Legends of the Fall

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Even though I am missing the weather in Las Vegas and San Diego like crazy- it hasn’t completely interfered with my love of all things Fall here in New England- especially with the foliage just starting to hit it’s peak color-changing potential. There’s still some green here and there- but everything has gradually been turning bright and beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange since I got back home. It’s my favorite transition between seasons- even though I know that transition is eventually going to lead into frigid and snowy winter in what I’m sure will feel like no time at all.

I’ve been putting in overtime at work since my return to the East Coast last week (planning an eventual cross-country move is gonna’ cost money, after all-) but Tuesday afternoon, after putting in a few extra hours at the office in the morning- I took the opportunity to take a long and winding drive to visit friends North of Boston. On my way, I stopped at the historic Wayside Inn in Sudbury to go on a little hike and snap some photos of the surrounding scenery.




Hurricane Matthew had dumped quite a bit of rain on us recently (and I’m thankful that was the worst of what we saw here considering how bad it got down South,) but it couldn’t have been more perfect outside during my excursion on Tuesday. It was warm- but not too warm- and sunny. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky- and it held out that way until the temperatures started to drop by the time the sun began to set just as I was finishing up a delicious Thai dinner in Melrose.

This coming weekend is the annual Rock & Shock convention in my hometown, so I know I’ll be too preoccupied checking it out with old friends to head out and take more pictures of the leaves until next week at the earliest- but I’m quite content with the photos I’ve snapped so far!

Next week I’m going to have the details for my Halloween Giveaway up and running- and of course a few more “Horrors of Netflix” posts, too!



Scenes From Snowpocalypse ’16!

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When I woke up to get ready for work last Friday morning, after a warm-but-kind-of-rainy evening in Northampton the night before- my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach when I looked out my window and saw the beginnings of what looked like a horrendous blizzard. The roads were awful (not only did my car slide all over the place- but so did I when I tried walking to the entrance of my office), it was so bitterly cold outside- and no one knew when it was scheduled to stop- making being trapped at work for the weekend until my co-workers and I could dig ourselves and our vehicles out of our parking lot an actual possibility.

To say I had panic-inducing flashbacks of last Winter’s endless onslaught of snow and ice storms would be an understatement- and not even the large quantities of pizza my company sent us to get us through the day could put my mind at ease. I just kept thinking about the shoveling, the cabin fever I experienced throughout last January-March, the shoveling, dodging sliding vehicles when I braved the outside world- the shoveling…

Thankfully, by the time I left for the day- the snow had stopped and the sun had actually come out. Sure, it took the help of two of my co-workers to dig my car out of the snow so I could get home (and the roads weren’t nearly as bad as they had been in the morning!) but it was the post-storm scenery that stopped me in my tracks. In all the years I’ve lived in New England- I’ve never, not once- seen the trees look the way they did on Friday afternoon. They were all covered in so much snow that they didn’t even look real. I had to stop and take a few photos before the temperatures rose again and everything began to melt.



I’ve been keeping warm these past few days between my home and my office in my usual fashion- bundling up in all the layers ever, drinking plenty of hot cocoa (with marshmallows, of course!), and getting as much writing done as I can here on ‘Legally Redhead’ from the comfort under my fleece blankets.  It’s been a fun little balancing act between work, play, and blogging- one that has definitely kept me busy!

But, of course, I managed to put aside the time this past weekend to enjoy the Super Bowl, the advertisements (I’m still really, really confused by that “Puppy Monkey Baby” thing,) and do what everyone does during the big game- stuff my face with the unhealthiest foods imaginable. Last year, my contribution to my friends’ annual Super Bowl party was an impressive buffalo chicken dip. This year- I opted for tater tot nachos (served on paper plates, because amped up football fans and breakable dishware is not a good combination.)

Like conventional tortilla chip nachos, there are literally 100+ ways to prepare tater tot ones depending on your tastes and how much time you have to get the ingredients together and do a little cooking- but I chose the fail-proof old fashioned method of cooking up the tots, spreading an even layer of seasoned ground beef and shredded cheese over them in a glass bowl, heating them in the stove until the cheese melted- and then smothering them in shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and sour cream (salsa and guacamole were separate!)




They were a pretty big hit. I’m thinking my next attempt will incorporate Monterrey Jack and maybe some Gouda cheeses. The possibilities with these are endless!

And now that you’ve all been given the updates on the past few snowy days- I’m getting ready to share some fun collaborations I’ve been working on, review a couple of my monthly subscription services, and dive into my February Hits List in the coming days!

‘Til next time!


Christmas in Nantucket

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Although I am no stranger to Cape Cod, often visiting a couple of times every other Summer and sporadically throughout the “off-season” (see: Fall/Winter months), it’s been a really, really long time since I stepped foot on the island of Nantucket. So long, in fact- that I can’t quite remember when it actually was. I obviously must have been little the last time I ventured out that way- because my return trip there near the end of last week to visit my cousin who is currently residing and studying on the island was like seeing the small, seaside community with fresh, new eyes for the very first time.

The great thing about beach communities around Christmastime is that they are rarely, if ever crowded. You can walk down the streets without bumping into a handful of people (or a ton of tourists) at any direction and the shops, restaurants, and attractions that remain open year-round are usually priced much more fairly as opposed to mid-June or July when rates go up as available space in hotels or places to eat go down.

But the best part about visiting a beach community this time of year- and specifically Nantucket, which is just gorgeous in it’s own right with it’s cobblestone streets and very old and historic homes and neighborhoods- is that you get to marvel at the beautiful holiday decor the locals take the time to set up.

After hopping off the ferry from Hyannis and greeting my cousin on the dock- my day on the island was essentially a non-stop walking tour through Nantucket’s historic downtown shopping district, along the waterfront and surrounding docks (where I got to see firsthand exactly how seagulls hunt for food and dear God- is it brutal and fascinating at the same time!), and beside a festive-looking and fully-functioning lighthouse.

