It’s Carnival Week!

Hey, kids! Just stopping by to share some photos I found of my very first Carnival Week in Ptown from 1992! Mom and N had just moved to town and opened their store where I worked for that entire summer. Gosh, I miss those carefree days. 

I’ll be drenched in glitter and sparkles for the majority of the week (with a quick 48 hour return to Boston in the middle.) Looking forward to recapturing some of that carefree spirit!

The Summer Slowly List of 2014

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After my last post, I decided I would be enjoying “summer slowly” this year. Which meant I needed to seriously re-think and edit my annual summer list. You may read this and think it’s still kinda long, still kinda ambitious, but, believe me, you should have seen the original. Besides the things we do every year (like whale-watching, the PAAM garden tour, our annual family barhopping night, etc.), lounging at the pool, snuggling with Stephen, napping, and staring into space, here are the things I’d like to enjoy as I summer slowly.

  1. walk both Tipper and Stephen on the beach together as much as possible (because ”How many summers does a little dog have?” — Mary Oliver) (Tally: 23.5 — .5 because I had to cart Stephen away when he wouldn’t stop barking at a kayak)
  2. take the Hopper Tour in Truro
  3. drink lots of sarsaparilla, iced coffee, and Dark ‘N Stormy’s
  4. play bocce
  5. figure out how to put my hair into a messy top knot (how do you people do this?)
  6. enjoy summer dining on the Cape at:  Sal’s PlaceCafe Edwige, The Mews (it’s their 50th anniversary), Mac’s PtownThe Red Inn (drinks on the deck with Stephen and the Mr. will do just fine), Crush Pad (food truck at Truro Vineyards), and the TWO new Jamaican places in Ptown (I hear there are dumplings!), One Love and Irie Eats
  7. take sailing lessons in Hingham Harbor 
  8. re-watch every episode of Magnum, PI (I already started. There are 164 episodes!)
  9. stock up on tomato jelly at Briar Lane Jams
  10. read, read, read (especially looking forward to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Watership Down, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; AND re-reading Harriet the Spy) 
  11. create a “beach-find” collage photo series
  12. take the summer ferry from Hingham to Grape and Georges Islands
  13. add plants and flowers to the lanai
  14. walk on the Old Colony Nature Pathway
  15. wear all my summer tunics
  16. take Stephen to Yappy Hour in the city 
  17. get a bottle of Twenty Boat Hand-crafted Spiced Rum at Truro Vineyards
  18. see Illumination Night in Hull
  19. have my own summer-long documentary film festival (I started this already, too!)
  20. visit Martha’s Vineyard with the Mr.
  21. make some fun new summer recipes: striped popsicles; ginger, grapefruit, and lemon sake cocktailsand fish taco bowls
  22. take Stephen to the tidal flats in Ptown
  23. have a beach bonfire
  24. finish my ABCs of Ptown photos (a project in progress for 3 years!)
  25. do a semi-regular Summer Slowly post (my new brainchild, sort of a mix of my former Random posts, my life updates, and my vacation diary from last year … stay tuned for the first post.)

Summer Lists from Years Past:

A Look Back at the End of Summer 2013

I found this draft of a post I wrote at the end of last summer. I had forgotten just how much I packed into the summer of 2013. Not sure why I never published it, but I am finding it to be a wonderful reminder to really enjoy the long, lazy days ahead of us. Summer is just about here, my friends!

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September 2013

This weekend was spectacular … at least according to my Twitter and Instagram feeds. I did not leave the house for three days. Three straight days. While that is not my record (winter break 2010, eight days), it is a pretty hefty chunk of time. Especially when the world is telling you to get out there and enjoy the weather.

This was the first weekend in twelve weeks that I was home. For three months (25% of a year!), I packed, unpacked, packed, unpacked, packed, unpacked. I raced to the dock, to the bus terminal, to the airport. I printed out tickets, maps, and schedules. I checked weather reports and packed everything from sweaters to swimsuits. I ran around like a crazy person during the week, managing a rather challenging workload at work and squeezing in all my usually executed on Saturday errands into the remaining hours. I went a month past my normal salon appointment to color my hair. (Gah!) I exhausted myself. All in the name of Summer-is-Super-Short-So-I-Have-To-Do-ALL-The-Things.

So this weekend, while I watched World War Z and Life of Pi, caught up on all my Masterpiece Mystery! and Broadchurch recordings, and continued on my quest to view the entire Friday Night Lights series, I felt guilty. All those “it’s perfect out there!” and “better enjoy this weather now!” comments were making me twitchy. How could I not go outside and enjoy those beautiful days? Winter is coming, people! I’ll never see the sun again! The end of days is nigh!

Here’s the thing about believing that right now is your only chance ever in your entire life to experience a beautiful day, to see the sun, to travel here or there, to enjoy yourself: odds are it’s probably not true. That hurry-up-and-pack-it-all-in approach is anchored to a belief in scarcity (or that panic you feel as you face down forty and think you will never, ever have fun again when you reach it.) And it will exhaust you if you let it. I totally bought into that YOLO life philosophy for years and, yeah, I pushed myself to do some pretty awesome things, which I do not regret.

But balance and peace are what I crave. A little activity, a little rest, and no drama. New rules around here, I’m scheduling in couch time as an important weekly activity.

Hope you’ll join me in balancing your own life. First, get your hair colored. Then, hop on your couch. We’ll see where it goes from there.

