A Morning Stroll in the Boston Public Garden.

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We spent the weekend in Boston two weeks ago for Stevie's 5-year class reunion at HBS, and man, was it wonderful being back in Beantown. Living in Cambridge was a really special session in our chapter book, with memories that we often re-visit when we are telling stories, and I honestly can't believe that it's been 5 years since we moved. Until I remember that there are two children in my life now that weren't around back in our cold-weather Boston days. #wakeupcall

It was a whirlwind weekend being back on that immaculate campus seeing friends, and we both kept remarking to each other how normal it felt to be back, and how it felt like absolutely no time had passed. We were back to our old stomping grounds, having dinner with classmates, attending lectures and talking about dreams for the future. Truthfully, it felt like NO TIME HAD PASSED. Isn't that so strange?! A few pics below of our weekend.

This view of the Charles River never gets old.

This view of the Charles River never gets old.

The dogwoods were in full bloom and were more perfect than I've ever seen before anywhere!

The dogwoods were in full bloom and were more perfect than I've ever seen before anywhere!

We were frolicking around without kids and it was WILD. Like, I wasn't holding 5 sippy cups and snacks in my bag. I was holding  lipstick.  What is this life.

We were frolicking around without kids and it was WILD. Like, I wasn't holding 5 sippy cups and snacks in my bag. I was holding lipstick. What is this life.

The rhododendrons were in full bloom, too! Mental note - I need to plant some of these in my yard.

The rhododendrons were in full bloom, too! Mental note - I need to plant some of these in my yard.

I used Rent the Runway for a few of the reunion events and was pleasantly surprised! Will definitely be using that service again soon!

I used Rent the Runway for a few of the reunion events and was pleasantly surprised! Will definitely be using that service again soon!

Our view from up high. It was 55 degrees one morning when we woke up! with it being 90+ back in Atlanta, I wasn't mad about wearing a few layers.

Our view from up high. It was 55 degrees one morning when we woke up! with it being 90+ back in Atlanta, I wasn't mad about wearing a few layers.

The block made me think for a mere moment that we were in London ;)

The block made me think for a mere moment that we were in London ;)

Had to.

Had to.

Some of our BFFs from our time in Boston! It was the best to catch up.

Some of our BFFs from our time in Boston! It was the best to catch up.

On the final morning, Stevie and I had a bit of time before our flight so we trekked from our Copley Square hotel to THE cutest little coffee shop Thinking Cup, where we grabbed some to-go breakfast sandwiches and coffee and headed to the loveliest of Boston's parks, The Boston Common.

America's oldest park featuring trees planted from all over the world (an homage to the immigrant nation that we are), this park is very dear to my heart and always the perfect place to stroll, especially in good weather. The manicuring, the flowers, and the swans - its truly the perfect romantic setting for a movie. Mental note - pitch this location for a movie.

Anyway, we strolled. Whilst chomping down some breakfast sandwiches and taking photos of ducks for the boys (because, Make Way for Ducklings). And we took way too much time doing all this slow wandering and ended up having to haul it to make our flight on time. Which we did! But it was a little close.

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Since we actually had time to talk without being interrupted on this particular morning, we spent our time in the Garden dreaming about the future. I don't know if anyone else does this, but when I travel I often find myself dreaming about what life would be like to live in that particular location. I wonder about where the good schools are, what people do with their kids for fun on the weekends, where the local cool places are to eat. In cities like this I wonder how people get around (train everywhere? Walk everywhere? Or still need a car?), how they function with 8 months of winter (yikes, bowl a lot??), and how different the life must be from my Atlanta suburb. Since we actually lived here years ago, the dreaming this time around got really specific, and Stevie and I couldn't help but talk about what it would be like to move back to Boston for a few years. There is just something so characteristic about New England, it will always take up some special space in our hearts.

But before we knew it, we were buckling our seat belts while we listened to the Delta safety information, and we were SO glad to be reunited with our boys just a few short hours after this morning in the Garden.

p.s. - that time I was gigantically pregnant in the Boston Public Garden.

Last Week in Boston

View from the Top of the Hub, Boston's Prudential Center

Celebrate. Graduate. Move. 

Whew, what a week. I've been a bit tardy on the blog this week, but for a slew of excessively good reasons. We've been partying. Packing. Sometimes weeping. Laughing a good lot. Sleeping not a pinch. Eating and drinking with friends and family and taking in the last wonderful moments of our time here in Cambridge.

HBS Prom. For 30-year olds.

Dreams Come True, People.

