Day trip to Portsmouth, NH

Teddy and I decided to spend the day in Portsmouth, NH. Only an hour drive from Cambridge, we’ve driven by many times but never stopped to spend the day.

We decided to start our day at the Strawberry Banks Museum, an open air museum that highlighted historical buildings at various points in the area’s history. I love open-air museums (the one I went to in Switzerland is a huge favorite) so was quite excited to explore this one.

Though the entrance fee was steep, we loved wandering around the stunning gardens and homes in the large area.

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Later in the afternoon we poked around the small shops of the downtown area before trying out Earth Eagle Brewing, a local brewery. We enjoyed a flight of beers. Though none of them were particularly amazing, it’s always fun to explore these small places making interesting drinks.

We ended our day getting seafood on the water – perfect for any trip to the ocean. We’re already looking forward to our next trip to Portsmouth!

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Things I’m loving Friday

After my awesome vacation, I completely feel off the productivity train for a few days. Between being super behind on work, the horrible snow that is making it extremely difficult to get anywhere, and a general feeling of being behind at life – I was floundering. This week I’ve been feeling much better, and I’m feeling like I’m back on the productivity bandwagon. I decided the best way to celebrate that would be with a “Things I’m loving” post!

1. Unroll.me – have you heard of this wonderful thing? Maybe I’m late to the party by this really has been a lifesaver for me. I’ve been feeling like I process so much darn email, but I never end up responding to the things that actually matter. Now I’m able to bundle all of the newsletters, alerts, coupons and general announcements into one thing. I love that everything still comes to my inbox, thus is searchable, but I’m not spending my time always being excited about new email. Now I chunk all of the time spent going over those “fluff” emails into 10 minutes at the beginning of my day.

2. This lovely blog  – I’m a new reader to 50 by 25, but I’m loving the combination of productivity, healthy living, and career advice that this blog contains. I’m really trying to understand how to build a strong base for my career so I love the advice. However, that’s not the only thing that is important to me! It’s been great digging into the archives a bit more to understand how to better track, maintain and achieve goals.

3. Getting back to the gym – it’s been so great to get my routine back! I hit up the 6am Body Pump class today and it felt really good. I’ve been running more, even though I’m not a big fan of the treadmill. It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to comfortably run outside any time soon (thanks, snow) but at least I’m moving more. We walked a ton while we were on vacation so I didn’t feel really sedentary, but it’s still nice to get back to my routine!

4. So Many Vegetables – I’ve never purchased so much produce at Trader Joe’s before! But man has it been great. I’ve been filling a container with just vegetables and munching on them all afternoon at work this week. Maybe people think I’m crazy, but it’s felt so good. One of the challenges when traveling as a vegetarian is that often the best meal on the menu is pasta. Or pizza. Or carbs in some form. Neither place we were was particularly a food mecca, so I really deviated from my usual vegetable/legume-heavy diet. It has been so great to eat more like a rabbit this week!

5. This new sewing pattern – it totally caught my eye at my favorite local craft store, Gather Here. I picked up the supplies this week, and I’m hoping to break out my sewing machine this weekend. It’s been a while. I’m torn between using that time to knit, or crafting a project to hold my knitting – the never-ending debate of a multi-crafter.

 

Anything fun planned for the weekend?

Winter Weekend

On Friday Teddy and I had some friends over for a relaxing evening. I made another crockpot meal on Thursday night (this time a lovely chili recipe from my mother) and it was so great to come home to the smell in my kitchen! It also took a lot of the pressure off having friends over on a Friday – I could relax instead of getting right into the kitchen when I got home. I also made some fresh biscuits to go with the chili.

We enjoyed a lovely evening of dinner, wine, and quite a few games of Settlers of Catan. We are officially addicted! It was really nice to stay in on a Friday, though – more relaxing, and much less expensive.

Saturday

On Saturday morning we awoke to a winter wonderland – it snowed quite a bit overnight. It looked so pretty! We had a very lazy morning and stayed in bed reading for quite a while. I’m addicted to my current book, and it was nice to spend a while relaxing in bed. Teddy spoiled me by making a lovely breakfast for us, and then we spent a while catching up on Top Chef. This season is set in Boston, so it’s been really fun to scope the restaurant scene in our area through the show. I made some great progress on my next knitting adventure, so again, it was great to spend time together relaxing.

In the afternoon we were both feeling a bit cooped up and wanted to see Cambridge covered in snow. We took a nice long walk around the neighborhood before doing a few errands. We came home and finished the leftovers of chili and biscuits for a quick and easy dinner.

On Saturday evening we headed to a friends house for another board game night. We’ve been doing that a lot lately, but it’s such a great winter activity! Cheap, easy, and a great way to spend some time.

