Tag Archives: Summer
Yeah– I know I went to Nantucket a month ago, but there was so much to report back to you all, that I still have two more posts to go to fully cover the entire adventure! To refresh your memory and catch you up to speed, check out part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4! Now here’s my next installment! Posting this today is actually exactly what I need– a nice reminder of how much fun my husband and I had, and also great motivation to finish out my next three weeks of classes strong since I have another trip (to NYC) to look forward too! Enjoy!
After breakfast at Fog Island Cafe, we returned back to our room to hatch a plan for the rest of the afternoon. We decided to walk to the beach, take a nap on the sand while soaking up the sun, and stroll on back. We had the option of checking out a beach almost six miles away, or walking to one only three miles away. Smartly, we chose the three-mile-away beach– we figured a six-mile walk round trip would be a perfect amount of exercise for the day. Twelve miles, while carrying towels and wearing flip-flips, sounded a bit excessive and a lot painful!
We headed to Surfside Beach, known for its family friendly vibe and beautiful smooth sand.
Since we were visiting early in the season, the beach was definitely not crowded, but there were enough people to make us feel like we weren’t alone!
We rolled out a few towels, laid down, and promptly each took an hour nap! We woke up and were shocked to find we both passed out so quickly! We weren’t even wearing bathing suits– just shorts and t-shirts! After we woke up, we took a short beach stroll in order to dip our feet into the ocean and then decided to hit the road to walk the three miles back to our hotel.
Our beach time was ideal, and we left feeling nice and refreshed. On the way back, I took some time to admire all the gorgeous flowers that truly symbolize Nantucket in its summer finest!
As we approached our hotel, I made my husband take a quick pit stop. We were passing by a small, charming shop called Ambrosia, whose sign noted it was a chocolate and spice shop! Of course I was interested!
The store was set back within a larger plaza, and boy was it tiny!
Ambrosia was mostly dominated by spices, but its chocolate selection was not too shabby either. I decided to simplify things by asking the sweet clerk if they had any chocolate made without dairy. She immediately pointed out that they offered a vegan orange chai chocolate of which they were offering free samples of!
I had a nibble. . . and I was sold! Two individually wrapped pieces came home with me that day!
The packaging was so adorable– all that for just two pieces of chocolate!
Ambrosia is an artisanal shop where all the chocolate is handmade, and it is definitely worth checking out if you ever are in Nantucket. Those two pieces are currently stashed in my freezer so I can enjoy them later when the mood strikes!
Day two in Nantucket was full of awesomeness– it started with the best oatmeal I have ever had, continued with some sun and fun at the beach plus a vegan chocolate score! But the fun didn’t stop there– we were about to go experience one of the best meals of my life, stated without any hint of exaggeration! Stay tuned for my final Nantucket recap– our vacation ended on quite the high note!
When you are on vacation, what kinds of shops are you most drawn to?
For me, it’s candy and chocolate shops, as well as small local gift shops.
I think I have covered enough of our first night in Nantucket to move onto day two, no? So, after a great night’s sleep at the Vanessa Noel Hotel (no creepy occurrences to report!), I actually managed to sleep in late by my standards and rise at 7! I got up, got ready, and did some bloggy stuff until the husband was ready to go to brunch. We didn’t make it out of the room until 10:15 or so, so needless to say I was starving, but food was not my most urgent need. For someone who caffeinates herself at 4:30 or 5 A.M. on most days, to have to wait until 10 for my fix was torture. I needed coffee– bad– so we headed off to get some and grab some grub at The Fog Island Cafe.
When we were in Nantucket five years ago, we went to Fog Island Cafe on our last day because we had heard it was of the best breakfast spots in town, and we wanted to save the best for last of course. I remember eating epic hash browns loaded with veggies and cheese, and declaring them the best pan-fried potatoes I had ever eaten. Those potatoes still retain that title by the way!
This time around, we checked out the menu on-line to ensure their were vegan, low-gluten options for me before we decided to revisit, and fortunately, the huge breakfast menu seemed to be able to take care of my needs. I was so excited to return, as rumor has it that the cafe still serves up some of the best breakfast and brunch in Nantucket!
