Just for Fun
June 12, 2017

Top Three: My Summer 2017 Bucket List

After a long period of rain, Boston is finally experiencing a bit of a HEAT WAVE!!! Be careful what you wish for, right?!? Summer is FINALLY here! I try to do a Top Three series every month, BUT due to my recent absence from blogging, I decided to do one for Summer 2017! Read on for my Top Three Summer 2017 bucket list items.

1. Day Trips: There are so many awesome places to check out throughout New England! Scrolling through Instagram, I am always wanderlusting over other bloggers’ travel pics. Two of my fav bloggers to follow for New England travel are The Lilac Press and Shell Chic’d (her blog features a FAB New England Travel Guide)! Some of the places on my list? The Berkshires; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island; Newport, Rhode Island and Portland, Maine. Of course, trips down to the Cape are a most as well. I am excited to share with you where I find the best lobster roll this summer!

2. Reading: Almost like a good work out, I often feel proud of myself after finishing a book. I can have a tough time relaxing, slowing down and staying focused. Basically, it is very hard for me to get sucked into a good read. I have a summer reading list that I will be sharing soon. But one of the items on it is  Big Little Lies, which I was intrigued to read after the HBO series launched (and I LOVE Reese Witherspoon).

3. Get organized: I know this sounds silly, right?!? The reason that I am putting this on my list is that my mood improves SO MUCH with the sunshine; it is so much easier for me to get things done! Give me a grande iced coffee and I am ready to take on the day! I feel like since this weather warmed up just recently, that I have gotten my room more organized than I did over the entire winter. In addition to organizing my physical space, I would like to get more organized financially; updating that Excel spreadsheet that I made in the fall. Do you have any tips for getting and staying organized? Recently I have learned to break tasks down into steps when it comes to organizing.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Just for Fun
April 27, 2017

Restaurant Review: The Glass House

It’s been awhile! I have been meaning to post this review for some time now; time gets away from me, but nothing like an inspiring #girlboss to motivate you!

While on the #girlboss subject, I had been wanting to meet Boston Blogger queen Style-Wire, and earlier this year, I had the privilege of grabbing lunch with her at Kendall Square spot, The Glass House. I feel like I never explore Cambridge, especially Kendall Square, enough; there are so many hidden eateries and cafes.

Glass House’s modern spot reminded me of the New York’s The Smith, but with an open concept (hence the name, “Glass House”). The windows are perfect for people watching, as Elissa pointed out in her review.

The restaurant opened in November 2016, and boasts a plethora of American cuisine. Elissa and I  started out our meal with the Smoked Bluefish Pâté, as well as the Cheese and Charcuterie (my latest food obsession). For my meal, I was leaning towards the Kale Caesar, but made a last minute decision and treated myself to the Fussili & Pesto instead (#treatyoself). Elissa got the New England Lobster Roll, which looked amazing.

Glass House offers a great atmosphere, drinks and a menu where anyone can find something delicious. In addition to lunch and dinner, Glass House also offers brunch. On my list to try on my next visit is the Kale Caesar and Lobster Roll (from the lunch menu). If you’re looking for Cinco de Mayo plans, Glass House will be offering special food items, as well as live mariachi music from 5-6 PM.

Life Lessons
April 3, 2017

Book Review: The Power of Positive Thinking

It’s been a while…Truth is that I have been in a bit of a rut. It tends to happen to me around this time of year. I admit it; I have been terrible about taking time out for myself. If I ever needed a vacation or spa day, it is now. I haven’t been socializing as much, haven’t visited my parents etc.; all little things that can make all the difference.

I hope that the impending spring will bring a sense of renewal and optimism. But I recognize that this is something I am going to have to work at, as well. I am not sure why, but I am always been a kind of pessimistic person. Not that it’s an excuse, but I guess that I figured I would not end up disappointed that way. Recovering from my hip surgery definitely didn’t help me on my path to positivity. After being on crutches for six months longer than anticipated, I felt like it would never end, and that I would never be able to move on in my life.

