Monthly Archives: September 2013

Maine: Part One

After our busy days in Boston, we were ready to take things a little slow in Maine. As I mentioned in my last post, we got into Portland, Maine on Sunday afternoon. We got Monday started with a delicious breakfast there at the inn. We had eggs cooked in pieces of ham, while the neighbor came over to play the piano and treated us to a few tunes from Les Mis. Now that’s my kind of breakfast. Once we were done eating, my parents were off to visit the supplier my dad has worked with for a while while Chip and I set out to walk around town. We thought about taking a ferry to a nearby island based on recommendations from the staff at our bed and breakfast, but the weather was pretty drizzly and we wanted to check out what Portland was all about.

Breakfast at the Inn on Carleton

Breakfast at the Inn on Carleton

Off to walk around Portland

Off to walk around Portland

Found our Christmas tree for this year

Found our Christmas tree for this year

Cute little store in Portland...

Cute little store in Portland…

... with a cute little guard dog

… with a cute little guard dog

Maine: the land of Subarus (really though, just about every other car was a Subaru)

Maine: the land of Subarus (really though, just about every other car was a Subaru)

After a couple of hours, we decided to head back to the inn. Is it pathetic that I felt like I needed a nap after that great breakfast and walking a few miles? #vacationproblems My parents got back around lunch time, so we met up with them before heading out to our city and lighthouse tour for the afternoon. We realized on our tour that we had just missed some of the really cute shop-filled streets on our morning walk, but I’d like to think our bank account benefited from our mindless wandering.

Before our afternoon tour

Before our afternoon tour

My parents are pretty cool

My parents are pretty cool

The best part to the tour was definitely getting to see the lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. A storm was starting to roll in, so it was really cool to see the lighthouse with stormy clouds behind it.

Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth

Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth

My parents at Cape Elizabeth

My parents at Cape Elizabeth

In front of the Portland Head Lighthouse

In front of the Portland Head Lighthouse

Skies starting to clear up

Skies starting to clear up

My dad checking out the lighthouse bell

My dad checking out the lighthouse bell

By the time our tour was over, we had about an hour before our next excursion: sailing through Casco Bay with the Portland Schooner Co. I was a little worried that our sailing would get cancelled with the rain, but the skies cleared up just in time. Before heading down to the harbor, we stopped by Aurora Provisions to get some cheese, bread, and chocolate to go with the wine we had brought with us.

I’ve never been sailing before, so I was so excited to be doing this during our time in Maine. We were on the same boat as a few other people, but otherwise it was a small group, which was really nice. The weather was perfect and we had a good amount of wind to keep us moving for the two hours we were out sailing.

Boats ready to sail

Boats ready to sail

My parents on our sailboat

My parents on our sailboat

Quick photo before the captain got on the boat

Quick photo before the captain got on the boat

The Wendameen

The Wendameen

Raising the sails

Raising the sails

Asking the captain questions

Asking the captain questions

Our view from the boat

Our view from the boat

So windy!

So windy!

Sailing past Fort Gorges

Sailing past Fort Gorges

The family that sails together stays together

The family that sails together stays together

One thing we weren't expecting: the crazy tilt from the sails. We got used to this, but my mom stayed glued to her seat with a death grip on the bench.

One thing we weren’t expecting: the crazy tilt from the sails. We got used to this, but my mom stayed glued to her seat with a death grip on the bench.

Snack time

Snack time

Cheers!

Cheers!

Yum.

Yum.

My dad in his element

My dad in his element

With my dad

With my dad

Just missing Alex!

Just missing Alex!

Sailing in Casco Bay

Sailing in Casco Bay

Ready to watch the sunset

Ready to watch the sunset

I love this guy (also, please note my mom in her seat in the background)

I love this guy (also, please note my mom in her seat in the background)

"I'm flying!"

“I’m flying!”

Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan

Awesome sunset

Awesome sunset

America the beautiful

America the beautiful

Sunset in Casco Bay

Sunset in Casco Bay

After our great sailing trip, we were all pretty hungry for dinner. While in a little store earlier in the day, the owner had recommended we go try out Street and Co. for dinner. I was a little skeptical at first and wondered if she just knew the owner or something, but after looking it up on TripAdvisor, we decided to check this place out for dinner. We all wanted lobster, and Street and Co. definitely delivered. Looking at all of the meals we had during this trip, I would put this one near the top of the list.