The weather was unusually warm and sunny for most of the day (I didn’t need a jacket over my sweater!) which made my visit even more enjoyable since I wasn’t freezing with every step I took.

We also stopped for a delicious early dinner at the Rose and Crown as the sun began to set and the temperatures gradually began to drop little by little and before I had to catch my ferry back to the mainland. If anyone visiting the area stops by- I highly recommend their grilled cheeses and bacon jam baguette sandwich- which is what I ordered and proceeded to wolf down shamelessly since it was so good. I think I’ll have to attempt to make my own one of these days.

All in all, I had a beautiful day. It was wonderful to see my cousin again and spend a good amount of time with her since her initial move there a couple of months ago- and I have fallen completely in love with Nantucket. I plan on visiting again shortly after the New Year and hopefully spending an extended weekend there to do more exploring (and shopping!)

Below are just a few of my favorite photos I snapped throughout my stay- but they don’t do the island nearly enough justice. It’s such a beautiful, peaceful place- and many of the locals I encountered were unbelievably friendly!



My Guide to Boston!

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Whenever friends are visiting from out of town (and sometimes from even out of the country!) they always ask me what there is to do around Boston- and the answer isn’t always easy. I mean, what isn’t there to do around Boston? As bustling and as busy as it is picturesque- Boston has something to offer everyone from all walks of life: rich (and sometimes really insane) history at every turn, breathtaking museums and galleries, incredible restaurants, unique shopping experiences, distinguished and esteemed universities, a thriving night life, plenty of space for those focused on fitness to get their workouts on, a top notch music scene and some championship-hoarding sports teams.

Sure, there are the accents (guilty as chaah’ged,) the not-so-friendly drivers, the mind-boggling roadways, or our questionable and unspoken rules when it comes to parking spaces during snowstorms- and there’s always the comparisons to Boston-centric movies like “The Departed” or “The Town” by those outside the city/state who have never stepped foot in or have met anyone from the Greater Boston area before- but the good outweighs the bad.  Boston is a city filled with some of the brightest, most colorful, brilliant and strongest individuals on the East Coast who never hesitate to band together to show the nation- and the world- how united we truly are in the tougher, more challenging times (like in the days following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing,) to the happier, more celebratory times (like the rolling rallys following a championship win!)

I first started spending a significant amount of time in Boston when I was 16/17 and my friends (some of whom had cars that barely ran) and I were eager to stay out late and see what the city- just an hour or so outside of our small and quiet town- had to offer a group of teenage troublemakers. As we grew up, Boston became less of a late night and weekend-only destination and more of a second home- until it eventually became an actual home for some of us. Over the course of just over a decade leading up to now, I’ve become a regular at some establishments and am still discovering new places now and then that open up doors to whole new worlds, possibilities, interests- and friends.

While there are SO MANY places to go and things to see in Boston, I thought I’d compile a small list of the ones- some well-known and others more well-kept secrets- that I frequent regularly and encourage others to visit while they’re in town and are looking for a good time (or good food) without spending a ton of money. I’ve also included some of the more “tourist-y” staples, too- because why not? If you’re in the city- you may as well participate in some good old fashioned local goofiness!

I’m really going to miss this place once I eventually head out to San Diego. I really, truly am.

*NOTE: Please keep in mind that the places I’ve listed are just some of my own, personal preferences. If you’re looking for other options around the city- there are a lot of helpful resources available (including Yelp and some of the blogs listed in my sidebar under “Local Lovelies!”) I plan on doing another, updated post like this somewhere down the line where I’ll include different locations- but for now- these are just a few of my favorites!*

Let’s start with what most people ask me about- the food! I like to cook, but I also love trying new food at new places, too. Many of my friends who visit ask me about Quincy Market- which is one of the more busy and tourist-friendly areas to dine in the heart of the city, but in my opinion- you can get a generic slice of pizza or a bowl of clam chowder anywhere (without having to be in such a crowded space.) For an unforgettable “foodie” experience, all you have to do is head off the beaten path- just a little bit. Here’s some of my usual go-to spots to dine out.


South End Buttery (314 Shawmut Ave): Although you might have to wait a bit for a table at this cute corner cafe, I promise you it’s worth it. The food is incredible- the perfect way to start a Sunday morning- and I highly recommend the herb and cheese omelette. It’s my favorite. If you don’t have time to sit and dine, the South End Buttery also has an equally delicious and impressive take-out menu.

Kelly’s Diner (674 Broadway – Somerville): If you’re looking for a classic diner experience (or want to nurse a hangover,) with some delicious food and a really friendly staff- then you just need to head a couple miles Northwest to Kelly’s Diner in Somerville. On those mornings where I want to cheat on my diet- just a little- I come here and scarf down pancakes like I mean business.

Masa Restaurant (439 Tremont Street): If you’re in the mood for a breakfast/brunch with a more spicy flare- look no further than Masa. Their Southwestern-inspired menu is unique, affordable- and hits the spot. If you’re looking for a pre-noon kick, their specialty drinks are worth a taste, too.

Cafe Luna (403 Mass Avenue – Cambridge): For solidified brunch plans with a group of friends, consider making a reservation at the Cafe Luna in Cambridge. Their menu is a teeny-tiny bit pricier, but their pancakes and omelettes are so, so worth it! I’m also a big fan of their chocolate stuffed French toast- which completely satisfies my sweet tooth.


Assaggio (29 Prince Street): Definitely one of my favorite spots for an intimate Italian meal, Assaggio is located right in the middle of the North End- making it perfect for a romantic night out with someone special or for a quiet get together with friends and some wine. Definitely call ahead to make a reservation to save yourself some wait time!

Taquería Jalisco!