To challenge my thinking, I picked up The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Truth be told, the book took me a while to get through. Not because it wasn’t good; it was just full of such valuable information that I found myself rereading chapters over and over again. I think the last time I did that with any book was in college.

I absolutely loved The Power of Positive Thinking, and have recommended it to many of my friends. One thing that I will say about it is that it is more intended for Christian readers. My favorite aspect of the book was the affirmations and quotes that the author uses; many of which are directly from the Bible. I often keep this book in my bag with me, highlight passages and repeat/write down affirmations when I feel that I need the encouragement.

I am thinking of picking up Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly next. What other self-help/positivity books would you suggest?

Just for Fun
March 9, 2017

Book Review: Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive

I can readily admit that I am the world’s worst reader. I really do start out with the best of intentions. I actually love book stores, and often purchase books (especially ones with appealing covers), only to have them sit on my bookshelf for months. . . er. . . more like years.

When I had jury duty last week, I figured the never-ending wait time would be the perfect opportunity to try to get back into reading. I seldom find books that I can get really sucked into (other than trashy C/D list celebrity memoirs), so I decided to pick up the thriller that everyone has been talking about, Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll.

When protagonist Ani is introduced, she seems to have it all; late twenties, a Wesleyan grad, a killer wardrobe, engaged to WASPy Luke (they are set to wed on Nantucket), and working at a top women’s publication in New York City.

But there is more to the story. . . There is a reason Ani is so obsessed with projecting a perfect image. The book flashes back to her days at the Bradley School in Pennsylvania. A series of devastating events took place while she was a student there. Just when you think you’ve neared the end of the drama, the book takes another crazy turn. In the end, it is empowering to see Ani let go a bit and assert her independence (I don’t want to divulge too much).

This book was so enticing that I was able to finish it in a single day; I don’t think that has happened since I was ten years old! After reading Luckiest Girl Alive, I am on a bit of a thriller/mystery kick. I am about to embark on Big Little Lies, which I am making myself read before watching the miniseries on HBO.

What have you been reading lately?

Life Lessons
February 12, 2017

My Favorite Ladies in Love

Having been single for most of my twenties (and my life), I have consulted many different sources for advice in romance/relationships; mainly authors of different books and websites/blogs (because Carrie Bradshaw doesn’t exist). Given Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (though I don’t necessarily think Valentine’s Day is about romance-where my Galentines at!?!), I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some of my favorite romance resources.

  1. The Lo Down, Lo Bosworth

Lo always seemed to be one of the more stable cast members on “The Hills.” In addition to being Lauren Conrad’s bestie and a lifestyle blogger, Lo Bosworth penned a book on relationships, appropriately called The Lo-Down, in which she gives her take on relationships. Lauren Conrad praised the book, “Take it from me, Lo’s insight into relationships feels like advice from a girlfriend.” I couldn’t agree more. I met Lo on her book tour, and she was as down-to-earth as she seems on-screen.


2. The Single Woman, Mandy Hale

One of my first blog posts was about Mandy Hale. I am not sure how I first came across her, but it was when I definitely needed some empowerment, and that is what Mandy is all about. The Single Woman is the title of her premiere book (she has two others and an e-book), but she also has a website, trademark and an entire movement. The Single Woman is based in Christian roots, but it is not at all overbearing.  I love how Mandy is so eager to share her painful past, but has been able to pick herself up, and transform herself into a total #GirlBoss.

3. Write Your Own Fairy Tale, Siggy Flicker

I am a huge Real Housewives fan, and sassy Siggy was easily my favorite cast member this past season on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I also loved her tag line; “When people tell me I’m too much, I tell them they’re absolutely right!” I am currently reading her book, Write Your Own Fairy TaleSiggy’s enthusiasm and positivity comes through in her prose. Siggy shares wisdom from her own life (and we have totally made similar mistakes in love), while sharing lessons from her clients’ stories. Coming from humble beginnings, Siggy has always had a knack for relationships and has built it into a career. I am hoping she comes back to RHONJ next season!

