Tag Archives: bloggers

Today: Riding a bike is just like riding a bike.

Wondering how to unpack from a two week trip on ten seconds flat? Tip your suitcase over and dump everything directly into your laundry bin.  Your zebra clutch and nearly empty bottle of SPF45 are machine washable, right?  Who cares.  You’re unpacked.

Just helpin’ with the laundry

After picking up our much missed Frenchie from his stay at The Pawsitive Dog, I employed my signature unpacking technique, and immediately began repacking for a girls’ weekend at Mohegan Sun with Tina, Anne, Theodora and Julie.  Married life is agreeing with me so far– two weeks of turquoise seas followed by two days with lovely friends?  I do.

Perfect weather to break out my new Reebok RealFlex Fusion TRs and Reebok Flex interval jacket

We set out Saturday morning (by limo, no less) to meet Rich and June of Mystic Bike Rentals at Mystic River Park, where Michelle at Mohegan Sun organized for us to take a bike tour of the area.  Let it be known that I have ridden a bike once in the last ten or fifteen years.  My friend Meg and I rented ‘cycles at a shop near the West Side Highway for what was intended to be a leisurely roll (I think that’s what you’d call a stroll on wheels?) along the Hudson.  I nearly crashed a thousand times, got verbally abused by passing rollerbladers, and couldn’t feel my butt cheeks for two days.  Don’t get me wrong – I had a great time, but it wasn’t exactly the smoothest reentry to the world of bike riding.

You can imagine my fear, then, at the thought of hopping back on a bike yesterday.  Theodora assured me it would be “just like riding a bike,” but my anxiety only grew when Rich said something about gear shifting.  Gear shifting?  Is that like shape shifting?  Oh, and traffic.  There was mention about riding in traffic.  Like, car traffic.  We all know I have an active imagination.  I am my own worst enemy that way.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) our limo had already departed, so there was no chance of escape.  I cautiously kicked a leg over the bike seat and stepped on the pedal.  After a little wobbling, several Hail Marys, and a close call with the curb, I remembered to resume breathing.  And I remembered why I spent so many hours as a kid riding up and down the driveway.  It’s fun.  Plain and simple.

June stayed by my side for the first fifteen minutes or so, chatting and giving me tips along the way.  This really helped calm my nerves.  Soon I was enjoying the gorgeous scenery while listening to Rich talk about local industry and history, rather than imagining what it might be like to fall off the bike and somehow get my ponytail tangled in the chain.  Or whatever.

We made a stop at the picturesque B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, the country’s oldest steam powered cider mill.  The mill produces cider, hard cider and apple wine and offers samples on site.  I tried a sip of Yellow Jacket, a hard cider and orange juice blend.  I was tempted to try the Blackout variety, but I can’t imagine me + anything called “Blackout” + an activity requiring helmets would add up to anything good.

By the time we made it back to Mohegan Sun, I realized my pal was right.  Riding a bike is just like riding a bike.  And giving something a second or third chance – especially when it’s something fun – is the perfect reason to kick fear to the curb.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Making sure I really didn’t put that clutch in the washing machine
  • Getting reading for the real world (my life, not the show)
  • Visiting with family

Have you given anything a second chance lately?

 

Today: Austin to Boston, and Boston to Austin.

I’ve only been to Texas once.  I flew in on a Tuesday, stayed in a creepy Marriott (I used to think a Marriott was a Marriott… and then I landed in one that shared a driveway with the Diamond Ladies “gentlemen’s club”), worked at a local middle school for a day, and flew out that Thursday.  The one time I ate out, there were shrimp hidden in my salad.  Having never eaten seafood before, I wondered if I might be allergic.  I didn’t want to die in a hotel overlooking Diamond Ladies.  That would just be too sad.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much in the way of local flavor while I was there.  So you’ll understand my delight when I opened a package from Kasee, my Austin to Boston match, to find some truly Texan treats.

From Austin to Boston

Strangely the chewy pecans Kasee sent did not survive long enough to be photographed (ahem, Nick).  He vouched for their deliciousness, though.  I am sure he’ll help me sample all the other goods, too.  We go through quite a bit of hot sauce and bbq sauce in this condohold.