Taquería Jalisco!

Taquería Jalisco (293 Bennington Street – East Boston): In San Diego, there’s a Mexican food restaurant called Pokez that I LOVE. I always try to stop there whenever I’m in town because their food is authentic and delicious- and Taquería Jalisco is the East Coast version of that. The restaurant is small- but lively- and their menu is expansive and so, so good.

Beat Hotel (13 Brattle Street – Cambridge): I was recently introduced to this fantastic restaurant located in the heart of Harvard Square, but it has quickly become one of my favorites with it’s ever-changing menu of mouth-watering entrees, specialty drink selections, and live jazz and blues performances. They have brunch options that I have yet to try out- but if it’s as good as their dinner menu- I know I’ll be a big fan.

Wagamama (Quincy Market, Prudential Center, and Harvard Square): There’s nearly a handful of Wagamama’s scattered around the Greater Boston area, which makes it convenient when I have a craving for some of their fresh and filling Japanese food but am not quite mentally or physically prepared to deal with the heavy flow of pedestrian traffic around the Quincy Market area. If you’re looking for a couple of menu suggestions, I enjoy the ebi gyoza, yaki soba, yasai cha han- and any of their raw juices.

Boston Burger Company (1100 Boylston Street):  I’m a carnivore, and sometimes- I just want to devour a delicious, juicy burger. While the BBC offers chicken, soup and salad selections, too- their burgers are hands down some of the most amazing things I’ve ever tasted. I love the Waikiki Beach Burger and the Green Monstah Burger the most, but they’re all fantastic. Pair them with your choice of wedge cut fries and you are in for a meal you won’t regret or forget.

Grasshopper (1 North Beacon Street – Allston): Vegan. Chinese. Food. That’s really all you need to know. To some, the concept might be confusing and maybe mind-blowing, but trust me when I say that you will never, ever regret stopping here. The food is fantastic and filling without that gross “I think I might die” feeling you get with regular Chinese food orders. I can eat an alarming amount of their veggie chicken fingers and best of all? They offer a takeout option. YES!


 Caffé Vittoria (296 Hanover Street): If you’re craving something sugary and sweet while walking through the North End, you may feel inclined to hop into the ALWAYS RIDICULOUSLY LONG line at Mike’s Pastry to wait for one of their famous cannoli- or, if you want to save yourself some time- you can walk just a few feet down the street and stop in Vittoria for a cappuccino, a piece of tiramisu and take in the charming aesthetic of the cafe. I love gathering here with friends here after a night out or sitting down by myself to sip on espresso and catch up on emails when I have some down time. It’s just a lovely little spot.

The Thinking Cup (165 Tremont Street): Bostonians love their Dunkins, and that’s all well and good- but if you’re looking for something bolder and stronger than whatever ice cream flavor infused coffee D&D is cooking up this week- then I recommend stopping by the Thinking Cup (which also has locations in the North End and Back Bay.) Their coffee is rich and their pastries and sandwiches are fresh- making this place an ideal choice for that early morning brew or evening snack on the go.

Crema Cafe (27 Brattle Street – Cambridge): Crema is another gem located in Harvard Square that boasts a pretty good breakfast and lunch menu, but it’s their coffee and pastry/dessert selection that I rave about the most. I always make it a point to grab an iced chai whenever I’m passing through the square or doing some shopping around Cambridge to keep a little pep in my step- and their coconut macaroons are the stuff dreams are made from. So, so good.


McGreevy’s (911 Boylston Street): I swear I’m not putting McGreevy’s at the top of my list just because I’m a big Dropkick Murphys fan (Ken Casey owns the place,) but because they have great drinks (the Pineapple Piper is the best,) awesome specials, a friendly staff- and a ton of historical Red Sox memorabilia on the wall (authentic- NOT cheesy.) It’s a sports bar, so if you’re looking to kick back and watch a game with some good food and a hard drink- this is the spot.

The Junction (110 Dorchester Street – South Boston): Southie gets a bad name sometimes, but if you’re not falling for the tall tales and notoriety often tacked onto this area of the city- it’s a lot of fun to explore. I’m not a big beer connoisseur by any means, but I’ve always enjoyed myself at The Junction when I’ve popped in. The service is good and the atmosphere is welcoming- and you’re guaranteed to have a good time if you stop by when there’s any type of sporting event going on.

Tavern at the End of the World (108 Cambridge Street – Charlestown): I love Irish pubs. I love pub food- and I love Charlestown- so TatEotW is a nice stop whenever I’m hanging around Bunker Hill and want to grab some not-so-diet-friendly food and a couple of drinks. This place sometimes has live music and stand-up comedy shows, too- which can be a fun way to end the night.

Highball Lounge (90 Tremont Street): If cocktails (or cocktails with little rubber duckies floating in them) and unique finger foods are more your style, then you’ll love Highball Lounge. With a sprawling space, fancy furniture, board games and occasional live DJs performing- Highball is perfect for bigger get togethers and parties that require a little flare and pizzazz to keep everyone entertained. Also- did I mention the rubber duckies in the drinks? Because I love that.

Sunset Cantina (916 Commonwealth Avenue): In the Summer, and typically before/after I catch a show at the Paradise (more on that later,) I like to swing by Sunset Cantina to grab a margarita and some snacks. This place has such a HUGE menu filled with fantastic drinks and food, and it’s within walking distance from pretty much anything and everything- shops and restaurants, to music venues and the Green Line (in case you have somewhere else you need to be.)