The restaurant itself reminds me of a diner, but much more clean and dignified. In other words, it had the vibe of a homey breakfast joint, but keep in mind it is in Nantucket, where nothing seems to really be a “joint.” You won’t find that element of general greasiness that many breakfast restaurants tend to possess. It was cute and kitschy– just the kind of place you want to enjoy a fun breakfast in!
I mean, come on, how could I not love a spot that has a Periodic Table of Vegetables printed on its table surface?
We scored a booth right by the window and ordered my java medicine immediately.
Just to show you how desperate I was for coffee– let’s do a before and after comparison. Look how crazy I look before my first sip– my hair’s a mess, my eyes are wild, and I look like I haven’t slept in years!
But once the good stuff starts flowing through my veins, I become a whole new being! My hair magically smooths out, the color in my face returns, and all nervous tics disappear!
We perused the menu, although I knew already what I was going to order. The menu itself boasts standard breakfast and brunch fair, but with some slightly more sophisticated twists than you may see at a local diner. There were tons of pancake and waffle options, eggs and egg creations galore, and a multitude of wraps and sandwiches for those who need their carbs! Pastries, breads, bagels, muffins and more all make their way onto the menu as well.
I ended up ordering their oatmeal, which as described on the menu, contains apples, dried cranberries and brown sugar. I requested the dried cranberries and sugar be left out, and that banana and nuts be added into the mix. The waitress was super accommodating, and understood my need for more protein and fats as a vegan.
You never know what your bowl is going to look like when you order oatmeal out– sometimes it is watery, sometimes it is bland, other times the toppings are scarce. . . even though it seems like a standard order, it is really not! So believe me when I say I was beyond impressed by the bowl of goodness they set before me!
Let me break it down for you– the oatmeal was so thick, creamy and voluminous. They clearly cook it long and slow over the stove-top. Fresh chunks of cooked apples could be found generously peppered throughout the oats. They bananas on top were of a perfect texture and plentiful, and the raw nuts were large and delicious. Not only that, but as I was eating, I discovered they stirred in additional walnuts into the oatmeal too! Seriously, I never thought I would say anything could have almost too many nuts, but this bowl almost did! And that is not meant to be a complaint, for sure!
My husband dominated this gorgeous fruit bowl– look at how many of the better fruits they put in there? I hate when places just load up on one thing like melon and barely include any of the good stuff, like berries or pineapple! Fog Island Cafe is not stingy with quality ingredients, as evidenced by his fruit bowl and my oatmeal.
Just as we were about to dive into our meals, I spotted someone quite familiar-looking heading towards us, about to be seated next to us. I immediately realized who it was– Jason Varitek, former Boston Red Sox catcher! I don’t even know how I was able to make that determination in a split second, since it’s not like I see him on tv everyday, but I just knew. He was with a woman, and they were literally seated inches away from us.
Of course I kept it cool and let him enjoy his brunch in peace, but you better believed I paid attention to everything they ordered and tried my best to eavesdrop on their convo. I know that’s semi-stalker, but you know what, I don’t care! He got an omelete, she got pancakes. OK, I didn’t end up really catching much of what they talked about because I tried to pay at least some attention to my own dining companion! Another celebrity sighting to add to my list– it really made my day!
Now, back to my oatmeal– just look how chock full of goodness each bite was!
I literally could not finish it! For a girl who usually requests extra nuts in dishes, I had to leave so many walnuts behind it makes me sad now looking at my half-eaten bowl!
My husband though had no problem finishing off his generously sized fruit bowl!
I am about to make a bold declaration. I thought my oatmeal at Le Pain Quotidien was the best restaurant oatmeal I had ever had. I retract that statement, and now give the award to Fog Island Cafe. The oatmeal was so hearty and delicious that I thought about it all day, and even regretted leaving some behind. In fact, we went back the next morning so I could have some more! I just could not get it out of my head!
Great oatmeal, great celebrity sighting, but most importantly, great company. It was so nice to enjoy a breakfast with my husband– we hardly ever do it! Fog Island Cafe is really one of our favorite breakfast spots ever, and I look forward to our return next summer!
Have you ever had random celebrity sightings? Who did you see??? This stuff fascinates me!