This week something wondrous happened. My husband graduated from Harvard Business School with his MBA. I can brag on him because this is no small feat. I've been there to witness his journey every step of the way, watching his determination and discipline in utter amazement. Stevie spent years dreaming of going to Harvard for business. When we were dating, we would lay under the sun-soaked trees by the Sacramento River in Redding and dream about what it would be like if he actually got the chance to go to such a school; who we would meet, where we would live, and how we could possibly survive the cold winters in such a shivery, unknown city. It was a big dream. Some might think, "near impossible!" And yet this week, after two years of studying, learning about new industries, reflecting on societal conundrums, expanding his world view and rearranging his life, he walked across that stage at Baker Lawn, shook Dean Nitin Nhoria's hand and received that piece of paper he worked so hard for. Dream: Accomplished.

Our wonderful families came to visit, including my extra-special Auntie Shirley. She's an academic queen, she actually went to speak at another graduation the following day! She's too legit.

Ceremonies in Harvard Yard. You can't park you car in here. Too many fancy tufts of grass.

Congrats, Grad.

Stevie is a living example that dreams can absolutely come true. A dream just has to be paired with an enormous amount of self discipline, a drive to learn and a really encouraging support system. He is my absolute hero, because he didn't just show me that he can do something amazing. He taught me how I can do something equally as amazing, too, because when you work hard and keep a positive attitude, the world awaits your victory. There is much more I could share about his experience, about our time here in Boston, our love for this community and our fierce loyalty to this wonderful school that has changed our lives, but I'll stop short of becoming emotional and move on. Because with his graduation comes the other part: we are moving.

Last View out of our 4-story Window // Me: "Where did all our stuff go? And how did we fit it into this 9x9 space?? // Stevie: "I can fit inside our closet now... cool!" // Goodbye to 923 Mass Ave.

Move If You Wanna.

We spent yesterday moving out of our beloved TINY Boston abode. We loved our little place, where we often made late night cups of tea while he studied and watched TONS of movies during snow storms. We can only hope wherever we live next feels just as cozy and delicious to our homebody hearts. We moved everything we own (haha, it's not much) into a storage space for the summer because we are spending the next two months essentially goofing off and enjoying our last hurrah before the real world (read: WORK) starts. Most of you know what that means: On Tuesday, we leave this country for a month-long backpacking trip throughout Europe! Oh my we have bitten off more than we may be able to chew.

All I've got for the next 35 days. Is on my front and on my back. Gonna have to work on that posture under pressure.

Backpackers, On Balet!

So now, dear friends, I am writing to you from a very nice seat on a Greyhound bus, bound for New York City. Stevie is next to me, headphones in, and finally resting after our insane week. I hope he's dreaming of gelato. We will spend the next few days in the New York, meeting with brokers and checking out different potential neighborhoods to live. Fingers crossed that we are able to find an apartment, though all conventional wisdom has told us that is it too early to secure a rental for August. We shall see. August 1 is our move date. Did I mention to you that we are living out of our backpacks? For the next two months I have like, 7 shirts. I feel sort of like a hippie vagabond, homeless, void of stuff and armed with an insatiable travel bug. Ready to learn about the world's testimonial history of classical culture.

Thanks for being a boss reader! This adventure is about to heat up!

Love love love.

Boston in 48 Hours

This weekend was a joyful whirlwind.

Our dear friends Elliot and Lena came in town to visit and we had a grand time showing off our favorite parts of Beantown. It was 48 hours of serious touring, and it was bittersweet to realize that this would be the last time that we show any of our friends around Boston while we still live here. With our move coming up at the end of the month, we will be bouncing around a few cities (and countries!) this summer and then finally landing in NYC in August. That realization made this weekend all the sweeter.

Spending this weekend with our friends made me realize that many people are weekend travelers. They want to see the best of a city in about 2 days. Since I've lived in Boston for about 2 years now, I thought I would share my favorite itinerary for Boston's sights. If you have an inkling to visit Boston for a weekend but aren't sure quite what to do or where to go, look no further. I've got your back. Here's a doable (haha, sort of) itinerary to give you the highest points of Boston:

Friday Eve.

8:00pm

// Arrive Boston. It's dinnertime. Best spots in Harvard Square are Russell House (American-style pub), Park (delicious Northeastern vibe), Bertucci's (slammin' Italian pizza, I don't care that it's a chain), Wagamama (Japanese fusion with delicious fresh juices). Any of these will do. Note: If you're rolling in the benjamins, stay at the Charles Hotel. If you're not quite rollin', stay at The Inn at Harvard, or if you're lucky enough, crash on your friends' couch.

9:30pm

// Whoopie Pies at Clover Food Lab. These are made fresh, only on Fridays, and GOOOOD. Don't miss this simple and satisfying dessert. 

10pm

// Drinks at John Harvards. Order the sampler, it's always changing and always good. Look around the bar tables and get a feel for the college students in this joint. Pretend you're in a finals club (Harvard's version of a frat) and attempt to sneak into one of their parties. Obviously.