Friday fun fact:  25 Massachusettses would fit inside Texas.

  • How cute is this Texas cookie cutter?  The Alamo air freshener cracked me up.  I wonder if it smells historic.  I’ll report back.
  • Edible Austin and black eyed peas – I’ll have to break these out on New Year’s Day.
  • I haven’t been very adventurous lately, given all the food allergy testing and whatnot, but I cannot wait to crack open this jar of okra pickles.  I like it hot.  (Which is why I have perma-heartburn.  Don’t tell my RD.)  I know the bbq sauce will be put to good use as well.
  • Peach jam and local honey, two breakfast favorites of mine
  • And even more spicy sauces: roasted raspberry chipotle sauce, hatch chili salsa, and “that green sauce”  …my curiosity is peaked! You can count on seeing a whole lot of heat in upcoming posts thanks to Kasee’s generous package of treats.
Clearly, I need to make a return trip to Texas.

…And Boston to Austin

I had just as much fun shopping for Kasee as I did enjoying the surprises she sent my way.  I searched high and low for Necco wafers, as we live just a few blocks from the old factory, but I couldn’t find a single roll.  I used to love those things.  Except for the brownish greyish ones.  I think we can agree that candy shouldn’t be brownish greyish.

Here is what I did find and send her way.  Besides that gourd-geous thing.

  • A few of my favorite local baked goods (which I no longer indulge in since forgoing gluten… it’s nice to have a reason to share!): Dancing Deer Baking Company maple leaf and gingerbread acorn cookies and Lark salted rosemary shortbread -both of these treats are made locally and taste divine.  They make great hostess gifts.  And regular gifts.  You know what I mean.
  • Clover honey from McClure’s of New England – I love this in tea, over oats, or just plain ol’ on a spoon.
  • Spicy apple ginger chews from the Ginger People – A favorite sweet snack, perfect for travel
  • Stonewall Kitchen maple pumpkin butter – made in Maine, not Massachusetts, but New England flavors nevertheless.  I felt it was okay to bend the rules a bit, seeing as Maine is my true north.  Literally and figuratively.
I’ve loved getting to know Kasee through her blog, The Apron Gal.  She posts the most delicious sounding recipes, and has inspired me to break out my aprons more often.  Thanks for all the Texas treats, Kasee!

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite local food find?

Today: Photo booths, popcorn, and people. {#HLS12 Part I}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I went to bed at 8:30 last night, if that’s any indication of how much fun I had this weekend at the 2012 Healthy Living Summit.  (To be fair, I would go to bed at 8:30 every night if that was an option.)  From sponsorship to logistics, swag stuffing to registration, and meals to sessions, Meghann, Julie and Heather put in some serious work to ensure that everything went smoothly.  It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with them and the planning committee.  Hands down (or hands up, if you prefer), the best part of the Healthy Living Summit was the opportunity to connect and interact with like-minded people, friends old and new, local and faraway bloggers, and fantastic brands.  Oh, and the three hours we spent in the photo booth.  That was good, too.

HLS Cocktail Party

Being just a few miles from this year’s Summit site, I was thrilled to help pull things together for our Friday night cocktail party.  After visiting a few sites and honing my negotiation skills a bit, we landed at the hotel’s Riverside Pavilion, a tented space that would also be home to our Reebok CrossFit and Drink Chia! workouts, as well as a few meals over the course of the weekend.  Having access to a small outdoor patio for  fresh air proved to be a great bonus.  We worked with the catering staff at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge to create a light, local, fun and fresh menu while the team rallied to put together a fantastic playlist.  If it was you who added all that Beyonce, thank you.  You’ve got me feeling so crazy right now.

Our sponsor for the evening, Rebootizer, provided their own jams, as well as sweet sunnies (which reminded me of the neon ones we got from Officer Friendly and the D.A.R.E. program back in middle school) and plenty of Rebootizer samples.  Stephanie and Sue were so wonderful to work with over the course of the weekend.  As I looked on from my drink ticket distribution perch next to Reebootizer’s booth, I couldn’t help but smile.   I know it’s not easy to wander into a room full of people, regardless of how well we know each other on the internet (that sounds very stranger danger), so it pleased me endlessly to see people being welcomed into the party.  I loved hearing the laughter and conversation flow right up to the ten o’clock hour.  I felt this warmth and friendliness carry right on through to Sunday’s brunch; it made me so proud of our little community.  And it made my face hurt.  From smiling.  And winking.