Brick & Mortar (567 Mass Ave – Cambridge): One of my favorite hidden gems in Central Square, B&M lies within exposed brick walls above Central Kitchen. Skilled bartenders mix your poison behind a copper top bar, and the atmosphere is very laid back and relaxed. I like to come here on low-maintenance dates from time to time, and I’m never left disappointed. This is a great spot in Cambridge and worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Jillian’s (145 Ipswich Street): Following shows at the House of Blues down the street, I like to bring people to Jillian’s for a nightcap and some highly competitive pool and/or bowling (highly competitive for me, anyway.) Jillian’s is a three-floor bar equipped with a fully functioning bowling alley. Some nights are busier than others, so I recommend calling ahead if you want to get a couple of games in- but I’ve always had a tremendous amount of fun here every time I’ve stopped by.



When it comes to live entertainment around the city, Boston has all of your needs covered. With an active theater district, a couple of stadiums and arenas for bigger shows and events, and plenty of smaller venues to house independent artists, comedy, poetry, and everything in-between- all you have to do is look- in any direction, really- and you will find a lengthy list of easily accessible places to go to be entertained.

Paradise Rock Club (967 Commonwealth Avevnue): By far my favorite music venue in Boston, The ‘Dise is a small, intimate venue that has played host to some of my favorite rock artists. The sound carries really well throughout the building, so if you’re standing in front of the stage or you’re up in the balcony area- you’re going to have a great view and hear everything perfectly. I have so many fond memories and have met so many friends while hanging out here.

Middle East (472-480 Massachusetts Avenue – Cambridge): This is another smaller venue in Central Square where I’ve seen plenty of awesome shows and have danced ’til dawn during DJ nights. If you can get past the fact that it can get humid and musty in there (it is basically a cellar, after all,) than you’ll have a lot of fun here. There’s also an upstairs area that houses shows and events, and serves food as well.

The Comedy Studio (1238 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th Floor – Cambridge): Boston has no shortage of comedy clubs, but The Comedy Studio is hands down the best- and not just because I worked there for a while, either! Located above the Hong Kong restaurant in Harvard Square, TCS features some of Boston’s funniest stand-up comedians and plenty of talented up and comers every night. They also serve a mean scorpion bowl. Stop by and tell Rick, the owner- that I said hello!

The Cantab Lounge (738 Massachusetts Ave – Cambridge): If you like poetry readings, both watching and/or participating, then you should head over to the Cantab on Wednesday nights where the venue hosts weekly poetry slams. The lounge also serves as a spot for open mics and live bluegrass and blues shows, too- and serves up drinks and food if you’re looking to make an evening out of the trip to Central Square.

Tunnel (100 Stuart Street): I’m not big on going to dance clubs much these days, at least not as much as I was in my early twenties- and many establishments I used to frequent have long since closed. I’ve been to Tunnel, located inside the W Hotel, a few times- and each time has been fun. I like the atmosphere of the club and the efficiency of the bar staff. The space is tiny, but unless you require a tremendous amount of room to dance- you can make it work. There’s also some seating, and VIP tables are available for reservation.

House of Blues Boston (15 Lansdowne Street): Formerly the Avalon and Axis night clubs (R.I.P.) across from Fenway Park, the HOBBoston serves as a multi-floor bar, concert venue, and night club (if you do, in fact, need a tremendous amount of room to dance.) I’ve seen a lot of great shows here since it’s opening, and it’s just a short walk away from other bars, restaurants, cab stands, and the T- which means you can get back to where you’re staying quickly and safely.


I don’t tell every visiting friend or family member to sign up for a gym membership in the city if they’re looking to get a workout, because there’s plenty of places to get some exercise that are both free and picturesque. My friends and I pretty much walk everywhere- reserving our cars and the T for when we need to be at a certain place in a hurry (like work or the airport, for example,) but if you’d rather I list a couple of places where you can run/walk/bicycle/stretch in peace- then here you go!

Commonwealth Avenue Mall (484 Commonwealth Avenue): Located right next to the Public Garden, The Commonwealth Avenue Mall is a strip of trees, greenery, and statues that stretches through Back Bay alongside beautiful brownstone homes and businesses. I love passing through this area at night in the warmer months, and I always see people jogging along the pathway or stretching on the grass. It’s just a clean, pretty area to work out.

Chestnut Hill Reservoir (400 Chestnut Hill Avenue – Brookline): If you want to get a nice walk/run in somewhere that isn’t right smack in the middle of the city, then I recommend the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, which is located within a reasonable distance from Boston College but is still tranquil and scenic enough to make it feel like it’s miles away from civilization. There’s wildlife, plenty of greenery, and space to move around.

Castle Island HarborWalk (2010 Day Boulevard – South Boston): If you want to spend a day at the beach without making the drive to New Hampshire or Cape Cod, then Castle Island is a great destination. Sandy beaches, boating, and plenty of space to run/walk or stretch out on the grass and get some sun- this is a nice spot to spend a Summer afternoon.


Narrowing down places to shop around Boston was almost as difficult as selecting some of the restaurants I listed above. There’s just so many places scattered around the city where you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for. Instead of doing a shop-by-shop list, which would have required an entirely separate post on my blog- I condensed this part of my guide into areas that feature a variety of stores and items for everyone’s tastes and interests. I hope it’s helpful!

Newbury Street (Back Bay): I have a love/hate relationship with Newbury Street. It’s a great mix of high end boutiques (including Chanel, Tiffany’s, and Armani) and affordable shops (Forever 21, H&M, ALDO, etc.) as well as restaurants and bars, but traffic- both auto and pedestrian- is a nightmare. My best advice if you attempt to brave this very busy area is to take the Green Line to Copley or Hynes Convention Center and learn how to maneuver yourself around and between the slow walkers and the groups of people who walk side by side across the sidewalk and block everyone’s path.

If you can’t take it anymore, the shops at the Prudential Center are only a hop, skip, and a jump away!

Assembly Row (340 Canal Street – Somerville): Relatively new, Assembly Row offers a wide array of shops, restaurants, a movie theater, Boston’s LegoLand, and special events like free riverfront yoga classes and weekly outdoor concerts. This place is great to shop in during the warmer months, and has the same charm as Newbury Street without all of the overcrowding.

