Today

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How is it that today is the last day of August? Is summer really coming to a close? After an amazing weekend on island time with family, friends, and my girl, I am very much feeling this sentiment. It doesn’t help that the next three days are going to be insane. There is a silver lining, though, as my vacation officially starts Thursday. Did I mention this? If not, please forgive me. We are off to Holland and Belgium. Have you been? If so, do share any must do’s. And as I settle into the afternoon hour(s), let’s just remember this classic:

 It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it were Sunday
‘Cause that’s my fun day
My I don’t have to run day
It’s just another manic Monday

Be sure to check back tomorrow. I’ll be sharing highlights from our Catskills getaway.

Image credit: Pinterest

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Found

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My move back to Boston last summer was quite easy as I had very few things. You see, when I end a chapter, I tend to purge and thus beginning a new chapter means sourcing many new things. As one who loves to entertain, I knew finding the perfect dinner set would take a little time. Luckily it didn’t take as long as expected thanks to Crate and Barrel’s Hue Collection… this week’s found item.

Created by London-based designer Aaron Probyn, this contemporary porcelain collection is hand-glazed in seven soft, soothing hues. Since Ina Garten always told me {on her show, of course} to use a white dinner plate to allow the food takes center stage, I opted for a classic white dinner plate but added color with the light grey salad plate and blush bowl. I just love the mix-and-match nature of this collection. And the price point, you can’t go wrong!

Just take a look at the color options.

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Looking to add a little color to your dinner table? I can’t say enough about this week’s found item. I hope you all enjoy this last week of August enjoying good food, family and friends. I’ll see you on Monday!

My {Boston}

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To close out Boston week, I wanted to end on a high note and share My Boston. All of my very favorite things in this little city of mine. Enjoy!

All Things Food

Coffee Shop – Simon’s {simply the best latte}

Donuts – Union Square Donuts {the strawberry glaze changed my life}

Brunch – Mistral {no better place to spend a Sunday afternoon on a chilly winter’s day}

Sandwich – Cutty’s {the ham pimento is my go-to}

Food Truck – Bon Me {it’s all good}

Bar Scene – Brick + Mortar {signature cocktail = sister mary}

Pizza – A4 and Dirty Water Dough {a tie}

Sushi – Douzo {you must try the back bay roll}

Indian – Punjabi Dhaba {no frills are needed when the food is this good}

Italian – Giulia {the best pasta you’ll ever have stateside}

Oyster Bar – Neptune Oyster {food + decor makes this a gem not to be missed}

Tacos – Loco Taqueria {fried zucchini taco is where it’s at}

BBQ – Sweet Cheeks Q {top chef alum Tiffani Faison makes the best biscuit and bbq sauces hands down}

Date Night Spot – Sarma {just go and you will see why}

Guilty Pleasures

Movie Theatre – Kendall Square Cinema {i won’t confess how many movies i’ve seen here}

Mani/Pedi – MiniLuxe {with multiple locations throughout the city, this is the place for a little pampering}

Waxing – Bella Sante {the only place I go for these services}

Spa/Facial – Spa at The Mandarin {an indulgence but well worth it}

Boston Musts

A morning stroll through the newly opened Boston Public Market

An afternoon at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

A sunset Boston Harbor Cruise

A ride on the Swan Boats

Enjoy my favorite view of Boston… Grab a Hubway in Harvard Square and bike along Memorial Drive to Boston. The prettiest view of all!

Shops {in Boston}

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At least once a day I daydream about owning a little shop and wonder what the layout will be? Which items will line my shelves? And will people actually come in? I have romanticized life as a shop girl. Perhaps this is due to my long retail history. In any event, I believe I have a discerning eye for a shop done right. And the good news… several in Boston are doing it right and thus I want to share with you my favorite shops in Boston. Similar to my previous two posts on Boston, I thought it easiest to divide by neighborhood.