4. Samantha Burns

This lady has been the talk of Boston! As a follower of her Instagram, I always find myself laughing at and connecting with her posts (and often tagging my besties). Another #GirlBoss, Samantha is an LMHC and dating coach with a private practice who has been featured on The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Brides, Women’s Health and more. Her website features tons of articles for ANY topic on love-whether you are single or in a relationship. Right now, she is featuring a free e-book for download on her website!

5. Jane Garapick

I came across Jane’s website, Getting to True Love  when I once felt so perplexed and devastated by someone else’s actions. I reached out to her, because I couldn’t stop obsessing and analyzing.  I had a phone session with Jane, and of all the people who I shared my story with, she was the only person who seemed to have any answers. She obviously has a ton of experience herself and with coaching her clients. She loves to help and empower young women. She was so kind in my conversation with her. I would suggest anyone going through a tough time to take advantage of Jane’s resources-her articles, (remote) one-on-one coaching and various other programs.

Do you have any fave books, author or bloggers for relationship advice?

Just for Fun
February 1, 2017

Top Three: February 2017

Other than December, February may be my favorite month. It’s a shorter month-good for those of us who detest the cold New England winters. Also, it was full of family birthdays growing up. Read on to see what I am looking forward to most this month:

  1. Birthdays: As I said, this is a month full of birthdays for my family. Mine is February 3, and I was lucky enough to share it with my grandfather growing up. My grandfather and I would get together every year to share a cake and blow out candles together. Truth be told, I wish I was not entering my late twenties this year, but it is still a reason to celebrate. Also, my dad’s birthday is the 16. Birthdays always keep things exciting, and are a great opportunity to show your friends and family how much they are loved. I love to pick out unique cards for people from places like Paper Source and etsy.
  2. Valentine’s Day: Don’t get me wrong; there are some years when I have HATED Valentine’s Day. But, I have realized that Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily about having a S.O., though that’s cool, too. My parents always gave my sister and me Valentine’s Day cards and little presents growing up-just little ways to remind us that we are loved. Last year, I had a Galentine’s Day party, which was a blast! I hope to get together with some of my Galentines again this year!
  3. February Content: December is a great month for blog content, but with everyone’s busy holiday schedules, it is hard to pack it all in! I have some great content that I plan to post this month, and I hope you enjoy it! To kick it off, I just had a fun shoot with Stephanie Rita!
January 31, 2017

Getting Involved In the Fight

I don’t like to talk politics, and along with religion, one really isn’t supposed to mention it at the dinner table…But how can I not when there are protests going on everyday? Unlike 2008, when I joined my school’s College Democrats club in canvassing for Obama, I pretty much stayed clear of this past election. I personally was not a fan of either candidate. I told myself that everything would be fine, no matter the outcome. But now, with everything going on, I REALLY regret that decision. Things are not fine.

I started this blog with a style intent, but have always wanted it to be more than that. I was recently thinking of doing away with my “Feminism” section, but after the Women’s March, I see how much we need to talk about feminism. I didn’t attend the Women’s March, because I was working that day. Looking through the photos of the event has been extremely inspiring. I realized something…I haven’t been doing enough…

I was super involved with Amnesty International in high school, and even wrote my college application essay on it. I majored in Women’s/Gender Studies. I have marched for Planned Parenthood. I spent three years working at a non-profit, specifically housing the homeless.

I mention this, because I am basically saying that there is no reason for me not to be more involved. Really, there is no reason for any of us not to fight.