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As I read my thoughts from last fall, I remembered how tired I felt when I wrote it. How much I just wanted to stop moving. Summer is time to s l o w  d o w n .  I’m now in the process of reviewing my summer list to make sure everything on there fits my idea of “summer slowly” and that I can make time for long evenings sitting on the lanai just staring at our neighbors doing the same, naps on the couch, walks with my Stephen at his smell everything pace, and lots of daydreaming. Give me some time to cut the fluff and get it just right before I share it with you here.

Oh, hello!

This is the reason I haven’t stopped by here in over a month …

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Stephen Jameson “T-Rex” Mooney joined our family on March 31. Part dachsund, part spaniel. Master snuggler. Expert napper. Kissing bandit. Stealer of hearts — human and canine alike. We’ve been getting used to each other’s routines, quirks, and chew toy preferences. Our boy is quickly ruling our world and making everything about it awesome(r). (Check out my Instagram feed since he adopted us).

We’ve been busy with other things, too:

  • I’ve been mega binge-watching a bunch of shows: The Good Wife (I gave it up at the end of last season. Dumb.), Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black (which I’m not sure I actually like, but I am fascinated by the prison social structure depicted — YIKES!), and I just started rewatching Magnum, PI (love that Higgins!)
  • We bought new furniture for the lanai (my name for our 7 x 4 balcony) and cannot wait for it to be warm enough to have our morning coffee out there every day. (And, more importantly, cocktails there at night.) Stephen loves sitting out there and looking out at the “action” on Wisteria Lane.
  • My cousin posted a link to 100 Happy Days and I decided to give the project a try. My photos are on Instagram and, while I miss a day or three here and there, I am making steady progress towards a daily photo.
  • I think I’ve finally gotten used to going to the Zombie House to drop off the trash. 
  • I read two completely different books that I LOVED and that made me cry, cry, cry! Stronger by Jeff Bauman — his life since the Boston Marathon bombings has been remarkable — and Mary Oliver’s latest poetry collection, Dog Days. She just gets us dog people.
  • I saw Cher. My bestie summed up the experience best on his blog, The Sin Embargo. And I’ll just add: I think she was lipsynching and there were FAR less gays there than I expected. Mostly older drunk women. So confusing! 
  • My niece came to stay with us for school vacation week. She and Stephen became fast friends and she was so helpful taking care of him that week. We got in some girly stuff like shopping (makeup, makeup, and makeup) and getting our nails done.
  • We also went to the Boston Marathon. Up until the night before, I wasn’t planning to go. And as we got closer and closer to Boylston Street, I started to feel nauseous. I was never entirely at ease while we were there but I was SO glad we had a chance to see the happy crowds, the elated (and exhausted) runners, and the human spirit at it’s best. Having my niece there helped me a lot.
  • We booked next year’s Jamaica trip, but guess what?? … we’re going to Ocho Rios instead of Negril! The resort is on a private cove, built into the hills, and has lots of awesome lush tropical foliage. There are only 150 rooms, too, so I’m hoping for some peace and quiet time with the Mr. 
  • We ALSO booked a week in Playa del Carmen at an eco resort! They have MONKEYS — which you are not supposed to touch — but you can bet I’ll be smuggling fruit back and spreading it out on the balcony to lure them near. And, oh, I’ll grab one if I get the chance!
  • Also, I’m totally loving the nautical and bohemian trends lately. Not only can I wear all my lobster gear but I can wear all my resort stuff. So, so happy about this. 
  • The Mr. and I had dinner at the newly opened Bostonia Public House. HIGHLY recommend a try if you are in the area. The lobster roll with avocado and bacon is yummy!
  • I really miss living in Boston. But I also love living near the water, the peace and quiet here, and all the really freaking cute New England-y stuff around the South Shore. The other day I drove past an old converted barn with the door open, a flag flying outside, and a dog on a matching dog cushion sitting upright, perfectly centered in the doorway. Magazine-stuff, people!
  • Our farmer’s market opened this past weekend and it’s right on the beach. I mean, come on!
  • We also ate outside yesterday for the first time this season. Summer, let’s get a move on!! 

I’m hoping now that we have our routine established (it’s Stephen’s morning nap time right now and he’s on the top of the couch behind me wrapped around my neck), I can find more time to drop in here. I still owe you my Jamaica photos and my video from last fall’s Dominican Republic trip. And I am really excited about summer — more and more boats are appearing here in Cabot Cove, seasonal places are opening, and we have confirmed that Stephen LOVES the beach! (Not sure if he can swim well, though. That T-Rex problem with his short legs and all.) In any case, Ptown, we’re ready for you!

Jamaica: 100 Memories

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Oh, friends, we’ve been back from Jamaica for over a week. That beautiful island of sunshine, smiling people, lush greenery, and the bluest of blue shades is just the faintest of memories now.

