Thursday, January 31, 2013



The Bell!



Independence Hall


Courtroom in Independence Hall


The constitution was argued, debated, and finally signed in this room.  It was especially moving to be here on Inauguration Day.

(and yes, the animation team of "It's the Constitution, Charlie Brown!" totally got it right)

Benjamin Franklin's home

City Hall


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Good eats in Philly!

From Kansai - the spicy girl roll on the right was the unanimous favorite (the peanuts on top!  wonderous!).  Also, Philadelphia has some strange restaurant quirks - the majority of them are cash only, and BYOB.  It was the first time I carried a bottle of wine into a restaurant...some even provide mixers and you bring the hard liquor!  (margaritas and tequila, anyone?  there isn't a corkage fee, though, so at least that was nice).  It just seemed so odd to me. 

Claudio's in the Italian Market.

We tried six different cheeses and several different meats, and the samples weren't tiny.  They were just enough to get a taste and enjoy.  Even better, our cheesemonger was thoughtful and took his time with us, we weren't rushed at all.  Formaggios, I love you, but I may have found a new favorite cheese shop!  We ended up buying a lovely hard cheese with salt crystals, a soft sheep's milk, and an inbetween cheese, not to mention speck, a salty dry aged beef, and salami.  We got so much food for $30, and it was worth every penny.  I am excited to get back to Philly and visit this place again.

Homemade tortillas and tortilla chips!

Be jealous.  This dinner was amazing.

Our last stop was Lolita for a restaurant week prix fix meal, and wow.  Delicious.  We all especially loved the posole, so I'm on the hunt for a recipe to try and replicate it.  The chili broth was just so warming, almost like pho.  I also had an appetizer with smoked salmon and avocado with jicama, and it was such a different take on the traditional lox (I've been craving a toasted bagel with lox and a schmear of cream cheese like crazy, and while this wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, it was great).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Snowy day






The Minnesota girl in me was thrilled. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

celebrity crush

Much of my time at home in the winter is spent indoors trying to stay warm on the couch...any movement is comprised of standing up, walking to the thermostat, and turning the heat back up after my dad comes into the main side of the house and garrumphs about how "hot it is, how can you stand it?!"  This he proclaims while wearing a flannel shirt, a thick flannel jacket, and a down vest.  I kid you not.  Luckily, he only gives me a hard time for raising the thermostat every hour or so, though it's very obvious that once I leave he doesn't tolerate any deviation from 60ºF.

So, this time spent on the couch is mainly to catch up on a year's worth of HGTV, Food Network, TLC, and Minnesota sports (though there's also the yearly Star Wars or Lord of the Rings marathon...never do I love surround sound and a giant TV so much!).

But most of the time we watch a mishmash of Chopped, Say Yes to the Dress, House Hunters, Four Weddings, and Iron Chef.  But--this year, a new show caught my attention: Property Brothers.  Essentially, they are a two brother team (twins!) that help find home buyers a fixer-upper, and then they fix it up, making it into their dream home. 

Even better, they do do this while being A, incredibly knowledgeable; B, funny; and C, kind.  Three quite attractive characteristics, if I do say so myself. 

Since I can hardly avoid posting a picture, especially after I waxed rhapsodic about my love of Matt Bomer and his character Neil Caffery's vests, here they are:

Keep in mind, at the point in my vacation when the following conversation took place, I was permanently stationed on the couch due to illness, enjoying a robust diet of jello and soup, with kleenex close at hand.

So--I was checking facebook during a commercial break, and of course, the eighteenth engagement announcement popped up.  And I kind of just lost it.  I proclaimed that obviously, one of these fine gentlemen hosting a television program would be a perfect fit.  "They're driven, they're smart, they obviously put a lot of care into what they do, they're older and probably in the almost-ready-to-settle-down stage, they love dogs!  And kids!"

My mom looked at me and laughed. 

And, truly, at this point, I was probably close to wailing.  I was frustrated.  (and to be fair, in pain.  I blame the double ear and sinus infection I would be diagnosed with two days later).

After I made such a spectacle of my frustration, my youngest brother took off his headphones and even joined in:  "Yeah, Bridget, it's about high time you got a boyfriend.  I mean, then he can take me to baseball games, play video games with me, all that."

So there I was, pathetically trying to set myself up with a television host.  The lack of practical and rational thinking was impressive.  My solution to everyone's dismissal of this particular pronouncement of mine meant that I must investigate further!  And after spending a few minutes online, I found out that they would be at Mall of America that very weekend.  I was over the moon. 

"See!  This is perfect!  I will go meet them, I will invite them out for drinks!  And that will be that!"   (followed directly by blowing my nose with a tissue)

 My other brother broke in:

"...Yeah, and you'll get thrown out by security as some nut-job stalker."

Alas, he's probably right.  I did try to convince him to go see them and pass along my number, but I didn't succeed.  Probably for the best.

And of course, I woke up the next morning after dreaming that I took them to Punch Pizza for dinner.  So funny.  Thanks, subconscious, for making me laugh myself into a coughing fit.  Lord.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thesis progress report

One of many fun things I had to do before leaving for home in December was my thesis progress report...this one ended up being a bit more difficult with significant revisions made in the 16 hour window before the presentation.  Not so fun.  But!  Onward with research and science. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back to Boston





...complete with double ear and sinus infection.  Oh, and vicodin.  I don't recommend it.  But the views kept me somewhat distracted, in the very least.