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2013 in a Nutshell


Credit: Google Images

Wow — it’s been a while since I’ve posted to the blog. Let’s just say that 2013 has been a whirlwind of a year. Not only have I continued to explore Boston, in all it’s glory, but on a personal note, I got engaged, started a new job and adopted a dog. It’s been an incredible year but 2014 is going to blow it out of the water…I can already tell. I was thinking about how to best kick start my postings again and remembered that over the past few years I’ve been writing on this blog, I’ve started the year with resolutions. Well, let’s say goals (I personally think resolutions are made to be broken so why not make changes more achievable?). Before I create a list of places to visit and things to eat, I wanted to take a quick look back at what I was able to accomplish in 2013. 

*Note: anything crossed out was done in 2013. 


  1. Blue Ribbon
  2. Erbaluce
  3. Regal Begal
  4. Giacomo’s
  5. South End Buttery
  6. Bee Hive
  7. Silvertone


  1. Harpoon or Sam Adams Brewery Tour
  2. Bunker Hill
  3. Boston Public Library
  4. Marathon Monday
  5. Fall Foliage/Leaf Peeping
  6. Corn Maze
  7. Haunted Boston Bus Tour
  8. Celtics or Bruins Game
  9. Institute of Contemporary Art

Based on the above, it doesn’t seem like I did much in 2013 but I think one of my downfalls was that I haven’t updated this list since the beginning of the year. Thinking about everything I did last year, there’s definitely much more here than meets the eye. For 2014, I’m going to leave my “places” list the same but I’d like to revise my food list, since it’s gotten quite small since I created it in 2012. More to come on my eating goals for the year. Of course, if you have recommendations, please leave them in the comments section. 

Happy New Year! Stay warm, Boston!

HIMYS Looks Back to Look Forward

Last year, I made a few resolutions for myself … well, not exactly resolutions, more like goals (if you don’t already know, I hate resolutions – I prefer to think about a to do list or goals). These related to places I wanted to visit or try within the New England area. The list below is from my post last January, and I’ve crossed off those activities, venues or restaurants I was able to get to in 2012:


  1. Blue Ribbon
  2. Firefly
  3. Erbaluce
  4. Orinoco
  5. Regal Begal
  6. Giacomo’s
  7. South End Buttery
  8. Bee Hive
  9. Silvertone
  10. The Capital Grille


  1. Harpoon or Sam Adams Brewery Tour
  2. Bunker Hill
  3. Visit Maine or Rhode Island
  4. Boston Public Library
  5. Marathon Monday
  6. Fall Foliage/Leaf Peeping
  7. Corn Maze
  8. Haunted Boston Bus Tour
  9. Celtics or Bruins Game
  10. Institute of Contemporary Art

When I look back at the places I wanted to visit or cross off my list, it doesn’t seem that impressive. However, I do feel like I got to experience quite a bit in 2012 that wasn’t on my list – likely because I hadn’t even thought about it. For example, rather than the Harpoon brewery, I visited Red Hook up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and got to try a delicious lobster roll from the Beach Plum. I also went camping up in Maine and tried a ridiculous amount of local eateries around the Boston area, that weren’t necessarily even on my radar. I also got to be a part of two weddings for some of my closest friends, visit places I haven’t been to (and ended up getting stuck in) *cough* San Francisco, and return to places I love like Minnesota, Texas and Disney! It was a full and fulfilling year, for sure. 

While 2012 was amazing, I’m looking forward to checking off a few more of the items above in 2013 (and going beyond this). If I learned anything last year, it’s that you have to be open to the unexpected and ready to embrace it. So, here I am, ready, willing and hungry! 

A September 1st Tale


Moving Day!

As I reflect back on the day that was September 1st, I’m filled with much less anxiety and frustration. In fact, now I just laugh. Moving at the beginning of September may not seem like much in other areas of the country, but here in Boston, it’s absolute madness. I’ve talked about the day before – the traffic jams, the trash and the general insanity of it all. However, observing the day and moving on the day are two very different things. I was fortunate enough to have moved on this particular day this year – and it was a doozy. 

