Concerts Galore

The summertime is the perfect time of year to attend outdoor concerts with friends and family. Of course, it always depends on the weather, but thankfully this summer the rain has held out for the few concerts I’ve attended (and even if it does rain, who doesn’t love dancing carelessly in the pouring rain to LIVE music?!).

I always have an ongoing bucket list of bands and artists I want to see in concert and this summer I was lucky enough to cross two BIG ones off my list.

In July, I made a weekend trip to New York City to see Beyonce & Jay Z’s On the Run Tour at the Metlife Stadium with one of my good friends from home. I was a big fan of Destiny’s Child growing up and loved all of Beyonce’s top hits when she spun off her solo career. But what I was most excited about for this tour was watching her and her back-up dancers rock out on stage. Even though I was about a mile from the stage, Beyonce and her dancers put so much energy into amplifying every single move and shimmy that the distance between myself and the stage didn’t even matter.

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 Queen B herself  (not many of my pictures came out all that well).

Just last weekend, two of my good friends from school came up to visit Boston and also to see One Direction’s Where We Are Tour at Gillette Stadium (yes I am 23 years old and I saw One Direction, no shame). Even though we may have been the oldest ones in attendance (besides the parents chaperoning their crazy tweens), it was such a fun night and the weather was PERFECT. We may or may not have tried tracking down the fab five the following day in Boston…

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I just had to get a close up of Harry Styles on the jumbo-tron.

IMG_5173They had some pretty cool fireworks to go along with their top hits.

Summer isn’t over just yet! I still have one more concert to attend once I head home, which is the Kings of Leon Mechanical Bull Tour. I’m ready to add some rock ‘n roll into the concert mix!

Weekend Wonders

This past weekend my parents were in town visiting and we enjoyed a packed full three days of explorations and cannolis. Lexington itself is home to some top-notch restaurants, such as my go-to, Vine Brook Tavern. But it’s also home to some of America’s first historical sites, some of them just around the corner from my apartment. I love stumbling upon monuments I remember learning about in my high school American History class, like Paul Revere’s capture site.

Concord is the next town over and is home to Henry David Thoreau’s famous cabin on Walden Pond. We were able to spend an afternoon wandering through the quaint downtown area and seeing some of the attractions for ourselves. They have some great shopping for such a tiny town – my favorite being a nautical/beach store, Jack + Toba (makes me feel like I’m back home on a Florida beach!). We also ate dinner at a delicious farm to table restaurant called 80 Thoreau. My favorite course was dessert, as per usual, which was a lemon soufflé with pistachio ice cream.

If it isn’t already obvious, my favorite part of the weekend was exploring new dining options with my parents. We’re lucky enough to have a connection to one of the authentic Italian restaurants in the North End. My dad’s cousin, Ann, owns Dino’s Cafe on the corner of Salem & Prince Street. We were lucky enough to be able to stop by and try some of the delicious food for ourselves. I chose the lobster ravioli and my parents split a mouth-watering veal parmesan sub. The food was beyond anything you could ever imagine, so authentic and flavorful I felt like I was studying abroad in Italy all over again!

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The best veal parmesan sub this side of the Atlantic!

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Fresh lobster ravioli in a cream sauce.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Ann over cappuccinos and gelato in a classic Italian cafe around the corner from Dino’s called, Vittoria Caffe. The best cappuccino I’ve had in a while! It was so wonderful to be able to meet up with family and feel at home in the big city. Ann even has a photo of the Grieff family hanging up in Dino’s and my grandfather is pictured in the back top left corner, how’s that for an authentic family restaurant!

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Of course, we couldn’t leave the North End without heading over to the world famous, Mike’s Pastry shop to get not one, but three cannolis. As the Godfather would say, “leave the gun, take the cannoli”.

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An espresso chocolate chip cannoli – words can’t do it justice!

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You know you’re in the North End when all signs lead to Rome!

All in all, it was a great weekend spent with family exploring the city some more. It’s always great to have some tender love and care!

Scrumptious Blueberry Muffins

Nothing beats dessert for breakfast, am I right? Pastries, muffins, and any breakfast food with the slightest bit of chocolate in it is one of my biggest weaknesses. I love waking up knowing I can have a warm croissant or fresh muffin to go with my daily cup of coffee.

This weekend my parents are in town visiting and I wanted to make something easy for us to take on the road for breakfast as I’m sure we’ll be doing lots of sightseeing and fun activities throughout Boston. I’ve made these blueberry muffins in the past, courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes and Cashmere and they were a huge hit so I thought, why not make them again!