However, while we were there, I kept a simple running list of wonderful things that happened each day. Last summer when I was on the Cape for two weeks, I kept a similar list and found it to be such a great way to capture the feelings, thoughts, and special moments of my vacation. Turns out I wrote down 100 memories from our nine days in paradise. Here’s the entire list:

  1. handling both the flight to Orlando and the flight to Montego Bay with confidence and ease (see my posts on my fear of flying journey)
  2. watching Frozen on the plane and loving Olaf’s summer song
  3. feeling my heart soar when I saw the Caribbean blue of the ocean when we landed in Montego Bay
  4. thanking the awesome resort message board for alerting us to the glory of the new arrival escorts through Club Mobay — 20 minutes from plane to lounge, bypassing a two-hour wait in immigration!
  5. drinking my first Red Stripe in the resort lounge and then spilling it all over me — as usual — before we got out of Montego Bay and not caring one bit
  6. enjoying the 90 minute drive to Negril 
  7. after checking in, heading right to the bar for my first Dirty Banana and seeing the giant pile of fresh bananas waiting for me (last year they used MIX)
  8. having my disappointment at being housed in building 1 instead of building 2 replaced with joy when I saw our view (half ocean and half our beloved garden)
  9. enjoying our first sunset of the vacation, drinks in hand, and feeling the stress just leaving my soul
  10. eating a wonderful lesiurely meal at Heliconia on lobster night
  11. having both papaya and sour sop juice — two of my favorite things! — for breakfast
  12. establishing my drink rotation for the trip on the first full day (Dirty Banana, Piña Colada with rum float, Miami Vice, Hummingbird, Purple Rain, Jamaica Smile, with a Dark and Stormy thrown in where needed. Repeat.)
  13. trying a new-to-me drink, a Jamaica Smile, (layered: strawberry daiquiri then piña colada then topped with a rum cream float)
  14. seeing a hummingbird while drinking a Hummingbird (seriously!)
  15. sharing jerk chicken and a jerk burger with the Mr. at lunch
  16. decorating my pool float with flowers I found
  17. wearing the first of many (!) caftans
  18. picking the theme song for the vacation (The Good Good by Snoop Lion)
  19. eating three desserts … at lunch
  20. taking the snorkel gear out and seeing eight starfish and a school of fish right before sunset
  21. wearing a carefully curated delicate Caribbean bracelet stack
  22. enjoying a delicious cup of espresso at the bar after dinner with the Mr.
  23. seeing a grey heron on my morning walk
  24. discovering Rick’s Cafe retweeted my sunset photo
  25. being selfish and take three giant, super ripe pieces of papaya for breakfast
  26. finding more sour sop juice waiting for me
  27. scoring the perfect piece of crispy bacon
  28. watching a butterfly land on my knee … twice!
  29. seeing a huge white egret fly over my head, but no one else seeing him
  30. seeing a large hummingbird — another one!
  31. enjoying my first grilled snapper sandwich at lunch while staring out at the ocean
  32. trying another new drink, Ellie Smile, which is a dirty banana with apricot liquor
  33. inhaling the amazing coconut chicken soup and green papaya salad at Lychee
  34. sitting on the tree swing with the Mr. while watching a movie on the beach
  35. loading up on guava juice, fresh papaya, coconut French toast, and sugar cane for breakfast
  36. walking the full length of the beach (and, sadly, discovering that my beloved Office of Nature is no longer there)
  37. seeing a crab scurry on the beach
  38. being completely taken aback by the Mr. spotting one of our least favorite people from previous trips on the beach and laughing afterwards by how funny it was that I shouted “Holy shit!” a little too loudly when I figured out what he wanted me to look at
  39. sipping pineapple orange water
  40. adding some spicy oil to my fried snook at lunch (and then looking up snook on the interwebs to figure out what I just ate)
  41. slowly eating my sour sop SORBET
  42. hearing and then seeing a Jamaican woodpecker
  43. enjoying a less crazy than usual catamaran cruise to the cliffs and singing along to Sean Paul on the way home
  44. being amazed by how close the giant white egret allowed me to get on my morning bird stalk
  45. spotting the turtle in the pond — my only sighting of this trip
  46. discovering that Edge of Water, the next book in Elizabeth George’s YA series, was automatically delivered to my Kindle
  47. enjoying the delicious combination of a juicy papaya, boiled banana, and passion fruit juice
  48. spending a gorgeous clear and quiet morning reading by the pool
  49. cheese fries!
  50. floating around the pool on floaties with the Mr. while calling out  ”Rose!” and “Jack!” anytime we floated away from each other
  51. being followed around the ocean by a school of fish (I could do that forever!)
  52. seeing 20 starfish during our daily pre-sunset snorkel  (The Mr. is THE best starfish hunter!)
  53. enjoying our dinner at the fancy restaurant, Otaheite — especially the salmon and artichoke mousse, rum drenched shrimp, mango sorbet, and the coffee press of Blue Mountain coffee
  54. grabbing a coconut and enjoying really fresh coconut water
  55. scoring a front row seat at the pool with an umbrella
  56. cheering on the Mr. while he saved a drowning bee in the pool — we named him Beejesus
  57. soaking in the hot tub
  58. discovering there were hard tacos and grilled snapper for lunch
  59. enjoying the glass bottom boat ride over the coral reef
  60. seeing the Sargent fish and a stingray
  61. during our daily snorkel, seeing some sort of creature before he buried himself in the sand
  62. taking a wonderful nap before dinner
  63. devouring grilled snapper with lime. butter. sauce.
  64. spending my fourth birthday in a row in Jamaica and thinking how really, really lucky I am
  65. before leaving the balcony for the day, watching a white egret fly over my head, seeing a Jamaican woodpecker land on the tree in front of me, watching two little yellow bananaquits build a nest, and watching a cat play with a lizard
  66. getting my favorite seat by the pool on my birthday
  67. discovering that they had boiled dumplings for breakfast on my birthday (the ONLY day they served them)
  68. indulging in jerk chicken, cheese fries, and cocoa bread for my birthday lunch
  69. finally learning I could get a fresh papaya daiquiri (!!)
  70. eating an ice cream cone in the hot tub
  71. heading to Rick’s to watch the cliff jumpers and the sunset
  72. getting a coveted table IN the pool at Rick’s 
  73. watching a really cool and fiery sunset while drinking Red Stripes
  74. meeting other people from Boston as we watched it and learning they lived in the town over from us and were staying at the other Couples resort in Negril (clearly, our Bizarro friends)
  75. enjoying my birthday dinner at a table by the beach with tiki torches
  76. indulging again in the sour sop sorbet
  77. drinking as much guava juice as possible
  78. eating fried plantains for breakfast
  79. sitting on the other side of the pool for a change and being able to stare at the Caribbean blue ocean all day
  80. listening to a lovely quartet playing mellow music at breakfast
  81. really savoring the last Dirty Banana of the trip
  82. spending our last day just chilling by the pool, listening to tunes, floating on the pool floaties, and watching the palm trees sway in the breeze
  83. spending our resort credit on coffee, coffee, and more coffee
  84. also getting a cute clutch from the resort store and a blue and white polka dotted frog, which I named Jerk
  85. finding a banana flower (!!) and bananas on the other side of the resort 
  86. discovering a staircase I never knew was there and getting an awesome photo for my lighting series
  87. enjoying a chocolate ice cream cone
  88. finishing our trip the way we started it: with a lovely dinner at Heliconia, this time with beachside seating
  89. enjoying one more Caesar salad with shrimps (yes, shrimps!)
  90. getting lobster tails that were so easy to remove from the shells this time and enjoying every last bite of them
  91. experiencing a really good night’s sleep
  92. getting first dibs on the fresh papaya (the upside of having to get up early to leave the resort for the airport)
  93. trying callaloo at our last meal
  94. seeing new things on the Ride of Great Sadness to the airport
  95. bypassing the giant security lines at the airport with our Club Mobay departure escort
  96. seeing and quickly buying my favorite brand of rum cream to take home with us (Sangster’s!)
  97. getting seated at a private table in the quiet room at Club Mobay
  98. being surprised by how good the last drink in Jamaica was, a guava daiquiri at the Jamaican Bobsled Cafe
  99. messing around with the bobsled on display next door
  100. starting the planning for our return trip next year!

