Weekend Warrior

Comment 1 Standard

The weather here in New England is almost always unpredictable, to say the least- and most weather reports are taken with a grain of salt until we actually see snow/rain/sun/tornadoes for ourselves. I knew well before this past weekend that I wanted to go to the beach, regardless of the conditions- so when the scheduled sun was blocked out by the clouds and occasional showers- I didn’t let it stop me. Myself and a couple of friends headed over to Singing Beach in Manchester-By-The-Sea to lounge around on the near-empty landscape and watch the waves roll in for a couple of hours.

It wasn’t anything like laying on Ocean Beach by the Pacific in San Diego- but it’ll do for now.

Apart from a strong gust of wind every so often, it was a pleasantly warm afternoon. We had a small picnic with the snacks we had packed before eventually making our way to Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream for a couple of cones to bring with us as we headed back into the city.

Singing Beach is quickly starting to become one of my favorite Summer spots- not only because it’s impossibly clean and picturesque- but it’s also a lot easier to navigate to and less crowded than some of the other, more popular beaches in New Hampshire or down by the Cape. I’m tempted to do a write-up of the area, similar to my comparison post about Hampton Beach & Old Orchard Beach back in 2015- to assist those visiting for the first time! There’s truly a lot to see and do around the neighborhood. You just have to know where to look and how far to venture!

With Summer 2017 officially underway (albeit delayed because of the rain throughout Memorial Day Weekend kind of messing things up)– I also saw my first Summer blockbuster yesterday with my friend Stef after a late brunch during a long overdue girl date. We made it a regular women’s celebration and saw an afternoon screening of ‘Wonder Woman’- and wow. It was incredible, you guys. I’m not as big on the DC Universe as I am with Marvel- but it completely blew me away. It was powerful, action-packed, funny, sweet, AND heartbreaking- and I’m honestly just so thrilled with how well it’s doing at the box office because I would LOVE sequels.

I might even go see it again later on this week- that’s how much I enjoyed it from start to finish!

Today I’m all about work and getting things done at the office since it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy week. On Wednesday, I’ll have a really awesome and delicious recipe post to share- and then Friday is the date I’m announcing my big blogging news!

Enjoy your Monday, everyone!


Homeward Bound…

Leave a comment Standard

Before I even begin talking about my recent vacation (of which I’m still recovering now that I’m back in slightly chillier/rainy temperatures on the East Coast)– there’s a couple of things that happened in the past week that I would like to address. While I was having the time of my life in Las Vegas and San Diego these past few days- I know there was some really dark, heavy stuff happening in the world and it doesn’t feel right just jumping into something super upbeat without acknowledging those things, first.

As I write this, I’m revisiting some Audioslave tracks I enjoyed a lot when I was in my teens and truly reflecting on the magnitude of the loss of one of the most incredible voices in rock- Chris Cornell. To lose someone with so much talent and whose music holds such a special spot in so many people’s lives and memories (especially us 90s kids) is tragic enough- but to know his death was the result of suicide makes it hurt just that much more. It cannot be said enough- but mental illness and depression are serious business and are nothing to be ashamed of- nor should they be dealt with or tackled alone. If you or someone you know is suffering and need help- I urge you to reach out. You’re not alone in this and there are people who are always available to help and who want to see you well and feeling better.

And in equally stunning and horrible music news- there are no words to describe my emotions when I heard about what happened in Manchester. I had been grabbing my phone charger from my hotel room when the news alerts started coming in- and every breaking news segment just became worse and worse as the situation played out in real time. It’s unfathomable and inconceivable and thoughts and prayers can only go so far when so many precious, young lives have been lost and so many families have been irreversibly changed for the worse.

Shows and concerts are a magical experience- completely unique to each fan in attendance- for so many reasons. I’ve gone to many and have gotten emotional more than once when a band played my favorite song or struck a certain chord that just hit me the right way. Shows are a place of love, and acceptance, and being able to lose yourself in music with friends and strangers alike for a night- and to see something so wonderful and precious destroyed by senseless violence is heartbreaking and terrifying and every part of me aches for those who have been affected by this- but I implore you not to be afraid. Do not let the hateful ideology behind what happened in Manchester keep you from enjoying live music and stop you from being present in the world for one another.

