Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Maybe you can go home again... (Part 1)

Get ready for an epically long post... ;)
This summer, I took advantage of our shutdown time at work to take a full week off and drive back to Michigan. Yes, a little insane (especially with my insistence on making the drive each way in one day), but worth it to have the mobility once I made it there. It was so wonderful to get to catch up with friends from so many stages of my life, from childhood to my last job before leaving for Boston.
I drove into the Metro Detroit area first (after a slight disagreement with Pennsylvania, where road construction added a couple hours onto my drive...sigh) to stay with Shelley, one of my (old) work besties. She was dog/housesitting, so as a bonus I got to play with an adorable pup!
On Sunday, we participated in a fundraiser event put on by her barre studio, Barre Code Metro Detroit, at Atwater Brewery. Nothing better than barre + beer + raising money for an animal shelter! Naturally we followed this up with brunch-at Vinsetta Garage, a restaurant I had actually been wanting to try back when I did a show with Birmingham Village Players. It was worth the wait!
On Monday morning I drove into Ann Arbor to spend some time just wandering around my hometown (and shopping for Alvan's birthday present!) and spend time with friends who live there. I hit up Roo's Roast for breakfast-my favorite avocado toast in Michigan and amazing coffee-then wandered around all my favorite stores downtown. Naturally I went to the M Den (where I limited myself to just one sweatshirt!), but also made it into Shinola, Cherry Republic, Rock Paper Scissors, and Literati (where I did not manage to limit myself to just one book...oops). I need to do some more research into Boston bookstores, as I'm sure there are wonderful ones...but I just miss Literati so!
obsessed with the food & drink section here!
I then met Elizabeth, a friend from the Ann Arbor theatre scene (particularly Brass Tacks Ensemble) for lunch at Sava's and a stroll through the Arboretum. It was a hot and humid day, but there was no way I was passing on the Arb-I love it not only for the natural beauty but also memories it holds from my childhood all the way through Shakespeare comedy performances with the Residential College Players (you never forget it when you have to spring through the woods on a hot summer night in Elizabethan dress to beat the audience!).
I had to get some ice cream at Blank Slate Creamery, of course-they have the best flavors and I love that it is all made fresh from quality ingredients! I then decided to take full advantage of happy hour (as it doesn't exist in Boston-which just drives me crazy) at the Raven's Club. I always love trying out their seasonal infused vodkas!
That evening I got see a number of people-first dinner with Alex (we became friends in middle school when I did my first play with Ann Arbor Civic Theatre) at Jolly Pumpkin, then sangria with Megan (friends since I volunteered to be her buddy when she transferred schools in 6th grade) at Aventura, then some of my trivia crew-Joe, Steve A, and PJ-where Megan and I helped them secure first place in the final round.
Tuesday was pretty chill, as it was planned entirely around lunch and dinner plans. I did make sure to go by Zingerman's for breakfast-and a couple drinks to take home-where I wondered why I couldn't just have leisurely mornings with pain au chocolat and café au lait all the time.
Megan and I had made reservations at the Lunch Room's new restaurant, the Detroit Street Filling Station, as it was their soft open-perfect timing, right? The food was fantastic and I cannot wait to go back (someday) now that they have a full menu-and to hit up the Diner & Canteen for some vegan ice cream treats!
Megan refused to take a photo with I made her dog, Sophie, take one instead!
Tuesday evening I got to have a reunion of sorts with my old coworkers, my warriors of love. Binh hosted us all and it was truly fantastic to get to catch up with everybody. I have become close with some of my coworkers here, but there was something magical about our relationships there.
Stay tuned for part 2...I promise it is waaaay shorter!


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 10.14.17

The first weekend in so long that I'm not traveling and don't have has been so fun but I must admit, I'm happy to have a weekend of (almost) no plans. I decided to go to Providence for the evening to hang out with Dad/avoid ruminating over (non-)relationships, and tomorrow I start at my new part-time job, but otherwise I get to just do me! More to come on the job front of course...I have a feeling it will result in a lot of Insta photos :)
favorite lazy Saturday activities: drinking coffee and baking
Reading: The Assistants by Camille Perri. I loved this book-a story of undervalued women, in underpaying jobs, fighting back in clever ways. Definitely check it out!

