Dirty Thirties

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Surprise Party Birthday Cake. Hay baaaaes!

When it comes to making plans, I’ve never really been one to painstakingly organize every single detail down to a T. Sure, my work schedule, my fitness regimen, my travel arrangements- all are carefully coordinated and carried out because I do need SOME structure and control in my routine- but hanging out with friends? Going for a mini road trip? Grabbing dinner? Seeing a movie or just walking around town? I like to keep those ends loose and the planning as lax as possible because I’ve come to find that by not micro-managing my free time down to the last second has left room for the unexpected and the exciting to happen.

I’ve had so many adventures by simply taking a different corner while out for a walk or visiting an attraction/restaurant/neighborhood I’ve passed by or through a hundred times but never actually stopped to take a really good look before.

Such was the case with this past weekend- which was also my birthday weekend and one I extended into Monday with a planned day off from work. While there was an outline of potential plans- dinner with friends, time with my family, and a day trip to NYC- nothing was set in stone because I didn’t want to stress about anything and risk dampening my celebratory mood and I certainly didn’t want the people in my life stressing about making my days enjoyable, either.

But they went above and beyond, anyway!

Saturday night, after treating myself during the day to some hair color refreshment with my stylist and a jaunt to downtown Boston to show my support for the Women’s March (and by now I’m sure most of you saw how HUGE that crowd was! Whoa!) I met up with my friends in Melrose for a lovely evening stroll downtown and a pre-birthday meal at Giacomo’s. It was my first time there but certainly won’t be my last. I love a good plate of Italian food- and not only did I practically lick my plate clean- but I picked at my friends’ plates, too. So, so delicious.


After dinner, I thought we’d order dessert and be on our way- but my friends split the check among themselves and were quick to usher me back to their apartment around the corner- where they had the above-pictured red velvet cake waiting for me. I won’t say what I wished for when I blew out the candles- but I have a pretty good feeling it’s coming true. I was so touched and had such a lovely night. It didn’t hurt that the weather was gorgeous, too! I was outside with just a sweater and was perfectly cozy!

Sunday, my actual birthday- was spent getting plenty of birthday calls, texts and social media alerts while kicking back throughout the afternoon and evening with my family where we had a home cooked meal courtesy of my mother (lobster and scallops- which is our special occasion food!) and watching The Patriots beat the Steelers to become the AFC Champions and head to the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks. It was such a relaxing and laid-back day and was just what I needed to get me amped up for my post-birthday visit to NYC this past Monday!

Bright eyed (after some much needed coffee)– Sean and I headed out Monday morning to catch a train into Grand Central. We got into the city early in the afternoon where it was rainy/sleeting and a bit colder than we would have liked. We didn’t waste any time ducking into a couple of shops to look around and grabbed a quick lunch at Eat Here Now– a hole in the wall brunch/lunch spot in the Upper East Side that made just about everything you could ever want to order. I grabbed a tuna melt to warm my bones and it didn’t leave me disappointed.



Not far from our lunch spot was Sprinkles Cupcakes, where I insisted Sean try out their cupcake ATM since he had never seen it before. We picked out a German Chocolate Cupcake (with whipped vanilla and pecan frosting) to share with the coffee we planned to have later on that afternoon before we headed back towards our train.

With the winds picking up and the rain coming down a little harder- Sean and I found ourselves at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’d never been, and always wanted to go- but there was one problem- we got there an hour before the place closed. Now, an hour is not nearly enough time to see everything this museum has to offer- and it’s certainly not worth the full $25 admission price to see one wing before having to leave- but here’s a fun surprise: if you show up to the museum before they close- you can name your own price of admission. I’m serious. Sean and I got to explore the Egyptian and Contemporary wings for $5.


I’m already planning a trip back to NYC in the coming weeks specifically to go to The MET just so I can see the rest of the museum. The place is gigantic and quite beautiful- and I know there’s a lot I missed out on during my quick walk-through!

Before racing back to Grand Central to beat an impending ice storm that was set to hit Massachusetts on Monday night, Sean and I stopped at Joe’s Coffee to grab a couple of cappuccinos and enjoy our cupcake while we charged our phones and dried our coats as best as we could. The place was small, warm, smelled like freshly ground coffee beans and was playing some drum-heavy music (which was a nice change of pace from the usual smooth jazz I hear in most coffee shops) so I enjoyed our brief stay immensely- and the caffeine gave me just enough of a kick to not only RUN to the subway back to the station- but practically hurdle myself onto our train just as it was pulling away from the platform.


Overall, my birthday weekend was pretty great. It was spent with people near and dear to me and was about as spontaneous and roll-with-the-punches as you can imagine. I had an incredible time and I’m looking forward to getting back out on the town this coming Saturday and Sunday.

And thank you again to everyone who reached out to me to send birthday wishes and good vibes. It meant the world to me and I truly and honestly appreciate it so much! You all helped make my special day even better!