I wanted to remind everyone that there are little ways for us to all fight for American values.  I certainly am not living lavishly, but I just made a small donation to the ACLU of Massachusetts. Read below for some other ways to get involved:

  1. Host a letter writing campaign party to your elected officials! Here is a list for how to find yours. My friend just texted me that she is hosting letter writing, appetizers and wine gathering this week! Such a great idea!
  2. Continue to empower yourself and fellow females! Attend Just Us Gals’ monthly Ladies Lounge on February 16. The topic? “Women Empowering Women.” How appropriate!
  3. Call your senator. Here is a good comprehensive guide.
  4. I follow Boston Pollen’s Instagram and if her orders are anything like her pics, we are all in for a treat! Kristyn just announced that she will be donating 25% of Valentine’s Day flower proceeds to the ACLU! Catch her at Olives and Grace on Valentine’s Day! Personally, I love buying flowers for myself. So #TREATYOSELF, your Valentine or Galentine!
  5. Drink Starbucks and use Lyft.
  6. Donate to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood.
  7. Get Planned Parenthood or ACLU updates (if you text “STAND WITH PP” to 22422, you can get updates from Planned Parenthood).
  8. Planned Parenthood has a myriad of ways to get involved.
  9. If you can attend even a portion of it, Planned Parenthood is holding Sexual Health Lobby Day TODAY!
  10. Join the 10 Actions in 100 Days Campaign.

If anyone has any other ways that they are fighting against the Immigration Ban, for Women’s Rights or against any of the President’s policies, I would love to hear how! Let’s continue to empower and inspire one another.

January 17, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017 Runner Spotlight: Mel Cybriwsky

One of my bucket list items is to run a marathon.  I am always amazed by the dedication, athleticism and endurance of Boston Marathon runners.  Now, I am trying to be more optimistic in 2017, but given my health (hip) issues, my marathon dream probably isn’t going to happen.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through my friend Mel Cybriwsky, who is running her first Boston Marathon this year! This is Mel’s first Boston Marathon, and second marathon; she ran her first in Cape Cod this past October.

Mel first got into running post-college, when she needed to get into a consistent exercise routine. She began running with the Marathon Sports Run Groups. One of her friends encouraged/forced her to sign up for a bunch of local races, and after a Thanksgiving 5K, she was “hooked.”

In addition to marathons, Mel completes triathlons. Her most recent one was the Timberman 70.3, which included a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. This July, she will be competing in the Ironman Lake Placid, which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. That’s insane!

Mel is running the Boston Marathon for the organization, YES (Youth Enrichment Services). Mel explains, YES “has a variety of youth mentoring programs, but their flagship program teaches children from underserved communities how to ski. I’ve both skied and been a youth mentor for many years; I believe its really beneficial for youth to experience the outdoors and appreciate nature.” Two of our other friends volunteer with the organization and that is how Mel became involved.

Though training has its challenges (especially in the New England weather), Mel stays on point with with the national organization, Endurance Nation, whose coaches answer all of her questions and create her a tailored training schedule. Mel fits in training whenever and wherever she can; if she has to run an errand (no pun intended), she will try to run there. She also makes time for Prana Power Yoga (my FAV) to stretch out her muscles and avoid injury.

Everyone wants to look #onfleek while they’re working out, and Mel does it wearing apparel from Greater Than Sports, for which she serves as an ambassador. Greater than Sports apparel is ethically designed and produced in Saratoga Springs, New York (one of my favorite places on earth!). If you join the e-mail list, you can enjoy 15% off your first order, and all orders over $75, come with free shipping!

If you are free this Thursday, January 19, and also want to contribute to a cause that counts, Mel is hosting a fundraiser at Market Lounge at 8 PM. There will be Celtic tickets, yoga classes,  and athletic apparel (yes, please!) raffled off! The $10 suggested cover goes straight to YES.

Health/ Just for Fun/ Life Lessons
January 5, 2017

Top Three (New Year’s Resolutions): January 2016

Welcome 2017! I hope that you had a great holiday season! As I have stated before, I prefer short-term goals over long-term ones. However, I do think the new year is a great opportunity to set some new goals for oneself. I have actually been thinking about making a vision board! Has anyone tried that?

