Sunday, January 25, 2015

around town: forge baking company

as a coffee addict, baked goods aficionado, and a writer, i'm forever on the lookout for a place to set up shop and toil away for a couple hours on a sunday morning. let's be real, half of that time is probably spent trying to find the perfect spotify playlist and/or facebook stalking and/or people watching. but i digress.

i recently read on one of my favorite local blogs, somerville beat, that a new cafe had emerged on the scene. while i'm quite loyal to my ol' standby (kickstand cafe in arlington), i was in the mood to mix things up and give the new kid a chance. i'm so glad i did!

forge baking company is housed in an old warehouse space within a shopping plaza (no parallel parking, hallelujaaaah!). it's totally bright, open, and airy. oh, and big! it always bothers me when cafes have like, 2 tables in the whole place. i wanna sit and sip, man. sit and sip i did, thanks to the abundance of seating, which included a counter that looked into the kitchen. no secrets here! there was also a ton of cool art on the walls that i dug.

the menu is large and varied, with both sweet and savory offerings. fresh-baked pastries, muffins, and scones are available alongside more substantial sandwiches and salads. i obviously got the house-made s'more pop tart, because ... uhhh, WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT IT?

i should also note that there's free wi-fi -- which, as far as i'm concerned, should be a requirement at any coffee shop. you'd be surprised how many places in the area don't offer it, though (::cough::rhymes with "weasel"::cough::).

overall, forge is a great addition to the neighborhood with good coffee, good food, and good vibes. i'm looking forward to becoming a regular!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


now, for something completely different. i may have been all gung-ho on winter a few weeks ago, but i've moved on and i'm ready for sunshine and warm weather once again. since i have a waaaays to go 'til things warm up (and i go to vegas in april!), i decided to bring the summer vibes here.

we've got the perfect soundtrack:

oh my god, i've rediscovered this song in a big way in the past few days. it was my jam at age 16, and no matter what mood i'm in or how old i get, it never fails to transport me to a boardwalk where i'm eating cotton candy and wearing cut-offs. dig it.

aaaaaand some sweet treats:

can't forget the waves:

and one of those tacky t-shirt shops, for good measure:

your turn! what would you bring to the party?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

5 things i love: boston winter edition

if you couldn't tell by the flood of iPhone weather screenshots, it's cooooooooold here in the northeast. i'm hunkered down with a blanket, some coffee, my favorite candles, my wax warmer, my flannel PJs, uhhh you get the idea. but it got me thinking about some of my favorite things to do 'round here when the temps drop and drop and drop and drop.

1. drink hot chocolate at max brenner and LA burdick

if you hate hot chocolate, i feel bad for you, son. there are only a handful of both max brenner and LA burdick locations in the whole country, and the boston area is blessed to host both chains. while both provide top-notch cocoa and ambiance to boot, i've gotta hand it to max brenner because of their adorable hug mugs. also, i made the mistake of ordering a large hot chocolate at burdick a few weeks ago, and almost fell into a chocolate coma on newbury street because it was so rich. but i mean, if i had to fall into a coma, a chocolate one would probably be the best kind, eh?


for once, i didn't steal anyone's photos for this one! that's my very own hug mug from a visit to max brenner, and what i like to call a "where's waldo selfie" at LA burdick. 

2. shop for weird vintage jackets and scarves at oona's and raspberry beret

the only thing better than wearing a cute sundress or romper that belonged to some random, strange person is wearing a fur coat or a fluffy patterned scarf that belonged to some random, strange person. y'all know that i am all about secondhand stuff, and thus completely unfazed by all of the odd smells and other unknowns ... perhaps disturbingly so. but anywho, you can find some true gems at oona's in harvard square and raspberry beret in porter square, from big jackets to cute hats and all sorts of other winter wear. plus, how can you NOT love a place named after a prince song?

3. watch people fall down while ice skating at the frog pond

am i a bad person? i mean, i do love watching great skaters do their thang, too. but as someone that has only been on ice skates a few times in her life -- and spent most of those times flat on her ass -- i've just gotta sympathize (while chuckling) with the poor souls that chose to show off their skills (or lack thereof) right there in the middle of boston common. we're laughing with you!

4. eat mac & cheese at the publick house 

ugh, i wish i lived closer! their beer menu is killer, but i come for the mac & cheese. you get your choice of add-ins, which include shrimp, scallops, lobster, and short rib. 'nuff said. 