Got lobstah?

Got lobstah?

Dinner domination

Dinner domination

Mummy and daddy

Mummy and daddy

We decided to have dessert there at Street and Co. since the food had been so good (and it was way too cold to walk to get dessert somewhere else) so we ended our Monday in Maine with some blueberry pie and panna cotta.

Stay tuned for one more post on our last day in Maine!

Boston: Part 3 (and a little bit of Maine)

Picking up where I last left off, Sunday was our last day in Boston. The morning started out a little rough. While we had been hoping Chip would start feeling better with some new cold medicine, he woke up on Sunday feeling worse. After some quick Google searching, I found a 24-hour minor ER that was about a mile away from our hotel and decided it was time for Chip to see a doctor so he could get better faster. I gave them a quick call and was told we could be there around 8:30 to see the doctor. We were ready to go a little before 8:00 and since we had read this was a 24-hour place, we took a cab there a little early. Turns out that the doctor told us 8:30 for a reason. No one was there to let us in. We called the doctor back and he said he was on his way, that the 24-hour service was only in the pharmacy next door, so we had to wait about 10 minutes outside before someone else let us in the building, and then an additional 20 minutes outside the doctor’s office. He eventually got there and saw us right away, which was appreciated. We quickly got a couple of prescriptions from him and went back to the hotel so Chip could get started on the different antibiotics.

We had planned to go on the Freedom Trail Sunday morning, so after making sure Chip was feeling alright in the hotel and had taken all of the necessary medicine, I joined my parents for this tour. It was a lot of fun, due mainly to our very animated tour guide. Pretty sure no one loves Boston history more than this guy. He also has a wicked legit Boston accent. Check it out for yourselves here:

The tour lasted a couple of hours and our tour guide’s energy kept it interesting the entire time.

Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts State House

Across the street from our hotel was a really old cemetery where some of the founding fathers are buried

Across the street from our hotel was a really old cemetery where some of the founding fathers are buried…

Which is why our tourguide joked that our beloved Beantown Pub is the only place where you can have a cold Sam Adams....

Which is why our tourguide joked that our beloved Beantown Pub is the only place where you can have a cold Sam Adams….

... across the street from a cold Sam Adams (a little morbid, I know)

… across the street from a cold Sam Adams (a little morbid, I know)

Site of the Boston Massacre in 1770

Site of the Boston Massacre in 1770

After the tour, we went back to the hotel to finish packing up and check out of the hotel before grabbing lunch in the North End in the rental car my dad had picked up in the morning. We decided to go to L’Osteria since they didn’t have a wait; we had tried Neptune Oyster after reading their reviews on TripAdvisor, but we weren’t willing to wait two hours for it. In the end, we had a great meal at L’Osteria to end our time in Boston together. I’m particularly glad they had such good minestrone soup since it meant Chip got to have a great meal for his sore throat. I had their lobster ravioli and ate way too much, but hey, it’s vacation.

After lunch, we drove down to the bay to get one last look of the city before having to take Alex to the airport. I’m still bummed he had to fly back on Sunday, but that’s the life in the real world and the little cub had to be back at work on Monday. With Alex at the airport, the four of us set out for part two of the trip: a couple of days in Maine. My dad has been working with a supplier out in Maine for a few years now, so since we were in the area he decided to go pay this company a visit. Chip and I agreed to tag along since we had a few extra vacation days and realized the likelihood of us ever getting to Maine another time was pretty slim.

USS Constitution

USS Constitution

One last family picture in Boston

One last family picture in Boston

The weather was pretty chilly for us

The weather was pretty chilly for us

The drive to Portland, Maine was an easy one and about two hours long. What I really liked about the drive up there was that it was Chip’s first dose of a Lopez family road trip, which means it went something like this:

Me: Mom, can you find a better radio station?

Dad: What did we just drive by? Was that a historical building?

Mom: I can’t get my map app to work….

Me: Mom, this song is pretty awful, too… next!

Mom: Wait, how do I change the station…

Dad: Did you guys see the sign for that river? What’s the name of it?