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The recipe itself is from Ina Garten and makes plenty of batter for at least 16 scrumptious muffins. I like to add streusel on top of mine so I used a basic brown sugar streusel topping, which can be found here.

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Be sure to put the streusel on top of the batter before placing the muffins in the oven for a crisp topping.

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I alternated between using a regular sized muffin pan and a mini muffin pan for those who wanted a bite-size portion to go with their breakfast.

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Bon appétit!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

All Things NYC

This afternoon, I’m heading to South Station to hop on the Amtrack and head to the Big Apple. I always love visiting New York City to take in all it has to offer: the people, the food, the sites, the culture, and the fact that your bucket list is always never-ending -there’s always something new and exciting you haven’t done just yet.

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Isn’t this view enough to make you want to go visit?!

Ever since graduating from high school (was it really only four years ago!?), I’ve had my mind made up on setting my sights towards getting to New York City for the long run. Only time will tell, so for now I’ll have to settle on spending a few days there to celebrate my friend Danielle’s 22nd birthday by seeing Beyonce & Jay-Z in concert (yes, dreams DO come true!).

For those of you making a trip to NYC or just in the process of thinking about it, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite things to do/see/eat/and much, much more in the city that never sleeps:

–  Smorgasburg, the most awesome flea market you will ever attend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tons of food trucks/carts, craft jewelry, artwork, vintage finds. A hipster’s playground!

–  Momofuku, literally one of my favorite NYC restaurants. You definitely need a reservation, but if you go late enough at night with a small group you can sit at the bar. My favorite dish: the steamed buns (soooo good!)

–  Big Gay Ice Cream, craving ice cream on a hot summer day? This is the place to go whether you’re a nutella-lover, chocolate & sea salt fan, or just want something different in the realm of ice cream, it’s a MUST have!

–  The High Line, for the best view of the sunset head to the High Line and take a sunset stroll before catching dinner. Along the path you’ll come across native art such as this neat mural:

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–  The Met, for some history & art head here. The building itself is a force to be reckoned with and it houses some of the world’s most famous art pieces as well as really innovative exhibitions. Oh and be sure to make it up to the roof top for the most serene view of the city looking over Central Park.

–  Think Coffee, rumor has it Ryan Gosling hangs out here when he’s in town. Coffee lovers unite here for a welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy a warm pastry and espresso while people watching in the Village.

Nizza, the best spaghetti & meatballs in the city hands down! Located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen.

Juliette, a quaint, quiet French restaurant tucked away in Brooklyn with a rooftop seating area perfect for a July summer night. They have delicious sangria!

Lincoln Center, whether you come here to see a show or just to walk through the courtyard it’s a beautiful area to take in the scenery. You may even stumble upon an impromptu, free outdoor performance!

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Washington Square Park, after a long day it’s always nice to walk through this park and people watch or grab a spot on the grass for a good read.

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The Smith, craving a hearty brunch with a bloody mary in hand? Head here!

Grey Dog Cafe, for a low-key brunch with a big ‘ole cup of joe, this is the place to go.

As Sinatra said, “start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!”

Wednesday Wonders

As you can probably tell from reading my posts, I am a huge foodie. This past weekend was a holiday AND it was my 23rd birthday, so naturally I allowed myself to indulge in as many delicacies as wanted. To kickoff my birthday this past Saturday, my good friend Brianna and I went to brunch at The Beehive, known for having live music during brunch time.

I was super excited to go since the previous weekend I had brunch at their sister restaurant, the Beat Hotel in Harvard Square. The wildflower honey & lemon pancakes I had there were delicious, so I knew my meal at the Beehive would be top-notch.

As expected, the Beehive didn’t disappoint – we were even given the “best seat in the house” according to the hostess, who told us Jimmy Kimmel had sat at our table the weekend before (starstruck!). We had a great view of the live jazz band on stage while sipping on sparkling cocktails and enjoying the eggs shakshuka, a Moroccan twist on the traditional eggs benedict dish.

BeehiveeThe “Bohmeian Style” Eggs Shakshuka dish.

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Our stellar view of the live jazz band (+cocktails).

After such a delicious brunch, we walked it off touring the Freedom Trail and walking through Boston Common on a beautiful July afternoon. We even got some selfies with famous statues of our Founding Fathers!

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Just hanging out with George Washington.

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Nothing beats a view of blue skies in the Public Garden.

Hope you all are having a great week and catching up on some much needed rest after the long holiday weekend. Below you’ll find some of my favorite links this week:

1.) A stark look at the reality of the perception we have towards photoshop in America.

2.) I have been craving breakfast tacos lately and this recipe is the perfect cure!

3.) These look so good – the perfect summer treat!

4.) A great new travel blog I stumbled upon the other day.