This was truly an ugly moment in the world- but I promise you all that there’s more good than bad out there. You just have to be fearless enough to go and seek it out and fight against any evil you may encounter along the way with nothing but love.

And now, to hopefully lift the mood of this post a bit- let me share some bits and pieces from my vacation.

I did not win big. At all.

I didn’t spend a lot of time in Vegas- just over 24 hours, really- but during that time I managed to lose $5 on a “Walking Dead” slot machine, grab In-N-Out Burger (and a couple of cocktails, naturally)– get plenty of steps in as I went from casino to casino- and look at a couple of houses in the area off of the strip that are on the market since I’m still very much intending on making an eventual move out West and wanted to compare Nevada real estate to California’s (spoiler alert: it’s infinitely cheaper to live in Nevada!)

I stayed at Caesar’s Palace in a suite overlooking a portion of the strip, and when my feet eventually started to hurt- I retreated back to my room and to the gigantic Jacuzzi (with a LUSH bath bomb in tow) for some much-needed post-day in the desert rest & relaxation.

Remind me to add “Jacuzzi” to my must-have “House Hunting” list, by the way!

Following Vegas, I headed to San Diego for a few days specifically to visit friends and do absolutely nothing apart from sunbathe and sip cold drinks under palm trees. I was there for a vacation, damn it- which means no itinerary- and did I ever have fun! I actually think this most recent trip, as short as it was- might be one of the best I’ve ever had in Southern California in recent memory. It was so wonderful spending time with some familiar faces (and meeting new ones!) and the weather remained consistently gorgeous throughout my stay- no sign of “May Gray” anywhere!

And although it’s always so hard to leave San Diego and return to the East Coast every time I’m out that way- this time was a little easier- not because I was particularly eager to get back home, but because I have a feeling I’ll be out there again real soon- and might even make a great stride towards a permanent residency after being on the fence and indecisive about it for so long while I attempted to climb the career ladder so I’d have one less thing to worry about. Now that I’ve reached the top of that aforementioned ladder- my options and possibilities are looking a whole lot more bright and attainable!

With Memorial Day this weekend, I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday. I’ll be sharing my favorites from this past month before packing up some beachwear (weather permitting!) to kick off the start of the Summer season- and then it’s onward into June where I’ll finally be able to share my blogging news! I’m so excited!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Dirty Thirties

Leave a comment Standard

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!



Hello, 2017…

Comment 1 Standard

New Year’s Eve, Vermont. 12/31/16

Good Morning and Happy (Belated) New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend ushering in 2017! I’ve been preoccupied at my office the past couple of days, staying busy and on top of my first-of-the-year workload- but before I dove into that, I spent an exquisite weekend in Springfield, Vermont savoring some much needed peace and quiet at one of my favorite New England getaway destinations- The Hartness House.

The Hartness House is a former Victorian-style mansion (which belonged to James and Lena Hartness) turned inn that is a popular destination for locals’ weddings, formal functions, and for skiers and snowboarders to lay their heads for a night before hitting the slopes in the early mornings. My first trip to The Hartness House was when I was about eight or nine years old. My parents brought me up for a weekend during the holiday season and I quickly fell in love with the house, the surrounding gardens, and the underground tunnels that lead to the gigantic Hartness Equatorial Turret Telescope on the property (James was a big fan of astronomy, as it turns out.)

One of my most vivid memories of my first trip to the inn, however- was sitting in front of the fireplace and a massive Christmas tree in a large library area and reading a book undisturbed while my parents sat nearby and played board games. And then, of course- was the food. The inn boasted an impressive menu and talented kitchen staff. My family and I were so thrilled with our first initial visit that we ended up making a few more stops there throughout the next few years.

