2015

2015

2015… you sure were good to me! A year of wonderful moments with family, friends and of course, my love. Please indulge me in a monthly look back…

January: Rang in the New Year with a 103 temperature but didn’t let that keep me from #fultonfishertietheknot in Annapolis. After a visit to the doctor and some good meds, I was on the mend and able to travel to Nashville for #allaboutal! Snow days followed…

February. Valentine’s Day travel plans postponed due to blizzard conditions. Thankfully I was able to escape the snow the last weekend of the month to be my Mom’s date at the Kelly + Michael After Oscars Show. What an experience!

March. Enjoyed an awesome weekend getaway with my girl to Providence and traveled to Atlanta to celebrate my dear friend Allison’s wedding. On our flight home, Boston was hit with yet another snow fall. We were part of Boston history as we saw 108.6 inches fall in this city of ours. Made a pact with my girl that we would escape to warmer temperatures in 2016!

April. Relaunched our Boston book club. And kicked off the start to the season on Nantucket for the annual Daffodil Day weekend. I like any excuse to picnic!

May. Naturally my birthday month was all about food and trying all the new spots: Loyal 9, Loco Taqueria, Giulia, and Centre Street Cafe. My girl also surprised me with a visit from my niece and nephews. Best gift ever!

June. There was still snow in Boston but that didn’t stop us from officially opening the deck at Melrose Place with a cocktail party. We also celebrated our 1 year anniversary in Ptown.

July. We kicked off the July 4th weekend with a hot air balloon ride and me blogging again! Attended the U2 concert at the Garden, the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Pavilion and heard Aziz Ansari do a reading at Harvard. Oh and my little niece was baptized. Awesome month and guess what, the snow finally melted!

August. We traveled almost every weekend from Nantucket to New York City to the Catskills. Best month! And the one weekend we were in Boston, we attended the #jordangetsmaced celebration and danced the night away!

September. Spent two weeks in Europe. Didn’t want to come home. Ended the month is DC with life long friends.

October. Apple picking, book signings, Red Sox games and travels south… October was surely good to us!

November. Started the month off celebrating my girl in Stowe followed by a birthday celebration at our new favorite spot in Boston… Committee. My Mom and stepdad officially moved back to Massachusetts and thus we had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration on the island with almost the whole family!

December. Started the month with a wonderful weekend in Brooklyn followed by the wedding celebration of #farmandflanagan and Christmas in Baltimore. Tomorrow we leave for Stowe to ring in the New Year with dear friends. December, you have gone by too fast!

These are just a few numbers I’ll remember 2015 by:

7,000… international miles logged
36… years celebrated
12… weekend getaways
4… weddings
3… trips planned for 2016 {so far}
2… new stamps in my passport
1… year with my love!

Thank you for letting me share my life with you. Returning to this little blog has brought much joy to my life. And I look forward to continuing to share my journey{s} with you in 2016. On a final note, I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine. A wish for the New Year!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes!”                               ― Neil Gaiman

 

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Tuesday Travel

baltimore

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and were able to take a little time to recharge! We had a wonderful holiday in Baltimore. Before meeting K, I had actually spent quite a bit of time in Charm City as a dear friend lives near the old stadium. So to start off the week, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things in Bawlmer, hon!

Stay

Thinking back, this is the first time I’ve actually stayed at a hotel in Baltimore after nearly 10 visits. After two days with family, we treated ourselves to two nights at the Hotel RL, located in the historic Keyster Building in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The hotel lobby is reason enough to stay here, boasting a lounge, game room, coffee shop/bar and performance space. And the room, modern yet cozy. Our bed was heavenly and we didn’t wake up the morning after Christmas till 10 am (might have to do with our early morning Christmas day but…)! I’m told the pancakes in the morning are delicious although I didn’t get to try them myself.

See + D0

Baltimore is made up of eclectic neighborhoods: Federal Hill, Fells Point (once the nation’s second largest immigration port); Canton, Locust Point, Roland Park and Hampden (just to name a few). Get out and explore as many as you can. My favorites include Hampden and Fells Point.

