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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vacation Success and Dreading Monday

To say this random week off from work went as I expected it to could not be farther from the truth. When work stress was at its peak in August, I wasn't able to take time off with the excessive amount of paperwork that was due and over-involvement of insane family members, so I opted to request the week of my birthday off. With no set plans, I anticipated a boring, albeit much needed mental health week, consisting of waking up to only sit around on my couch with a laptop and Hulu Plus. Not so.

Instead, I had one of the most amazing weeks of my life in recent years. It was really just about the positive energy I felt this week from every person I interacted with, with every place I visited, the beautiful fall weather, and coming to peace with some parts of myself (even if that last one proves only to be temporary). It's been a long time since things aligned themselves so perfectly, and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday night's experience at the piano bar was a blast. Half price drinks, no cover, and we actually got to see the dueling piano show...way better than my first experience on a Saturday night. In fact, we had so much fun that we may go again next Thursday for the Halloween costume competition.

I drove up to Boston on Friday to meet up with a college friend/roommate and to have lunch with my favorite professor/my idol. (Apparently I only make such trips for people who have earned two titles in my mind, lol). I hadn't seen either since graduating in 2011, so amazing does not even begin to describe my visit. Steph and I spent two hours catching up at a Starbucks by Fenway...we both agreed we can't leave two years between our next rendezvous.

I went for a late lunch with Dr. Mary Elizabeth Pope, who taught most of the writing classes I completed in my final two years at Emmanuel. I am giving her full name because she just published her first book (!!!) titled Divining Venus. It's a collection of short stories about women and relationships, and it is available on She is an unbelievably talented author and I cannot wait to read it. We attempted to have lunch at the Isabella Gardner Museum cafe, but with an hour and a half wait, we walked about a mile down Huntington Ave to Penguin Pizza per the museum's recommendation. Kind of a dumpy little place, but the service was great and the food was good; the company was even better, and that's all that mattered. Sorry about the lack of pictures, but I was too caught up in conversation to whip out my iphone and make things awkward.

When we parted ways, I had some time to waste to avoid rush hour traffic, so I took a walk to a few of my old favorite local haunts: Trader Joe's and Brookline Booksmith. It was so hard to keep from buying everything I saw. The last things I need right now are food and used books, I already have quite the collection to burn through. My (de)motivation was the mile walk back to school and the thought of carrying heavy bags. While I was in Trader Joe's, a woman randomly stopped me to comment on how stunning my haircut was and literally thanked me for walking past her because she found it that fascinating. Thanks for the compliment, lady, but chill. By the time I drove back home, I was exhausted and opted to stay in, catching up on DVR-ed TV with my mom and a glass of wine.

Saturday morning ritual of back-to-back yoga fusion and vinyasa yoga, my favorite way to kick off the weekend. I did some grocery shopping in the afternoon and out for almost-day drinks at 4:30 with two of my oldest friends. Who am I to argue when my friends are taking me out for a late birthday treat? We went to Murphy's Law, which is a pretty cool bar/restaurant with pour-your-own-draft tables. Insert lots of reminiscing, new memories, and quality conversation.

Sunday morning means two more hours of yoga first thing after waking up. I was a little sore from yesterday and class was tough today, I'm definitely going to be feeling it tomorrow. Stuffed my face when I got home, then off to Providence Place Mall. I scored a cute striped top from Banana Republic for $10 and a $17.50 dress at Francesca's for the Gatsby-themed 16th birthday party I have to DJ next Sunday night. Borderline thievery, I ain't mad.

Dinner tonight was a stand-by, effortless crockpot meal. White bean turkey chili.


  • 1lb lean ground turkey (I use 93% lean)
  • Three 15oz cans of cannellini beans, undrained
  • One 28oz can of crushed tomatoes 
  • 8-16oz chicken broth (depending on how thick you like your chili)
  • one yellow onion, roughly chopped or diced
  • chopped green chiles or jalapenos, optional
  • chopped garlic, to taste
  • black pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, dried cilantro, to taste
Add all ingredients to a crock pot and stir to combine. Set on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Thicken with a little guar gum or gluten-free/wheat flour if needed. 

Substitutions can easily be made depending on what's on hand. Today I used two cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes instead of the large can of crushed and it came out fine. I like to eat mine from a giant coffee mug, seasoned liberally with hot sauce. And always steal a few extra bites with tortilla chips when storing leftovers. FYI, this makes a huge batch of chili and it freezes really well.

Currently, I'm snuggled up on my couch and watching TV after snacking on the remnants of Jif Whipped peanut butter mixed with some light Cool Whip, frozen. Totally processed and unhealthy, but I needed the extra fat and wanted something sweet. All in an effort to continuously increase my calorie intake. My mom pointed out that my sister is Barry from Meet the Goldbergs. If you don't know my sister and you watch that show, well now you do. 

Tomorrow marks the return to my mundane schedule, so posts will probably become more frequent and less eventful. 

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