Me: Ughhh why are all of these xm stations so laaaaame….

This is where you should probably thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to road trip with the Lopez family. I love it, but it’s definitely not for everyone. For the record, my mom was never able to figure out her map so I got to provide my dad with river and town names. The radio selection was also fairly poor so I took a nap.

We got into Portland and soon found our adorable bed and breakfast for the next two days: The Inn on Carleton. This place was amazing. Everything was set up so cute and I loved the history to the building (so did my dad who was asking questions about whether or not all of the crown molding was part of the original structure or not.. answer: it is).

Inn on Carleton

Inn on Carleton

Sitting and dining rooms

Sitting and dining rooms

Yummy treats

Yummy treats

We got settled in and met the inn owner Buddy and got a few recommendations for where to go to for dinner. We decided to go with Local 188 and walked a few blocks to get there.

Mom and dad at dinner

Mom and dad at dinner

My cute dinner date

My cute dinner date

One big difference between Boston and Portland is the night life. I realize this is probably a pretty big “duh” statement, but we were really surprised with how empty the restaurant was for a weekend.

After dinner, we decided to walk around to find a place for dessert. After some time on TripAdvisor on our phones, we decided to check out Gorgeous Gelato. It was about another mile away, but after how much we had just eaten for dinner, we really needed that walk! The gelato was really good, although I have to say it was no Nantucket Juice Bar.

Gorgeous Gelato

Gorgeous Gelato

Gorgeous Gelato

Gorgeous Gelato

We walked back to the inn after dessert and called it a day! Stay tuned for our last post on this trip…

Boston: Part 2

After a very full Friday in Boston, Saturday had just one focus: the Red Sox game. We took it easy in the morning and just had breakfast at the hotel before heading over to Fenway a couple of hours before the game started. Thankfully our journey to Fenway was much less eventful than it was on Friday. Instead of taking (or in mom’s case jumping into) a cab, we used the subway system to get to the game, which was pretty easy since all we had to do was follow the mass of red and blue shirts around us. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for a September baseball game in Boston. It was pretty sunny out and just cool enough to merit buying a Red Sox jacket in the team store. After taking the subway, we spent some time experiencing all of the activity outside the stadium.

Outside Fenway

Outside Fenway

With my family

With my family

Rocking our Red Sox gear

Rocking our Red Sox gear

With their golden tickets

With their golden tickets

Outside Fenway

Outside Fenway

Pitching outside of Fenway

Pitching outside of Fenway

Alex's turn

Alex’s turn

Most beloved park, indeed

Most beloved park, indeed

Great day for some baseball

Great day for some baseball

Checking out our seats

Checking out our seats

I loved Fenway for many reasons. I loved that since this is a smaller, old ballpark, it feels intimate. As much as I enjoyed going to Diamondback games at Chase Field growing up, that place is huge and feels huge. There’s something really great about smaller stadiums (this was something I also liked about Wrigley Field). There’s also a diehard love for the Red Sox that’s unlike anything I’ve seen at any other ballpark. We got into the stadium early and were allowed to hang out in the first few rows for a while, which was lots of fun for us. There were some cute kids on the field for some pre-game event and it was so funny hearing their parents tell the kids to touch the dirt and steal a few blades of grass for them.

Hanging out before the game

Hanging out before the game

Before the game

Before the game

Enjoying the front row seats for a bit

Enjoying the front row seats for a bit

In our actual seats for the game

In our actual seats for the game

Another thing I loved about Fenway is how special they make everything. There are no gimmicks or things done just for show. I feel like the Red Sox organization knows they have unique fans who seriously love the team and they won’t accept anything cheesy or forced. I didn’t expect for a baseball game to get me emotional, but I got choked up twice before the game started. One was when they brought an older man on his wheelchair out to the field and shared his story: he was a lifelong Red Sox fan and hadn’t missed a game on TV with his wife in 60something years. His wife recently passed away and after his family wrote to the Red Sox to try to get him out there for a game and they flew him out to Boston right away. So sweet. Another really special moment was when they brought out two sisters that had been affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon this past year. They were at the race cheering for some loved ones and were near the finish line when the blasts went off. For one of these sisters, that meant the loss of her legs. But they got through this ordeal together, and walked out on to the field where they each through out two strikes for the first pitch. I had the chills the entire time and was so amazed by their story and strength.