Top 10 Photographs of 2016

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Combing through all of my photos from this past year has been a trip. I’ve been to so many incredible places, have met and spent time with equally incredible people- and have been fortunate enough to occasionally just be in right moment at the right time to catch a perfect shot. Narrowing down hundreds of photos to just ten, and then ranking them proved to be quite a challenge- but this is one of two year-end traditions here on ‘Legally Redhead’. The other, my “In a Nutshell” post that will summarize 2016 in it’s excruciatingly long entirety- will be up tomorrow! I wanted to do this the right way, after all!

All but two of these photos were taken by me (and the two in question have me in them and were taken by other people)– and most are from my travels around New England and across the country this past year. It’s been a lot of fun re-visiting those moments and memories as I organized these pictures for this post- and I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do!

Without further delay, here are my ten favorite photographs from 2016.


#10: Coney Island (July 5th)

In the early, sunny morning hours following the 4th- my best friend Sean and I hopped a train bound to New York City for a day out together. The original plan had been to try and get a crazy elaborate milkshake at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer and maybe hang around Central Park for a while- but we ended up riding the subway all the way to Coney Island, instead. I had never been- and Sean hadn’t been since he was a kid.

On the agenda was riding the famous and historic Cyclone roller coaster and strolling the boardwalk for a couple of hours. The weather was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded- and I snapped this quick photo of the Cyclone before we headed back to the subway so we could catch a quick dinner near Grand Central Station before our train departed for home. This is a nice memento from such a beautiful day.


#9: Negan(ette) & Eugene (July 30th)

Some of the most fun I had in 2016 was cosplaying as Negan from ‘The Walking Dead’, and when you combine that aforementioned fun with the hilarity that Josh McDermitt (who plays Eugene on the show) brings each and every time he’s in town- you’ve got the making for a pretty epic photo- even if the roles are reversed and he’s the one holding Lucille! This phone selfie, taken by Josh, was taken at the ‘Walker Stalker’ convention this past Summer when it rolled through Boston for a long weekend. It was my first time wearing my Negan costume- and it was a big hit.

There were a lot of photos from that weekend- but this is by far my favorite. It never fails to make me grin. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back next year if it returns to Boston!


#8: Last Night in The Chelsea Apartment (July 23rd)

I swear, not all of my favorite photos are from July of this past year- but a lot was going on then- including saying goodbye to the beautiful apartment in Chelsea following some unforeseen circumstances with the landlord selling the place and booting all the tenants out per the buyer/developer’s request. After a “moving out” party, which involved my friends and I eating way too much pizza and drinking way too much alcohol- I snapped this photo at sunset from the balcony that overlooked the Mystic River, the Tobin Bridge, and the Boston skyline. It had been unbelievably hot out that night- and a thunderstorm was blowing in from the West- making the sky explode with pinks, purples and oranges.

It was a bittersweet scene, really- and I couldn’t think of a better send-off to a place my friends and I hung out hats for years and years.


#7: “Didn’t they film The Shining here?” (April 23rd)

Back in the beginning of Spring, Sean and I decided to take a weekend road trip up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and spend a couple of days at the (allegedly haunted) Mount Washington Hotel- which eerily resembled The Overlook Hotel from “The Shining”. The history of the hotel is fascinating, and the entire place was stunning inside and out- complete with a former speakeasy-turned-fully-functioning-bar, restaurants, a cafe, movie theater, arcade, indoor swimming pool, spacious conference areas, etc.- and Sean and I opted to stay up all hours to explore as much as we could in-between zip-lining over and repelling down huge trees in the still-snowy mountains.

This photo was taken on our last day at the resort, from across the road that leads up to the hotel. I thought it was such a beautiful scene with the mountains looming behind it. I’d love to go back in 2017!


#6: Overlooking The Atlantic (January 1st)

I spent last New Year’s Eve and this past New Year’s Day on the island of Nantucket- drinking champagne, dancing the night away, and then trekking through the quiet cobblestone streets and taking in the views of the big, beautiful houses and the ocean until it was time to catch a ferry back to my car in Hyannis. Sean captured this photo of me by one of the lighthouses on the island and I think it sums up the “aimless wanderer and avid traveler” part of my personality perfectly- beanie on my head and backpack stuffed with my belongings.

Even though it was January, we were on the waterfront, and it was cloudy out- the weather wasn’t too chilly or windy that day- and it felt nice being outdoors. I miss Nantucket, and since it’s technically the off-season for tourists, I think I’ll head back for a visit soon!


#5: Stop & Enjoy The Foliage (October 11th)

After a stressful Summer and a long return flight home from San Diego a few days earlier, it felt nice to take a day to stroll through the pretty, picturesque New England Autumn scenery- which always brings me so much calm and comfort. I stopped to take this photo on a cloudless, brisk afternoon hike through Sudbury, Massachusetts before heading to a friend’s apartment for dinner plans we had made. While most of the trees were only just starting to turn various shades of oranges, reds and yellows- this one was already in full-blown Fall mode- and I thought it looked gorgeous against the blue sky.

When I eventually leave New England- it’s days like that one that I will miss the most.