Let me set up the situation because truly, the odds were staked against me and the other fortunate souls forced to move on this day.

First, this September 1st fell on a Saturday, which meant that the probability of it being more ridiculous than normal was at an all time high. Knowing the chaotic nature of the day, it’s important to make logistical plans well in advance, which is why I along with my new roommates reserved a truck several months ahead of the day. However, a few days prior, the truck company called and was unable to provide any standard moving truck. As you might expect, it’s not easy to move three people’s stuff without a truck. Instead, a caravan of cars (accompanied by a group of amazing friends) and a rented pickup truck served as a backup, meaning that it took the entire day to move rather than a few hours.

That was just the tip of the iceberg as there was a mound of trash on the side of the apartment, some of the previous tenants goods in the apartment, five new upstairs neighbors moving at the same time, the opening day of a college football game, insane traffic, etc etc.

I’ve heard other stories about September 1st moves and I’m sure there are plenty more unpleasant tales that make my experience look more like a fairy tale. The upside to all of this is that I absolutely love my new apartment – and I’m so glad I made the move.

I also feel like moving on September 1st is the City of Boston’s way of hazing new residents. So, now that I’ve survived my first Moving Day, I think I’ll stay a while. Just try to get rid of me now Boston!

Catching up after a crazy Fall!

Whoa! It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. Well, it’s been quite a crazy Fall that have included trips out of the state to Dallas, Austin, Florida, New Jersey/Pennsylvania and New York. Oh and let’s not forget moving day, Sandy and then a Nor’easter. Phew! I think crazy might not be the right word to describe the Fall.

Not to worry! More posts are coming soon recapping the ridiculous last few months and talking about what is hopefully a relaxing (and not too chilly) Winter.

Stay tuned!

Two Years!

I meant to bust out this post in June – but as usual, time got away with me. And look! It’s almost August.  

Time does certainly fly and it’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I moved to Boston from Texas. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t miss Texas. In fact, as many of my friends know, I actually have a hard time leaving Austin whenever I visit. However, I really feel at home in Boston and don’t feel like I’ve managed to explore or experience as much as I can yet.

Until I’ve run my course on adventures, or I absolutely cannot stand winter anymore, Boston has my heart. I can’t wait to see what year three brings! Fingers crossed that it’s not a blizzard.

HIMYS Travels: NYC


Being an East Coaster now, I find it easy to travel to so many places in such a short amount of time. It can probably be easily explained by the fact that every state is significantly smaller than Texas. It feels a bit like there are these wonderful places outside of my door – New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine…the list could go on and on. So it’s only natural that I explore these options.

One of my most recent stops was New York City. Of course, I know many tried-and-true Bostonians who boo and hiss at the mention of New York (at least, that’s the stereotype). However, I find Manhattan to be fascinating. It seems like a place where anything could happen, at any time. Now, it’s important to note that New York City was not a place I had traveled to prior to moving to Boston. I never had an occasion to come out to NYC, though the desire was always there.

Since moving, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the Big Apple a few times. And something I recently realized was that I don’t take advantage of the opportunity to head out to NYC enough.

On my last trip, I visited a few places that were especially cool. First off, a bar call Society. It seemed to have an intimate feel to it, but not overwhelmingly dark, small or loud. The bar also had an alley of pool tables, which is a fun activity when hanging out with friends or looking to make new ones. Similarly, on a separate visit, I went to a bar called Spin. The bar is full of ping pong tables – in fact, I saw a small group of kids training for an upcoming tournament while I was there for happy hour with some coworkers. (Like I said, you never know what you’ll see.)


