Exploring Plum Island With Maven

I received my Drive Maven experience free of charge, but opinions of my experience 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 ride-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.


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.


We found the Cadillac to be in pristine condition, and were even greeted with a Barrington Coffee Roasters gift card to celebrate the start of our trip! Each Maven vehicle also comes with a credit card for gas (yup, it’s on them!) and, if the vehicle comes from a parking garage, an access card that gets you out of said garage without paying.


We cruised along to Plum Island and enjoyed our Cadillac’s OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay, which made linking Jeff’s Spotify to the car’s stereo system super easy. A great playlist made the drive go by quickly, and soon we were at our favorite restaurant in the area – Plum Island Grille – for brunch.


To be completely honest, Jeff and I were VERY hungover that day, so some brunch beverages were extremely welcome. As was my ham and bacon omelette.


Our Maven car transported us safely from brunch to Blue Inn, where we parked and enjoyed our time at the hotel. Later we drove into downtown Newburyport to have dinner at one of the area’s newest restaurants, The Poynt.



Jeff and I started our evening at The Poynt with some small plates. I had the above-pictured veal and pork meatballs, along with a fantastic Barrel-Aged Vesper. Jeff tried the seared scallops with bacon, bean, and corn succotash. I had a bite and was jealous of his choice! But my meatballs, though served EXTREMELY hot, were still very delicious.


The Poynt offers a very fun beer special, the Beer in a Bag. Jeff picked that out as his first drink. It’s “always something different” and he had a fun time trying to guess what beer he got.


I ended up getting the pan-roasted statler chicken breast as my entree, while Jeff ordered the meatball pizza. Once again, I was jealous of his pick. The pizza looked absolutely drool-worthy. But my chicken and potatoes were also awesome, and tasted even better leftover, because I didn’t finish it on purpose (I wanted dessert).



And my selected dessert was SO worth saving room for. I picked the flourless chocolate cake, while Jeff opted for the beignets. Both of us agreed that the desserts were the perfect end to our evening. We drove back to Blue Inn feeling full and content.

Ugh, can I have this cake now please?

Ugh, can I have this cake now please?

The next day we explored Newburyport and Plum Island a bit more before heading home. I was so thankful that we lucked into unseasonably warm weather. There’s just something about driving around and from a beach town on a beautiful autumn day.


We drove our Cadillac back to Boston, parked it where we picked it up, and locked it using the app before clicking the button that ended our reservation. I completely loved using Maven and would recommend the service to not only Boston residents without a car, but also those with cars (like us) that just want a fun change of pace during travel. The pickup locations, gas/parking cards, condition and features of the vehicle, and Maven app all made our trip and experience enjoyable and fun.


If you want to try Maven, they’re offering a discount to my readers! Enter code “caitplusate” and get 20% off your first reservation, now through 10/31. You too can explore New England (or wherever you are) in an awesome car, loaded up with amazing features – and no gas or parking fees required. Click here to sign up!

Have you ever used Maven, ZipCar, or a similar service?

How important to you is the car you take on a trip? 

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.


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.


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.


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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Sayonara, Salads

The title of this post is a bit ironic because while writing this I was eating a salad (the Cobb from Ward 8 – HIGHLY recommend). But today I’d like to talk about salads, and how I am eating less of them, and why I am psyched about that.

I realize that that’s pretty strange. Most people spend their days saying they should eat more salads. But having at least one salad per day has been a “rule” I’ve had for myself for a long time now, even after making huge progress in my recovery from an eating disorder. Ever since graduating from college in 2011 and starting full-time work, I have packed a salad for lunch almost every single day. I have often told people who asked that I do it to save money, but truthfully it has always been easier to allow myself to have wine or carbs in the evening if I am able to tell myself I had a carb-less, green lunch.  Salads have been my security blanket. I have choked down raw spinach – lunches I’ve hated – more times than I can count. I have refrained from wrapping up dinner at restaurants and taking it home, because I didn’t want to be tempted to pack it for lunch the next day instead of a salad. I have turned down free lunch at work (in fact, I did this every Friday for 2.5 years at my first job in Connecticut) in favor of a salad I had no desire to eat.

Frankly, I have just gotten so fucking sick of salads.

So about a month ago at the store, I did something I hadn’t in a long time – I approached the deli counter. I bought turkey, and Muenster cheese, and wraps. And I started making myself turkey wraps to bring to work. And I LOVE it. It has been so nice to actually look forward to what I packed for lunch. It’s wonderful to eat my food and move on and not sit at my desk dreaming of what else I could eat or have obsessive thoughts about what I will have for dinner since I “earned” it with my salad. By making my lunch less of a big deal, food is less of a big deal, and I feel more free.


Free to order pasta out at restaurants, something I couldn’t do last year.

Obviously I’m still going to want a salad every now and then, especially since many delicious salads exist, like the aforementioned Ward 8 Cobb or the taco salad I made for Jeff and I a couple of months ago.

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Nantucket Wine Fest 2016

I actually started this post as a “Five Highlights Of Summer” thing, but quickly realized I had too much to say about and too many pictures from Nantucket Wine Fest to not make it its own post, despite the fact that the event took place three months ago! But wine, parties, and fabulous New England destinations never get old, so let’s get to it.


My favorite spot on the island (and unfortunately the most expensive) is Cru!


Cheesin’ in the Vineyard Vines store in town.