Listening: When I was in Nashville a couple weeks ago, I discovered that there is, in fact, some country music that I enjoy. Of course, it's closer to folk, but it still counts! Leaving Thomas is an adorable and talented duo from Canada who performed at the Bluebird when we were there...if anybody finds their song about online dating, please send it to me-I've been on the hunt!
Watching: All the Michigan football, of course! I did miss part of a game for my friend's wedding (I guess it was worth it...ha!) and it has been fun but stresssssfull. That last loss to Michigan State was painful, but hopefully we come back knowing we ned to up our game!

Have a great weekend, y'all!


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 9.23.17

It's Caroline and Patrick's wedding weekend! I'm writing from my brief layover at DTW, where I am

Reading: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee. I do love my YA lit, and this is a good one. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the trilogy! She has a great blend of a potential future world with the humanity that will never change.

Listening: Common. I will often read and listen to music at the same time, but I just can't do that with his music-it requires my full attention.

Watching: I just started Drop Dead Diva on Netflix and it is super cute. A little reminiscent of Legally Blonde at times, but I'm ok with that!

Have a great first weekend of fall (that feels like summer)!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Eating Elsewhere: Madison

I had a quick trip to Madison to celebrate with my friend Caroline for her wedding shower and bachelorette-but still managed to fit in an impressive amount of food! Not quite as crazy as when Dad and I went to Denver, but still...
Her shower wasn't until the afternoon on Saturday, and I was staying with my good friends Erica and Erik, so the three of us decided to have some fun before. In the morning, Erica told me she knew the best doughnut place in Madison, so of course we had to go there. She wasn't wrong! Dough Baby Bakery is sooo delicious and I need to go back to try more flavors. Perhaps when I'm there for the wedding? We had the blueberry, mint lemonade, and chocolate almond toffee flavors-I think the blueberry was the winner for both of us. It was such a clear and strong flavor, and a little different from what is usually available.
Of course we stopped by Colectivo Coffee as well-one of my fave coffee places in Madison.
For lunch we joined up with Erik and went to a delicious restaurant, Alchemy, that I had actually been to during Lucas' graduation weekend. The stuffed grilled cheese sandwich and seasonal salad were killer.
Caroline's bachelorette began at her and Patrick (her fiancee)'s favorite cocktail bar, Graft-which also has fantastic food. It's heavy on the seafood and meat, so I could only enjoy some of it, but what I had was great. The jasmine rice salad in particular was delicious-enjoyed by vegetarians and meat eaters alike! Everyone else seemed to especially enjoy the scallops as well, and the brussels sprouts were great.
The next day I went to brunch with Erica-the rest of the bachelorette party (Caroline included) seemed in no shape to enjoy delicious food, ha.
We walked over to Heritage Tavern, yet another great restaurant in the Capitol area. I can never turn down a breakfast sandwich, and this one was particularly well done. I like to assess brunch restaurants on their potatoes and Heritage didn't disappoint-they essentially made potato pancakes.
One is not allowed to go to Madison and not consume cheese curds at least once-Erica, Erik, and I decided to hit up the classic Old-Fashioned in the afternoon for said treat and a drink before I went to the airport.
Now, to plan out where I'll eat this weekend when I return...any hot tips?


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 9.16.17

The kids came back this week...oh boy. It's been good to have them, but it definitely makes getting anything done a lot more challenging!

Lately, I've been

Reading: Wine All the Time by Marissa A. Ross. I would highly recommend this-it has totally inspired me to learn more about and experiment with wine! A totally accessible (and hilarious) guide that is still extremely informative.
Listening: I've been getting some shit for my choice in music lately (that I don't listen to anything new)...but I do enjoy some newer stuff! John Legend, for example, is pretty much a perfect human.

Watching: 30 Rock is going off Netflix on October 1st, so I'm finishing up my rewatch! One episode left...

Have a great last weekend of summer! Bring it on, fall...