I have lots of photos, too, friends. Of course I do. Stay tuned for the visual companion to these memories. Irie!

 

March?

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I have only posted one thing in March. So here goes …

  • The Mr. and I were in Jamaica last week and all I did was float around on my pool floatie and drink fruity cocktails. AND I LOVED IT. Photos and post soon come.
  • I am now at the far end of the “early 40s” after celebrating my birthday last week. Next year, I officially enter my MID-40s. What the what??
  • This week I almost got off at my old T stop out of habit. Geez.
  • I’ve been pinching myself every day on my boat rides to and from work. My favorite part? Watching the planes take off and land as we pass the airport. (Photo above is the dock where we catch the boat in Hingham. It’s closer than the T stop was in Boston. Really.)
  • Speaking of landing, our pilot came in a little hot on our return trip to Boston. I was getting panicky and screamed (in my head), “SLOW THE EFF DOWN AND THROW UP THOSE WING FLAPPY THINGS!!” The Mr. noticed nothing.
  • Also related, from the outside takeoffs look exactly how they feel from the inside. Landings do not. All that jerking and speeding up and slowing down and wing dipping looks smooth as glass from my boat seat.
  • It was weird to sit in my winter coat on the Salacia (the boat they use for Ptown in the summer and for some of the busier time slots for the Hingham ferry). AND the Salacia has a new bar. 
  • My new nail lady’s name is Swan. 
  • I’ve noticed the South Shore accent is different from the Boston accent. More Kennedy than Southie.
  • I still haven’t driven the car out of the Shipyard. And the first time I drove it, I couldn’t start it (and I silently cursed the Mr. and his fancy key that can only be used with the right starting sequence.)
  • Wedges are not good for driving cars with fancy keys OR for walking up and down steep, sloped docks.
  • Alma Nove is our new 75 Chestnut. Cozy with a great bar and yummy food.
  • I haven’t seen a Wahlburg yet. Stop asking.
  • I requested an application for a rescue dog I’ve been obsessing about since before we moved! 
  • We got to keep our 617 area code! Good thing. Now we don’t have to get our tattoos removed. 
  • We started working on our Hingham gang sign. The Mr. rejected my first attempt at forming an H with my middle fingers. The latest draft looks way less hood and way more Spartan cheerleader.
  • We have to DRIVE our trash to the trash building. Which I will only do in the daylight. Because zombies. 
  • We’re about to book our next trip to Jamaica. And it’s gonna be big. More on this soon!

"We’re car people now."

