Clarity

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I woke up at 3:31 am on Wednesday to the news that Donald Trump was our next President. The emotions that came over me were ones I haven’t felt since another date etched in my memory: Tuesday, December 6th 2005, the day I discovered my then-husband was cheating on me. When I saw the results, I started to shake uncontrollably. I ran to the bathroom as the feeling of nausea set in. And I cried. For the second time in my life, it felt like the very core of my existence was being taken from me. Everything I knew to be right and true in the world no longer existed.

I studied politics at Mount Holyoke College. The oldest all-women’s college in the country. As a double major in Politics and African-American Studies, my studies focused on the vast inequalities that exist in this country. I chose this course of studies because I believed it was our responsibility as a country to take care of those less fortunate, especially our children. I spent four years sharpening my view points, attending lectures by the likes of Cornell West, Lani Guinier, Jonathan Kozol, Bernie Sanders and even Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. I thought it was important to hear all sides. It helps with critical thinking and understanding that many times the answers aren’t black and white.

The plan was to become a lawyer, after devoting two years to Teach for America. But I graduated school with over $80,000 worth of college debt in the form of private loans that wouldn’t be forgiven if I went into public service. My monthly loan payments were over $1,000 and thus I had to join corporate America after graduation and work a second job on the weekends to make ends meet. I landed my first job after college at a prestigious law firm because my then boyfriend’s father golfed with an executive at Gillette who was friends with a partner at the firm. My credentials weren’t really important; it was just one white guy trying to help another white friend out. And this, dear readers, is why I am where I am today.

The role of our government is this: to form a more perfect union; to establish justice; to insure domestic tranquility; to promote the general welfare; and to secure the blessings of liberty. I voted in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders because I believed he was the best candidate to ensure the role of government. I knew firsthand that not everyone has a story like me or could make the choices I have made based on where I lived and the people I knew. Many around me, including my mother, were shocked to hear I wasn’t supporting Hillary Clinton. Yes, it would be amazing to nominate the first female president, but I believed she was engrossed in the business of Washington, D.C. To be honest, the fact that she stayed with Bill after the Monica Lewinsky scandal {and others} made my heart break for her. But to think she needed to stay with a man to rise to political power questioned my ideas of feminism.

However, when Bernie lost the nomination, I knew what I had to do. Support our candidate. Because, whether we want to admit it or not, to stay home on Election Day would send a sexist, bigoted, racist, homophobic man to the presidency and that just wasn’t an option. I thought that everything Trump said and did during the campaign went against the moral compass of what this country was founded on.

How shocked I was to be proven wrong. Nearly 46% of Americans didn’t show up to the polls to vote on Tuesday. People. As citizens in this great country of ours, it is OUR DEMOCRATIC DUTY to vote. If you don’t like either candidate, I get it. I didn’t either. But I knew that if I didn’t use my voice to vote, the other side would win. And now three days into a Trump-elect reality, the hatred and bigotry has become rampant. I think about it and tears just start to flow.

Moments ago I saw a clip of a man who said he wrote in a candidate and left the poll with a clear conscious. How anyone could have a clear conscious after the hatred and bigotry that has transpired since Trump’s election is beyond me. The truly mind-blowing piece of this all is that 53% of white woman voted for Donald Trump. A man who has been married three times, has had numerous allegations of sexual harassment filed against him and who literally said “grab them by the pussy” when video cameras were around. I know Hillary is part of the establishment and has an email problem, but really? Couldn’t we have taken one for the global team here?

The most important thing to remember is that we elect a President who surrounds him or herself with a group of advisers who help shape policy change in this county. And nominates individuals to the Supreme Court. Because of inaction, everything is now on the table. Universal healthcare, gun laws, climate change, disability benefits, political asylum.

We are a divided country. People have lost their jobs. Have less than ever before. But we are part of a global community. We need to participate. We need to listen to those around us. We need to open our hearts and our eyes to what suffering is and looks like. We need to act {here is a list of organization that need our help}.

