Brave

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 
― Lao Tzu

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The entire trip had been pretty spontaneous to begin with. We knew we’d spend Sunday together and that the weather was supposed to be nice. One of us mentioned Newport Rhode Island and we’d never been. An adventure hatched and with minimal planning (who needs to plan when you have Yelp and an Iphone these days anyways?) we set off around 11am, open road ahead and only one pull off the road pee break (which was totally my fault.)

We toured the Breakers Mansion which was pretty incredible for this real estate/Downton Abbey Junkie. As we headed to the tour though Mav spotted a sign pointing toward something called “Cliffwalk.” He got so excited seeing that sign. Mav is an outdoorsy person. He likes to hike and climb things, meanwhile the word “hike” to me immediately evokes PTSD from watching too much Global Guts as a child of the 90’s.

Mostly I am lazy, but also I am overly cautious when it comes to physical activity. A natural propensity toward trepidation, or a Mother constantly living in fear that I’d get hurt, lost, raped, kidnapped etc, nature or nurture? Who knows.

Anyway.

We went to the cliff walk and after a short distance we saw that it was technically “closed.” We saw many people walked toward us from the closed direction and Maverick asked them how bad it was past the closed sign. They promised us it was fine. I was skeptical. I tried hard not to voice my skepticism because I always wanna be cool easy breezy beautiful cover girl girlfriend. I was also wearing ballet flats made of pillows of nothing, of course.

I went before Maverick, stepping over the haphazard piece of wood with the neon orange CLOSED.

The walk was fine, and not really even treacherous.

It was easily the most beautiful part of our day. We ended by a small beach and got off the “cliff” to go walk in the sand and dip our feet in the water and gasp again and again while it lapped up at our toes. I found beautiful stones and some sea glass and put them in an Altoid tin in my purse. It was nothing short of everyday pedestrian magic.

Later, after some less magical but still fulfilling stops at Panera and the Yankee Candle Semi Annual Sale, we strolled along the bustling streets of Newport and Mav remarked how awesome it was that I was willing to make things happen when it comes to adventuring.

I thought, for a second, I haven’t always been this way. When did I change?

I am not a spontaneous person.

I love plans almost to a fault.

But when he says “let’s go here” I just can’t help but follow, or at the very least research a bargain on plane tickets.

I think it has something to do with knowing he’ll never let anything bad happen, or if it does at the very least we’d be together.

There’s courage in that.

Groupon Summer: Amrheins

So this is the first installment of my summer experiment: special fun dates all summer long, funded solely by groupon, living social, or gilt city.

This past Monday, since Memorial Day is the “start of summer” Mav and I decided to use the groupon we had bought for dinner at Amrheins:

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When we (by we I mean Maverick because we take turns buying discount coups) bought this deal it said 35 dollars for $75 dollars, I just took this screenshot today and now it says 70 but whatever.

So at first glance this seemed like a really good deal. In the past we have bought a couple of restaurant groupons which were similar: 20 dollars for 40 dollars worth of food or something, and those are always awesome. Its the difference between only ordering entrees and waters, to ordering entrees and an appetizer, a dessert, or cocktails or something. It takes “eating out to be fed and not have to cook” into “eating out in a special slightly more romantic ‘this is an occasion'” type territory. Even better still, buying groupons and living socials helps us nudge out of our boring comfort zones and find cool new places in the city to eat. Of course, this is the conceit of the groupon in the first place on the business side, right? Bring in a new customer base. For example we have purchased a particular groupon for a place downtown twice now, it can only be used on Tuesday nights which also happens to be “rat pack music night.” Its a local radio personality crooning standards and Mav and I could personally take or leave the live music portion, as could the rest of Boston it seems because the place has been pretty dead both Tuesdays we’ve gone. We will gladly eat while someone sings when it happens for a discount though, and the place has pretty incredible food and an ambiance that screams “date night lets kiss after this.”

Or, occasionally we’ve even been so charmed with our groupon experience that we’ll return multiple times even without a discount, like the time we bought a Gilt City for ice skating at the Charles Hotel that came with two flatbreads and two cocktails from Noir. We LOVED those flatbreads so so so much I think we’ve gone back twice now and paid full price. This is a perfect example of groupon doing it’s job.

All of this to say that our experience at Amrhein’s was not at all like either of those experiences I referenced above.