I think this past week was one of my most hardcore (for me) running weeks I have completed in a very long time. . . and I know exactly why I exercised more than usual this week. I felt really stressed out everyday when I woke up– just about life and its uncertainties in general– and running was the therapy I needed to get myself to relax. Once I was done with my runs each day, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. That weight, unfortunately, did keep on returning every morning, but running helped me strip myself of those burdens, at least temporarily.
This upcoming week, I am pretty sure my exercise levels will drop off a bit, since I will be busy with other commitments each day until early August. I promise, promise, promise I will explain part of the mysterious circumstances I keep referring to later this week in a post dedicated to the situation, but for now, just know I will be out of the house basically from nine to nine on most days. I do plan on trying to make it the gym early in the morning, but I am not sure how tired I will get on this schedule. Shortened, early morning workouts will be my goal, but if that means just too much exhaustion later in the day, then I will likely cut way back on exercising for the next five weeks. I have to just play it by ear, listen closely to my body, and adjust accordingly.
So here’s how my crazy exercise week panned out:
Tuesday, June 26th: 10.5 miles on the treadmill (8 run, 2.5 miles walked)
Nothing too notable with this run– I kept myself entertained with my usual combo of listening to music, watching the treadmill tv, and reading blogs on my iPad.
Wednesday, June 27th: 10.25 miles on the treadmill (7 run, 3.25 miles walked); weightlifting for legs (6 exercises, 3 sets each)
This run really was fueled by nervous energy. I woke up feeling unsettled, and basically took out all of my anxiety on the treadmill. Physically, I was tired, but mentally, I needed a long sweat session.
Thursday, June 28th: 7.15 miles on the crosstrainer (100 minutes total)
Crosstraining was a necessity by this point in the week. I varied the resistance and incline to keep the workout challenging, but for the most part I just cruised along.
Friday, June 29th: 16.35 miles on the treadmill (13.1 run, 3.25 miles walked); weightlifting for arms and shoulders (7 exercises, 3 sets each)
I wanted to complete my long run for the week on Friday instead of Saturday so I would free up some time to exercise with my husband on Saturday, plus go to yoga with my sister on Saturday as well. I only planned on going ten or eleven miles, but I had so many tv shows to watch on the CW and ABC Family on my iPad, that I kept my mind distracted for a half marathon’s length! Again– nervous energy does wonders for my running abilities! It actually was quite satisfying to have whooped my long-run goal in the behind! It was perhaps the furthest I have ever run on a treadmill, at least that I can remember!
Saturday, June 30th: 9.6 miles on the treadmill (7 run, 2.6 miles walked); 5.5 mile outdoor walk with the husband
So my Saturday workout plans changed from what I had anticipated they would be. I actually turned down a sweet offer to run with my friend as part of a local run club because I thought Saturday would be a non-running yoga day. However, I had to cancel on yoga because of another family obligation. I ended up with a chunk of time to hit the gym and I had every intention when walking in to crosstrain, but the treadmills called to me. I don’t know if it was the wisest decision to run on this day, especially given the fact I had the chance to run with a friend, but I needed to pound out some stress. Can you see a pattern here? Later on in the day, my husband and I did a casual long walk outside even managed to stumble upon our local farmer’s market, which was packed with people!
Sunday, July 1st: 11.5 miles on the treadmill (9 run, 2.5 miles walked); 3.75 mile outdoor walk with the husband
Two Jillian Michaels podcasts (one new and one old one I listened to again) kept me company on this run. I originally set my sights on an hour of running, but I felt good, so I kept going until my husband called me at the gym from home and asked if we could go for a walk. I then abandoned the treadmill to head home and go for a neighborhood cruise with my husband.
Monday, July 2nd: 65 minutes on the crosstrainer; weightlifting for chest and back (6 exercises, 3 sets each)
Yesterday marked the first day of early morning workouts before heading to my 9:00 AM committment. Despite the fact I didn’t feel like I needed a running rest day, I knew my body would probably appreciate that after my high mileage week. I did feel like my body was retaining a ton of water from all the running and swollen muscles, so I hoped this lighter exercise would help alleviate some of that. It was a nice change of pace, but it didn’t quite soothe my nerves as much as a run would! I managed to workout, get ready, and get to my destination on time, so at least I know strategically, I can work out before attending my obligation. Whether I keep up with it is a different story– I have to see how tired I get later in the day before I decide to keep up with or forego the early morning workouts on such long days.
