May Hits List!

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope those of you in the States had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Mine was mostly rained out, unfortunately- but I still managed to have my share of fun with friends and family while paying respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice while they were defending our country and our freedoms.

I’m back at work this morning bright and early to get a jump start on anything that may have accumulated over the long weekend and to assist with training a newcomer to the team (and she’s an absolute doll! I’m so excited to work with her!) but I wanted to take a little bit of time to share some of my favorite things from the month of May. Some are helping me prep for this Summer, others were the breakout stars during my recent trip to the West Coast- but I’ve put them (and some other things!) all right here to share.

Let’s take a look!

I had previously showed off these holograph sneakers from Primark in my pre-vacation haul/shopping spree post a couple of weeks ago- and while I am still completely smitten with how cool they look- I also just want to comment on how unbelievably comfortable they are, too. I was sporting these in the airport, around the Las Vegas strip, and throughout downtown San Diego last week and not once did my feet ever feel sore or stiff.

Considering I paid less than $20 for these- I wasn’t expecting long-term comfort or style- but these made it to and from the West Coast and are still in great shape. I’m so, so thrilled about this purchase that I had to share them again!

Last month, an Aveeno face wash had made my “Hits List” for being my g0-to cleanser when I was freshening up post-workout at the gym. This month, the brand returns- but in the form of a really incredible nighttime repair cream that I’ve been swearing by in recent weeks. I brought this with me to California and it’s a lifesaver, to put it plainly.

Between the climate change, staying out late with my friends out West and having one too many drinks (more than once)– I was pretty much expecting to wake up every morning of my vacation looking rough and tired- but after generously smearing this cream all over my face and neck every night when I got back to where I was staying/crashing- I THANKFULLY always looked fresh-faced and radiant. The multi-vitamins and soy complex loaded into this fluffy, lightweight moisturizer worked wonders at repairing, hydrating, and protecting my skin while I slept. I’m a believer now and I can’t recommend it enough.

I’ve also been using this incredible color-changing/complimenting lipstick from Lipstick Queen I received in a recent POPSUGAR “Must Have” box pretty much non-stop. While the lipstick appears yellow in the tube, it quickly transforms into a flattering coral shade once it hits your lips. It brightens me up in the mornings when I head to work and is perfect for that no-fuss “beachy” look I covet around this time every year. I always keep it nearby in my bag for quick touch-ups!

As much as I love the latest Vegas key chain I picked up for my collection during last week’s visit- the key chain itself isn’t the only thing that made the “Hits List!” this month- but the overall memories, really.

I went to Vegas with a bit of an agenda- one, was to visit some friends I wish I got to see more often (which was also part of my agenda when I went to California shortly thereafter) and the other thing was to give a serious look and some consideration into the real estate options out that way.

I would love to live in San Diego- anywhere in SoCal, really- but the truth of the matter is that it is obscenely expensive. What I pay now for a lovely enough place that suits me and my present lifestyle where I’m currently located is barely enough to afford a decent studio (or even a basement apartment) in that region. Finding good condos or a suitable house is like winning the lottery- and I’m not getting any younger. I have to be realistic- and while I continue to take some roommate offers into consideration- the possibility of moving to the slightly-less-West-but-still-West-enough and infinitely cheaper Las Vegas/Henderson region has piqued my interest.

I did look at a couple of homes in the desert during my stay- still close enough to civilization so I’m not cut off but far enough away from the bright lights and the noise where I can get a full night’s sleep. I haven’t made any definitive decisions yet- but this entire trip really felt like a step in the right direction for a lot of reasons (some very personal) so that is a hit as far as I’m concerned.

On Mother’s Day, while out in Western Massachusetts for a day of shopping with my darling mom- I picked up a couple of packets of these punch mixes at a farmer’s market/general store to make on the hotter days this Summer. I ended up making them as soon as I got home- and yeah, I’m addicted. So much, in fact- that I went back and bought a few more during one of my recent days off- some for myself and some to gift to friends for their respective cookouts and BBQs.

