Book Club

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There really are so many things I love about being back in Boston but in my top 5 is rejoining my book club.  Recently, we met to discuss the book that everyone seems to be talking about The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Many have said “if you liked Gone Girl than you will love The Girl on the Train.” And I must say, I agree. This is the type of book that hooks you right away. I stayed up well into the wee hours of the morning to finish.

This book tells the story of Rachel, a tragic woman struggling with alcoholism, her divorce and losing her job. Since she can’t accept the realities of her life, she continues her morning commute on the train to the city where she no longer works. On the train ride, she passes the home she shared with her ex-husband who now lives there with his new wife. Next door to her old home, Rachel sees the beautiful couple who seem to have it all. Since she doesn’t know them, she refers to them as Jason and Jess. The couple who have it all. Or do they? And so begins this page turner. Looking for a summer beach read, I highly recommend.

We are meeting in early August to discuss Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. I’ll have a full report in a few weeks.

Happy almost weekend!

Tuesday Travel

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Hello friends and welcome to a new column Tuesday Travel. I love a weekend getaway and now that I am back in Boston, my weekends have been filled with many a getaway. Today I thought I’d share with you the first of many. Provincetown.

I grew up traveling to Ptown for high school sports but let’s be honest that was nearly 20 years ago. I was long overdue. And thus a few weeks back, one warm Friday afternoon, we battled the traffic from the Back Bay to the Seaport and boarded a fast ferry to whisk us away. 90 minutes later, paradise.

Thanks to Conde Nast Traveler, I knew the place to stay was Salt House Inn. Located on the East End of town and a short 10 minute walk from the docks (right off Commercial Street), the Salt House Inn is a boutique inn redefining the b+b experience. We stayed in Room No. 8, a deluxe king with a oars above our heads, accents of yellow and gray throughout the white-on-white palette. Updated nautical chic at its finest. The owners also opened a sister property this past Memorial Day weekend, Eben House, one of only three brick colonial homes left and built by Captain Eben Snow in 1776. Next time, I think we will stay here.

Whenever I travel, I always love to discover where the locals go. While confirming the details of our arrival, I asked our innkeepers for the inside scoop. After a little research, I decided on Victor’s for our first dinner. Located on the West End of town, Victor’s has been named as Ptown’s culinary hotspot. And hot spot it is. The bar was packed and the service pleasant. It was a little noisy for our liking but worth it after we tried the Ahi tuna napoleon. Next time, we will probably go for early cocktails and the raw bar. And a walk through the West End is a must. The homes here are perfection. Every time we turned a corner, I found a new favorite.

In my opinion, the best part of staying at a b+b is the breakfast and let me tell you, Salt House Inn didn’t disappoint. Sour cream coffee cake (so good I begged for the recipe), fresh fruit, greek yogurt with homemade granola and honey, toast and muffins. The perfect mix to start our day.

As if we wasn’t satisfied from our breakfast spread, I saw on Instagram that Happy Camper was having a little pop-up at The Canteen on Commercial Street. After picking up a quick coffee at Wired Puppy, down Commercial Street we went. K and I split the orange chai {so good} as our real goal for the morning was to get in a bike ride. Ptown Bikes came highly recommended so after our donut adventure we walked to Bradford Street to get ourselves some bikes. We decided to take the trails out to Race Point Beach, about a 2.5 mile ride from town. Little did I know that trails are actually trails. Nothing like my rides out to Madaket Beach. Should you decide to take a ride, be prepared to exert some energy. In the end, it was worth the sweat as Race Point is beautiful. A wide, expansive beach with sand dunes that are breathtaking.

After our ride back to town, we needed a little nourishment. I had read about a little sandwich shop Pop+Dutch, which just happened to be down the road from Ptown Bikes. K got their special sandwich which for the life of me I can’t remember what it was and I had their green goddess chicken salad on a brioche bun. It hit the spot. They also had a fresh watermelon aqua fresca, which helped to hydrate us both.

