Secret popover

Some spirit inside my phone desperately wanted to share this… So since it already emailed all you lovely readers anyway, here’s a haiku about that cryptic image:

Popovers and tea / On the lawn at Jordan Pond / This is my heaven 

(Taken in Acadia, Sept 2015)  

Thrilling thirty

It’s here.

And it’s even better than I expected.

30 brought me a huge birthday card from my officemates, calling out their 30 favorite things about me (everything from “she always shares her time, even when she’s busy” to “she found my underwear!” to “she keeps AOL in business”). It gave me brownies and cookies and people to enjoy them with. It meant I was walking through Davis Square after live music, dinner, and a movie – with my awesome dad – as the clock chimed into my new decade. It fed me breakfast at my childhood kitchen table with my family old and new (HI WES) around me. It saw me cheering over birthday cake with my family at our lake house, keeping warm by the fire and playing on the beach, then sipping the night away at a new speakeasy-themed bar in ManchVegas.

In a way, my life isn’t that different from when I started this blog in 2010. I still live with my awesome roommate Katie. I am weeks away from hitting my 5th year with my awesome job. I still love Boston, and peanut butter, and running on the bike path. But I’ve learned a lot, seen a lot, taken risks and hit my stride.

I can already tell – thirty is going to be my best year yet. The dress rehearsal is over, the stage is set – now it’s my time to shine and show the world what I can do. Including even running for Senate if I feel like it (5 more years until the Presidency is mine, baby!)!

Stay tuned to see what happens next!

Happy Mountain Day!

It’s that most glorious day of the fall – the day when the bells peal across the campus green, announcing the cancellation of all classes and obligations in favor of sleeping in and hiking and ice cream.

The glory of Mountain Day doesn’t end when you graduate from Mount Holyoke – it carries with you no matter where you go (even if you don’t necessarily get to call out of work sick because of “mountains” – sorry!). So, enjoy some ice cream, text some old college friends, and enjoy the fall – while it lasts!

More on Mountain Day from:

Stop reading and go outside

Because the moon is PHENOMENAL right now. The lunar eclipse will continue for another 2 hours or so, but go see it while the moon is basically gone to get the full impression.  And as you gaze skyward, think of all the other people all over the world (and especially on our darling east coast) delaying their bedtimes just a little bit to end their weekend with some of the craziest sh*t mother nature can think of.

eclipse 9-27-15

The final countdown

On Saturday, I turn 30.

As a young woman, 30 can feel like a wall you have no choice but to climb. Society tells us that at 30, you should be…

  • well-read
  • married
  • settled (whatever that means)
  • excelling at your career
  • thinking about having babies (that mythical crocodile clock is ticking, yo)
  • great at managing your finances, nutrition, scented candles for each season, etc.
  • svelte and polished

But… what about happy?

Because while I think I’m on track for some of the items on that list, what I am bringing with me as I cross the threshold into 30 is much more intangible. It’s the knowledge that I’m mortal, the wisdom that it’s ok to try and fail (at hobbies, love, political campaigns – whatever!). It’s knowing who my true friends are and what’s worth my tears (which doesn’t mean I don’t get upset when my dress rips or my cookies burn in my dastardly oven – it just means I also know that those things don’t really matter). It’s adventures and wishes and bruises and “league champion” t-shirts and shoes that are so comfortable, I don’t care who knows that they’re Crocs.

I – and many of my peers – spent my late 20s thinking that life was something we could win at, as though there would be a medal waiting for us at the end. But what in the world would the “end” be? And who would be by our side to celebrate? And was it all worth busting our butts for?

I hope that my 30s bring more adventures.  More opportunities to prove myself and have the world open up to me.  More spicy food and late nights and late mornings recovering.  More love – from the people I know now and those I haven’t even met yet who will change my life.

Because this isn’t the end – this is barely the beginning.

So now I’m going to eat up every bite of this last week of being 30 – and then, going to dive headfirst into whatever’s next!

