Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home Days

Christmas was wonderful.

We opened presents, went to the gym for a workout, and then ate enough food for a week at Cafe Fleuri. (I dreamed about their Chocolate Croissant bread pudding for weeks leading up to Christmas.)

Since then, life's been getting back to normal, sort of. We got snowed in yesterday, so I worked from home, then roomie Emma and I shoveled and had hot chocolate with our neighbors. Afterwards, we went to an impromptu potluck at my mom's house. Every single person brought soup. It was fantastic.


Today I worked from home, starting at 6 a.m. Even with the early start time, it's been pretty great.

Tea is good for a snow day

I've been able to make as much tea as I want, I haven't changed out of my pajamas, and I'm finally getting to spend some quality time with our Christmas tree.

Star Garland

It makes me happy.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Presents under the chalk tree

Sometimes, the perfect Christmas Eve morning is spent sleeping in, walking to the store for some milk in your pajamas, and then wrapping presents under the glow of your chalk tree.

I'm off to do family decorating now. Have a wonderful weekend, blog friends.

Merry Christmas!

p.s. If you celebrate it. If you don't, have a good weekend anyway. I hope there are lots of cookies wherever you are.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I think I need to move to the country

For a born-and-bred city girl, I have been spending a surprising amount of time these days fantasizing about living in the country. This sneak peak on Design*Sponge last week did nothing to help quell those urges- I keep going back and imagining what it would be like to live in a house like this one, in the woods.

I think I'd have a garden, and chickens.

I'd definitely cut down my own Christmas tree, and on Christmas morning, I'd make cinnamon rolls. We'd probably put on our wellies and go for a walk in the woods after we opened presents. Wouldn't that be lovely?

p.s. The freakout list? I owned it. Every. Single. Thing. Got crossed off.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Monday!

The weekend was intense.

It may have gotten to the point where I renamed the to-do list I write in chalk on the back of my bedroom door the "freak out list" because on it I prioritized tasks by the level at which they were freaking me out.

But there was also a cookie exchange, organized by Dewey, where I got to meet all her cool friends and eat soup and have an excuse to make these. (Our family makes them every year; if we have a traditional Christmas dish, these weird but delicious toffee things are it.)

On Sunday, there was a walk with Mom. The woods are really beautiful this time of year, and you can see so much further than you can when all the trees are covered in leaves. We happened upon this spot, and it didn't really feel like we were only twenty minutes outside of Boston anymore. It was magical.

It's supposed to snow today, I'm having a telephone chat with an old friend this evening to talk about Graduate School, I have a new granny cart, and Christmas is on Saturday. Freak out lists aside, I think this week is going to be magical.

Happy Monday, friends!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have you seen these cards yet?

While I love love love Keep Calm and Carry On posters (even if they're everywhere), and I think they're a wonderful reminder for high-strung people like me, this one makes me laugh. In part because it much more accurately describes my approach to handling stress. But also because it's just hilarious. Seriously, I giggle every time I look at this picture.

{I can't remember where I saw this link- maybe Apartment Therapy? I'm glad whoever it was linked to it, though!}

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tacky Gingerbread

Last night, I went to Emma's house to help her and Jon decorate the gingerbread village that they had laboriously constructed. They let me trick out one of the houses with frosting lights. It looks very festive, don't you think?

P.S. All of the other houses were much more refined. They looked festive, too. . . sort of.

P.P.S. Jon's recap of their gingerbread-village-making process was much more thorough. So many pictures!

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Own Personal Christmas Tree

My own, personal Christmas tree

The other day, I decided my bedroom needed some holiday spirit. So I drew a Christmas tree on my wall.

I've been adding to it when the inspiration strikes, and it makes me happy. We have a real tree in the living room, and that is lovely, but there's something about having a Christmas Tree in my bedroom that feels magical- a lot like Christmas when I was tiny. I love seeing it when I wake up in the morning.

Happy Friday, Friends!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Apple Crisp

Last week, I had Emma and Jon over for dessert.

I made apple crisp.

It was fun.