The walk over to this friend’s house is about 30 minutes, and Cambridge was looking like a beautiful winter wonderland! It was lightly snowing still, everything was all twinkling and just looked so cozy. Cambridge sure looks beautiful in snow. Then again, I really like the winter, particularly when I don’t have to be driving. It wasn’t too cold, and it was just so beautiful.

Anyway, at the friend’s house we played Endeavor, a game involving maps, colonialism, and a little bit of slavery. Once you get going it really picks up, but it was a bit complicated to learn. I ended up not losing (YAY!) and would totally play it again. Another one to add to the list of potential gifts for Teddy!

Sunday

On Sunday morning I did my usual errands, but I didn’t make it out for a run. That’s the only bad thing about the snow – the sidewalks were looking pretty treacherous! Instead I took a nice walk and worked on some knitting in bed. I’ll take it!

Teddy and I spent the afternoon planning for an upcoming trip, and later I chatted with my parents. I ended the evening having dinner with some friends, and doing some meal prep for the next few days. It looks like we’re in for a huge snow storm, so I’m getting ready to hunker down!

Do anything exciting this weekend?

A long weekend in upstate New York

This weekend I headed out to Ithaca, NY to visit my sister! She and her boyfriend, Collin, live in a great house in a tiny town called Newfiled, just outside of Ithaca. Teddy and I left work a bit early on Friday to make the 6ish hour drive. By the time we landed I was very ready for bed! After a quick cup of tea and a chat, we headed to sleep.

Saturday

Anne and Collin are known for their fantastic breakfasts, so Teddy and I woke up ready to dig in! Unsurprisingly, they didn’t disappoint. To get things started, we made lattes. Yep, Anne and Collin have a super fancy bean grinder, an espresso maker, and even a milk frother. They take their coffee very seriously!

The lattes held us over nicely while we made the rest of our feast: fresh squeezed orange juice (yes, they have a juicer), fried eggs, gourmet sausage for the non-veggies, bananas, and more fresh coffee. Like I said, they’re basically pros. It was an awesome way to start the day!

Our next adventure took us to a local mountain, Greek Peak Resort. They have an awesome Nordic Center where we spent quite a few hours enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring the area on cross country skis. I used to go cross country skiing quite a bit when I was younger, but haven’t been for years, and Teddy had never been. Luckily the trails were pretty friendly and Anne and Collin are great teachers. We had a blast gliding around for a few hours and enjoying the sunshine before heading back home.

After we cleaned up a bit, we headed to downtown Ithaca to try a new restaurant. Coltivare is associated with a local culinary school so it’s run by the students. I feel great about supporting such a wonderful mission, and the food was outstanding! We started with a surprisingly tasty grilled lettuce appetizer, I enjoyed a risotto with saffron and mushrooms which really hit the spot after a cold day outside. We all shared a lovely bottle of wine, and to finish the meal I enjoyed a fresh sugar doughnut with coffee gelatto. It was all phenomenal! I could have rolled home I was so full, but man it was amazing.

On Saturday we played the first of what became many games of Settlers of Catan. Do you know this game? It was really easy to learn and we quickly got really sucked in!

Sunday

On Sunday morning we headed out for a lovely brunch at the Carriage House – known for having the best brunch in Ithaca! After enjoying one of the best omelets I’ve had in recent memory, we wandered around the shops downtown. Anne knows them all really well, so while the guys grabbed some groceries and explored the ice shelf (very exciting stuff…) we dropped by a few stores. Unfortunately my favorite used craft supply store wasn’t open, but we poked into a great sewing store that I loved! Very inspiring.

Our afternoon consisted of a few more games of Settlers of Catan before making another lovely feast for dinner. This time we did mashed cauliflower, excellent grilled tuna (yes, Collin grills year-round even though we were in upstate New York – he is dedicated), a huge salad and roasted green beans. Phew! It was another huge and extremely lovely meal, all topped off with a few bottles of fancy beer that Teddy and I brought to share. We watched Garden State while we ate, and all agreed it was a thoroughly confusing movie, but the soundtrack was great!

On Monday after one more great breakfast Teddy and I hit the road again to head back to Massachusetts. Unfortunately it was a fast visit, but Anne and Collin always show us a great time when we head out! Hopefully we’ll be able to head out sometime in the spring!

Weekend in Review

This weekend felt super long – but maybe that was because I packed so much in!