For more mid-year reflections on turning 30, read this!

Taking a bite of the Big Apple

New York may not be my city but it’s a dang good one.

I visited Kat and Wes in NYC last weekend with Katie in a grand celebration of all things summer and musicals.

Despite spending the days working, our visit had a decidedly festive air. We ate empanadas in Times Square, toasted to the weekend in a noisy beer garden with fellow New Yorker, Kate, and watched the moon rise over the glittering lights of Broadway.


Just before the Tonys, we bought tickets to two new musicals: Finding Neverland and Somethjng Rotten. If they won big, we didn’t want to miss seeing the OBC (Original Broadway Cast). And even though they didn’t, we couldn’t wait to see what they had in store.

First was Finding Neverland: the story of the family and man behind Peter Pan. I saw it twice when it was at the ART in Boston starring Jeremy Jordan and it brought me to tears both times with great stagecraft, moving songs, and adorable plot. The magic held on Broadway, though the seats were much further away.


Saturday was spent at Coney Island, drinking lemonade, riding thrill rides, and sticking our feet in the water for one last dip of summer. Coney is one of the most colorful beaches I know, and so fun to look at from the pier, with its bright coasters rising almost from the sand.


In the evening, we saw Something Rotten – the tale of brother playwrights trying to break out of Shakespeare’s shadow. It was basically made for musical theater lovers and 17 year old boys, with its crude humor and send up to every hit show in the last 80  years. “A musical” was legitimately a show stopper – I spent the four minutes clapping trying to figure out if anything I could do or shout would get them to give an encore presentation.

Our greatest adventure came as we were leaving, and took a shortcut down a staircase that had just been closed off – only to find that the entrance back into the main theater had also been closed off and now we were en route to backstage, along with friends and family of the cast. “Is that Josh Groban or someone who looks like him?” Kat asked. Yep, it was him. We followed him out the official exit into the night, past the waiting fans who didn’t give him or us a second glance.

The hilarious thing is how similar the shows were to each other. Both were about male writers trying to write their next big thing. Both featured songs of writing torment that involved dancing through spinning doors. Both had jokes about women’s rights and the modern world – though they meant 1590 and the early 1900s. The music was completely different but the plots echoed of each other and of classic stories told throughout time (you know, all those ones with spinning doors…)

I headed home with new songs in my head, NY bagels in my stomach, and a light sunburn on my back. Viva summer adventures! 

What’s your favorite thing to do when visiting NYC?

Top 10 things to pack for Europe

As my cousin Elena gets ready for a semester abroad, I wanted to share my best tips for what accessories and tools to pack for a good trip to Europe. These are the top items that made my last trip a success – what else would you add, dear readers?

