**This is last week’s post that I managed to never publish. Travel back in time to November 10th as you read this.**
Hello, hello (hola!) I’m pretty sure I just outed myself as extremely old by making a 15-year-old U2 reference, but there’s no shame in my Dad-joke game. We’ll get right to it this week, then!
I recently started a tutoring job at a local community college and I just have to say how inspired and hopeful it makes me about the future. I went to a predominantly white university in suburban Massachusetts, so my college experience was wildly different than the population I’m working with. The students who come to the tutoring center are so kind and motivated to succeed—getting to know them and be a tiny part of their stories makes me better and is the highlight of my week.
Elizabeth Warren released a Medicare for All plan and we simply must stan. Without getting too personal, I recently had a huge bomb dropped on me re: my employer-provided health insurance, so this issue both ideologically and personally affects me. The healthcare system in this country is so broken (my therapist certainly agrees!), so two of the Democratic frontrunners running on unequivocal M4A platforms is hugely important.
On that note, I can’t stop laughing at this tweet.
I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but I’ve been revisiting a ton of ’90s alternative rock, and I will absolutely give myself vocal nodes singing along to Celebrity Skin. Truly one of the best and most iconic albums of all time. I stan the legend Courtney Love!
I got the new iPhone in the mint-green color and honestly, it’s ruining my life. I was so suspicious of FaceID but I have to admit…it’s really convenient?? Also, the screen is bigger than on my last phone, so it makes doing the NYTimes Crossword easier and that is truly my only priority in life.
I’m going to New Orleans next month! I’ve been once, in 2016 right after my wedding, but this time I want to do it right! What should I do while I’m there?
*very local reference* The Red Lentil in Watertown is incredible. Bostonians, flock!
And most importantly, tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, and while I am personally vehemently anti-war and military spending, one thing we absolutely should and must spend government money on is taking care of veterans and their families. And, tbh, all vulnerable populations. Not doing so is, frankly, un-American!
It is becoming increasingly apparently that my foremost skill in life is starting these posts prior to Sunday, forgetting about them, and then on the following Saturday, cobbling together an end so that I can schedule them to come out when they’re supposed to. I’m really consistent! I think I can officially stop wondering why no one in their right mind would pay me to write.
This week’s round-up is very on brand for me—media-heavy and a bit too late to be relevant. But I mean, if you’d only just given yourself the gift of listening to Demi Adejuyigbe talk about pop songs for an hour and a half at a time, you’d probably brag about it too.
I just read Shrillbecause I watched Shrill and Lindy and Aidy are perfect and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
I joined Bumble BFF and I have no regrets. I felt like a complete loser about it but we all deserve a rich social life that shouldn’t have to die just because we move or graduate.
I really tried with Pen15, but I can’t get into it. It’s too authentic. The writing and acting are so convincingly tween. If you’re into nostalgia (the girls on the show are almost the exact age I was back in the early ’00s), you’ll love it. 12-year-olds just make me cringe. Note: I will still probably watch the entire series.
A Quiet Place is on Hulu now and I might have to break my no-horror-movies-ever rule to watch it.
WERS (the local cool radio station, from Emerson College) keeps advertising a music festival in Reykjavik and it’s making me want to visit Iceland so bad! It’s such a stunningly gorgeous country, and it will be a great way to kick off seeing Scandinavia!
I finally started listening to Punch Up The Jam and it’s my new favorite podcast. I highly recommend starting with the “Wannabe” episode. This week is Shania Twain!
So, as a New Englander, this literally makes no sense to me, but Tallahassee is cool as hell. It is…so much cooler than Boston? It’s in the panhandle/Northern Florida. It’s not even by the ocean. Why is this place perfect?
I’ve now been down here four times (I’m writing this from Catalina!) and I’m honestly tryna move. It’s February and I’m wearing sandals and a light jean jacket…Heaven.
This trip we drove down St. Petersburg for some beach action and stopped in Manatee Springs to attempt to see manatees (we were brutally rebuffed).
Definitively the best tacos on planet earth. Since last time I was here, they added a caramelized pineapple and pickled cactus option. YOU HEARD ME CORRECTLY. Other classics are the mushroom taco—it’s utterly, stupidly good. It has some sort of pesto—cilantro, maybe?—with toasted chickpeas and cotija. Sarah’s fave is the fried avocado taco—need I even elaborate? Also, their sangria is legit. It…actually tastes like red wine and isn’t sweet. They do a salsa of the day, and it’s always bomb. Their beans! I have to stop talking about Cocinero, or I’ll end up getting tacos a third time.