#4: San Diego After Dark (October 5th)

On my last night of my Fall vacation in San Diego, during one of my usual “but I don’t want to leave!” bouts of sadness at the prospect of having to return to chilly Massachusetts the following morning- I went for a late night stroll around downtown and The Gaslamp Quarter and came across these illuminated palm trees not far from the convention center (where San Diego Comic-Con is held.) There wasn’t another single soul around apart from me, so I basked in the light and their leaves and snapped this photo with my cell phone to look back on whenever I got homesick for the West Coast.

It was a lovely night and an unexpected find to wrap up my trip.


#3: The Most Bizarre Snowstorm Imaginable (February 5th)

Growing up in New England, I’m no stranger to unusual and unpredictable weather. Blizzards? Heat waves? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? I’ve seen just about everything- but the freakish snowstorm that blew through the area in early February and covered EVERYTHING with a heavy blanket of snow that stuck to the trees like glue was something new to me. I captured this photo in my mother’s driveway, where literally INCHES of snow clung to every single part of every single branch instead of simply falling to the ground- making her neighborhood look like a weird, cartoon version of a Winter wonderland.

High winds blew all of that snow off the branches that very same night- but it was really neat looking as the sun began to set and this is one of my favorite photos I took of it as I was losing daylight. It really was something to behold.


#2: “I see London…” (September 30th)

What can I say about my Vegas trip at the end of September, apart from that it was incredible? Seeing one of my favorite bands perform one of my favorite albums at the venue it was named after was just surreal- and sharing the experience with people I simply adore and cherish and who have become lifelong friends and family made it all the better. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Sam’s Town sign with the marquee advertising The Killers weekend performances there. I completely had a fangirl moment the very first time that I saw it (I had never been before!) and needed to commemorate the occasion.

Side Note: Don’t ever drink too much whiskey in Sam’s Town. Yikes. I’m still feeling that one.


#1: “The Echoes They Left Behind…” (October 18th)

Leave it to me to have something completely morbid and maybe a little depressing at the top of the list- but I’m still not over this discovery of discarded grave markers Sean and I found thrown away in the woods on the outskirts of what was formerly the Danvers State Hospital/Asylum. Each marker represents a person with a past, a life, a family somewhere- and their death- and to see these things just heaved into the woods like trash was a sobering moment for me. I’ve been photographing abandoned buildings and places for years- and sometimes you see some pretty messed up stuff- but this admittedly got to me and made me a bit emotional.

I took this photo not only because I couldn’t believe what I had seen- but as a reminder that those who lived and died within Danvers’ walls shouldn’t be forgotten.

And there they are- my top ten photographs from the year. Looking back, I really did travel to some gorgeous and exciting places- a tradition I hope to continue well into 2017 where I plan to take even more pictures and make it even harder on myself to narrow them down come the New Year’s Eve before 2018 starts- but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

Here’s to documenting the finer moments of 2016 and keeping the memories they’ve left in my heart and mind forever!


Day Off Date!

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Although I travel to NYC fairly often, and have seen nearly all of the more popular landmarks or attractions (and some of the city’s best well-kept secrets) more than once- there are still a couple of areas I’ve never been to despite barely needing to check my phone’s GPS for directions anymore.

Coney Island is one of those places.

When it comes to Summertime beach-side attractions- all I really need is a boardwalk, some funnel cake, and maybe a couple of old, rickety amusement park rides and I will be perfectly and completely content (which is why I adore Old Orchard Beach so much) so I’m actually a bit surprised I’d put off checking out Coney Island until this past Tuesday- where Sean and I, already planning on going to NYC for the day, anyway- headed all the way down on the D train on a whim.

The original plan was to head into the city specifically to try and grab one of the INSANE milkshakes at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in SoHo (seriously- just Google them and be amazed/horrified/fascinated)– since the weather heading into Manhattan was on the cloudier, rainier side- but once our train into Grand Central started rolling, the sky cleared up and the sun came out. Sean and I decided to embrace the change in the forecast by enjoying some time outdoors while we traveled- and the idea of checking out Coney Island once and for all popped into my head.


My end game at Coney Island was to ride the Cyclone coaster. It’s been on my bucket list for a while now, although I didn’t think I’d really get around to doing it anytime soon until I was actually buying a ticket and waiting in a brief line to hop in- quoting ‘Captain America’ to Sean the entire time:


And while neither one of us threw up- I think I may have bruised a rib coming around one of the bends. That thing hauls ass. It has way more kick than I originally gave it credit for- but it was fun! I’m glad I finally got to do it. The older roller coasters will always and forever be the best.

After a spin on the ferris wheel (with a really beautiful view from the top of the city skyline and the ocean)– Sean and I strolled the boardwalk and browsed some gift shops, arcades and food stands before we decided to head back towards Manhattan for dinner and to catch a train home at a reasonable hour since we both had to return to work bright and early on Wednesday morning.

Although we had gotten back into SoHo in what I thought was record time- the line outside Black Tap had already wrapped around the block. Famished at this point, Sean and I ended up popping by GATSBY’s for a pub style dinner that was really good and made the trek back to our train a little easier since I wasn’t stopping every few feet to whine about needing food (and their sweet potato fries are awesome!)