Throwing the first pitch

Throwing the first pitch

A very full ballpark

A very full ballpark

Play ball

Play ball

Chip was really excited about the game

Chip was really excited about the game

Only in Boston can you have clam chowder at a baseball game

Only in Boston can you have clam chowder at a baseball game

Go Red Sox

Go Red Sox

The two cutest fans sat in front of us.

The two cutest fans sat in front of us.

Ever since my parents bought the tickets for this game, I had been looking forward to the 8th inning. It’s a Fenway tradition to have everyone stand and sing “Sweet Caroline” during this part of the game and I couldn’t wait to experience this with my brother. It definitely lived up to my expectations and completed my bucket list item of going to a game at Fenway.

Fun fact: we were sitting right in front of the family of the Yankees pitcher introduced at the end of the song. His mom was so excited to see him pitch and was a lot of fun to listen to.

The Red Sox won the game, which made the day that much better (I really love cheering against the Yankees). After the game, we stuck around the ballpark for a little longer before heading out. Now, Chip hadn’t been feeling that great over the last couple of days, and by the time the game was over he was ready for some stronger cold medicine. We wanted to go to a CVS Minute Clinic to get him a quick appointment to see if he needed antibiotics to really get better, but by the time we got to one that was still open, they had already closed (a bit before their official close time, I might add). Instead, we had to settle with getting a new variety of cold medicine and hope they would get the job done (they didn’t, but more on that in my next post).

Once we finally got Chip some new medicine to try out, we were all getting pretty hungry which in my case often means a smidge cranky (sorry to my family on that…). We took a cab to the downtown area and quickly found a restaurant that didn’t have a wait for the five of us. After dinner we all walked back to the hotel about a mile away. I then spent some time at Beantown Pub with my dad and Alex, which was a lot of fun to have time together over (another) beer. Stay tuned for one more post on Boston and our time in Maine!

Boston: Part 1

My brother has been a Red Sox fan most of his life. I still don’t totally understand why, it’s not like we have family from Boston or had ever visited the city while we were growing up. I’m pretty sure it’s all based on Nomar Garciaparra – he was one of Alex’s first favorite baseball players and a shortstop on the Red Sox when we were kids, which means he in turn liked the rest of the team (right, Alex?). Random side note: I think my brother kind of looks like Nomar:

Twinsies?

Don’t you see the similarities? Anyway, that was a tangent…

While when my brother was an undergrad at Creighton, my parents had promised him a family trip to Boston to see the Red Sox play at Fenway once he graduated. I’m not sure if Alex realized my parents were serious about this, so it was fun to see him open his graduation gifts this past May, which included a Red Sox bucket filled with a little stuffed animal of the Green Monster mascot, a Sam Adams beer glass (their brewery is in Boston), and copies of our tickets to see the Red Sox play the New York Yankees. If you know my family, you know we are pretty intense Yankee-haters, so I  was definitely more than excited about this part of our trip!

Back after Creighton graduation

After Creighton graduation

This Boston trip was the first long vacation Chip and I had had all year. Yes, we did go to Nantucket earlier in the summer, but that was technically a work trip for Chip and I spent the days working from our cute little bed and breakfast after our weekend spent exploring and eating our way through the island. Having known about this trip to Boston for the last five or so months, we were really excited for this time with my family.

The five of us all flew in to Boston a couple of weeks ago. We actually had the same connecting flight from Nashville as my parents, so we got to hang out with them in the airport while our flight was delayed a couple of hours. While my mom and I spent time catching up at our gate, Chip and my dad walked around the airport and did some exploring. It wasn’t too long after they left us that they texted me these pictures:

The village clown?

The village clown?

That's my husband

That’s my husband

I’m glad they didn’t get kicked out of the airport.

We finally got on our flight a couple of hours later and we were off to Boston! My brother was able to get a direct flight from Denver, so he stuck around the Logan airport and watched the first quarter of the Patriots game while waiting for the rest of us to get in. Once the four of us finally landed we all took a cab to the hotel, quickly checked in, and then walked across the street to Beantown Pub to watch the Patriots game with some locals. It was awesome. The place was pretty packed and we enjoyed hearing one particularly loud fan bang his fists on the bar and yell “THAT’S HOW WE DO BUSINESS” after every good play the Patriots made. Quality entertainment, let me tell you. Side note: I’m pretty sure my brother’s favorite part about our hotel was being across the street from this pub so he went there every night. Way to take in the local culture, bud.