Harvard Square (Cambridge): I’ve already mentioned a few places around Harvard Square to dine, drink, and see some live entertainment- but I can’t NOT talk about how the square is a great spot for shopping, too. There’s a lot of eccentric little stores and fantastic finds just waiting to be discovered between more well-known shops. I’m a big fan of Raven’s Used Books and Goorin Bros. Hat Shop, but I’m always being introduced to new things whenever I’m in the area.

Garment District (200 Broadway – Cambridge): Boston has plenty of department stores, but if you want something a little more alternative, unique, and affordable- then you don’t need to look any further than The Garment District. Specializing in buying and re-selling gently worn clothing, GD carefully categorizes their inventory to make it easier for shoppers to find whatever it is they’re looking for- from swimwear to shoes, work clothes to Halloween costumes. There’s seriously SO much to peruse through and they are always updating their stock. Every once in a while you can find a great designer piece for a fraction of the cost- so keep your eyes peeled!



I can’t give someone a tour of Boston without taking them to at least one “tourist” hot spot. Let’s be real- Boston has a lot of history and even more famous landmarks. While some people may get annoyed with certain places and areas being overtly crowded with out-of-towners stopping to snap selfies or check a map- I think it’s great. I’m proud of my city and I’m always thrilled that other people are taking time to check it out, learn, and experience it firsthand. I encourage tourism as long as visitors are being respectful of the area and of the locals (so no making fun of our accents to our faces, okay? We know they’re obnoxious.)

Here’s a few places I typically bring friends to get the “Boston” experience.

Fenway Park (4 Yawkey Way): The Green Monster, The Cathedral of Boston, and home of the Boston Red Sox- you have to visit Fenway at least once in your lifetime and you have to catch a Sox game there at least twice in that same lifetime. I love this ballpark, overpriced drinks and all- and seeing a home game doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t mind standing for a few innings or just want to experience your first real sing-along to “Sweet Caroline.” I buy standing only tickets all the time and enjoy myself just as much as the people in the more expensive seats. It’s all about making the most of the event.

The Freedom Trail (Boston Common): Look, The Freedom Trail is boring. I’m just going to say it now. You follow a red line marked on the sidewalk around Boston for a couple of hours and see some historic sites and that’s about it. I know a guy named Rob who is a tour guide- he wears a colonial costume and everything- and even that’s not enough to get me to go through with this more than once- but if you love history and you REALLY want to see  Paul Revere’s house or the Granary Burying Ground- then I say go for it! You’d probably spot these sites while walking to something infinitely more interesting and fun anyway- but by all means- take the tour if you want.

Boston Duck Tours (Museum of Science Driveway): Getting stuck in traffic behind one of these monstrosities is infuriating, no doubt- but I can absolutely understand the appeal of the Duck Tour- especially for those with small children or elderly companions who can’t navigate around Boston on foot quite as easily as others but who still want to see the city. For $35 bucks (adult price) you get an 80 minute tour of Boston- riding around on these bus/boat hybrids that bob and weave through the streets and eventually take a dip into the Charles River while a guide points out places and facts for your listening pleasure.

Cheers (84 Beacon Street): The biggest misconception about ‘Cheers’ is that a lot of visitors seem to think the interior of the bar resembles that of the bar from the television show. It doesn’t. The only thing that is the same is the exterior of the building- but that doesn’t make “Cheers” any less of a fun tourist spot while you’re in the city. With really good food, a lot of memorabilia on the walls, and a gift shop with plenty of assorted “Cheers” themed knick-knacks to buy- this is a must-do while you’re in the city. There’s actually two locations in Boston, but the better of the two is on Beacon Street- in my opinion.

Boston Common (139 Tremont Street): This is actually a spot that both tourists and locals love and appreciate, and is one that I spend a lot of time in on nicer days. Boston Common and the Public Garden- a sprawling park with greenery, sculptures, vendors and areas for live entertainment- is the ideal place to spend an afternoon reading under a tree, having a picnic, playing sports, strolling around, etc. It’s also just minutes away from Downtown Crossing, Newbury Street, the State House, Beacon Hill, and a lot more. I always make it a point to proudly show it off to anyone who is visiting Boston for the first time because they usually fall in love with it right away.

Faneuil Hall (1 Faneuil Hall Square): When passing by Government Center or the Waterfront, I encourage people to admire Faneuil Hall from a distance. It’s lovely to look at but is kind of a mess to walk through unless you’re in the area later on at night after the street performers and vendors have gone home for the day and most of the shops have closed. It’s a very, very packed area for pedestrian traffic, but it’s historic and has some intriguing stores and restaurants if you’re feeling brave enough to face the crowd and uneven cobblestone (wear comfortable shoes!) I do admit I really like this area at Christmastime though, when it’s lit up and the gigantic tree has been set up and decorated. It’s very, very pretty!

Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Avenue): Boston has a lot of great museums, and I would have gladly listed them all- but I wanted to feature my favorite of the bunch and that is the MFA, without question. I can spend hours in this place going from room to room and admiring paintings and sculptures and the new exhibits that are set up every few months. It’s a beautiful space with helpful tour guides and stops to rest, shop, and eat whenever you need a break. The museum also has a lot of special events and offers classes, too. You can get a heads up on upcoming activities and exhibits by subscribing to their monthly e-mailed newsletter.

Boston Harbor (1 Long Wharf): Like Boston Common, I enjoy spending time outdoors down by the waterfront on warmer Summer days. There’s plenty of places to sit and watch boats passing by or grab a quick bite to eat- and if you’re not prone to seasickness- you can always kill some time by catching a harbor cruise or by going on a whale watch. I particularly like bringing my friends from England to this area- just so they know where we threw all of that tea that one time (Hi Imogen!)