Although I left NYC without a $15 milkshake smothered in cookies and/or M&Ms- I had a really good day and it was worth being a little groggy at work on Wednesday. It was the perfect way to wrap up my Fourth of July weekend (I even saw fireworks from my window on the train during my ride back home!) and I would absolutely love to go to Coney Island again someday- maybe just to ride the Cyclone until I throw up.

Thanks for another great adventure, NYC!



Top 10 Photographs of 2015.

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As has become a bit of a tradition for me since I started ‘Legally Redhead’, I’ve put aside some time to comb through all of my photos- ones I’ve taken myself throughout all of my adventures and ones that have been taken of me (some flattering, and some not so much)– over the course of this past year, and believe me when I say there were a LOT of them. So many, in fact- that narrowing down the photos to just ten to include in this list proved to be much more challenging than I’d been prepared for! I had an idea going into this post, sure- but once all of those photos were laid out in front of me- all of them filled with such wonderful memories, travels, and some with just plain silliness- my idea was thrown out the window and it was like starting from scratch!

I digress- After multiple edits, rearrangements, and more edits- I think I’ve formally and finally selected my favorite ten photographs from 2015!


#10: Oh, the HUMANITY (February 26th)

Some may be surprised that a photo from one of the worst winters imaginable (barely) made it onto the list, considering how miserable the non-stop blizzards made me, and the rest of New England- but this picture I captured on my cell phone from inside the parking garage at my last job after yet another storm shows just how serious things were starting to get when we began running out of places to put all of the snow. The back of my car, pictured in the bottom, left-hand corner- shows how close the buildup was getting to what was my designated parking spot at the time.

That pile wasn’t completely melted until late May/early June, by the way.


# 9: Barely able to contain my excitement with Hayley Atwell at Boston Comic-Con (August 2nd)

While the image quality might not be the best (it’s a photo of a glossy photo, after all-) the laminated copy of this picture snapped during this year’s Boston Comic-Con is proudly on display in my bedroom. While I simply didn’t have enough time to make multiple, elaborate costumes like I did for San Diego Comic-Con in 2014- the one costume I DID take the time and the effort to make, a homage to one of my favorite female Marvel heroes- was a gem in my cosplay résumé. When I got to wear my costume and pose next to Peggy Carter herself, Hayley Atwell- I was pretty much inwardly screeching with joy. When Hayley complimented the outfit- I couldn’t stop beaming- and that’s right around the time this photo, which definitely highlights my overjoyed megawatt grin and subsequent squinty eyes- was snapped by the hired photographer for the event.

Meeting Hayley was the cherry on top of a truly fantastic weekend I had that month. Not only did my longtime friend Steven attend the convention with me (and we saw ‘Ant-Man’ that night!) but it was also the day before Brandon Flowers’ incredible performance at House of Blues.


# 8: An evening in The Morgan Library (January 18th)

In the first of many day/weekend trips to NYC my friends and I took in 2015- January 18th saw me catch a train to Manhattan all on my own specifically to spend a couple of hours perusing and relaxing in The Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue. While it was a tad difficult to get a perfect shot without other visitors looking and looming around in the background- I always liked this one the best. I thought it captured just how gigantic the library really is- and the stunning artwork that brightens up the ceiling (that feels like it’s a three miles high.)

The visit to the museum was absolutely worth the train ride- and the gigantic bruise I sustained on my hip after I fell on ice shortly after my arrival in the city earlier that afternoon.


# 7: Central Park Pretzel Squad (June 20th)

During another day trip to NYC, this time during the Summer and with a group of some of my best guy friends- what was going to be a quick visit proved to be a nearly 24 hour walking tour of the city (we only took the subway back to Grand Central Station when we reached Brooklyn and literally couldn’t move our legs anymore.) The trip was with- and for- our friend, Nick- who had never visited NYC before. We were determined to show him as many tourist attractions as we could (and I thought we did a pretty good job!) but I snapped this photo with my phone in the middle of the afternoon when our group stopped to take a break in Central Park. It wasn’t until we’d all taken a bite when I realized that we’d all ordered some variation of a cart pretzel- which are really the best.

I was going to omit food photos this year (because I did a lot of really tasty baking and thought ten photos of my kitchen concoctions might be a bit much for one post)– but this one was too good to pass up.


# 6: Historic Deerfield (July 27th)

2015 was the year I rediscovered (or rekindled?) my love of Western Massachusetts, specifically the Pioneer Valley. I spent a lot of time in Northamption, Amherst, Hadley, and Deerfield- especially the historic area- lined with pretty houses, old fences, and plenty of flowers. I stopped by the area one afternoon in July to take a walk while I waited for my friend to finish up at work so we could go about our scheduled plans. After taking a corner, I was greeted by all these bright and beautiful flowers- some that had grown almost as tall as me- and I took a few photos while trying to avoid the bees that were buzzing about.

This one was my favorite of the bunch. I love all the different colors in this photo.