For dinner, we decided to grab a few appetizers and drinks at Joon Bar + Kitchen, which we were told has become the new local spot. And what a great spot it is. I decided on their White Linen cocktail, made with ginger vodka, lemonade and fresh mint. My new summer drink! The reason we decided on just appetizers was because we were holding out for Spiritus Pizza. On the walk home, we stopped in for four slices to enjoy on our deck while watching the sunset. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Sunday was our shopping day. A few shops not to miss: John Derian, Tim Scapes, Room 68 and Adam Peck Gallery. And turns out we saved our best meal for last, The Canteen. I can’t say enough about this place. Next time we go to Ptown, I think I may just eat every meal here. It is just that good. The cod banh mi, the honeysuckle popsicle, the seating area with a view of the harbor. The Canteen is one of those places I wish I could pack up and bring home with me.

Ptown, I left a little bit of my heart with you and as an island girl, that is saying quite a bit. We can’t wait to visit again. I am most thankful I don’t need to drive to you. Cape traffic in the summer is brutal!

Love Story

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Look at these two? My mother and stepfather. Married 24 years today. I asked them both to share their advice on the key to a successful relationship. Here is what they had to say…

“Best advise I can give is patience – gratitude – and ability to forgive and to know that sometimes it’s all about you and sometimes it’s all about your partner but you are willing to do that for each other because you are happier together than apart.”

“Men ARE from Mars and women ARE from Venus. We process things differently. Stretching ourselves beyond the limits of these psychological and emotional boundaries, makes for a real adventure in love and commitment.”

Pretty good if you ask me. Any words of wisdom you live by? Would love to hear, dear readers.

Enjoy the start to your week!

 

In the Kitchen

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Happy Friday, friends! First off, I just want to thank you for your beautiful words regarding yesterday’s post. I am truly humbled and feeling quite blessed for having all of you in my life. Now onto my other love, entertaining.

Today I wanted to share my menu from a recent sips + snacks party we held on the deck. In my 12 years of city living, I’ve never had a deck. And now, K and I have a deck the size of our bedroom, which makes outdoor entertaining a must {especially after the winter we had}!

For cocktail parties, I like to keep the menu simple* with items that can be served at room temperature and are easily replenishable. I have been on a mezze kick as of late and thus decided to do a spread of four different mezze/dips with crudité. Each and every time I am putting together a party menu, my first go-to is my collection of Ina cookbooks. I decided on her Tzatziki and baba ganoush but knew I needed to add one or two more. While perusing Pinterest for inspiration, I found a beet root hummus and Moroccan spiced roasted carrot dip, which both turned out to be my favorite. K said the carrot dip was a pleasant surprise.

Dips always need a “vessel” (a term of endearment from my catering days) and thus I had plenty of pita on hand and a selection of crudité. I blanched the asparagus for 3 minutes in boiling water and then placed them immediately in an ice bath to stop the cooking. The result is a perfectly crisp and bright green asparagus spear. For the carrots, I did a simple peel and chop and then placed them in a plastic container with water. This helps to keep the carrots crisp. I quartered the radishes and did an ever so slight sprinkle of salt on top. And for the green beans and squash, a simple chop was all they needed. Next time around, I might omit the green beans and instead do some cucumber spears.

Another catering trick {which is oh so helpful for your guests}, label your food. I had these Moglea watercolor tags on hand and the colors matched our mezze spread perfectly. A little bakers twine around the jelly jars and voila!

I included my *asterisk above because although this spread of mezze was technically easy, it was a bit time consuming. In the end, though, well worth it. Looking to entertain this summer, I highly recommend this delicious and beautiful mezze spread.

10 Years

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I believe it was Lao Tzu who wrote “new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” Today I am not sure if truer words have ever been written.

Today would have been my 10 year wedding anniversary. That is, if things had gone the way I planned. But as we know, they never do. My divorce and subsequent relationships have taught me invaluable lessons. Lessons that if I hadn’t learned, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And friends, I am so happy to share with you that I am in the best place I have ever been.

I moved home to my little island before the summer of 2012 to heal. To pause. To take time to reflect. And be quiet. And still. I knew I wanted a loving and committed relationship but for some reason, it just wasn’t working out for me. So I moved to a beautiful place. Alone. To figure it out. And figure it out I did.