One thing to note: if you are visiting Boston and looking for more mainstream shops {J.Crew, Ann Taylor, Anthropolgie, etc.} just head to Copley Square and Newbury Street. You will find anything and everything there.

Beacon Hill

Charles Street is one of the most charming streets in Boston (next to Marlborough Street in my humble opinion) and is lined with some of the cutest shops. My favorites include:

Wish –  Oh how I wish my closet looked like Wish, filled with Joie, DVF, Milly and Ella Moss basics.

Holiday – When looking for that piece I won’t find anywhere else, I stop on in to Holiday. The sales people are always super helpful and their affordable jewelry is a go-to for last minute gifts.

Good – A well curated shop of jewelry, handbags, linens, pottery and books. They are also my source for the Rebecca Atwood candles, my go-to hostess gift.

December Thieves – The owner of this shop was recently named by Boston magazine as the best shopkeeper in the city. Kuddos to Lana, whose locations in Beacon Hill and the South End are filled with curiosities, wears and whimsical jewelry. A shop not to be missed in Boston, for sure!

South End

Many would say that the South End is the heart of Boston, home to wonderful restaurants, cafe and unique shops. Lucky for me, our apartment is around the corner and thus I frequent these shops often!

Farm & Fable – An epicurean’s dream. Cookbooks, vintage cocktail glasses, Farmhouse Pottery from Vermont, oyster knives, and tea towel galore… My sweet friend Abby certainly has it all in her beautiful store on the corner of Shawmut and Milford Street.

Twelve Chairs – Just like I want my closet to look like Wish, I want my home to resemble Twelve Chairs. Housing both a retail space and design studio, their second floor location on Tremont should not be missed. From throw pillows to vintage lamps and artwork, there is always somethings to discover at Twelve Chairs.

Hudson Boston – My go-to shop for interior inspiration and wedding gifts.

Olives & Grace – “A curtsy to the makers” is what this little shop is all about. Handcrafted items and locally sourced food products, Olives & Grace is my go-to spot for that friend who has everything. It’s no wonder they were named as the best gift shop by Boston magazine. I’m a huge fan of the Boston coasters.

SAULT New England – This is my girl’s favorite shop in all of Boston.

Brookline

Just a short T-ride from downtown Boston on the Green Line is Coolidge Corner. My first “neighborhood” in Boston (technically I lived up the road in Washington Square but spent a great deal of time in CC) and one that I return to again and again.

Brookline Booksmith – Hands down my favorite bookstore. They now have a used section in their basement and offer a wonderful selection of discounted titles.

Mint Julep – A charming neighborhood spot featuring a wonderful selection of jeans and cute “going out” tops at a good price point.

North End

For a neighborhood typically known for food, the North End has a few shops not to be missed.

Shake the Tree – An eclectic shop featuring clothing, jewelry, housewares and accessories. It’s my local Anthropologie!

In-jean-ius & Twilight – In-jean-ius started with a simple mission: to help women find the perfect jean for their body type. It was only a matter of time till then expanded their offerings with Twilight, a store inspired by that magical time between day and night.

Cambridge/Somerville

And last but not least, my favorite shops across the river.

Pod – This tiny boutique resembles home to me. A beautiful collection of found objects for both the home and you. I’m in-love with their offering of Kerry Cassill pillowcases at the moment.

Loyal Supply Co. – Nestled in the heart of Union Square, Loyal Supply Co. is a design firm, retailer, and distributor of goods for the home, office, and studio, who lives by the motto “Supplies for Life.” I get more compliments on my key chain from them than anything else I carry.

Tune in tomorrow for My Boston list. Until then, have a wonderful Wednesday!

Bakeries {in Boston}

Boston Bakeries

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for bakeries. Anytime I’m planning a trip to a new place, I do my research to find the best local bakeries. Not only do I have a sweet tooth, but there is just something about a bakery/cafe vibe that captures me. With that, I thought I would share my favorite bakeries in Boston on this #tasytuesday.