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We made it to our new home! Having the hardest part of the move behind us feels great and we’re ready to settle in. A few observations from the past few days:

  • It took over 8 hours but somehow our amazing movers did it! They were even RUNNING with our heavy boxes. And charging up three flights of stairs at our new place. Gentle Giant has moved us three times and I cannot give them enough praise! 
  • Adding “elevator” to my list of things I’ll miss. 
  • As soon as the movers left, we headed out to get some snacks and drinks. There was a HUGE line at Wahlburgers so we went across the street to Hingham Beer Works. It was 5:00 and there was a 20 minute wait for a table. What’s up with that?? Do people eat early in the burbs?? 
  • We’re super close to the water and you can feel the salt air when you’re outside our place (which I’ve started calling Wisteria Lane). It’s also wicked cold here by the water. Brrrrr!
  • Great news! We’re in the flight path of the planes taking off from Logan. Not quite as frequent and close as our window in Boston but I was super happy to see that!
  • Did I mention we have a lanai?? It’s really a balcony, but I’ve decided to call it a lanai after watching so much Hawaii Life.
  • On Sunday, we hopped in the car and ran some errands. We had to get a snow shovel (for real!) and some things for the house. We laughed at ourselves most of the morning — wandering around Lowes and Bed Bath and Beyond feeling overwhelmed and completely lost. And the whole parking the car in the parking lot and then finding it afterwards thing? Hilarious.
  • We have the most awesome grocery store right across the way. We went to Fresh Market twice this weekend. Oh how I love it! It’s like a Whole Foods but you can buy Coke Zero there. And yummy cheese rolls.
  • We had no cable or internet for three days so we tried to go over to the clubhouse to watch the Oscars, but there was a baby shower in the room. Who has a baby shower when the Oscars are on? We went back home and popped in The Departed DVD and shouted “are you a cawp?” about 50 times.
  • The sun pours through the windows in the afternoon and we’ve seen some wonderful sunsets. I cannot wait for it to get warm!
  • I broke not one nail, but FIVE. FIVE! And right before our trip to Jamaica. Heading to my new nail salon to see if they can some how make them look decent before we leave on Friday.
  • Before we moved, we threw everything for our trip in our suitcases, but I am particular about my vacation packing. (For a reminder just how particular, I point you to this post from last year.) So I repacked them this week. Feeling better now that that is almost done.
  • We can hear the boat horn from our house! 
  • My flexible schedule has been very helpful this week as I have worked from home. Tomorrow I have to go in for a number of meetings and get to try out my new commute. The Mr. has been texting me “I’m on a boat” on his way to and from work.
  • Even though I have a million things to do (nothing like squeezing in two weeks of work into three days while unpacking your new home and packing for a trip away and also figuring out where everything is in your new town), I am SO excited for Jamaica. In fact, I am THIS excited!

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What I Won’t Miss

Today is our last day living in Boston. I’m sad. All I want to do is sit on the couch and watch movies, pretending that life isn’t about to change. Shortly, I’ll have my last Friday morning dance party in the one tiny corner without boxes in the now barely recognizable Juniper Disco Lounge. And then I’ll start packing (sigh. again.) So to help me through this part of the move, I’ve made a list of all the things I won’t miss about our life here.

What I won’t miss:

  • our dimly lit, tiny kitchen, with it’s small sink and small dishwasher
  • the MedFlight helicopter that flies over our building at least once a day to land at MGH next door — It usually happens at 2 am and it always means something bad has happened to someone, somewhere. It’s loud and it’s scary but it’s also a reminder to be grateful for being safe and sound and healthy in your own home at that moment.
  • the child next door who screams all day and all night — We went for years in this building living next to quiet neighbors until last year when the two-year old boy moved in. His parents use the hallway and the space right outside our door as an extra room. In fact, he’s screaming right now. 
  • the laundry room and the chatty guy that is always there — One of the best things about moving: we’ll have our own washer and dryer again! No fighting for machines. No one talking to you at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning about your laundry cart (ours is pretty awesome and everyone wants it — we really should have auctioned it off to the highest bidder.)
  • all those 20-something faces and high-pitched voices — Boston is a giant college town filled with young people. I’m ready to be around some adults. Who talk to each other using their inside voices.
  • the heat and the AC on the same system — Twice a year, we would either freeze or sweat in shoulder season waiting for the building to make the switch.
  • having the Nashua Street Jail — the one where the Craigslist Killer offed himself — across the way and being able to see the prisoners standing around looking out at you — We can see the basketball courts clear as day from our window. It can be a bit unnerving.
  • it never getting completely dark at night … or even remotely dark — The city lights are always on. Always.
  • tourists asking for directions — There can be 100 people on the street and the tourists will walk past all of them and make their way towards me. 
  • the awful fire alarm going off at the most inconvenient times and having to walk down 10 flights of stairs — That, my friends, is when living in the sky sucks.
  • all the people — After awhile, you just get run down. Having to talk to the cab driver (ugh!), fighting your way onto the T to get a seat, not ever being alone except in your own home.
  • not being able to have a dog because the building prohibits them — We’re already on the hunt for our new family member! The Mr. tells me every dog I pick out looks like Tipper. 

Next stop: Hingham. Or the couch.

What I’ll Miss

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We move to Hingham at the end of this week. On Saturday. We’ve already seen our last Sunday here and today is our last Monday. Tomorrow will be our last Tuesday and, well you get the picture. It’s bittersweet leaving the city after so long, but I’ve moved past the complete freak-outs (“what are we DOING?”) and am really, really ready for this. It’s been stressful, but nothing soothes me like a good list. I have a couple for you this week.