My friends have always joked with me that I don’t have a type. I really don’t. The men I have dated span the spectrum. The one consistent piece was always me and my {sometimes too} open heart. But sometimes my heart and head weren’t aligned. I held onto moments instead of the realities. In those two years of quiet reflection, I realized I yearned for a love I had not yet experienced. “I crave a love so deep the ocean would be jealous.” I knew when I met that one who was just as open as me, that things would just be.

And be they are. I met my companion. The one who makes me laugh. The one who holds me when I cry. The one who believes in all my dreams {and wants to be part of them}. My best friend. And her name is K or as I like to call her #mygirl.

As a graduate of a women’s college, many would suspect that I did that college thing and explored a relationship with a woman. I am here to deny all such suspicions and confirm that never happened. I did have a “crush” but when I thought about developing it into anything else, it just didn’t seem right.

That was before #mygirl. Still the only girl who caught my eye. I met K through a mutual friend and early on, I knew there was something different about her. She made me pause. But our lives were in very different places.

But last spring, our paths aligned. “When love is real, it finds a way.” I had just returned from a trip to sunny California to visit my parents. It was on that trip, I decided it was time to leave the island and head back to Boston. A week later, I was back in Boston and everything changed.

Deciding to open my heart and life up to K has been the easiest and best decision of my life. My friends and family have welcomed her into our lives with open arms. She has brought out the very best in me. Ten years later, life is exactly how it should be and I am quite certain it will only get better with each passing year.

Movie Monday

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One of my favorite island events is the Nantucket Film Festival and lucky for me, I was able to sneak home a few weeks back  to enjoy some of the festivities. And while the highlight of the festival was hearing Beau Willimon and Robin Wright discuss House of Cards in my high school auditorium, I was excited to see the Spotlight Film Sleeping with Other People, written and directed by Leslye Headland.

Upon arriving at the Dreamland Theatre, I was greeted by my friend John who said “of course you would be here, you love a good rom-com.” And while he is right that I do tend to the romantic comedies, I would say this film doesn’t exactly fit the bill. Even Leslye describes the films as a “For When Harry Met Sally for *ssholes.” But I must admit, Sleeping with Other People had me laughing throughout and seeing the chemistry between leads Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis was worth every minute. I won’t spoil the end, but let’s just say, it may just fit my storyline wishes after all. Adam Scott, Amanda Peet and Jason Mantzoukas also star in this film opening nationwide September 11. Mark your calendars!

Summer Bucket List

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Putting pen to paper to create my seasonal bucket list is how I like to greet each new season. I’ll admit I was 50/50 on last year’s list so hoping the below is a little more attainable. I’ll keep you posted!

1. Fly away in a hot air balloon.

2. Indulge my inner-child with the Harry Potter book series.

3. Fish

4. Explore the Boston Harbor Islands.

5. Master a ceviche recipe.

6. Rent a Hubway and explore all the wonderful new green spaces in my city, including The Green Way, Lawn on D, and The Arnold Arboretum.

7. Brave the Cape traffic and head to the iconic Wellfleet Drive-in for a night at the movies.

8. Explore the Catskills.

9. Work on my tennis game.

10. I am 33/50 in my dining experiences at the Top 50 Restaurants {according to Boston magazine}. I’d like to make it to 40. Thinking I will try No. 9 Park for lunch, Spoke Wine Bar one night after work, Bergamont for date night, Puritan & Company for brunch, Bistro du Midi for an early bite, Bronwyn for a long overdue dinner with my brother Travis and L’Espalier for afternoon tea. Anyone want to join me?

365 Days

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Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was enjoying those strawberry crostini as I checked the first item off my Summer 2014 Bucket List. How the time does fly! A lot has certainly changed over this past year. I moved off the island, started a new job, fell in-love, traveled near and {not so} far and while my life has been filled with so much joy, the one thing I have certainly missed is this little blog of mine. So, a year later I start again. I look forward to you joining me for the ride. And, should you want to see the snapshots of this past year, check out my Instagram feed. As you will see, I have been quite busy #inthekitchenwithmay, which means lots of yummy recipe posts to come. I’ll see you back here tomorrow!