So when it came time to make plans for New Year’s Eve, and the idea of doing anything other than fall off the grid for a few days and relax was enough to make my head spin- I thought of re-visiting one of my fondest childhood memories and booked Lena Hartness’ suite for the New Year’s weekend. I had heard the inn had gone through some renovations and a change of ownership in recent years- so I wasn’t sure what to expect- but my mind was immediately put at ease when I first walked in and saw the main hall in all it’s splendor (and still decorated from Christmas!)

Click on any of the images to make them bigger!

Every room- including mine- was adorned with Christmas trees. It was such a nice treat to walk into- and right away the staff were so unbelievably friendly and accommodating. On New Year’s Eve, as the clock ticked closer and closer to midnight- I crept down to the inn’s tavern to grab a drink and a bite to eat. Not only did I get those things, but I got some funky 2017 glasses, a tiara and a confetti popper from the ladies who were bartending, too! By the time midnight rolled around- most of the kitchen staff had gathered together with those of us lounging at the bar- including a few locals who had dropped by- to celebrate and share a toast with us. I could not imagine a more pleasant group of new faces to drink champagne and ring in the New Year with!

By the end of the weekend, we were all on a first name basis with each other. Even though I had gone up to the inn solo- I never, not once, felt lonely. Everyone went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed and comfortable during my stay. I’m so grateful for their hospitality and laid-back natures. It was so refreshing.

And remember how good I said the food was when I was a kid? It was even better this time around. The head chef, Nick- is AMAZING– as made evident by my delicious NYE dinner and the follow-up brunches and breakfasts I had during my remaining days there. I couldn’t help but snap a photo of the menu and one of my meals before I dug into it- because it even photographed incredible:



And while I caught up on plenty of rest at The Hartness House, I did take some time to explore some of the surrounding towns, as well- Charlestown, Rockingham, and Bellows Falls- where I did some antique shopping and marveled at the mountains while I sipped a hot cup of coffee.

I also discovered a lot of abandoned places around the section of Vermont I was traveling around, too- which is going to make for a nice follow-up trip to photograph them once the warm weather rolls around and I don’t have so much snow blocking my views!

Click on any of the images to make them bigger!

I returned home on Monday, the 2nd- but not before making a pit stop in Melrose to meet up with Sean, grab some Mexican food and catch up since we hadn’t had the chance to see each other since right before Christmas. His birthday is tomorrow- and we’ve got some big plans I can’t wait to get to!

Overall, my New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Post-New Year’s Day were wonderful and very chill. If anyone reading this should ever find themselves in Vermont- I strongly recommend you make a stop and take a night to rest at The Hartness House. Being there is an experience in itself and you won’t regret it! I promise! Every room is unique and gorgeous in it’s own way, the staff are an absolute joy, the food cannot be beat- and it’s the perfect spot if you just want to get away for a little while. I came home feeling positively refreshed, radiant- and ready to take on the new year!


Not a bad start to 2017, if I do say so myself!


Day Off Date!

Leave a comment Standard


The last time I traveled down to Mystic, Connecticut was in the Summer of 2014 in the days following my return from San Diego Comic-Con. My friend Stef and I had gone down for the day to visit the aquarium and the neighboring Mystic Village for some shopping  before we finished up with dinner at Daniel Packer Inne. Since then, I’ve been meaning to head back to spend some time in Mystic’s downtown area- which is lined with independently owned businesses, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants- but I’ve just never found the time.

Last Tuesday, one of the hottest days of the Summer so far (although this past week had been brutal temperature, humidity, and severe weather-wise), I used my day off to finally make the trip back to Mystic- solo, this time- for an afternoon by the river.

While I was there, I managed to scratch one more thing off of my bucket list: I finally had a slice of pizza at Mystic Pizza. Yes, the one made famous by the 1988 Julia Roberts movie of the same name.


While the exterior of Mystic Pizza is straight out of the movie- the inside is much tinier and lined with a lot more movie memorabilia and souvenirs for sale. It’s cute, but still maintains a “local” vibe- which I like. I ordered two slices of pepperoni pizza, which were made fresh- and was kindly seated at a booth in the adjacent restaurant area when the main part of the pizzeria was filled up with people on their lunch breaks and I couldn’t find a spot to sit and eat- and it tasted pretty good!

