Friday, September 30, 2011

I love my job.

(and yes, that's a fish.  It's from an awesome MN State Fair hat from a sporting goods store that my mom sent in a package a couple weeks ago.  You just wish you were that cool). 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A flight of aviations from Drink: a shot of Creme Yvette, an aviation with Creme de Violette, one with simply gin and lemon, and one with the Creme Yvette.
Drink in Fort Point is my favorite bar here in Boston, plain and simple.  Courteous bartenders, tasty and interesting drinks, fascinating history---all put together in one place.  Love.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A beautiful day to be outside, get my knives sharpened, have some delicious grilled cheese and poutine from Roxy's, and wander around SOWA.  It was chilly enough to remind me that fall is coming...

Monday, September 19, 2011

101 Things to Do in Boston Before You Graduate

Last year, I sent McCormick seniors a list found on BU's website describing 101 things to do in Boston before you graduate...the page is now defunct, but the list did exist at one time, promise.  Even though I did pass it along, I found it to be lacking in the sort of things that were more tailored to the MIT crowd---cheap eats, lots of culture and history, more randomness, less BU sporting events.  So, I decided to completely overhaul the list.  I didn't realize how hard it would be, but it really helped me learn more about my city, as well as give me a few more things to see around town!  Did you know that Boston has a giant Irish culture center?  Me neither.  I'm going to have to make a pilgrimage out there next summer, I think.  So, without further ado:

Restaurants and Food

1.  Do a cannoli tasting between Mike's Pastry, Modern Pastry, and Maria's Pastry in the North End.
2.  Go to afternoon tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel or have the original Boston Creme Pie at the Ommi-Parker Hotel in downtown Boston.
3.  Have cookies and drinks at Top of the Hub in the Prudential Center; be sure to go on a clear night to get the best view of Boston.
4.  Sample one of the 100+ beers on tap at Sunset Bar and Grill in Allston.
5.  Have dim sum in Chinatown (Hei La Moon is my favorite!).
6.  Drink hot chocolate at Burdick's in Harvard Square on a cold winter day. 
7.  Try hot pot (shabu shabu!) in Chinatown (Hot Pot Buffet).
8.  Try Ethiopian food at Asmara in Central Square, or Habsha in Malden.
9.  Eat a lobster roll at Neptune Oyster in the North End or B and G Oyster in Back Bay.
10.  Drink bubble tea either close by at Leisure Station in Kendall, Infusions Tea Spa in Allston, Dado Tea in Harvard Square (also has great Thai iced tea) or My Thai Vegan Cafe in Chinatown.
11.  Eat delicious ramen noodles at Blue Asia in Allston.
12.  Eat wonderful shawarma, fasulye piyaz and burnt milk pudding at Brookline Family Restaurant in Brookline.
13.  Try the famous celebrity-moniker burgers, sweet potato fries and a Lime Rickey at Bartleys Burgers in Harvard Square.
14.  Eat wonderful drunken noodle, pork belly or duck dishes at S and I Thai in Brighton.
15.  Try a crabcake at Legal Seafood in Kendall Square or Abe and Louie's in Back Bay.
16.  Eat the famous Bobby Flay-beating caramel rolls from Flour Bakery just down the street on Massachusetts Ave.
17.  Try a slice at Regina's Pizzeria in the North End.
18.  Walk to Inman Square and try the ice cream at Christina's.
19.  Try the pumpkin kaddo at Helmand in East Cambridge.
21.  Eat ice cream at local favorite Toscanini's in Central Square.
22.  Try a Cuban sandwich, fried plantains and a fruit smoothie at El Oriental de Cuba in Jamaica Plain (show your Charlie Card, get 10% off!).
23.  Eat a Chilean sandwich at Chacero's near Downtown Crossing.
24.  Take a quick road trip or bus out to Cabot's Ice Cream in Newton.
25.  Try the clam chowder at Legal Seafood in Kendall.
26.  Take the blue line out to Revere Beach and try the roast beef sandwich at Kelly's.
27.  Have an absolutely giant plate of pasta at La Famiglia Giorgio in the North End...there's a student discount!
28.  Go on a behind-the-scenes tour of Taza Chocolate in Somerville.
29.  Visit Haymarket for cheap produce (great for a fruit smoothie party, if I do say so myself!)
30.  Have ice cream at the original JP Licks in Jamaica Plain (the JP in JP Licks!).
31.  Go apple-picking and drink fresh apple cider and hot apple cider donuts (try Honey Pot Hill in Stow, Carlson Orchards in Harvard, or Autumn Hills Orchard in Groton).
32.  Eat ice cream and sponsor the Jimmy Fund for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the annual Scooper Bowl at Government Center.
33.  Drive out to Groton, and buy some farm-fresh eggs and grass-fed meat from the fifth generation of butchers at EL Blood and Sons
34.  Tour a Boston brewery; Sam Adams in Jamaica Plain and Harpoon off the silver line near the airport are great fun!
35.  Have a cocktail at Drink near South Station (the bartenders are really nice, I promise!)
bonus (thanks Mary Kay!).  Try a three course lunch ($10!) at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in East Cambridge.