Should ever you find yourself in Boston, dear reader, let me know. I'll make you an apple crisp. Or maybe even a pie.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Swedish Fair

God Jul

Every year at the beginning of December, some part of my family goes to the Swedish Christmas Fair in the South End. It's funny that it's become such a tradition because we aren't even a little bit Swedish (though Dewey did have the Kirsten American Girl Doll when we were little), but every year I look forward to eating a Swedish waffle with whipped cream and watching the Santa Lucia procession. This year was no exception, especially after I tried the special Swedish Christmas soda that they sell. It's delicious!

Abbie Swedish Waffle
{There was a one-year-old eying my waffle. She was adorable, hence the awkward face.}

Santa Lucia Ornaments
{There are always lots of vendors selling all sorts of wonderful Swedish Christmas decorations.}

Swedish Soda
{I never like soda, but this is amazing}

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I have finally jumped on the Netflix bandwagon, and my dears, I am in love. I'm spending far too much time these days watching live-streaming period dramas.* After a viewing of Bright Star, I've nearly convinced myself that I would really quite like to live in 19th Century England, even if the movie did have a rather tragic ending. They were just so happy! Until he died, penniless and believing he was a failure, when he was my age. And she was grief-stricken all the rest of her days. Whatevs.

{Images from Design*Sponge, whose Living In. . . Bright Star provided me with much delight this morning}

So, do tell me, what are your favorite period dramas?
(I need to add them to my Netflix queue!)

*(there is something about that that seems hilarious- period dramas streaming right onto my computer! Okay. Maybe it's just me.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Morning Oatmeal

Since the weather's gotten cold, I've been cooking my breakfast every single morning.

Somehow, the process of filling the pot with water, of walking into the pantry to measure out my oats, of sprinkling cinnamon and dried orange peel, and then standing over the pot and stirring while it bubbles, leaves me feeling centered and ready to face the day.

When your day is full of IRB training followed by HIPAA training, a little centering in the morning is a good thing.

P.S. Want to hear my funny joke? Okay. IRB COULD stand for Institutional Review Board OR it could stand for I'm Really Bored. I'm just the funniest person I ever did meet. Also, modest.

Monday, November 29, 2010

{Emily and I may or may not be on the alumni association at our old school, and may or may not have taken this for the development director. . .}

I write about high school more than is normal for a 25-year-old.
Here is the thing, though: if you had the kinds of friends from high school that I do, you'd write about it, too.

While some of the usual suspects were missing (and greatly missed) at the 'Stravaganza this year, we still ate plenty of chili and drank plenty of wine, told the same stories yet again, and laughed. A lot.

I think my favorite part may have been at the very end, when there were just five of us, sitting around, eating pavlova and drinking beer. Emily and I may have changed into pj's. Anyway, I just sat there and was struck once again by how lucky I am. I met these people more than ten years ago, and they still come to parties I throw where the only game plan is drinking wine and eating lots of food.

And we still have fun, every single year.

IMG_1816 IMG_1815
{To the left. . . and to the right. . . We're silly}

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dewey Thanksgiving
{For the second year in a row, Dewey and I got coffee at Diesel Cafe after the Somerville Turkey Trot. I think I can get behind this tradition.}

Yesterday, my friend Manoli asked me if I was happy. After careful thought, the answer was a resounding yes. That is due entirely to the fact that I have so many wonderful people in my life.
I have parents who have my back no matter what, and who encourage the baking of twelve pies at Thanksgiving.
I have a sister with whom to run Turkey Trots (at the same time, but NEVER together, of course) and then get coffee.
I have friends who are as excited for our Eighth Annual Day After Thanksgiving Extravaganza ('Stravaganza for short) as I am, and friends who willingly volunteer their homes for these events.
I went to a wonderful college, where I met people who gchat with me while they're in England, California, New York and Somerville and invite me to see live music and help me find really sweet jobs.
I have roommates who watch The Holiday with me even if they hate it, just because it's my favorite cold-weather movie.
And I have a blog, where I have met so many lovely people who so willingly share their lives with Strangers From The Internet.

This year at Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for all of the amazing people who have made me so wonderfully, resoundingly, happy this year. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Abbie Thanksgiving 2010
{"I will take your picture with your phone and you will put it on your blog," said Dewey. So I did.}

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


To prep myself for Thanksgiving this year, I've been listening to This American Life's Poultry Slams from years past. The episodes, produced (almost) every year, focus entirely on stories about poultry- primarily chickens, but sometimes turkeys, too, and they are hilarious, and you should be listening to them, too. The one from 2003 is especially funny- I found myself closing the office door at work because I was laughing so hard during the first act.

