Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mount Mansfield + the Winooski River

During the July fourth weekend, I visited idyllic Vermont. 

On July 2nd, my boyfriend and I climbed Mount Mansfield, which is the tallest mountain in the state. It was my second mountain and it was by no means a walk in the park. Last month I started working full-time in an office-they say sitting is the new smoking- and it had been nine months since I completed my first mountain. As we were nearing the top, I actually broke down crying. I truthfully believe hiking is more of a spiritual experience than anything else. There's no better activity to learn mind over matter than climbing a mountain, and though my boyfriend gave me the option to turn around, I couldn't be happier I didn't.  

We climbed Sunset Ridge Trail, which is 3.3 miles. The amazing perk of this route is you get to see above the tree-line half of the way. Another fun fact about Mount Mansfield is it has 200 acres of rare Arctic Tundra. The first mountain I climbed, Camel's Hump (read about my experience there), has a few acres of Arctic Tundra as well. 

The next day, July 3rd, my boyfriend and I rested our sore muscles by tubbing down the Winooski River.  This watershed drains 1,080 square miles in central Vermont, encompasses multiple counties,  is the largest tributary to Lake Champlain, and is approximately 10% of the land area in the Green Mountain State. 

It was my first time tubbing and I didn't know something so relaxing and fun existed. 
For the special occasion, we got a lounger that fits four, has a place to dip your feet, and two coolers, which were perfect for the delectable Vermont craft beer and cider we bought. Here's where you can purchase it! 

 Even though my boyfriend and I ended up spending the fourth of July indoors applying aloe, chugging water, and popping Ibuprofen because we got sun poisoned from four hours of tubbing, I still had the time of my life. Because when you start full adult-ing, any moment you get to be in the place you love is always ideal.  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

PEM's Native American Fashion Show + Intersections

When I was attending Salem' So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Festival last Saturday, I also hit up the Peabody Essex Museum to check out two of its' exhibits- the Native American Fashion Show and Intersections.  

The Peabody Essex Museum is considered one of the oldest continuously operating museums in America with its' roots dating back to 1799 with the founding of the East India Marine Society. 

The Native American Fashion Show included fashion spanning the last 50 years of both Native American designers as well as non-Native American designers, who have been inspired by the culture.

I heard about this exhibition last year. I knew it was well recieved, but I still had no idea what to expect when I walked through the PEM's brick and glass exterior. Once in the exhibit, I was left speechless. 
This dress was my favorite. I love the fiery water colors and the head piece. Now if only Cher wore this to the 1988 Oscars.
I don't wear slippers but if I could wear these ones I would! 

The exhibit also displayed street style for us common folks. 

Following that, I went to the newest exhibition at the PEM, which actually opened that day . It's called "Intersections" and it was designed by Pakistani-American artist, 
Anila Quayyum Agha. The significance of the suspended figure, which reflects shadows on the all four walls, is that we are all the same. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Salem's Oh So Sweet

This weekend Salem, Massachusetts hosted its fourteenth annual, Salem's So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Festival! Though I loathe the winter, seeing the pristine blanket of snow  made all the festivities I saw on Friday and Saturday magical. 

My favorite part was seeing all the ice sculptures. 

Happy Superbowl Sunday, Everyone! 

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Celtics Vs. The Magic

I’ve completed my first full week of spring classes and on Tuesday I started feeling not so well mentally and physically.  It hit me that I’m graduating in May and that I have much to accomplish within the next fifteen weeks. Additionally, I started experiencing random pelvic pain. Whenever Friday rolls around, it’s always a great thing, but this past one was especially so as I felt it helped me recover from earlier this week. 

The existence of Web MD and Google has made us all become unofficial doctors, and I was happy when I left a medical center on mid-day Friday that what I had wasn’t any of the horrible conditions I found on the scariest depths of the Web. After the appointment, I went to the Celtics Game with my boyfriend, my best friend, and her boyfriend. The Celtics played the Orlando Magic and we got the tickets for a discounted price through our college, Salem State University. 

The Celtics won 113-94. We thought it was going to be a close game, with no shot for a Gino, but in the third quarter the Celtics pushed the lead all the way up to twenty seven points, marking their fifth win in a row! The Celtics are currently in fifth place for the NBA Eastern Conference and hopefully we will see them in the playoffs, which start in April. I will be seeing them again on February 25th when they face the Milwaukee Bucks, who are in thirteenth place for the Eastern Conference, a place behind the Magic. 

Another aspect that made Friday’s night game awesome was it was Isaiah Thomas’ first game since being named an All-Star. Every year, the NBA has an All-Star Game, which is a game played between the best players on the Eastern Conference and the best players on the Western Conference. Thomas is the first Celtics All-Star in three years. It’s a big deal he was selected as many people told him he could never be a professional player because he’s 5’9." 
It’s not going to be  easy these next four months, but as I take this Sunday to prep for my next week of school, I keep the Celtics on my mind to help me stay motivated and positive. My boyfriend credits his favorite sport team as the reason he returned to college a few years ago and this month we celebrated him earning his bachelors degree! May it be a successful spring for the two of us and the Celtics! 

