London

Processed with VSCO with s2 presetOver the summer, after my visit to the Netherlands, I flew to London for Reality. Nicole and I flew together from the Netherlands, and we ended up taking the tube to the wrong place and walked very far to get to where we were staying. But we made it, and that night we celebrated our arrival with lamb meatballs and beer from Exmouth Arms.2016-07-26-21-29-15Processed with VSCO with s2 presetThe next morning, we got coffee at Grub on the Green (which ended up becoming our daily ritual), and kicked off our week by taking the tube to Southwark, walking through the Borough Market, visiting Charles Spurgeon’s church, and eating chicken tikka masala (which is a British national dish), at London’s “first Punjabi restaurant,” Punjab.  We ended the night at the Square Pig with beer and cards.

The rest of the trip consisted of lots of church sessions, coffee from Grub on the Green, tube rides, really delicious sourdough pizza from Franco Manga, the best carrot cake and earl grey I’ve had in a long time from Kahaila Cafe, fish and chips from the Laughing Halibut, many beers, beigels from Beigel Bake, more coffee, more beers, and more tube rides.2016-07-27-12-34-31We visited Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, Kensington Palace, Stratford & Hackney, London Tower, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, King’s Cross Station, and Lambeth.

One night, Cauchy, Dorian, Nicole, and I went to see Wicked, while the rest of our group saw the Phantom of the Opera. Another day, we hung out at Boxpark, which is a minimalist’s dream.

One night, we went out for dinner at Dishoom, which we had heard great things about. It was some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had, and I think about it often. It will be one of my first stops whenever I return to London.
Processed with VSCO with s2 presetAs soon as I got used to cars being on the other side of the road, it was time to leave. Until next time, London.

Thankful: A List

This year has been really good—it’s been stretching and happy and sad and stressful and relaxing, and I’m glad that it isn’t over yet. Here’s a roundup of what I’m thankful for so far, because Thanksgiving. 

-parents who can get along

-natural light

-plants in my living room

-friends who take the time to know me 

-Tom Hanks

-airplanes

-JP Pond

-the color green

-The Yaris

-New York

-avocados

-the ability to run 

-craft beer

-road trips with my sister 

-quiet mornings 

-really good almond milk

-painted nails 

-pizza

-cozy sweaters

-bagels

-fire pits

-swimming in the ocean 

-tacos

-Nora Ephron 

-FaceTime

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish you plenty of turkey and pie and hugs. 

Walden Pond in the Fall

I went to Walden Pond a few weeks ago. Some friends were visiting and so we strolled along and I watched them skip rocks.
The air was crisp and the sun was setting over the pond and it was almost too much to take in because it was so beautiful. It was one of those moments one wants to remember for always.

A Holland Jaunt

A month ago I embarked on another journey to the Netherlands. I still love it there. And we did so many things.
2016-07-21 06.20.56Nicole was visiting her sister there, so she and I traveled together, which made the flight fly by (ha). We had a quick layover in Iceland, and arrived at Schiphol late morning. My aunt and cousin picked me up and we headed straight to Utrecht for food and beer. From there we visited Amersfoort, grabbed a drink by the water in Almere-Haven, then went to my other cousin’s house for takeout ribs in her backyard.


The next day, my aunt and cousin took me to the famous kaasmarkt (cheese market) in Alkmaar. During this time of year, on Fridays, you can go and see how cheese negotiations used to be made (more info here). Anything involving cheese is usually of interest to me, so it was quite enjoyable. We snacked on some poffertjes (Dutch pancakes), walked around the city center, then headed to Volendam.


We walked around a bit, then took a ferry to the island of Marken. We walked around some more (this trip involved lots of walking around), ate patats (Dutch fries), and visited the wooden shoe factory. I had to work hard to resist getting clogs, because how much more Snow White can this get?!


Later that night, back in Almere, my cousin and I went on a short bike ride, and I almost crashed into some teenagers who were playing PokemonGo. Fortunately, we all made it out without injury.


The rest of my visit included seeing Haarlem, Bloemendal, the Anne Frank House, eating so many more patats, and canal biking in Amsterdam.


For my last full day in this part of the world, my cousins took me to Bruges, Belgium. By this point of the trip, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by beauty, but that didn’t keep me from appreciating Bruges. The entire city is beautiful. We drank Belgium beer, ate Belgium waffles with Belgium chocolate, looked at Belgium buildings.
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Tot ziens, Nederland!

Giant Recap | Part Three

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetIt’s time for another giant recap. Summer 2015 was coming to an end and fall was well on its way.2015-09-19 12.49.03Back in September, my dad visited me in Boston for the first time, and in true tourist fashion, we took a bus tour of the city, complete with a jaunt on the harbor.

A few weeks later, I drove to Vermont for Heidi’s bachelorette weekend. We toured of Shelburne Vineyard and then ate pizza across the street at Folino’s.

To welcome in October, Tiff and Sarah visited Boston. We did all the fall things, including apple-picking and leaf-peeping. It was glorious. We also toured the Sam Adams Brewery, and visited Portland, ME, where we ate lots of lobster rolls, visited lighthouses, and toured the Allagash Brewery.

The following weekend, it was back to Vermont for Heidi’s wedding. Vermont in the fall is one of the best things the Northeast has to offer us, and this weekend was no exception. Heidi and Phil were married outside the farmhouse that Heidi grew up in, and it was so beautiful. I got to stay with Emma in her family’s lovely home. She showed me around a little, and we of course got creemees.