Midnight

// Drinks and Live Music at the Plough and Stars, conveniently located within a super short walking distance to our apartment. Order the Dark and Stormy. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday.

8am

// Coffee, my Mango Coconut Baked Oatmeal and H20. You will need it for the following:

8:30am

// Freedom Trail Run. This 5k-length running tour of the 17 most historical spots in Boston gives you all the history you want, at a quickened pace (it would take hours to walk all the noteworthy touring spots) and this all happens before lunch. It might be hard to pull yourself out of bed after staying out until 2am the night before but it is totally worth it. You will feel so efficient, fit and like you learned a ton. But not too much.

Note: I've done this run about 7-8 times by now and it is the best tour by far. Tell Eddie-O that the Hales sent you, he is such a doll.

11am

// Harpoon Brewery Tour. After running for 2 hours straight, give yourself a bit of a break and cab it over to this brewery on the Harbor. We waited in line for a few minutes, devoured some of Harpoon's famous German-style hot pretzels and seasonal watermelon ale, and took a delightful tour of the brewery. So. Worth it.

1pm

// Wipe the pretzel crumbs off your face. You will need a shower by now. So head back to your hotel/crash pad and take one. Bring a lightweight coat for the second half of your day.

2:30pm

// Tour Harvard Business School. You don't have to do this, but since it's my husband's new Alma Mater, our friends wanted to see what it was all about. You could sub in this time and take a tour of Fenway Park or walk Newbury Street. But I'm not gonna lie, the school is impressively pretty. And if you're there in the spring time, you will probably get to see the hundreds of bunny rabbits frolicking all over the campus. I have a strong theory that the school places them there purposefully, because they really add to the precious vibe of the campus. Of course Harvard would have quaint bunny rabbits blanketing their green grasses.

5:30pm

// Early dinner at Giacamo's in the South End. Delicious authentic Italian for affordable prices. Get the calamari. And the house pasta sauce is the best. You can make a reservation here (unlike a lot of spots in Boston), so DO IT.

7:30pm

// Post dinner walk in the South End towards Back Bay. We walked towards Copley Plaza and saw the Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial. Couldn't stay too long because it was still really intense and a bit too fresh on all our minds.

8pm

// Subway to the North End. This is the legit Italian district in Boston, and it is a thriving mini-metropolis of bakeries, restaurants, bars and street musicians. It's a must-see, especially since Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church are located here.

9pm

// Cannolis at Mike's Pastry. You will be ridiculed if you come to Boston and don't eat here. Bring cash. And bring your brute face; you've got to find a table in this cramped place and you won't get one by being syrupy sweet.

10pm

// Stanza dei Sigari is a cigar parlor next to Mike's. Only if you're into that kind of thing.

Midnight

// Sleeeeeeeeep.

Sunday.

10am // Brunch at Grafton Street. So delicious. Order the seasonal cocktail, it's out of this world. You could also try out Cafe Luna or Henrietta's Table, but make sure to make a reservation a few days in advanced.

11:30am

// May Day Street Fair in Harvard Square completely distracted us, but it was a lot of fun. Vendors galore.

Noon

// Subway to Park Street. Walk around the Boston Common (America's oldest established park) and the Boston Public Gardens (my personal favorite outdoor spot in Boston) because it's totally gorgeous. Feel free to stop by the Cheers bar along the side of the Garden.

2pm

// Walk down Charles Street in Beacon Hill. This is the ritzier area of the city, lots of lovely brownstones and boutiques. Imagine that you're one of the fancy people who live here with a little dog. Walk towards the water and find your way on to the Esplanade, a peninsula that juts out into the Charles River.

3pm

// Enjoy your last sweet treat in Boston at Berryline in Harvard Square. This is a local frozen yogurt place that has new flavors every week, like fruity pebbles and basil-blueberry. Out of this world. I probably live a bit too close to this place, in all honesty.

Wrap it Up.

I imagine you will be jumping on a flight back to your hometown on Sunday evening. Hopefully this weekend is chock-full of all the good stuff you would want to see in Boston. I think it's a comprehensive, but doable, itinerary. Boston is a resilient, proud and classy town and there is obviously so much more to do than can be accomplished in 48 hours. A few items that would be worthwhile add-ons (in my entirely biased opinion) are Berklee College of Music, the Boston Public Library, the Minuteman Biking Trail and the Haymarket. Anything historical that I haven't specifically mentioned is most likely covered in the Freedom Trail Running Tour.

Have you ever been to Boston? Anything you would add to this list?

City Musing: Ice Cold Cambridge

Is Anyone Else Cold?

It's bitter. Face-stinging, eye-watering, finger-snapping cold. It's the kind of cold that you swallow through your neck and immediately freezes your appendages. Suddenly fingers and toes no longer work. Oh, Cambridge. These are the kind of winters that make you infamous.