5. get cozy with a cocktail at JM curley

i'm actually obsessed with this bar. and it's in downtown crossing, so that's saying a lot. from my first visit, when the insanely hot bartender lit my friend's and my drink ON FIRE with a match in his mouth, i was sold. whew, sorry, still get a little flushed thinking about that moment a year later. aside from the drink pyrotechnics and eye candy behind the bar, it's got a super-cozy neighborhood vibe and they have yummy cocktails and an amazing food menu (ramen lasagna, huhhh). plus, they give you bacon-y popcorn! great great great.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

my 2015 to-do list

as i began to draft my annual list of things to do, i realized that i'm headed into my 29th year. STOP THE WORLD,  I WANT TO GET OFF. jk, i'm (sort of) cool with it. but i had to dig deep into my 30 before 30 list this time around, considering that i've only completed 7ish of the items on it thus far. there are a couple repeats from years past on here -- can someone please crash a wedding with me?! -- but i'm feeling confident that i can make most of these happen.

what do you want to accomplish in the new year?

1. learn to parallel park
2. secure a book deal
3. go skinny-dipping
4. get my cheeseburger tattoo
5. see the grand canyon
6. kiss in the rain
7. go zip lining
8. meet dave grohl (ok, i'll settle for any famous musician ... but bonus points for dave grohl)
9. do something in vegas that stays in vegas
10. strike up a conversation with a stranger on public transportation
11. go to the zoo
12. pose for a photo in front of tom's restaurant in NYC
13. read i wear the black hat by chuck klosterman
14. start a daily journal
15. [keeping this one to myself]
16. cook dinner for someone
17. attend a celtics game
18. make a fancy cocktail for myself
19. go climbing at brooklyn boulders in somerville
20. have a happy & fulfilling romantic relationship with a grown-ass, emotionally available man
21. ride a rollercoaster
22. dine at the top of the hub
23. buy a home (let's try this again ...)
24. bake one of each of the following: a bread, a cake, a pie, a pastry, and a cookie
25. see a drive-in movie (can you believe i've never been?!)
26. leave a lucky penny for someone to find
27. see a band that i love for the first time in concert
28. book the trip to london/paris/amsterdam that i've been dreaming about for 3 years
29. order a whiskey flight at citizen public & oyster house
30. get ice cream delivery from scoopsies
31. do a "cleanse" (maybe after the ice cream delivery?)
32. relax in a hot tub
33. visit an island
34. begin a collection (i'm thinking souvenir mugs)
35. buy a meal for a homeless person
36. read a famous memoir (seeking suggestions)
37. submit something that i wrote to an anthology
38. go pear-picking
39. make cold-brewed coffee
40. go to a strip club
41. crash a wedding
42. send a snail-mail letter
43. take a class for fun
44. get a tarot reading at the tremont tea room
45. see a movie and then read the book it was based on
46. complete the new york times sunday crossword in one hour or less
47. hang out in a tree house
48. play blackjack
49. attend a dance performance
50. meet someone from twitter in person

Saturday, December 6, 2014

my top 14 songs of 2014!

it's that time again! i usually wait until a bit later in the month, but i got inspired a couple of weeks ago and just had to make my list immediately. i also usually count down instead of up, but let's get to the good stuff right away, shall we? handy-dandy spotify playlist (minus taylor swift, that drama queen) HERE.

what were your favorite songs this year?

1. bear hands - "giants"

i had a hard time choosing just one track from bear hands' excellent album distraction, but this tune won out and rose to the top for me due to the combination of frontman dylan rau's delightfully erratic delivery, a super-breezy chorus, and a reference to the late, great rapper ODB. though i'm still not sure what he "got right from the start."

2. bad suns - "transpose"

full disclosure that this one has a bit of sentimental value for me, because i completely associate it with my february trip to new orleans. but it's so good! and so catchy! i don't really know what else to say except that it's just a killer indie pop song.

3. catfish & the bottlemen - "kathleen"

i've talked about these guys a bunch this year even though i absolutely despise their name. yet, i can't deny that they make great music. just try and resist shouting along as van mccann (his real name) is all "i gotta give it to you, you give me problems!" perfect soundtrack for road rage and/or a toxic relationship. this live performance makes me chuckle because of van mccann's accent.

4. freedom fry - "the wilder mile"

more people need to hear this! it's understated, beautiful, and a little melancholy. plus, best band name ever? behind diarrhea planet, that is.

5. trey songz f/ nicki minaj - "touchin', lovin'" 

mr songz's (?) entire album trigga was a favorite for me this year, but upon my first listen, i immediately identified this song as the standout. mainly because it made me go "dayum, did he just really say that?!" the first few times i listened. and also because it made me dance in my car at least 30 times.

i recommended it to a guy i was dating over the summer when i was really obsessed with it, and his response was a stunned "this is sooo raunchy. why do you like it?" then i felt like a perv and immediately was all like, "uhhh, i just really love the beat!" (which, i mean, i do). also, i'm no longer dating that guy, so i can now openly profess my love for trey songz and his explicit r&b jams without fear of prejudice and judgment.

6. heathers - "circular road"

they're like the irish tegan and sara! if i based this list on choruses alone, i think this would take the crown.