ACK Wine Fest weekend took place during my last two weeks at 90+ Cellars, and I can’t think of a better send-off. This was my third (and definitely not last) time in Nantucket for this crazy whirlwind of work, parties, food, wine, and general ridiculousness. And I got to bring Jeff with me and share the fun with him!

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My New Neighborhood ClassPass Workouts

Starting a new job and moving to a new neighborhood in June meant a change to my workout routine! Thankfully ClassPass (click that link to get $30 off your first month, and full disclosure, I get $30 off too) has options all over Boston, so the service I use has stayed the same, but the classes I pick have now mostly changed from those I used to attend. Since I live in Charlestown and work in the North End, I’m mostly attending workouts in those two areas of the city.

Exhale Battery Wharf

I’ve been to the Exhale in Back Bay before, but had never gone to the Battery Wharf location until I moved. I actually prefer it over Back Bay! No need to take an elevator to the locker room, and the entire studio feels more sleek and zen to me…maybe because it’s on the second floor and I can’t see shadows walking by when I’m in barre. The 7:05 AM morning classes have been really convenient, especially since Exhale offers the nicest locker rooms I’ve ever been in, complete with provided robes and shower flip flops (it’s SO great not to pack those). I’ve tried regular Core Fusion Barre, Cardio + Barre (half an hour of cardio followed by half an hour of barre…loved this), Extreme (this was set up with five bootcamp stations), and Yoga. It will always be hard for me to get through a normal hour long barre or yoga class without getting antsy, but the Cardio Barre and Extreme classes both fly by, despite them being the same length. I’ve also yet to have a bad instructor at any Exhale location – always a plus.


Image from Exhale on Instagram

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Move, Work, Run

All three words in the title of this post could describe the same activity. After all, running involves moving, and is a lot of work. But at the start of June I had a few different big events happen in my life, and though it’s now almost August, I felt like I should write about them. Plus, I haven’t blogged in awhile and it’s getting a bit (slash REALLY) embarrassing.


As previously mentioned, Jeff and I moved in together, to a new apartment in Charlestown! It’s certainly a whole lot better than my last place in Allston (though I did love it there and it was a great starter apartment). We have a roof deck, washer/dryer, garbage disposal, dishwasher…it’s a whole new world! And it’s been nice to get some new decor like a sleeper sofa, fun dishware, and new sheets. There’s still a lot more to be done (does anyone know of a good place to get mounted deer heads on the cheap?) but it’s just been wonderful to get all that time back that we were spending commuting back and forth between each other’s places.

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Favorite ClassPass Workouts

I want to preface this post by acknowledging the fact that I was recently quoted in an article about the ClassPass price hike in Boston, otherwise known as “ClassPassGate”. My quote was “this is definitely a tipping point”. But the price doesn’t go up until June, so I have still been enjoying ClassPass as an excellent way to motivate me to not only get somwhere to workout, but have high quality workouts once I’m there. And admittedly, I’m considering staying on because of the amount of studios in my new neighborhood (Charlestown). And, because my mom brought up a valid point: “You know Caitlin, if you stayed in one more night per week, you could afford the new higher price.” Goddammit. She’s right.

But anyway, I wanted to recap my favorite studios/classes, because I feel like I’ve been using ClassPass as a mix of trying new workouts and visiting those that I already knew I liked. So I want to share those that I’ve liked best!

Vixen Army @ BFX Studio

Say what? So this is one of the classes that I never would have tried without ClassPass. The name caught my eye, and after reading the description (“cardio dance fitness program that incorporates choreography from different genres of dance including Hip Hop, Jazz Funk, House and Street styles inspired by live concert performances and videos from chart topping artists”), I had to try it out. I went by myself and left the class thinking two things: “That was fun!” and “I wish I had come to this class with some girlfriends.”

Photo courtesy of our instructor!

Thankfully my friends Jeannie and Allie were 100% willing to give it a shot, and we now have ourselves a Monday night tradition. I would call Vixen Army “Zumba but with twerking”. The songs are familiar and so catchy. The dances are quite easy to learn and follow. And the instructor, Melissa Jurado, is so positive and encouraging! Each class starts with everyone repeating after her, saying affirmations like “I will not judge myself or anyone else in this room” and “Damn I look good for a Monday night”. Yes, it’s cheesy. But it’s also fun and a great workout.

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Letting Go of Old Clothes

It has been quite awhile since I wrote a post related to eating disorders and recovery. There was a time when that was almost all I wrote about here; a time when I was really struggling. Slowly after moving to Boston I began to do better and better, and the recovery related posts became less frequent. Particularly since this past summer, I have made lots of progress. I’ve taken more rest days than ever and realized that didn’t make me gain 50 pounds. I’ve been able to spend more time with friends and meet new people too, since I’ve been doing less hiding out in my apartment with my “safe foods”. I’ve even been able to let myself open up to someone and enter a serious relationship.

Jeff and I are actually moving in together over Memorial Day Weekend, and moving often presents a perfect opportunity to get rid of unwanted and unneeded possessions. Most notably, clothes. Many who have gone through recovery from an eating disorder will know that clothes are a touchy subject. They become too small, and that’s hard to deal with. Every article of clothing that will no longer fit still makes me feel like a bit of a failure, even if that feeling lasts just a few seconds. I have been holding onto these clothes, because setting them aside to donate makes me feel like I am giving up on being as small as I once was.

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