Although I have my funny valentine (A), I also have many galentines. The women who bring as much love and support as a partner and whom I cherish dearly.
“They” say to write about what you know. With that in mind, my Valentine’s Day guide is comprised of ideas for the ladies. Fittingly, these companies are all owned/partially owned by women.
Everything listed I have used myself (and in some cases, bought as gifts) guilt-free, as the companies below all find ways to give back and are based out of the US. So for all your galentines (and/or yourself– you’re worth it!), here are my suggestions:
K-Deer leggings— Kristine Deer is a friend of a friend, and although we’ve never met, I’m a huge fan of her and her NJ-based company. Her leggings are out of this world comfortable, do not budge one bit– for real– and come in the most amazingly fun patterns. Her signature stripe patterns, which recently were copied by Athleta (who has since removed them from their site and stores), are named after women she admires to give back and bring awareness to specific charities tied to said women. As if that wasn’t reason enough to support this small business, the class and grace with which the company weathered the situation was inspiring. I am not sure I would have kept my head cool in that situation, but K.Deer did. Join her mailing list or follow along on social media to find out about promotions and new pattern releases. I promise you will not regret buying a pair of these!
Colour Pop lippies— Thanks to Courtney Kerr, I was made aware of this extremely affordable LA-based company last summer. I cannot get enough of their lippies and recently bought a blush as well. I used to be a Nars lip pencil devotee, but now I get can the same pigmentation and long lasting wear for a fraction of the price… which just means I buy more 🙂 For real though, you won’t believe the quality you’re getting for the price point. You’re also supporting a US company who doesn’t test on animals so it’s a win-win. Plus, proceeds from their Puppy Love shadow go towards rescuing animals. Join their mailing list for $5 off your first order and enjoy free shipping on orders $30+.
May Designs planners— I don’t remember how I was first made aware of May Designs, but I am on my 4th eco-friendly planner so it’s safe to say it’s been awhile. I prefer to keep it old school and write down my plans. Completely customizable, small yet durable enough to survive my purse, these cheery books come with all sorts of options for inside as well– calendar, meal planner, wedding planner, baby diary etc. I now have several friends and my mum hooked on these. Follow them on social media or join their mailing list (20% off your first order) for fairly regular promotions. There’s even one going on now through 2/1!
True Moringa lavender facial oil— I was given the opportunity to test out a sample (size pictured– full size is 1oz) of True Moringa’s products and I picked the lavender facial oil. I’m a fan! I love using oil in the winter and I’m a sucker for anything lavender so it seemed like a no-brainer. If you’re scared, don’t be. As long as you’re using pure oils, it will not make you break out and can actually prevent your skin from becoming too oily. The Boston-based company is ethical and sustainable, working directly with 700 farmers in Ghana to better their lives, so you can feel confident that the top quality (paraben free, sulfate free, vegan) product you’re receiving is also doing a lot of good for a lot of people. Their affordable product line also includes hair care and body care. Give them a follow!
What’s on your Galentine’s Day list? Let me know about other companies I should check out!
In mid-December, A and I took a long weekend jaunt down to Florida with my family in Massachusetts to see my sister and her family. Not only was it nice to get out of dodge for a few days, it was great to be able to attend their 10th annual Christmas party at their beautiful home. While they live outside of Tampa, A and I stayed in St. Petersburg for a night when we first arrived. I had only been through there briefly and he had never been, so it was fun to scope out a new scene together.
For a song, we stayed at the Ponce de Leon, a boutique hotel that was no frills, but very cute and clean with a comfortable bed and a central location. The first night, we ate (outside! bliss!) at Ceviche where we split a bunch of delicious tapas and a pitcher of cava sangria. Despite A having had sangria with me before, he never realized it also had booze added to the wine, so he was surprised when it hit him (which I found hilarious). After dinner, we walked down to the waterfront and all along Beach Drive, a ritzy street filled with a lot of restaurants, bars, shopping and pricy high-rises all decked out for the holidays. Unfortunately, we all know the struggle of capturing lights with a camera, so none of my shots quite did it justice. We ended the night at Try Wine, a wine shop that also offers the ability to pull your own pours from 88 different bottles! You put a credit card on file, they give you what looks like a hotel room key and you choose between three sizes of pours (pricing varies depending on the bottle and the sample size). We had a blast and once we found the wine we liked best, each got a full sized glass and sat down to enjoy it. We were still full from dinner, but they also offered cheese and charcuterie boards plus some other bites if you were so inclined.
The next morning before leaving the hotel, we got brunch at The Mill which opened in 2015 and was named best new restaurant– in the state! Let me tell ya– it was a well deserved distinction! We shared apple fritters with a cinnamon Greek yogurt dipping sauce to start. They were a taste of heaven, but we had to take most of them to go so we could eat our meals. I ordered steak and eggs au poivre. Oh. Wow. Everything from the steak to the zucchini fritters was top notch… and believe me, I finished it all. From brunch, we walked a bit to grab a coffee at Brew D Licious, a spot that also brought us for a stroll down Central Ave, which had a wonderful artsy vibe. I really make a point not to visit chains on vacation (unless they’re unique to the area) and I’m so glad I got to try their smooth (yet strong!) iced coffee.
We made one last pit stop on our drive back to St. Pete Beach, which was so lovely. The white sand! The clear blue water! We just soaked up some sun and put our feet in the water watching boats go by and fisherman use nets off a pier. A is an avid boater and fisherman himself, so I think his only regret was watching vs doing 🙂
I’m very glad we took a little time out of a wonderful family weekend to make some memories and see a new city as a couple. I certainly hope to go back!