Baltimore has a rich history too. Make sure to visit Fort McHenry, the Peabody Library and the flag house, where the star spangled banner was sewn.

One of my favorite activities to do in Baltimore is see a movie as they have some wonderful theatres. Check out The Senator, an art deco theatre with a single screen located in the Govans neighborhood. You will feel like you are stepping back in time. My other favorite is The Charles. The 108-year-old structures which house The Charles boast a rich history. Designed in 1892, the buildings were originally designed to be a cable car barn and a powerhouse. In 1939, the Times Theatre opened on the site as Baltimore’s first all-newsreel movie house. The theater was re-named the Charles circa 1959 and recently went through a major renovation.

And during the holiday season, you must visit 34th Street, or as the locals call it Miracle on 34th Street, which this year celebrated its 69th year. Some of the best Christmas lights I’ve ever seen!

Eat

The food scene in Baltimore is off the hook, as Guy Fieri would say. A few places not to be missed:

Artifact Coffee – A wonderful coffee shop with a yummy egg sandwich. Add the special snake oil hot sauce for a little kick!

Woodbury Kitchen – I would say this place put Baltimore on the map from a foodie perspective. Bringing the local ingredients of the Chesapeake to the table, WK is comfort food at its best. The fried chicken is the best! They have also launched a pantry line so you can take the tastes of WK home with you.

Parts & Labor – Part butcher shop, part hearth-fired restaurant, Parts & Labor is not to be missed!

Clementine – Every city needs a great breakfast spot. Clementine is Balto’s.

L.P. Steamers – The only crab shack you need to know about.

And, you must stop into a local grocery store and purchase a box of Berger cookies. A take on a New York style black and white cookie but better, I promise!

Photo credit: Pinterest 

 

 

 

 

In the Kitchen

cookies of the world

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to join a wonderful group of women at my friend’s charming South End shop for a cookie swap. And what fun we had. While searching for the perfect holiday cookie recipe, I came upon a Cookies of the World post on Food52 and decided on the homemade mint slices from Australia. I was sold on these as the author said these cookies are better than thin mints. I wasn’t sure such a thing existed!

The truth is in the pudding as these cookies were delicious and a huge hit not only at the cookie swap, but at my office and Kristen’s office. Do you need to bring a little something to a Christmas celebration, I suggest you try these!

Homemade Mint Slice Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling and the coating:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil {I used vegetable oil}

Directions

Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and continue beating until the egg is incorporated and the mixture lightens in color. Add the cocoa powder to the egg mixture and beat until there are no lumps. Finally, fold in the flour until it is all incorporated. You should expect the dough to be very soft.

Turn it out onto a piece of baking paper, roll it into a log about 1 1/2 inches thick, and wrap the dough. Place the log into the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough is finished chilling, take it out of the freezer and slice it into 1/2-inch pieces; you should get about 20 rounds. Place the cookies onto the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them to cool completely on the baking sheets.

To make the mint filling, simply stir together the powdered sugar, the peppermint extract, and 1 tablespoon of water {I used a little more than 1 tablespoon and used my hands to incorporate}. Take a scant teaspoon of the mint filling and use it to top each cookie, patting and smoothing it with your fingers so that it covers the top but stops shy of the edge of the cookie.

To coat the cookies, melt the chocolates and vegetable oil in a metal bowl over boiling water {my version of a double broiler}. Make sure the water is not touching the metal bowl. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, dip each cookie in the chocolate, coating it completely. To speed up the process on my second batch, I just dipped just the tops of each cookie and let them set.

Once complete, make sure to store cookies in the fridge. This will help the chocolate harden as well.

Image Credit: Food52

Winter Bucket List

winter

The shortest day of the year… my goodness! With a new season upon us, I like to put pen to paper and come up with a few bucket list items. For a little perspective, I took a quick look at my 2013 bucket list.  Sadly I didn’t get to check everything off then so here’s hoping to do so in 2016!