Of course, for a relatively new visitor to the City, doing the touristy items is a must. On my first official visit, I faced a long-time fear of heights to travel to the top of the Empire State building. It was beautiful to see all of the area. However, the day I went to the observation deck, it was overcast and a bit windy. But it was a great experience! I also went on the NBC Studios tour where I saw a Saturday Night Live rehearsal in progress.

Another location I was able to visit was the USTA Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. This is where the US Open is played – and honestly, the grounds are really cool. It was, obviously, deserted since the US Open is in September but was still a cool sight to see. Equally interesting, the Flushing Meadows Park is where the World’s Fair was held. Personally, it’s interesting to see the area where buildings are, and imagine what it must have been like to be there at the peak of its existence.

I’ve also gotten a chance to eat some incredible food in NYC. Again, on this last trip, I ate at Eatly, an Italian Marketplace around the Flatiron building. The panini I had was delightful – and even better, was eating outside on a 70 degree day. My first visit, I was able to eat myself silly at Max Brenners, which they now have in Boston. While this trip, I had an intimate brunch with friends at a small place in Hell’s Kitchen called Nook. Let’s just say: the name suits the restaurant.

The few times I’ve been able to visit New York, I’ve had a great time. For me, I have a wonderful group of friends and family who live in and around the City, so it is such a joy to see the sights and eat with people who have the inside scoop. Despite the enjoyment that comes with traveling to New York, I’m positive that I would not want to live in NYC. I have incredible respect for those who love it. This girl, however, likes coming home to Beantown.

Activity Time: Chili Cook Off at Church


Winter time and colder weather remind us Texans of a favorite comfort food: chili. So when I heard about the First Annual Chili Cook Off held by Church, I was all over it. Church, which I have written about before on this blog, is a cute restaurant in the Fenway area that has religiously-themed dishes and drinks. Next to the restaurant is a music/event hall, which is where the cook off went down.

Starting at 1:00 pm, I was unsure exactly what to expect in the portions of the chili that guests were going to be trying, as the posters for the event left a lot to the imagination. However, once inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of chili each guest was given – as it was at least a scoop from each station. On top of that, almost every contestant (to which there were around six or seven official competitors) jazzed up the dish with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese and in one case, pig ear.

Overall, I enjoyed getting a chance to sample some fantastic chili dishes. I love Chowder Fest in the summer, so why wouldn’t I have liked a Chili Cook Off? The downside was that the event was incredibly crowded. According to the Boston Globe, there were around 250 people that attended. It doesn’t seem like a crazy number, except that the entire event was held in a small space. Once the crowd piled in, it was hard to move from station to station – and it got hot fast (especially after eating several bowls of chili).

While I haven’t been able to find out who won the actual “People’s Choice Award,” I can give you my thoughts on the dishes:

Sweet Caroline’s – traditional style of chili with big chunks of hamburger and beans, loaded with chives, sour cream, small tortilla chips and cheese. I voted for this one because it had a good level of flavor, was a thicker chili and provided a good amount of ingredients.

Fenway Park – chocolate/cocoa powder base sauce with meat and beans, loaded with an avocado, sour cream, tortilla, etc. I didn’t know Fenway had chili but I thought it was great! I’ll absolutely order this when it’s on the colder side at Red Sox games.

Church – chili three ways: mole chili, turkey chili and traditional. My biggest hang up was the mole, as it was way too sweet and didn’t have any spice on it. I tried it first, so I don’t think I gave the other chili’s a fair shot.

Sweet Cheeks – non-traditional turkey chili with a white base and some sort of cilantro/pesto type sauce on top. I really enjoyed this one, as it had big chunks of turkey and lots of flavor. Also, I got to meet Top Chef’s Tiffani Faison, who checked the chili’s flavors before scooping!

Thorntons – traditional chili with large beans and shredded beef. This was my least favorite of all the chilies I tried. There wasn’t a lot of flavor and the base was really watery. I will be going to this restaurant for brunch (which apparently they have everyday)!