And there you have it! My guide to Boston. As I stated above- there’s still SO much more to do and see- but I simply cannot list it all! I thought the locations I linked to were a good place to start, and I do intend to write a follow-up in the future- but I hope that this post is helpful to newcomers who are visiting the area for the first time or who are back again and may have missed some of what I’ve listed.

Are you from Boston? Have you visited? Is there anything you think I should add? Do you have any questions about anything I’ve written about or linked to in this post?

Let me know!




Hotels in Boston

ARTSBoston (includes theater and city festival schedules/tickets) 

*IN CASE OF EMERGENCY*A comprehensive list of hospitals and medical centers in and around Boston.


(All photos included in this post are my own.)

Established 1635.

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Despite enjoying driving pretty much all over- especially in the warmer months- I haven’t been around Concord, Massachusetts in nearly several years. The last time I was there, with friends and under the most unusual of circumstances- I fell in love with how picturesque the community was. With beautiful homes, museums and old cemeteries bursting with interesting history, unique shop fronts and restaurants- it’s a charming part of New England that I found myself passing through again last weekend.

Luckily, I had my camera in tow and managed to stop to snap a few photographs while I took an hour to stroll around the downtown area and some surrounding trails before I had to be on my way.




One thing I noticed about Concord during my brief time there was that there were a handful of old inns still open and operating just a short walking distance away from the busier parts of town, which inspired me to take a weekend- maybe later this Summer or early in the Fall- to do some more exploring and enjoy a nice, relaxing mini-getaway like I had when I traveled to Liberty, New York last month.

We’ll see how it turns out!



Snowed-In Spa Day

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I don’t know how much more of this snow I can take, you guys. It seems like since I returned home from my weekend getaway to San Diego near the end of last month- it has just been one catastrophic snowstorm after another. The most recent one has all but crippled the city of Boston- resulting in our subway system and commuter rails shutting down as of last night, multiple flight cancellations, state-wide school closures and driving/parking bans while emergency cleanup teams scramble to clear the roads and get rid of snowbanks that have gotten to be dangerously high with all the accumulation over the past couple of weeks.

And we’re still expecting more snow later on this week!

Our Governor has declared a state of emergency across Massachusetts- which means that with the exception of taking my dog out or going outside to shovel- I’ve mostly been confined to home (I don’t think I’ve worked a Monday or a Tuesday since before I left for California. The storms keep happening on the same days!)

Now, I love playing video games or binge-watching shows and movies on Netflix as much as the next person- and Sunday night’s return of “The Walking Dead” helped to momentarily distract me from going stir-crazy- but I like being outdoors. I like hiking. I like being able to get in my car and go for a ride somewhere, anywhere- and not being able to for days at a time has me going just the teeniest, tiniest bit bonkers.



To try and take the cabin fever edge off, I had myself a “Stay At Home Spa Day” with some of the newest additions to my bath products collection, as well as some leftover stuff from the holidays. The pampering consisted of a 15 minute manicure to touch up my digits and a long, hot soak in the tub with February’s NYLON Magazine (featuring the wonderful Anna Kendrick on the cover!) and the most recent bath truffle from Fortune Cookie Soap’s “Game of Thrones” inspired collection – “Joffrey Dies at the End,” which was wonderful- and made me smell like a pastry.

I definitely felt more relaxed by the time I was done. Relaxed enough to face another impending storm, anyway- although I think I might need to stock up on more bath bombs/melts as soon as possible to hold me over until Spring.

If Spring ever gets here, of course!

“Lizzie Borden Took an Ax…”

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The spot where Andrew Borden was murdered.



And the spot where Abby Borden was murdered, complete with crime scene photos on the wall and dresser.







Punxsutawney Phil was spot-on with his February 2nd prediction of six more weeks of winter. Since Groundhog Day, we’ve been slammed with snowstorm after snowstorm, resulting in dangerous driving conditions and plenty of muscle pain from shoveling so much. New England has been hit with so much snow recently that we’re running out of places to pile it up. As I type this, there is a snow bank next to my car that comes up to the middle of my passenger’s side window because there is simply no where else to throw it.

And although unexpected days off from work can be fun every once in a great while- there is only so much Netflix a person can watch before they begin to go a little stir crazy.

Yesterday, the cabin fever was too much for me to bear, and I braved another incoming snowstorm to go for a drive while the roads were clearer than they have been in days, and just do something for an afternoon that didn’t involve marathoning TV shows for hours on end. I ended up in Fall River, and, more specifically- the Lizzie Borden house- where Abby and Andrew Borden met their demise via a hatchet to their heads in 1892. The house, which now serves as a fully-functioning bed & breakfast, also gives hourly tours. I couldn’t resist, and took said tour of the home with another small group of people in the area who I assume were also combating cabin fever.

Our tour guide was friendly, funny, and informative- and let us linger in the rooms to examine photographs and snap pictures of our own- and the house itself was beautiful and cozy. If you can overlook the fact that two gruesome, violent unsolved murders took place there, and the rumors of it being haunted- then it’d be a lovely place to spend a weekend (I’m actually looking into it since I ain’t afraid of no ghosts…)





When the tour was over, it was doing more than just flurrying outside- but I wasn’t done. I headed down the street from the Borden house to Oak Grove Cemetery to see the Borden Family burial site. Thankfully, a family that had been in my tour group also had the same idea, which made locating the plot a little easier since the cemetery is huge. Lizzie was right alongside Andrew, Abby, and her sister Emma’s graves, but hers was the only one that had flowers placed near it (and what looked like a piece of candy.)

When I was done taking pictures, and apologizing out loud to the inhabitants of the graves I was tromping and slipping over to get back to my car, I headed home- which took me 2 1/2 hours longer than it should have because of the severity of this most recent snow/ice storm. Overall, though- it was an interesting afternoon. If you’re ever in Fall River, I highly recommend checking the Borden house out. The tour isn’t expensive and it’s a unique (if not slightly morbid,) way to spend an hour.

