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Frozen

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Word on the street is that a polar vortex is moseying its way through the northeast this weekend and that tomorrow morning when we go outside it will feel colder than a freezer. Lovely, am I right? Something to look forward to when we wake up I guess, kind of like Christmas morning but also not like that at all.

So with a very chilly weekend ahead of us, I have found that it is only natural for me to start comparing summer and winter. Sunburn versus windburn. Rooftop bars versus hot chocolate at home. Heavy snow boots or uncomfortable sandals. Sweating from the 8 layers you have on or sweating from the sun. Pros and cons.

You may not think this is the most exciting pro and con list, but it can certainly be a way to pass the time while we are stuck inside over the course of this weekend’s arctic blast. I will keep adding things to the list as we crank up the heat and I snuggle with Barley. As I try to remember what it is like to be able to feel my toes when I walk outside I’ll just have to remind myself that the cold never bothered me anyways…

In the meantime, for all of you people who aren’t frozen in the middle of a polar vortex and are currently missing out on winter, here are some pictures of cold things like snow. When you aren’t freezing your tootsies off, it is really a beautiful thing. Happy polar vortex weekend and stay warm!

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Books of 2015
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My Favorite Books in 2015

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It’s no secret that I love reading pretty much all books, but I especially love a book that I can get lost in. I love fiction, mysteries, fantasies and history. Books that are fast paced, magical, exciting and imaginative. For me, reading is for adventure and escape.

At the start of 2015 I had made a few goals. One of my more personal goals was that I wanted to get lost in one book every week of the year, to read 52 books. Looking back, I realize that this was quite an ambitious goal to set for myself. Although I tend to be a quick and determined reader, it is really no surprise that despite a strong start last January, come February I had fallen off the reading wagon.

Despite my failure, I still did a pretty good job and read more than I have in the last few years. In total, I read 29 books in 2015 – almost one book every two weeks. It definitely isn’t 52 books, but not all that bad if I do say so myself.

For 2016 I decided not to set a reading goal for myself. My hope is that thanks to all the practice I got in the last year, I will be able to continue the habit of reading a book every two weeks going forward. But if I don’t, that is okay too! For now, here are the books that I loved reading the most in 2015:

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The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah

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Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith

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The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence

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The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

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Wild, Cheryl Strayed

 

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Hello 2016

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For the first time in longer than I care to admit I managed to stay awake until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Not only that, but I didn’t go to sleep until after 2am! The late evening (or morning?) has completely thrown off my sleep pattern and is kind of driving me crazy, but it was also totally worth it because Chris and I had a great time. We watched movies and I finished the most recent book I’ve been reading. I also may have stayed in my pajamas all day and night. I could not have asked for a better New Year’s Eve in.

Once 2016 was official, Chris and I spent New Year’s Day doing more lounging around and walking through the neighborhood. Chris took me by surprise when he asked me if I had any resolutions for the year ahead. I hadn’t really thought about it yet so I asked him if he had any.

Sweet husband and human that he is, he said that his resolutions were to be more patient and to spend more time with me.

Needless to say, my heart melted a bit, but I was also caught off guard. Chris is probably the most patient and caring person I know and he demonstrates his kindness constantly. I thought about this for a minute and then asked what he thought I should do for the New Year, because if he thinks he needs to improve (when he is already near perfect) than what should I be doing?

His response? That I should figure out what I want to do and what makes me happy.

He is sweeter than sweet. More heart melting.

He knows me well though because this was my mission in 2015 as well. I started this blog and I made it my goal to try new things, to push myself. To figure out what I liked and what I didn’t. I made good progress last year, but the relationship I have with myself is never-ending and there is still work to be done. By day three of 2016 I am still a bit unsure of what my resolutions for the year will be, but getting to know myself more is at the top of the list.

Either way, I’m looking forward to the year ahead of me. After all, 2015 turned out better than I imagined it would. There were challenges, but there were also countless adventures and wonderful moments. It was a year filled with hiking, travel and exploring. Most importantly, the year was filled to the brim with love. Love for my husband and our first year of marriage, love for our city, our family and friends. So much love!

If 2016 brings even half as much love and joy as it’s predecessor, it certainly will not disappoint. Happy New Year!

 

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Christmas in the City

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It is so hard for me to believe that today is New Year’s Eve. How can Christmas already be over? How is it possible that 2015 is over?

This year Chris and I had a quiet Christmas spent with just the two of us and Barley. With nowhere to go and no one to see we had the perfect excuse to spend all of our time together. Our holiday weekend consisted of sleeping in late, drinking lots of eggnog, eating way too much pie, and listening to our favorite holiday songs on repeat. It can be lonely being so far away from our family and friends, but lazy weekends together without any plans or responsibilities can certainly have a few perks!

After getting into the holiday spirit we were both excited for Christmas morning. I had an amazing gift planned for Chris and I could hardly wait for him to open it. It was literally killing me not to let him in on the secret, but for the first time ever I didn’t spill the beans. As hard as it was for me to keep my mouth shut, it was totally worth it to see the look of pure joy, surprise and confusion on his face.

So what was the gift? Well, I arranged for one of our best friends to fly up to Boston and stay with us for Super Bowl weekend. We both cannot wait and it might be the first time I’ve ever been excited about a football game.

Chris also did not disappoint in terms of his gift giving skills this year. Along with a few other things he got me the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. If you know me at all then you know that this was the perfect gift for me. I have been waiting for this book for months and I almost cried when I opened it. We immediately sat down and flipped through the book page by page taking in all of the amazing illustrations. I love it more than I probably should, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to Harry Potter.