These things are refreshing, and can be made with or without alcohol (guess which I prefer!) I have a feeling I’ll be including a couple in an upcoming giveaway I have planned for the Summer and a blogging milestone.

Finally, I’m in the process of compiling a list of my favorite burger joints around the New England area (the most fun part being the field research, of course)– but I’ve also been actively working on perfecting the art of the burger, myself. I recently picked up this cookbook featuring some of Shake Shack’s most famous recipes and it. is. awesome. Seriously- they have everything. Burgers. Fries. Breakfast sandwiches. Milkshakes. I’ve been working my ass off all Winter/Spring to get into shape and I’m going to blow it for the sake of trying everything in this book- but it’s gonna’ be worth it.

I’m actually thinking of sharing one of my recipe attempts a little later on this week/over the weekend- so stay tuned!

And now, for a couple of things that couldn’t quite be photographed so easily:


– WWE: Okay, hear me out. When I was a kid- I desperately wanted to be like my two older brothers- who were the coolest as far as I was concerned. That included getting into what was then called the WWF and keeping a brave face on whenever either one of them would attempt to throw me in a figure four leg-lock or a Sharpshooter after every installment of Monday Night Raw or SmackDown! we’d watch together (I always tapped out, for the record. That shit is PAINFUL.)

My favorite wrestlers back then were undeniably Matt and Jeff Hardy- who recently made a triumphant comeback and thus caused me to sit down and tune in again. A group of my friends are still really into it, and have been giving me lessons on all the new faces and feuds I didn’t recognize- and I gotta’ say- it’s still wildly entertaining. I’ve been having a ball watching along- and now my brothers may be jumping back into it, too- which means I need to learn how to get out of a chokehold ASAP.

– “Wonder Woman”: While the movie hasn’t officially hit theaters yet, the early reviews are all fantastic so far- and I’ve been anticipating it’s release for a long time now. Coupled with some recent controversy over some “Women Only” screenings scheduled across the country- WW is looking to be the feminist movie us ladies need right now and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I might even go see it twice- just because.

I think that’s pretty much everything for May 2017’s “Hits List!”- it might not seem like much- but it’s all been helpful/fun.

Feel free to share your own favorites for the month of May!


Pre-Vacay Haul!

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Good Morning and greetings from Chicago! I’m currently sitting in the airport terminal waiting for boarding to begin for my layover to Las Vegas, Nevada- and I. Am. So. Tired. I know once I’m in Sin City I’ll have a boost of energy that should keep me going all night and well into tomorrow- but right now I just want to curl up with my coffee and take a long and much-needed nap. If only these seats weren’t so uncomfortable!

Anyway, after a long night of packing and being way too excited to get a proper amount of sleep (every. single. time. I. travel)– I think I remembered to bring everything I need- including some new additions to my wardrobe and makeup bag courtesy of Sephora and Primark.

I warned y’all there was going to be a haul post- and here it is!

I have been down to the bare minimum of makeup lately- having traded in elaborate cat-eyes for a more natural look so I could sleep a little later in the mornings before work during the week- so I thought I’d treat myself by picking up replacement foundation, concealer, and powder- but also throwing in some new waterproof mascara, a lipstick (“Stark Naked” by Urban Decay- a lovely nude matte!) and some spa-level face and eye masks to get myself looking alive and awake before I hit the Vegas strip tonight.

I’m a young, single gal on vacation, after all- and I gotta’ look like one!

In terms of clothing- I just wanted to pick up a few things I know I’d get plenty of use out of instead of just wearing it once and forgetting about it for months at a time. First things first- I needed light, cool pajamas to sleep in while I’m resting in the desert since all I currently own are thermals from this past Winter.

I snagged these two pajama sets- one with cute little lemons printed all over them and one with bright fringe/tassels- at $6 per set!