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be back with my grateful list, but in case I'm not, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Monday!

Oh, what a weekend.
It did not start out particularly well. Saturday morning, I stayed in my pajamas until noon. (I think I am the only person in the world who cannot stand wearing pajamas for extended periods of time when not sleeping.) I was grumpy, and I had no idea what to do with myself.

It quickly turned around, though. A mocha may have been involved. As well as Salvadoran food and wine tasting with a friend who actually knows what she's talking about, which always makes it more fun. Plus, a really wonderful pinot noir at an affordable price? Yes please!

Saturday night was for Harry Potter. I hadn't seen any of the movies since the first one, and now I want to go back and watch them all- I loved it!

Sunday was all about a long run with a new running buddy and relaxing, as one should do on a Sunday. It ended with a glass of that pinot noir and episodes of Modern Family and Community with the roomie.

All in all, lovely times with lovely people. And a short week ahead, to boot!

Happy Monday, everyone!

p.s. I lost my camera two weeks ago, which is part of why I've been posting so little. I'm working on tracking it down, but my posts might be rather word-heavy in the next couple of weeks. Sorry!
p.p.s. I don't think you'd actually care about the pictures or lack thereof in my posts, but I thought I'd let you know anyway.
p.p.p.s. I just woke up, and I didn't get enough sleep last night. This can be made abundantly evident by the presence of three post scripts in my blog post. Sleep deprivation blogging: just don't do it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

{Image: Drew Kelly for the New York Times}

Given that my family makes at least twelve kinds of pie every year at Thanksgiving (we like to have at least one per person, babies included), and that my roommates and I hosted a pie-themed housewarming party, it should come as a surprise to no one that this article in the Times today made me actually squeal with happiness.

Hooray for pie!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Happy, James!

He is my Fruit, I am his Tart.

This is James.

James and I have been friends since we were fourteen (that's ELEVEN YEARS), and about a month ago, he had a birthday.

I love James for lots of reasons. Some of them are:

1. James is pursuing his passion more doggedly than anyone else I know. About halfway through college, he decided that he wanted to become a journalist, and he has been steadily working on that dream since then.
2. James lives in Minnesota, so I usually only get to see him once or twice a year, but when we do get to hang out, it's like nothing has changed.
3. James makes the weirdest food taste delicious. Once, he made a dish for our whole gang with lentils, kale (stems included!) and pasta. I was skeptical (hello, starch overload!), but two years later, I still remember how wonderful it tasted.
4. James and I both took time off from college during what would have been our junior year. Our weekly Friday-night dinners are one of my most cherished memories from that time.
5. So, I don't really know much about the plains states, but I do know this: even though he grew up in Boston, James is about as Minnesota as they come. (Which is a good thing!)
6. Having a conversation with James is not unlike being in therapy. He and I sometimes sit in coffee shops for hours, mulling over all of life's little situations and each others' problems. We sometimes do the same thing over the phone, but not enough- part of me is tempted to move to Minneapolis so we can spend much more time dissecting life together.

Happy Happy, James!
I'm so glad you were born.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dream Kitchen

I spend the vast majority of time I'm at home in the kitchen. When people come over, that's usually where we congregate.

{via poppytalk}

Right now my kitchen, like the rest of my apartment, is small, but someday that won't be the case. I will have a huge, country-style kitchen. It'll have a big island in the middle, and my guests will have a glass of wine and gossip while I chop and stir.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Happy, Emma!

This is Emma. (And, um, my boobs. don't mind those.)
Emma and I were in the sororitee together, and about two weeks ago, she had a birthday.

I love Emma for lots of reasons. Some of them are:

1. Emma is from New York, and she's about as East Coast as they come. Seriously- I've never seen anyone walk that fast or aggressively down a city street.
2. Emma knows how to have fun with little things. In college, Emma got a fondue pot, and had some delightful fondue parties. Which only occasionally resulted in delightful misunderstanding.
3. Emma is an amazing teacher. Professionally, she's a high school Latin teacher (seriously- this girl is SO East Coast), but I've had first-hand experience of this- last week, she had me drive half of the way to Dartmouth. I've never met someone so patient and calm with a driving newbie as Emma was with me.
4. This girl, this quintessential New Yorker, moved to Boston this year, and is able to appreciate that Boston's a pretty cool city, too. For a New Yorker, that's huge, and something this Boston girl is grateful for.
5. Emma is the most competent individual I know. She can build furniture, make pizza, and look great in pearls. Seriously. It's impressive.
6. Emma wakes up even earlier than I do. Which is very handy when I'm looking for an early-morning farmers' market or brunch buddy.