Ed from Wicked Fun Photo Booth set up shop just inside the tent to capture all the fun.  The props were a big hit, as were the lightning fast prints.  I’d highly recommend this company to locals.  Good prices, great service, no nonsense.  Except for the fun kind of nonsense.

We essentially set up shop inside the booth.  My apologies to everyone who had to wait their turn while we vogued.  And pretended to eat the chicken perched atop Theodora‘s head.

Meet the roommates

By the time my partner in crime, Bridget, and I made it up to our room, I couldn’t decide which I wanted to do more: eat or crawl into bed.

Sometimes the best choice is both.  

Pardon the blurriness. My hunger must have gotten in the way.

We wheeled the tray right between our beds, where we chowed down on our salads and fries.  We’re nothing if not practical.

Bridget had to dash early the next day, so I was thankful to have the chance to stay up and chat with her Friday night.  She’s been my tried and true roommate, from HLS 2011 to Reach the Beach, and I am so lucky to have her as such a great friend.  Speaking of friends and roommates, Michelle joined me on the 14th floor Saturday night.  Somehow, I have no photographic evidence of our roommate-ness, so I… um… drew a little something.

Oh, and then there was Rich.  My other roommate.

Who sleeps with a barbell locked out overhead?  The fittest man on earth, that’s who.  A little jealous?  Don’t be.  His muscles took up the whole bed, leaving me to sleep on the floor.   Just kidding.  I arm wrestled him for the bed and won.  Naturally.  Before I tell any more lies, I’ll wrap up here.  More to come.  Just as soon as I catch up on sleep life.

Also On Tap for Today:

 

Are you a wall flower or the life of the party?  

Today: Take better photos.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a long week at work, I would’ve loved to have slept in on Saturday, but that would have meant missing a day with these two hooligans at the inaugural Blog Better Boston conference.

I always have a good time with Bridget and Ali, regardless of what we’re up to.   In addition to catching up and lots of laughs, the highlight of the day was definitely Kristin Teig‘s food photography workshop.

It was great to have access to such a talented photographer, see demonstrations on lighting techniques, and pick up a few tips and tricks.  While she focused on food photography, the information she shared was useful for all types of photography and not limited to DSLR cameras.  In fact, she shared an incredibly beautiful shot of fresh strawberries… and then revealed that it had been taken on her iPhone.

Here is Kristin walking Bridget through the aperture priority setting on her camera.

Kristen shared an extensive list of resources, and recommended we check out Creative Live‘s various online courses.

Other resources she recommended:

The other sessions I attended paled in comparison, but it was great to spend time with Bridget, Ali, Colleen and Michelle.  I am excited to break out my camera and play around a little bit over the next few days.  In the meantime, I have 42 loads of laundry to tackle.  And a French bulldog who is in serious need of a bath.

Also On Tap for Today:

Is there a particular skill you’re looking to improve?

Today: February Foodie Penpals and other things that require stamps.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The closer we get to the end of February, the closer we get to the beginning of March.  That’s fairly evident.  The very beginning of March, though, is when I turn 30, shoot (environmentally friendly) confetti cannons from my car’s tailpipe and do a handstand on our glass table.  I can’t wait.  But thanks to stupid Leap Day, I must wait.  In the meantime, the end of the month also marks another foodie penpal reveal.  This month, Lisa sent me a lovely package all the way from Oklahoma.

I love Luna bars, but have never tried the s’mores nor the chocolate raspberry flavors.  Isn’t it fun when someone else shops for you?  Into my gym bag they go!  Lisa recommended trying the Snapea Crisps over a salad; I can’t wait to give this a try.  Same goes for the tabouli mix, which includes bulgar and various dehydrated veggies and herbs.  According to her sweet note, this is a staple at Lisa’s family gatherings.  Looks great… unlike the silver horse head that looked lovely in the store, but when posed with Lisa’s treats, that thing just looks… scary.   Back on topic:  If you’re interested in joining in the Foodie Penpal fun, or you’d like to see what everyone else sent and received, head over to Lindsay’s blog, The Lean Green Bean. She will announce new matches on March 5th, so don’t delay.  Act now, as they say.