Once I laid eyes on these holographic sneakers- I knew I had to have them for long walks through the airport or from casino to casino on the strip. They’re cushy and comfortable- and definitely eye-catching.

The silver flip flops, for when I finally head poolside or want to dig my toes in the sand when I finally hit California- may not be as attention-grabbing as the sneakers- but they’re sparkly and don’t hurt my feet the way other sandals can- so I love them, too!

I have accepted my pale-ness and no longer attempt to cover it up in embarrassment. I’m as white as a ghost. That’s who I am- and it’s too hot to not be wearing shorts or trying to hide my legs- so I made sure to stock up on a bunch of these low-priced denim and/or crochet style shorts to keep cool and chic wherever I go- as well as a couple of loose-fitting cotton shirts to mix and match them with.

I’m all about going casual for this trip. It’s long overdue!

Of course, there are going to be one or two instances where I may need to dress up a little while I’m away- so I made sure to grab this metallic pleated skirt (one of my favorite trends right now!) to give me a little sparkle if I’m wining and dining anywhere on the West Coast.

A nice top and a little jewelry and I can go from dressed-down to glamour girl in a few minutes. It’s all in the details!

I also don’t intend to walk around with a big purse the entire time I’m on vacation- so I grabbed this little zip-up faux-leather pouch to hold the essentials like my I.D., my hotel room key and some lipstick while simultaneously displaying some hometown love. Cutest $3.50 I’ve ever spent!

And for one last dressy item- I was absolutely smitten with this thin, bell-sleeved floral dress that fit me perfectly when I tried it on. I bought this not only for my trip, but for when I come home and head back to work- too! It’s completely office-appropriate! How lovely is that design?

Overall- I spent just over $200. The Sephora stuff was actually what cost the most (no surprise there) but I think I made out pretty good considering all of the things that I got!

And with that being said- my flight is boarding in a few minutes. Time to try and get some last minute shut-eye on the plane!

For updates from my trip, be sure to follow me on Instagram. I’ll be posting a LOT, I’m sure.

See you all when I get back!


Mini Sephora Fall Haul!

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Now that Fall is in full swing and I am leaving for the West Coast in a couple of days- I took the time to completely clean out my makeup collection and downsize my necessities considerably. So much stuff got tossed- expired mascara, shadow palettes that were used down to the bare tins, and lipsticks I was scraping at with Q-Tips to get the very last bit of color I could.

Needless to say, I was long overdue for a restock and replenish trip to Sephora– but I also didn’t want to break the bank by purchasing a bunch of products that would either expire before I got a chance to finish them up or be considered out-of-season or style by the time I got around to using them.

So I did the responsible thing: I made a list of what I needed versus what I wanted, I set a budget, and after browsing the store for a good hour- I got some really nice, new stuff- and only went over my budget by a little.

I swear, it was only by a little bit.

So here’s my mini “Fall Haul” post to showcase what I’m loving and what I’ll be wearing through the remainder of the Autumn and into the Winter!


For my face, I only needed a re-stock of my favorite medium-to-full coverage foundation from Tarte ($39). I love this stuff. It gives me SPF15 protection and is hypoallergenic (and vegan!) while still being efficient enough at hiding my pores and giving me a flawless finish.

I also wanted a pressed powder that I could use for the days I didn’t feel like wearing a liquid foundation or to keep in my bag for quick touch-ups (which I’m sure I’ll need while I’m in the desert!) I turned to Sephora’s own brand of cosmetics and tried their Matte Perfection Powder Foundation ($20)- which feels lightweight on my skin and is perfect for evening out and balancing my more troublesome and oily areas.

I rarely wear bronzer in the Fall/Winter- instead embracing my porcelain complexion- and I already have a brand new blush courtesy of Cargo Cosmetics and my recent POPSUGAR Must-Have Box, so I saved a little money there!


