What I Ate in Charleston

Once again, I am extremely guilty of going MIA from this blog for way too long. I’ve simply been lacking in both both time and inspiration to blog. But today I hope to make it up to you with a fun post about the awesome food and drink I experienced when I visited Charleston, South Carolina for a wedding over Labor Day weekend with my family!

I arrived first out of the five of us, but kept myself plenty entertained by heading to a solo lunch at Butcher & Bee. My coworker went to college in Charleston, so she had sent me a long list of recommendations that I knew I could trust…and this place was on the list. I was sure it was a solid spot the second they served my sparkling wine in a coupe glass – my favorite way to drink bubbles.

I loved that the lunch menu featured an option to try three of their many mezze dishes. I picked the heirloom beans with soft boiled egg, eggplant with olives and green tahini, and whipped feta with fermented honey and cracked black pepper. Everything was absolutely scrumptious!

As you can probably guess, I saved my favorite – the feta – for last.

Some adorable decor at the entrance of Butcher & Bee.

After my family arrived and got settled into our Airbnb, we called an Uber to King Street, Charleston’s bustling downtown area. There we stopped into The Cocktail Club, a place on my must-visit list. My boyfriend Jeff’s good friend and former coworker Tyler is actually a bartender there, so it was great to meet him and try some of his cocktails. My mom and sister were over the moon happy with their Cosmopolitans, my mom calling it the best she’d ever had. My dad and I both went with vodka martinis. We all had a great time chatting with Tyler and taking in the bar scene. I even bought a cigar…yes, they sell them in the restaurant!

After our drinks were gone (long gone), we headed out to The Cocktail Club’s roof deck area to take some pictures before running off to the next stop, a welcome reception for the wedding.

The welcome reception was fun but wine-filled, which left us VERY hungry. Thank goodness for Domino’s. Ordering pizza from there while in Charleston, land of amazing restaurants, may have been a faux pas…but it was also a necessity. And really, it was so nice to hang out with my family and eat pizza while watching Netflix and drinking red wine. Talk about relaxing!

I was right back on the restaurant grind the next morning, though. After swinging by Pure Barre for a really good class, I met my family for brunch at The Rarebit, another spot recommended by my coworker. She said they had the best Moscow Mules in the city, but I’m not a mule girl, so I went with a Southside. This is a refreshing gin cocktail and Rarebit’s version was absolutely the best one I’ve ever had! For my meal I selected a dish on special, a shrimp cake Benedict. I really wish I’d taken a picture of it because it was stellar, but alas, I was too busy hamming it up with the fam to do so. We were all beyond impressed by both the quality and price of the food, though!

Later that night it was wedding time. I once again had an amazing experience using Boston’s in-store dress rental service, Best Dressed. I can’t recommend them enough, and paid for this rental in full (no #sponsored situation here). I know this post is about food and drink, but I had to throw them a shout-out. I will say, though, that the Southern food at the wedding was the best wedding food I’ve ever had, by far. The open bar was also rather enjoyable.

You know you’re a blogger when you’ve trained your mom to take solo pics for you.

The day after the wedding, the whole family was moving a little slowly. My parents and sister opted to spend the day at the beach, but my brother and I both had flights to catch back to New England. (Am I the only one who prefers to leave a “gap day” between a trip and going back to work? I wanted to fly back on Sunday so I’d have Monday to relax at home.) I really wanted to squeeze in one more restaurant though, so I took myself and my book to brunch at another place on King Street, called Prohibition.

I rarely ever order the same drink twice in a row, but the above pictured Charleston Fizz was so good that I had to do just that. It contained Brugal Extra Dry Rum, Tito’s Vodka, lime, cream, egg white, lemon bitters, and seltzer. The cream makes it sound heavy, but it really wasn’t. It was like drinking a key lime cloud.

For brunch I went with the avocado benedict, which consisted of avocado and heirloom tomato on english muffin, topped with a poached egg and dill hollandaise sauce. I wanted to go with something a bit lighter so I wouldn’t be dragging on my flight. I was overall really pleased with my last choice of restaurant to visit while in Charleston, but am also already itching to go back and try MORE places…as well as return to some of these.

Oh, and of course my dinner on the plane ride home consisted of cheese and meat with Stacy’s Pita chips and bad red wine…because, travel.

Have you ever been to Charleston? What are some of your favorite spots?

Did you travel for Labor Day weekend, lay low at home, or a mix of both?

What I’m Loving Lately #3

It’s time for another post where I round up what I’ve been into lately, be it recipes, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc. If you missed the last two editions, you can check them out here (12/5/16) and here (6/13/17…clearly I had a significant lapse in inspiration for a bit).