I didn’t leave empty handed, either. There’s a tiny gift shop in a converted barn out behind the house, and ever a fan of unique jewelry, I picked up one of these Lizzie Borden cameo necklaces- complete with a hatchet trinket by the clasp- that I’ll undoubtedly wear around Halloween.




Out on the Town.

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This past weekend, I made it a point to spend some time around the city. It was a little chilly out, but a couple of friends and I headed down to Beacon Hill, then the Common, and finally, Boylston Street- the site of the Boston Marathon bombings and the above-pictured makeshift memorial. A section of the street, stretching down to Copley Square, was still closed off to the public while officials and authorities finish cleaning up the scene.

It was my first time back to the area since before the attack, and it was so strange to see a street that is usually bustling with people on a Saturday night so empty and quiet. The mood was a somber one, despite the relief and elation the night before after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been taken into custody. It’s still hard to believe that this happened. It’s still very surreal.

Not wanting to end the night on a depressing note, we headed to Tangierino & Koullshi in Charlestown for a late night snack and some apple flavored hookah.  We’d passed by the place while taking a stroll earlier this winter, and quickly added it to our list of things to do and places to check out. It’s a little on the pricier side, but definitely worth a night of splurging if you and your friends want to treat yourselves to an exotic atmosphere, some good food (if you’re just looking for something to pick at, I highly reccomend the Moroccan-Sicilian Eggplant Tagine), a decent martini, and beautiful belly-dancers (yes, the place has belly dancers and they’re INCREDIBLE.)

We rented out a secluded corner of the lounge for a couple of hours called “The Bedouin Cave”, which was sort of like a remodeled brick dome/tent area with plush carpeting, fancy pillows, and dim lighting that made for a really relaxing couple of hours. Apparently there are sometimes tarot card readings that take place in there, too, which I’ll have to remember for the next time.





Sunday was, thankfully, another day without errands to run. After a morning of video games, Sean and I eventually made it down to the South End for a late brunch at South End Buttery where I ate what I can only describe as the best omelette I’ve ever tasted in my life. No exaggeration. It was the most delicious thing. Completely worth the hour and a half wait time for a table (we split an equally delicious cranberry-walnut muffin to hold us over ’til we were seated.) If you have time for a proper breakfast in the morning, that’s the place to go.

After leaving brunch, I managed to snap a couple of photos of the trees blossoming (finally!) around the city before I had to start preparing for the work week. So much pink and soft white and the occasional yellow- colors I missed seeing growing out of the ground and on the treetops over the winter.

Boston Strong.

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To describe the events that have taken place in Boston over the past 24-48 hours would read more like an elaborate script to a Hollywood blockbuster, or like an episode of “Homeland”. I’ve seen some crazy things in my life- but this definitely trumps them all. I have never, ever, seen anything like this.

On Thursday afternoon, following the attack on the Boston Marathon this past Monday and a moving speech given to the city and the nation by President Obama earlier Thursday morning, the FBI and Boston officials released video surveillance footage and photographs compiled after hours and hours of research and tips, of two men they deemed as persons of interest. In the surveillance footage, the men can be seen walking a distance apart, but were later photographed standing together, only to separate again. In footage not released to the public, it is said that one of the men can be seen placing down a backpack and then leaving it shortly before the second blast.

The photographs and the footage were viewed and circulated at such a fast speed that the FBI’s official website momentarily crashed- but it means something- it meant people wanted to find these men. They wanted answers.

Meanwhile, Boston attempted to move forward with healing and helping those affected by the attack.

And then Thursday night happened.

Video surveillance from a 7/11 in Cambridge, around the time an unrelated armed robbery took place, shows one of the marathon bombing suspects entering the store. Shortly thereafter, there was a fatal shooting of a MIT Campus Police Officer and a carjacking nearby, leading police on a pursuit into neighboring Watertown. During this pursuit, an MBTA officer was critically injured.

During the pursuit, which extended into the early hours of Friday morning, various explosives were thrown from the windows of the vehicle being chased and numerous shots were fired at police, leading to a massive gunfight. It became clear after determining there were two suspects involved in the shoot-out and the style of explosive devices they were attempting to detonate that these were, in fact, the two men the FBI were looking for in connection with the marathon bombing.

I had gone to bed on Thursday night following the news of the shooting at MIT, but was woken up around 4 a.m. by numerous phone calls/texts/and social media messages- all of which were essentially the same thing: asking me if I was watching the story unfold. By then, one of the bombing suspects had been killed. The other had fled on foot, leading to a massive manhunt in Watertown. Both suspects had been ID’d as 26 year old Tamerlan Tsarnaev (the one who was killed) and his 19 year old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who immigrated to the United States from Chechnya in 2001.

Within the hour, the MBTA was suspended, which eventually led to taxi service being suspended as well. Certain neighborhoods, including Watertown, were placed on mandatory lock down so that the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the FBI, National Guard, and SWAT could conduct an unprecedented manhunt. No one was allowed to leave their homes. Businesses were ordered to close. All vehicles were ordered off the roads. It wasn’t until I was halfway to my office when I was informed that the order had been extended to the city of Boston as well, and not just it’s neighboring communities that were at risk.

And if you think that a deserted city is eerie, you’d be 100% correct.


via Neal Hamberg for Reuters.

via Jim Davis at the Boston Globe

via Jim Davis for the Boston Globe.

via David L. Ryan at the Boston Globe.

via David L. Ryan for the Boston Globe.

via George Rizer for the Boston Globe.

via George Rizer for the Boston Globe.

via Jessica Rinaldi for Reuters.

via Jessica Rinaldi for Reuters.