Read my first blog post about the Celtics here:

TD Garden 
100 Legends Ways 
Boston, MA 02114 

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Missing Burlington

Today my boyfriend texted me a picture of Church Street in Burlington, Vermont that he took on Christmas Eve. Sometimes when he takes pictures on his phone they look like paintings.  This gem was too pretty not to share here. 
Stay tune for another post tomorrow. Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend! 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Life Alive

After much deliberation, my boyfriend switched his minor not only to graduate early but to set his trajectory towards the right career path for him. Though I knew right away I would miss doing homework with him on Sundays and talking about classes, I was over the moon. In celebration of his academic achievement, we got lunch at Life Alive in Downtown Salem. 

Life Alive was packed that day with the lunchtime rush. Every time somebody came through the entrance, the cashier had to ask them to file at the back of the line. 
We both got the Sufi Poet- red lentil humus, cranberries, raw cashews, cucumbers, granny apples, shredded carrots, sun-sprouts, spring greens, and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Eating pure, clean ingredients always makes my body feel new. 

What I love about smoothies is they're cool and refreshing whilst being a meal in itself. This right here is the Lust Alive Smoothie- strawberries, bananas, candied ginger, cinnamon, raw cacao, ice cream and rice milk. 

Life Alive is the perfect place to go if your resolution is to take better care of yourself or you are about to start a new chapter of your life. Though my boyfriend and I are still figuring out our futures, I know with the assistance of feel good food from Life Alive we won't be as overwhelmed. 

What's your favorite stress-release food? Have a great weekend! 

Life Alive 
281 Essex Street 
Salem, MA 01970 

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

First Celtics Game!

If there's one thing people from Massachusetts collectively love it's sports. In fact, if I were to personify the Bay State as a person in a bar, they would be bragging about their  prestigious teams. On Friday January 15th, I went to my first ever Celtics Game and I couldn't have asked for a better time! 

Basketball was actually invented in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, but the NBA wasn't founded until 1946. The Celtics have the most NBA titles with seventeen championships; they won in 1957, 1959,1960,1961,1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968,1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, and 2008. The Celtics banners are proudly displayed up by the rafters and they always have one pristine banner blank to motivate the team. 

The home of the Celtics is the TD Garden. It opened in 1995 and it puts on about two hundred events per year, including games and concerts. It was second time at the Garden this past Friday having seen Katy Perry there in 2014. 

The Celtics were facing the Phoenix Suns that day. I purchased the tickets as a Christmas present for my boyfriend, a massive fanboy of both the sport and the team. There wasn't any particular reason why I had us go to this match other than I thought it would be fun for us to see a game before heading back to college. After my boyfriend gave me a historical background on the team, I was happy with my choice. The Celtics and Suns faced each other in the 1976 NBA Championship and many basketball enthusiasts consider Game 5 to be the greatest game ever because there ended up being three overtimes! Additionally, fan-fave Isaiah Thomas played for the Suns just last year.
The Celtics won 117 to 103! They acted fast and never allowed the Suns to get ahead. Guard Marcu Smarts made his first triple double of his career at this game, which was the first Celtics triple double to come from a non starter since January 16, 1971! A triple double is when a player makes a double digit number in three of the five statistical categories- points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots. Smarts earned ten points, eleven rebounds, and ten assists as well as making two steals and two blocks.
Whenever the Celtics win by a landslide, the TD Garden plays a clip from Dick Clark's American Bandstand where a group of people are dancing to the Bee Gees' "You Should Be Dancing." Fans go nuts when when this dancer clad in a Gino Vannelli t-shirt comes on. This tradition is known as "Gino Time" and it is not uncommon to find people wearing the shirt at games. 
My goals that night were to appear on the jumbotron and win a t-shirt  thrown into the crowds by one of the cheerleaders and they both happened! 
I'd say this January's theme has been that of love and  basketball. Not only have I started watching the Celtics for the first time in my life, my boyfriend and I have started playing together. 

Another reason that made that the game special was seeing mentoring programs being recognized as my boyfriend is a mentor himself for a behavioral service. There was a mentoring program doing a 50-50 raffle and a women was honored for her work with high risk teenagers. 

Attending the game, I discovered a person can learn a lot about happiness and perseverance by taking a page from a Celtics fan's book. They have literally seen basketball giants come and go and consecutive championships followed by decades with no titles, yet their passionate for the team is unwavering. 

Have you ever been to a Celtics game? What was it like? 

TD Garden 
100 Legends Ways 
Boston, MA 02114 

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gulu-Gulu Cafe

My heart broke when I learned the news of David Bowie's death this past Monday, January 11th. I am an Anglophile- my favorite musical genre is British pop- and so far, 2016 hasn't been a good year for beloved entertainers from across the pond. To help me cope, I went to a place I knew would know how to throw a tribute to the icon's passing- the Gulu-Gulu Cafe in Salem, Massachusetts. 

