Thursday, November 8, 2012

What is a Nor'easter??

Good morning from a snow-dusted Boston! Last night we had our FIRST snowfall of the season, and I woke up with chattering teeth and a light cover of the white stuff in view from my window. We quickly realized that our heat has stopped working and it looks like we will be bundling up inside until someone can come take a look at the thermostat and heating system. As I write this I am sitting right next to the fire, drinking coffee and soaking in the warmth that each are bringing me!

Quick sidenote: a lesson in New England terminology.

"Nor'easter"is a macro-scale storm along the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada
This is what brought our snow last night- I had heard using the word and had to Google it. Apparently is a big storm that resembles the formation of a hurricane but brings snow and wind to the area. learn something new everyday!

I can't believe its November already, it seems like yesterday I was miserably hot in the hundred degree temperatures that were reached every day this past July. Although summertime is definitely my favorite time of year, it is always exciting when it gets cold, snow falls and the feeling of the Holiday Season moves upon us. This time I am especially excited as the next couple of months unfold-I am told that Boston is such a great place to enjoy the months leading up to Christmas and New Years- lots of twinkling lights, a BIG Christmas tree in the park, an outdoor skating rink in the common downtown and Christmas markets with crafts, gifts and goodies. The market will start late November and its location is literally right outside my building for work (which could be a good thing or a bad thing! haha)

Which brings me to my next exciting bit of information. YES I got a job! A real "big girl" job and I am so thrilled and thankful that I was able to find something within a couple of months, and that it is something I am VERY excited about doing. The company is one that I feel is a great match for my personality, professional skills, and will provide great opportunity going forward as well. I start training this coming Monday, couldn't be more happy!

In the spirit of both Thanksgiving, and the start of my new job quickly approaching, I want to make sure I reflect on these past couple of months here in Boston. I was able to have two full months off from school and work, that although were filled with ups and downs and uncertainties of landing a job and having enough money to outlast my time of unemployment, the time was truly a blessing and I had such a wonderful experience.

I was able to spend lots of time with Brandon, meeting up for breakfast, lunch or coffee.
I was able to spend time with my mom as she came out to visit and we toured the city.
I was able to get in plenty of long runs, Insanity sessions, and other forms of exercise.
I wandered around Boston, the Back Bay, and Cambridge-exploring and LOTS of window shopping
No homework, papers, assignments or stress of job related situations.

I am so thankful!!

Stay warm, dry, and cozy!!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Happenin's

Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween!

Last weekend we were invited to a Halloween party by some of Brandon's classmates and we did some brainstorming on what we could possibly throw together last minute without spending any money on costumes- only using what we already had in our closets. And this is what we came up with............

Danny and Sandy from Grease!!

Like Brandon's sideburns? We drew them in with dry erase marker! (it matched perfectly!)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Apples to Apples... to Regattas

Fall is in full swing here in New England! I have been wanting to take part in a few proper fall time traditions of the region and this past weekend couldn't have been a better one: packed full with feel-good October activities that warms the heart and soul!

Saturday was the start of the two-day world famous Crew event known as the Head of the Charles in which teams from all over the United States (we saw a few international teams as well!) come to compete in a variety of rowing competitions taking place in the Charles River, the river that separates Boston from Cambridge (where MIT and Harvard are intelligent city if you ask me!)

We met up with one of Brandon's friends who just happened to move out here recently from LA with his girlfriend  for breakfast at a restaurant called The Paramount in Beacon Hill. The tiny little Paramount serves breakfast, cafeteria style and we could tell by the line that wraps outside the door and around the corner that it was going to be delicious and worth the wait! (And it was!)

After breakfast we scoped out the Head of the Charles festivities, grabbing some free snacks at different booths and watching the crew teams row by on one of the bridges spanning the river. Rowing is one of those sports that I have never been exposed to and know nothing about but it is extremely popular here and I have enjoyed learning more about it..I'm pretty sure they even have rec teams and leagues to join for people who want to row for fun!

Next on the agenda..the event I had been anxiously awaiting for a few weeks...APPLE PICKING!!!

Apple orchards are scattered throughout the countryside here in Massachusetts and as soon as I learned that we could go pick our own apples fresh, straight from the trees, I knew it was something we just had to do. Fortunately, our new Boston friends were down for the excursion as well and we decided to rent a Zip Car for the afternoon and make the half hour venture out to Stow, Massachusetts to check out Honey Pot Orchards. (Zip Car: what an amazing idea! Look it up if you haven't heard of it!