Thursday, September 7, 2017

21 hours in NYC

This summer (following our Denver adventure), Dad and I drove down to NYC just for a day. Sounds crazy, right? It may have been-but it was also 100% worth it, because we were going to see HAMILTON! When we selected our tickets last winter, it felt like the day would never come-but it finally did!
On Tuesday after work (I had a training so I even got out a little early), I drove down to Providence to meet Dad, and we immediately hit the road. We got insanely lucky with traffic and made it to the default bar by my friend Kate's place (where I was staying) by 8:00, so Dad dropped me off and went to his hotel in Queens.
When Kate finished up her yoga class, we headed over to a new wine bar that had recently opened around the corner, Pop & Pour Cafe. It is a tiny space but adorable-and has delicious food and drink! I had also started to forget the joys of happy hour but was soon reminded. Come on, Boston-please hop on that train!
Despite having no plans until brunch before the matinee, I woke up early (of course), but took full advantage of that to enjoy the perfect summer day. I hopped on the train-oh how I love NYC public transportation-and went straight down to Central Park. After walking from the bottom up to around 72nd St, I stopped by Le Pain Quotidien for a croissant, fruit, and cappuccino to tide me over until brunch. Unfortunately the scaffolding outside kept a lot of light out, but it probably is my favorite chain so it was definitely worth it.
I also swung by Alice's Tea Cup for some looseleaf tea to take back with me-the Kashmiri green chai is such a treat with almond milk and honey.
Dad and Kate then met me by the Bethesda Fountain for a little stroll. Dad had never been to Central Park just to spend time there, so we went through the ramble on our way back up town. It's pretty amazing that you really can forget that you're in a city while in Central Park-and even get lost!
We brunched with Kate, her friend, and his sister at a great place right by her apartment (also, weekday brunch? The greatest!) before heading back down to Times Square.
Waiting in the line to get into the theatre was crazy-we all had tickets already, yet were in a crazy long line to get in. Everyone was so excited and there were clearly a range of people in terms of all demographics.
What to say about the show itself? It was amazing. I had such high expectations for it given all the hype and how many times I had listened to the soundtrack, ha-and it lived up to them. I was a little concerned because it of course wasn't the original cast and a couple of the leads are played by their swing performer for the matinees. However, I didn't need to worry-everyone was fantastic!
Dad was not nearly as familiar with the show as I was, but I think loved it just as much. He was astounded at some of it (especially loving the timely line "immigrants-we get the job done") and has since purchased the biography-it's sitting on his coffee table!
After the show, we simply drove back to Providence and then I continued on to Boston since I had to work the next day. We didn't get quite as lucky with traffic on the return trip, though it was still 100% worth it.
Dad-thank you so, so, so much for taking me to see Hamilton! It was well worth waiting almost 10 years :)


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 9.2.17

I guess it hasn't been so weekly lately...again with the traveling! Someday I'll get caught up on all those posts too...maybe on this long weekend? Though I will definitely be trying to make the most of what's left of summer as well, along with fully embracing the start of football season! Go Blue!

Reading: I was so excited to find The Admissions at the Ann Arbor Public Library-Friends of the Library book sale. I've been on the hold waitlist for it for ages, so I was totally willing to spend $2 on it. It was definitely really engaging and wrenched at my heart-I highly recommend it!

Listening: I listened to A LOT of my usual podcasts while I was driving to and from Michigan last week, as well as singing along to musicals at the top of my lungs and an audiobook. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was actually a great one to listen to-and I am pretty picky about what I will listen to rather than read myself.

Watching: I began watching the Defenders while at camp with James, so have been working on that. I just have 2 episodes left-can't get enough of superheroes making sarcastic and witty comments!

Have a fantastic Labor Day weekend! Oh, and GO BLUE!


Friday, September 1, 2017

Eating Elsewhere: Denver (Part 2)