5.) Love this article T-swift wrote on the future of music for Wall Street Journal’s 125th anniversary edition.

6.) A hilarious, short satire written by one of my favorites, David Sedaris.

7.) 7 friends every woman needs – so true!

8.) What Southern City Are You? I got Charleston!

 

Chili Cook-Off!

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July Weekend! Hopefully Hurricane Arthur didn’t rain on too many people’s Independence Day Parades.

This past weekend was full of fun here in Boston – I celebrated America and my 23rd birthday with a good friend from home (thanks for making the trip up here, Brianna!). But after a long weekend of celebrating, by the time Sunday rolled around I was ready to relax in my apartment and watch chick-flick after chick-flick on the couch. By the time dinner rolled around I was craving some home-cooked comfort food. For me, nothing satisfies that craving better than a bowl of chili!

I made a chili recipe from one of my all time favorite bloggers, Emily Schuman from Cupcakes & Cashmere. Her recipe uses ground turkey instead of beef, so it’s not as heavy as most other chili recipes – however, I find it just as hearty. It takes just under an hour to make from start to finish! I also made the jalapeño and cheddar cornbread Emily recommends to go along with it (I opted out of putting the jalapeños into it, since I’m not too fond of them).

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All of the ingredients needed for the mouth-watering cornbread.

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The cornbread can be cooked for 30-35 minutes while you cook the chili!

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You know what smells good? Fresh out of the oven cornbread!

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The finished product! For a variation, you can serve the chili atop rice or spaghetti noodles – I prefer dipping the cornbread into the chili, personally.

A Guide to Independence Day

4th of July is my favorite holiday of the year – it falls in the summertime (my favorite season), you spend all day outdoors, and you’re surrounded by friends and family (oh, and you have work off!). Last night I started preparing for the holiday in advance and made mini 4th of July themed red, white, and blue cupcakes courtesy of one of my favorite recipe books from The Hummingbird Bakery.

IMG_3016Nothing tastes better than cake batter 🙂

IMG_3018The finished product – they were all out of holiday sprinkles at the store, sadly.

I used the vanilla cupcake & vanilla frosting recipes found in their first cookbook, here. When I was studying abroad in college, I was lucky enough to randomly stumble upon one of their brick and mortar shops and try a genuine Hummingbird Cupcake – so good! They even package it in a little Chinese takeout to-go box with their logo on the top.

Not sure what to wear/bake/cook/drink for the holiday? No worries, I’ve got you covered with a guide below! Also, feel free to check out my 4th of July Pinterest board!

1.) Love this DIY inspired outfit, plus what’s more American than a Coca-Cola shirt?!

2.) Such a great idea to have mini finger food available if you’re hosting a BBQ (these fries would go perfect with the mini sliders)

3.) Printable patriotic beer labels – easy DIY project.

4.) These American flag mason jars are so cute!

5.) Easy Sparkler Cake – love how easy it is to use yogurt-dipped pretzels on edges as decoration.

6.) This is the cutest backyard bar cart I’ve ever seen.

Hope you all have a great, long 4th of July Weekend and I’ll see you again next week!

 

Finally Friday!

Who doesn’t love Fridays?! This weekend I plan on exploring the city some more and enjoying some much needed time outdoors. One of these days, I’ll have to make it to the Cape so I can get my feet back in the sand and ocean.

Some of my favorite things to do on the weekends are going on a long run outside (while simultaneously working on my tan), taking time to cook a fresh, homemade meal, catching up on my favorite Netflix shows (Mad Men, anyone?!), and making memories with friends both new and old. I also love venturing over to this awesome local grocery store, Wilson’s Farm to get local ingredients for meals and fresh cut flowers for my coffee table.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetFresh bouquet of peonies, my new favorite flower.

To close out the first week of summer I wanted to share some of my favorite links:

1.) Glee stars lip-synch to Haim’s “The Wire” – my fav girl band of ALL time.

2.) 39 Reasons Studying Abroad in Italy Ruins You for Life – I just had to include this, so true.

3.) The new food everyone is going crazy about –> the churro ice cream sandwich (I’d fly out to LA for this alone).

4.) An interview with Garden & Gun’s Senior Editor – because it’s one of my favorite magazines & my dream job.

5.) I’ve got to try this Instant Ramen Noodle recipe ASAP.

6.) Inspiring article on a young entrepreneur following her dreams to open a boutique (thanks for sharing with me, Lindsey!).

7.) A great blog I stumbled upon for all of you Entry Level millennials out there!

8.) Such a great read on maintaing traditional conversation in our day-to-day lives.

 

What are some of your weekend plans?