The BARK is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in a super cool part of town—the building’s entire exterior is painted with Keith Haring-style murals. They have a limited menu but LITERALLY EVERY OPTION is delicious. Last time I had a Sloppy Jose (a barbecue beans sammie), and this time I had a buffalo tofu sandwich with vegan ranch. Did I mention they bake their own bread?? BARK stands for Bread and Roses Kitchen, after all. I got sautéed garlic kale as a side order and I swear it almost made me believe in God.
Donuts. Epic goddamn donuts. Also, their sandwiches are next level. The decadent grilled cheese has tomato jam on it, which almost sounds gross, but is actually amazing! Next time I’m down in FL, I definitely want to hang out here and write in their outdoor seating!
This was another place we hit up when I came out last May. Super cool—they have random dog murals on the walls?—and their menu changes seasonally, which I love. Not a ton of veggie options, but what we did end up getting was delicious.
Are you sensing that I love tacos? Everything in Tallahassee, inexplicably, has veggie options. We ate here during my May 2018 trip, and we calorie-splurged on queso. So worth it.
I’ve already written about Warhorse but it is my favorite place ever. We did trivia here on my 2nd to last night and it was seriously the most fun! It was audio/visual trivia and one of the rounds was trying to figure out rap lyrics when run through a text-to-speech program in a Scottish accent. No joke. When you’re here, order a New York Sour.
Grasslands Brewing Co.
I’m actually sitting right outside Grasslands right now. At Grasslands, we played Boggle while we drank beer. Truly iconic.
I’ve talked about Proof before, but they have a new location and it’s epic!
Sarah lives right next to this place. We didn’t make it this trip, but we had cocktails here in May. The décor is out of this world!
serving lewks at neko case
WE SAW NEKO CASE, BITCHES! The Moon is honestly one of my favorite venues. It has standing room and tables you can reserve. We were like two feet away from Neko, who was, somehow, even better than you could possibly imagine her being.
I don’t know if getting tattoos is technically “entertainment,” but I find it entertaining! We got tattooed by Luis—follow him on Instagram!
When I went down South last May, we took little day trips to Apalachicola & Thomasville, GA. If you’re ever down that way, check these places out!
We packed a lot into our first week. I’m still waiting until it calms down so I can do wild things like sleep or buy a curling iron. Exciting stuff! Here’s just a tiny overview of a few faves from the last week. Loads more to come!
Pubs & Food
Saturday was the quarter finals of the World Cup and (spoiler alert from several days ago) England trounced Sweden! It’s the first time England’s gone so far in the cup in ages, so the city was abuzz with excitement! We had an impossible time finding a pub at which to watch the match—everywhere was stuffed to the gills with people spilling outside and watching through the windows. They’re playing again Wednesday (against Croatia) and we’re camping out at St. Aldate’s nice and early to watch!
The Covered Market is so, so cool. It’s like a tiny version of Farmer’s Market in L.A.
Pro tip about (at least this area of) England: every. bloody. place. has. vegetarian options. It’s absolutely incredible. Even the morning English Breakfast buffet could please a vegan. Just note that it’s soya milk, not soy! Also, figure out what the hell Pimm’s is before you come here.
Still to try: The Wig & Pen, The Eagle & Child, O’Neills, The Bear Inn, The Oxford Retreat, The Trout
You can’t go to England without making a pilgrimage to Boots. It’s like a Sephora-meets-CVS, and it’s the nearest chemist to school. We’ve been getting our groceries at Tesco & Sainsbury’s. I got a tattoo at Oxford Tattoo and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. 10/10 would recommend. And Blackwell’s! What can I possibly say about Blackwell’s that hasn’t already been said. You remember the song “Almost Paradise“? It started playing in my heart when I walked in. It’s 3 floors of wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor books, and I’m moving in there ASAP.
Cymru for life. These ruined medieval relics are stunning beyond belief. Granted it was about 4,000 degrees Celsius, seeing these living legends was an unmissable experience. Get thee to the land of the dragon!
The Hen & Chickens pub is clearly the local watering hole, and we were so lucky to have stopped in here. We met an Irish ex-pat named Collin and a mysterious vest-wearing Welshman who went by the name of Reality Jones. There is no way to really capture how magical our Wales experience was…suffice it to say that I’m definitely going back, and I’m probably getting a Reality Jones tattoo. P.S. Welsh cheddar and cole slaw sandwich. Iconic.