Our second day in Colorado was not much shorter, despite flying out that night (I believe our flight was at 11:59pm), but we didn't manage quite as many food stops. We still fit as much in around the christening and family party, though!
Of course we had to eat before heading to the Boulder area, but had to leave early enough that we didn't have time to take advantage of the many fantastic breakfast/brunch restaurants. Thankfully, Lucas knew of a great bagel place, Rosenberg's Bagels and Deli. I had a classic bagel sandwich, as did Lucas, but Dad amped it up with cream cheese and caviar on his. I was also pretty happy to take advantage of their nitro cold brew-so yummy! The combination of current and modern certainly created a fun atmosphere.
As we drove back into Denver after our (extended) family time, we had to make a stop at one of Dad and Lucas' favorite breweries, Black Shirt Brewing. I really enjoy beer, though don't drink it as often as they do, so was happy to take advantage of their flight-otherwise I certainly would have only been able to try one!
Their music theme is also super fun-they sell some awesome artwork, both prints and original, and the name of the brewery comes from Johnny Cash. Plus, their taps handles are microphones!
We finished the evening with dinner and drinks at the Rackhouse, a taproom that shares space with C Squared Ciders and Bierstadt Lagerhaüs Brewery. The restaurant is located above the cidery and brewery, so we were able to look down on their production.
I really enjoyed my cider flight-the lavender was particularly good! I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but it was delicious. 
The food was also excellent. Dad immediately noticed the soft pretzel on the menu, so naturally we started with that. I then loved the banh mi (subbing in fried green tomatoes) and mac & cheese. 
By the time we left, Dad and I pretty much had to be rolled to the airport, but it was totally worth it! There's only about 98 more breweries (no exaggeration) and many more restaurants to explore!


Monday, August 28, 2017

A not-so-brief interruption (rant)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled posts about food and travel and fun to have a little rant about this so-called "snowflake generation".

While watching Morning Joe with my dad (a rarity-I almost never watch the news, preferring to read it from a variety of sources), they started to go off on "coddled" and "fragile" liberals, using the violence that broke out at the Berkeley protest as a starting point. There were several points at which I simply couldn't be quiet so figured I would write it out.

They started with discussing the violence at the Berkeley protest-which of course I condemn. Chasing after people to hurt them is unacceptable on all counts and here simply serves as ammunition for the right. However, this quickly devolved into claims that young liberal people think of themselves as "special snowflakes" and don't think they should have to suffer consequences for their actions. The hosts made it a point to repeatedly say that "you hit someone in the head, you go to jail"-completely ignoring their own earlier report that there were 14 arrests. So yes, you hit someone in the head and you go to jail-this time. This seemed to simply be a case of the hosts trying to find another way to talk down to millennials.

Unfortunately they did not end here, but continued to rant and rave about the "snowflakes on the left". I don't know if it's what they intended, but it certainly seems as if Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough hate an entire generation. I cannot say how much this infuriates me for a variety of reasons...unfortunately this is a constant problem and today's statements were simply representative of so many things I have heard and seen.

1. The tone of voice used was extremely patronizing. Saying things like "everybody who disagrees with you is wrong...", "everybody looooves you...", etc. in possibly the most sarcastic tone I have ever heard was simply so disrespectful. Yes, people who seem to actually believe those things are infuriating-however, I have not seen this to be a millennial issue, but an asshole issue.

2. My generation does often have higher expectations for feedback on the work that we do, recognition, etc. My question to those who are upset about this is: where do you think this came from? We didn't raise ourselves-for the most part. Participation trophies weren't our idea. And before you think I'm criticizing my parents' generation: where do you think this came from? They were (and are) simply doing their best to provide not only physical but emotional care for their children. They came of age in a generation where the importance of emotional support was not yet explicitly recognized and wanted to ensure their children did not feel the same way they did. (I read a piece on this online at some point and would love to link to it, but can't remember where I found it-if anyone knows, please tell me and I will add it!) Also-what's so wrong with wanting recognition for good work?

3. There's been a lot of discourse around "safe spaces" and the idea that young people (particularly college students) want to avoid any uncomfortable conversation. Joe in particular claimed that young people only see things that confirm their viewpoints, while he read things that he disagreed with because he already knew what his people were saying. (I wanted to ask him if he'd like a gold star for that.) Again, yes this can be a problem, but it is not a generational one but a close-minded one. I was recently at a training where we discussed the difference between safe and brave spaces-and I am 100% on board with shifting the language and concepts. In brave spaces you are challenged and supported in equal measure-and the frequently used terms of "agree to disagree" and "assume good intentions" are not accepted without analysis. I'll touch on trigger warnings here too-they are not intended to tell people not to listen, read, etc. a piece, but to give them a heads up that it contains content that could be (ugh) triggering. To give them the chance to mentally prepare themselves, to know that they may end up upset. And yes, I know "in the real world" there are no trigger warnings, but guess what happens when people have a chance to address them in healthier ways? They can then encounter these situations in the real world and react in safer ways! It helps them to develop tools and strategies to manage them at all times.