# 5: Making a friend at Ocean Beach, San Diego (January 25th)

Days before the first of many historic blizzards and Winter storms were set to hit the East Coast at the beginning of the year, I was in sunny San Diego celebrating my 29th birthday with friends. On my last day before I was due to fly back home- I headed down to Ocean Beach- my favorite spot in SoCal. While there, I watched surfers ride the waves, ate some awesome tacos, and strolled the boardwalk- which is where I spotted this guy just hanging out. Even as I inched closer and closer to him, he didn’t budge- he just sat on the railing and watched me- and then he let me take his picture with the beautiful ocean and palm trees in the background.

Sadly, I didn’t see him this past October when I returned to San Diego for a vacation.


# 4: Quabbin Reservoir (September 6th)

As Summer slowly but surely began to slip away, making room for Autumn- I headed out for one last evening hike along the Quabbin Reservoir one late afternoon in September before I made my way to Northampton for a dinner date. My timing as I hit the trails was perfect, because I caught this beautiful and serene shot just as the sun was first beginning to set. I was the only one there for a short period of time before a couple of hikers came by, and I remember just being so blown away with how lovely the water looked as it reflected the sky. It was like something out of some far away fantasy movie.

It’s a shame swimming isn’t allowed in the reservoir- because I would have dove in- in a heartbeat!


# 3: My final set list of my 20’s (August 3rd)

I had mentioned it above with my photo with Hayley Atwell- but August 2nd-3rd were so unbelievably fun for me. The 3rd, my second day of getting to spend time with my Irish BFF, Steven- was also the day Brandon Flowers brought his ‘Desired Effect’ tour to Boston. Since my teens, The Killers and their individual solo work have played an integral part of my life. I’ve met so many people and have made so many friends because of the band’s existence and through their wide and diverse fan base- and their music has, on more than one occasion- been a soundtrack to different ups and downs since my late teens.

The set list shown above, a gift from Steven after the show- marks my final B.Flow performance of my 20’s. Come mid-January, I’ll be entering my thirties, and while I don’t anticipate never seeing a show again, ever- it’ll be within a whole new era of my life.


# 2: Viva Las Vegas! (October 16th)

Despite the fact that we’ve known each other for 20 years, my best friend Sean and I have never actually taken a vacation together (apart from the occasional weekend in NYC or New Hampshire or something.) All of that changed when my long lost twin sister, Kelsey, tied the knot in Las Vegas this past October and Sean was more than happy to fly across the country and come along as my date. We had an absolute BLAST there- from hitting the strip, going from casino to casino, to being apart of Kelsey’s beautiful ceremony at the M Resort- which marked my first time seeing her in a few years! It was by far one of the best trips I’ve ever been on- and the photo-of-the-photobooth-strip above is just a snippet of our overall carefree and silly attitude during our stay.

We’ve already agreed that we need to head back to Vegas together A.S.A.P. and catch a show or two (and do some gambling.) Maybe it’s in store for 2016? We’ll just have to wait and see!


# 1: Stone Arch Bridge – Upstate New York (April 25th)

In April, I set off to Bethel, New York, for a long weekend of relaxation in the middle of nowhere and to revisit areas I had stopped by with my parents during a family holiday over five years ago. One spot in particular, the Stone Arch Bridge, proved to be one of my favorite places to pause, sit, and take a few photos. The area was still feeling the aftermath of Winter (the trees were bare and it was a bit chilly out) but it ended up working in my favor. I loved all of the pictures I took during my stay- but this one in particular really caught my attention while I was reviewing it after I’d come home. It’s very similar to a photo my father took the last time I was there (only the trees were much fuller and I was actually on the bridge in his version.)

Because of how sentimental the area is to me, and because of how lonesome-looking but lovely this picture came out (I’m quite proud of it!) I’ve dubbed this picture my # 1 of 2015.

And there it is! My top ten photos from this past year. I’m very pleased with my list- and I’m looking forward to snapping even more pictures come 2016 with all the big plans I’ve been making for the upcoming year!


June 2015: In a Nutshell.

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Where does the time go? It feels like I was launched out of a cannon at the beginning of the month and have been hurdling forward ever since! June was crazy, hectic, and most certainly a blast- although I did fall behind on my posts just a little bit. Now that I’ve got a couple of quiet days ahead of me before Fourth of July weekend, I’ve been playing catching up.

I thought I’d be writing this from San Diego right now- but with my work schedule, current case load, and friends moving to and from the area in recent weeks- I’ve been grounded here on the East Coast for the time being. I’ll be returning to SoCal soon, though!


I didn’t spend all of June in Massachusetts sitting behind my desk or helping friends pack/unpack their belongings, though. A considerable amount of time was spent hanging around NYC, too. A few weeks ago I had my aura read in Chinatown, and last weekend a group of friends and I caught an early morning train into Grand Central Station to give one of our own a nearly 16-hour tour of some of the city’s most famous landmarks since he had never been to NYC before and was itching to go. We started in Times Square, made our way to Radio City Music Hall, then Rockefeller Center, Central Park (where our friend had his first authentic pretzel cart experience,) One World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial, Battery Park, Wall Street- and then worked our way to Brooklyn before we caught an evening subway back to Grand Central. We did it all on foot- and I’m pretty sure I’m still sore from it!