Watching the Patriots game at Beantown Pub

Watching the Patriots game at Beantown Pub

Friday was a fun, full day. While my parents took a cab to Fenway to get us all some tickets for the Red Sox batting practice tour in the afternoon, Alex, Chip and I walked over to Thinking Cup for some breakfast. I took a page out of my mom’s book and found this place on TripAdvisor (if you know my mom, you know she books her trips based solely on what she reads on TA). My parents soon joined us and after breakfast we walked back to our hotel to grab a few things and then took the subway to get to Sam Adams Brewery.

Decaf mocha to go along with my breakfast

Decaf mocha to go along with my breakfast

My parents at breakfast

My parents at breakfast

My dad is really clever

My dad is really clever

Walking back to our hotel

Walking back to our hotel

My brother is a 22-year old college graduate, so he’s a big fan of beer (yes, I just stereotyped there, but he’s my brother so it’s okay). Chip had let my mom know that the Sam Adams Brewery is in Boston, so it was a must-go-to tour for us (afterall, this trip was to celebrate Alex graduating). The brewery is tucked away in a neighborhood and kind of comes up out of nowhere once you walk a few blocks from the subway station. We had a great time on their tour (which is free!) and I’m pretty sure I tripled my beer knowledge during our time there.

Alex and my parents at the brewery

Alex and my parents at the brewery

Checking out all the Sam Adams beer

Checking out all the Sam Adams beer

My dad with the poster of the brewmaster

My dad with the poster of the brewmaster

With the buckets of hops, one of the four ingredients to beer

With the buckets of hops, one of the four ingredients to beer

Another beer ingredient: malted barley

Another beer ingredient: malted barley

Second part of the tour: sampling three different kinds of Sam Adams

Second part of the tour: sampling three different kinds of Sam Adams

The most amount of beer I've ever seen my mom have

The most amount of beer I’ve ever seen my mom have

Enjoying the free tastings

Enjoying the free tastings

Cheers, dad

Cheers, dad

After Sam Adams Brewery, we took the subway over to the Prudential Center for a duck tour. I know that sounds weird. But it was great. These tours use a giant truck/bus that can also go in the water, which meant we got to drive/cruise through the Charles River. Our tour guide Airtime was hilarious and made Boston history sound pretty awesome. It was the perfect balance of history information (how did I not know that John Adams and Sam Adams were cousins?) and random city facts.

Ready for the duck tour

Ready for the duck tour

The building with all of the scaffolding is where the early Bostonians met before the Boston Tea Party

The building with all of the scaffolding is where the early Bostonians met before the Boston Tea Party

View from the tour

View from the tour

Chip volunteered to drive while we were out on the river

Chip volunteered to drive while we were out on the river

Our tour guide, Airtime

Our tour guide, Airtime

With Chip, the temporary duck tour driver

With Chip, the temporary duck tour driver

Another duck tour cruising by

Another duck tour cruising by

Loved all of the old buildings in Boston

Loved all of the old buildings in Boston

After the duck tour, we went back to relax for a little bit at the hotel before the Red Sox batting practice tour which started at 4:00. In hindsight, it may have been better (and safer…) for us to go directly to Fenway after the duck tour, but we thought we had plenty of time. We had been told that it would be super easy to catch a cab from outside our hotel and we had already seen lots go by during our 16 hours in Boston. But now that we needed cab, we couldn’t find an empty one. All of the ones that drove by were taken. We were starting to worry that we would be late for the tour and weren’t sure how long it would take before we found an empty cab. Before we knew it, mama bear sprung into action. This was a trip for her little bear cub to see the Red Sox and we were not going to miss this tour of the ballpark. While Chip walked down a side street to look for a cab, my dad, brother, and I stayed on one corner when I saw mom suddenly power walk down the street. This is what happened next:

Me: “Um, dad, mom is about half a block away…. not sure where she’s going…”

Dad: (looking around) “Hey, do you know where your mom went?”