In my next post, I’ll go off about coffee and food in Oxford (hint: it’s very good).
We leave for England in 4 days! I’m so excited and grateful for this opportunity. I’ve never taken a Transatlantic flight (I’ve only left the country five times, to Quebec and Cancun), so this is a major bucket-list item checked off! As I may have mentioned before, Annie and I will be living and studying at Wadham College at Oxford, but we have plenty of excursions planned (including day trips to Paris and Brussels!)
This is a(partial) list of what we’ll be up to on the island:
One thing that has remained consistent in my life for the past 20 years, truly the only thing, has been my passionate desire to visit Paris. My father encouraged my brother and me to learn French as children (which worked on me but flopped big time with my brother) by reading us bilingual picture books, and ever since, I have been fascinated by French language, history, and culture. And croissants. Who doesn’t love croissants?
I started taking French in school when I was ten and continued through college. I even took a French film course sophomore year! Jules et Jim, La Femme Nikita—all the classics! I’m pretty sure that my basic existence inspired Childish to rap “I’mma be on these tracks like indie girls on Amélie“. I read (and loved) the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. Trust me, though, Francophilia is hardly a sympathetic condition. Revealing that you speak French at a party is like revealing that you have whooping cough—no one wants to be around you after that. So I’ve been quietly biding my time, waiting for my moment to finally hop the pond and visit la Ville Lumière.
But what’s the biggest obstacle to any dream? Money, honey. International travel is expensive af (or at least it has been presented to me that way), and until a few months ago, I was a broke college student working a retail job. I mean, now I’m a broke prospective grad student working a retail job, so, not much better, but we’ve got that wedding nest egg squirreled away and my credit score is on the rise! #tmi
So, why bring this up now? After 20 years of futile dreaming, why put a Paris trip back on the table? Well…my parents. Let me explain. My mother’s husband has family in Germany, so they recently appended a few days onto their trip to visit Paris. That’s correct—a woman who know zero French words and has no interest in coffee, wine, or fattening food has been to Paris. That was a bit of a dagger in the back, but she deserves to travel, right? She works hard! Then, my dad revealed that this year, he wants to turn 50 in Paris. It has also been his lifelong dream to go there (apple, tree), so he’s in the early stages of planning a trip for his birthday. 50 is a big occasion!
Since I’m the tech-savvy one in the fam (which is a sad, sad reality), I’ve started browsing for flights and AirBnbs in order to help him get a realistic picture of the expense of the trip, and what I’ve found has shocked and delighted me. A trip. To Paris! Is totally doable! You can get round-trip flights for under $600 if you don’t mind stopping in Iceland! AirBnbs go for as cheap as $50/night! I haven’t even begun to factor in the cost of meals, nor have I converted Euros to dollars (the exchange rate is super close right now), but still: with each Internet search I become increasingly hopeful about my chances of making my dreams a reality.
Turns out, the touristy stuff that one simply must do is all super affordable!
There are so many more free or inexpensive things to do in Paris, which is super inspiring to the broke among us! The money saved on attractions can go towards food! According to Pinterest, eating vegetarian/vegan should be a breeze there—for all of my Francophilia, classic French cuisine just doesn’t do it for me!
So, when are we going, guys? Tomorrow? All I ask is that I see Paris before I die, so let’s pack our freaking bags! That might be the most stressful thing of all—how to dress in the world’s most fashionable city. My wardrobe is not worthy!
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! These Boston winter months have me itching to travel to somewhere warm. It’s actually the first day of Spring today, but the snow on the ground hasn’t gotten the memo. Almost none of these destinations scream “tropical paradise” but all the same they’re far, far away from the Northeast dwelling I’m so eager to escape. So, let’s explore a few more!
[insert sarcastic use of the word “wanderlust”]
#1 on the list this time around is Atlanta, GA. I had no idea it was so cool. When you’re raised up North, you’re taught to kind of roll your eyes at the South. Or at least I was. Civil War hangover, maybe? Who knows. In any case, I hadn’t the foggiest that Hotlanta was blowing TF up. John Lewis? Donald Glover? Stuff Mom Never Told You/Unladylike? I have got to go check out the locale that spawned such greatness.
