A Weekend in Vermont

This weekend I took a little road trip to Vermont! I headed north on Saturday morning and first stopped in Montpellier. Though I’ve driven though this city many times, I’ve never stopped to walk around! I’m very glad I did – the downtown area is easily covered on foot and there are a number of cute shops and restaurants to explore.

 

 

I stopped at the Knitting Studio, a local yarn store, to browse before looking for a bite to eat. Though I was quickly distracted by book stores, cooking stores and a library, I eventually found a café to grab a quick bite. This was an excellent stop, and I’d love to spend more time in Montpellier in the future.

After 45 more minutes on the road (the entire drive from Cambridge passed quickly thanks to a few Woolful podcasts) I made it to Burlington!

I was in town to visit a close friend, and we immediately sat down by her fireplace in rocking chairs and didn’t get up until we needed to get dinner supplies! It’s always great to catch up with friends.

As a light pre-dinner snack, we enjoyed a refreshing smoothie – beets, apples, kale, orange juice and bananas combined to make a very refreshing drink. For dinner we had a wonderful soup with corn, beans, potatoes and lots of spice, along with a nice glass of wine.

After dinner we decided we hadn’t had enough beets, so we made this beet cake! I’ve had several beet cakes in the past and this one was perhaps the best – so moist and light, I’d happily have this any day! We didn’t even cook the beets – blending them with the liquids gave it a lovely earthy flavor. We ended up doing cupcakes rather than two layer cakes, and it worked out perfectly.

All in all, this was my kind of evening!

 

On Sunday we went out for brunch and had fun wondering around downtown Burlington. We had fun poking in a few shops along church street and did a little shopping. The day was sunny and beautiful, so it was nice just to spend some time outside!

 

 

Before I headed home we made a nice cup of coffee and enjoyed a few episodes of Friends – a tradition when we’re together. The drive home past quickly and I was back in Cambridge before I knew it. I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

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The first few days of 2015

After the excitement of new years eve, Teddy and I woke up a bit earlier than we would have liked to head up to Portland, Maine! We made a quick stop at Stonewall Kitchen since we now know that it’s the perfect half-way stop before making it to the home of Teddy’s aunt and uncle. We had spent a lovely day with several of Teddy’s relatives and enjoyed a great meal at Portland Pie Company. Both of love spending time in Portland, and it was wonderful to see so many of Teddy’s relatives.

After a long day, we had planned to stop in Portsmith New Hampshire, but decided to save that for another time. We needed to get some sleep!

On Friday I was able to work from home, and took my lunch break at my local yarn shop – the best lunch break I’ve had in a while! I got supplies for a new project – more on that soon. The rest of the weekend was quiet, but productive. I did lots of cleaning, got myself organized for 2015, and did lots of trip planning. Teddy and I are planning a vacation for February, so spent a while researching and booking reservations.

On Sunday we headed to a local ice skating rink with some friends for the public skating, and had a blast. I used to go skating quite a bit when I lived in Montreal, so it was fun to get back on the ice. It makes me miss Canada! Hopefully we’ll get the chance to go again this winter since it’s always a fun time.

The rest of my weekend wasn’t too glamorous, and was just spent doing chores and general catch-up work. I hope your week is off to a good start!

The Aidez is done!

Holy smokes, I made a sweater.P1040260

It only took a year, but I’m finally done! Overall, I’m super happy with the pattern, and would love to make it again. It was a lot of work, and I think I need a break from cabling for a while, but I love it so much! I’m excited about the prospect of another sweater, and have been eagerly prowling Ravelry for more patterns. I’ve been eyeing Sundottir but I’m waiting to find the perfect yarn. In the meantime, my knitting tasks involve finishing up a baby sweater and a new pair of socks, but I’m craving a new big project. Hopefully soon!

 

4 Ways to Overcome Stress

This week has been pretty stressful at work. In the past I’ve really struggled with anxiety and stress, so I’ve spent a long time exploring coping mechanisms. Below I decided to share what works well for me. Feel free to add more to my list!

Tea

What is it about a warm drink that is so relaxing? Perhaps it’s the intentional slowing down, the routine of warming water, using a favorite mug. Whatever it is – it really works. Lately I’ve been drinking a nice herbal tea before going to sleep, and it’s been helpful for me to wind down. (Having a boyfriend who grew up with a British mother really doesn’t hurt the tea situation, either – any time there is distress he always makes a cup of tea!)