Caprese Pasta Bake: This was super easy to make and came out great. I combined cooked wheat penne, mozzarella balls, chopped chicken, a can of crushed tomatoes (drained), and a container of chopped grape tomatoes in a casserole dish. Then I sprinkled shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese on top and baked it at 350 degrees. The addition of fresh basil after it was done really made it.

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My Thoughts on “To The Bone”

Disclaimer: I know from firsthand experience that even reading about books or movies that deal with eating disorders can be triggering. If you feel there is even a possibility that reading about “To the Bone” could trigger you, please skip this post!

I’m definitely not the first blogger to write about To the Bone (check out Clare’s post – I really enjoyed it), but I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on this new film from Netflix. It’s definitely been controversial and as someone who had a long struggle with anorexia, I’d like to put my two cents in. I’m also going to try to write about this post in a spoiler-free manner, so that those who haven’t seen the movie or don’t plan to can still read.

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Boston Summer Bucket List

There is certainly no shortage of things to do in Boston, especially during the summertime. It can be hard to choose which patio to visit, which events to prioritize, and which tiki cocktails to drink. Today I’m here to try to help you do just that, and am sharing my Boston Summer Bucket List.

Swizzle Sundays at The Hawthorne

Typically when I’m in Kenmore Square it’s because I’m visiting Eastern Standard, but on many Sunday evenings in the summer you’ll find me next door on The Hawthorne‘s patio, enjoying delicious tiki beverages.

At each Swizzle Sunday, different brands and the bartenders or ambassadors that represent them set up shop with cocktails specially curated for the occasion. Swag is handed out, and good times are had by all.

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5 Summer Reading Recs

Wow, I haven’t blogged in a month…my bad. These days I’ve been spending my weekends – the time I’d normally blog – either traveling or taking advantage of my apartment building’s roof deck. Now that it’s finally warm, my favorite way to spend an free afternoon here in Boston is to pack up some rosé and snacks, grab a book, and head up to the deck read…often until the book is completely finished.

Okay, there are sometimes magazines involved too.

Thanks to my recent status as a bookworm, I’ve got a pretty decent list of great books to recommend and figured I’d share them here. We’re only halfway through the summer, so there’s plenty of time to head to your local bookstore or library (I don’t get why more people don’t use the library) and pick them up!

5 Summer Reading Recommendations

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris: The second I finished Chapter 1, I knew I was going to be reading this book from start to finish. It’s a thriller about a husband and wife who seem to have the perfect marriage, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was rooting for the protagonist (the wife) the entire time, and just had to know how the story ended; the definition of a page turner.

You by Caroline Kepnes: Shoutout to my friend Jenna for recommending this to me; it was right up my alley. Stories about crazy stalkers are always interesting, but when a story is narrated from the point of view of said stalker…that’s when things get VERY interesting. Apparently this book is being made into a Lifetime movie starring Penn Badgley of Gossip Girl fame, and after you read it, I think you’ll agree with my opinion that he was a great choice for the role of Joe.

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes: …is actually the sequel to You, so be sure you read that first. The only thing better than discovering an awesome new book is finding out it has a sequel!

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: Another “do you ever really know the truth about someone” type of story, but aren’t those the most fun to read? Twists and turns popped up throughout this entire novel and constantly kept me guessing. The writing and way the story was told reminded me a bit of Gone Girl. If you liked that book, I 100% think you’ll love this one.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler: This does not at ALL fit in with the rest of the books I’m recommending, seeing as it’s not about murder, psychopaths, kidnapping, or stalkers. But it is about restaurants – or rather, working in one – so I found it completely fascinating. The main character, Tess, is a young woman who moves to NYC and gets a job as a waitress to make some money. Soon the restaurant and its staff become her family, her life, her entire world. The reader can see her getting in way too deep, but it’s happening to slowly for Tess to notice. If you’re interested in the restaurant industry or just good food and drink (the book made me crave a chilled glass of Sancerre like no other), I’d definitely suggest giving this one a read.

Those are my five favorite books of the summer so far, but I’ve definitely read more, so follow me on Goodreads if you want more book-related updates! Today I’m starting a book called Those Girls…anyone read it?

Have you read any of these books? Do you have some recommendations for me? Comment and let me know!

What I’m Loving Lately #2

The first thing I’m loving lately is the fact that summer is finally here!!! Of course my car and apartment A/C both broke when we entered a legitimate heat wave, but one is fixed and the other is close to being fixed, so I’m staying positive. Mild temps are on the way too, and I’m hoping for another sunny weekend so I can spend as much time as possible outside.

Anyway, let’s get to the rest of what I’m loving lately.