What I week– I am in a bit of disbelief that I racked up over 38 miles of running, nevermind the walking I did too. That’s a big amount for me, and I am impressed with how my body responded to all that running. I kind of do look forward to a more low-key exercise schedule this upcoming week because I don’t think I could maintain this sort of running schedule in the long run. I think my body does need a break!
Have you ever found yourself on a workout streak of sorts, in which you do the same thing day in and day out for exercise just because it feels good? Do you find those kind of streaks are actually potentially detrimental to your fitness, since your body just does the same workout over and over? Or, does doing the same activity everyday enhance your overall performance? Just curious!
To read the first post in this series of my “weekend in Nantucket” recaps, check it out here! Enjoy this second installment!
By the time my husband and I disembarked in Nantucket, it was about 4:30 and we were both starving for a small snack. After we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we made our way back to the area where we docked. Based on some quick research, we decided to head to Provisions, a small cafe that serves up freshly made sandwiches, coffee, pastries and other small snacks. My husband was craving a small sandwich to tide him over until dinner (don’t you love how guys can eat a whole sandwich as a pre-dinner snack?), and based on our quick internet consulting, Provisions was apparently the place to go!
As most restaurants and cafes in Nantucket are, Provisions is basically located in an old-looking, weathered house, giving it that classic Nantucket charm!
There were two counters at this small cafe– one for coffee and pastries and one to order made-to-order sandwiches and salads. Here’s a shot of the coffee counter. . .
although we headed straight to the sandwich counter! From the chalkboard menu, my husband ordered a BLT on ciabatta– you basically place your order and pick it up when you are done. There are a decent number of tables in Provisions itself, one of which we grabbed for ourselves, but many order their food for takeout, perhaps to eat on a ferry ride back home! While I didn’t order anything and just snacked on a Larabar myself, as far as vegan options go, they did have a hummus and veggie sandwich, as well as a sweet potato, roasted broccoli salad with a ginger sesame vinaigrette that peaked my gluten-free vegan tastebuds!
Provisions is a popular place, and now we see why. It was fast, easy and convenient, but the food is far from fast food. My husband’s sandwich was freshly made, piping hot with quality ingredients– he proclaimed it the best sandwich he has had in a long time!
A few hours after this snack though, dinnertime finally rolled around. We knew we wanted to eat outdoors in a casual spot that was busy and near all of the hustle and bustle of the ferry landing for some good people-watching. We decided to dine at The Tavern– a huge waterfront restaurant with a very chill vibe, complete with two floors of outdoor seating and a gazebo bar! A quick glance of the menu while walking by revealed it did serve two things I was craving– french fries and a fruity, nutty salad. It has a great atmosphere, as it is open, airy, and has plenty of nice outdoor seating to watch people come and go off fo the ferry.
We were offered a seat outdoors on the ground floor or second floor balcony. To the balcony we went! Our table provided us with a wonderful view!
The menu is large, filled with mostly seafood offerings, with a whole section reserved for deep-fried seafood platters! Definitely not a fine dining establishment, but I still had high hopes that my food would be good.
For a Friday night, it wasn’t that busy, probably because it was early in the tourist season, so we had a lot attention from the waitstaff. We placed our orders quickly, and the waitress so thoughtfully brought out a bottle of ketchup right away for my fries. Any place that brings the ketchup before the order arrives really earns my respect– I hate having to hunt down a ketchup bottle after my order already is on the table.
I ordered their spinach salad, consisting of baby spinach, walnuts, bleu cheese (which I had left off), pears, and a honey-lime vinaigrette. I asked for no cheese of course, and extra pears and walnuts for more sustenance.
When my salad arrived, I instantly was disappointed. First, it was basically all spinach– I love me a good bunch of greens, but essentially that was all this salad was. Second, I asked for extra pears and I don’t think four pear slivers constitutes extra pears at all. I do think they added a generous sprinkle of walnuts. Finally, the worst part about this salad? THE PEARS WERE CLEARLY CANNED! How gross! I am sorry, but canned pears are sort of disgusting in my book– mushy and tasteless and way too syrupy sweet. I mean, come on, it can’t be too hard to use fresh pears!
