It’s Not a Big Deal

This post has been bouncing around in my head for about a month now but I’ve been having trouble getting just inspired enough to actually write it. However I finally decided to the other night as I was thinking about something while lying in bed, trying to fall asleep. I had made chicken pot pie noodles for Jeff and I to eat for dinner, and I ate one helping. Then I put my bowl in the dishwasher, and went about my evening. I didn’t eat a dessert either. But the difference is – none of these things were endlessly debated. None of them were done out of punishment. I actually didn’t think about them at all. And that’s because I’m finally realizing that food is actually not a big deal.

There was a time when I’d think all day about the dinner I was going to eat, and worry about if I’d have more than one helping, and if I’d want a dessert. Then dinnertime would come and I’d eat a helping, want to eat another (because I’d starved myself all day), debate eating another, finally do it, feel like crap, and beat myself up. But then my mind would shift to dessert and I’d think about ice cream in the freezer, and wonder for another half hour if I should eat it, and finally decide that it was OK to have a little since I hadn’t had any in the last week.

Sounds exhausting, right? It was.

I have gotten better and better over the last year about not worrying as much about what, when, and how much I eat. And the world hasn’t ended. I haven’t gained a ton of weight. And most importantly, I am so much happier. I always used to look at people who didn’t think about what they ate and just ate what they wanted, and wonder how they did it. That was truly a foreign concept to me. How could they eat what they wanted and not end up eating EVERYTHING? Now I know – it’s because they didn’t make food special. They didn’t put it on a pedestal, and didn’t make it a big deal.

Last night we ordered Domino’s; we each ordered our own medium pan pizza. In the past I would have been afraid to do this because I feared losing control and eating the entire thing. But last night I ate half of the pizza, stopped when I was full, and knew that I could just eat more for lunch if I wanted to. That’s another thing – I’m no longer forcing myself to eat salads for lunch every day, so I’m less likely to treat dinner as my one special meal of the day, and obsess over it. I now allow myself to eat the foods I used to only eat for dinner ANY time of day. And therefore, those foods are less “special” and “rare” to me, and I no longer think about them constantly, or eat them too excess when I have the “chance” to eat them.

In the end, it’s just food. And believe it or not, when you start treating it that way, it really isn’t a big deal.

A Best Dressed New Year

I received a complimentary dress rental in exchange for an honest blog post about my experience. All opinions are my own. Read to the end for a special discount!

I started thinking about New Year’s Eve a few months before December 31st, because Jeff and I made our New Year’s plans pretty early on, the second we found out the Timberfakes (Boston’s Justin Timberlake cover band) were going to be playing the Middle East in Cambridge. We did the same thing last year, and knew it was a solid way to spend the last night of the year.

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The Restaurant To-Do List

People who know me or just follow me on social media know that lately there hasn’t been much variety to where I go out to eat. I spend a ton of time at Eastern Standard. Ward 8 is a great local spot. Bar Mezzana in the South End is incredible. Other than that? Up until recently, I was drawing a blank.

The eggs benedict at Eastern Standard, enjoyed after a kick-butt workout with a side of session IPA.

The farro tagliatelle with duck ragout at Bar Mezzana – a truly incredible dish.

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What I’m Loving Lately

I actually had to search my own blog to see if I’ve previously done a post with this title, because it sounded so familiar. But good news – I haven’t! So here’s a little round-up of a few things I’m loving lately, because I don’t want to write a whole blog post on each of them (and I don’t think that would be nearly as fun for you to read, either).

Blaze Pizza

I’ll start with full disclosure…Blaze sent me two free pizza vouchers, and those are what Jeff and I used the first time we tried this place. But we have also been talking non-stop about it, and have made plans to return on a couple of occasions. (Both plans were foiled for a variety of reasons, but that’s not important.)

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I describe Blaze Pizza as “Subway, but with pizza”. For a flat fee (thick crust is extra…and worth it), you go down the line and pick as many toppings as you want. Then the pizza is fast-fired at an extremely hot temperature, and ready for you in minutes. You can also add finishing touches after the pizza is done, like balsamic vinegar or – oh baby – ranch dressing. While I was happy with the creation I made above, I was very jealous of Jeff’s pizza, which escaped into his stomach before I could get a photo of it. Guess we’ll just have to go back so he can recreate it and I can get my picture! Blaze is a national chain so look for your closest location here.

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Recent Boston Eats

It’s been awhile since I shared some of the good food I’ve experienced here in Boston, so I figured I’d comb through my camera roll and highlight anything I found in there that was taken recently. In my eyes, if I took a picture then the food must have been good (the exception, of course, being if the lighting was awful…in that case, no photographs are taken).

Bar Mezzana: Pasta

If you haven’t tried Bar Mezzana yet, drop what you are doing and go there now. You don’t even have to read the rest of this post; I’m confident the experience you end up having will tell you why I’m recommending it. The restaurant is located in the South End’s luxury Ink Block apartment complex and focuses on pastas, raw seafood, fresh crusty bread topped with all varieties of spreads, and prosciutto with house mozz. LOTS of house mozz.

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I personally cannot stay away from the pastas. I’ve sampled three so far and can’t wait to return for more. I’d recommend all of those three: orecchiette with sausage and fennel, paccheri with lobster, and another variety with rabbit that looks like it’s off the menu now (darn). For dessert, go for an espresso martini. Bar Mezzana’s bar staff is super knowledgeable and this espresso martini is probably the best I’ve ever had.

