Alis grave nil

I just got back from DC (on a 6 am flight because Meg and I are ridiculous) – highlights of my trip including snuggling a friend’s new baby (Ollie!), seeing the Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick (fascinating even if I’m not totally shipping it), and eating breakfast – ok, and then also wine – with Meg at the all-women DC social club, The Wing.

This place is a pastel Instagram dream. I’ve never been into one of the “good old boys” social club but I’ve read about them in many Victorian novels – if they channel a theme as well as this place does, I can completely understand why the chaps would never leave.

From velvety easy chairs to a wicker and pink cafe to phone booths named after feminist badasses, The Wing is a remote workspace, common room, spa, and lecture hall.

It’s a millennial’s paradise – from the avocado toast to the rosé happy hour to the signs everywhere reminding you to register to vote. Plus the “powder room” features luxury hair and body products (for free) and has robes and slippers in addition to usual shower offerings.

My personal favorite: THE LIBRARY. Thousands of books (color coordinated, one of my favorite nonsensical design choices) all by and about women, that you can browse in person or check out for a month at a time. Be still my nerdy heart!

In theory there are plans for a Wing in Boston in the not too distant future. Given how awesomely powerful this space was, I’ll definitely be checking it out when the time comes. And for now I’ll just pop in when I visit Meg and make her borrow #allthebooks on her account.

(There’s a lot more to this idea beyond how beautiful this place is – check it out on The Wing’s website. Their slogan – and this blog title – roughly translates into “Nothing is heavy for those who have wings.”)

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The move

On Tuesday, I moved for the first time in 8 years. It. Was. A. Trip. Only emotionally and logistically because my new apartment is a mere mile from the old one, but it has still been my home for nearly the entire time I’ve lived away from my parents, so will take some getting used to.

What I lost

  • A suction cup for the shower caddy
  • The battery to my alarm remote
  • Weirdly large hall closets
  • Cable
  • A 250 step commute

What I gained

  • The ability to sleep with the windows open to the sound of trains and rain (now that I’m not on a first floor facing the street)
  • Built in exercise in the form of stairs and a twelve minute walk to the T
  • Front and back porches
  • An oven that holds a temperature (I hope!? Stay tuned for confirmation)
  • A chance to see all my (TOO MUCH) stuff and start to think critically about how to pare down to what really matters

Do you have any “new home” tips my new roommate Sarah (from Mount Holyoke) and I should take into account for this new place? Share them here!

7 things I learned in 2017

When I saw 2017 from afar, I was terrified. Turning 32, entering the year with a different president than the one I worked so hard for, and an unknown future for us all. Now, as we kick off 2018, I feel more certain that things will be ok – and that we, and I, have the tools we need to build the world we want. Here’s what I learned in 2017 that makes me think that the year ahead will be even better than the last.

  1. There is power in numbers – and in single actions. I cashed in my flight to DC, which I had bought on the idea that I would be joining for a historic female inauguration, and instead my friends and I rallied on the Boston Common on January 20th. What I saw there reminded me that I was not alone in my pledge of #resistance, and that we had the power to change history.  At the same time, my work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Advocacy team showed me that even one phone call can make a difference, when it comes to winning over legislators’ hearts and minds. Individually and together, we can’t stop fighting.16174925_10100337868241235_2668692051169580450_n
  2. Failure is sometimes an option. As if 2016 didn’t teach me this enough, I got a nice big dose of humble pie at my first ever craft fair in November. I was so sure that my state embroideries were going to fly off the shelves, I was mentally calculating everything I would buy with my profits. And then, the fair itself was… terrible. I got to spend two days with my mom and best friend, Katie, but DANG we sold almost nothing. I didn’t even cover my materials with the income I got on those two days. I did get to see some old friends and send some NH love into the world, and then had more luck selling at a gift shop in town, but first I had to be taken down about 5 notches from the success I had pictured. I am very glad we did it – it was important to see what the outcome could be! – but it will be some time until I venture into that realm again. Oof.
  3. You need less than you think. Technically I learned this one twice or three times. The first, when I joined my mom and her friends in a quest to get rid of 465 things in September, as in 1 item on 9/1, 2 on 9/2, etc. I found so much stuff I didn’t need lying around. Previously, I learned this when we went without a fridge for almost two weeks this summer and yet managed to stay alive. And then for a final dose, I learned it again when I lost my wallet in a parking lot over Thanksgiving and had to exist on borrowed cash for two weeks while everything was replaced. My wallet eventually found its way home, but going without taught me a) how much I usually spend and b) how little I actually need.wallet_pic
  4. Never underestimate the power of family. Obviously my life is basically this over and over again but recently I got even more reminders, like when my mom jumped in as my Halloween date when I got ghosted by my planned +1, or when my dad gave me the exact right pep talk at the exact right time, or when my sister and brother-in-law canceled on their New Year’s Eve plans to hang out and play board games with me when I was sick. They are truly the best.
  5. You walk less than you think you do, so keep trucking.  My mom and I got FitBits together and love to use them to challenge each other and track our running and other nerdy things (like which way to the subway is actually shorter). But one thing it showed me is that we walk WAY less than we think we do, and you actually have to work at it if you want to get 10k steps per day while having a full-time desk job. Here’s to hitting my goal more days in 2018!
  6. Eat more vitamins. Just, do it. You’ll feel better. That is all.
  7. There are new adventures in my own backyard. Some of my favorite moments in 2017 were finding new exciting things in places I already loved. That includes a Segway tour of DC (my dad’s birthday gift to me!), an awesome hike in the Whites with my mom, sailboats in the Boston Harbor, walking on the ice at our lake house, hosting murder mystery parties, the epic adventure of officiating my childhood bestie’s wedding on a Cape Cod beach, finding the best Indian food in my sister’s neighborhood… and more! 2017 reminded me that sometimes adventure can be closer than you think. And sometimes, you need to hit a new continent every now and then…