Jerry Remy’s – traditional chili with lots of meat and no beans. We Southerners talk a big game about “no beans” being the right kind of chili but honestly, it had spice and not a lot of flavor.

Tasty Burger/Citizens – traditional chili with a modern twist that was decorated with pig ear and a fancy cheese. It was a good effort but I personally didn’t enjoy this one as much.

As I said, I enjoyed the concept of the event and had it not been so crowded, I would have absolutely stayed longer. However, I felt rushed to try the food and get out. I would say that the highlight of the day for me was meeting Tiffani – though to spend time on a Saturday eating chili is absolutely heaven.

New England’s Dunkin’ Obsession

Source: Wikipedia

Many of my previous posts have centered around unique attractions, restaurants or experiences in Boston. What’s important to understand about this post is that the rest of the country doesn’t love (or even have access to) Dunkin’ Donuts nearly as much as Boston. Dunkin’ Donuts was founded in Quincy, Massachusetts by William Rosenburg in 1950. The franchise has somewhere around 300 stores in the state – meaning that every time you turn around, you run into a Dunkin’.

Most Bostonians, when asked about their coffee choices, will select either Starbucks or Dunkin’. I’ve found that most people I know prefer Dunkin’. And not only is it everywhere, but it’s cheaper than many alternatives like Starbucks. Of course, when you hit up Fenway Park or any other large sporting event, Dunkin’ is typically a bit more expensive but still a staple at these area festivities.

The obsession with Dunkin’ really is quite a phenomenon in Boston. When I mention that Dunkin’ can’t really be found in Texas, expect for the grounds at supermarkets, I usually receive baffled looks. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Dunkin’ – and am definitely converted from my former Starbucks days. However, the loyalty to the franchise is kind of unique to this area. It definitely provides insight into the Boston persona.

If you visit from out of town, or just moved from an area that doesn’t have any Dunkin’ options, I definitely suggest grabbing a big cup on the way to work. It may not be a historic attraction or a swanky four star restaurant but the brand has deep roots in Boston. And it’s wicked good!

Measuring the Snow, the Boston Way

It does seem never ending, this crazy snow fall that won’t stop hitting Boston. With yet another storm approaching, the Globe has started measuring the total accumulation against a Shaq-o-meter. This is pretty funny:

Holy Moly! Church Rocks!

I’ve had an opportunity to visit quite a few amazing restaurants since moving here – though I have neglected writing about them…until now! A huge part of the excellence of the city is the culinary scene. Boston has incredible restaurant options, some renowned worldwide, while others are just locally raved. Of course, when you ask Bostonians for things to do, you typically receive a large amount of food recommendations. I’m just starting to work through them all!

One of the places that I visited recently was Church in the Fenway area. The restaurant is highly rated on sites like Yelp, so I figured I was in for something pretty good. And frankly, it did not disappoint. A friend and I stopped by for brunch on a Saturday, before hitting up the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum (which I’ll record in a future entry). The atmosphere is very warm and open – as there were couches and booths along the wall, while tables and a decent bar area filled the rest of the space.

Eggs Benedictine

The menu and drinks are themed with religious history, which was honestly very well done and incredibly creative. My breakfast, the Eggs Benedictine, was incredibly delicious. I’m not a huge eggs benedict fan but I would definitely order this again. My friend ordered the Toad in a Hole, which consisted of two slices of french toast with poached eggs and crisp bacon on top. I was able to sneak a bite of this dish, and though I don’t like mixing sweet and salty, I couldn’t help putting this on my favorites list.

The service was great and the price of two dishes with coffee was only 20 bucks. Really a steal for a fancy restaurant in the Fenway area! Church also boasts an interesting music scene, as there is a concert venue attached to the back of the restaurant. I would definitely recommend hitting up Church, if you are looking for some tasty food. If I don’t go back for brunch soon, I would love to try this spot for dinner and drinks.