In addition to those tasty goodies, a giant box of sequins arrive the same day.  It’s a miracle FedEx hasn’t issued a restraining order against me.  I stalk my orders like a woman possessed.  Especially when those packages are wedding-related.  I clicked refresh until “out for delivery” became “delivered.”  I clicked for proof of delivery.  I wondered whose name that was (the intrigue of living in a big building).  I breathed a sigh of relief.  The dress had arrived. Well, not the dress (that one will remain a secret until I walk down the aisle, obvi), but close.

[Photo source]

After a bit of browsing and pinning, I happened upon this beauty.  Just the thing for a November wedding.  Not too bridesmaid-ish.  More Champagne than gold.  Not too short, but not that awkward in-between length either.  I rushed over to my (newly engaged!) sister’s apartment so that she could model it.  It was perfect.  I kind of want to order one for myself.  And a matching bow tie for Clark.  I am overtired.

The only thing better than receiving mail is receiving more mail sending mail.  Me and my tote full of chia are off to the post office.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • I found a new doctor (just in the nick of time!)
  • My heart breaks for those affected by the shooting in Chardon, Ohio
  • Heading home to see my parents

Have you been a bridesmaid or groomsman?  Best/worst attire?

 

Today: 11 things (including something especially… weird).

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]You may have seen the “Eleven Things” posts circulating around the internet lately.  Whitney, a fellow Bostonian and FitFluential Ambassador recently tagged me.  She and I had a lovely dinner last week at Franklin Cafe, and chatted about everything from work, yoga, and relays to house-hunting. I usually shy away from these types of things, but I could not say no to Whitney.  Plus, I like things that come with rules.  So there’s that.

RULES

1. Post these rules. 
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the person who tagged you set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Without further ado, eleven random things about me:

1.  I am the second of four children.
2. In fourth grade, one of my classmates stabbed me (unintentionally, I assume) with a pencil.  The pencil tip is still in my hand.  For real.  Weird, I know.
3. I met Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton in the same week.  I was 18.  And socially awkward. (Not much has changed.)
4.  I would be lost without my day planner.
5.  I don’t trust fax machines and firmly believe that we should stop using them.
6. I will probably cry when Picnik goes away.
7. My confirmation name is Blaise.  Like the saint, not the American Gladiator.
8.  I majored in French and minored in Fine Arts in college.
9.  I am prejudiced against cats.
10. I love crime shows (actual crime, not so much).
11.  “Walking in Memphis” is probably my favorite song of all time.
And here are my answers to Whitney‘s eleven questions:

1.  If you had to choose, would you pick running over yoga or vice versa?

Yoga.  Mostly because I can’t sneak in a nap while running.

2.  Kindle, iPad or Actual Book?

Actual book.  For sure.

3.  Favorite fitness magazine and why?

I am a magazine junkie, but Self has always been a favorite.  I love their focus on balance and happiness, and have been reading since I was high school.

4.  Favorite vegetable and favorite way to cook it?

I really dislike cooked vegetables.  Raw or bust.

5.  What is your favorite kind of sweet? Cake, ice cream, cookies, tortes, you name it!

Junior Mints. 🙂

Very out of focus. I blame the sugar coma.

6.  The Olympics are this summer, what sport are you excited to watch?

I am obsessed with the Olympics.  I seriously cannot wait for all of the swimming events (especially relays), diving, tennis… let’s see… track and field, gymnastics… you get the point.  I have never paid much attention to Olympic boxing, but now that I have a teensy bit of experience, I will definitely be watching this year and hoping to learn a thing or two.

7.  What kind of running shoes do you wear? Why?

I’ve worn Mizuno Wave Alchemys for four or five years now.  They fit my feet, plain and simple.