A few things I’ll miss:

  • living in the sky — I’ll miss this the most. 
  • the view from our windows — The Charles River. Storrow Drive.  The Green Line. The Zakim Bridge. The traffic on 93. The nightly light display on the Garden roof. 
  • sitting on the couch and watching the planes take off and land — Especially the early morning line-up of planes in the distance, like fireflies, one after another.
  • being able to do anything after work and not having to worry about the last train, boat, T, bus, etc. home — Convenience! No limitations!
  • not having to worry about the weather because someone else shovels everything
  • being able to walk to everything
  • the white squirrels in our neighborhood
  • the whoopie pies at J. Pace next door
  • Thoreau Path and the Great Lawn in our neighborhood — Despite being smack dab in an urban area, our neighborhood has lots of open space and walking paths.
  • the quick walk to and from the Garden — We have three concerts coming up this year and I’m seriously considering getting a hotel room, which I have now learned are ridiculously expensive in Boston.
  • not having to worry about a car — The last two weeks with a car have reminded us why we got rid of the car in the first place. Necessary for coastal town life, complete hassle in the city!
  • being able to walk to and from the boat to Ptown and how freaking easy that trip is — It will still be manageable. I just need to take an extra boat. Returning on Sunday when the commuter boat doesn’t run will be interesting.
  • the original Juniper Disco Lounge — I’ll launch the new version in our new place but I had just gotten it to a place where I really LOVED the way I felt when I was in there. 
  • taking a cab everywhere
  • our favorite concierge and the crew in our building
  • being able to make our own super secret West End (our neighborhood) gang sign — Make a “W” with three fingers, turn it on it’s end like an “E.” Yeah, we amuse ourselves with that one. And “H” doesn’t quite work the same.
  • the family that owns my current nail salon — I’ll miss them. I’ve watched her have two babies in the time that we’ve been here and they are always so wonderful to me. 
  • the pool at the Clubs at Charles River Park — It’s the biggest outdoor pool in Boston and it’s pretty awesome. Could use a bar, though.
  • living next to the world’s best hospital, just in case, and having lots of doctors in our building, just in case
  • being able to get any type of food delivered to our home at any time — Maybe I’ll miss this the most.
  • Yappy Hour just down the street in the summer — Of course the irony here is that we will actually have a dog to take to Yappy Hour.
  • having Pizzeria Regina and Ernesto’s from the North End as our standard pizza joints — Spoiled!
  • being able to decide at the last minute to go to the Pride Parade, a walk along the Greenway, to the MFA, or whatever — It’s been so nice to be able to do whatever we want to do without much planning. 
  • being able to say, “You know that sign that says ‘If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now’? That’s where I live.”

Around here …

Just popping in for a quick update. Twelve days until we move and it feels like time is c r a w l i n g. We’re ready for the chaos to be over and to be settled in our new home. In the meantime, here are a few things going on around here:

  • My new point and shoot camera is awesome! That photo above was taken from our place on the 10th floor while it was still snowing.
  • I seem to have the same problems with packing that I have in life. I eagerly start packing a new box, get bored with it, and move on to a new — much more exciting — box. There are half-packed open boxes all over the house.
  • We had our annual Denial Night on Friday. Sometime in February every year we pretend it is summer. Giant fruity cocktails, lobster, and ice cream cones. 
  • This weekend I watched Dallas Buyers Club (clearly some amazing performances but, more importantly, the film itself is a great character study of a jerk who ends up doing good things). I also viewed some of Season 2 of House of Cards (Please explain to me why am I rooting for the Underwoods! Why??).
  • So Walking Dead fans, I’m sure you all discovered Talking Dead ages ago. I wish it was a 24-hour show. All Dead, all day. 
  • I tried using coconut oil on my hair as a deep conditioning treatment and it was a success! Much less frizz the rest of the week. Smelled good, too. (Instructions: Saturate your hair with coconut oil. Pin it up and place a plastic shower cap over it. Relax for 15 minutes. Wash out thoroughly.)
  • We realized we will be without cable AND internet for the Oscars this year. No idea what we are going to do!
  • I finished reading my book club’s next book, The Book Thief (tears, tears, tears!) and picked up The Year of the Gadfly where I left off some months ago and am totally engrossed. 
  • We bought a car. It’s blue. It has a fancy key and heated seats. I’ve only seen it from our 10th story window as the Mr. drove it off to get inspected and park it off-site for the next two weeks.
  • Sean Paul released a new album today. 
  • Instead of packing it with the rest of the glassware, the Mr. left my special rum cream glass out for me to use. I married the right man.
  • We’ve lived in this building for eight years and the staff that works here have become like family. My favorite concierge is on maternity leave right now and I’m not sure she’ll be back before we move. I’m super sad I won’t be able to say goodbye to her.
  • Jamaica soon come. I’ve been stalking our resort’s message board like I usually do around this time. Even though this will be our fourth trip there, I always find great suggestions on the board — like when the starfish gather in the swimming area of the beach and a suggestion to add a rum cream float to a pina colada. (I also finally put together a video from last year’s trip! My favorite part is our trip down the beach to the Office of Nature for some awesome lobster — starts around 8:10.)

Random No. 53

Some of the randomness on my mind lately …

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photo: Ginny Branch

Prop Styling — It’s an actual job. Why didn’t anyone tell me? When I was in high school I’d create little tableaus in my room — a vintage picnic basket here, an LL Bean boot there. I mean … it’s a JOB! I could have been doing this the whole time. Sigh.