We will start in Boston proper and go by neighborhood…

Tatte in Beacon Hill – Located on the corner of Charles and Mount Vernon Street, this is Tatte’s fifth and newest location in Boston {and my personal favorite as it is a short walk from my apartment}. Breakfast is served daily till 11:30 am and favorites include the avocado tartine and the shakshuka, a traditional north african dish. For lunch, the grilled halloumi salad is where it’s at. Tatte’s attention to details make it an instagramers heaven. Just take a look at their feed. And good news, most of their locations have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Flour Bakery + Cafe in Back Bay, South End & Fort Point – Flour Bakery is what dreams are made of. Seriously. A trip to Boston isn’t complete without a visit to one of Joanne Chang’s delightful Flour locations. And good news, they offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Favorites include their blueberry muffin, vegan chocolate cupcake, smoked turkey sandwich and greek salad. And to quench your thirst, they create a seasonal spritzer and specialty drink. This summer, their lemon-lime aid has been keeping me hydrated. Flour’s Back Bay location has plenty of seating and is also across the street from the Frieda Garcia park so great for kids too.

Canto 6 in Jamaica Plain – This rustic french bakery is the bee’s knees and has a loyal following of JP neighbors. And while it will take a little maneuvering to get to from downtown (Orange line outbound to Forrest Hills, get off at Green Street and walk two blocks towards Washington Street), I promise it is worth the trip. Their seasonal scones are some of the best and their sandwiches are the perfect accompaniment for a walk in the nearby Arboretum. Seating is limited.

Clear Flour Bread in Brookline – Specializing in classic french and italian breads, Clear Flour Bread is my go-to for you guessed it, bread. And while they offer some pastries {a delicious chocolate chip cookie}, there is no seating.

Cambridge Bakeries

Now, let’s cross the Charles…

Hi-Rise Bread Company in Harvard Square & Huron Village – I have my brother Travis to thank for introducing my to Hi-Rise. Similar to Flour, they have an impressive offering of pastries and mouth-watering sandwiches. Sometimes when I need an afternoon pick-me-up, I travel over to their Harvard Square location for a latte and a piece of their sinful vanilla bean loaf cake. It’s so good it was featured in former NYT food critic Amanda Hesser’s book Cooking for Mr. Latte. Their Huron Village location also has an impressive wine offering.

Sofra Bakery + Cafe in Cambridge/Watertown – Sofra is unlike any cafe experience in Boston with influences of Greek, Turkish and Lebanese delights in both decor and offerings. Their meze bar offerings are incredible (beet tzaziki is my favorite) and their chocolate earthquake cookies are just about the best thing I’ve even tried. Seating and parking are limited so I suggest going later in the day after the morning and lunch hour rush.

Forge Bakery in Union Square – When I’m craving a breakfast sandwich, I venture to Forge Bakery. Their simple egg sandwich on a homemade english muffin with avocado and sriracha hits the spot every single time. And in colder months, they make one of the most delicious hot chocolates I’ve ever tasted. Good news… plenty of seating and parking at Forge.

Bagelsaurus in Porter Square – I still remember the first taste of my very first NY bagel. Fifteen years later, no bagel could ever compare. That was until I discovered Bagelsaurus. Owner Mary Ting Hyatt’s bagels are simply the best and her offerings of bagel sandwiches are off-the-charts delicious. Might I suggest the t-rex? Bacon, almond butter, and banana. So good! I suggest greeting the staff at opening (7 am weekdays; 8 am weekends) as they sell-out quickly.

Loyal Nine Cafe in East Cambridge – The newest addition to the bakery scene, Loyal Nine Cafe has the most limited menu but one that is well worth the trip. Their coffee and lattes are served in pottery hand-made by the owner and their breakfast pastries (typically 3-5 to choose from) are delicious. We had the cinnamon roll Sunday morning and were quite happy. There is plenty of seating both indoor and out and since Loyal Nine is relatively new to the bakery scene in Boston, the pace is calm and perfect for a relaxing morning and/or afternoon.