Friday

On Friday Teddy and I had a relaxing evening. We started by heading to the Longefellow House, a historic house in Cambridge that I visited earlier in the summer. It was decorated for Christmas, and there were knowledgeable guides thoughout the house discussing Christmas celebrations during the time while the Longfellow family was living there. It was really interesting, and I loved all of the decorations! I particularly enjoyed the beautiful luminaries lining the pathways around the house. My mother used to make Christmas luminaries, so it reminded me of home!
After the tour, we grabbed a quick bit to eat before heading home for a relaxing evening. We’ve been missing each other a lot this week, so it was nice to make a pot of tea and catch up. We also finished the final episode of Sherlock, and really enjoyed it! We’re looking forward to the new season, and also looking for new show suggestions. Any thoughts?

Saturday

On Saturday our first stop was a Christmas Craft fair in Harvard Square. We enjoyed looking at the crafts, and even picked up a few gifts. Next, we headed down to Central Square to pick up our race bibs for our first race! (More on that tomorrow). After that we stopped at a few places to pick up more supplies for Christmas gift creations. After all of the errands, we landed at Mr. Bartleys, a Harvard Square institution, where we enjoyed milk shakes and burgers. Not exactly the world’s most healthy lunch, but boy was it tasty! We headed back to my place were I finished up the vast majority of my Christmas shopping (thanks, Amazon) and Teddy mass produced gifts for his family. Again – more later!
I enjoyed a relaxing evening of knitting and reading before heading to bed early. It was a very relaxing a productive day!

Sunday

Sunday started bright and early with a 5k race, which I’ll recap tomorrow. It was very fun, and my parents came into town to watch! After the race we headed over to Zoe’s for brunch. Very tasty, as always! We were craving some classic diner food, and they always deliver. After brunch we said bye to Teddy and headed over to my apartment for a while. My parents wanted to see our beautiful Christmas tree! After relaxing at my place for a while we headed over to the Coop. I always love browsing the books there, and end up feeling inspired and wishing that I made reading more of a priority. I’ve been getting through books quite quickly lately, but there is so much to read!
We finished our afternoon by enjoying an excellent concert by the St. Paul’s Boy’s Choir. The sound was incredible, and the program was fabulous. It was such a treat to hear a unique and world-famous group perform. I loved the seasonal selection, and the acoustics in the church were magnificent! They’ve recently released a new CD, so the group has been receiving a lot of publicity lately. All in all, we were extremely glad that we were able to attend.
All in all, this was a very festive and productive weekend – hopefully the this week continues in the same vein!

A weekend in the US Virgin Islands: Saturday

This weekend my mom and I decided to celebrate her 60th birthday in style – in the US Virgin Islands! My parents when to St. John on their honeymoon exactly 30 years ago, and it just so happened that my dad would be traveling this week in Europe so wouldn’t be able to celebrate. I was looking to enjoy the benefits of having a full time job (i.e. PTO!) so my mom and I decided to head south for a long weekend!

Our flight left from Boston early on Friday, and by the time we arrived on St. Thomas mid-afternoon we found ourselves in the middle of a tropical storm! Not ideal for a Caribbean weekend getaway. Luckily the weather got much better for the rest of the weekend, but we spent Friday night hunkered down and even ordered a pizza! It must be vacation if we’re ordering food to be delivered – we never do that! We relaxed at our Bed and Breakfast, Two Sandals By the Sea Inn and crossed our fingers that the weather would improve.
Two Sandals By the Sea Inn

Saturday

…and boy did it! We woke up to an incredible view from our balcony of the mountains on St. John. The sky was a bit overcast, but kept improving through the day!
View while eating breakfast on the porch
We enjoyed a lovely breakfast before heading down to Red Hook Harbor to catch the ferry over to St. John. The trip is only about 2 miles, so the ferry ride was about 20 minutes. However, the water was extremely choppy, and it felt more like a roller coaster than a relaxing ferry ride! Given that my mother and I are both very susceptible to motion sickness, it was a good thing the trip wasn’t too long!
We arrived on St. John and headed over to the Virgin Islands National Park visitor center, a quick walk from the harbor. From there we set out on a lovely hike through the forrest. The plants were so interesting – lots of cacti, ferns and tropical plants. Everything was so lush, the air was humid, and I loved it! We finally ended up on a beach, and boy were we glad that we’d brought our bathing suits. This was our view:
Solomon Beach
HOLY COW! Literally. It looked just like that. WOW.
We spent a while relaxing in the incredible beauty of the beach before continuing on our hike. Stunning views met us the higher we went. Both of us were very glad that we decided to bring our hiking boots – the recent rain and rendered the trails quite slippery and muddy. Regardless, it was stunningly beautiful and we loved it.
We made a stop to refuel at the North Shore Deli in Mongoose Junction and had the most refreshingly wonderful Pina Colada’s ever! I also enjoyed a wonderful veggie burger. After enjoying the air conditioning and sipping every last drop of our drinks, we headed back to St. Thomas on the ferry. An evening of playing cards followed – a Mom/Mary vacation tradition. An excellent day!

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?