The employees at Mystic Pizza are all super sweet, too- and the fact that they were playing the movie on the TVs in the restaurant was a nice touch. I’d nearly forgotten how fantastically cheesy that film was.

After lunch, I went for a stroll downtown- stopping to window shop at Peppergass and Tulip and Once A Sale, Forever A Sea before grabbing an iced latte at Bartleby’s Cafe and making my way towards Mystic Village to pick up a couple of gifts for friends and family.

After a long, hot, and lazy afternoon- I took the back roads all the way home to enjoy some more picturesque scenery.

Overall, it was a lovely day. I’d love to head back to Mystic when the weather cools down a bit and spend more time outdoors- maybe even take a harbor cruise to pass the time when I know I won’t roast under the sun!

Oddly enough, this week marks the beginning of a mini-vacation for me that I didn’t know about until recently. I had a few unexpected days off at work starting today that run through the end of the week- so I’m looking forward to taking a couple more day trips before it’s time to head back to my office next Monday!



State of the Union

Leave a comment Standard


The last time I was in Virginia, and stopped by Washington D.C.- I was on a week-long vacation with my parents during a break in my Summer college classes. We had driven down, which felt like it took 15 hours (when in reality it had only taken a little over six) and stayed at a resort that was- no exaggeration- in the middle of the woods in West Virginia. The closest civilization and WiFi connection was at a rest stop approximately several miles away.

As cut-off as we were- I had a great time. I spent my days hiking, lounging by the pool, playing mini-golf, and watching syndicated ‘Criminal Minds’ episodes on the REALLY old TV I had in my room at the resort- which in hindsight- is not an appropriate program to watch when you’re in a VERY rural, wooded area and no one can hear you scream…

… Anyway! Last week I once again made the trip to Virginia- solo this time (and in a very nice rental car because I didn’t want to put the mileage on my poor little KIA. It’s been through enough!) to stay in tiny- but very pretty- Alexandria. The trip wasn’t solely to enjoy a nice long drive or satisfy my ‘Walking Dead’ fanatic side, of course- but to attend a wedding with my BFF from San Diego, Duncan! His long-time friend Linda, who lives in the Alexandria area- was getting hitched to her now-husband, Arash- and Duncan was flying in for the ceremony.

On Friday, after a few traffic jams (thanks, New Jersey Turnpike)– I arrived in Alexandria just a couple of hours after Duncan’s flight had landed and he had gotten situated. My accommodations were MUCH different than my last stay in Virginia, by the way. I stayed at the Westin Alexandria, where the view was a little less woodsy and a little more populated- and I didn’t have to drive twenty minutes to find places to eat, shop, or check my e-mails.

The view from my hotel room. The Westin, Alexandria.

The view from my hotel room. The Westin, Alexandria.

No sooner had I checked into my room and dropped off my bag when I had to turn right back around and hurry over to Shamshiry in nearby Vienna to meet up with Duncan and introduce myself to the then soon-to-be-newlyweds for the first time at their rehearsal dinner. Arash is from what I quickly discovered is a very big and VERY fun Persian family- so Shamshiry seemed like the ideal place to get everyone together pre-nuptials to eat and toast the couple. I was so happy to see Duncan again (it’s been months) and meet some of he and Linda’s friends.

Also? I’ve never tried Persian food/dishes before- and it was really, really good!

While Friday night had been sunny but cool outside- Saturday morning was a snowy, sleeting, mess. I had opened the curtains to my hotel room, saw what was going on outside- and pretty much just closed them back up immediately and tried to forget about what was happening. THANKFULLY, the snow gradually turned to rain, and then the rain gradually turned into sunshine- and even though it was pretty cold outside for the remainder of the day- the conditions were much better for Linda and Arash’s wedding in the afternoon.

