Sunday, July 15, 2018

once around the block: a day on block island

my ongoing quest to visit all of the quaint beach towns in new england continues, unabated. back in early spring, my friend kathleen had asked me if i'd been to block island. i had not, and neither had she, so a plan was immediately hatched. i'm burnt to a crisp, all set with seafood for the next couple of weeks, and my right knee hurts for reasons unknown, but it was a great time.


i drove us down to narragansett town beach early on friday morning, as we decided to stay overnight there and just ferry over to BI for the following day because a) it was less money and b) the only options on block island had shared bathrooms and we're both too old for that shit. but anyway, the beach is the beach; it was relaxing, and the water wasn't too cold. despite my best attempts at thorough sunscreen application, my forehead, chest, shoulders, torso, knees, left inner thigh and the upper-side-area of my right thigh are red as a damn fire truck, which looks really really cool. oh yeah, and i took a 1998-style photo with my new favorite app, huji:

we grabbed dinner that night at turtle soup, the restaurant at the ocean rose inn. the location was absolutely perfect—right across the street from narragansett bay—and the place seemed to be popular with the locals, who were hanging out in adirondack chairs.

we started with a littleneck clam appetizer that had all sorts of peppers and was spicy and delicious. for entrees, i went for the georges bank scallops, while kathleen got the chowder and mussels. we were starting to get a little bit chilly sitting outside because we're delicate snowflakes, so we got coffees and a slice of the turtle cheesecake for good measure. i just want to take a moment right now to acknowledge the warm, cozy perfection that is coffee after dinner. coffee any time, really, but especially after dinner.

the sun was just about to set, so we wandered down along the water, snapping some photos along the way. edited to try and hide my incredible redness.

we spent the rest of the evening in the "secret garden" of our b&b, drinking canned sparkling rosé out of paper cups and chilling with the house bunny and cat.


our b&b (which shall remain nameless because i was less than impressed on the whole) didn't serve breakfast 'til 9 and ain't nobody on vacation got time for that, so we popped into the gnarly donut for some sugary sustenance and iced coffee. great name, great donuts.

we boarded the block island ferry, which ended up being surprisingly entertaining, mostly due to the loud, boisterous man with the boston accent sitting behind us. he was basically your favorite crazy uncle. some choice quotes:

funny guy's wife: "i want clam chowder."
funny guy: "it's fuckin' 9:20!"

[while taking a photo of basic bitches who were all drinking twisted teas]: "hold up your tweezies!"

once we arrived on block island, we promptly bought baseball caps (because my face and head could not handle any more UV rays) and rented bikes. mind you, i have not seriously ridden a bicycle for any significant length of time in foreva-eva, and i can verify that the phrase "it's just like riding a bike!" is only like 80% true. it was pretty smooth sailing after the first ride out to the southeast lighthouse, but the combination of the hills and the heat had me struuuuuggling. a break to sit in the shade so i didn't die and a couple more pauses later, we made it! i felt a bit better that random people who were biking down as we approached were congratulating us for arriving, so apparently it wasn't just totally me being weak and woefully out of shape. phew. mohegan bluffs were also in walking distance, and they were gorgeous.

all of that bike-riding made us pretty hungry (and, let's be honest, pretty much all there is to do here is eat and drink). we intended to stop at three sisters for lunch, but the menu had absolutely NO SEAFOOD AT ALL. are you kidding me?? as a restaurant on block island, having seafood is quite literally your only job. undeterred, we pressed on to poor people's pub, which was much more like it. a fun, no frills vibe, cold beer, fish and chips, and lobster rolls. or, as their sign below says, beers, burgers, & babes. sold either way.

then it was time for some retail therapy. i almost never buy clothing souvenirs, but i saw this cute long-sleeved tee with colorful boats on the back at one of the souvenir shops and just had to get it. ignore the fact that it's uber-wrinkled, i ended up sleeping in it last night because it was so comfy:

aaaaand oh, look at the time, it was almost happy hour! we biked up to payne's dock and scoped out some of the boats, and dogs on the boats, and funny boat names (one of my favorite hobbies)...