A cursory Google search will net you hundreds of incredible activities in and around Atlanta. MLK’s home, the Margaret Mitchell House, the High Museum—the list goes on! (Definitely revealing my dorky-ness with those examples.) And food! Pinterest/Buzzfeed and the like have vouched for the abundance of amazing eats in ATL. And you know me—anywhere I can get a vegan or gluten-free donut is great in my book. I can’t wait to check Atlanta out!
P.S. As a person who lives a stone’s throw from Gillette Stadium, even I was rooting for Atlanta in the Super Bowl this year.
I know, weird choice, right? With all the Jeff Sessions nonsense going on, you think I’d be afraid to go near the Cotton State. The Yellowhammer State? Get an official nickname, Alabama!
However, I guess Mobile is a mini-NOLA in the making! I mean, look at that pretty place in the photo above! I don’t know much much about Mobile, but it seems like they have very cool museums and a thriving arts community. The entertainment district on Dauphin street seems like the place to go for nightlife—give me all of the daiquiris and live music! In terms of wildlife, it’s alligator country! I am deeply, deeply terrified of gators, but for those braver than me, you can visit Alligator Alley and actually interact with the beasties!
And, just like NOLA, where I actually was fortunate enough to travel last year, they celebrate Mardi Grad in Mobile! Pencil me in for a trip on February 13, 2018!!
As promise, Telluride is finally getting a shout-out. I grew up skiing, and I’ve been itching to get back into it. I haven’t skied in over a decade! Revisiting my past love in Colorado, which is basically skier Mecca, would be 2 dope 2 handle. In addition to slopes, it looks like they have a beautiful historic town center, great bakeries and bars, and all around tiny-town adorbs vibes. It’s surrounded by National Forests, and you can stay in literal huts on the mountainsides. Telluride seems like the sweetest getaway spot!
One might say that I am a desert enthusiast. There is, in my estimation, no better climate—dry heat during the day, cool at night. Cacti everywhere. Infrequent rain! It is one of the many absurdities of my life that I am not a desert-dweller. I mean, that view above?! It almost makes me want to own hiking boots. Almost.
I have to admit, Phoenix wasn’t really on my radar, but the lovely authors of the blog New Darlings live there, and they make it seem like a slice of paradise. I’m a sucker for any destination that combines great eats & great coffee with gorgeous nature! I’ll buy those aforementioned hiking boots in order to see the astonishing views on Camelback Mountain, just as long as I can get a cortado afterwards, of course. Phoenix, in addition to its regular art museums, also has a Musical Instrument Museum! That’s a sure-fire way to convince my husband to travel there if I ever heard one! Next winter or spring, we have got to plan a trip!
St. Louis, MO
Did you know that St. Louis has its own signature style of pizza? Move over, Chicago! In all seriousness, St. Louis seems like a really cool, yet totally unassuming city that I truly hope to visit one day. I mean, Jon Hamm is from there!
A good friend of mine went to school in Missouri, and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t visit. There’s so much cool stuff to do there! The iconic Arch, the *free* zoo and art museum, big name productions at The Fabulous Fox, and of course, the number 1 most important thing about any travel destination: food! I hear that they also have sports games there, but you won’t catch me wasting valuable tourist time watching baseball.
Now to frantically research AirBnBs and plan a long weekend there!
[insert comment about how I only care about Detroit because of Detroiters here]
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that business out of the way, uh, nope! I mean, having a cool TV show about your city certainly helps (see Atlanta above), but I don’t need Comedy Central to inspire me to sojourn to the birthplace of Motown! There’s the Corktown District (which has/had a bar called Bill Murray?!), breweries like HopCat to sample, Historical Museums to tour, and a giant market district.
Maybe when I finally visit, I can append a few days onto my trip and finally see “The Cleve”—any 30 Rock fans in the house?
Santa Cruz, CA
Okay, okay, so I have technically been here before, but I firmly believe that anything you do before the age of ten doesn’t count! Santa Cruz has everything—breathtaking vistas, water sports, farmer’s markets, a cliff walk, a distillery, wine tours! My most deeply-held desire is to move to the West Coast, and Santa Cruz has all the trappings of a perfect place to settle. And it’s less than 2 hours away from San Francisco!
Santa Cruz seems like a perfect, idyllic paradise, and I can’t wait to go back!