Me: “Yes, I just told you she’s half a block away. And now I can’t see her.”

Chip: “Is that Yadira jumping into the street?”

Dad: “What the #$&% is she doing??”

And then we saw my mom’s head bob into a cab a couple of lanes away (which means she darted into the street… way to set an example!), and as she drove up to the rest of us staring in surprise at this behavior, she leaned out the window waving triumphantly. We all jumped in and hit the road about 10ish minutes behind schedule. While Chip, Alex, my mom, and I were all piled in the backseat, my dad got the front and started talking to the cab driver. We were soon teased by our driver for wanting to go to batting practice so badly and informed that those sports teams really know how to take money from people (little did he know these tours are actually free, you just need tickets to reserve a spot). He and my dad started talking football and we found out he’s a Cowboys fan who would love to see Tony Romo get traded. While him and my dad kept chatting it up, I could feel my mom burning lasers with her eyes into their heads, urging them to drive faster so we could get to the tour on time. I promise this isn’t an exaggeration, Alex and I have felt this laser eye burn before and it’s serious business. We finally got to Fenway a little after 4:00, when we had been told to be there around 3:45.

We told our cab driver we needed to be dropped off at Gate D, and he took us to Gate E. We didn’t think this was a problem and assumed that D would be right next to it and started walking forward. Gate D was not next. We asked one of the guys stationed at Gate E if he could let us in, and he rudely told us no and that we would have to go around the stadium. We were following my mom’s powerwalk down the sidewalk looking for Gate D, when all of a sudden, she starts jogging and then running. That’s right. My mom (and then the rest of us as we followed) literally ran all the way around Fenway to finally get to Gate D. She’s a momma bear, folks. If anything, we got a nice look at the ballpark while jogging around the entire place. Hooray for some unanticipated cardio.

The one picture I got outside of Fenway before we started running like fools

The one picture I got outside of Fenway before we started running like fools

We finally got to Gate D and were able to get into the ballpark. Talk about a giant sigh of relief. We were able to join the rest of the group just as they were making their way down to the field for pictures. Perfect timing.

Running around Fenway was totally worth it for this picture

Running around Fenway was totally worth it for this picture

View from the field

View from the field

After a fairly sunny morning, the afternoon had turned pretty drizzly. It started to rain a little as we got off the field, so we sat in some covered seats while our tour guide gave us some history on the ballpark. The rain eventually stopped, so we were able to go check out Fenway’s claim to fame: the Green Monster. Never in my life did I ever think I would sit at the Green Monster, and it was so cool taking in the view with my family up there. I knew it was on my bucket list to see the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway, but sitting on the Green Monster made me realize that had been a subconscious item on the list as well.

The newer seats at Fenway. The blue seats in the back have been around for generations.

The newer seats at Fenway. The blue seats in the back have been around for generations.

Overlooking the field

Overlooking the field

The Green Monster

The Green Monster

The field from the Green Monster

The field from the Green Monster

Fenway

Fenway

Enjoying our seats on the Green Monster

Enjoying our seats on the Green Monster

The five of us

The five of us

Love this ballpark

Love this ballpark

As our tour guide talked to us about the Green Monster, it started to rain again. And by rain, I mean pour. We all quickly left our seats to go back into the covered area. One benefit to the rain is that we were able to get more history from our tour guide since he was hoping to buy some time against mother nature, but in the end, the rain won. Batting practice was cancelled, but we still loved getting to explore Fenway and we were excited to be back on Saturday for the game.

Rainy afternoon

Rainy afternoon

Waiting for the rain to go away

Waiting for the rain to go away

One happy guy

One happy guy

After lingering around Fenway as long as we could until the tour guides kindly (and repeatedly) asked us to leave, we went back to the hotel to rest a bit before dinner. Now one of the reasons why I love traveling so much is because of my love for food and new restaurants. Whenever we have a trip coming up, I will spend hours and hours on TripAdvisor and blogs to find the best places to go to. I offered to help my mom with this portion of the trip and found some pretty great places for us to try out (let me tell you, there are tons of great restaurants in Boston, it was pretty difficult to narrow the list down to the number of nights we would be in the city). One place I found on a couple of blogs was Mamma Maria in the North End, so we made reservations there for Friday night. It. was. amazing. I can’t remember what I ordered since we ate so much during this trip, but I remember it was delicious and I ate like a fat kid.