To make things even better, every year in Beacon Hill holiday decorations come out in full force and the streets look like something out of a movie. There are countless bows, wreaths and lights decorating every street corner. Even though we did not have a snowy white holiday, the decorations really make the city look and feel incredibly special and magical. It was the perfect way to spend Christmas, now onto the new year!

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An Early Christmas

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As Christmas grows ever closer (less than one week!), this time of year is often filled with so many reminders of family and tradition. Although there are so many things I have to be thankful for, it can get lonely and sad living so far from the people that you love.

I am so grateful that last weekend I was lucky enough to go visit my mom, sister Stephanie and brother-in-law Phil in Charlotte for an early Christmas celebration. With all of us living so far away from one another, we are rarely all together for the holidays. In fact, I think that we haven’t all been together since Chris and I got married.

This year has had a number of ups and downs, so I think that we were all really looking forward to relaxing, chatting and having fun together.

We spent our first night together putting up the tree. I was instantly shocked (and a bit jealous) at how big of a tree you can get when you don’t live in a city. Who knew? The biggest tree that Chris and I have had over the past few years has just barely inched over 4ft tall. I guess my sister gave me something to aspire to, per usual! I’ll admit though, they picked the perfect tree. We all put the ornaments and lights up together, even the little pups wanted to join in on the fun.

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Night two was spent opening presents with White Christmas on in the background, one of our favorites. We did a lot of chatting, laughing, board game playing, and I may have spent the weekend in my pajamas. It was great.

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As I gear up for round two of Christmas, Chris and I will spend the day making our own holiday traditions. It’s bittersweet to spend the day so far from family, but I can’t wait to see them again soon.

Happy Holidays!

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Hiking Mount Watatic

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Chris and I both had some time off for the Thanksgiving holiday and I’m not going to lie, we have been pretty lazy over the last couple of days. We have been holed up in the apartment for the majority of the long weekend, Chris watching football and me reading. There is a chance that there were days when I didn’t even change out of my pajamas. Maybe.

So when we were invited to go hiking on Sunday, I had mixed feelings. I was really excited to go see Chris’ cousins and spend time with family, but I was also a bit conflicted about leaving the comfort and coziness of our apartment. I also didn’t really want to wear real pants, let’s be real.

But, family is one of the most important things in life and I didn’t want to miss the chance to spend time with them and get outdoors. We spent the day hiking Mount Watatic, about an hour and a half outside of Boston. Dogs are welcome, so Barley got to come too. I’m so glad that we went!

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I tend to be the slowest one in the pack whenever we hike, so I spend a lot of time pulling up the rear and trying to catch up with the group. I used to think that I was always falling behind because I have short legs, but apparently I’m just really slow!

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The climb was a bit steep in a few places but relatively easy. It took us about an hour and half to climb up to the top and back down again. The hardest part for me was making sure I avoided the slippery leaves because I’m so clumsy. We loved it though and the view from the top was incredible!

Although I wish the long weekend could continue forever, I’m so happy that we had the chance to get outside and realize just how much we have to be thankful for this year.

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Thanksgiving for Two

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Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. As a kid, I loved waking up early and watching the parade with my mom. Then I would help out in the kitchen, mashing the potatoes and cutting the squash became my specialty. My parents would make the day a big event, inviting our family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who might not have a place to spend the day.

The past few holidays away from home and on my own have been a bit different. Whether celebrating with friends while living in New York or with Chris’ family just outside of Boston, I’ve tried to carry on the Thanksgiving traditions that my parents instilled in me.

This year, Chris and I opted to spend the Thanksgiving holiday on our own, just the two of us (plus Barley). Although at times I missed the big to-do that always comes with celebrating with family and friends, there was something so wonderful about spending the day with just him. We did exactly what we wanted and had no schedule or plan to follow.

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It was a beautiful day in Boston so Chris and I started our day with a long walk with Barley along the Charles. The rest of the day mainly consisted of football, movies and some quality time with my nose in a new book. We topped it all off with my mom’s baked macaroni & cheese and roasted potatoes.

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Over dinner Chris sweetly asked if we could do this every year. I guess we now have our own Thanksgiving tradition, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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1 Year Anniversary Gifts

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For our anniversary Chris and I both spent a lot of time brainstorming what we wanted to give each other. As you might know, I have a thing when it comes to giving gifts and a hard time keeping a gift a secret. Every other day leading up to our anniversary I asked Chris if I could tell him what his gift was. He has much more self-control than I do and always told me no.

I wasn’t expecting Chris to give me anything else on top of the trip he had planned for us to Portland, so when I found out that he had spent time running all over town looking for the perfect something just for me I felt really special and also really guilty. I could tell that he was stressed out over trying to get everything perfect for our anniversary weekend, and by the time we were eating dinner on Friday evening the poor guy was a legitimate wreck. It was sweet.

We exchanged gifts after dinner on Friday and I was so excited to give him his gift because I knew that he would love it.

I worked with an artist I found on Etsy to create an illustrated family portrait of the two of us and Barley. It turned out better than I had hoped! We both love it so much and it is one of our few family photos.

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When it was my turn to open my gift, Chris was visibly nervous, which then made me really nervous. What could possibly be in that non-threatening looking gift bag? Well I opened the bag and was completely shocked and surprised for all of the right reasons! I had to remember to put my face in order and respond so that he didn’t think I hated it – I loved it! Chris bought me a brand new, super fancy camera that is about 1000 times better than my old camera that has been on the fritz and that I’ve been complaining about.

I was completely surprised for a number of reasons. I didn’t even realize that he had noticed that my old camera wasn’t working properly. Then the fact that he did so much research finding me the best camera he could and running all over town to buy it made me feel so special. On top of that, he gave me something that we can both use and have for years to come,to capture the memories we make in the years to come.

It was truly the perfect gift.