Be sure to follow along with me on Instagram as I go #outandaboutwithmay in Boston and check back tomorrow as I share my favorite shops in this beautiful city of mine!

New {in Boston}

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As last week got away from me {sorry for my silence}, I wanted to keep my promise and devote this week to all things Boston. Today, I thought I’d share with you all that is NEW in this city of mine.

To keep things easy, I thought I’d go neighborhood by neighborhood. First up, Fort Point.

Fort Point/New Waterfront/Innovation District

I use to fondly call Fort Point the land of Barbara Lynch as Congress Street was home to three of her restaurants (Sportello, Drink and Mention). In just a few short years, though, Fort Point has blossomed and is now included in what many are calling the Innovation District, which includes The Seaport and the Waterfront. Companies like EnerNOC and Vertex are relocating to this thriving district. Driving down Seaport Boulevard, you can’t help but notice the luxury condo towers popping up left and right. The growth is incredible. Even more incredible, the restaurants to join the scene. A few to note: Mario Batali’s Babbo Pizzeria, Gather, Committee, and Empire {sister restaurant to the Back Bay’s Red Lantern}. I haven’t been just yet but I hear Hotel Envoy is the place to go for an evening cocktail and the best views of the Boston skyline at their Lookout Rooftop Bar.

South Boston/Southie

With the development throughout the Seaport/Waterfront, it’s no coincidence that South Boston has become the neighborhood for young professionals to enter the real estate market. In a recent article, I noted that Southie currently has over forty projects in either the planning/approval stage, under construction or just opened phase. All this activity has led to the opening of some pretty legit neighborhood spots. American Provisions is my go-to for delicious sandwiches, wine, cheese and provisions for an afternoon picnic, LOCO Taqueria & Oyster Bar for a night out on the town {and celebrate #tacotuesday} and Neatly Nestled for a wonderful selection of home goods and last minute gift ideas. I hear if you are single, Lincoln Tavern is the place to go. And you must check out The Lawn on D, a first of its kind, outdoor interactive space {adult playground} with a unique art installation of  20 lighted oval swings, games galore {bocce, ping pong, corn hole} a sound stage and open-air bar. This place has certainly lifted Boston’s cool factor.

Ink Block

In between Southie, I-93 and the South End, use to live a little paper called The Herald. But since it moved to the waterfront, this warehouse zone of the South End has been relatively quiet with just a gas station, Medieval Times and the Pine Street Inn. But times are a changing. Today, Ink Block is a 6-acre development with three unique buildings and 315 apartments to help restore this once vibrant neighborhood. This has certainly helped to extend the sophistication and appeal of the South End. At the anchor of it all, is a Whole Foods Market, which makes me a happy girl as my apartment is about a 8 minute walk away. Add to that, a milk + honey spa, and Ink Block is moving to become the hub of the South End.

Downtown

When Filene’s closed their doors in early 2006, Downtown Crossing lost a bit of its luster and for the past ten years has been a place one passes through to and from the Financial District and the Boston Common. Thankfully this is changing. Millennium Tower, a luxury high-rise residential skyscraper is emerging from the former retail location. And while occupancy won’t begin until next summer, you can check out the development while visiting the first city location of Roche Brothers. Word on the street is that acclaimed chef Michael Mina will be opening a Boston location of his acclaimed Pabu restaurant. Is it 2016 yet?!?!

Also changing the face of Downtown Boston is the highly anticipated Boston Public Market, which since opening last month, has become my new favorite spot in Boston.

Fenway

Similar to the Innovation District, condo buildings are under construction all along the back of Fenway Park. Add to that, a Target and rumors of a Wegmans grocery store, and pretty soon you’ll never have to leave Fenway. And if you have out-of-town guests visiting, just have them book a room at the recently opened Verb Hotel. The pool scene alone makes me want to book a stay-cation here.