The Gulu-Gulu Cafe is a hispter-esque yet unprentious  restaurant that serves rare beers, coffee and fresh food. It is situated right next to its sister restaurant, the Flying Saucer Pizza Company, which I reviewed last year (, and was named after a cafe in Prague where the owners met and fell in love. Aw, how cute! 
Everything the Gulu Gulu offers uses delicious ingredients, including all of the craft beers they have. This past year, they won the North Shore Magazine's Reader's Choice for their beer menu and recently they  started their own beer membership. 
I ordered the Essjay on a spinach wrap-hummus, red onions, greens, strawberries, apples, and cranberries. 
My boyfriend got the Orange Walnut salad; mixed greens and arugula with oranges, spiced walnuts, cranberries, feta cheese & pickled onions. For $2, he got to add bacon.
The Gulu Gulu isn't just great at night, but for breakfast too! When I have a sweet tooth craving in the morning, my favorite thing to make is a waffle sandwich with peanut butter, Nutella, strawberries and bananas. 
Just like the Flying Saucer Pizza Company, the Gulu Gulu's mascot is a pug. 
I sat right near this drawing. Bowie's bewildering body of work was heavily played that night on the sound system above. If you're a big music lover, the Gulu Gulu is a must as they feature live acts five nights a week. 

There are many lessons one can learn from David Bowie; he created anthems for the alienated and for musician had a rock-strong marriage to his second wife, Iman. However, what I admire most about him right now was his ability to make art until the end of his life. My aim is to be like Bowie, which is to never stop doing what I'm passionate about, even when I'm under pressure with other areas of my life, and one of those things is this blog. 

Gulu Gulu Cafe
247 Essex Street 
Salem, Massachusetts 01970

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dobrá Tea

It's always hard getting back into the swing of things during the first week of every new year. I was having such a hard time I ended up giving in to another road trip to Burlington, Vermont mid-week! Just kidding- I went back to Vermont for my first freelance gig- coverage of the protests at the Thursday Donald Trump rally! During some down-time earlier that day, I went to Dobrá Tea- a gluten free and vegan teashop that offers over 100 varies of Eastern loose-leaf tea. 

Dobrá Tea was founded by a group of tea drinkers who had smuggled rare Indian, Chinese and Japanese teas into Prague towards the end of Communism. At the time, the tea they were secretly brewing was only consumed by the highest ranks in the government and military. Three years after the fall of Communism, the group opened their first tearoom in the capital, and in the past decade, nineteen more opened across the Czech Republic. The Dobrá Tea in Burlington was the first US Dobrá. 

My boyfriend and I sat on the cushions nestled in the corner. Their cushions are filled with buckwheat hull. 
After browsing their ten pages of my green tea (yes, you heard me right; they have TEN pages in their menu devoted to this one type!!),  we ordered Dian Lu Eshan, which is touted as their best green tea. 
I find the winter to be the best time of the year to reflect due to its' slow pace. After my boyfriend poured each serving, I stared at my tea leaves and mused about what 2016 would hold for us. 

My boyfriend's mom frequents Dobrá Tea once a month and during my visit I understood why. To me, tea is the closest thing we have on earth to a magic potion. It calms me down whilst turning me on creatively, lifting me up emotionally, and stimulating me mentally. 

Tea is a universal beverage. Dobrá Tea is dedicated to creating a safe space for all people. During these devisive political times, we hope you find peace and safety amongst friends over a cup of tea. ‪#‎TeaTrumpsPolitics‬

Dobrá Tea 
80 Church Street 
Burlington, Vermont 05401 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Stone Corral Brewery

Germany isn't the only place I've been to in the past six months that has a love of beer.
Vermont has more craft breweries per capita than any other state in the US and on my ride home to Massachusetts on January 3rd, I got to check out one of its newest ones- the Stone Corral Brewery! 
The Stone Corral is a micro brewery that originated on a family horse ranch in Huntington, Vermont before moving to its current tap room in Richmond.They utilize local, seasonal flavors and their beers have roots in Germany, Belgium, and Britain. In 2014, they competed against 710 global breweries and cideries in the Great International Beer & Cider Competition and their 'Black Beer' won them first place for Dark Lagers: Bock-Schwarzbier-Other; their 'Latigo' awarded them second for English-Style Bitter/Scottish-Style Ale; and their 'Illusive Traveler' earned second for Fruit and Spice Ale. 

I ordered a fight of all their beers. 
My favorite beer was their Kölsch- a German pale lager. 
The best snack to munch on! 
I love the Southwestern vibes the Stone Corral has.  
I find the Vermont pace of life to be soothing for the soul. 
I'm not a resolution person, but in 2016, I want to make this quote my mantra. 

The Stone Corral Brewery 
83 Huntington Road 
Richmond, Vermont 05477 

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