The only two landmarks we couldn’t make it to were the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, which were closed by the time we made it to where the ferries were- and the top of the Empire State Building. The weather was rainy and foggy the entire time we were there- so much, in fact- that we couldn’t see the top of most of the skyscrapers! With visibility being next to zero- we all collectively decided to head back on a sunnier day to finish the tour properly.

June2015InANutshell2The 9/11 Memorial especially stood out to me. The last time I was down by where the Twin Towers once stood was in the Spring of 2002- and there was nothing left. It was both horrifying and heartbreaking. Now, over a decade later- and this beautiful memorial stands in it’s place. It’s truly something to behold. While I was there, I leaned that a white rose is placed on name plates to commemorate victims’ birthdays- which I thought was so touching (because everyone deserves to be recognized and remembered- especially on their birthday.) It happened to be Martin N. DeMeo’s birthday while I was in the area, and I snapped a photo of his rose.

I haven’t checked out the 9/11 Museum yet, but the memorial itself was worth the trip.

So what’s in store for July? More travel, of course (and not just to NYC this time!) some fashion and recipe posts I’ve been meaning to put up for a couple of weeks now, a head-to-head breakdown of Hampton Beach v. Old Orchard Beach, the usual subscription box reviews- and maybe a good old fashioned camping trip (weather permitting!)

And while I may not physically be at San Diego Comic-Con in the coming days- I’m very much there in spirit (and my spirit just happens to be cosplaying!) I might be writing up a couple of posts about upcoming projects that are displayed/revealed there based on the panels and press releases that are provided to those of us not in attendance. I’m really looking forward to seeing the new trailer for the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” and anything pertaining to Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight!”

July is the prelude to what might be my busiest and most exciting month yet- August- but we’ll get to that when the time comes!

Until then- I’m ready to slow things down a bit and enjoy all the fun July has to offer!


“Your aura is purple!”

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On occasion, I hear about places and things to do that are so unique and so unlike anything I’ve ever seen or done before that I don’t hesitate to grab my bag, my camera, hop in my car- and go check it out for myself. I love trying new things and exploring unfamiliar territory that it’s like a rush of adrenaline to just get up and go.

This past Saturday, I did just that- catching an early morning train into New York City for a day trip that put me right in the middle of Chinatown. My reason? To have my aura photographed and explained/evaluated to me in detail at Magic Jewelry on Canal Street.


I believe in many things (I’m beyond fortunate to come from a very diverse family and have very diverse friends- all of whom practice different beliefs and all of whom I’ve learned many different things from,) so I approached Magic Jewelry- tucked away between massage parlors, nail salons, and souvenir stands- with an open mind. I was buzzed into the small shop where I was greeted and given a cup of really good green tea by a friendly older women while the other lady working attended to a group who were there for the same reason as me.

My photograph only took a few minutes to snap. I was seated in a little corner of the shop and told to rest my hands- palms flat- on two metal slates at my sides as I looked into the camera. While I waited for my photo to finish developing, I caught a glimpse of some of the photos taken of the other people who were waiting inside the shop with me and noticed that each one was very different from the next in terms of colors and intensity.

The photo of mine is above, and it’s very, very red! I was given a summary of the past three weeks- including things I’ve been concerned with and things I’ve been feeling (which was both remarkably and eerily accurate since I offered no information about myself leading up to it!) as well as predictions for the next three weeks. From there, I was given more tea while I perused the shop’s assortment of available crystals, charms, and jewelry- none of which were pushed on me- which was much appreciated!

I was pleased with the overall experience. It was new, different, exciting, and enlightening. If you ever find yourself in Chinatown and you’re looking to have an interesting experience- I recommend checking Magic Jewelry out!


With my aura photograph tucked away safely in my purse and the sky opening up to make way for what proved to be a beautiful afternoon, I spent the next few hours walking around Manhattan and window shopping. I did stop to refuel at The Hummus & Pita Company/The Juice Shop on Broadway where I picked up a chicken, brown rice, and Moroccan bean pita and a smoothie that were made fresh (and were super tasty) before I opted to head back home for the evening before it got too late.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday. I’m going to be back in NYC with friends within a couple of weeks (for one of my friends, it’ll be his very first time there!) so it’ll be nice to spend more than a few hours hanging around town for a change.

And depending on how accurate the prediction I was given for the upcoming three weeks turns out to be- maybe I’ll take him to have his aura photographed, too.



Bidding Farewell to Don Draper.

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Long before AMC ruined my life (and shattered ratings records over and over again,) with “The Walking Dead,” I was- and still am- infatuated with “Mad Men.” My biased love of 1960s fashion and music aside, it’s been a tremendous several seasons of scandal, heartache, history, great one-liners and memorable, touching moments as viewers watched the rise (and multiple downfalls) of the show’s main protagonist- Donald Draper. With clever and compelling writing and an immensely talented, stunning cast- saying goodbye to the show after all this time as it concludes it’s final season over the next couple of months won’t be easy.

