Snow Day in Portland

Recently Chris and I decided we’d take a day trip up to Portland, ME. It’s about a 2 hour drive from where we are and Chris just got a new car so he’d been dying to drive it around a bit.

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Not including a slight detour for some lunch, it took us about 2.5 hours to get there because what we thought was a snow sprinkle turned out to be windy, freezing rain for most of the day. But that didn’t deter us!

The way I like to experience a new place is to plan a few things ahead of time, but leave lots of flex room for walking around and changing my mind.

Chris and I were both a bit sleepy after lunch (thanks, pasta) so our first stop in Portland was Bard Coffee.

I got a standard coffee and Chris got a fancier one that they gave to him on a tray. The interior had a sort of minimalist vibe with high ceilings and simple furniture, which was balanced out by a really cool wallpaper print.

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They also had non-dairy milk available for no extra charge, which is always a plus in my book. The weather outside was more severe than it was in Boston so a hot coffee was just what we needed.

Word for the wise: don’t wear heeled booties to Portland in the winter. I didn’t even think twice about it when I left the house because there wasn’t a speck of snow on the ground in Boston but Portland had whole streets shut down because of the snow and ice.

After finding to our dismay that we would not be doing a walking tour of Portland, we got in the car and headed over to a place called The Holy Donut, which we were told by friends we couldn’t miss out on. Luckily, by the time we got there there were still some donuts left.

The donuts, which are made with potatoes, were unlike any I had tried before. It was somewhat later in the afternoon so the donuts had been sitting out for a number of hours and I didn’t want to set my expectations too high.  They were still amazing. I expected them to be hard and stale but they were a magnificent combination of fluffy and crispy.

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There were also some interesting flavors that I had never tried on a donut before. We got one of everything they had left: Churro, Maple, Lemon, Pomegranate, Chocolate, and Wild Berry. My favorite was the lemon. It didn’t have that super sweet lemon-like flavor, but more of a mouth puckering meringue taste.

The shop’s interior was very much no-frills with old coolers and furniture but it almost gave it an authentic old school feeling.

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Note my poor shoe choice

Our next stop was slightly outside Portland but was one Chris had been excited about all day: The Maine Beer Company. We were worried the tasting room would be closed because of the storm, like so many other places but we called ahead to make sure.

Maine Beer Co.’s Peeper Ale is a beer that I’ve only noticed in the Boston area in the last 8 months or so but it, along with other MBC beers have really become popular. Aside from having good, sustainable beer, Maine Beer Co. also donates a portion of its profits to environmental and animal charities, hence its slogan: “Do What’s Right”. A beer after my own heart, I tell ya.

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Chris and I wanted to try all of the beers so we decided to split their $18.00 variety flight. They had a few board games available to guests so Chris taught me Texas Hold Em while we sampled and read about the beer. Side note: You’ll never find me at a table in Vegas.

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We started to get hungry so we finished up and made a quick stop before heading to dinner at the LL Bean Store. I always knew LL Bean was from Maine so I was expecting a pretty big store. I was wrong. It was an entire LL Bean campus. There was every LL Bean product you could think of. Fortunately for my wallet, neither of us felt much like shopping so Chris snagged a quick picture with the boot and we headed out.

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Our last stop of the day was a highly recommended spot called Duckfat. It was a cozy little restaurant with craft sodas and awesome food. Chris and I shared an order of poutine (the small was big enough for 2 to share) and a cup of their lentil soup for starters.

For an entree I got a roasted delicato squash panini with pickled cauliflower, turnip & leak slaw, boursin, and brown butter-sage mayo. It was refreshing to see a more interesting vegetarian option than the standard veggie burger or caprese sandwich that you usually find in restaurants. Chris got the house smoked turkey panini wit buttermilk fried shallots, swiss, frisee, and herb mayo. His was good but we both like the squash sandwich best.

Satisfied and full, we wrapped up our left overs and headed home. For a cold, wet day it was still a pretty successful trip. I’d love to see the city again in the summer.

 

Vacation Recap Pt. 2

The day following our visit to Tarpon Springs, my grandmother wanted to go to Disney. Although it’s obviously for kids, it’s become a bit of a tradition to go when we visit.

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I think I’ve written about Disney before so I won’t go into too much detail but we visited Animal Kingdom (my personal favorite) and Hollywood Studios before calling it an early day.

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My family’s nick name for me is Tashy so we had to take a picure when we found this sign.