Honey Pot orchards offers apple picking, a large hedge maze, a country store complete with fresh Apple Cider Donuts and other goodies: jams, apple turnovers, and other baked goods, a small pumpkin patch and farm animals for the kiddies. We picked one big bag of a variety of kinds of apples and indulged in some apple cider donuts. And let me tell you..Apple Cider donuts are phenomenal and you should try them fresh if you ever get the chance. Just don't eat TOO many..we may have learned that the hard way!

Sunday brought on another event I have been looking forward to: the Dorchester Firefighters 10k! It has been quite awhile since I have run in a race and my roommate had brought this one to my attention and thought it would be a fun activity for this Sunday morning, especially since Beth would be running it too, and it started at 10 AM! ( this is rare, races usually start much earlier!)

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect temperature that morning and it was bright and sunny and I was feelin' pretty good going into the race- I have had plenty of time to do a lot of running since we've moved here! I was a little nervous, only because I get competitive... with myself! Always trying to beat my previous times. 

I pushed myself really hard and it was one of the hardest run races I have ever completed. I did the first 4 miles in a little over 24 minutes! I dropped back a little at this point, knowing I didn't want to completely run out of gas before the last mile. I ended up placing 3rd place girl and scoring a new Personal Record of 41:48! Beth beat her personal record too! It was a good day for us all!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Takin' the Train to Maine

Bonus Post!

Whats this? Two posts in two consecutive days? Thats right!

More New England goodness to share with you!

Before moving to Boston, the only place on the East Coast I had ever visited was North Carolina (which actually can't be compared to Boston or the Northeast at all because they are so completely different) So anywhere outside the city all the way out to..well the midwest.. is completely new to me. I had seen advertisements on the T for "taking the train to Maine" and thought that with Mom here for the week, it would be a perfect opportunity to see a new part of the U.S. that neither of us had seen before ( I love how everything is so close out here, just a two and a half hour train ride takes you to Portland, Maine)!

We were really excited, hoping to see lots of fall colors in the trees, eat some lobster and take in the sites of the Harbor and city of Portland. We were a bit early for seeing much change in the trees around the actual city, but on the train ride we saw beautiful orange, yellow and red trees whiz by as most of the ride was through the forest.

The day was a perfect crisp fall day and we had so much fun exploring Old Port and its shops, restaurants,  cafes and other random stores. I tried Lobster for the very FIRST time and I was very surprised at how good it was! (Iv'e never really been a fish/crab/seafood person!)

Great trip to top off the week! SO happy my mom could make the long flights cross country to come visit me!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mom visits!

What a wonderful treat that just a month into living in Boston, my mom came to visit for a whole week! I am so happy that she is here and is able to explore the city with me for a few days!

Last week we couldn't have had more beautiful weather: sunny, warm (but not hot!), breezy, perfect! And of course as soon as mom gets here, mother nature decides to give us lots of rain, clouds and much cooler temperatures. We were lucky enough to have one or two sunny days so far which allowed me to show her all around the city- we even jumped on a bay tour cruise- great way to see the harbor and the Boston skyline from the bay!
Welcome to Boston!
Beautiful day for a harbor cruise!

Bunker Hill Bridge

Boston skyline

One of the things I really love about Boston is how easy it is to get around in the city. We are able to cover a lot of ground by combination of walking, subway, and bus, so after the first two days I was able to show mom my favorite parts of the city: downtown and the seaport area, Cambridge/Harvard, Newbury/Bolyston street, and the North End! We also took a bus tour of the historical parts of Boston and the Freedom Trail: the old state house, site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Reveres house, the USS Constitution and Old North Church (where the two lanterns were hung to notify Paul Revere the British were coming), which was a great way to see ALL that there is to see in a short time span.

I have a ton of photos to share, but here is a few (okay maybe more than a few from the last week!) Enjoy!
Downtown Boston in front of the site of the Boston Massacre (tiny brick building)

Bagels at Quincy Market

Crew boats on the Charles River

Freshman Dorm in Harvard Yard

Boston Common

Copley Square

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

Mom on the Charles River

Crew team on the Charles
Until next time!


Monday, September 24, 2012



This is the chemical formula for Dichromate, and all I can really tell you about it is that it has a negative charge, and its one of the important compounds to know in Chemistry. I am becoming (somewhat) familiar with the basics of the Periodic Table as I have become the official index card holder and quizzer of chemical formulas, acids, and bases. Its fun to become a little more familiar with a subject I last studied as a senior in high school. What can I say..I love to learn! If someone came up to me randomly on the street now and demanded that I tell them the formula for Dichromate, I could rattle it off no problem at all. However, if I had to tell you its significance...well... thats another story!