  1. {Finally} Ice skate on Frog Pond. This has been on my list for years now and I really just need to do it.
  2. Host an intimate dinner party. I find it much easier to entertain during the summer months on our deck but this winter, I’d like to do an intimate formal dinner party for friends.
  3. Walk and Explore. During the winter months, I find it easy to hurry home after work and curl up by the fire place. This winter, I’d like to bundle up and explore this beautiful city of mine. So much has changes since I’ve been back.
  4. Unplug. I will admit, I am addicted to my phone and several of my apps. I am going to try and instill a new rule: no social media after 8 pm.
  5. Read. The pile of new books next to my bed is getting quite high. I try to read a book a month but would like to increase this to at least two, maybe three. Any recommendations?

I promise to keep you apprised as I check these off one by one!

 

Movie Monday

arthurchristmas

Happy Monday, dear readers! Are you all ready for the Christmas holiday arriving later this week? My last gifts should arrive this evening so I think I’m in pretty good shape, which means its time to focus on my favorite parts of the holidays… eating and watching holiday movies.

I’m sure this will come of no surprise to many of you, but I’ve always been a Love Actually,  The Holiday and A Christmas Story kind of girl. That was until my little nephews introduced me to Arthur Christmas last Christmas. This sweet little film has now moved up to the top of my list. If you haven’t seen it, you must. And if you have, join me in watching it again this holiday season. I think I’m on 4 viewings to date!

Pantry

ILA

Hello from Boston on this rainy afternoon!

Are you still looking for some last minute gift ideas or just need a little something to make you smile today? Look no further than ILA, a wonderful new source for kitchen essentials, brought to you by the creative genius behind Sunday Suppers.

Much is in a name, no? And ILA is derived from Hindu Mythology and a woman whose beauty was irresistible and spirit was gentle, kind and grounded. In Sanskrit, ILA  means earth, beauty and prayer. I may just have a new favorite word!

Each offering is beautifully packaged and sourced from farms, purveyors and artisans around the globe. ILA’s mission is simple: inspire one to gather and feast together. What a delightful notion. I can’t wait to test their olive oil, a little treat for myself this holiday season.

Photo Credit: ILA website

Tuesday Travel

Brooklyn

Oh Brooklyn… I certainly did fall hard for you last weekend and of course returned home and began the search for the perfect apartment in Carroll Gardens. While I don’t think a move is in my imminent future, today’s blog post is so let’s get to it.

Although it is not the largest borough of New York, Brooklyn is the most populated with over 2.5 million people and approximately 136 languages spoken. Walking the streets, you just feel the energy and the culture all around you. This was the first time I really explored Brooklyn. For a girl who loves NYC, I had high expectations for our Brooklyn weekend and nearly every one was blown out of the park. I didn’t want to cross the river to head to Manhattan once.

I have our wonderful hosts, with whom we traveled to The Catskills with, to thank for making sure our weekend was perfect. If you are addicted to Instagram like me, feel free to take a look at our Brooklyn adventure by searching #mrktbkvisit.

Stay

stay

The Wythe Hotel. I stayed here about six months after they first opened back in 2012 and I must say, it is just as good as I remember. K even said this may just be her favorite place we have stayed as so it is safe to say, I don’t think we will ever stay anywhere else in Brooklyn!

I booked the Historic Corner King for our one night stay (as we had saved a little $$ by staying with our friends in their new Prospect Heights apartment on Friday and Saturday night). We made it to the hotel a little before 2 pm, just in time for The Ides, the rooftop bar to open. It was a glorious, sunny day and we enjoyed cocktails and the amazing views of the city skyline. The Hibiscus Cooler was my drink of choice. We also treated ourselves to the cheese plate and dessert around 10 pm at Reynards, located in the hotel lobby. The tile alone is reason enough to go in my book. One new addition to the hotel offerings since my last visit is Marlow Goods. A beautifully curated shop including leather goods, rugs, bath products, clothing {including my favorite Ulla Johnson}, candles and jewelry. The perfect place to pick up a gift for a loved one and yourself.