Loved the North End

Loved the North End

Mamma Maria

Mamma Maria

Alex at dinner

Alex at dinner

With Chip at dinner

With Chip at dinner

We had seen a couple of bakeries on our walk to Mamma Maria from our hotel, so we decided to not order dessert and instead check out one of these other places. As we were walking back, we saw a huge crazy line outside of Mike’s Pastry. We have one rule of thumb when looking at new places to eat: if there are a lot of people there, then it must be good (it’s not a brilliant rule but one that we stick to). We got in line and soon realized what all the hype was about. They have amazing cannolis. I had one covered in chocolate and it was incredible. With that we ended our busy Friday in Boston!

Waiting in line

Waiting in line

Waiting for cannolis

Waiting for cannolis

With my hermano

With my hermano

Warning: the chocolate covered cannoli is a little messy

Warning: the chocolate covered cannoli is a little messy

Things I love: beautiful advertising

Working in the advertising industry has changed how I view commercials. Sure, I liked them before (studied marketing for a reason), but I enjoy watching TV and seeing commercials and asking myself “I wonder what their brief was… that was a good insight… who do they think their target is?” Nerdy, I know. But I can’t help it. While I love funny, clever ads (looking at you, Old Spice), my favorites are always the simple, beautiful ads that get me a little teary eyed. They don’t feel like a sales pitch being shoved down your throat and very few even have a voiceover. These stay with me far longer than the 30 or 60 seconds they’re on air. Below are some of my favorites. If you’re a sap like me, you may need a tissue for some of them.

This new ad from Guinness beer is powerful. Love how it is so different from other beer ads and shows that men are more than just sports watching guys who like girls in bikinis.

 

Google. An all-time favorite. Guaranteed to make my little chin quiver at the end.

 

I love dogs, so of course this Pedigree campaign got me all choked up. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as a Sarah McLachlan PSA.

 

So simple. So great. VW always has some amazing work.

 

I love the Olympics for many reasons, but this P&G campaign was one of the highlights for me. Definitely made me think of a particular mamma bear I know ;)

Sure, advertising is meant to push sales. But it really is something special when it can turn into something so beautiful.

Cutting for Stone

This summer has flown by. How are we already in September? Weren’t we just in mid-July? It’s been a busy season with several work trips that have taken me to Minneapolis, NYC, LA, and Mexico. With these new responsibilities at my job and different trips with clients, I have had the opportunity to read more while on all of these different flights, which has proven to be a great de-stressor and break from my daily schedule. After finishing Sarah’s Key, I picked up Cutting for Stone at an airport bookstore. While I hadn’t heard much about this book, I saw that a few of my friends had given it great reviews on Goodreads. If you don’t have this app, I highly recommend it, it has become my go-to tool whenever I’m looking for a new book to read.

Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone

When I first started reading Cutting for Stone, I had no idea I would enjoy this book so much. At the top level, this story is about twin brothers named Marion and Shiva (and is narrated by Marion) who are born to a nun and British surgeon in an Ethiopian hospital compound. After their birth which killed their mother, they become orphans once their father flees the country and are raised by another doctor in the community. This book follows the lives of these two brothers and how they are affected by family ties, love, their fascination with medicine, and the political turmoil of their country. As the two brothers become adults, Marion moves to America where he becomes a surgeon while Shiva stays with their surrogate family in Ethiopia and is a doctor at the medical compound they grew up in. They are eventually reunited, but I don’t want to give anything away.

What I loved most about this book was the character development. Verghese’s writing not only brings the twins Marion and Shiva to life in a beautiful way, but each character has their specific and intentional role to play and all work through their own individual struggles while always moving the plot forward. While certain parts were hard for me to read, whether because they were heartbreaking or just too medically detailed for my squeamish stomach, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and by the time I had about 1/3 left, I couldn’t put it down and was thankful for the flight to Mexico so I could finish reading in one sitting. Cutting for Stone is definitely one of the best-written books I have read in a while and one that I would happily pass on to any friends who want to read it.