The ceremony was beautiful. I loved Linda’s dress (and the bridesmaids all looked stunning in their matching deep red colors!)  and by the time the actual ceremony had finished- we still had enough time to get over and get approved by security for the reception at Fort Belvoir. Up until now, I’d never been on an actual military base- and I wasn’t sure what to expect- but WOW that place was huge. I didn’t realize bases were pretty much isolated towns- but there was a gas station, a pizza place, a hospital, schools- and a Starbucks (granted, it was closed, but still.)

Reception Hall

Reception Hall

The only thing Fort Belvoir didn’t have was power. The electricity around a section of the base had been unexpectedly cut out by a fallen tree- and part of that section included the Officers Hall where Linda and Arash’s reception was going to take place. Despite a potential disaster- spirits remained high. The Officers Hall was gorgeous, and I think everyone was too busy admiring the scenery (and enjoying the open bar) to really notice that the lights were out. When it started to get darker and darker in the room- and candles seemed to be in high demand- the lights magically turned back on. Just in time.

Duncan and I agreed the snow/sleet and then the power outage would be a memorable (and admittedly pretty funny) story for Linda and Arash to tell years and years from now when talking about their special day.

With the lights back on and the DJs able to play some music- it didn’t take long for the party to kick off. I had SO. MUCH. FUN. dancing with Duncan, his friends, the bridesmaids, and even some of Linda and Arash’s family. The speeches from the best man, the Maid of Honor, and the proud fathers of the bride and groom were really emotional and moving- and even though I didn’t participate in the bouquet toss- I thought one of the little girls walking away with the flowers was a really sweet touch.


I absolutely love this beautiful glass wine stopper that was wrapped at my seat at the reception. So lovely!

I absolutely love this beautiful glass wine stopper that was wrapped at my seat at the reception. So lovely!

Duncan and I stayed late into the night, but we had a few things to do the following day- and we had to bid farewell to everyone so we could head off base and back into town.





I was scheduled to drive home on Sunday afternoon, but Duncan and I had wanted to grab brunch with a friend of his who was also in town for the weekend and do a little sight-seeing, first. It’s not every day we get to spend time together- or time in D.C. for that matter- so we wanted to make the most of it.

Although the initial brunch plans fell through- we had managed to grab some great lattes at Bourbon Coffee before we went for a long stroll around the Washington Monument, the National Mall and Reflecting Pool, and The White House. The weather was considerably better throughout the afternoon than it had been in the previous days and when it came time for me to say a tearful goodbye to Duncan and head back to my car- I had left my coat in the backseat and cracked the windows down throughout my eight hour drive home.

Overall I had an INCREDIBLE time. I can’t thank Duncan enough for inviting me to be his guest and being such a gentleman throughout our weekend together (he has perfect manners!)– and I also have to thank Linda and Arash for including me in their most magical of days. Should you two ever see this post- I wish you both nothing but the best as you start this new chapter of your lives together. You’re a beautiful and inspiring couple!

I really do love Virginia and D.C.- and I’d like to go back sooner than later and for a longer stay next time!




Christmas in Nantucket

Leave a comment Standard


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items.

Comments 2 Standard

The view from my hotel room- San Diego, CA.

It goes without saying that I love to travel and try to do it as much as I can. When I’m not jet-setting to the West Coast for a sun-soaked getaway beside the Pacific, catching a train to NYC for a weekend in the city that never sleeps, or trekking up North for some peace and tranquility in rural New Hampshire or Vermont- I’m aimlessly driving to new locations around New England where I spend hours exploring new places and snapping plenty of photos.

I’m the type of person who is planning my next trip while on a return flight/train home from my last one. I just want to see anywhere and everywhere I can!

But of course, with extensive traveling comes the often daunting task of selecting a safe and comfortable place for lodging. Fairmont Hotels, who have luxurious locations all over the globe (including right here in Boston), recently asked me to describe my packing necessities when I’m going away for an overnight trip- and the top 3 hospitality items I wish hotels would provide their guests to make their stays more enjoyable and convenient.

Challenge accepted!

