Tag Archives: travel

Today: The coolest person in the world.

I woke Nick up at 3:45 this morning, minutes before my Uber taxi arrived to cart me to Logan.  As I dropped Clark in bed with my husband and kissed them both goodbye, Nick mumbled, “You’re the coolest person in the world.”  And just like that, he was sound asleep.  I may not really be the coolest person in the world, but maaaan, am I lucky.  

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Today: A mid-week day trip and the perfect Cape playlist.

Every now and then, it’s good to get away.  I don’t think it’s considered playing hooky when you’ve made it clear you’ll be out of the office and are using one of the vacation days you’ve been saving up since 2007, but it still feels a bit sneaky to be at the beach on a random Wednesday.  That’s where I ended up yesterday, enjoying plenty of sun (responsibly, mostly from under an umbrella like a good pale Irish America gal), catching up on some reading, and splashing in the waves with my one-year-old niece.

I picked up my younger brother bright and early and cruised over the Bourne Bridge while blasting James Taylor, quintessential Cape music.  Other artists who belong on a Cape playlist (for a shortcut, simply play the JT Pandora station):

  • Carole King
  • Belinda Carlisle
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Bruce Hornsby
  • Don Henley (and/or The Eagles)
  • Bonus track (for those who like something a little more current… but not actually current) and a random anecdote: Back to the Earth by Rusted Root.  This song was playing when our catamaran sailed back into the harbor after Nick and I did some island hopping on our honeymoon.  It was like God himself was DJ-ing our lives (but he probably wasn’t… mostly because I am sure there are more important things to attend to, and I don’t know if he has an iPod); regardless, the timing and sentiment was so perfect.

It’s probably worth mentioning that when the day is done and you’re heading back to the city, feeling a touch overtired and under-caffeinated, you should trade James Taylor for Skrillex.  Safety first.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite summer song?

Today: Recreating my favorite hotel room.

I’ve been doing some work in Memphis this year and in the midst of canceled flights, questionable transactions at an unnamed car rental counter, and meetings galore, I’ve found a little oasis of calm.  I don’t tend to go Lady gaga over hotel rooms, but I’ve developed an obsession with the perfectly appointed rooms at The Peabody.

We move into our new condo next month and I am intent on recreating my favorite hotel room there, in our master bedroom (we’re so grown up… sort of).

What I love about this hotel room:

  • I love that rather than using a conventional pair of matching nightstands or side tables, there is a small writing desk tucked into the corner between the bed and the wall on one side.  I imagine using this as a place to put on my face and touch up my hair in the morning.
  • I love the mix of grounded, dark wood and a dark upholstered chair, with airy and light touches on the bedding, light fixtures, and Travertine tabletop on the nightstand.  It’s the perfect blend of masculine and feminine.
  • I love the trim and molding, which makes the room feel even more spacious than it is (and by hotel standards, it was already quite big).
  • I love that the rich, silk window treatments conceal a set of blackout drapes, perfect for grumpy, overtired travelers like myself.

What I would change:

  • I like the wood headboard, but it’s the shape that I am most attracted to.  I’d seek out something upholstered, softer, and in a lighter color.
  • Similarly, I’d swap the darker colored drapery and rug for something lighter and cooler, likely grey.  I definitely prefer cool tones over warm tones.
  • I think a mirrored side table may be in our future… if I can find a way to fingerprint-proof it.
  • I’d opt for a more muted wall color, though I do like this blue.  You know I am a sucker for Martha, so I’d likely try Seed Pearl or Pebble on our walls.  We used Salt Glaze, Lemon Ice and Sharkey Grey in our current condo in strategic places – behind bookshelves, tucked in a corner of the kitchen – (a lot of color goes a long way in small spaces) and we were really happy with the results.

After spending time doing the online equivalent of window-shopping, I came up with a blueprint for bringing a little Memphis to South Boston (hold the bbq).  First up:  the headboard.