For all those who didn’t participate, I am not blaming this one on you. But please take the time to understand how our system works. One day I hope we will have proportional representation in our elected offices and that third-party candidates won’t take from the popular vote. Until then, please understand the rules of the game and what your inaction means. Let’s be honest. For many of us, life won’t change much. Count your blessings. But for others, everything changed Tuesday night. Let’s understand that and help them through these next four years.

*Photo Credit: image from Instagram from notes left in the New York City subway to inspire hope. 

 

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Tuesday Travel

Paris

For my 37th birthday, K surprised me with a trip to Paris. Truth be told, the surprise came last November, after the horrific attacks, when K sat me down and revealed that she had booked tickets to Paris for early May. With mixed emotions and a broken heart over the events that unfolded, I remembered the words of Audrey Hepburn who said “Paris is always a good idea” and thus we decided to move forward with the trip. And how happy I am that we did!

I spent the last several months doing an extensive amount of research on the must do’s in the City of Lights. Once I had what I thought was a final itinerary, I emailed it along to my sister Michelle, who lived in Paris for three years during university. She wrote back and said “cross 2 things off your list for each day.” I guess I didn’t realize how big Paris really is. Did you know that Paris is made up of twenty arrondissements, or neighborhoods? That is quite a bit of territory to cover. To help ease planning, I tried to plan each day around visiting one or two arrondissements.

A few things to note: the Metro is super easy to navigate and I highly recommend using it to get from place to place. Uber is also available in Paris and we used this on rainy days where walking to the metro proved to be a bit of a challenge. Almost everyone we met from shops to restaurants spoke English but we always greeted each other in French. I think it’s the polite way to show you are trying. Oh and if you want to see the full collection of my photos from the trip, check out my Instagram feed and search #MayinParis.

Stay

Stay

After contacting several Airbnb owners with little success, we decided to book a room at the chic Hotel Henriette, a design boutique hotel located on the left bank in the 13th Arr. near Les Gobelins metro stop. Everything about this spot was perfection. We stayed in Room No. 44, a deluxe double that had a delightful king bed, day bed seating area and a tub. Every detail was perfect. After a day of exploring, I would make myself right at home on this little day bed.

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Do

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There is so much to see and do in Paris but since both K and I had visited several of the main attractions in Paris before {Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versaillies} we decided to spend more time exploring a few key neighborhood {the Marais, Montmarte}. With that, though, we did make time to visit a few mainstays, which I suggest you add to your list should you be planning a trip.

Musée de l’Orangerie – located in the 1st Arr. in the Jardin des Tuileries, this small but mighty museum is a must. The two rooms featuring the curved Monets will leave you mesmerized.

Musée Rodin – located in the 7th Arr. on the left bank, we enjoyed our first afternoon in Paris in the sculpture garden, seeing such works as “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell.”

Notre Dame – K and I have developed a little tradition when traveling abroad. We like to light candles for our loved ones who have passed in as many churches as we can and thus a visit to Notre Dame was a must.

Sainte-Chappelle –  Just to see the 1,113 pieces of stained glass is reason enough to visit Sainte Chappelle. You know what I fell in love with though? The floor tiles. Just look.

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Shop

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I could devote an entire blog post to the shopping in Paris! It’s incredible. A few of our favorites shop include:

Le Bon Marché – located in the 7th Arr., this department store has everything. My favorite part? This escalator.

Merci – located in the 3rd Arr., Merci is a concept store that has a carefully curated collection of goods for the house, the garden, and your closet, in addition to a wonderful cafe situated in a library. I contained myself and only purchased my fourth Paris travel guide that I justified as it isn’t available in the states.

Paper Tigre – In every city we visit there are two places I need to visit: the local cafes and the paper store. Paper Tigre, located in the 3rd Arr., is a fantastic paper shop that was the ideal place to pick up a wonderful collection of gifts for upcoming birthdays. They had a wonderful selection of candles named after each garden in Paris. The perfect keepsake to bring home!