9.  What kind of yoga mat do you have? Do you even have a yoga mat?

I use an Aurorae classic mat.  I love their colors, and the feel of the mat, but it gets a bit slippery, especially during hot yoga when I am sweating like a man.  In my quest for a solution, I discovered that Aurorae sells small rosin bags for this express purpose.   I haven’t used it yet, but am looking forward to giving it a try. I keep a G2 Lifestyles Trainermat at my desk, for use in the rare event that I have 20 minutes to take a lunch break and can fit in a little stretch.

10.  What is your favorite topic to blog/write about?

I love writing about entertaining, running trials and triumphs, and Clark.  Clark brings all the boys to the yard readers to the blog.

11.  What do you do for a day job?

I work in the non-profit sector.  Aren’t I mysterious?

And now, I shall tag the following people: Bridget of Yogurt and Berries, Jessica of Dairy Free Betty, Jaime of Embracing Balance, Halley of Blunder Construction, Colleen of the daily craic, Michelle of Hit the Bricks, Mattie of Comfy and Confident, Michelle of Fun and Fearless in Beantown, Meghan of Travel Wine & Dine, Cynthia of It All Changes, and Erin of Big Girl Feats.

Here are my 11 questions for you lovely ladies:

  1. If you could pick your theme song, what would it be?
  2. What is your favorite local restaurant?
  3. What day of the week were you born?
  4. Tea or coffee?
  5. Pants or skirts?
  6. Where would you go on your ideal vacation?
  7. What’s your favorite day of the week?
  8. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  9. What is your favorite sport to watch?
  10. Do you have a secret talent?
  11. What is your go-to workout song?

Can’t wait to read your answers.  And, um, if you happen to know anything about the longterm effects of pencil tips living below your skin…. please.  Get in touch.

Also On Tap for Today:

Did you ever send a chain letter and have it work out?  I am still waiting for those 21 pairs of socks to arrive.

Today: Let’s reach the beach.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Here’s the story, of a team named… well, we don’t know yet… but we do have a team.  I am really excited to be running the New Balance Reach the Beach (Massachusetts) relay with eleven lovely ladies.

And now you know what I was doing (stealing people’s identities) when the stress of last night’s giant loss (get it…) got to be too much.

Our team includes:

  1. Anne of Fannetastic Food
  2. Sarah of SarahFit.com
  3. Patricia of Run Foodie Run
  4. Tina of Carrots ‘N Cake
  5. Ashley of A Healthy, Happier Bear
  6. Bridget of Yogurt and Berries
  7. Me (obvi)
  8. Theodora of Losing Weight in the City, whose shirt is proof that Patriots and Giants fans can peacefully coexist… in a photo collage, at least.
  9. Gretchen of Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
  10. Monica of Run Eat Repeat
  11. Ali of Food Fitness Fashion
  12. Melissa of Fitness NYC

The relay will cover 200 miles over the course of 24 hours, beginning at Wachusett (were I learned to ski way back when) and ending in Westport.  We’ll pass right by my hometown.  And a bunch of other cute places, too.

[Image source]

I have wanted to run Reach the Beach since I learned it existed, so needless to say… I am excited.  Excited and nervous.  To be specific…

I am excited about:

  • Having a “motivation race” on the calendar.  When I swore off marathons for 2012, I initially thought the longest distance I’d be covering would be the walk down the aisle in November.  Depending on which shoes I end up in, it may be a speed walk (truthfully, I will likely have to talk myself out of sprinting directly to Nick… I just can’t wait… in a balanced, non-crazy way).  But just two months into the year, I’m finding myself itching to get a few longer races on my calendar.  I miss training.  I never thought I’d say that.  But I just did.  On the internet.
  • The adventure.  I love navigating (when my blood sugar is regulated, and there’s no traffic).  With the exception of a small stint in New York, I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life.  Yet there are stops along the Reach the Beach course that I have never visited, and some that I’ve never heard of.  I am looking forward to a little exploring.
  • A little friendly competition.  I have heard such great things about the race course, staff, organization and atmosphere.
  • “Living” in a van for 24 hours.  It could be awesome.  I’m envisioning mix tapes and hilarious stories and hair braiding.
  • Nighttime.  I haven’t run at night in ages, mostly because it’s either been unsafe, or I’ve been asleep.  I am looking forward to our nighttime legs.  I think reflective gear is a good look on me.