Image sources/Product links: 1 | 2

For the record, I am aware smallish is a terrible adjective.  And truth be told, I think bigger is better when it comes to chandeliers, but I have had more than one nightmare about an elaborate lighting fixture crushing me while I sleep (it all started when I watched a murder mystery and Phantom of the Opera the same night), so I’d rather have something smaller than me (and my lungs) dangling above.

Image sources/Product links 123

The baroque, frame-less mirror is one of my favorite parts of the room at The Peabody.  I love pieces that nod to the old, without feeling like something that should be in my grandparents’ attic.  A fresh coat of paint on an old frame might be a great way to bring a mirror up to date.

Image sources/Product links 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I can’t remember the last time I curled up in a chair just to read, but like the aforementioned face-applying and hair touching-up, I imagine myself doing these things in our new condo.  So naturally, I need a classic but comfortable chair.  One that Clark is not allowed to turn into a nest of Frenchie toys.  I find that hotels often have one or two stuffy or overly formal chairs tucked into rooms, and while it’s nice to have a place other than the bed to work on last-minute meeting prep, I’d rather not catch scoliosis before boarding  a plane.  The swoop-armed chairs at The Peabody are perfect for doing work and watching murder mysteries.  While drinking an entire pot of tea from room service.

Image sources/Product links 1 |2 |3

Our current nightstands likely will not fit it our new bedroom, so we’ll be on the hunt for something smaller, but still functional.  I love the look of mixing dark wood and marble, but I know we’ll need at least one drawer (for my Hello Kitty sleep mask and at least 16 tubes of Chapstick).  I am hoping to find something that marries the two tables below (you know, like, if tables could get married).   Or I could just go for one of the mirrored side tables I’ve been lusting after, and commit to de-smudging it twice daily.

Image sources/Product links 1 |

The matching pair of lamps, one of the desk and the other on the side table, give the room good balance without taking up too much surface area.  I love the shade on the lamp to the left, but prefer the body of the lamps on the right.  Perhaps I should be planning a lamp marriage, too.

Image sources/Product links 1 |2

Assuming there is room (which I should never assume, as I am not especially adept at spacial relations), I’d love to swap a side table for an apartment-scale writing desk.  I always gravitate to the clean simplicity of Parsons desks (number 3), and like the unobtrusive drawers.

Image sources/Product links 1 |2 | 3

We have hardwood floors in our new place (a big change from our current sealed concrete floors), so there’s no reason to go wall-to-wall like my favorite hotel room.  Instead, I’ll look for something big enough to frame out our bed, without overwhelming the room.  A rug is the perfect place to dial it up a bit with pattern, especially when you’re choosing muted colors.  I’ve had great luck ordering rugs from Home Decorators (you will not be shocked to find that I went straight to the Martha Stewart category), and flagged these four options.  I mean, rawwrrrrr.  I may as well just order number 4 right now.

Image sources/Product links 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I am no expert (by an stretch of the imagination), but it is possible to turn inspiration, like my favorite hotel room in Memphis, into reality.  While shopping at actual stores is probably ideal (mostly because you can touch things to be sure you’re not allergic, see what colors really look like, etc.), I think shopping for furniture, textiles and wall decor can certainly be done online.  Paint is another story.

When we were renovating our current condo, we worked with an interior designer.  She was invaluable when it came to architectural renderings and connecting us with contractors for construction and wiring.  Nick and I knew what we wanted our space to look and feel like,  so I made a tumblr account (this was pre-Pinterest) to share with our designer, featuring every wall color, rug, sofa, and lighting fixture that caught my eye.  When the final design came together, it was so perfectly us.  It wasn’t until Nick pointed out that most of the plans came directly from my “wish list” tumblr that I realized it was us… because we picked nearly everything out.  The lesson: trust your instincts.  You don’t need to hire someone to tell you what you want, if you know what you want.  If you’re like me, though, you may need to hire someone to be sure that what you want actually fits into your space.