Firstly, how do you pronounce the name? I have not a clue. Aahhhhmmm r  HEEEEIIINS?

Amrheins is located in Southie and is apparently a very old restaurant, over a century old in fact as it opened in 1890. On their website Amrheins boasts the oldest hand carved bar in America. While we never saw the bar we did see many flat screen tvs and also some strange bright blue uplighting pointing at the ceiling. It didn’t have great ambiance, just felt like a sports bar.

The meal started with two rolls and a small bowl of something to dip into, we thought it was olive oil but upon tasting it we both agreed that it was melted butter. I love butter as much as the next guy, but it was kind of odd. Didn’t stop me from dipping my bread in it though.

the butter was also vaguely flavored by something, parmesan cheese perhaps? I also fully admit it might have been some other substance than butter, we'll never know because we never asked.

the butter was also vaguely flavored by something, parmesan cheese perhaps? I also fully admit it might have been some other substance than butter, we’ll never know because we never asked. Also, I know you’re all floored by my haphazard iphone food photography. Like how I artfully tore my bread?

Now, here’s where things get a little tricky. The groupon was 35 dollars for an appetizer up to 12 dollars and an entree up to 29 dollars. But it was marketed up top as 35 dollars for up to 70 dollars of food.

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So, Mav and I looked over the appetizer menu and ended up going with the buffalo dip which was…probably our least favorite food item of the night and clocked in at a measly 9 dollars.

The dip was very soupy, essentially dipping chips into buffalo sauce. Which was culinarily exciting as it sounds. I guess one can't expect much when they order buffalo dip.

The dip was very soupy, essentially dipping chips into buffalo sauce. Which was culinarily exciting as it sounds. I guess one can’t expect much when they order buffalo dip.

Then we ordered entrees.

I went with a special, baked scrod with two sides.

My two sides were mashed potatoes and mixed veggies. As you can see, the mixed veggies were steamed within an inch of their mushy life and reminded me of bad wedding food. It was apparent someone had made them at 4pm that day and that they had then marinated in their own sad juices in a chafing dish until their untimely demise on my plate. The mashed potatoes and fish were fine, but not any better than anything I could cook myself (in fact I think my baked fish is better, because I season it.) There was a fairly big portion which I guess is a plus. This cost 19 dollars.

My two sides were mashed potatoes and mixed veggies. As you can see, the mixed veggies were steamed within an inch of their mushy life and reminded me of bad wedding food. It was apparent someone had made them at 4pm that day and that they had then marinated in their own sad juices in a chafing dish until their untimely demise on my plate. The mashed potatoes and fish were fine, but not any better than anything I could cook myself (in fact I think my baked fish is better, because I season it.) There was a fairly big portion which I guess is a plus. This cost 19 dollars.

 

Maverick got Shepard’s Pie:

According to Maverick it tasted good, and there was a lot of it. But we both agreed the presentation (though shepard's pie doesn't typically win any beauty contests) left something to be desired. Mav referred to it looking like a bowl of diarrhea, I couldn't disagree, especially because it had oozed out the sides and nobody bother to wipe the plate off. #fancy. This cost us 16 dollars.

According to Maverick it tasted good, and there was a lot of it. But we both agreed the presentation (though shepard’s pie doesn’t typically win any beauty contests) left something to be desired. Mav referred to it looking like a bowl of diarrhea, I couldn’t disagree, especially because it had oozed out the sides and nobody bother to wipe the plate off. #fancy. This cost us 16 dollars.

 

Shortly after we were full and the bill arrived. I had ordered a shirley temple in order to have something to tip on and when I looked at the bill I realized our mistake.

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So, basically. Our entrees totaled 35 dollars, aka what Maverick paid for the groupon in the first place. Even with our 9 dollar buffalo regret dip we still only clock in at 44 dollars of our supposed “up to 75 dollar value.” Now, I guess partially this is our fault for not ordering fancier meals. Though, in my efforts to write this post I looked up the menu online and most expensive entrees I can find were 23 dollars. So, even if Maverick and I had both gotten 23 dollar entrees and the most expensive appetizer which is 12 dollars, our bill still would have only come to 58 dollars, not 70 or 75.