I try to do a Top Three list about what I am looking forward to the most every month. But this month, given that it is a new year, I figured that it would make the most sense for me to list my Top Three (New Year’s Resolutions) instead:

  1. Health: I feel like everyone has this as a New Year’s resolution, right? Whenever I say that I am going to make it to the gym more, it doesn’t happen. It is best to have concrete, measurable goals. My specific goals in terms of my health for 2017 are to work on my core exercises 6X a week (necessary for my hip recovery), do cardio 4X a week, start doing upper body training 2X a week (gotta start somewhere!), find a new primary care physician and keep a food journal for one week. I never support calorie counting or restricting (it will legit drive you crazy), but just writing down what I eat will allow me to identify what nutrients I am missing/what I need to work on for my diet. Improving my diet will probably mean meal prepping days in advance, as well.
  2. Blogging: I admit it; I totally slacked on blogging the last quarter of 2016! For 2017, I hope to post at least twice a week.  This means using my days off to plan out, schedule and execute my posts. The first step is getting organized! Also, I am  long overdue for a new photo session with Stephanie Rita! I have met some really cool people through blogging (it is actually how I found my current rooming situation!), and hope to continue to network and build more relationships!
  3. Socialize: I was just talking to my friend Erin, and we were saying that we have both had so much going on in our lives lately, that we haven’t been as social. In addition to blogging, I let my social life fall to the wayside the last few months of 2016. My changing schedule often makes it hard to plan ahead with friends, as well, so it is not as easy as it used to be. However, I do feel like my changing schedule gives me specific openings of free time that I probably didn’t have before-allowing me to reconnect with my friends with non 9-5 jobs. I would love to have a Galentine’s Day gathering like I did last year, as well!
Just for Fun
December 31, 2016

Reflecting Back on 2016…My Trip to NOLA

Reflecting back on 2016, I am thankful for a lot of things. The majority of this year was quite challenging, as I spent eight months of it on crutches (for a total of ten months). Because of this, things felt very stagnant to me. Oftentimes I felt like everyone around me was progressing, while I was stuck. One positive of being on medical leave is that it finally gave me the time to establish this blog. For so long I had had the idea in my head, but didn’t have the time, and my two months off finally gave me that opportunity.

Jackson Square in NOLA

One of the highlights of my year would have to be my trip to New Orleans in October with my friend Emmet. Obviously, traveling was off the table while I was on crutches. I was itching to get out and explore, so when my friend Emmet invited me as his plus one to a friend’s wedding in NOLA, I jumped at the chance. Wedding AND a trip?!? I AM IN.

The central part of the trip mostly took place in the French Quarter, as our hotel was there (we also stayed at two different Air BnBs-my first time!) and the wedding reception. A perhaps more authentic, less touristy version of the French Quarter is Frenchman Street, where we took in a local jazz show. We rode the picturesque trolleys, had the pleasure of hanging with Emmet’s friends, snapped many pics and enjoyed the local cuisine. I often TRY to eat healthy (TRY being the key word), but decided to indulge since we were on vacation. I wanted to make sure that I tried alligator before we left (“when in Rome”), and as cliche as it sounds, it tasted like chicken. Also enjoyed some Po-boys (basically just a sandwich) and gumbo. NOLA is a great destination if you’re into spicy food.

A couple of activities that I wish we had time to do were to take a ghost tour (especially since we were there in October), as well as a tour of the Garden District. Most of the pictures in this post are from the Garden District; while Emmet slept in, I took an early morning walk around the Garden District, and, honestly, wanted to snap every house! It would have been great to learn more about what I was seeing.

Emmet and I spent three nights in NOLA, which, honestly wasn’t nearly enough. Even though I had been there before on a service trip in college, being there as a tourist, there are so many different things to do-besides just the French Quarter. I totally understand the appeal and charm of the NOLA and the South after our trip.

What were some of your 2016 highlights?

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