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4 Favorite Dinners (And What They Mean)

I have really enjoyed cooking dinners for Jeff and I to enjoy together at home, even before we moved in together (check out my Pinterest account to see almost every recipe I’ve ever made). This post first started as a sort of round-up of four favorite home-cooked meals that we both have loved. However, I realized after I picked out the four that they all had a common theme. They were all meals that I would not have made for myself at home (as-is, at least) a couple of years ago…or even a year ago.

I used to consider home-cooked meals my “chance” to have complete, 100% control over ingredients and cooking methods. That meant making everything as “clean” as possible (very little fats, if any…veggie based…carbs only if I had worked out that day). In my head, this off-set any meals that I had out or bites and drinks I enjoyed at events I attended. So when sharing these four favorite dinners, I’d also like to highlight what about each dish makes it a big step for me, and shows how far I have come in my search for letting go and just enjoying food.

jambalaya

To this day I still am not a HUGE fan of rice, but Jeff loves it. He had mentioned jambalaya to me several times, so I decided to try my hand at making it using an easy recipe from Cook, Craft, Love. I considered doing the rice on the side and having none or only a little, but what good is a deconstructed jambalaya? So I just made it all in one pot, just like the recipe asked, and actually ended up really enjoying it…rice (carb) and all.

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Exploring Plum Island With Maven

I received my Drive Maven experience as well as some of the food in this post free of charge, but opinions of my experiences are 100% my own.

Jeff and I had a great time during our recent trip to Blue Inn in Plum Island, MA. That was thanks in part to our mode of transportation, a red 2016 Cadillac ATS from Maven. Maven is a car-sharing service, similar to ZipCar, that is offered in Boston, LA , Chicago, and other large cities. But the biggest – and best – difference from ZipCar is that, for a limited time, Maven is free to join! Once I heard about that major benefit, I was completely on board when the company offered us a car to take on our weekend getaway.

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Maven has nine different vehicle pickup locations in Boston, and we picked the one closest to our Charlestown apartment, the Government Center parking garage. The Maven app actually serves as the keys to your car. Once next to our Cadillac, I was able to use my phone to unlock the vehicle. Jeff also downloaded the app onto his phone and, signed in under my account, had access to unlock and lock the car as well. Which worked out well, since I usually (always) ask him to drive.

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Getaway to Blue in Plum Island

Though I received my stay at Blue Inn free of charge, my opinions are 100% my own. In short, I’d pay to go back in a second!

I have never encountered a Lark Hotels location I didn’t love (I’ve stayed at Gilded in Newport, and dined at Whitehall in Camden), and last Sunday’s visit to Blue Inn, located in Plum Island, MA, was no exception. The Plum Island and Newburyport area have always been special to Jeff and me, because we took our first overnight trip there as a couple and also visited Plum Island on one of our first dates. Staying at Blue sounded great to us because we already know the area (well, Jeff does), so the trip felt like a staycation despite us being almost an hour away from Boston. Blue picked out a gorgeous ocean view king suite for us, which somehow managed to feel like a quaint beach house while also feeling fabulous and luxurious.

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I always appreciate a combo of beach and fall decor!

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New Normal

As I started to write this post, and fill in the title, it sounded familiar to me. So I entered “new normal” into the search term field on my own blog, and this post came up…from November of 2013. Back then I was still living in Connecticut, on the hunt for a new job but with 90+ Cellars and Boston nowhere in sight. Reading the post now is funny. In it I feel guilty for some pretty silly things, and reassure myself by basking in habits that I now no longer have. It’s really kind of sad to read, but I know it was all part of the recovery process.

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I had Columbus Day off yesterday, so Jeff and I went over to Night Shift Brewery, which encourages bringing your own food. So we brought Wendy’s. I went to a half hour bootcamp that morning, but didn’t think twice about the fact that I “only” worked out for half an hour and was eating fast food. I ordered what I wanted. I stopped when I was full (which happened to be when all my food was gone). There was no mental agonizing over that fact. There was no carb counting. There was just me enjoying a gorgeous fall day off with my boyfriend. Though critical thoughts about my body and eating/workout habits are still present, they are so much easier now to push out of my head, and move past. This is my current new normal.

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Cooking Classes at Tavern Road

Though I received this experience free of charge, all opinions are my own.

Though I haven’t been writing too much lately thanks to an issue with my comments (they all disappeared and I’m not sure where they went…has this ever happened to anyone else?), that doesn’t mean I haven’t had anything to write about. I’ve got a few upcoming posts planned, sharing both fun events I’ve been to and some cool stuff I’ve got coming up. This post falls into the former category. Last month, I got the chance to try one of Tavern Road’s new cooking classes with my friends Matt, Georgina, and Jeannie. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night!

Tavern Road is located in Boston’s Fort Point, between the Seaport and Southie. The food, drink, and decor of the restaurant mirror the creativity and innovation often found in the neighborhood (there seems to be public art around every corner). The bar program, headed up by Insta-celeb Tenzin Samdo, is a go-to of mine for both funky and classic cocktails. Chef Louis DiBiccari’s menu of “street food” is mostly small-plates, influenced by global cuisine while composed of an impressive amount of local ingredients. Personal favorites include the burger, anything involving bluefish pate, and all of the tacos.

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Though Tavern Road has hosted wine and guest chef dinners for awhile now, Chef Louis recently started teaching these weekly cooking classes with a focus on using ingredients purchased from the farmers market as recently as that afternoon. Each Tuesday at 6:30PM, students gather for hands-on learning – and eating. And let’s be honest, if there’s eating involved, I’m very likely to say, “I’m in!” So, I did.

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