Happy Happy Emma!
I'm so glad you were born.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm back!

Oh, friends. What a difference a week makes. Thanks for your kind words. I feel so, so much calmer than I did a week ago, like I really have some perspective on things. I spent the week dealing with boring grown-up problems, but also: getting cocktails with friends who were about to depart for Uganda, getting ready for halloween, and best of all, giving candy to trick-or-treaters.

This is only the second Halloween I've had my own apartment. (Last year, you might recall if you've, I was living at home after moving back from San Francisco.) In San Francisco, our apartment was one a main thoroughfare, and it was in the back of the house, so no kids came by. This year, though, I knew we'd get at least a couple. Let me tell you, I've never felt so much like a grownup (in the best possible way) as I did when I went into CVS to buy those Butterfingers and Reese's. Holly and I sat on my front porch, drinking hot apple cider and giving out candy, and I think I decided that Halloween is my favorite holiday.

Besides Thanksgiving, because, hello, pie?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

blog break

Every now and then, real life gets in the way of having a blog.
I think I need to take a little break this week to deal with some stressful, though thankfully relatively minor, things that have come up.

See you next week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Of course I am biased, but there is something so fundamentally right about Fall on a New England college campus.

Happy Wednesday, my dears.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Two weeks ago, Emma (the roommate), Cait and I took a day trip to Portland, Maine.
There is something about Maine that is just so quintessentially New England, every time I visit I feel a little bit like I'm going home. This time was no exception.

From Cape Elizabeth

The Parking Garage Guy recommended this place

I love a fish sandwich.

I think they put this there for tourists to photograph

We ended our day with a trip to Peaks Island, where we shared a fancy bottle of pinot noir and some processed cheese product while we watched the sun set. It was the perfect end to a perfect long weekend day.

From the ferry

Where we had our picnic

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bran Muffins

Bran Muffins

You know how sometimes, you make a recipe and it is completely, surprisingly good, and then you get obsessed and make it four times in the next week? That's how I am about these muffins. Except a recipe makes twelve, so I've only made them twice. Even including my recent muffins for dinner episode, forty-eight in one week is a bit much. Anyway, they're a Weight Watchers recipe, so I was skeptical at first, but they're moist and sweet and well, they're bran muffins. Adding whole wheat flour isn't going to change them that much.

Apple Bran Muffins
Adapted from here

1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup uncooked wheat bran
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk (I just add lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit, since I never think ahead enough to have buttermilk on hand)
1 medium-to-large sized apple, peeled and diced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine flour, wheat bran, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, add egg and beat thoroughly.
4. Add 1/3 of bran mixture and 1/3 of buttermilk, mix until just combined. Continue, alternating bran mixture and buttermilk. Fold in apples.
5. Add to prepared muffin tins. Place in middle rack of oven, and cook until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about fifteen to twenty minutes.

I like to eat them and pretend I'm still in San Francisco, where I used to go here to eat a bran muffin and drink a cup of tea before work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Two things, before I go on the yearly family Columbus day outing to pick out a pumpkin and eat a caramel apple:

1. I saw The Town last night. I liked it, I think, though I am really curious: how have I not heard about all those violent bank robberies in Boston? (Also, how a Cambridge kid, one with a hippy Cambridge mother not unlike mine, manages to convince the world that he's a townie from Southie, or Charlestown, or wherever Ben Affleck is pretending to be from these days.)

2. Social change through pie? I think yes.
(Not to mention, an interesting and honest look at the trials associated with running a nonprofit as an outsider.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Plant Babies, All Grown Up

Last night when I got home from work, I decided it was too lovely outside to get straight to cooking dinner, so I sat on the front porch and tended to my plants, instead. It was so relaxing to spend a little while with my hands in the soil, repotting a clipping my mother made for me, cutting back plants that had started to bolt, and enjoying one of the last warm nights before the weather gets too cold.