Only in Boston

36. Stand on the B.U. Bridge. You’re now at the only place in America where, simultaneously, a plane may fly over a car driving over a train traveling over a boat.  (bonus points if you actually wait around for this to happen!)
37.  Walk the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston!
38.  Visit the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester.
39.  Buy a copy of Make Way for Ducklings and read it in the Boston Common (also a great Boston-based gift if you have young children in your life!).
40.  See an improv comedy show at Improv Boston.
41.  Watch the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Boston Common.
42.  Attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston.
43.  Ride a swan boat in the Boston Common.
44.  Browse the homemade wares, vintage clothing, and antiques at the South End Open Market (SOWA)-- be sure to get something delicious from one of the food trucks or the farmer's market!
45.  See Boston on a Boston Duck Tour.
46.  Cheer on the runners of the Boston Marathon on Patriot's Day every April.
47.  Visit the Christian Science Center (especially for the calm reflection pools; easily accessible via the 1 bus).  Edit from a friend:  be sure to check out the Mapparium next door to see giant globe made of stained glass that you can actually walk inside!)
48.  Stand on the sidelines to watch the famous Running of the Brides for discounted wedding gowns sponsored by Filene's Basement.
49.  Follow the path of Paul Revere's ride to warn the colonists that the British were coming!  (there is a ride every year on Patriot's day as well!)
50.  Watch the Fourth of July Fireworks!
51.  Watch the races at the Boston Dragon Boat Festival on the Charles near Harvard.

Museums and Learning

52.  Visit the Museum of Fine Arts (off of the green line; tickets are free when you show your MIT ID).
53.  Go browse through the Harvard Library.
54.  Admire the cluttered chaos of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (also off the green line).
55.  Visit the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant!
56.  Go to the waterfront and enjoy the views and modern art at the Institute of Contemporary Art  (tickets are free when you show your MIT ID)
57.  Visit the Kennedy Library (JFK/UMass stop on the red line)
58.  Watch the reenactment of the Boston Massacre in March in downtown Boston.
59.  Visit the Bay State Model Railroad Museum--it's only open twice a year!  (take the orange line to Forest Hills)
60.  Sit in on one of the Science and Cooking Lectures at Harvard.
61.  Go to Salem and visit the Salem Witch Museum.
62.  Show your MIT ID to get into the Boston Museum of Science for free!  Edit:  If you want to do a very fun science scavenger hunt, search for the planets in the to-scale solar system anchored with the sun inside the Museum of Science---Pluto is all the way in Newton!
63.  Visit the William Hickling Prescott House, one of the only two houses on Beacon Hill open to the public.
64.  See the exhibits or attend one of the events at the French Cultural Center near the Boston Public Garden.
65.  Attend the free monthly stargazing event at the Harvard College Observatory.
66.  Visit the New England Aquarium  (tickets cost $10 through MITAC).
67.  Attend a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party.
68.  Browse around the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
69.  Visit the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House in Cambridge, a former house of ill repute and current museum full of Cambridge history.
70.  Browse through the stacks of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square (the first free city library in the United States).
71.  Visit the Irish Cultural Center in Canton (you'll need a car) to see a rugby game, traditional Irish musical and dance performances, or special events celebrating the Irish presence in Boston.

The Arts

72.  Attend one of the Bach Cantata masses at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street or one of their special concerts (John Harbison, MIT faculty, is the conductor of the ensemble)
73.  Go see a classic film at the Harvard Film Archive.
74.  See the Boston Pops Orchestra in concert (the holiday concerts are really fun).
75.  Attend a free concert at King's Chapel near Park Street
76.  See the Boston Symphony Orchestra---as an MIT student, you are given a free college card, which gives you a free ticket to many performances throughout the year (Symphony Hall is right off the 1 bus).
77.  See one of the many films at Coolidge Corner Theater in Coolidge Corner (classic, art, silent, and everything inbetween!).
78.  See a performance at the Boston Ballet (seeing the Nutracker Ballet during the Christmas season is a particularly traditional choice).
79.  Watch a performance of the Boston Lyric Opera.