I am nervous about:

  • “Living” in a van for 24 hours. It could be terrifying.  I’ve recently realized (at one of Clark’s vet appointments, where I nearly hyperventilated into a poster about deer ticks) that I am claustrophobic.  And I think any of my siblings will tell you that I am cranky when underfed or overtired.  Plus, where will I plug in my hair straightener?
  • Nighttime.  I have read ever murder mystery available to me and watched every crime show (both true and ripped-from-the-headlines) that ever aired.  My imagination works on overdrive, especially when the sun sets.  While I know quite a bit about sociopaths (thanks to the serial killer marathon Meg and I watched after graduation), I know very little about nature.  What I do know, though, is that racoons, bears, mountain lions and the occasional escaped domestic boa constrictor can and very much do exist in Massachusetts.  The two times I’ve been camping, I stayed awake all night to keep watch.  For what, I don’t know.  Regardless, I am not sure a headlamp and a year’s worth of training at Peter Welch’s will cut it.

Clearly, I have a lot to learn over the next few months.  If you’re a relay veteran, your advice would be most welcomed and appreciated.  If you’d like to pass me on the course, or jump out of a bush and terrify me, registration is still open for both Reach the Beach relays.

Also On Tap for Today:

What would you name your relay team?

Today: Hot sauce in the mailbox.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a particularly busy end to the year, I am playing a bit of catch up.  I have not one, but two month’s worth of Foodie Pen Pal packages to share.  In November, I receive a lovely package from Lindsay, who organizes this fabulous exchange each month (click here to learn more about participating).  She sent me all kinds of Ohioan (is that a word?) goodies!

We immediately broke into her homemade pumpkin, cranberry and chocolate chip bars– they were delicious!  I am not usually a fan of pumpkin, but Lindsay may have converted me.  She also sent a few cooking magazines, locally made peanut butter and raspberry jam (one of my favorite pre-run combinations), really tasty crackers and chipotle salsa, granola and buckeye-flavored coffee.  I loved it all– especially the jam.

In December, Laura spoiled me with a box full of Texas treats.

She sent me an adorable questionnaire, and armed with my answers, got to shopping. I was delighted by her selections!  From organic whole wheat pasta to authentic Texas hot sauce, Laura knew just what to send. 🙂  She also included Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, instant refried beans, salsa verde straight from Fort Worth, and the most adorable Bunny Bars.

I definitely recommend checking out Lindsay’s and Laura’s blogs. 🙂

Participating in Foodie Pen Pals has been a great way to “discover” blogs, while sampling food from around the country.  I love perusing the aisles of my own local markets each month, scouting out the perfect items to send from Boston.  Our mail carrier might be suspicious of all the hot sauce coming my way, but um… please…  keep it coming.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite local product?

Today: The Paparazzi Club goes to Portsmouth.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]As nine of us sat down for dinner at Portsmouth’s Black Trumpet, cameras were drawn from pockets and handbags and given prominent spots at the table.  “Is this a paparazzi club?” our waiter asked.  Sort of, if you consider artfully arranged plates of food, cute antique shops, and rustic bridges to be celebrities.  (Side note: If we were to form a paparazzi club, can our theme song could be modeled after that of The Babysitters Club?  Please.)

A day that had all the makings of a CSI episode (namely, traveling across state lines with people I met on the internet, complete with a dying iPhone battery) proved to be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday in New England.

Though I like New Hampshire far more than I like Rhode Island (which isn’t saying much, sorry), it has never held much allure for me.  I loved our family trips to the White Mountains to ski, and once even summit-ed one of those mountains (and stayed awake all night, convinced I’d encounter a mountain lion or serial killer… or both).  These days, New Hampshire seems like a good way to get to Maine.  Or, in an emergency, to the border.  I am pleased to report there is much more to New Hampshire than a lack of helmet laws, a now-defunct Man in the Mountain, and a penchant for living free (or, you know, dying).

From bustling sidewalks to charming seaside vistas, Portsmouth was the perfect day trip from Boston, made only more perfect by the company (Elina, Jen, Michelle, Bridget, Meghan, Bianca, Megan, Daisy, and Emily).  Emily, Megan, Bridget and Daisy all have ties to the area– they had great suggestions for places to eat, grab coffee, shop and explore.