Top10Europe

  1. Locks. They’re not just for (illegally) adding to bridges in Paris, these are also great for keeping your stuff secure – I got this TSA-approved duo. This is especially helpful if you’re sleeping on a train, putting your suitcase in the other end of a train car where you wouldn’t be able to see someone reaching in, or leaving your valuables at your hotel. Honestly, if someone is desperate enough to steal your stuff, they’re going to take your entire bag – but if a thief is just fishing around for something easy (as was the case when a cousin had her iPad and nothing else stolen in Europe…) this can be the first step in thwarting them.
  2. A travel power strip. I bought the Belkin travel charger and it was great for expanding my charging power while keeping all my devices in one place (the easier to collect when packing or locking up for the day!). Get one and then get a local power converter and you won’t have to worry about blowing your fuses or having one of your devices go without a charge.
  3. A portable charger. One more technology item I recommend – portable chargers are great if you’re using your phone as your camera / map / texting device / place to keep tickets and confirmations / etc. Get a small power cell and a retractable (or just short) power cord to make a little power-on-the-go kit that will mean you never need to cut an adventure short because your battery is running low.
  4. Ear plugs. Whether you’re sharing a hostel with a snoring roommate or your Airbnb is next door to a building with an alarm going off 24/7 (true – bad – story), it sucks to pay exchange prices for something so small that you can get so cheaply before you leave home.
  5. Printed copies of documents. You know what else is no fun? Finding out that you needed to have that ticket to Versailles or wherever on paper and then needing to find an internet cafe in Paris to print it at. Just don’t do it. Keep at least one copy of all important travel plans and bookings – including a copy of the first page of your passport – on paper so that when you wake up in the middle of the night and want to confirm that you didn’t miss your plane, you don’t need to frantically search through your email to be reassured. (Also leave a copy of that front page of your passport, insurance card, etc. with your family at home so they can help you out if all your stuff somehow disappears.)
  6. Passport organizer. Then, keep that all organized! I almost bought many beautiful passport cases before eventually getting a neat pencil bag from Target that became my go-to for traveling. My passport lived in here (which in turn lived in a locked pocket of my suitcase) and it also held my American money, extra credit card, visa for Turkey, etc. It’s nice to have one place that you don’t constantly mess with where you know everything is safely stored.
  7. US medicine and a prescription plan. Do you know how to say “decongestant” in Spanish? How badly do you want to try? For me, the answer is not at all, so I pack as many US meds as I think I might need before I leave home. Painkillers in particular can be quite different between countries, and I prefer to know I’m having a drug I’m familiar with in a dosage that’s proven to work for me. I always bring decongestants and allergy meds, since I get stuffed up from planes and need to recover quickly to enjoy my trip. I also recommend refilling / reactivating any prescriptions you think you could need – whether that means getting a spare inhaler just in case or asking your doc for a z-pack if you always get sick in a particular time of year – even if they won’t pre-authorize it, at least you can have it on hold and quickly call it in as needed.
  8. Packing cubes. I am a devoted follower of packing cubes and their ability to help you keep your clothes neat, compact, and organizer. Having all your running clothes, or all the clothes you need to keep clean for the plane right home, or all your underwear in one place can reduce the stress of hauling so much stuff around with you. It also makes it much easier to find the small things (chargers, souvenirs) in your bag than if everything were floating around. Ikea has a good set but you can also find really good deals at most Marshall’s – I propose getting a mix of closed, waterproof packs and some that are more meshy for when you don’t need things to be so tightly packed (or just get the top seller on Amazon!).
  9. Word Lens, Duolingo, and WhatsApp. Download these before you go and they will change your interactions (and maybe even your life?). WordLens is an app that automatically translates photos into different languages – so if you end up in Germany, you can point your camera at a menu and order with confidence (warning: organ meat is still just organ meat…). No internet connection required! If you want to prepare further in advance, get Duolingo and its free suite of language training programs. Hearing phrases before you actually get into a country can help break through barriers and put you at ease when you actually arrive. And finally, WhatsApp is the preferred way for expats and others to chat with folks back home. It’s a free messaging service that works just like texting but uses only an internet connection. That way, no matter what someone’s area code is, you can start chatting and send photos, etc.
  10. A good scarf. Last but definitely not least – scarves are a staple of my wardrobe, and a great thing to have when traveling. They dress up an outfit, help you hide coffee mishaps, double as blankets when picnicking… the list goes on and on. Scarves make great accessories to hunt for during your travels (Katie got a great one in Paris that got compliments throughout Spain and Turkey) but you should also have one you love before you hit the road.  I splurged on a travel infinity scarf from Boston-based Speakeasy Supply Co, mostly for the hidden pocket. Whenever I was wearing a skirt or leggings, this provided me with an easy pocket and also let me hold my passport and phone close to my body when out in public or dozing on a train.

On top of all this, you’ll want a classic wardrobe (that doesn’t brand you immediately as an American), a good purse, great walking shoes, layers, nice clothes for going out… the list is as endless as your suitcase! But if you start with some good, functional tools, you’ll be on the right track for a successful trip.

Bon voyage, ma cousine!