This past weekend, after heading into NYC for a few hours, I made a point to stop by the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria to check out their recently unveiled “Mad Men” exhibit, which is open to the public for viewing now through June 14th of this year. Featuring replicas of some of the most famous sets, costumes, props, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how the show was first conceived by Matthew Weiner and how it was/is written- it’s a must see for any die-hard fans who are planning on spending any time in New York this Spring.

My one gripe with the Museum of the Moving Image is that while most of the other exhibits in the building, some featuring impressive antiques- could be photographed freely (and some could even be touched!)– the “Mad Men” exhibit was strictly off limits to any type of photography at all. Now, I understand why flash photography is prohibited in many places, since it can damage pieces in an exhibit over time and is just distracting to the staff and other visitors in general- but you mean to tell me I can’t snap a cell phone picture of Betty’s stylish kitchen even though I paid the price of admission? Come on. That’s a little ridiculous.

Now, if there’s some sort of logical explanation for this rule that I’m somehow overlooking and anyone wants to enlighten me- feel free, because I’m always open to learning new things. It was just slightly off-putting to go from taking pictures around the museum with no consequence to suddenly getting screamed at as I took an innocent and flash-free photo of Don’s office at the agency (and I had completely missed the very small “NO CAMERAS” sign nearby- I swear!)


I digress, other than that hiccup- I enjoyed myself. The museum is filled with a lot of really great pieces of cinematic, television, and gaming history. It’s fascinating to see how far we’ve come in terms of technology and entertainment. Even more fascinating is that I can remember playing some of the arcade games that were on display when I was a kid and thought they could never be topped!






After I stepped out of the museum and grabbed a quick dinner, I started back towards Grand Central Station to catch my train home. Along the way, I ended up at Bryant Park just as the sun was setting and was treated to a spectacular view of the Empire State Building. I ended up staying and just marveling at how beautiful the scenery and the weather was long after the sun had gone down. The flowers may not have started blooming yet, and the trees still look more than bare around the city- but you can definitely tell Spring is in the air.



The Morgan Library

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This past weekend, I found myself in NYC for a couple of hours. It was pouring out in the city- damp, frigid and pretty miserable- and I ended up ducking into The Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue for a short period of time to dry off, warm up, and browse Pierpont Morgan’s private library and study. I couldn’t resist snapping some photos (without flash, of course,) of the collection- because the rooms were just so gorgeous and awe-inspiring. I wound up slowly walking from shelf to shelf- exhibit to exhibit- staring through the glass at rare books and artifacts that had been accumulated over the years.









Admission to The Morgan Library was $18 (for adult entry) and I recommend it for anyone who wants a quiet and quaint museum experience for a couple of hours while they’re in New York- with or without a torrential downpour outside.

Afterwards, prior to catching my train, I made a quick-stop a couple blocks down and around the corner at Black Shack Burger to grab a bite to eat- and although the service left a lot to be desired (the guy at the counter obviously wanted to be anywhere but there and seemed kind of irritated while I was doing a speedy browse of the menu-) the food was really, really, REALLY good. I liked the atmosphere of the place, too, which felt like an underground punk rock club with all the gig posters I saw tacked up by where I had sat down. I’d definitely stop by again- and hopefully the employees are in better spirits when I do.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad way to spend a rainy, chilly Sunday- although next time I’ll be sure to bring or buy an umbrella.



All Hallows’ Eve.

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In the past few years, my best friend Sean and I have traveled to New York City to attend ‘Sleep No More’ and some of it’s linked parties/productions at their McKittrick Hotel no less than a dozen times- each time vastly different and unique than the last. New Years Eve, Springtime celebrations, dinners, masquerades, etc. We’ve done it all and have always enjoyed ourselves immensely. The only party we had yet to check out was their yearly Halloween celebration. Working full-time has made Halloween a tad difficult to celebrate at maximum party potential- especially with it falling during weekdays in recent years- so to be able to take this past Friday off at the office and head into NYC for the ‘INFERNO: A Celebration of Sin’ party was exciting.

The dress code was simple- all black attire or costumes that adhered to one of the seven deadly sins. I’m not 100% sure everyone in attendance followed that dress code by the book, but I, myself, made an effort with a classic little black dress from ModCloth and my Edgar Allan Poe pendant from Fable & Fury.



Shortly after our arrival at the McKittrick, we were served an incredible dinner that included lamb, fresh salad, raisin wine, some strong punch, and an assortment of rich desserts before we were ushered into the play to collect our masks and explore. Try as we might, Sean and I did end up getting separated- again (it ALWAYS happens-) but we each got to see some new scenes we’d missed during previous visits. When we found each other again later on in one of the bigger rooms, we managed to catch the end of the show together before it was time for the post-performance party to begin.