La Tresorerie – located in the 10th Arr., La Tresorerie is stocked with a wonderful selection of items for your kitchen, living spaces and bathroom. I found the greatest colander that I was able to fit in my carry-on for the trip home. Next door to the shop is a delightful cafe named Cafe Smorgas that is a must after some shopping.

Jamini – with locations in the 9th and 10th Arr., Jamini is a beautiful shop filled with textiles made in India.

Jacques Genin Chocolate Shop – A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to a chocolate shop. My favorite was this one, located in the 3rd Arr. Their chocolate covered orange peel… I’ve been thinking about them since our return.

Pierre Herme – My most favorite dessert in the world is a French macaroon and thus a visit to this Parisian institution is a must. We purchased a box of 16, with flavors including Mogador {my favorite – milk chocolate and passion fruit}, vanilla, chocolate, matcha, mint, and caramel. They are almost too beautiful to eat, don’t you think?

Eat

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Les Cocottes – located in the 7th Arr., I first read of this spot in the Goop city guide. We arrived early {6 pm} to avoid the crowds and I suggest you do the same. Also, order the chocolate tart. It’s incredible!

Rose Bakery – located in the 3rd Arr., we enjoyed a healthy and delicious breakfast here on our second day in Paris. They are known for their baked goods, especially their carrot cake. Try it!

L’As due Falafel – located in the 3rd Arr., this is my favorite place to eat in Paris. Get the falafel sandwich with the grilled eggplant, add the harissa sauce {you have to ask for this} and sip on a lemonade. I promise you won’t be disappointed. It will also be the cheapest meal you eat. Trust me!

Fragments Coffee Bar – located in the 3rd Arr., this charming coffee shop is a must visit while exploring the Marais. Their lemon cake is divine as well as their brews. And the facade, worth a photo or two!

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Le Mary Celeste – located in the 3rd Arr., this is the place to go for a cocktail in the Marais. Wish it were my neighborhood bar!

Claus – located in the 1st Arr., this is where I celebrate the first meal of my 37th year. Delicious eggs with roasted tomatoes and a yummy bread basket. We ordered a piece of lemon cake to go and it may have been my second most favorite thing I ate in Paris.

Honor – located in the 8th Arr., Honor is Paris’ first outdoor cafe. They also serve a selection of pastries from Broken Biscuit. A wonderful place to escape from the husle and bustle of the Champs.

Buvette – located in the 9th, this is the second location of the famed West Village french eatery. We enjoyed the coq au vin, the carrot salad and the chocolate cake. All amazing. My favorite part of the meal… the cocktail menu. It’s a work of art.

Septime – located in the 11th, Septime is a place that shouldn’t be missed. Since it is nearly impossible to obtain a dinner reservation, we opted for a lunch reservation and decided upon their 6-course tasting menu. Let’s just say, this meal was the top dining experience of my life. We had hoped to make it to their sister restaurant Clamato, a charming oyster bar, but time ran out.

Le Sirocco –  located in the 13th and across the street from our hotel, Le Sirocco was a delightful find. We had reservations to eat at Candelaria for our final night but we were both exhausted so decided to just take the walk across the street for dinner. And what a dinner we had. A traditional Moroccan meal that was an experience for the senses. Should you find yourself in the 13th, I highly recommend going.

Du Pain et des Idees – when you think about food in Paris, one thing comes to mind, right? Croissants. This bakery in the 10th Arr. is claimed to have the best in Paris. Go!

*****

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“There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote from Ernest Hemingway. I can’t wait to plan our next trip to Paris. There is still so much more to discover in this city!

Movie Monday

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Happy Monday, dear readers! Hope you had a great weekend. I spent a bit of time Saturday morning glued to Netflix devouring Love, a hysterical new series co-created by Judd Apatow that was released mid-February. This first season follows Mickey {played by Gillian Jacobs} and Gus {played by Paul Rust} as they navigate the twisty road to courtship. And while technically it’s not a movie, if you binge watch it like me, it’s like watching a movie and a half. For anyone who has endured the dating game in recent time, this series will make you smile. And while it is quite similar to Masters of None, it does touch upon some dark and disturbing truths. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.