4. What is the problem with demanding accountability? People of all generations say they want more of it, that the problem with politics, etc. is that those in power can get away with so much, but when millennials (and others) push back on sexist policies, homophobic bosses, the insane disparity between the increase in college tuition vs. minimum wage, etc. they say that we are whining. Yes, we push back. Yes, we expect to not be miserable in our work. Yes, we demand to be treated as equals in humanity.

I may end up adding to this as I think more about it-I clearly have a lot of feelings. As I thought about why Mika and Joe seem to hold so much hatred for millennials I wondered, "is it because we don't watch their show? We demand more of people? We refuse to suffer unnecessarily?" and came to the conclusion that in their quest to be the voice of the center they needed a common enemy. This generation makes a perfect one-elders all across the political spectrum love to criticize everything millennials do (or don't do, like eat at crappy restaurants like Applebee's). What better way to get buy-in from the people already watching your show (helloooo, bubble?) than to mock a generation that doesn't watch it and therefore won't even know we have to defend ourselves?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 8.12.17

I'm finally feeling like my schedule is getting back to normal, but the celebrating and socializing hasn't slowed down much! I was so happy to get to be a part of Dawnmarie's bachelorette last weekend, and have 2 birthday celebrations this weekend-woohoo!
Lately, I've been 

Reading: I just finished Isabel Allende's The Japanese Lover. A beautiful love story that shifts flawlessly between characters and times. 

Listening: I've been listening to the Moth podcast for a long time, but it continues to be a favorite. It never fails to make me emotional. 

Watching: I've been rewatching Galavant now with a couple different friends. It is so funny-and with the popularity of Game of Thrones, the humor feels particularly relevant.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Eating Elsewhere: Denver (Part 1)

Boy oh boy does Denver have good food! Tons of breweries apparently also means tons of excellent "new American" as well...prepare to drool and/or plan your next trip.
After Dad's and my late arrival on Friday, Lucas took us directly to an excellent coffee shop and bar, Hudson Hill, conveniently right by his house. I was almost too tired to enjoy it, but their cocktails were absolutely worth staying up for (till what felt like 4am!).
Of course we finished the night with a slice...I never get tired of white pizza!
The next morning we hit up Lucas' go-to spot for visitors, Jelly Cafe, to fuel up for our "nature walk". We had a light appetizer of all their donut bites (OMG the spicy Thai peanut was ridiculous). I followed this with some breakfast sliders and breakfast potatoes, all of which was great. My standard for judging breakfast/brunch spots is the potatoes so I get them nearly every time...that's a good excuse, right?
Thankfully our outdoor adventures allowed us to work up enough of an appetite to enjoy a late lunch at the Post Brewing Co. (closer to Boulder to allow us to meet up with some more family). I think if you eat meat, specifically fried chicken, it might be more exciting...though my chile relleno and Post Dark Bloody were quite tasty, and the biscuits are to die for!
When we eventually made our way back to Denver, we made a pit stop at Little Man Ice Cream. We waited for about half an hour, which is apparently not long on a summer day! It was 100% worth it-I loved both the salted maple pecan and Earl Grey tea & cookies flavors I got, and who doesn't enjoy a freshly baked waffle cone??
After dropping the car off at home and walking around for a while, we finally thought we could consume some more food & drink. We had to hit up the classic tiki bar Adrift-I wish I could've gotten better pictures, as the decor and presentation were on point, but the lighting was not conducive to it at all. I don't think Lucas minded (he doesn't exactly love my obsession with photographing my food and drink) but I gave it my best shot! The exterior shot turned out much better...
We ended up eating dinner finally (very late) at a lovely little Mediterranean restaurant, Gozo, where we obviously started with the burrata. Without fail my one complaint is not allowing it to come to room temperature. It was definitely high quality cheese, and the accompaniments were excellent, but the flavor of the burrata itself comes through so much more when it is not cold.
The brussels sprout salad, however, I had absolutely no complaints about-I was in desperate need of protein and greens so it hit the spot. Dad's risotto was also delicious-I feel totally inspired to incorporate eggplant into mine in the future now.

Stay tuned for Day 2!