When you look at it this way, its basically as if Maverick and I pre-paid to go out to dinner, and got a free appetizer. In order to make this groupon a good deal, it would have had to be a simple 35 dollars toward 70 dollars of food (meaning any food, entrees, apps, desserts etc.) OR 25 dollars for two entrees or something like that. Currently this deal is meager and frankly sort of a rip off. I was led to believe this restaurant would be more on the verge of “finer dining” when it reality it wasn’t anything special.

A note about the service: our waitress was lovely, attentive, not aggressive and prompt. The two hosts standing at the host’s stand were mildly unprofessional, both of them eating constantly while they stood there and walking back and forth to the kitchen for more snacks. I understand the boredom as the place was pretty dead, but there were no less than 7 televisions on the wall for them to watch.

All in all this one turned out to be less of a deal than we hoped, but as always I can say the company was pretty fantastic ;). Here’s to higher hopes for our next installment of groupon summer!

The Lesson I Cannot Learn

I’m currently sitting on a Megabus.

I’m miserable. Freezing cold from the AC I have no control over, a little motion sick, and still a hefty 2ish hours from home.

I’m writing this to remind myself, that even though driving on your own to NYC is a pain, it is a pain under your own control and schedule. You control the AC and can stop at any time or place to get air cuz you feel pukey.

FUTURE SARAH; HEED THIS WARNING. PAY THE TOLLS AND BUY THE GAS, YOU’RE WORTH IT.

Though learning to not take the ever-loving Megabus to NYC is a valuable lesson to learn it isn’t the lesson I was thinking of when I opened this itty bitty post on my phone.

So, I basically had an awesome (if not rainy and whirlwindish) trip to NYC. I got to spend real quality time with people I love so much, I did a ton of walking, bought a cute top on sale at the Gap, sat outside and read a book for pleasure, saw a broadway show, slept like a baby on my cousin’s couch, got random hair compliments on the street, and ate a multitude of awesome and delicious food including but not limited to: bagels with scallion bad breath cream cheese with my beloved Troy, a fruit and cheese plate, corn on the cob and shrimp tacos from Cafe Habana which Talia and Stephen were kind enough to wait until the ungodly hour of 9pm to eat with me, a fair amount of whiskey with lime and ginger ale, 2am pepperoni pizza, and of course BRUNCH. Brunch was especially wonderful because Tim and Ross came, and seeing them together and happy makes me giddy. I was also lucky enough to squeeze in a special rainy walk with my girl Linda wherein we ranted and raved about all things wedding as the season is approaching with rapid speed, Sam I’m supposed to tell you that you’re expected to ask Linda’s dad for her hand JUST FYI.

Anyway. What I mean to say, is that even though I technically can’t afford to gallivant around NYC, I was able to enjoy myself immensely and it was cleansing for my soul.

Then I got on the bus and my mind wandered to my favorite anxiety du jour: job hunting. And I had such a toxic thought, a thought I’ve had many times before:

Because you took this trip and had fun and spent money you aren’t going to get a job.

I actually have a horrible theory that the universe will only reward me with the things I want if I’m constantly sacrificing and being my best self. When I was looking for a nanny job once I went to the gym more than usual because I decided that would make me “good enough.”

It’s a hard pill for me to swallow that the only control I have over my destiny right now is filling out job applications and writing cover letters to the best of my ability. That and as much networking as I can do. Mini trips away or trips to the gym won’t make a difference (except to my sanity and health.)

I do work hard and I know I’m not a lazy person (except when it comes to going to the gym.) I have drive and ambition and some cautious confidence. Something will break sometime somewhere, even if it’s not on my ideal time line, until then I’m stuck contorted on a mental MegaBus.

I also hope I’m not alone in this line of thinking. One of you out there has to know this woeful thought process too.

LE SIGH.

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No Strings on Me

Sitting on a MegaBus en route to New York City for a long weekend. As I walked from my apartment to the train (like 7 whole minutes) my new weekend bag slung over my shoulder and my sunglasses on, I thought to myself “how nice is this? To live somewhere that I can leave my car at home and just jaunt off to the train station for a weekend getaway? How lucky am I to have friends and relatives who live exciting places? To have a half day of work on the Friday of a long weekend?”

Lucky lady I am.

Especially because I have an empty seat next to me on the bus. Heaven is truly a place on earth. Check back this weekend for carefully curated instagrams of New York carbohydrates and hollandaise sauces.