**Boston Burger Company was sweet enough to host me last week. I am a huge Davis Square goer and had been meaning to stop in for a long time, but hadn’t had the chance. While our food was comped, all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you so much for having me in, guys! **
As the size of my thighs will attest, I LOVE food. I’m thinking about my next meal while eating my current meal. I am unapologetic about both of these things 🙂 While I don’t generally eat a ton of red meat, when I want a burger, I WANT A BURGER. With cheese. And toppings. And fries. And I want it served with a delicious beverage. Well, all of my burger wishes were granted during this Tuesday night dinner. I’m an adventurous eater and since I was given this lovely opportunity to check out Boston Burger Co, I decided I would try something I wouldn’t find anywhere else which was the Vermonster [“sauteed granny smith apples and red onion, bacon, maple mayo, cheddar”]. Oh, wow, was I glad I did! The combo of flavors was unique, but played off each other very well. I guess it should be a no-brainer, since many of the flavors are found in breakfast offerings, but if you’re still hesitant to try them via a burger, don’t be. My dinner companion (my BFF) had the Buffalo Burger [“buffalo sauce, crumbled blue cheese, diced celery, boney’s special sauce”] which was out of this world as well. I am a buffalo and blue cheese snob and they clearly took both seriously. If neither of these sound up your alley, there is tons to choose from on their large menu which includes more than just burgers and fries. We already discussed bringing the guys back with us since we know they’ll be fans too. Next time, I’m going for The Sophie [“prosciutto, goat cheese, candied walnuts, fig jam, arugula tossed with lemon vinaigrette and drizzled with a balsamic reduction”]. Or maybe The King [“peanut butter, bacon, fried bananas dusted in cinnamon and sugar“]. Or…
Alongside our tasty main courses, we tried the garlic parmesan fries. The word “fries” is really an understatement though, as they were generously cut wedges of potato working the perfect crispy on the outside-melt in your mouth on the inside balance.
To wet our whistle, we ordered cranberry margaritas. YUM! Definitely recommend. If you’re more of a burger and beer type, they got you covered on that front too.
Sorry the picture quality on this post isn’t the best! I was having a hard time with my camera and the lighting . Don’t let that deter you in the least though, this place is delicious and fabulous!
I visited the location at 37 Davis Square in Somerville (there are two other locations in Cambridge and Boston). Among other accolades, Boston Burger Co has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, “The Phantom Gourmet”, and won Rachael Ray’s Battle of the Best Burger.
While I (clearly) still dabbled in social media, it was nice to take some time over the holidays to not be so thoroughly invested in it. I had a blast with family and friends, ate and drank more than I should and essentially lived in my jam jams. During December, my roommate and I also hosted 3 gatherings at our house, so it was the usual December mixture of simultaneously running around and vegging.
But now it’s January, the weather has been pretty good to us, the days are getting longer again and I’m ready to get back to the (posting) grind.
While I don’t do huge sweeping resolutions, it is a nice time to take stock of your life, make sure things are in order, and try to better yourself in however small of a way. Although personally, despite the years removed from being a student, September and the “back to school” feeling tends to motivate me even more than New Years. Does anyone else feel the same way?
I’m looking forward to a fun and blessed year ahead. For the first time since 2005(!), I have no weddings on the docket. While I LOVE being in and attending weddings to support my friends (and dance), it will be a welcome change of pace to have more time off and funds freed up to do some traveling. Two friends are in Honolulu and after 9(!) years, I am trying to get back out there this year. We’re also booking our girls’ beach weekend again for June and I’d like to make it to see a few other friends and family scattered across the country as well. I’m also majorly overdue for a Eurotrip. With all of that in mind, I am going to try and continue last year’s resolution to spend more money on activities and experiences and less money on material things. I’m a sucker for a good shopping trip, so it’s not always easy, but I do think it’s worth trying.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my family in Portsmouth, NH– seeing all the ships, walking around Strawberry Banke, eating seafood. Now I still love to make it up there whenever I can and it never disappoints. A had never spent any real time there, which needed to change, so we decided that our Christmas gift to each other would be a night away during the off season. We chose The Hotel Portsmouth and both could not be more pleased with our experience there. The staff was wonderful and the property both modern and charming. We cannot wait to stay there again and I was so happy to share a city so dear to me with my main man!
After a super easy check in, we had a late lunch (and the best.mussels.ever) at The Portsmouth Brewery, then walked around a bit even though it was so freezing we thought our faces would fall off. Next was upstairs at Fat Belly’s, where the bar has a strip of built in ice to keep your drinks cold because even when my face is nearly falling off, I still want my libations served frigid. After that, we went over to The Thirsty Moose to continue our walking two person pub crawl, where I got to try two new fruit beers– Wachusett Strawberry White and Seadog Sunfish– and I am OBSESSED with both. Also recommend their BBQ chicken nachos, which we got to go so we could eat them in our jam jams in the room. Heaven, essentially.
The next morning, we had some fresh (and free!) breakfast at the hotel, overlooking the falling snow. As much as I am SO COMPLETELY OVER all this friggin’ snow, it was pretty beautiful to watch– while inside with my bagel and coffee. After check out, we poked into a couple of shops, then had an early lunch at State Street Saloon (hot dog and tots!) before heading home. All in all a wonderful mini vaca and more memories made in a place that’s extremely special to me 🙂