I also stuck to Sephora’s own makeup line when it came to selecting a couple of new eye shadow singles. I wanted two fairly neutral shades that I could gradually build upon to make into a dramatic smokey eye- or keep subtle and play up with a bold lip color, instead. I didn’t want any blues or deep purples this time around- and instead opted for a shimmery rose gold tone (“What Happens in Vegas”, a fitting name- and $10) to highlight my eyes, and a slightly darker mauve tone for my lids (“Free Hugs”- also $10!)

Both of these colors really bring out the blue in my eyes and are sparkly and noticeable without being overwhelming. They’re tame enough to wear to work and can be accentuated with liners and mascara (that’s next!) to create a more “night-friendly” look, too.


For eyeliners, I had some difficulty making up my mind between two different shades and types (both from Sephora’s collection)– and I just decided to splurge a bit and get both so I could mix and match. The first shade, “Cappuccino”, is a shimmery brown that glides on easy and stays in place all day. It’s from the Contour Eye Pencil 12-hr Wear Waterproof line and is only $10.

The second, a $14 liner from the Contour Brushed Metal Gel Eyeliner Waterproof line- is a coppery/reddish shimmer shade called “Moscow Mule”. This is another long-lasting formula that really makes my eyes pop. Out of the two liners I picked up, I think this one might be my favorite- but it’s a close call!

Finally, to wrap up my eye looks- I wanted to get a re-fill of one of my favorite mascaras to date- the waterproof “Lights, Camera, Splashes” formula from Tarte ($21). I LOVE the shape of the brush on this mascara, and it really does last forever and a day! It’s wonderful.


Finally, I wanted to get a couple of new lipsticks for the Fall/Winter- and I went with my trusted and true company- Urban Decay. Both shades are from UD’s Vice line ($17 each)- and both are a creamy texture (but with a matte finish!)

The first shade, “Safe Word”, is a light and neutral nude-pink that I typically wear every day for a more natural look. The second- reserved for those special nights out- is called “Hex”, and is a deep cherry/red wine hue that gives me that vampy look I covet so much this time of year.

After taxes, my total purchase came to $167 and some change. Not bad considering these products are going to carry me through the next few months until my next trip to Sephora. I’m in love with everything I picked out- and I’m sure you’ll all be seeing it make appearances in any upcoming photos I post on here or my social media accounts.

Did any of you splurge on any makeup for the Fall season? Are there any must-have Autumn beauty items you’re getting ready to break out?

Feel free to share!


Day Off Date!

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With everything that happened in the month of June, I never actually got around to commencing my yearly “Summertime in New England” rite of passage with a weekend away (or in this case, a day trip) to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. I’d been so distracted, so stressed out, and so swamped with work and personal/relationship matters that I hardly found the time to eat or sleep properly- never mind take an afternoon to head up North and catch some sun and surf.

Last Tuesday, after running some errands that I grossly overestimated would take up the majority of my day- I was pleasantly surprised to find I had a chunk of my afternoon and evening left in front of me to do whatever I pleased. With the sun still beating down and my toes freshly painted a pretty awesome glow-in-the-dark neon coral color- I opted to finally hit the sand and made the mini-trek to Hampton to cruise the coast from Portsmouth, sit by the waves for a couple of hours and finally get my hands on a lobster roll (I EARNED IT) from The Beach Plum.

I may have actually cried from joy while I ate this.

I may have actually cried from joy while I ate this.

After putting myself in a mini-food coma, I stopped by my favorite surf shop along the coast- just a couple miles north from the main section of Hampton’s boardwalk and casino- Cinnamon Rainbows. I always try to make it a point to pop in whenever I’m in the area because they have the cutest assortment of clothes, shoes and accessories- the staff are really friendly- and I like looking at the finished/unfinished surfboards and skateboards they keep near the back of the shop. Crafting those boards takes a level of patience, talent and dedication I wish I had. It’s an art form. Truly.