A few more online-to-real-life-redecorating tips:

  • This is obvious, but the more you search for and find images that fit your design aesthetic, the more fruitful your searching will be.  Learn from product descriptions (for example, I knew I was looking for a chandelier with “little shade things,” but did not know to search for “drum shades” until I landed on an image I liked) and be sure to check out the “related products” and “you may also like” sections offered on most sites.
  • Knowing how to describe exactly what you like might mean you can save money by broadening your search and opening up your options.
  • Browse daily deals sites (I like One Kings Lane and Joss and Main <– feel free to use my invite links if you’re not already a member) and make note of products and brands you like.  Even if the sale expires before you’re ready to buy, you may be able to find the item (or something similar) discounted elsewhere.
  • Know what you love about an inspiration space, and what you’d happily change or alter.  You might be able to accomplish the overall feel of a space by simply adding one special piece or color or texture, without needing to recreate the entire space.

I’m looking forward to sharing how this re-creation actually plays out, but first… it’s nearly time to pack up and move.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a favorite hotel room?  

 

Today: Greetings from Boothbay Harbor.

We’re spending a few days in Boothbay Harbor, enjoying the relaxed pace of Maine life and cool ocean air.  Nick has vowed to eat lobster at every meal, while Clark and I are spending as much time as possible curled up on the porch swing now that the rain has cleared.

We love it up here; I am sure it’s easy to see why.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you spending the 4th?

Today: Memphis and the Mountaintop.

I made a short trip to Memphis this week.  It would have been even shorter, but my flight home got canceled.  Can’t win ’em all.  After taking a few naps, a few Tylenol Cold & Flu tablets, and several showers (my rescheduled flight dropped me directly in the back row, a.k.a. the smelly, weird part of the plane), I found myself getting lost in photos from Wednesday afternoon.

Memphis and the Mountaintop

After speaking at a middle school near the Memphis city limits, I had just enough time to see the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel.  Though the museum is undergoing renovations, there was still so much to see and learn.  After spending some time in the museum itself, I walked over to the Lorraine and made my way up onto the balcony, and the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

I hesitated at the top step.  When I reached the landing in front of room 306, I didn’t stay long.  Others posed for photos there, but that didn’t feel right for me.  I looked out across the street and hurried along.  I know what I learned in school about this place, but being there?  It was overwhelming.

After settling into my seat on the plane home, I pulled out my iPhone and scrolled to one of my favorite songs (one I tend to listen to when I am feeling stuck), Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain, inspired by Dr. King’s last speech, delivered in Memphis the day before he was killed.  And I thought about what he said that day.  There were parts that I wanted to re-read, including this:

Now, we are poor people. Individually, we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively…the American Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That’s power right there, if we know how to pool it.

We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don’t need any bricks and bottles. We don’t need any Molotov cocktails. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, “God sent us by here, to say to you that you’re not treating his children right. And we’ve come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God’s children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.

[Source]

I thought about what that speech must have stirred in people.  And how powerful words can be.

And I thought about why I wanted to go to the museum, and specifically the motel, that day.  In some ways, it’s like pressing a bruise to make sure it still hurts.  I think that is such a perfect expression.  You know the place is there, you know what evil transpired, but you still need to go and stand there.

My parents were in high school when Dr. King was shot and killed on that balcony.  This wasn’t something that happened ages ago.  That may be what I wrestled with the most on my way home.

When I was in college, I visited a town that still had separate cemeteries: one for black people, one for white people.  That was 2002.  Less than a month ago, I read about students hosting their first integrated prom.  This is 2013.  Racism, classism, sexism, prejudice, unfair and unkind treatment of our fellow human beings– some of the bruises have faded; many are still fresh for the pressing.

Earlier in the day, I talked with a group of sixth and seventh-graders about the importance of telling your story.  That’s how we break down barriers, and undo needless fear, I told them.

… Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t really matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land.  I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

[Source]

I am so grateful to those who tell the stories we’d rather not hear, the ones we’d prefer to forget, the ones we learn from.  I am grateful for the progress that has been made.  There’s so much to be hopeful about.  And I know there is still work to be done.  I am certain I carry my own baseless fears and prejudices, and so it’s obvious where my work starts.

