milk and cookies, gracious meals, Tailgate Picnic… and that is without even crossing the hill to Amherst or the water to Northampton. Really, the happy valley is where it’s at. Seriously, though, if you chose MHC, you will be spoiled by the dining options. And no, I did not put on the “freshmen 15” thanks to the mandatory P.E. requirements!

4. The legacy – I was so proud to be the first in my family to graduate from college and walking across the stage in Kendall to receive my diploma (sadly it was raining so we didn’t graduate in the amphitheatre), was one of the best days of my life. But, the truly great thing is the recognition I have received over the past 10 years as a product of a women’s college. Our legacy is strong and deep and one that just gets better with age. And, returning back to campus for reunions and seeing the women who graduated before returning nearly 60 years later, it is overwhelming. A sisterhood like no other.

5. And of course, the education – Cause really, that is what college is all about. First and foremost, Mount Holyoke is part of the 5 College consortium, which means you can take classes at Hampshire, Smith, Amherst and UMass. A great value to pass along to your parents. In all seriousness, though, the time that my professors put into my studies was remarkable. Almost all were willing to meet with me at anytime to discuss a project, an assignment, that paper that I just couldn’t get started. And, the other really cool thing is that I connected with a handful outside of the classroom. Dinners at their homes, babysitting their little ones, it was a family. And one that at times, you need.

This quote pretty much sums up my feeling on why you should go to Mount Holyoke: “We need women who are so strong that they can be gentle, so educated that they can be humble, so fierce that they can be compassionate, so passionate that they can be rational, and so disciplined that they can be free. We need uncommon women. And here you are. And how deeply reassuring to me it is to know that wherever we go, there you will be.” Mount Holyoke is the meeting place of uncommon women. So, if you are uncommon, MHC is the place for you. Look forward to having you as a sister in the future!

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Risk

Be You
Well… this is a post I have wanted to write for sometime. As I revealed a few weeks ago, I was hurt back in 2006. A hurt I was certain I would never recover from. And then, as with all things, time healed the pain.

After the rebound relationship, and “the right one that became the wrong one” and the ever so tragic (re)connection with a college beau, I officially swore off dating. And naturally, that’s when it always happens. It was March 2011, Boston. I had just returned from a little jaunt to Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, where I made the decision to stay single. We of course know what happens next.

It was one of those first spring days in March, a Friday to be precise and the hope of a new season was in the air. My girlfriend, her husband and I made our way to the Liberty Hotel, a hot-spot in Boston at the time. I was ordering drinks for all of us and was trying to be the nice girl in a crowded bar so asked the gentlemen behind me if he needed a drink… a coke and rye his response. When I turned around with drink in hand, there he was. M.  I apologized for not getting him a drink and he told me not to be silly as he held up his cocktail. He commented on my smile and I joked and said “tell me something I don’t know.”

My friend and her husband had to leave as she had consumed a few too many cocktails and as I walked them outside, I realized I had to make a decision: to call it a night or walk back into the crowded bar by myself to a man I had just met. Looking back, there was no choice at all. I walked right on in. The next few hours went by in a flash. Talking, joking, laughing. It was so natural. At the end of the night (morning, really), we parted ways. He asked for my number, which I kindly declined to give as really he wasn’t going to call. But he pressed and I gave in. As I drove away, I was certain I would never hear from him again.

But I did. M… he surprised me. And so began our friendship. Two weeks later, he invited me north to Toronto. At first, I kindly declined the invitation. How could I get on a plane and travel across international borders for a boy I knew so little about? But as I mentioned in last week’s post, I am a romantic and thus followed my heart and said yes. I booked a flight, a room at the Drake Hotel and counted down the days till my first Canadian adventure.

And what a weekend it was. A trip to Niagara Falls, oysters, my first caesar, exploring a new city with a new friend… I was on cloud nine. And thus began our long distance courtship. Phone calls and emails, and texts, and IMs… it was all just so easy. I invited him back to my city for Memorial Day weekend. Enjoying a place you love with a person you care for… it doesn’t get much better. The familiar takes on new meaning. The food at Ten Tables was that much more amazing. The bench on Commonwealth that I spent so many nights on was different now as we had sat there together. And then the time came to say goodbye. Neither one of us were very good with these. I stood at the beginning of the security line at Logan, watching him pass through check-points, waiting for him to turn around and smile. When we spoke that night, he said “I wanted to turn around but knew if I did I would never leave.” My heart (and head) were falling and falling hard.

A few weeks later, it all changed. After a weekend in Montreal, he began to pull away and days later I got the phone call I knew was coming. He said he couldn’t do it anymore… that I deserved more than he was capable of giving. A cop-out. Perhaps. Words I have heard before, for sure. I have had such a hard time letting him go. After several months I had my moment of clarity. M was the first man who allowed me to be me. Who enjoyed being with me for just how I was in those moments. I was just me and for a time, that is all he needed.

I haven’t spoken to M in nearly 18 months. He says it’s too hard to hear from me. I think of him nearly every day. But he taught me a very valuable lesson and for that I am eternally grateful. And I know he has brought me one step closer to the one who will want to step up and give me everything I so greatly deserve as he too knows I will do the same for him. Risks are good and although you fail at times, a lesson is always learned. And what good is life if we aren’t learning and growing.