Trillium Beer Garden: I visited with Jeff and my brother the first weekend they opened on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and loved it! I also like that they offer local wine in addition to beer. The food trucks are a huge plus too…I enjoyed a huge burrito after this picture was taken.

Nightshift Brewing Shark Jumper IPA: Speaking of beer, we tried quite a few during my brother’s visit. After the beer garden we went over to Nighshift in Everett, which has been one of my and Jeff’s favorite spots for awhile. I fell in love with their Shark Jumper, an IPA infused with Meyer Lemon. Super refreshing and the perfect summer brew.

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May Recap

May is over and it was a great month. You already know I went to Nantucket, but I’ve also tried some new restaurants, fallen into a good fitness groove, cooked a few dishes, and spent time with Jeff, friends, and family. All of that hasn’t been quite enough to distract me from the fact that summer has taken its time to show up, but it’s come close.

A (rare) warm May day.

I thankfully didn’t have to worry about cooking the night I got back from Nantucket, because I had a dinner invite to Aqua Pazza, a new restaurant in the North End. There my friend Cristen and I enjoyed a fantastic multi-course meal at a spot that I’d call perfect for date night or an evening out with some girlfriends. The Bolognese di Maiale was particularly a dish to write home about.

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5 Must-Visit Spots on Nantucket

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I am a Nantucket tourist. I don’t consider myself a regular visitor, nor do I consider myself to be the island’s number one fan. So to you Nantucket experts, if you finish this post and think that my picks for must-visit spots on the island are obvious and “tourist-y”…you are absolutely correct!

But they are also great picks for someone traveling to the island for an annual trip (hello, me) or a first-time visit. I just got back from my fourth Nantucket Wine Fest weekend and am happy to say that I checked off almost everything on my to-do list! And that left me inspired to write this post, and share some of my favorite places to visit.

1. Cisco Brewers

Here you can find a brewery, distillery, and winery all in one place. There is truly something for everyone at Cisco Brewers. Food trucks are always around in the afternoon, which is a good thing because there is a LOT of booze to try here. The last time I visited, we had lunch at a seafood truck called The Lobster Trap. However I went with the chicken fingers and fries, because I was really craving some old fashioned greasy food. My suggested course of action at Cisco? Have an ice cold tap beer, then head to Triple 8 Distillery for a refreshing cocktail. End at Nantucket Vineyard with a wine flight, and be sure to conclude it with the port…it’s something special. After all that, grab some food and try to stop yourself from impulse-buying Cisco merchandise.

Lunch from the Lobster Trap, paired with an IPA.

Dad and I in the wine tasting room.

2. Cru

This place is a scene, and that is reflected in the prices on the menu. But oh man, is it fun. I allow myself one visit to Cru per trip to Nantucket, and it’s always worth it. Brunch is probably my favorite time to go, but a mid-day snack on the outdoor patio/lounge isn’t bad either. Also, any restaurant that serves sparkling wine in a coupe glass gets my vote.

Lilly is key Cru attire.

3. The Nautilus

I could probably spend a decent part of my day sitting at The Nautilus‘ bar, chatting with the friendly bartenders and watching them make drinks. The cocktails incorporate freshly-squeezed fruit juices (right in front of you, squeezed to order) and you can even get one in a porron if you’re feeling aggressive. I would say that, in terms of hospitality and quality of drinks, Nautilus is the bar in Nantucket that most reminds me of my favorite bar in Boston, Eastern Standard. If I lived on the island, I could see myself becoming a regular there.

From @nautilusnantucket on Instagram.

4. Boarding House

Espresso. Martinis. Okay, that’s not the only reason why I’m recommending Boarding House, but it’s up there. I’ve never actually eaten at this bar, but it’s fun enough on its own as a place to go out. During Wine Fest weekend it is absolutely packed most of the time, but the bartenders are seasoned pros and still serve drinks efficiently. Like I said, the espresso martinis are amazing. But the fact that Modelo is on the beer list is pretty great too.

5. Nantucket Prime

This is a great restaurant for both a special meal and a casual gathering with friends. In fact, I did both at Nantucket Prime this past weekend; I took my parents there for a special dinner, and enjoyed some drinks outside on the outdoor patio the night prior. I also tried both burgers on the dinner menu, including the Big mACK, an amped-up version of a Big Mac. If you want to splurge, you can go for the filet and some family-style sides. The wine list is also very impressive, and includes a Pinot Noir from Nantucket Vineyard, which is what my parents and I chose to have with dinner.

The Big mACK! Source

So there you have it, my five favorite spots on Nantucket. I’m sure there are more that I haven’t even discovered yet, and that’s why I’ll be going bACK (I know, eye roll) as soon as possible!