I didn’t go home empty handed, though. I couldn’t resist picking up a new thin, loose-fitting t-shirt to rep the shop (I used to have a tank top I loved that has since been misplaced or shamelessly stolen from my laundry bin by my dog) for when I got back home to the city- and some Sun Bum leave-in color protector spray for my hair because color-treated red hair and salty air/water is a dangerous combination. I love Sun Bum’s products- and this spray is no different. It keeps my hair frizz-free and fade-proof. It smells really nice, too.



It wasn’t until the sun had started to set when I headed back over towards the boardwalk to pick up some fudge for my mom from one of her favorite candy shops (and a Slush Puppy for myself) and sit by the water again to watch the clouds overhead turn different shades of orange and pink. It was a much needed calm and peaceful moment in my life- which has otherwise been swirling around me like a tornado at times.

I’ve lived by bodies of water my entire life. I grew up near a lake, and I currently live beside a river- but none are as beautiful or as calming for me as the ocean is. I keep telling myself that if and when I ever get myself out to California (or outside Massachusetts, really)– I’m going to be as close to the Pacific as possible. I want to wake up and fall asleep to the sounds of crashing waves every day.

It was a nice day- and today is yet another day off for me. I’ve purposefully avoided making concrete plans since I’d very much like to head back up to the coast for some more sun and sand later on this afternoon (and also get my skee-ball on at the arcade and grab some fried dough)– so we’ll see how that goes!



Last-Minute Gift Conundrum?

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In what I can only describe as a slightly early Christmas miracle, I’ve not only finished my holiday shopping within a reasonable amount of time- but I’ve somehow managed to get everything wrapped, bagged, and tagged- too! The only thing left to do is enjoy marathoning my favorite Christmas movies (hello, openly weeping at the endings of ‘Home Alone’ 1 & 2!), baking gingerbread cookies at my mom’s house, and drinking eggnog for the next few days until it’s time to make the rounds to hand deliver the goods to my friends and family throughout next week.

Even more impressive than my record-shattering speed at accomplishing this most stressful of holiday traditions was that I was able to put together thoughtful, clever, and fun gifts for my loved ones without breaking the bank- making this year one of my more successful Christmas shopping experiences ever!

But with a little over a week to go before the actual holiday is here and plenty of other people I know still scrambling to get those last minute presents or put the finishing touches on their gifts- I thought I’d offer some helpful tips, tricks and links to make the process a little more bearable and to hopefully assist those of you in a bind for time or ideas so you’ll actually be able to enjoy the days leading up to Christmas instead of spending them rushing from store to store ’til the very last second on December 24th.

There are plenty of brilliant blogs that have gift guides for different types of people and personalities (I plan to compile some of my own guides here on ‘Legally Redhead’ next year!) and those are all well and good when time is not exactly of the essence- but this post is more for those of you who need something and need it now or who are at a loss at what to get those one or two people on your Christmas list who are just impossible to shop for. I’ve been there- plenty of times- and a lot of this advice are things that I learned from my own past holiday experiences!

1. Trim that shopping list:

In the past, I bought Christmas presents for everyone- and I mean everyone. Friends, friends-of-friends, immediate family, family members I only saw once or twice a year, co-workers, my co-workers’ kids, my neighbors, my neighbors’ kids. The list went on and on- and by the time New Years Eve rolled around I was lucky if I had enough money left over in my bank account from splurge spending on everyone that crossed my path to afford being able to go out and enjoy ringing in a new year with my friends.

Keep it simple and trim your shopping list to save yourself a ton of stress from having to find the perfect gift for a ton of people and to save yourself even more money. Immediate family? Sure. Significant other? Of course. Close friends? Absolutely- but when your Christmas list starts to include the dog walker, the cashier at your local market, or that one guy who helped you reach something on the top shelf at Home Goods? Well, you need to take a step back, re-evaluate your shopping budget and figure out who in your life should reasonably be given a present during the holidays.

That’s not to say you can’t do something nice for the aforementioned dog walker, cashier at the local market, or that one guy who helped you reach something on the top shelf at Home Goods- which brings me to tip number 2.