I really jam-packed my October with activities. The weekend after Heidi’s wedding, Steph came to visit me, and we did a repeat of all the fall activities. We visited Tower Hill Botanic Garden, drove around the Berkshires, went apple-picking, and most importantly, I finally pet a deer. That experience deserves its own post, so stay tuned.

More October highlights include Sabrina and Paul getting married, celebrating Rachael’s birthday in the Blue Hills, and spending Halloween attempting Escape the Room: Zombie Edition.

In November, I went home for Thanksgiving and got to hang with my cousins, visited the Armstrong Redwoods with my mom, and hung out with Amie for the first time since she left Boston.

And that’s it for the Giant Recaps! Phew. Soon, and very soon my flannel shirt will be making its debut for 2016! Though I’m not yet ready for this summer to be over.

Amsterdam & Paris

Last August, kind of in between this and this, I was able to cross another item off of my list: visit a new country. Some family friends of ours live in the Netherlands, so my mom and I met up there to spend time with them and explore their country.
Processed with VSCOcam with s3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s3 presetAnd I’m obsessed. If I were to live abroad somewhere someday, I think it would be the Netherlands. The landscape, the people, the language–I love it all. Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s6 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetWhile there, we visited Zaanse Schans for windmills, goats, swans, and cheese. Another day, we ventured over to Delft, where the famous Delft Blue pottery is made.Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with s2 presetI explored Amsterdam by taking a canal tour, eating pomme frites, and hanging out in the flower market. I left the country determined to learn Dutch. Still working on that…Processed with VSCOcam with s5 presetI had been told that my trip was going to include a visit to another country, but I hadn’t been told where. When I arrived, my surprise was revealed–we were going to Paris!Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOur original plans got a little derailed once we arrived, but we still got to see the Eiffel Tower up close, take a quick bus tour of the city, and, thanks to an accidental missed exit, we ended up in Versailles and enjoyed a drive-by of the Château  de Versailles.Processed with VSCOcam with e1 presetParis really is as magical as it’s made out to be. I’m ashamed to admit that I kept my expectations pretty low. I let myself believe that the Eiffel Tower was going to be cliché and hyped up, but I’m so glad that I was so, so wrong. It’s so beautiful, and I could’ve spent all three of the days that we were in France sitting at its feet gazing upon its grandeur.Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetAnd to top that, I’m now convinced that all the bread in France is delicious. I’ll warn you that this belief is based solely on my experience purchasing a baguette from Bonjour, a gas station chain, but if bread from a French gas station could taste so fresh, and remain so for three whole days, I’d bet you a crepe that the rest of the country knows what it’s doing when it comes to bread baking.Processed with VSCOcam with se3 presetThough I don’t know when I’ll return to Paris, I get to go back to the Netherlands in less than a week! And I’m going to eat as much Gouda cheese as I can—or as the Dutch say, “how-da.” Maybe I know enough Dutch after all.

Giant Recap | Part Two

The Cape

Summer 2015 was very eventful. Picking up where we left off, Portland Weekend was followed by Weekend at the Cape. Megan, Brian, Amie, Laura, Eric, Matt, and I all went along for the fun. Megan secured a home for us all to stay at in Mashpee and it was quite the relaxing time.
Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetOne evening, we had dinner at Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub, and walked around Falmouth. We felt like locals enjoying our night out on the town. Or maybe that was just me. Either way, we had a great evening. 2015-07-18 19.11.182015-07-19 10.38.58The rest of our time was spent at the beach. I was the only one who swam. Everyone insisted it was too cold, but I disagreed. It was a true testament to my love of swimming. There just really isn’t anything like swimming in the ocean. 2015-07-19 14.28.39The drive back to Boston from the cape is never fun thanks to traffic. On the way home we stopped for ice cream, and it just so happened to be National Ice Cream Day, so that worked out rather well.
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New York

2015-09-06 16.57.572015-09-07 08.35.08A few weeks later, for Labor Day Weekend, Joey and I met Misael for a trip to New York. We all were staying in Brooklyn, so we started our day off with Blue Bottle Coffee in Williamsburg. From there we walked over to The Meatball Shop. This is one of my favorite places to eat ever, and I try to visit one of their locations whenever I’m in NYC. Fortunately for me, Misael is just as obsessed with it as I am.2015-09-06 11.53.20Processed with VSCOcam with m6 presetAfter walking around the neighborhood a bit, we went over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which is super relaxing and beautiful. From there we explored Manhattan, and ended the day with dinner at Seamore’s (which was started by one of the co-owners of The Meatball Shop. We’re loyalists). 2015-09-06 13.53.29Processed with VSCOcam with e1 presetI wasn’t going to mention this because it’s rather unpleasant, but the update would feel incomplete if I left it out. That night, on our walk back from the subway, a rat ran into my foot. A RAT. RAN INTO MY FOOT. I guess that would come to no surprise to New Yorkers, but it was a first for me and I most certainly hope a last. The kicker is that I was singing Good Morning, Baltimore from Hairspray right before it happened, and the line I had just belted out was “the rats on the street all dance around my feet…” They heard me. That’s what I get for singing Broadway in the night in the streets of New York.Processed with VSCOcam with e4 presetThe next morning, we met up with Dan for breakfast at The Grey Dog, then walked over to the Strand Book Store and hung out there for a bit. Dan and I have known each other since kindergarten, so it was nice to catch up. We walked over to Ost Cafe for an afternoon caffeine fix then walked across the Williamsburg Bridge to close out our trip. Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset2015-09-07 12.39.22Our drive back to Boston mainly consisted of me singing along to Disney practically the whole way. Misael and Joey are so patient with me, haha. 2015-09-06 14.41.22