80.  See a Bruins game at TD Garden (North Station).
81.  See the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park.
82.  See a Celtics game at TD Garden (North Station).
83.  Attend one of the harder-to-get-to Boston sporting events:  see the New England Patriots (football), the Boston Blazers (lacrosse), or the New England Revolution (soccer).

The Great Outdoors

84.  Have a picnic lunch at Corey Hill Park in Brookline.
85.  Spend a summer night attending Shakespeare in the Park in Boston Common.
86.  Take the blue line out to Revere Beach, America's first public beach (there's a great sand sculpting event there every year, too!).
87.  Go ice skating on the pond in Boston Common (McCormick has ice skates you can check out for free!).
88.  Visit the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain  (Lilac Sunday in May is a beautiful time to walk around).
89.  Take a Boston Harbor Cruise to visit one of the many islands in the Boston Harbor.
90.  Have a picnic in the secret garden of Kendall Square.
91.  Go for a long meandering walk on the Cochituate and Sudbury Aqueducts (go to the Newton Center stop on the green line).
92.  Cheer on the racers at the Head of the Charles, an international regatta held on the Charles River each October.
93.  Walk along the Emerald Necklace.
94.  Go whale-watching!  ($35 through MITAC).
95.  Bike the Minuteman Trail.

Only at MIT

96.  Take a hacking tour.
97.  Learn how to sail at the free lessons given through the Sailing Pavilion.
98.  Wander through the MIT Museum (tickets are free for you and a guest when you show your MIT ID).
99.  Take a glass-blowing class (and if you can't get into the class, be sure to watch some of the classes behind the glass windows in the basement of the Infinite Corridor).
100.  On a day you need some peace and quiet or need to make a decision, go visit the MIT chapel to think. 
101.  Take the free MIT/Wellesley bus to Wellesley College and wander around the campus (do this in the fall, it's a gorgeous way to see the autumn colors of New England!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

now and then

 Then:  Two brunettes from the biology department, recently finished with a year of biochemistry under the tutelage of a most excellent professor and chocolatier.  

Now, both doing research, one temporarily for a med school rotation before her fourth year of med school, one forever, or until she finishes.  Or something.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

garden update!

Sunday morning was spent sweating and having a grand old time harvesting, documenting, and enjoying the garden.  The flower above is one of my favorites, a blue dwarf cornflower.  Beautiful.

 Kohlrabi did well, but were planted too densely.

Lovely zucchini.

The haul:  carrots, Easter egg radishes, cucumbers, kohlrabi, and beets, all left at the front desk for students to take and eat!

Some general thoughts and ideas for next year:

--herbs do really well up in the Penthouse; each herb should have two full boxes
--one planter box should have 8 seeds for cucumbers and zucchini, not 30
--plant things like carrots, beets, and onions in three rows instead of two, and less densely
--start lettuces sooner in the winter (say, early April) and sew them directly outside
--use the indoor grow lights for lettuces in the winter
--of the wildflowers I tried to plan, only one kind came (the cornflower); some of them are a bit pickier, but I think in general it's okay for them to be planted outside in the designated flower boxes
--weed more often!  this year, the weeds have infiltrated.
--split the chives once again before the winter and let them continue to colonize their boxes
--peppers need to be planted early, say May, to get peppers before late September
--none of the strawberries came up, try and get a cutting from the housemasters (though even they said this was not a banner year for strawberries)
--I saw bees polinating flowers every time I was walking up in the garden; this is fabulous.
--stagger the plantings of cilantro; they bolt really quickly and go to seed, so if between two boxes I always had starter plants going, I could actually have fresh cilantro all summer
--some of the rosemary plants died over the winter, but some are better than ever...I have no idea why there's a discrepancy. 
--do research on which herbs/plants I can let over-winter

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

20s inspiration

I know I've already posted about the Jazz Age party on Governor's Island, but now that it's become a real trip next summer (with three lovely ladies joining me!) I am looking forward to finding some beautiful things to wear: shoes, jewelry, a dress.  I already have four purses from my grandmother's collection that will be making an appearance, but the rest of my outfit is still to be found.