Xoxo

11 Questions Because Nobody Expects 11.

1. What is your favorite type of cheese? This question is way too hard and feels like you’re asking me to choose which one of my imaginary children I love most. I can’t pick one but I can say that Muenster is probably my all time favorite “pedestrian” cheese, ricotta is my favorite Italian cheese, and goat cheese is my favorite “fancy type cheese.” I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention my beloved retired appetizer from a local restaurant: burrata which has been drizzled with warm honey accompanied by crusty bread. ACK. I want cheese now!

2. What are you excited about? Mostly right now I’m excited about the potential of getting a job in a school setting, now that I have my master’s degree and almost have my counseling license. Mostly when I day dream these days I’m thinking about getting up early and getting ready to go work, and then leaving the job and meeting up with people after work, and knowing the glory of direct deposit. I live a very exciting life, I know.

3. How did you celebrate your last birthday? I celebrated with a Hibachi dinner, which is tradition. I also took an amazing weekend trip with Maverick to Provincetown that he surprised me with. I ate a metric ton of salt water taffy, mini-golfed, got a sunburn, and drank a cocktail that came with a flashing plastic cube at the bottom. We also went swimming in the hotel pool and lounged in the hotel hot tub. I also spent my 24th birthday celebration making friends with every old man in Cape Cod. 

4. What is on your beside table? Box of tissues, some rogue bobby pins, and usually my laptop. 

5. What do you order from the movie theater concession stand? Cherry Icee’s are my kryptonite and I also really enjoy popcorn, but I will only order it if I can actually see it being popped, none of that pre-popped garbage bag popcorn for me. I’d like to say I try to frequent smaller independent movie theaters because that is the socially responsible thing to do, but really its because they pop their popcorn fresh and I know what’s up. 

6. Do you have a garden? No. But if I did I would probs plant some flowers, but maybe not. Though I relish a multitude of other old lady pastimes and products, I’m not all that excited by gardening. 

7. Any summer plans? Kind of! Right now we don’t have anything big or exciting planned but I have tentatively floated the idea of doing a “living social summer” meaning Maverick and I will go on dates and adventures funded by living socials, groupons, or gilt city’s we buy. I scout them like a shark and we tend to have pretty good luck with them. I’m planning to document them here and I’m excited to tally up how much we save on summer dates and adventures. So far we have three purchased: 1. A fancy dinner out in South Boston at a historic restaurant. 2. Fondue and S’mores outside by a fire-pit at a local hotel. 3. A late night astronomy boat cruise to view a Perseid meteor shower in Plymouth. We also have two different weddings to attend this summer and I’m turning 25 in August!

8. Which TV couple are you rooting for? Fitz and Olivia from Scandal even though I know they’re toxic for each other etc. Also I’m only on season 2 so nobody spoil this for me!

9. What’s the last thing you bought? Chicken Broth from Whole Foods for Maverick and I to make chicken asparagus stir fry for dinner. We got all the way home and realized we did indeed have chicken broth to begin with. Oops. 

10. What’s one thing you’re passionate about? Social justice, particularly in education. Vaccinating children. That butter has been framed for all our health issues in this country.

11. What are you grateful for this week? This week I’m grateful for the support and love of friends and my boyfriend and family. Graduation brought lots of love out of the woodwork for me and I am still basking in the glow of it. 

 

All You Need Is

There is a painting hung up on the left side of my bed.

My college roommate made it for me for my birthday, I think it was the year I turned 20. (I turn 25 in less than 3 months. I’m strangely just excited about this. I know blowing out candles on a birthday cake won’t magically make things fall into place any faster for me, but I still harbor that wish anyway. #healthyexpectations.)

The painting is a knock off of this one:

FFPOFP113~Classic-Sky-Love-Red-Green-Blue-Posters

 

 

Mine looks like this:

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Fun fact: the O contains part of a design I had her draw that I used to think I would tattoo on my hip along with a very sacrilegious hebrew quote. I’m thankful I took the time to think about that one. I like it much better on my wall than my skin.

I love (no pun intended) that I put the painting on the left of my bed, because that’s where my literal love sleeps. Under the letters I hung there before he even existed in my vocabulary. The painting isn’t so much my style anymore but I feel compelled to leave it in its place of honor, as if it somehow willed him to waltz into my life and change it forever in the best ways possible.