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What did you learn in 2017? What are you hoping to learn in 2018?

Happy Mountain Day!

Just when you think the world needs some cheer – it’s literally my birthday and Mountain Day all rolled into one!

Here’s a snap from my latest peak, Mt Pierce. My run this morning (a birthday tradition) wasn’t quite as scenic but it did have beautiful fall morning sun filtered through golden trees. A reminder that even when the world is losing its mind there is beauty to be found, and we can let it inspire us for good.

Partial eclipse of the heart

Scheduled my lunch break / Around the solar eclipse / Crescent suns on roof

Walked to the Common / Suits, heels, cereal boxes / all staring skyward

A groan from the crowd / As a cloud blots out the sight / And cheers when it’s gone. 

Unsweet spring

If you know one thing about me, I hope it’s that I’m passionate about life and the people I love. 

If you know two things about me: see above, plus I’m from New Hampshire (Granite State represent!).

But if you know three things about me… #3 may very well be that I have a serious sweet tooth.

I will skip dinner if it means saving room for pie, eat ice cream even in the dead of winter, try every brownie recipe you’re working to perfect. From Turkish delight in the food halls of London to chocolate croissants in Paris to caramel iced coffee on the banks of the Charles, I’ve loved it all. 

And for March, I’m trying my darndest to go without. 

I was inspired by my coworkers and this NYTimes article, and by the notion that cutting out added sugar for a month will reset my idea of sweetness. So far, that seems to be true – even butternut squash seems sweeter than it did before. 

And it’s also made it perfectly clear just how much sugar is in everything. 

I read Salt, Sugar, Fat a while ago and learned about the unfair advantage these ingredients have in modern food, and this month has shown me all the secret places sugar is hiding. Not just in dressing and jams, but in frozen bagels, chicken sausage, and crackers. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to buy yourself a snack in a coffee shop without drowning yourself in sugar, even if it’s through a “healthy” granola bar. And what do you bring to your friends who just had a baby or your overwhelmed coworkers but pastries and cookies and other sorts of overly sweet treats? And what do you eat at the movies?? (Confession: seeing about eight movies and theater productions in a month where I ate a bag of candy each time is part of what prompted this.)

I’m two weeks in with two weeks to go. My criteria is avoiding sugar (and related sweeteners, like honey and corn syrup) as an ingredient. So fruit is a go, and bread without added sugar and such is fine. But honey mustard and that delicious Skippy peanut butter are off the menu at least until April (and maybe longer). Learning to have coffee without copious amounts of sugar has been the hardest by far – and has taught me that I need to seek out better coffee, if I was trying that desperately to mask or improve the taste. (Goodbye office K cup coffee, hello Cafe Nero cappuccino!)

I’m joined in this quest by my mom, sharing moral/menu support from NH, and my roommate, Katie – so glad she agreed to this weird experiment because watching someone else have dessert when I am not would be my downfall for sure. 

Have you ever tried going without sugar or addressing other cravings? What would be the hardest for you to give up?