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Tips and Tricks for Taking Dreamy Photos eBook — I only recently discovered Vivienne McMaster who has such a cool perspective on using photographs to improve your sense of self. She also takes awesome photos and her ebook has great tips for how you can take awesome photos, too!

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Reelagram Don’t you all wish you had kept your View Master? Now you can get a new one, with your instagram photos. This would make a fantastic gift to remember a special day or an awesome vacation. 

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All Things Moomin tumblr — Did you read the Moomin books as a kid? I’m planning to revisit these sometime this year. And now I realize why I was so enamored with Shmoo — must have been a Moomin-thing.

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Sherlock — I’m sure you’ve all been obsessively watching this season of Sherlock. And I’m guessing, like me, you’ve been rewinding and rewatching each scene to see what you missed the first time around (almost everything). But I’m pretty sure you haven’t been practicing saying “Sherlock” the way Alan Cumming says it in the intro. And, yes, I have. I assure you it’s impossible to replicate. Anyway, let’s hope Season 4 hurries the hell up!

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These necklaces — All three are going to Jamaica with me next month. I just love a pop of color against black and white. So fun and whimsical!

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This GIF — Daft Punk in their dress whites. Clapping.

A Football Confession {and SNACKS!}

I own two articles of sports apparel. 1) a Red Sox hat and 2) an Eagles tshirt. That’s right. I am not a Patriots fan.

I grew up in Pennsylvania watching the Eagles every weekend with my dad. I had an Eagles pompom hat which I wore to school even though I was surrounded by black and gold. I had an Eagles pennant on my wall. #31 was my favorite player. I hate Dallas. When the Eagles and Pats played in the Super Bowl, my whole family gathered at my sister’s to cheer on the Pats and every time the Eagles scored I’d call from our place in Boston, let the phone ring once, and hang up. (Oh, shut up! Who cares how it ended!) 

So, who will I be routing for on Sunday? The Seahawks. Cause I like Pete Carroll. We sat next to him at a Cape Cod Baseball League game in Chatham one summer. He seemed very nice.

Anyway, I’ve been making snacks for our football watching this fall/winter. If you’re looking for something to make for this weekend’s game, here are a few ideas!

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Beer Dip  — I love cheese dips that have actual chunks of shredded cheese in them. I suggest adding some bacon or ham to this for a little more oomph.

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Browned Butter Rosemary Popcorn — It’s a little labor-intensive making the browned butter but it is worth the investment.

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Sea Salt Honey Butter Popcorn — This recipe is so easy and so tasty that it has become a regular snack option in our household.

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Pizza Wheels — The trick is to roll the dough as tight as you can. The cornmeal crust makes all the difference!

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Toasted Almond Parmesan Dip — Surprisingly yummy and really easy to make.

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Cheese and Onion Monkey Bread  — Note: do not use all the butter called for in the recipe! And oregano would be a great substitution for the thyme.

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Fried Herbed Almonds — Such an easy recipe! You need to salt the hell out of them and I would recommend considering rosemary as a substitution for the thyme.

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Butter and Rosemary Roasted Chestnuts — Granted, these were seasonal but this recipe from Bon Appetit was so so easy and completely delicious!

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Buffalo Chicken Dip — Another confession. The Mr. made this one. If you love buffalo sauce, this is your football snack!

Random No. 52

Some of the randomness on my mind lately …

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Ana Frois etsy shop —  I don’t know what it is about this Portuguese artist’s illustrations, but I just love them! This one is my favorite and I’m totally not a trees-and-mountains kinda girl.

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Photos of Diane Keaton’s home — You all know Diane Keaton is my idol and I want to be her. Now, even more so. She just posted photos of her home on her Pinterest board. Such style!! I mean, look at the address sign on the wall above. And that enormous door. She is the coolest.

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Another Head Like an Orange GIF — I just can’t enough of this one! That teeny, tiny nose is so adorable. It is like a poppy seed. I want to touch it.

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My gold fuzzy lined boots — They’re gold. And fuzzy inside. Gold. Fuzzy. Gold. Fuzzy. And it looks like they are on sale right now on Tretorn’s website.

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That Gabby Douglas movie on Lifetime — Gymnastics!! I was a fanatic when I was growing up. Constantly doing cartwheels and handsprings. I even have a scar on my foot from running into the furniture. Who cares that I could never do anything backwards! Lifetime has another fab movie out this weekend about that awesome Gabby Douglas. Cannot wait to see it!

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Salt Cellar on Newbury Street — When my niece was here, we got mani/pedis at Miniluxe on Newbury Street. Right next door there is this little salt shop where you can taste everything! So, so fun! We left with tiny jars of black truffle salt (which I am putting on everything), a mesquite smoked salt, and a vanilla salt. All are really, really good on popcorn.

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Exposure Weekly Selects -- Like photo narratives, or like to create them yourself? Exposure is the place for amazing photo stories. I’ve signed up for their weekly email so I can see some of the best ones like A Walk in Rome. You can subscribe here.

The Life: an update

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Oh, man. I did it again. It’s been all real life around here lately and I haven’t been keeping on top of this space. Let’s get up to speed.