The National Civil Rights Museum is a non-profit organization.  Please consider making a donation in support of their work.  And if you’re in Memphis, carve out some time to visit.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your travel bucket list?

 

Today: On a warmer day… on Virgin Gorda.

Welp, it’s cold (again).  It is, after all, January in Boston.  I am wearing layers and layers and reminiscing about a much warmer day, no so long ago, when Nick and jumped ship small boat and swam to shore at Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda.  Perhaps a look at some of the 5,004 photos I took (with my snazzy underwater-friendly Nikon, which I bought as a wedding present… to myself) will help warm us up.

virgin gorda

Virgin Gorda, one of the British Virgin Islands, was about an hour by power boat from St. John.  We made stopped en route at Tortola to clear customs, which was a bit terrifying, as our first mate had to take our passports and go ashore without us while we waited for the all clear to pick her up.  I like to know where my passport is at all times.  And who’s touching it.  And potentially making counterfeit copies of it (True Life: I watch too many spy and cop shows).  Soon enough, though, we were on our way.

As much as I like to plan and be bossy, I got bogged down with wedding details as the big day approached and left the honeymoon to Nick (he did an incredible job).  While I intended to be helpful in researching day trips, restaurants, and beaches, I mostly saw one photo of Virgin Gorda and said, “We neeeeeeed to go there.”  And then went back to writing out place cards.

If you’re in the neighborhood, say on St. John or St. Thomas, a day trip to The Baths at Virgin Gorda is a must.  The baths are incredible ancient rock formations (baths is short for batholith, I think… not bathtub) that line the shore, creating turquoise salt water pools and tranquil caves that beg to be explored.  As mesmerizing as the photos I found online were, I wasn’t prepared for how amazing they would be in person.  I was captivated long before we got to shore, my mouth hanging open (and my snorkel tube thing taking on water).  They are just gorgeous.

Were the baths to be found in American territory, I am certain we would have been required to…

  • sign some sort of waiver
  • wear a helmet
  • pay admission

Being elsewhere, however, we were able to literally swim up to the rocks, ditch our fins and snorkels and make our way along the sandy path leading through the baths.

We spent a few hours climbing up and over rocks, swimming in tidal pools, and watching the ocean water rush in between the giant boulders.  It was, simply put, magical – the perfect playground for my overactive imagination and often distracting curiosity.

I didn’t want to leave, but we sort of had to.  From a warmer day on Virgin Gorda, to a much colder day in Boston, it’s good to have pictures like these to remind us how incredible the world is.  And how lucky we are to be able to explore it.  And that it’s sort of okay to hand your passport over to an unseen stranger.

Also On Tap for Today:

If you could visit anywhere tomorrow (assuming you’d take today to pack up fabulous outfits), where would you go? 

Today: Honeymoon Greatest Hits – St. John edition

Is it terribly rude to tease you with more photos of the tropics, especially now that it’s winter coat weather in Boston?  After scrolling through approximately nine million and four photos from not one, but three cameras (underwater, over-water, and please-don’t-drop-the-iPhone-in-the-water), I’ve got some honeymoon greatest hits to share.

Greatest meal with a view: Tropical Greek salad with fresh mangoes and watermelon, Caneel Bay

When your food options are already limited, an island is not necessarily the best place to be.  To be honest, I think my stomach wanted to take a flight back to Boston on several occasions.  There were a few bright spots though, including this tropical Greek salad, served with a view of crystal clear waters, at Caneel Bay.  I love the combination of salty feta and cool watermelon, but never thought to pair the two in a salad.  Remind me of this next summer, please?

Greatest live entertainment: The crowd at Driftwood David’s

At the recommendation of the concierge at the Westin, Nick and I took an open air taxi into town early on in our stay to check out Driftwood David’s.  The food was good, and the atmosphere was even better.  Apparently, they have the best ribs “on the planet” and run out almost every night.  I paid no attention to the meat, and sang along to the live entertainment… both on and off the stage.