I also had to ask for extra dressing since the mound of spinach needed some additional flavor. While I ate it all, it was definitely a salad fail.
The fries were at least decent to average though!
My husband ordered a fried scallop plate that came with fries, which he thought tasted funny. The scallops themselves he thought were fine, but nothing special.
Bottom line, in you are in Nantucket and need a quick lunch or snack, go to Provisions. If you want a good meal, don’t go to the Tavern. If you want mediocre food but a great casual people-watching vibe, then by all means hit up the Tavern by the water! Though my food was terrible, I definitely would return just for the fact it is a nice place to relax and catch some of the Nantucket action.
Do you ever frequent places for the vibe, despite the fact the food stinks?
I was debating the title of this post for a long while– originally, it was to called “How to break out of the moody blues.” I also toyed with calling it “How I turned my frown upside down.” However, those titles seemed just a bit too general in a sense, like if you do what I did, then you too can be happy and full of joy, which is so not true. Everyone has different methods of lifting up their spirits– I wanted to just show you how I myself broke out of my own self-imposed funk. . . by being a tourist in my own town!
Yesterday, I woke up sad and anxious. I know the recent changes in my life (again, I promise to reveal soon, but just know they aren’t that bad in the scale of all things that could have happened!) are weighing me down a bit and impacting my moods and behavior. It’s really the uncertainty of the situation that is getting to me, and that feeling is preventing me from enjoying the beautiful summer we’ve been having so far here in Rhode Island. All I feel like doing is staying home and watching tv, which is not really what I need to be doing all day long since it makes me feel even more anxious over the fact I am not enjoying my life to its fullest capacity, like the world is passing me by. Yesterday, after I got home from the gym, I was uninspired and feeling down, and I almost let myself take up residence on the couch for the day. Just as I was about to turn on the tv though, I looked out my window, and at that moment, I felt inspired.
I thought to myself, why sit at home and sulk when I could go outside and enjoy the beauty I am fortunate to have access to everyday? I live in Providence near Brown University, which is a thriving, gorgeous and fun neighborhood with loads of attractions and sights within a mere few steps from my front door. Was I really going to feel bad for myself and hole myself up in the house, or was I going to grab my purse and camera, head out the front door, and see what my neighborhood had waiting for me? I decided to buck up and choose the latter option. I then became a woman on a mission– I was going to be a tourist in my own town! I was going to go outside and see all the awesomeness of my immediate world that I often overlook. And I was going to document it, so I could always remind myself how truly fortunate I in fact am just being able to live where I do. With that realization, I headed out the front door to search for all the good around me. Believe me, I didn’t have to look that far or that hard!
Just outside my window (pictured above) are a few trees. When I got outside, I actually took a moment to observe the tree right on the curb in front of my house, only to realize it was growing fruit!
Pears to be exact!
Don’t get me wrong, I knew they grew either pears or apples, but I never paid enough attention to know which one, and I certainly never paid any mind to when they grew fruit! I was so shocked to see pears, especially this early in the summer, on trees right outside my doorstep! That’s definitely a “tourist in my own town” win!
I headed up Thayer Street, which is Brown University’s main drag. All the students have been gone for a few weeks now, and I started to pay attention to the marks they left behind as they moved out for the summer a few weeks ago. I happened to look up, and see all these sneakers hanging on a wire right outside of some of the dorms. I can just imagine a bunch of college students for one of their last hurrahs of the school year, throwing sneakers out of their dorm room windows hoping they would catch the wires! That sounds like a pretty classic “school’s over” thing to do!
I was merely three or so minutes away from my home when I observed the food vans/trucks that have begun to take residence here in my neighborhood over the last year or two. I always get excited when I see food trucks on vacation, but never truly acknowledge the ones that are actually within walking distance from my house. Most would consider themselves lucky to have coffee on their corner! As of yesterday, I certainly feel that way!
And how about some Korean barbeque? Vegetarian options available!
I stopped to take a photo of this iconic Brown University arch that leads into its main green.
Not only did I notice the beauty of the arch, but I also noticed how cool my shadow was of me taking a picture of the arch!
I walked a few more minutes on Thayer Street until I hit the Brown bookstore. Brown is my alma mater, so I decided to go in and check out what’s new in the world of college gear.