Brandon is now fully engulfed in all things physics, chemistry and biology as he spends so many hard working hours in the library, studying in groups, attending labs and tutoring sessions. This past week was a huge one as he worked so extremely hard to finish physics problem sets due on Thursday as well as stay on top of all the new material and not get behind in the other classes. I just have to say how proud of B I am, and how much I admire him for not only committing and giving his all to this program, but for staying positive and showing his excitement even as the hours get long and frustrations set in. 

I don't get to see Brandon much at all (if anything maybe a lunch scheduled in-between a morning and afternoon study session) during the weeks, so its so exciting to spend an afternoon or night out on the weekend together! This weekend was a real treat as we caught a Red Sox game on Friday, Dim Sum lunch on Saturday AND date night dinner Saturday night. I am pretty much the luckiest girl in the world, even with all the deadlines and homework and readings to be done, Brandon still finds time for me. I can't tell you how much this means to me, it makes all the time that I can't see or talk to him well worth it. Especially when I know all this is the start of him following his dream.
Friday night at Fenway!

Sundays we have been attending Park Street Church in downtown Boston, and with Brandon's schedule its most convenient (albeit early) to catch the 8:30 service before his afternoon tutoring session. Its been hard for me to find another church that I really like as much as Church of the Resurrection back in Kansas City. Pastor Adam Hamilton is phenomenal and I really enjoy all of his sermons because they are relevant, meaningful and its easy to apply his message to my life. This week we decided to log on to the webcast of church back home, and it was really great to listen in again. B has a projector in his room which allowed us to watch it "on the big screen" aka his one blank wall. I was even treated to the musical guitar talents of Brandon himself before service!The church is starting a great sermon series starting called "Responding to God's Invitation with Power and Grace". Great start to my week!


 It's officially fall and time to break out the cardigans and boots and soak in all the beautiful crisp cool days. I am so excited for the leaves to start changing! I hope you like foliage photos because I am sure I will have lots to share!

First official day of Fall in Cambridge

This week should be another great week! Run club around the Esplanade tonight followed by taco night with the roomie and Mom is coming tomorrow night! Can't wait! 

Until next time, Ciao!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Boston loves runners + weekend highlights

I couldn't have found myself in a more runner-friendly city than here in Boston! You can imagine how thrilled I was on my first time run to scope out the area when I found that just a half mile journey south takes you straight to the bay! A sidewalk known as "Harborwalk" wraps around on the edge of the beaches and takes you out on a causeway and to Castle Island, an old army Fort that many people go to have picnics, toss around a frisbee, or just sit and enjoy the views of sailboats and cruise ships as they sail by. As you might expect, I have been in runner-girl heaven being this close to such an awesome trail that I can take advantage of every day!

Morning on the Harbor

Harborwalk in South Boston

Castle Island- Fort Independence

I still have much organizing and arranging to do in my room and this weekend I took some time trying to strategize on where to store certain things as I don't have that much storage space. It might be an ongoing project for awhile but it is coming along very nicely and overall I am extremely pleased with the layout and feel of my new place! Photos coming soon!

Everyone keeps saying how phenomenal the weather has been lately for Boston and I couldn't agree more! I also hear that we better enjoy it before the bitterly cold winter starts to rear its ugly head and every chance I get to be outside, I jump on the opportunity! On Sunday, Brandon and I went to church early at Park Street Church downtown, and afterward headed to Chinatown for some Dim Sum for lunch. We also did a little exploring and found a couple of interesting stores including this one that sells DVD's and goldfish. We are on the hunt for a Bonsai tree, but have yet to find one!


Should I get these Naiki headphones?

Brandon is working so very hard and is studying, reading and memorizing, at every chance he gets (besides the few hours I steal him for a few hours here and there during week to go eat or get groceries and give his brain a chance to breathe!). I am so proud of him and amazed by his dedication to the material and this program!

After leaving Chinatown, Brandon went back to Cambridge to study and attend a tutoring session, and I decided that I would go on a long run- to explore even farther past Castle Island and to immerse myself in the perfect 73 degree afternoon! I continued on past the island and along the marina where the cargo and cruise ships port, through the financial district and all the way past the Boston Aquarium touching the sign signifying the start of the Historic North end of Boston and then back again!
Painting on the side of a building in the Financial District
Seaport area crossing back into the city

I'm Halfway!

I'm done!! 13.6 miles!
What a perfect weekend! Thanks Boston!