Chelsea, you live in Boston and you mean to tell me you’ve never been to Brooklyn? It’s an afternoon’s drive. Ease up! I’ve only been to NYC once, and I didn’t leave Manhattan. That’s right, the girl who has managed to visit Tallahassee, FL twice doesn’t know the first thing about any of the five boroughs. The Beastie Boys are appalled by me. Most of my engagement with the Empire State has been upstate (Syracuse & Ithaca).
Perhaps I’m about a decade behind the “Brooklyn is cool” trend. I think the hipster cities have cycled through Austin and Nashville by now, too. However, there’s still a ton of cool shit going on there! You can catch a show at The Bell House (2 Dope Queens tapes there a lot!), eat at restaurants with obnoxiously minimalist names like Egg and Diner, take a brewery tour, etc. Also, it seems to be where everyone who is “NYC-based” actually lives. Despite the borough and its inhabitants being dragged in that Lana Del Rey song, it still seems like a totally aspirational spot where I can get a great cup of coffee or cocktail—my two main objectives when visiting any new city.
My goal is to travel to at least ONE of the locations from this list, or parts I & II this year. I managed to make it to NOLA last year, as I mentioned—this year I’m thinking Savannah & Palm Springs? Time will tell. Thanks for indulging my travel fantasies!
NOLA is pretty much a no-brainer. I can’t believe it wasn’t first on the original list, tbh. History, music, Cajun food? Sign me up. You can throw your own parade with a police escort in New Orleans! It seems like such a vibrant, colorful city, and by all accounts it shouldn’t be missed. You can even stay in haunted hotels!
I’ve actually missed two opportunities in a row to go there (our cousin’s company hosts a retreat there), due to lack of funds & time. Next year, if they do it again, we’re GOING.
Palm Springs, CA
Okay, so my father is convinced I’ve been here before but I’m pretty sure that’s not true. Fancy hotels? Desert heat? Mid-century architecture? Sinatra? How do I not already live in Palm Springs? Bonus points that it’s only about 45 minutes away from my grandmother’s house. I’ll definitely be swinging through town next time I’m in Southern California…
Louisville is about 3 hours away from Nashville, which might make it a little too far a destination for a honeymoon day trip…but we’ll see.
Omaha & Lincoln, NE
This one’s a twofer, since these cities are only about an hour apart. Omaha has been on my radar for a decade, because it’s famously the home of Saddle Creek Records. You know, as in Conor Oberst? It also gets name-checked in a great Rilo Kiley song, “The Execution of All Things”: let’s go to Omaha to work an exploit the booming music scene.
Lincoln makes an appearance on here because my best friend attended a conference there last year and said that it was surprisingly awesome! I’m also a sucker for capital cities—state house tours, anyone?
Boulder & Denver, CO
So, I guess by now you’ve deduced that The Stand by Stephen King is one of my favorite books. How else would a New Englander have even heard of Boulder?
I included these cities together because they’re about a half an hour apart (sorry, Telluride, you’ll have to be in Part III). Colorado seems like a land from a fairy-tale. I mean, look at that picture. How is that even real? I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Rocky Mountains apart from flying over them, but it’s always been a dream to view them in all of their majestic glory. My knowledge of America’s topography is (apparently) so limited that I’m now realizing that the Rockies feature in at least 2 of my other listed cities.
Boulder is apparently a “hipster’s paradise,” which to me signals coffee, tattoo parlors, and craft brews. I’m in!
Okay, in truth, I only want to go here because of that episode of 30 Rock. And because the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there. Apart from those two tiny nuggets of knowledge, I’m clueless about the entire state of Ohio. But, as they (definitely don’t) say, cluelessness is the mother of exploration!
I will say, this post was originally written before the RNC, and now with the open-carry laws and stuff I’m a little wary…
I’ve actually been to Pennsylvania three times but never made it to either of the great cities it boasts (Philly & Pittsburgh). I’m something of a history nerd, and Philadelphia is such a historical hub (much like my hometown). I feel like it’s mandatory for every American to the Liberty Bell, or to tour the rooms where the Declaration was drafted.
I’ll pass on the cheesesteak, though.
Walla Walla, WA
Walla Walla is a city in the southeast corner of Washington. One of the colleges I wanted to apply to is there, and it also made an appearance in one of my fave YA novels from my younger days. I can’t say that there’s any specific reason that I want to go there. It’s just one of those names that sticks in your mind, and I’ve heard that Eastern Washington is stunningly beautiful.
Where else should I roam? There’s so much America to explore!