2. Christmas cards are NOT a “cop out”:

There’s an unfair stigma I’ve seen attached to the act of mailing out Christmas cards in lieu of purchasing a gift/gifts for distant friends/family or acquaintances. Maybe it’s because many feel that cards lack a personal touch (ala the dreaded “corporate card”, where a company sends out the same holiday card to each and every employee with a pre-printed or pre-stamped signature and absolutely no indication that an actual person even glanced at it before sending it out) but that can easily be rectified by taking the time to jot down a few heartfelt words on beautiful stationary. Christmas cards are perfect- and a much more affordable option- to give to those you don’t see often, or who you don’t know that well- but whom you still want to know that you’re thinking of them this time of year.

PAPYRUS and The Paper Store have a wide assortment of beautiful Christmas cards and stationary to choose from- either sold individually or in bulk packages. I like to write fun, personalized notes in the cards to send to my cousins or give to co-workers or friends-of-friends (and yes, my mailman, too!) that I occasionally see in passing.

3. When you’re stumped for something completely unique- turn to Etsy:

My circle of closest friends and I have known each other anywhere from 10-20 years, so when it comes to buying Christmas presents for one another- we tend to veer off the beaten path and try to see who can come up with the most bizarre, unique and unexpected gift imaginable (which is much more fun than the conventional gift basket or fruit cake!). This year, when faced with the daunting task of finding something that stood out in terms of creativity but was also something that my friends would enjoy and/or find useful- I turned to Etsy.

It’s no surprise that the internet is filled with tons and tons of immensely talented artists/sculptors/designers/photographers/fabricators/etc. and Etsy is just the most convenient way to search through them all to find that one (or in my case- five) pieces of home decor, clothing, jewelry, art, bath and body products and anything in-between. Thanks to some fantastic shops set up through the site, I found a few video game and horror movie-related items that my friends are absolutely going to flip for when they open them next week- and my purchases helped support those artists, their work and their small businesses.

Seriously- if you’re at a loss for a gift- just start browsing Etsy and I guarantee you’ll find something unique and affordable in time for Christmas.

4. Pay it forward:

If you want to purchase a gift that also serves a greater good, you need look no further than charitable organizations and companies listed through My personal favorites are the companies that participate in “buy one, give one” promotions, like LOVE YOUR MELON– who, with each purchase of one of their really chic and comfortable beanies/caps- donates one to a child battling cancer. There’s also Everything Happy– who donate a blanket to a child in need with each one purchased through their website.

My friends have also purchased products through the Purple Buddha Project. This fair trade organization creates jewelry from fragments of weapons of conflict in Cambodia to raise awareness, and donates nine meals to disadvantaged children in the region with each piece sold.

Those are just a few- but there’s plenty more to check out!

5. “That’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.”:

No, I’m not talking about a year subscription to the ‘Jelly of the Month’ club, but I am talking about monthly subscription services where products and samples are shipped right to someone’s door each and every month- like GlossyBox and Loot Crate (which I’m currently subscribed to!)

Many companies offer the option to purchase 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions to their service/products- either for yourself or as a pre-paid gift to others- and there’s SO many to choose from that no matter what a person’s interests are, there’s bound to be a service tailored to their likes/passions- be it beauty products, food, gamer stuff, clothes, books, music and so much more!

If that sounds like a pretty good gifting idea but you’re not quite sure where to start- I recommend checking out My Subscription Addiction. MSA gives comprehensive and thorough reviews (and promotion codes!) for nearly every available subscription service out there, A-Z- so finding that perfect choice for someone special is made infinitely easier!

And finally,

6. When all else fails – gift cards:

It’s noon on Christmas Eve- and many of the stores are getting ready to close for the holiday. You’re standing there, staring in horror at your Christmas list at the names of the one or two people you vowed to buy a present for this year and realizing that time is out and you’ve got nothing for them…

…. Until you remember that gift cards are super easy and convenient.