  • My niece stayed with us last weekend. She’s 13 and she loves makeup. Somehow I completely forgot about that whole thing at that age. (I was more of a bubbles, suds, and soaps girl, myself. Pisces and all that.) There’s something really special about being an aunt to a young girl who is interested in everything the world has to offer. Girls her age need an adult woman to talk to who isn’t their mother. She had a lot to say that weekend and I listened closely to every word!
  • I am so glad I bought that extra warm long down coat with a faux fur hood in WHITE last year. And these Tretorn bootswhich have helped to keep the style quotient up while keeping my tootsies dry. Winter, you are being a jerk.
  • I’ve been alternating between #altsummit and #negril on Instagram this past week. Those blogging ladies sure know how to have fun in Utah. And, gosh, does my favorite place in the world look so warm and relaxing!
  • The move is becoming very real. Our movers dropped off our packing boxes this weekend. I cancelled my monthly T pass that I’ve had for 18 years and ordered a commuter boat pass. And later this week, I have to cancel our pool membership. Letting go of this life we’ve built in the city is really hard. 
  • And speaking of that, please stop telling me I’ll love it in the suburbs. I’m moving to a COASTAL TOWN
  • Anytime I see the last name “Groff” I immediately want to know where the person was born. Us Groffs all pretty much grew up in the same place. That includes one of the stars of Looking, Jonathan Groff. Turns out he’s a hometown boy.
  • Confession. I bought a new point and shoot camera. I know, I know. I totally upgraded to a real camera this summer and then completely stopped taking photos. It’s just too big to carry around with me every day so I needed to go back to my compact-sized version. I’m hoping that will get me back in the groove.
  • A little note about this trend toward dark, filmy photos a la KinfolkI like it. I do. But everyone in the whole world seems to all of a sudden adopted only this one aesthetic. I like bright colors and lots of white space. There is nothing better than a bright blue sky and I refuse to cloud it up on purpose with one of those filters. (And while I’m at it, that acoustic-y, folksy, twangy music is the worst. They need to stop that. And that triangle pattern stuff that is on everything these days.)
  • So many people ask me for recommendations for their visits to Provincetown so I made a mapped Pinterest board with all my favorites (and some super secret insider tips). I’ve also started a mapped board for our new home on the South Shore and have continued to update my Boston Undone board, listing all the things I have yet to do in the city.
  • I finished packing up 890 books for donation! During my purge I also found 25 bookmarks, a street map of Rome, and some cards from restaurants we visited in Mallorca.
  • My Jamaica outfits have all been carefully planned and styled. I do want to say that it is like a sport to me. I collect things all year round. There are clothes you can wear in the Caribbean that you just can’t wear here. I was lamenting to the Mr. how it didn’t seem that our fellow resorters put as much effort into their stylings (and I was kinda bummed about it). He said, “well, I appreciate it!” Aww, Schmoopy!
  • I also started my Summer List! There are some cool things I didn’t get to do last year and moving to the coast is opening up a whole world of possibilities. It is going to be fun! (Especially since, after Jamaica, I won’t be doing much traveling until after the museum is open.)
  • It has been so DRY! We’ve started boiling pots of water (with cinnamon and clove) on the stove to try to add some moisture back to the air. And I have been bathing in this. I slather about an inch of it on my face every couple of hours. 

So February starts at the end of this week, friends, and it is going to be hectic for us! Packing, and moving, and leaving for Jamaica only 6 days after the move is going to take some serious focus time. I’ll try to drop in here as I can, but, just think, when we get settled, I’ll have a whole new world to share with you!

Random No. 51

Some of the randomness on my mind lately ….

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Unroll.me — Friends!! This is a life-changer. I signed up over the winter break and learned I had 790 email subscriptions!! How does that happen? I unsubscribed to over 400 of them and the rest of them are delivered to my inbox in ONE easy email every day. I’ve been averaging about 40-50 emails consolidated into that one email each day. SO awesome! 

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That Mitt Romney documentary on Netflix — So you may have gathered that I am NOT in the Mitt Fan Club. The film was made by a family friend so I’m sure it will be a rather sympathetic portrait. But I am intrigued by what it is like to lose something you were absolutely certain would be yours. Debuted at Sundance and will stream on Netflix starting Friday.

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Lucy Jane Totes etsy shop is back! — It felt like she was gone for SO long. I own three of her bags and I cannot recommend them enough. Her medium purses are the best! They look small but you can really shove everything in there. The large beach totes are perfect for the summer, too!

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My new camera strap — I love my new nautical preppy camera strap! 

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Lance Bass’s new single — And, more importantly, that photo right there above! Look how cute his shoes are! I have always been cheering poor Lance on. The worst dancer in NSync, he always seemed behind the other boys by a step or two. And he seemed so uncomfortable. Well, gurl has come into her own! He’s making music with Snoop Dogg Lion Dogg Whatever.  I’m guessing I’ll be hearing it a lot in Ptown this summer. After it gets a proper remix. 

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True Detective on HBO — Have you seen this show yet? What the what??? Matthew McConaughey is blowing me away with his creepy ways. And what is going on? Why are the cops interviewing them 10 years later? What happened to them? I’m so hooked. 

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Wahlburgers on A&E — Marky Mark appears to have become my spirit animal. He’s popping up everywhere in my life. From brunch this weekend to his new reality showwhich is filmed in our new neighborhood. Like RIGHT NEXT TO US. So if you want to catch a glimpse of our new hood, watch the show tonight. And with that, I’ll leave you with my moving-to-the-burbs theme song. Donnie D, break it down …