When it comes to packing, all the life-saving essentials are kept close and within reach inside my purse: my wallet, my fully charged phone, lip balm (it’s a necessity. Trust me)– hand cream and a bottle of ibuprofen for those unexpected jet lag-induced headaches or muscle pains. Everything else- the more easy-to-replace stuff (should the airline lose my luggage at any point) like clothing, shampoo, makeup and shoes- are stored away neatly in my suitcase to make my trip through airport security a little faster and much lighter on my shoulders. I’m a habitual gate-crasher, meaning that I’m the person you see in the airport frantically trying to put their shoes back on post-TSA pat-down while simultaneously darting towards their gate five minutes before the flight is scheduled to take off- so the less weight I have to carry during that desperate run- the better.

Of course, once the initial departure adrenaline fades and after I’ve finally reached my destination and retrieved my bags- I’m ready to check into my room and crash- hard- before I eventually freshen up and head out to paint whatever town/city I’m staying in bright red.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in consistently nicer and clean hotels with friendly and accommodating staff (I’ve stayed in some super sketchy dives, too- trust me- but we don’t need to talk about those right now. Or ever. At all.) Some places have exceeded my expectations by adding little and unexpected things/perks to their rooms that have made such a huge difference in my stay- and after careful consideration- I’d like to see more of the following three things in hotel rooms I check into in the future:

UNIVERSAL CHARGING PORTS/PADS: I carry a lot of electronics when I travel. My phone, my digital camera for more professional-looking shots, my tablet to check e-mails and work on posts for any deadlines while I’m away, and my iPod (I’m one of maybe 12 people left in the country who still have a fully-functioning original iPod Nano.) As such, I have to keep track of multiple cords and chargers in my bag- which is a hassle for me when packing and is probably concerning to many a TSA agent who have had to screen my luggage prior to departure. Even more of a hassle? Charging everything at once in my hotel room- where electrical outlets are typically scarce to begin with. I’d love for more hotels to include universal charging ports/pads for multiple electronics in each room- which means I could leave most of the tangled cords at home but not have to worry about running out of juice halfway through my trip.


The M Resort, Las Vegas.

BETTER TOILETRIES: I’ve never- not once- expected to check into my room, go to take a shower, and be greeted by a full-line of LUSH bath products neatly stacked on the counter top next to the sink (a girl can dream)– but I’m always more inclined to stay at hotels that include decent soaps and shower gels by trusted brands instead of drying and overly-perfumed generic brands with the hotel logo crudely imprinted on them. I’m even MORE inclined to stay at hotels that give me a little something extra to help me relax (looking at you, fancy hotel in NYC that left me a bottle of bubble bath to go with their huge tub, a tube of eye cream, and a really cute eye mask to wear while I slept- and I got to take it home with me!)

AN IN-ROOM DINING MENU THAT DOESN’T BREAK THE BANK OR LEAVE ME STARVING: When I travel, I like to go out and explore- which includes but isn’t limited to checking out local bars and restaurants- but sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES- I want to lay in my hotel room and eat a grilled cheese sandwich at 2 a.m. while watching HBO. This typically happens in California when I’m prone to staying out really and ridiculously late at night. However, I also don’t want to spend $18 for that aforementioned grilled cheese sandwich (which is always half of the size of a regular sandwich for some reason.) It’s like being penalized financially for most dining establishments outside my hotel closing at a reasonable time. Not cool, right? Right. I know room service is expensive- but come on- I just want an ice cream sundae without having to be late with my car insurance payment, you know? Give me something filling and affordable for those late night cravings.

Those, for me- are the “Big 3” in hospitality must-haves, apart from the mandatory cleanliness and spaciousness (and a decent view- if I’m feeling unusually picky.)

Do you have any “Big 3” hotel must-haves for when you travel? Does the room temperature have to be just right? Do you need those special blinds on the windows that block out any and all light from the outside world? Is a mint on the pillow a deal-maker? I’d love to hear ’em!

And thanks for letting me share my list, Fairmont Hotels! Now, about that full-line of LUSH bath products in the rooms….