7. the orwells - "southern comfort"

the lyrics to this song just contain so much practical wisdom. it's like a rock 'n roll how-to guide, performed by 12 year-olds (okay, they're like 20). come on: "life is better with a handful of ass, badass shades, and a bag full of grass"? pure poetry.

8. iggy azalea f/ charli xcx - "fancy"

sorry, had to. but you can't deny that no matter how much you hear this, you will instinctively say "first things first, i'm tha realest" in your most gangsta voice every. single. time. or maybe that's just me. bonus points for the video that riffs on clueless, too.

9. cathedrals - "harlem"

soooooo chill. go lay in the grass somewhere, close your eyes, and listen.

10. curtis harding - "surf"

definitely the best song i will ever shazam in a forever 21. and imagine my excitement to find out he's on my favorite label, burger records! a little bit funk, a little bit soul, a little bit rock and roll. dig it.

11. the knocks f/ powers - "classic"

a total summer jam that is perfect for any time of year. it makes me think of the beach and frolicking and flirting and being carefree and basically everything good and fun in life.

12. taylor swift - "blank space"

say what you want about t-swift, but the bitch can write a hell of a pop song. the obvious choice would be "shake it off," but i gravitate towards "blank space" because it's adorably self-deprecating and a lil' quirky. however, i will continue to sing "gotta love those starbucks lovers" instead of "got a long list of ex-lovers" because it sounds like starbucks, dammit.

13. courtney barnett - "avant gardener"

speaking of quirky, ms. barnett has cornered the market when it comes to clever, oddball lyrics. my favorite? "the paramedic thinks i'm clever 'cause i play guitar/i think she's clever 'cause she stops people dyin'." oh, courtney!

14. kid ink f/ chris brown - "show me"

never thought one of my favorite songs of 2014 would include the word "panties," but i guess i shouldn't be surprised after #5. see, i can safely hate chris brown and acknowledge that he's a terrible human being ... unless he's singing, or  dancing, or crooning that he's going to give me what i neeeeeed, yeaaaaah. then it's like:

also, the beat just makes me wanna groove.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

super-cliche thanksgiving post: what are you grateful for?

i know, i know. it's rare to see me going all "attitude of gratitude" and #blessed and deepak chopra (but real talk: i've been doing his daily meditation series with oprah and it's phenom). 

however, it seems only appropriate that i think about some of the things in my life that i appreciate the most in preparation for the upcoming turkeyfest next week. how about y'all?

  • my health. after a couple of harrowing experiences in my past (a freak monster cyst in college and emergency gallbladder surgery just two years ago), i was terrified to have my routine physical about a month ago. but everything looks fab! totally worth a happy dance, and something i've learned not to take for granted. 
  • COFFEE. yeah, it tastes like heaven, but i realized that the ritual of stumbling out of bed and over to my single-serve brewer brings me such great joy each morning. give me a full mug, a full RSS feed, and my sun-filled living room, and i'mma be alright.
  • my family. a bunch of my aunts, uncles, and cousins got together for a mini-reunion a few weeks back, and it really helped bring me out of my head and into the moment. we made dinner together and watched scary movies and competed against each other in darts, trivia, and ping pong. sounds sappy, but it was just what i needed that weekend.
  • really good songs. it always amazes me that even when i'm in the best of moods, a really poignant song can make me cry. or when i'm in the worst of moods, a really upbeat song can make me smile. like, when i went to see the new pornographers live this week, all i wanted to hear was their song "bones of an idol" because it's beautiful and grand and epic. and they played it! i may have teared up a little bit.
  • my friends. while a couple of my gal pals are married with kids now, we've established a tradition of monthly girls' nights where we all get together and eat and drink too much and gossip and analyze texts and it's basically like sex and the city without the louboutins and cougars. hos before bros, man. always.
  • traveling. it doesn't even have to be far, but just a day trip to explore a place i've never been gives me a whole new lease on life and recharges the ol' batteries sometimes. i've been really fortunate to get to see a whole bunch of cool places in my 28 years, and can't wait to see even more.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

celebs i want to party with

these folks just look like they're a good time. i would love to close down the bar and/or sing karaoke and/or have silly drunk conversations with the following individuals. how about you?

matthew mcconaughey

this one's a given, because who DOESN'T want to get weird with this man? though i'd probably make him imitate wooderson the whole night. "there's a new fiesta in the making as we speak."

jenny slate

she's a mass native, and she's also hilarious. can't go wrong!

jason segel

just seems like a really laid-back, nice dude. and he'd make me laugh and laugh and laugh.


i've always said that if i was a pop star, i'd probably end up being a mix between lady gaga and ke$ha. she's sooooo weird, meaning that any time spent with her would probably result in an epic story.

blake anderson

my favorite workaholics cast member. when i first saw him on conan one night, discussing how he broke his spine when he jumped off a roof at a party, i was all about it.