Then I went inside and baked some apple bran muffins.

Then I ate a bunch of them for dinner.

They were tasty.

But I didn't take a picture. It was too dark in my kitchen.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010



I went for a bike ride over the weekend, along the Charles River. The weather was gorgeous, you see, and I felt like flying on my bicycle.

And then I remembered this view. When I worked in the lab, I used to cross the river on my way to work every day, and I'd see this view. Especially in the beginning, when I spent a lot of time wondering and worrying that I had made the wrong choice when I decided to move back from San Francisco, seeing this view of Boston in all its glory did wonders to remind me why I was glad to be back.

So I stopped my bike and took pictures until I got one that came close to capturing the skyline as it really is. To keep reminding myself that I'm so glad I'm here. Because sometimes you forget, you know?

Boston, I think I've mentioned before that I love you.

Monday, October 4, 2010


On Saturday, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather by spending some time at Hi-Rise, which might be the most perfect cafe, ever.


I've been going to this Hi-Rise since the summer after my freshman year of college, when I was taking acting classes at the American Repertory Theater down the block and nannying a little boy who went to summer camp right nearby. A year and a half later, I was back at home, nannying The Girl, and I went there every day for a cup of coffee* and some time to read before I got on the T to pick her up at school.


I especially love to go there when the weather is nice. Then, you can sit in their courtyard and think your thoughts and read your books and eavesdrop on the grad students discussing grad student things.


When I was at college and then again when I lived in San Francisco, as soon as I came home after time away, I would hang out with my family, and then, as soon as I could, I would excuse myself to go to Hi-Rise for a latte, a piece of vanilla loaf cake, and some quiet me-time. It was my calm-down ritual. It still is.


*True story: I had my first-ever cup of coffee at Hi Rise. It was a latte, and it was amazing.

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, today I am wearing yellow tights with boots for the first time this fall, and it makes me happy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Happy (Belated), David!

David studies brains

This is David.
I've been friends with David since our sophomore year of high school, and about a month ago, he had a birthday.

I love David for lots of reasons. Some of them are:

1. David is up for anything. Having a birthday picnic, and want your friends to come? David will hop on Megabus from New York, and bring a pizza.
2. David and I traded coasts once- I moved to San Francisco just as he moved back east. I remember gchatting with him in the beginning, when I hated San Francisco and he hated New York. I promised him he'd fall in love with New York, and he said the same thing to me about San Francisco. We were both right.
3. As a neuroscience grad student, David knows more about the workings of the brain than almost anybody else I know. (The only other contenders are the neuroscience grad students with whom I work sometimes. He knows more than you do, though.)
4. David doesn't sleep. Well, actually, he sleeps, just really weird hours. Waking David up became a fun morningtime activity whenever our gang got together in college.
5. Because David doesn't sleep, he is always on gchat at convenient times. Like whenever I was pulling an all-nighter during college and needed a distraction (well, that was AIM, but same thing), or whenever I'm having an emotional crisis. David has patiently talked me down from more than one of those. He's a patient kind of friend.
6. David pronounces the words neurotic and neuroscience with a particular flair I have never heard anywhere else. Since no description of him is complete without the use of both of those words, it's only fitting.

Happy Happy, David!
I'm so glad you were born.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I feel loved.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and sister attended the Union Square Paper Party here in Somerville. I couldn't go, but (two-thirds of) my family brought me a souvenir, and it's quickly become one of my favorite things.

When I made a garland of felt flowers two weeks later, it seemed like draping it over my favorite thing was a good idea. I still think it was.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spectacle Island

On Saturday, Em, La and I decided to take advantage of the summer-like weather and travelled from our far-flung corners of Boston to meet at Long Wharf.

Spectacle Island

We got on the ferry and went to Spectacle Island, one of the Boston Harbor Islands. We spent a couple of hours exploring, taking pictures, gossiping, discussing our unique way of fabricating facts (it started in high school- one of us says something that they think they heard. Another repeats it. You've now heard it from two places, so it must be true.), and of course, dipping our toes in the water.


Three Girls

We ended the day with a glass of wine, Tuscan olives in rosemary-infused olive oil, and matching airbrush tattoos.

Pinot Noir

I love it when we're all in the same place.