When I got home I banged out a brief run and some light strength training. On one hand, I could definitely feel the regression in cardiovascular capabilities but on the other hand, it felt good to easily get back into conditioning after having skipped a few work outs.

Run: 15 minutes
Strength:
30 sit ups
2×30 leg lifts

30 reverse crunches
30 squats
30 leg lowers
30 bridges
30 sit ups w/ a twist

I ended with some light stretching and a dip in the pool.

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The next day, the weather was expected to be in the mid 80s so we made our way to the Gulf again, this time to Clearwater Beach.

I was really excited because I’ve been wanting to visit Clearwater for a while. It was voted the number one beach in the U.S., which is a pretty hefty title when you consider all the beaches there are in America

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It certainly was a beautiful beach. The sand was white and the softest I had ever felt in my life. It was so fine that it was hard to wipe off my clothes.

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We laid on the beach for a while before my grandmother and I went to walk around a bit and do some shopping. The main road was lined with adorable little surf shops and restaurants, plus tons of attractions like parasailing and booze cruise tours.

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This blow up obstacle course looked so fun!

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In one of the shops I found a man doing henna so I got some done.

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Still drying in this picture.

Shortly afterwards we had a late lunch at a place called Crabby Bill’s. They had the best Bloody Marys that I’ve ever tried. The salt and pepper rim was amazing.

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Full of food and all sunned out, we headed home. Our day in Clearwater was my favorite of the trip.

chelsea

 

Vacation Recap Pt 1.

Sometime in January when I was feeling particularly stir crazy, I decided to get myself some vitamin D and book a short trip to Florida. My plans this summer don’t really allow for anything crazy this spring but I thought I’d treat myself to some sunshine after a stressful and busy holiday season. Here’s a recap of my trip last week.

I have family in Florida so luckily I didn’t have to worry about lodging. At a “cool” temp of 70 degrees, everyone was in pants and sweaters but I was loving it.

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My first night, we went to dinner at a place called “Manny’s Steakhouse” which, all dreams of veganism aside, has the best steak I’ve ever had in my life. There’s always a crazy wait to get a table but once you do, it’s totally worth it. I got the filet mignon with (endless) salad and a loaded baked potato. Plus all their drinks were 2 for 1. We are definitely not in Massachusetts anymore.

The next day we visited a little town on the Gulf Coast called Tarpon Springs. In Florida it has a reputation of being a “Little Greece” because there’s a huge sponging industry there, which apparently is big in Greece?

The town was adorable and the streets were lined with cute little gift shops and Greek restaurants.

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Our first stop was a brief lunch of olives, feta, pepperoncini, fresh bread, and saganaki. (And 2 for 1 Bloodies, obv.)

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Afterwards, we walked around and shopped for a bit. My grandmother insisted I get a sponge (I felt weird because they’re more of an animal than a plant) and I picked up some hand crafted olive oil soaps – sandalwood, lavender, eucalyptus.

One of my favorite parts of Tarpon Springs was the decorated bicycles found along the main road.

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That last one is covered in sponges- go figure.

I have a rule that I can’t buy unnecessary clothes out of season but I had to make an exception when I found this adorable jumper. When in Rome, right?

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By the end of the afternoon we were ready for dinner so we grabbed a table at a place called Hellas.

We started with saganaki again & paired it with a traditional Greek salad. For entrees, I got the mousaka (kind of like a Greek lasagna) and my grandparents split the catch of the day. I’ve never been a seafood fan but this fish smelled amazing and it was filleted and seasoned at the table.

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And of course, for dessert – baklava.

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After dinner home we headed home, well-fed and content.

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chelsea

Holiday via iPhone

As I’m sure most of you are, I’ve been running around this week for the holidays so I haven’t had much time to write but I did want to do a quick post and share some pictures from the past few days.

Don’t worry–I had my camera with me too, but I’m going to wait for some more detailed posts when I’m back home. Hope you enjoy! x

Chris and I FINALLY got a cat! Everyone, meet Miso! Miso is a rescue from the New York Animal Care Center in Brooklyn. We had a really tough time choosing a cat because all the animals in the shelter were so sweet and deserving of homes but we decided on Miso, and he is the most lovable, quirky little kitty.

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  1. Sneak shot of me enjoying some wine on Christmas Eve
  2. Buccatini Pesto Pasta from Gather
  3. The Chicken & Waffle Bites and Napa Cabbage Pierogies, also from Gather
  4. Sunrise I caught after an early morning gym sesh before jumping on the road

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The craziest light display we stumbled upon in Queens, on our way out of the city.