I've been looking through flickr and and made a pinterest board to gather inspiration from the lovely ladies at prior Jazz Age Parties, and wow, do they all look wonderful.

During my weekend in Minnesota for my cousin's wedding, my mom and I squeezed in a trip in between errands to My Sister's Closet, my favorite vintage spot at home.  While Boston does have great high-end and current consignment (Poor Little Rich Girl, Second Time Around), I do feel like it's a bit harder to find vintage there.  Yes, Dame is great, but the storefront in Jamaica Plain recently closed...and 40 Street South has very little before the 60s.  Some of the SOWA vendors have great vintage, but the availability is spotty.  Garment District is overrated, but you can sometimes find good deals there.  The Goodwills are always a possibility, but they are hit-or-miss.  Boomerangs is a nice thrifting spot, but again, real quality vintage is a rarity there.  Oona's is probably the closest to My Sister's Closet, but the prices are really high (compared to Minnesota, certainly).  The owner, while perhaps gruff at first glance, is willing to talk about particular items you're looking for and has some incredible resources for vintage hats.  But word to the wise: avoid during the month of October, lest you be run over by Harvard undergrads.

Maybe there are some better places in the suburbs, or maybe I haven't given them enough of a chance, but Minnesota wins for me.  It is true that my two years as a driving teenager in Minnesota gave me far more freedom to explore thrift stores.  Bloomington, IL had hardly any options, and I guess right now in Boston I just haven't needed all that much, and I just don't have as much time to wander around and shop.

Anyways, my love for My Sister's Closet exists partly because the owner, Arlene, is pretty much amazing.  I've spent many a lovely hour putting on fashion shows for Arlene behind the counter, and savoring the Dove chocolate that made its way into my bag with every purchase.  I bought my prom dress there, as well as the dress I wore out on my 21st birthday.  She's always been the best cheerleader, loving everything that I put on for her.  While she wasn't around when we were there, my mom did find a lovely cream-colored silk dress that could be perfect for the party; all for the completely reasonable price of $12.  Even better, I had $11.50 leftover from a prior consignment, meaning the dress cost 50 cents.  Perfect. 

Now to find shoes.  And a hairpiece.  I think this sort of event definitely calls for a fascintator.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

a friend's visit!

The first Saturday in August, my friend from Pittsburgh joined me for a weekend in Boston: seeing friends, taking pictures, and best of all, nectarine and blueberry picking!

At Carlson Orchards in Harvard.

All smiles under the nectarine trees!

And you can't forget having a picnic at Walden Pond.  (yep, the actual real-live Walden Pond.  Living in Massachusetts sometimes feels like you live in history).

So lovely.

(For pictures of the trip that are zillions better than mine, see my friend's photos of Boston here and here and here)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

guess who finally got to the Cape?!

This girl.  So much fun.

Heading to the beach!

The waves were crazy!  I had thought I'd only go in to the bottom of my dress, but then I got completely drenched by a wave, and gave up.  Swimming in a dress really isn't that bad, though don't be surprised if you find seaweed in your pockets...

All smiles at the beach near Woods Hole (also known as WHOI, or the Woods Holes Oceanographic Institute, said who-ee).

Crashing waves and sailboats.

You can just barely see Martha's Vineyard across the Vineyard Sound.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September 2011

I can't believe it's already here.  August has been a month zipping around all over the place (Boston with a visitor, Chicago, Minnesota, and then the hurricane) and September starting, well, I kind of wasn't expecting it quite so soon.

But here it is!  And here am I, sans funny things to post.  Except this:

from here

Some exciting things for this month:

--girl's nights will be continuing!  I had so much fun this summer that I will be hosting them in my apartment throughout the year - love this.  Something to look forward to, absolutely.

--orchestra is starting again, and while I am not at all ready for my audition (I never am, honestly.  There's a reason I switched from music performance to biology)....regardless, I can't wait for this season to begin.

--two massages!  Thanks, groupon.

--making more practice cupcakes and piping oodles of icing for my labmate's wedding in October.

--a trip to Red Fire Farms, the farm that delivers my veggies every week.

And sleeping more.  Traveling always messes up my sleep schedule, and being able to shut off my computer at 10:30, read a bit, and be snoozing by 11, well, that's the life.  Sure, it means I don't get quite as much done as I'd like, but the sleep is worth it.