 

Movie Monday

Before Midnight
I think I have said this before but I am a true romantic and thus a sucker for a beautiful love story. The Before Sunrise trilogy, which I was just recently introduced to, may just be my favorite. If you aren’t familiar with these movies, please allow me a brief introduction.

The first movie Before Sunrise premiered in 1995 and introduced the world to Jesse and Celine, an American boy and a French girl, who have a chance meeting on a train and decide to disembark in Vienna, unplanned of course, and spend an evening together exploring the city and their new friendship. The film ends with Jesse and Celine at the train station making a plan to visit each other in the same spot six months later. Will they meet again?

Fast forward to 2004, Before Sunset. Jesse is in Paris promoting his recent novel about an evening encounter that turns into love (a work of fiction, of course). Through the crowd at the Shakespearean Book Company, where the reading takes place, Jesse catches eyes with Celine. They spend the afternoon walking Paris, similar to their time in Vienna, discussing life and the years lost. We learn that Jesse did indeed travel to Vienna to meet Celine. They share stories of their current relationships, their jobs and the love they still share for each other. The film ends with Jesse and Celine at her apartment. Will Jesse leave and get on the plane back to his wife and son?

Nine years later, we get our answer. Before Midnight begins with Jesse and Celine together in Greece with their two beautiful girls. Did true love prevail? You will just have to watch these films to find out!

These films show us the poetry of everyday life… how the simple choices we make can change our lives forever. Would you get off the train to spend an afternoon with someone you just met? Would you fight for the one who got away? My answer is emphatically YES! I will share more of my own “before sunrise” story later this week but let me leave you with this beautiful thought… “You can never replace anyone because everyone is made of such beautiful, specific details.” Embrace the wrong ones that got away. Don’t try to forget them. They lead you to what really matters. And as a sweet lady told me last week, “Remember, Maybeth… it only take’s one.”

Island Cocktails

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Not quite sure how but my little brother is 21 today. And since I am quite certain he hasn’t taken to the island nightlife quite like his older sister(s) (wink, wink), I thought I would share with him, and all of you, some of my favorite island spirits.

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The Goombay Smash – One of the finest rum punches at one of the best, Straight Wharf. But a word to the wise, these things go down a bit too easy so take caution.

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The Crucomber
My summer pick! I suggest one slight modification… ask the bartenders at Cru to use Hendrick’s gin instead of the Zubrowka vodka.

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Mudslide
The Gazebo’s dessert in a glass with a little kick… love it!

Last summer’s cocktail of choice was Ivy’s Poison at Dune. Sadly, I don’t have a photo to show you just how beautiful this cocktail is but let me describe it for you… muddled strawberries and mint, rose and St. Germain. Heaven in a glass is exactly right!

Just a few more contenders include The Proprietor’s Number 4; Slip 14’s The Berry SEXY, and the Madaket Mystery at Millie’s.

I am a firm believer that every home needs a house cocktail. Mine is quite simple: Izzy’s sparking grapefruit mixed in equal parts with Cisco’s Triple Eight blueberry vodka. My favorite party trick is to get the glass bottles of Izzy, empty out half of the grapefruit deliciousness into a pitcher (easy to refill later) and pour the blueberry vodka right into the glass bottle. Top it with a straw and you will impress your guests upon arrival. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

In the Air

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I love these summer nights when you can smell the change of season on its way. And today, after finally having a moment to check my mail, I received a wonderful surprise… a $75 rewards card from J.Crew. Guess I will be starting my fall shopping now.

Just a few items currently in my shopping bag:

– The perfect flannel boyfriend shirt. Thinking I will pair this with some black skinnies and ballet flats.
– My closet is filled with light, airy blouses and this little gingham number will be the perfect addition.
– I have a feeling I am going to be living in this cashmere sweater!
– After giving up my corporate gig last year, I made the mistake of giving away all my suits, which means I no longer have that little black blazer to dress up an outfit. Think I may have just found a replacement with this one.
– I have been lusting after the Rag & Bone booties for quite some time sadly don’t have the funds at the moment to splurge so I think these are the perfect compromise!
– I have been spending some restless nights thinking of where to travel this winter. At least I can decide on my new passport cover.

And to answer the question, the best thing(s) about fall in my opinion include (in no particular order) apple picking, cider donuts, cozy sweaters, the air, football games, shorter days, and less traffic around the island!

I Spy

My rug!

Is that my new bedroom rug I see in the fabulous offices of fashion retailer Moda Operandi featured in this month’s Architectural Digest? Why yes indeed it is. Perhaps I could be an interior decorator after all. Now if only I could have Lauren Santo Domingo’s wardrobe 😉

Childhood

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As a little girl, I always wanted to be a mermaid. You see, my love for the ocean started at an early age being an island girl and all. I don’t remember a time where I ever feared the ocean. From the moment we arrived at the beach, till the moment we left, I was in the water. I loved to swim out past the sandbar. I distinctly remember the change in temperature when I reached the part when I knew I couldn’t touch. I would dive and dive and dive some more. In search of what, I am not quite sure. With all the chaos in my childhood, the beach was that one place where I could truly escape.

When I saw this little piece by local artist Elle Foley, I knew it had to be mine. My favorite childhood memories. A mermaid. That was me.