Exercise

When I get stressed, I find sticking with an exercise routine is really helpful. Again, having habits to turn to is comforting. Nothing like a good workout to get your mind off of everything else. I know it can be really challenging to stick to waking up early or giving up valuable after-work time to squeeze in a workout, but it really does help. I find I’m so much better at focusing during a stressful day if I’ve gotten a good workout in during the morning.

Social Support

This evening when I was feeling overwhelmed I called my parents to chat while taking a long walk around my neighborhood. Drawing on social networks when you’re stressed is vital. Having someone to listen, but also having someone to distract you, is awesome. Make sure to always return the favor, though!

Distract yourself

Distracting yourself is a great way to overcome stress. I really like working with my hands, so I often turn to cooking and knitting. Both keep me focused in on a goal (make something, whether it be food or a yarn project), and I have specific, sequential instructions to follow. Plus, in both cases, I get excited about the final product! Since my job really focuses on computer work, I love the tactile experience of working with my hands.

What do you do to overcome stress?

Fall – this time it’ different

This fall is the first time since I was a wee little tyke that I’m not in school. It’s weird.

It’s more weird because I live in the middle of a college town – Harvard, to be exact. It was super noticeable when the students came back into town, and it was odd that I wasn’t one of them.

I actually haven’t been as agitated about the fact that I’m not in school as I expected. Perhaps it’s because the past two years were excruciatingly difficult, or it’s because graduate school wasn’t as “school-ish” in the traditional way. Whatever it is, I’m liking it.

I like having time to take really long walks when the weather is stunning and all I want to do is be outside.

Sheraton Commander Hotel near Fall Foliage

I like having time to go apple picking and then make every possible apple treat because I have the time.

I like that I get to be excited about the start of “knitting season” because I will actually be casting on a ton of new things this season without feeling guilty.

I like being able to spend time with friends and not be concerned about how much studding time I’m missing.

I’m still having a hard time figuring out what to do with my spare time. This is a weird problem to have, I realize that. But I’ve never had this much free time before. Plus, income! It’s a different world when you aren’t in school. Needless to say, it’s been a transition, but I expected to feel more unsettled this fall than I’m actually feeling.

For that, I am glad. 

Weekend Recap

Another weekend has flown by – this time a bit more quietly. Having more down time was just what I needed, so I’m glad I took the time to relax a bit!

Friday

On Friday evening Teddy and I met up with a friend and headed over to the Just Crust for pizza – naturally, it really hit the spot! We tried a few other places first and the lines were long. We really weren’t looking for anything super fancy, so we got a pizza to split with the three of us. It really hit the spot! It was great to catch up with Ajay, our friend, and enjoy the crisp, fall weather!

After eating, we headed over to a friend’s house to play some great board games. This friend is super into board games. He even designs his own! But he’s also excellent at explaining games and basic strategies, so is a great person to explore new ones with. The first game we tried was Factory Fun, a “simple” game of connecting machines and pipes. Teddy and I played on a team for this one since there was a player limit, and I’m glad we did. It was awesome, and I’d love to play it again! Potential future gift for Teddy?

The second game I played was called Cornerstone. This was like a super advanced version of Jenga, and so much fun! I’d absolutely play it again. You basically had to build a tower only moving on your color, and without toppling the tower. Such a challenge – and we built a great one! All in all, a very fun night. I’m looking forward to exploring more board games with those folks!

Saturday

On Saturday Teddy and I enjoyed a lazy morning after being up so late. We made some breakfast, and then I relaxed and did a few chores around the house. Later in the day I headed over to the new Assembly Square Mall in Sommerville. I’m not much of a shopping fan, but I do need to amp up my fall wardrobe. I was able to find quite a few things at the outlets, but it was super duper crowded! Not my favorite. Later I got some groceries, and Teddy came over. We had a quiet night and actually talked a lot about board game strategy from the previous evening!

Sunday

On Sunday Teddy and I headed down to Hingham to visit World’s End, a conservation area. It was beautiful! Only about a 45 minute drive from Boston, this conservation area has miles of beautiful walking paths, and excellent views of the Boston skyline! We spent the day wandering the trails and enjoying a picknick lunch. The weather was a bit overcast, but the rain held off! I’d absolutely recommend this place for some relaxing walking – it wasn’t even very crowded! Fun fact about the area – it was short listed for the location of the UN World Headquarters. Who knew?! Certainly would have made the South Shore of MA a very different place.