And if you are interested in what Vanity Fair had to say about the show, you can read the review here.

Love

Valentine's

For all you love birds out there, I wanted to share some of my favorite gifts to shower the one(s) you love with.

  • Art is always the way to my heart and this MAGIC neon sign is awesome!
  • Silky pj’s… yes please!
  • Pyrrha jewelry, handcrafted in Vancouver, will certainly score you some points. Their love collection is timeless.
  • A gift for everyday of the year. Gathered Truths.
  • You can never go wrong with a leather pouch. Especially this one from Cuyana’s partnership with my girl Garance Dore.

My girl and I are keeping it easy this year. A home cooked meal on Valentine’s Day followed by a morning at The Mandarin Spa.  Remember, that it really is the thought that counts when selecting a gift. As Van Gogh said “What is done in love is done well.”

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

 

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!

 

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.

Beginnings

Wedding Details
The first weekend of May I had the honor of celebrating the union of one of the greatest girls I know and her very lucky husband. Truth be told, Kristen and I will be celebrating our anniversary this week. 8 years. We fondly call each other wifey as we have found in each other what everyone hopes to find in a soul mate. And let me tell you, her wedding made me fall for her that much more. Every detail, from the save-the-date to the dessert buffet, was perfection. I thought I would share a few of my favorite.

The Venue
Barn
Kristen knew she wanted to have an intimate wedding, no more than 40 guests. To be included in this group was such a privilege. The location, a barn, just added to the closeness of this affair. Everyone invited shaped these two people as individuals and as a couple. A room full of great friends and many happy memories. And the best part, many were able to stay in the adjoining house so it almost felt like we were at someone’s home. Hardy Farm, 3 hours from Boston. What a place!

Placesettings
Placesetting
I have been to my quite a few weddings… as a guest, as a bridesmaid and even as a worker (yes the glamorous life of catering) and I have never seen such a creative and thoughtful placesetting. A photo of the bride or groom (depending on which side you are on) and you along your journey as friends. And the cool thing, after you found your seat, you were asked to hang the photo on the garland featured in the photo above. Beautiful. And the dinner plates were vintage. I thought they may have been from a family collection, but Kristen told me her resource was Etsy.

The Getaway Car
I love old cars. Like love them. And when I heard that Kristen’s father was bringing one of his, I couldn’t wait to see it. And what a beauty. Just look at this thing? And you know what, it traveled all the way from Ohio for this special occasion.
The car

There was cornhole, customized red silo cups, sparklers by the fire pit, a serenade to the lovely bride from her groom. A magical night. We danced well into the evening. I was most happy to find a “hangover kit” in my welcome bag the next morning. The 5 hour energy, aleve and breathemints certainly helped prior to my arrival at the morning after brunch.

So here is to one of the greatest couples I know on the beginning of their journey together. I was beyond honored to be included in this celebration of love, family and friends. Certainly a strong foundation for a lifetime together. Much love to you both!

Justmarried

Hope

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Friends… we made it! Happy April 1st and let’s hope that spring really, truly is here to stay.

I realize it has been a bit of time since I got personal with you all so I thought today would be the perfect day. And let me be clear, this is NOT an April Fool’s post. What I am about to share is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You have my word!

As frequent visitors of this little blog know, love is something that has eluded me these past few years. I have been blessed to have wonderful people come into my life and have shared moments that are beyond words. But for all of those moments, I also have spent far too much time holding onto the hope that some of these men would finally realize what they had in front of them (me) and sweep me right off my feet.

This week, though, the most beautiful thing happened. For the first time in my entire life (sad to say, but very true), I had someone quite special share words with me I’ve never heard before. To be told I am worthy of everything I have ever wanted, it actually made me cry. In that moment, hearing those words, life became quite simple. No more am I holding out hope for that guy to get it. I am worthy of someone seeing me, hearing me and being captivated by me. And I have a feeling this spring will bring me everything I have ever wanted and so much more.