For the remainder of the day, myself and millions of others stayed glued to our televisions, radios, and social media feeds waiting for updates, press conferences, and confirmations. Some people were saying they’d located him, others were saying they’d found more bombs strewn around the area, and some others were saying he was still at large and had possibly fled the state. The uncertainty of the situation, and numerous conflicting reports, was grueling and frightening.

At 6 P.M. a press conference took place, in which we were informed that they hadn’t been able to locate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but were going to continue the search. Re-instating MBTA services and lifting the city-wide lock down, citizens were once again asked to stay diligent and keep their eyes open, since the suspect could still be within the area- and still armed and extremely dangerous.

And then there was a lead.

A man in Watertown, stepping out to get some fresh air after being cooped up in his home all day, noticed something amiss with the boat he had stored in his backyard- specifically, the tarp covering had been cut open and there was blood on it. Peering under the tarp, the owner noticed an injured man hiding inside the boat and immediately contacted authorities.

Those of us who hadn’t quite gotten to venture outside and were still glued to the news, frustrated that the suspect hadn’t been apprehended, suddenly heard gun shots in the background of the reports- and watched as officers and authorities scrambled into action and ran towards the scene.

The man in the boat was soon confirmed to be Dzhokhar. He had been injured in the gunfight the night before, and had hidden in the one place authorities had yet to search. After another tense stand-off, authorities were finally able to get him out of the boat and take him into custody- news that sent Boston into a relieved, happy frenzy and saw thousands take to the streets to cheer on law enforcement, and each other- after what had been a traumatic, emotional week:

There’s still a lot of questions that need to be answered, the biggest one being “why?” Why would two legal residents of this country, and this city, who lived and worked here for years, who friends and neighbors described as funny, smart, well-liked and kind, who were believed to be living a life so many people who want to immigrate to America hope for- do something like this? What is the reason? What was the motive?

The other question, of course, is are there others involved? Did this act of terrorism stretch beyond these two brothers? Did they have help? Accomplices? Other attacks planned?

Hopefully with Dzhokhar’s capture and recovery at a nearby hospital, we’ll eventually get those answers. Until then, this was a huge step in closing one chapter of this attack- and this case.

I am so proud of the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the FBI, the brave citizens of this amazing city and the countless unnamed heroes who have emerged in the aftermath of an unfathomable tragedy. This capture- a true victory- is for the people we lost too soon on Monday- Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu. It’s for MIT Officer Sean Collier. It’s for those who were injured.

It’s for Boston.

It’s for Massachusetts.

It’s for New England.

It’s for America.

It’s for us.


Boston, you’re my home…

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I think I’m still at a loss for words.

First and foremost, I’m okay. I’m safe- as are my friends and loved ones in the Greater Boston Area. I am so unbelievably thankful for that.

I had a half day at work yesterday (Patriot’s Day) and after running a couple of errands and meeting up with my mom and my cousin, I had every intention of heading down to the Boston Marathon with them to try and snap a few photos and root on the runners, including a friend of a friend who was participating after months of training and hard work.

My mom changed her mind last minute and asked if we could do something else instead, and together, the three of us headed out to Western Massachusetts to do some shopping and have dinner. A couple of hours later, the marathon was attacked. Two powerful bombs were detonated near the finish line, leaving 3 dead, one being just a small child, over 150 people injured, and the city I love and am proud to consider myself a part of devastated and shaken to it’s core.

The phone lines jammed up and my service was unstable following the attack, understandably, and I apologize to those who tried to reach me via phone calls or texts to make sure my friends and I were okay. I tried to keep people updated on social media but it wasn’t easy, what with how many people were trying to check in with each other all at once. There are no words to describe the panic, the helplessness, of trying desperately to contact friends who were in close proximity of the blasts to see if they were alright- and I wasn’t the only one who experienced it.

I appreciate the concern and well-wishes I’ve received from so many, but ask that they be directed to the victims of this senseless and horrible tragedy. Please keep those we’ve lost, those who were injured- most of who are still fighting for their lives in local hospitals- and the unbelievably heroic first responders and civilians who, without hesitation or regard for their own safety- ran towards the chaos to help others- in your thoughts, your hearts, and your prayers.

In the past 24 hours, I have been so touched by the love, support, and sense of comradery and selflessness around Boston (and all of New England) in these confusing and grim hours. The stories of runners in the marathon continuing on without stopping to Mass General Hospital to give blood, residents offering space in their homes to strangers who were misplaced after evacuations in the area, and people utilizing the emergency hotlines and social media to help others reunite with loved ones who were separated in the confusion- it’s awe-inspiring and heartwarming.

And although there is anger (there always is in the aftermath of terrorism) and the desire to punish those who are responsible for this heinous act, it’s nice to see that everyone is focusing more on doing whatever they can to help out, and being supportive to those affected by the events of the past 24 hours.

Boston is truly one of the best cities in the world- with some of the bravest, most kind-hearted and resilient people around. Keep being good to each other and taking care of one another, everyone. I love you all and I’m so, so proud of the strength and positivity that is stretching far beyond Massachusetts state lines right now.

I love you, Boston.

Thanks again, everyone.


If you want to make a donation/contribution to help the victims, the first responders, and their families, here are a couple of good places to start. I’ll be updating this list in the coming days, so please check back:

The One Fund

Donate to the Boston First Responders Fund

Give Blood (Note: As of right now, the Red Cross has PLENTY of blood, but considering the severity of some of the injuries sustained in the attacks, that could change. Keep it on the back burner if they need more!)

The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation (The Kraft Family will match $100,000 in donations to support marathon tragedy victims.)

Donate to the Boston Children’s Hospital, where 10 injured kids were brought in following the attack. 3 remain in critical condition.

Donate to Massachusetts General Hospital

Donate to the Boston Athletic Association (Donation page will be up within the next 24-48 hours)