Cambridge/Somerville

There are many in Boston who refuse to cross the Charles River and venture over to Cambridge and Somerville. But let’s be honest… this is where the food revolution has taken off in Boston. Alden & Harlow, Sarma, Union Square Donuts, Loyal NineState Park, Spoke Wine Bar. You can’t go wrong! Planning a trip to Boston, I highly recommend crossing the Charles and taking in the food scene on the other side.

So there you have it… my take on all that is NEW in Boston. Planning a visit? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me with any questions. Happy to help!

Image Credit: Drawings of classic Boston icons by Swiss Cottage Designs via their blog.

Take Two

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It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I gathered up my belongings and re-rooted myself back in the city I said I would never return to. One should learn never to say never! But you know what? While I was going through my rebirth, Boston was too. This city is just bursting with energy and it is quite an exciting time to live and work here. So this week, I thought I would devote all my posts to my city, Boston. I hope you’ll join me for the adventure!

Found

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I am rather excited to share today’s found item. The perfect beach towel, which I picked up last weekend at Bodega, my go-to island spot for all things home. For the last several summers, I’ve swore by my stylish and beautiful Turkish founta towels, straight from Istanbul. Lately, though, I’ve noticed they are just a bit too thin for my post swim/sun bathing activities.

These Kerry Cassill beauties are the perfect combination of fashion and function. Not only are they lovely to look at with a slight bohemian feel, one side is completely lined with terry cloth. Perfect for a post swim dry off followed by hours of sun bathing. Can you guess which one is mine and which one is K’s?

Enjoy the weekend, friends. I’ll be back on Monday kicking off a week of all things Boston. You won’t want to miss it!

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Book Club

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Another weekend is nearly upon us. What are your plans, dear readers? We are off to New York City for an overnight and then heading north to The Catskills for a little r+r.

I don’t know about you but for me a summer getaway goes hand-in-hand with a summer read. And for me, the book of the summer has to be The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. With my beautiful city of Boston as the backdrop, this inspiring book tells the story of Addie, the daughter of Jewish immigrants, living in the North End, coming of age during a very difficult time. Early on, the reader learns that Addie is not like other girls as her desire for knowledge, exploration and adventure are clashing with the ideals of her very traditional parents, her mother in particular. What unfolds is the story of a woman who finds herself, friendship and love. Looking for a light but uplifting read, this Boston Girl highly recommends The Boston Girl.

What have you been reading this summer? The Folded Clock will be joining me this weekend in New York. I promise a full report upon my return!

In the Kitchen

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When hosting a dinner party, I try to keep my appetizers fairly simple. A beautiful crudite board with green goddess dressing or a cheese board bursting with bread, grapes and of course cheese {my rule of thumb is three: a hard, a soft and a really smelly one}. In addition, though, I always like to add a wow bite. And for me, those more often than not are Ina Garten’s Gruyère Cheese Puffs. The first time K tried these, she asked “are these homemade?” To which I responded, “Sweetie, I only make homemade.” As you can imagine, this is now a running joke in our home.

Don’t let the above photo scare you. These cheese puffs are super easy to make, I promise.

Ina’s Gruyère Cheese Puffs

  • 1 cup milk {I use whole milk for the flavor but any milk will do}
  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter {I always use unsalted butter when baking}
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs {make sure your eggs are at room temperature}
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Pour this mixture into your kitchen aid mixer bowl and immediately add the eggs, Gruyère and parmesan and mix until eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag {I use a large zip lock bag and cut off one corner}. Pipe onto the lined baking sheet in a round {similar in size to a golf ball}. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash {made with 1 egg and 1 tsp. of water whisked} and top with a pinch of Gruyère cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Voila! You are done. Give them a try and let me know if you house guests love them as much as mine!