We finished off our trip with a quick stop by a local yarn shop, Yarn in the Square. It was really cute, but I didn’t purchase anything. I’m trying to work through my stash – visiting new yarn stores really isn’t helping that effort!

The rest of my evening was spent cooking and preparing for the week – lots of fun things on the agenda!

 

Do anything exciting with your weekend?

Labor Day weekend

Ahh, the beauty of a long weekend!

Friday

On Friday evening Teddy and I took the Cape Flyer, an Amtrack train that runs on the weekends from South Station in Boston down to Cape Cod. Though the trip was a bit long, my parents met us at the station and brought us right away to an ice cream shop, Krista K’s! Nothing like starting a Cape Cod weekend with a big bowl of ice cream!

Later in the evening my sister and her boyfriend, Colin, arrived. Our weekend of fun had begun!

Saturday

On Saturday we had a relaxed morning before loading up our day packs and heading to Orleans, a town near where we were staying. Teddy and I rented bikes, and all 6 of us headed out for a 20 mile bike ride. The day was perfect – there was a light breeze, the temperatures were in the 70s and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It doesn’t get more perfect than that for summer time biking! We headed towards the National Seashore, where we stopped for a while. The beach was busy, but the views were beautiful – we even saw quite a few seals! We enjoyed some snacks in the sand before jumping back on our bikes. We passed our starting point, stopped at Arnolds for ice cream cones, and eventually made our way back to Orleans. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, and we were all pleasantly tired after our ride.

In the evening we made an incredible meal – a meal that felt like it never ended! Teddy and I brought appetizers and beer to share, so we started with that. We brought two of our favorite brews from Night Shift, along with a few types of cheese. After enjoying those treats, we started working on the next course – steamers! We made fresh clams on the stove and enjoyed them with melted butter sauce on the deck at twilight. Doesn’t get more summery that that! To take a break from eating, we headed over to Scargo Tower, a quick walk from where we were staying. There we watched a beautiful sun set. It was a beautiful cape evening! Eating our way through the evening continued, though – next up were lobster rolls! They were fresh and delicious, and by the time the fresh raspberry pie with ice cream rolled our way we were all incredibly full. But it was an evening that tasted like summer on the cape!

We wrapped up the evening with a rowdy game of “We Didn’t Play-test This Game” and all had a blast! Needless to say, we all headed to bed with full stomachs and tired legs. It was a good day!

Sunday

Our Sunday morning started out quietly with another wonderful breakfast. After that the competition heated up and we headed to mini-golf! We enjoy a classic place without some of the modern bells and whistles, but this place is a classic and you get two rounds for the price of one! Naturally we played all 18 holes twice, and loved the game. Things got pretty serious – the last time we played here my dad got six holes-in-one. Yes, six! Crazy! Needless to say we didn’t do as well this time around, but the story will live forever.

We had packed a picknick earlier in the day, and headed to a secluded Audubon Society beach to enjoy it. The sky was overcast but the quiet beach was beautiful, and we relaxed on the sand for quite some time. Finally it was time to head home, and we made another feast – steak tips (and crab cakes for me). The meal was amazing, and we even had chocolate zucchini cake for dessert!

After dinner I spent some time showing Anne and Collin pictures from our Europe Trip earlier this summer, and we all headed to bed early.

Monday

On Monday we made reservations to visit a nearby cranberry bog for a tour. Though I’ve grown up visiting Cape Cod, we’ve never actually visited a bog! I’m so glad that we finally had the opportunity to do so – we all learned so much during the tour! The bog was full of friendly farm animals, we learned a lot about the history and production of cranberries on Cape Cod, and would absolutely recommend the tour to anyone visiting the cape!

After this we stopped by another novelty – a lavender farm! Though this was quite a small place, seeing an entire farm dedicated to growing lavender is rare, and we enjoyed the wonderful-smelling grounds.

Our final food-related stop of the day was our annual pilgrimage to Captin’ Frosty’s, my favorite clam shack on the Cape. There is something special about their clam cakes and chowder that I look forward to all year, and this year was no different! The meal was about as unhealthy as I go, and every bite was worth it. We gilded the lily with a final ice cream cone, and called it a day.

On the way home I checked out a great knitting store that I hope to eventually return to, as well. Teddy and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood before packing up our things and making sandwiches for dinner on the train. We got back on the train at 6:30, and by 9:30 I was back at my apartment. It was an excellent weekend, and hit all of my summer Cape Cod “must-do’s”!

I hope your Labor Day was relaxing – I can’t believe the summer is already over!