...and then headed over to the oar for their famous mudslides. there were also fun decorated paddles inside of the restaurant, fun buoys outside of the restaurant, and annoying, belligerent, drunk 50-something-year-old men asking for shots at the bar.

the day ended with a beachside dinner at ballard's. we began with "stuffies," a rhode island specialty: stuffed quahog clams with breadcrumbs, pepper, celery, and chorizo. it was sorta gourmet, but also somehow delightfully state fair-like. very into it. then it was lobster scampi for me, and the fire-grilled lobster for kathleen. THEY HAD LOBSTER 13 WAYS, YOU GUYS. oh, and i had a frozen del's lemonade with vodka, another RI classic.

funny story: remember the crazy uncle from the morning ferry? kathleen had jokingly commented earlier that she wanted to find out what ferry he was taking back so we could be entertained by him once again. and as fate would have it, he and his family were just a little bit ahead of us in the long-ass 8pm ferry line! wish: granted. we followed them up to the top deck and sat behind them (facing the opposite direction, because they were all wasted and we wanted to be out of the puke zone). at one point, apropo of nothing, he goes "i want a bong hit!"

joining him on this ride was an entire rugby team who was having a drunken singalong/dance party, which mainly consisted of them playing maroon 5's "wait" on repeat. we also made friends with the women next to us, who offered us twizzlers, and we gleefully snacked on them while observing the craziness.

back in port in narragansett, we finished things off with ice cream cones at the sweet spot, passing by this restaurant called "buster krab's" that i couldn't believe was a real place. the DJ on the patio started singing happy birthday to an 8 year-old child, which seemed very odd at 9pm on a saturday, but i digress.


once again, we didn't feel like waiting around for breakfast at the b&b, so we grabbed a hearty meal before hitting the road at the bike stop cafe, which had a half-hipster, half-diner vibe. it was great!

and, the vacation ended—as all great ones should—with us listening to the "my favorite murder" podcast on the way home for some true crime realness. we'll be back, BI!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

5 things i love right now

1. hanging plants!

more specifically, this hanging plant in my new apartment (because there were already hooks in the foyer molding so it was meant to be), but also just hanging plants in general. i'm starting small, but obviously my eventual goal is to just end up with a situation like the one below. ALL OF THE PLANTS.

2. this show, sweetbitter

i have to hurry up and watch the rest of the episodes that have aired by, like...tonight, because it's on starz and i don't get starz, but they're having a free preview weekend and i was hooked after one episode. it's based on a book, and follows a 20-something who moves to new york and gets a waitressing job at a super-fancy restaurant. drama, intrigue, sex and drugs follow, natch. i love the characters, and i think it's because some of them vaguely remind me of the people i met during my summer working at an irish pub here in boston during college. if you've ever worked in a restaurant, you know that they're a special breed. memories!

3. rediscovering "best song ever" by one direction

yes, this song is 5 years old and i was obsessed with it during that summer, too. but the other day, right as i got into my car, the DJs on the morning show on JAMN 94.5 (which is a hip-hop station, making this even weirder) started playing it and singing along. i'd been in a bit of a funk, but let me tell you, by the time they got to harry's "through the doors and past the guards (ow!)" i was on cloud nine, belting it at full volume. then i looked up the video again later and it's such silly, carefree fun. i don't care if you're eight years old or 80 years old, this shit is pure sunshine, and we could all use more sunshine in our lives these days.

4. these snackable marshmallows, smashmallows

ever see weird new shit in the grocery store and wonder who on earth would buy it? the answer is me. i buy it, which is why i desperately need an adult and shouldn't ever be left unattended at wegmans. but on a whim, i ended up with these guys the other day (in the cinnamon churro flavor, because there are different varieties that include mint chocolate chip and cookie dough). they're SO GOOD! and fortunately, just one is the perfect little snack, as promised by the label. they're also non-GMO or whatever in case you care about being "healthy," but i'm guessing you don't if you're also entertaining the idea of buying snackable marshmallows.