Now, a party that boasts a “seven deadly sins” theme is bound to have a fair share of surprises- and the staff at McKittirick didn’t fail to deliver. There was plenty of alcohol (I maybe, maaaaaybe drank a little too much champagne as the evening wore on,) nudity, simulated sex, and so on. I’m fortunate enough to be desensitized by most of it at this point- but it was pretty great to see some people who were seemingly in attendance for the first time looking on in shock. At one point in the evening, a card I had been given during dinner by one of the performers gained me entry into a private auction room where I was served more champagne and some grapes by a nude gentleman who was painted gold from head to toe. The item being auctioned off was another patron who had been picked out at random, blindfolded, and presented to us (I’m fairly sure there was a similar scene in the last ‘Purge’ movie?) 

Afterwards, when I had stopped by the ladies room to freshen up my lipstick and fix my hair- a woman dressed as Amy Winehouse was performing on a karaoke machine in the corner by the sinks. You seriously just NEVER know what’s going to happen or who/what you’re going to see.

Sean and I stayed and danced around the different rooms for most of the night, eventually losing steam around 2:30 a.m. when we grabbed what would prove to be regrettable White Castle sliders en route back to our hotel, The Muse on West 46th- which was beautiful, by the way.





Yesterday proved to be rainy and cold in the city, but Sean and I weren’t content with just staying indoors all day until it came time to catch our train back home. We bundled up, grabbed some coffee, and headed out to walk through Central Park- which wasn’t crowded at all due to the weather. We were able to actually stop and take pictures of certain landmarks without having to duck and dodge other people attempting to get the perfect photograph, too. Sure, we were more than damp and chilly by the end of our hike- but it was worth it. It felt like for the most part, we had the park to ourselves.





When it came time to grab lunch and warm up, we ended up at the Museum of Natural History. Growing up, Sean and I were big fans of the PlayStation game “Parasite Eve,” which involved fighting off monsters in various locations around New York City. One of those levels included battling the T-Rex in the museum that had been brought back to life by out of control cells (it’s one of those things you should probably Google since I’m absolutely terrible at describing the premise of the game. It’s basically about mutated mitochondria running amok in the city. It sounds insane but it’s actually a really great game- and so was it’s follow-up!)

Anyway, I haven’t been to the museum since I was about 16, so it was pretty fun to go and re-visit all the exhibits. The T-Rex unfortunately didn’t come back to life while we were there, but we took a few shameless selfies in front of it for good measure anyway. Also, while we were in the Central America display, Sean took a photo of me, bundled up in multiple layers and with my backpack in tow, in an attempt to re-create a picture my dad had snapped of me when I was still a kid in the exact same spot. My hair is a lot longer than my teenage bob and I’m not wearing my glasses- but the pose and cheesy grin is the same!


By the time we left the museum, it had stopped raining, which was a blessing- but it was getting late and we (reluctantly) had to head back to Boston. Despite the post-White Castle nausea and the dropping temperatures, we had a phenomenal time in New York and I’d really like to come back before the holidays makes it impossible to get around the city.

Speaking of. On Halloween, we had passed by Radio City Music Hall en route to our hotel to drop off our stuff and get changed pre-McKittrick party. It was lit up as usual- but then yesterday, on our way back to Grand Central, we happened to walk by it again only to find the Christmas trees on each corner had been set up and illuminated. Not only that- but Starbucks red cups and holiday drinks are back already!


We are not wasting ANY time this year! I mean, sure, that’s a photo of my hand holding a peppermint mocha latte in the back of a New York City cab the day after Halloween- but I mean, come on. They’re delicious. How could I not order one?

Cupcakes and Comedy

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Yesterday I headed out to NYC to spend an afternoon gallivanting around the city with my friend Alison before we headed to a comedy show on Broadway in the evening. One of our stops, at my insistence, was Sprinkles Cupcakes on Lexington and 60th- and, specifically- their cupcake ATM, which is exactly what it sounds like. You simply select one or more of the available flavors (which change daily,) of cupcake you want, slide your debit/credit card, and in less than sixty seconds and at $4.25 per cupcake- you have a rich, decadent dessert in a convenient little box in your hands. This is the future, everyone.

Alison indulged in a s’mores cupcake, and I carefully selected a chocolate-peanut-butter one- and while it was a little messy- it might also have been one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. It was delicious (and filling!) and it took a lot of willpower not to hurry back and try some of the other flavors. I’ll definitely be making another stop at the ATM the next time I’m in New York- and I highly recommend it for any dessert aficionado in the area, or visiting, who is looking for a quick, convenient, and most importantly- tasty– sugar fix.



The comedy show Alison and I went to was headlined by Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick at Carolines on Broadway. We had seen Chris perform there a little more than a year ago, and he had been fantastic. Last night, he did it again. Chris slayed with his new material and was kind enough to pose for a silly photo between his sets in Carolines’ “Avatar” style lighting that turned everyone and everything in the vicinity a bright shade of blue.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I will say it again without hesitation- Chris is one of the nicest and hardest working guys around, and if you haven’t checked out any of his MULTIPLE endeavors with Nerdist or his television shows (@Midnight is entirely too fun to watch,) then you’re really missing out.

Overall, it was a wonderful day, made even more so because I got to catch up with Alison for the first time in months. I’ll be back in the city within the next couple of weeks for some other day-trips/weekend stuff I’ve been planning since the Winter- and to get another cupcake from Sprinkles, of course!