In an effort to get warm, I am continuously cranking up the heat and brewing coffee around the clock. I am layering my clothes and wishing that stores offered lifestyle handwarmers. You know, to keep inside the pockets of the sweatshirt that's under the second bathrobe. Ooh, and electric socks. When is someone going to engineer those? I'll buy stock.

So it snowed all day yesterday. It just snowed and snowed and snowed. And yet strangely, when I took my camera outside today to capture the snowy remnants left by the night's frost, there wasn't much to be captured. But there was still enough cold in the air to temporarily freeze my fingers so I could no longer click the button on my camera. Awesome. However, I wanted to capture my town while it's cold because, obviously, this is a big part of Boston's identity: COLD WEATHER. Call me sentimental, but I even want to remember this ridiculous weather. When I'm not here anymore. So snuggle up and enjoy. Your heater.

So in an effort to stay warm this evening, I will be snuggling up with my honey and watching last night's episode of Downton Abbey. Obviously, the Superbowl took priority last night (and Beyonce and Alicia Keys' performances totally made it worth it to me). My favorite new addition to a traditional Downton evening? Home-cooked kettle corn and La Croix. Yes oh yes. It's a good night to stay in.

Adventure: Getting Air

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Teeny Tiny Plane.

That's what I took a ride in. Do you see the smallness of that precious, tiny airplane?? Oliver, who is a dear friend and classmate of Stevie's, offered to take us (and our other good friend, the beautiful Andrea) up in the sky for a leisurely flight over the city. Because apparently some people fly planes as a hobby. I watch movies, bake treats and lick the cookie batter off the beater. Those are my hobbies. But Oliver, well, he flies planes. He spent his youthful years in Germany studying and training in order to get his pilots license, and now he's the guy that says, "Well, on Saturday I'm planning on flying over Boston. Wanna come?" I literally laugh everyday at the amazing people that I've met over the past year and a half. Oliver is one of those amazing, talented people. Coincidentally, so is the beautiful Andrea. (I like Andrea so much that I wrote

an article

about her. It's a real girl crush.)

Map.

Oliver chose to fly Sky Hawk on this particularly gorgeous day. Does that sound like a James Bond movie to anyone else? Apparently Sky Hawk is his favorite plane in the plane park (I clearly have no idea what you call a place that holds tiny planes for people like us to ride around in. 'Airport' seems too ordinary a word for this experience.) We flew over the downtown area of Boston and then headed over Cambridge, where we checked out their school (see below for the stadium photo!) and we even saw our apartment! All from the sky. Who are we. This is a once in a lifetime experience. Oh my gosh.

Mmm.

I mean, is it just me or do I look like I'm in an episode of "The Bachelor" right now? That's certainly what I felt like as I was climbing into this tiny (have I mentioned just how tiny this plane was? I mean, the size of a Fiat. Or smart car. Bitty baby plane.) Except that in "The Bachelor" those girls are never appropriately dressed for the elements, and I actually stayed quite toasty in my layers.

Moment.

I know that flying in a plane is no big deal. People do it everyday and its not any kind of magical experience. But on this day, our experience felt special because: A) Our friend was the pilot (duh, so cool) and B) I had this moment.

It sort of hit me as we were elevated 3000 feet above our city. There I was, seeing the Earth in a way I've never seen it. Having a bird's eye perspective gave me a little metaphysical perspective, too. Life can be strange and unexpected and sometimes, a friggin' bummer, but wow, when you see the whole picture... it's honestly breathtaking. And I wasn't realizing all of this just because my center of gravity was off and I was a little nauseous from sitting in the back. Seeing Cambridge, my town, from up above was a little overwhelming. This is a place that my husband and I used to talk about, used to dream of living in, and here we are 5 years later seeing it sprawl for miles and miles all around. It was captivating and complex and sort of intimidating. Because it was in that moment that I realized that I am living in the dream. This adventure was our dream for so many years, and now I am able to be a part of my beautiful man living in his dream and thriving in it. And, quite literally, flying over it. Is there anything better? I am so grateful. It hasn't been the easiest adventure, but I bet Frodo would have agreed that not all adventures go the way you plan. Yeah, I went all LOTR on you there (it had to happen.) But honestly, seeing the hugeness of our world from the window of a tiny prop plane got me excited for the future.

Here's to adventures, those dreamed and even those unplanned, coming together before your eyes and sprawling like a masterpiece. I hope you are able to take a moment and realize that some part of your current situation is due a dream you had a while ago. Maybe everything isn't perfect in your world, and maybe the sky is falling. But I bet there is something that was worth fighting for, and you won it, and now you are living in the middle of that dream. What a beautiful moment for gratitude.