5. pictures of joey ramone holding a cat

because strangely, there are more than one. fun fact: i was wearing my road to ruin t-shirt the other day (which i've had since 2003, YIKES) and as i was ordering my lunch at a cafe, the cashier goes "for here or to go? and can you please sing a verse of rock 'n roll high school?" i managed to squeak out "i just wanna have some kicks, i just wanna get some chicks" which is technically not a verse, but i was so caught off-guard! this is why i rarely wear band t-shirts in public.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

revisiting the best summer of all time

i'm not sure what makes some summers more magical than others, but it's totally a thing. a delicate balance of experiences, people, and music come together and create the perfect set of memories that become what you eventually (or, now) refer to as "the good old days." and the summer of 2010, my friends, was that for me.

it began with my 24th birthday, which i inexplicably celebrated twice. once with an extremely new england family trip to mystic, connecticut filled with tons of seafood, ice cream, and beach-laying, and again with my friends. we went glow-in-the-dark bowling, and then migrated next door to rain, malden's most delightfully sketchy nightclub, where we danced—whiskey sours in hand—to taio cruz and jay sean on the light-up dance floor while go-go dancers gyrated in cages above us. clearly, things were already off to a good start. then, a couple weeks later, i went to see the backstreet boys at mohegan sun with this girl from my book club that i barely knew and who i'm pretty sure was a vampire. i wonder what happened to her...

i was also happily settled into my first job out of college as a copywriter at a travel company, writing ads and generally feeling like i had a handle on life. my coworkers were awesome, and we'd frequently go out for brazilian barbeque at this delicious hole-in-the-wall in downtown woburn or to a no-frills roast beef place we referred to as "guns and beef" because of the decor. 

plus, i was living in my favorite apartment to date (that is, until the one i just moved into last week). it was a converted attic in a huge victorian house in melrose, with a roof deck, central air, in-unit laundry, and a fucking turret in the living room. yeah, i had a roommate, but i didn't know how good i had it, man! the town was so picturesque, and i loved wandering the little downtown. 

the fun continued with a ridiculous day in which my friend kari and i went to the dew tour—a less prestigious x-games—and then went to rain nightlife (again) to meet the situation from jersey shore, at which time i accidentally photobombed him.

for the 4th of july, i went to new york city—mainly because i'd won a two-night stay at a doubletree hotel at my office christmas party, and one of the qualifying properties was the one in times square. the night i got in ended up being one of the most ridiculous nights of my life, and involved a visit to all of the bars in the standard hotel with my friends jeff and jacob. there was the boom boom room, where i took a selfie on the toilet because i couldn't deal with my life, some rooftop bar with astroturf where i just sat in a lawn chair feeling extremely drunk, and le bain, where there was a goddamn hot tub with naked hipsters in the middle of the dance floor.

unsurprisingly, i paid dearly for my fabulous new york city evening the next morning, though i did have to chuckle at the fact that vomiting violently in my times square suite was almost akin to kevin mcallister gorging himself on ice cream sundaes in home alone 2. sort of. i recovered by lunchtime and went to see rock of ages on broadway with gleni, which was absolutely delightful and still among my favorite musicals. then we had dinner on the patio of a cute mexican restaurant in brooklyn.

jeff dragged me to hoboken on the actual 4th of july, which i protested vehemently, because jersey. naturally, i ended up loving it. we had a low-key gathering with burgers at our college friend's apartment with some other marist folk before going to see the fireworks on the water. i vividly remember watching/making fun of the music video for "my first kiss" by ke$ha and 3OH!3, a song that i'm pretty sure i haven't thought about since 2010 but is a total jam.

lol remember when cake boss was a thing
a few weeks later, i flew to vegas for my friend's bachelorette party, and discovered that seven girls on one trip is WAY TOO MANY. despite all of the drama, we barely paid for a thing and had some great times: hanging out in a caesar's palace pool with junior seau (RIP), partying with rich kids from north carolina (and their rich uncle), and seeing the beatles cirque show. 

one of my best friends, alissa, got VIP tickets to see O.A.R., who i hate, but it was free and it was  nice night for an outdoor concert, so whatever. the best part of the show (and the only thing i remember) was when the dude-bro in front of us, high on a combination of various substances, just ralphed on himself in the middle of the show.

finally, my friend tati came up from albany to go to the something corporate reunion show with me and it was a perfectly emo evening as the summer came to a close.

now i'm about to cry because i feel old and like summers aren't fun anymore, so let's all reminisce together. 

what was your favorite summer?