We started the day with lunch at the Cataqua Public House and a tour of the Red Hook Brewery.  We ordered samplers of Red Hook’s brews (never fear, I only had a few sips of each… I was driving, after all) and appetizers to share.  The fried artichoke hearts and sweet potato fries were especially good.

After plenty of snacking and lots of catching up, we made our way over to the brewery’s store, where the tour would begin.  Having toured the Dogfish Head not too long ago, I sort of knew where beer comes from, but looked forward to touring Red Hook.  Our guide was quite a character (in the best possible way), but rather than actually tour the facility, we went up to a single room overlooking the the brewery floor.  It was a bit stuffy up there, so I ducked out early to get some fresh air (I make a point to not faint whenever possible).

We were soon on our way to downtown Portland, where we enjoyed tea, treats and people watching at Breaking New Grounds.  We stopped into Stonewall Kitchen and several other shops and took in the view from a waterfront park.  Elina and I ducked into Three Graces Gallery and fell in love with Denise Duong’s whimsical paintings.

By the time 5:30 rolled around, we were all eager to sit down for dinner.  We had the back wall of The Black Trumpet to ourselves, and settled in at copper topped tables with glasses on sangria in one hand, and cameras in the other.  While most of the girls ordered from the Restaurant Week menu, I chose a salad and one of the “medium dishes,” a squash ring potato latke with sage quark and candied crabapples.  While the menu was quite varied, there were few vegetarian options.  Both the salad and latke we good, but nothing extraordinary.  The ambiance, sangria, and delightful company more than made up for that, though.

We are so lucky in Boston to have such a warm, welcoming community of bloggers.  To be able to venture outside of the city with this group of ladies was a real gift.  By the time I pulled into my driveway in Southie, I had a full stomach, a much evolved appreciation for the Granite State and a smile on my face.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite day trip?

Today: Pen pals and a well-stocked kitchen.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]You know when you have a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear?  I felt like lately we’ve had a kitchen full of food, but nothing to eat.  Short on fresh veggies, yogurt and other staples, Nick and I literally emptied our fridge and cabinets before hitting up Whole Foods this weekend.  We tossed anything perishable (and therefore un-donate-able) that sat on our shelves, uneaten.  I was surprised to find more than one expired item.  Ew.

With our shelves wiped clean and everything reorganized, we sat down to make a shopping list with a much better sense of what we actually have on hand.  Clearly (if the three jars of whole grain mustard are any indication), this is a habit that I could stand to make more… habitual.

One of my favorite treats from the market is fresh flowers, especially as the weather gets more dismal.  This week, I picked up a bunch of snow white tulips, and a bunch of long-stemmed kale.  Greens make lovely arrangements.  Perhaps I will walk down the aisle with a bouquet of kale, carrots, and radishes.  Perhaps not.

As I carefully unpacked our groceries, I made sure to add my goodies from Parita, my October foodie pen pal, to the shelves.  In addition to some homemade chocolate chip blondies (which didn’t last long enough to be photographed… muhaha), Parita sent me a jar of nutritional yeast (something I have been looking forward to trying!), chocolate chip peanut butter Larabards (one of my favorite flavors– Parita recommends trying them frozen), and a jar of olive tapenade.  Thank you so much for this perfect assortment of goodies, Parita!  If you’d like to see what I sent my pen pal, Nicole, please visit her blog, Nicole on a Mission. 🙂

I used some of Parita’s tapenade when whipping up some quick and easy appetizers (Nick’s parents will be here any minute).  If you invented filo shells, thank you.  You, sir or madam, are a genius.  For toppings, I use three combinations:

  • Brie, hot pepper jelly and freshly ground peppper
  • Granny Smith apple, crumbled brie and dried cranberries
  • Olive tapenade and shaved pecorino romano
I hope you’re having a lovely Sunday!  Come on over if you need a snack.
Also On Tap for Today:
  • Lunch at Local 149
  • Fine-tuning Clark’s Halloween costume 🙂
  • Countdown to the NYC Marathon: ONE WEEK!
How often do you grocery shop?  Do you go in with a plan?  Or so hungry you could eat your own arm?