Eat

eat

As with most weekend getaways, our itinerary revolved around food. A few places not to miss include:

Sisters – On our drive to our friends’ apartment we drove by Sisters and based on the facade along I said “we need to go there.” As luck would have it, Sisters was the site of our first meal in Brooklyn. Saturday brunch. I had the avocado toast {pictured above} while the rest of the table enjoyed the egg sandwich on a biscuit. Light and airy, Sisters is also a great spot for late night.

Poppy’s Pop-up – I’ve been admiring Poppy’s Catering on Instagram for quite some time so was excited to learn that their bi-monthly pop-up was taking place on the Saturday of our visit. Beet cured salmon with cream cheese  on multi-grain toast. Yes, please!

Grand Army – After exploring Carroll Gardens, the Brooklyn Bridge and walking through Dumbo, we needed some hydration. Grand Army is the perfect neighborhood spot to do just that. Their cocktail list is spot on, they do brunch till 4 pm and they have the most delicious ricotta toast with brussels sprouts. A must visit!

Emily – It’s like a thing that you have to eat pizza while in NY and Emily’s pizza did not disappoint. Although the wait for a table was nearly 3 hours, we were able to place a to-go order and enjoy Emily’s from the comforts of the apartment within 30 minutes!

Tilda All Day – Tilda’s could just be my favorite breakfast spot. The soft scrambled egg sandwich is delicious. Even better, they have a to-go case with the most delicious chocolate chip cookies so after brunch, make sure to grab a coffee and cookie to go.

Cafe Mogador – Located just two blocks from The Wythe, K and I had a delicious late lunch/early dinner at this spot. The cucumber/mint yogurt dip is to die for and the chicken salad with rice and salad was simple but perfect. I was licking my plate!

Do

bridge

My favorite thing to do in any city is To wander. On our first day we walked nearly 8 miles. Pretty impressive, right? It also offset our weekend food and drink intake 😉

A few not to be missed Brooklyn activities include walking the Brooklyn Bridge, exploring Dumbo and capturing the iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge with the Empire State Building perfectly framed {as pictured above}. I also enjoyed strolling down Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights and popping into the shops. My favorites include Steven Alan Home and The Primary Essentials.

We are in talks about our next #MRKT adventure. Berlin, London, and Seattle are just a few places on the table. Do let me know if you have any recommendations!

Movie Monday

spotlight-one-sheet

Hello and happy Monday to you! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend. Today, I am returning to an oldie but goodie blog post – Movie Monday.

Spotlight, which tells the story of the Boston Globe investigative reporting team that broke the news of the Catholic Church abuse scandal is a must see. The cast {including Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery and Liev Schreiber} is flawless. The story unfolds much like a newspaper article. Never too emotional. Just the facts.

And the fact that has stayed with me since seeing the film is when Sacha Pfeiffer, played by McAdams, speaks with one of the accused priests. Without even taking a moment, he admits, without question, to what he did but stresses that he didn’t receive any pleasure. Confused, Pfeiffer asks for clarification and he says that he too was touched by his priest. The cycle of abuse is heartbreaking. And the ending clip left me speechless. To see the pervasiveness of the cover-up by the Church around the globe. The work the Spotlight team did and continues to do is of utmost importance and it makes me proud to be a Bostonian.

Found

unnamed

Happy Friday, sweet readers! Today, I am excited to share this week’s found item: Todos Organics’ Heal Coconut Oil.

I have my dear friend Christina to thank for introducing me to this week’s found item as she attended high school with Angel, the founder of Todos. Over dinner a few weeks back, I was sharing with her my recent episode with eczema and without taking a breath, she encouraged me to order up a jar of Angel’s coconut oil. She promised it would change my life. And thank goodness, it has.

What makes this coconut oil unique is that it is created with a seven week “warm infusion” technique that allows the oil to remain raw while infusing it with healing botanicals. The heal oil is infused with arnica and calendula, ancient skin supporters that help aid in skin ailments. This oil has replaced all moisturizing products in my medicine cabinet and has completely changed my skin. I don’t think I will use another product again. With winter upon us, I encourage you to treat yourself to one of Todos’ oils. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Image Credit: Todos Organics