Much like mailing Christmas cards, many view simply giving someone a gift card to a store/restaurant/service as “the easy way out”, but I don’t see it that way at all! You’re giving someone the opportunity to purchase something they like, on their own terms- without having to spend their own money. There’s nothing wrong with that at all- it’s actually very thoughtful and considerate- and I can tell you that I have always appreciated and enjoyed every Starbucks, Sephora, dining, etc. gift card I’ve ever received because they’re practical and they’re useful.

The holidays can be stressful- there’s no doubt about that- but I hope some of these ideas are helpful to some. They might not be overtly specific “gift guides for the (insert personality type here)” but these tips/tricks have always helped me- especially this year.

And of course it goes without saying that Christmas isn’t about presents or spending money. It’s about coming together and spending time with those most important to you (and it’s also about peppermint mocha lattes and gingerbread cookies) and taking care of one another- but that also includes taking care of yourself. Don’t get too stressed out with your holiday shopping. Your sanity is important, too.

Good luck!


Seafood Festival: 2015

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Every year around this time, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always headed up to Hampton Beach with my family for the annual end-of-the-Summer Seafood Festival. Since my dad passed away a few years ago, I’ve been making the drive with my mom and my cousin Paige (and occasionally with other relatives who were around and wanted to come, too-) for a carefree day of shopping, eating, skee-ball, and strolling the surf before the water gets too cold.

This past Saturday, the three of us got a bright and early start in an attempt to beat traffic (it kind of worked!) and find a decent parking spot (and that sort of worked, too!) before the mid-afternoon crowds descended upon the boardwalk and made it almost impossible to move around and get in and out of the area.

The head start gave us the advantage of being able to do some thorough browsing of the sales racks without bumping elbows with other people over and over- and I found some incredible bargains!


I’ve always really liked the look of varsity jackets, especially in the Fall over boot cut jeans and a chunky knit sweater- so when I saw this really nice quality jacket (with a stitched Hampton Beach patch)  for only $10 (!!!!)– I knew I had to snatch it up. I’m so excited to rock this in the coming weeks. I love it!



I found a couple of really cute, comfortable pieces for work, too. The grey-ish dress above, with fancy-looking embroidery and dark brown decorative buttons- was marked down to $13. I’m going to be layering it over black tights, and maybe over a black turtleneck on colder days since it hangs a little loosely on me.

The black and white skirt, marked down to $8- is made of lightweight material and will also be worn over black tights (and probably paired with a sweater, too.) I like the way it sways with every step I take. It’s fun.


I took it easy on accessories this year, opting to skip purchasing any jewelry and picking up this $13 bag, instead. I love the size, which accommodates all of my stuff- and I love the colors. I typically carry deeper-toned bags in the Fall/Winter- like dark browns, navy blues, and hunter greens- but the orange, blue, and pink stripes on this bag are a beautiful combination. I’ll be using this to brighten up my “Colder Months” looks!


Finally, I visited the booth for my favorite all-natural soap company, Scentastics, and treated myself to three bars- one of each of their newer fragrances. I love how soft and clean these bars make my skin feel- and they all smell amazing. My favorite of the bunch is ‘Woodstock’, which has a touch of patchouli in it (but it isn’t overpowering.)


Of course, a seafood festival doesn’t live up to it’s name if there’s no actual seafood- so prior to leaving Hampton for the evening- we stopped to enjoy some incredible crab cakes and a fresh fish dinner on an outdoor patio right across from the ocean. Everything was delicious, and our server was a sweetheart (and kudos to her for staying calm and composed even though the place was packed!)

As the sun began to sat- my mom, Paige, and I made one final stop before we started for home- a more secluded part of the beach where we watched the waves roll in from the rocks, paid tribute to my dad in our own special way, and wrote silly messages in the sand. It was the perfect way to end what was a really, really nice day.


“We’re gonna’ need a bigger boat.”

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.)