For most of the meal, Nick and I were the only two diners at David’s, which meant we had front row seats to a pair of long-time island transplants, singin’ songs and tellin’ tales (including the one about the time “Brady got drunk, passed out in the bathroom, and we had to take the door down…. or what about the time you fell out of the Jeep?”).  Our waiter, Mike, was extremely friendly and warm.  We also chatted with a woman named Joyce, who knew we were on our honeymoon thanks to my “giant goofy smile.”  For the record, my giant goofy sparkly rings were out of sight.  It had to have been the perma-smile.

The crowd at Driftwood David’s made us feel right at home.

Greatest non-human encounter: TIE

  • For me, it was swimming with sea turtles
  • For Nick, it was getting nuzzled by a donkey

I lost count, so I can’t be sure, but I think we saw five sea turtles while honeymooning.  We saw two while on boats, and the other three were swimming right alongside us either on snorkel trips or while floating at the beach.  They are such lovely, graceful creatures.  I dove down to see two close up, one at Christmas Cove (Great St. James Island, USVI) and the other at Scott Beach (Caneel Bay, St. John).  The one at Caneel Bay had a little fish friend swimming behind his shell (it’s that thing that looks like a really long tail).  I thought that was cute.

Nick preferred the land lovers and set out to find Caneel Bay’s wild donkeys.  We were told how friendly and affectionate they were when we checked in, despite the numerous “Do not touch the donkeys” signs posted about the property.

I mostly was afraid to catch some sort of communicable donkey disease.  Or get a hoof to the face.  I did like when they trotted past us at the beach, though.

Greatest day trip: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Cooper Island and Norman Island (British Virgin Islands)

We took two trips while staying at the Westin, the first for an afternoon snorkel at Christmas Cove, and the second to several of the British Virgin Islands.  I had read about the baths at Virgin Gorda and knew that I wanted to make the trip out there.

As I am sure you can imagine, these photos do not do it justice.  We swam from our boat to Devil’s Bay and spent a little over an hour exploring the batholiths and caves along the shore.

I could have stayed all day.  We also stopped at Cooper Island for a quick lunch, and spent time snorkeling in the caves at Norman Island, which is said to be the inspiration for Treasure Island.  It was quite the day.

Greatest indulgence: Ocean-side cabana massages at Caneel Bay

As a wedding present, Nick’s team gave us a pair of massages in the ocean-side cabanas overlooking Hawksnest Beach.  We enjoyed hour-long Swedish massages as the sun set, with the sound of waves crashing just below us.  As we walked back to our villa I thought, “Welp.  I can die happy.”  And then I wondered, “What can I invent so that I can become impossibly rich and do this every day?”

Greatest sign from the island: Another TIE

One was in a taxi, the other at a shop in Mongoose Junction.

Both represented the island life so well.  Slow down.  Be happy.  Things will get done eventually.

Greatest beach: Scott Beach at Caneel Bay

We spent much of our second week on St. John at Scott Beach.  The water was the most gorgeous shade of blue, the sand a perfect white, the snorkeling was excellent, and there was plenty of shade from the trees along the shore.

Need I say more?

Greatest husband for me: Mine.

The hits, they just keep on coming.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the greatest thing you’ve experienced this week? 

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: The honeymooners.

Nick and I are back from a blissful two weeks on Saint John.  We snorkeled in the caves that (allegedly) inspired Treasure Island, took day trips that required passports, watched deer graze from our back deck, explored sugar mill ruins, and swam alongside sea turtles.  The best part?  My husband isn’t sick of me yet.  Husband.  Muhahaha.

This is someone else’s husband (pardon my creepiness), but if I had to sum up the trip in one photo it would be this:

More to come on both the wedding and honeymoon as soon as I finish getting the sand out of my shoes.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you ease back into reality after time away?

 

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?