Every year, the bag I use for carrying around all my work stuff is a tote I purchase from one of my two alma maters, Brown and Harvard. Each school year, I buy the latest style of tote bag available in August, use the bag throughout the school year, basically destroy it by June from overuse, and toss it or donate it to make room for another bag. I decided to treat myself early and get Brown’s latest tote bag yesterday instead of in August, featuring Brown’s famous Van Wickle gates which are only open twice a year– once at the beginning of the school year to welcome in the freshman, and once at the end to say goodbye to the graduates!
I passed by Providence’s beloved independent “artsy” cinema, The Avon. . .
as well as this iconic collage of Providence artist Shephard Fairey’s Andre The Giant images over near the local tattoo and piercing shop! Read up on his interesting “Andre The Giant Has A Posse” sticker campaign here– it’s so cool to know it started pretty much up the street from me!
I ducked into Berks Shoes to check out their Toms. . .
but they didn’t have my size in the ones I really wanted, so I moved onto Urban Outfitters.
Urban Outfitters is one of my favorite stores, and I remember before it existed in Providence that the closest one was in Boston. I would make a trip there once in a while when I went to visit my brother as he was attending Boston University Medical School. It was like heaven to me– so many funky, trendy, hipster clothes. The one in Providence has been open for years now, but it is still the only one in the state. It kind of hit me how I should appreciate its existence here in Providence more, since it is one of the few places I shop on a regular basis!
It’s famously known that retail therapy can aid in snapping someone out of a bad mood, so I bought this dress (on sale!) to test out the theory. Yes folks, it did make me feel better!
I looped around to head back down the street towards my house and walked by Johnny Rockets, which was hustling and bustling with an early lunch crowd. There were lots of kids with their parents– I am sure going to Johnny Rockets for lunch must be such a fun and exciting “school’s-out-for-summer” treat for kids!
Just when I assumed the campus was empty of students, I glanced upon this sign. I guess high school kids are invading Brown’s campus for summer school! I too was one of those kids who took classes in the summer at Brown– it was a truly incredible experience because you really felt like you ruled the school! Just imagine how excited the students must be, spending their summer in good old Providence!
I finally made it back home, but before I stepped inside, I noticed some more beauty that is literally on my curb, but never pay attention to.
I have rose bushes outside of my house, and sadly, never paid them an ounce of attention. . . until yesterday! So, so pretty!
At this point, my mood had totally changed. I felt more humbled and appreciative of everything I do have, and I honestly stopped focusing (at least for a while) on all that is going to be uncertain in the near future. I don’t want to come off like I solved all my issues with this one walk, because that is far from the truth. Really, this exercise gave me a much-needed break from my own seemingly relentless thoughts. It also opened up my eyes to the fact life goes on outside of my own little bubble. In other words, my reality was checked– my fears and anxieties are most likely justified, but in no way, shape or form do they warrant enough of an impact as to make me so unhappy. Point blank– my life is not so bad. I needed to get out there to see that, and the message made itself known loud and clear.
I came home to enjoy a fantastic lunch salad with cucumber, daikon, mixed baby greens, romaine, sprouts, amaranth greens, grated carrots, avocado, vegan parmesan, cracked pepper and pico de gallo all mixed up together.
Plus I enjoyed the bounty that is summer fruit!
After that, it was time to watch some tv, but believe me, it was with a much better frame of mind! That’s a screenshot of my new latest tv obsession, Hollywood Exes, a reality showing featuring celebrity ex-wives like R. Kelly’s ex, Jose Canseco’s ex and Will Smith’s ex among others!
I know this post is about to explode from being way too long, but let me end on one more amusing note. On the show, one wife wanted to give another new-to-Los Angeles wife a true “Hollywood experience.” She took her here– any guesses on what this is?
OK, I’ll tell you– it’s a cupcake vending machine!
Clearly, buying cupcakes out of a pretty pink vending machine is so so L.A.! R Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea sure got a hoot out of that one!
And I did too!
How do you snap yourself out of feeling sorry for yourself (and thank you for making it all the way to the end of this epic post!)?
This walk did wonders for me, and I will be keeping this idea of “being a tourist in mu own town” as a tool in my “fight bad mood” arsenal.