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More proof of my Primark obsession. Loving this reversible cape & oversized tunnel neck sweater.

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Ending our rainy shopping day in Midtown. Can we talk about how it was 75 in Manhattan on Christmas Eve? Insane. I wasn’t quite dreaming of a wet Christmas…although I do love New York in the rain.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas!

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Weekend Recap

Welp, I finally got to a doctor after injuring my foot about two weeks ago. It’s been painful to walk on and I was going off the idea that it was plantar fasciitis but the pain hasn’t gotten any better with massage or rolling it out so it’s looking more like a stress fracture. The doc put me in a boot for the weekend and I’ve got an appointment with a specialist tomorrow. Wish me luck.

After the advice of many, I finally bid adieu to my beloved minimalist New Balances and picked up some Brooks at Marathon Sports. I haven’t been able to run in them yet but so far they’ve been comfortable to walk in. I’m hoping this is the last complication I have.

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Being in the boot did have its advantages–it gave me an excuse to sit in Copley Square and pick up some rice and refried beans from the Baja Taco truck.

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That night Chris and I packed up and drove to New York. It’s hard to coordinate plans because our work schedules are so different but it feels good to get out of the neighborhood sometimes.

We headed out to Long Island, where his family is from, and spent the next day at the beach. First trip of the year! I’ve got to say, it felt really liberating to strip down to a bathing suit and feel comfortable in my own skin.

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Afterwards, we went to a family cook out. It’s difficult and feels rude to be picky on holidays or at family events when it comes to food. I used to by bothered by these situations but sometimes I see it as an opportunity to, as Chris likes to call it, “junk out.” Hotdogs, hamburgers, and sangria aren’t ideal for the waistline but it can be valuable to indulge once in a while without worrying about how it fits in to your diet. If it becomes a habit then begin to reconsider things –but after a day spent eating junk I usually am craving healthy food. It’s about getting to know what’s right for you. Indulging every once in a while doesn’t mean you’re weak or you’re “cheating.” If anything, being able to eat a little unhealthy sometimes without falling off track is a sign of strength because it shows self-control and the choice to return to healthy habits. All or nothing mentalities can be harmful to weight loss efforts and your self esteem. Guilt will keep you from growth and at the end of the day, none of us are perfect. It’s okay to embrace that now and then.

Chelsea vs. Mountain

Yesterday I climbed a mountain.

I actually am surprised as I write this that my fingers are fully functioning and not as sore and tired as every other fiber of my body is.

I am proud to report, however, that it was the first mountain I ever summitted and despite the sorry state of my muscles, it was a thrilling experience. And it was especially satisfying because Chris and I had tried this trail previously and didn’t even make it a quarter of the way through. (That was a snowy, injurious trip to say the least.)

But that’s not to say it was an easy go this time. No, certainly not.

We woke up at 4:30 yesterday morning and we were on the road by 5:30 a.m. The ride to Franconia Notch (White Mountains in NH, where we hiked,) is about 2-2.5 hours from Boston but there was little traffic at the time (only crazies are up before sunrise on a Saturday,) so we started on the trail around 7:45.

It was grueling.

But worth it.

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We originally thought that our loop was only hitting 2 peaks, but we actually made it to three before descending. It was freezing up there but the view was amazing. By the time we got to the third peak, a cloud had engulfed it and it reminded me of being on a ship  in the middle of the ocean. It was just gray in every direction.

Coolest view of the cloud coming in from the ridge.
Coolest view of the cloud coming in from the ridge.

We did get to see a flag raising though. Trumpet and all.

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We had the misfortune of taking the wrong trail back down, however, and ended up in the middle of a rain storm, three miles from where the car was parked. Let me tell you, I’ve never been so tired in my life.

A view of the progressing cloud on our way down
A view of the progressing cloud on our way down
Chris and I, finally back in the car after 10ish hours of hiking. I look like Voldemort and he is a death eater hahaha
Chris and I, finally back in the car after 10ish hours of hiking. I look like Voldemort and he is a death eater hahaha

Despite what mishaps we may have encountered, I’m psyched we did it. Now on to the next! Kidding, so kidding. I can barely walk down stairs right now. I’m really diggin’ sea level stuff. Like sitting and beds and naps. But I’ll get back out (up?) there eventually. Let me stop wishing I had a walker to help me get around first.