Have you been to Nantucket? What are some of your favorite spots?

How I Stopped Late Cancelling Classes

As of yesterday I’ve completed my second full month of using FitReserve since leaving ClassPass, and recently realized that I have not late cancelled a class once. I’m not saying I’m perfect and that I’ll never late cancel a class again, but still, I feel proud of this accomplishment. That’s because when I was using ClassPass, I was cancelling classes after the twelve hour window at least two or three times per month. At $15 per late cancellation, that amounts to $45 in extra fees! So you can imagine why I’m glad that I haven’t late cancelled yet since starting FitReserve, especially since the membership fee is more than what I was paying with ClassPass.

But why haven’t I late cancelled in the last couple of months? It’s not because I’m working out less (or more…I’m still working out about the same amount). I did some thinking and think I can attribute it to a few factors. And I figured some of you may be interested in knowing what they are, and learning from my experience.

1. I switched up my routine.

It’s amazing how much more I look forward to a workout that I haven’t been doing for months now. B/SPOKE Studios may be a cycling class (something I’ve been taking for awhile), but I’m at a new studio, with new teachers, and a new style of spin and music. EverybodyFights‘ new FiDi location means I can try workouts that challenge me yet fly by, like my recent discovery of TRAINxCARDIO. I still take classes that I regularly attended on ClassPass (and miss some that aren’t on FitReserve), but I love looking forward to a greater percentages of classes I take…and late cancelling less classes as a result. And now that I’ve learned this, when I start feeling a slump I can switch it up to other classes and studios to fight boredom.

2. I’m paying more money.

Obviously I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend a fortune on a studio membership to stay motivated, because that’s certainly not possible for everyone. But there is something to be said for money being a motivator. At $185/month, if I take all twenty classes that come with my FitReserve membership, I’m spending just a little over $9/class. If you think about how much a single class at a lot of these studios goes for ($36 at EverybodyFights, $28 at B/SPOKE), that’s an amazing deal! So getting to as many of the twenty classes I can each month makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. And if I late cancel a class, that’s another $15 on top of the $185 I’m already paying…and that class isn’t one I made it to, making my per class cost for the month that much higher.

3. FitReserve’s late cancellation policy definitely helps.

As I mentioned in my FitReserve vs ClassPass post, FitReserve’s cancellation policy is true to each studio. That means studios with a six hour cancellation window for members also have a six hour window on FitReserve. With ClassPass, every studio has a twelve hour window no matter what. I have definitely taken advantage of this several times; there have been a couple of Fridays when I had signed up for an EverybodyFights class after work and cancelled it – without being penalized – when I woke up…simply because I didn’t want to work out on a Friday. Which brings me to my last, and most important, point.

4. I have learned – and now accept – my workout habits and schedule.

I think this is the most important factor on this list because it shows steps forward in beating exercise guilt…which is something I still struggle with. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I used to (and still do at times) pour over class schedules, signing up for Friday post-work workouts (which I usually hate unless they’re a social thing), early morning pre-work workouts (I will never be that person), and weekend classes that took place the morning after a night that I knew could end up going late.

And what did I do when I signed up for those classes? I late cancelled them, because in the end, working out when I was exhausted or hungover or just wanted to get my Friday night started was not really me. It was not what I truly wanted to be doing. And I shouldn’t feel guilty about that! It’s okay to not be a pre-work workout person. It’s okay to decide not to work out on a weekend and have a lazy Sunday, even if technically I have all the time in the world to make it to a class. It’s okay to not sign up for a class on Friday because I know my coworkers will probably want to get drinks after work. Fitness does not have to come before everything, and it’s okay if that’s how my priorities are laid out.

Did I miss any tips you have for making sure you make it to a class without paying a fee? Can you relate to any of these?

Signature Crafted Fun at McDonald’s

I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions my own.

There was a time when I took pride in saying I never ate fast food. I’ll be honest, I looked down on people who did eat it. But over the years as I have worked on bettering my relationship with food, my opinions have definitely changed. I don’t eat fast food every day, but when I do, I enjoy and savor every single bite. I’m all about treating myself to a Big Mac or those signature golden McDonald’s fries when I’m craving them. So when I found out that the closest location to my apartment, the newly renovated two-story McDonald’s in Everett, wanted to host me and a group of bloggers to try their new Signature Crafted sandwiches…I was 100% in!

The McDonald’s in Everett is one of 11 new “smart” locations that now feature ordering kiosks and table-side service – a “Just For You” experience. Though the classic cashier option remains, those who prefer a digital experience can order from easy to use stations that accept credit card payments.

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