Life Lately, Vol. 42

Happy Friday Y’all!

We are headed back to the mountains, but this time we’ll be up in Loon, New Hampshire for a friends weekend! Woo Hoo! We have a fun weekend planned, full of skiing, group dinners, playing games & Apres ski in the hot tub. Should be the best time!

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bathroom details – love our navy cabinets with white tile

Researching instant potswhat do y’all think? Our crockpot is pretty small and on it’s last leg so I was thinking of replacing it, when my friend Cyndi mentioned how much she loves her new Instant Pot since it works as a crock pot and a high speed pressure cooker. It seems like a great solution for making multiple types of meals with one appliance (the less kitchen appliances, the better). Have any of you had experience with one?

Cooking a few different recipes for our group trip this weekend. While we’re splitting breakfast / lunch/  dinner groceries (so much easier that way!), each couple is contributing an adult beverage an an app to share! I’ll be making my friend Britt’s avocado + feta salsa (it’s seriously amazing and such a crowd pleaser) and a batch of black bean brownies. Trust me when I say, I would much rather have true brownies, but Summer is right around the corner so I’m trying to make healthier decisions where I can and cut back on sugar a bit.

Shopping for some new jeans. I haven’t bought a new pair of jeans in years (the struggle is real) and most of mine are lower rise. The older I get, the more I’m trying to dress nicer, a bit more age appropriate and really for my body type. My friend Jenn recommended these Madewell Mid-rise jeans and I’m obsessed. My blue denim ones arrived yesterday and the black ones are en route. The higher waisted really sucks everything and makes my legs look way longer (which is a bonus since I’m 5’8″ but have a longer torso than legs). What are your favorite high waisted jeans?

This Week on South End Style

Stowe Travel Guide

Life Lately, Vol. 41


Stowe Travel Guide

One of the best parts about living in Boston is the close proximity we have to many wonderful areas – New York City, the White Mountains, Cape Cod / Nantucket / The Vineyard, Montreal, Philly, The Adirondacks & more. A weekend favorite of ours in winter is definitely the easy three hour drive up to Vermont for a fun-filled ski weekend. Last year we spent a lot of time at Sugarbush, but this year we have primarily been at Stowe. We both like it better as the mountain is nicer, more updated, more organized and there is a lot to do for everyone – even if you don’t like to ski!
Green Goddess Cafe (in downtown Stowe): A cute local restaurant with a coffee shop feel. They’ve got sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, smoothies & coffee. It’s a casual, fun place to grab a bite with a friend or dine solo. My favorite for lunch.
The Kitchen (in downtown Stowe): Great local spot with sandwiches, salads & soups. It’s a great place to grab “to go” food for the mountain or for hiking. We’ve actually never dined here but I’ve heard great things.
Doc Ponds (in downtown Stowe): Good for dinner as they have full entrees and an extensive draft beer menu. The perfect spot for warm, comfort food in winter.
Prohibiton Pig (in downtown Waterbury): One of my favorite local spots, this staple is best when you grab a spot at the bar, try a local brew (over 20 on tap) and order a yummy burger. I also really like their pickled veggie appetizer (so good!). They’ve got a tap room next door as well so you could do a beer tasting while you wait for a table.
The Reservoir (in downtown Waterbury): A great spot if you want to grab a drink, shoot some pool, listen to music or sit down to eat some bar food. It’s usually pretty crowded and fun people watching. They have good bar food, including buffalo wings, turkey burgers and fish tacos. This is a great place to stop on Friday night on your way into town.
Bluestone Pizza (in downtown Waterbury): Everyone keeps raving about their wood fire pizza, but I must admit that we haven’t tried it yet though it’s high on our list. They have a million different types and given that American Flatbread is the closest pizza joint in the area (still a good 25-30 minutes away), I’m so happy to see this place here!
The Skinny Pancake (Stowe Mountain Lodge): Though it wouldn’t be my first choice, i’ts the perfect place for a quick breakfast around the mountain. It’s located in the lodge area which is super convenient, but inevitably overpriced.
The Matterhorn (near the mountain): This is the best après-ski spot in town and if you ever visit Stowe, you have to go here after the ski day for a drink. It does get really crowded so get there by like 4:00 for a spot if you can. They typically have a band and it’s a very fun, lively crowd. I even hear they have good pizza!
Mansfield Lodge (at the base of the mountain) : Probably the most convenience of all places, you can’t end a ski day without stopping in here to good to grab a beer and thaw out after a day on the mountain. They also usually have a live band and it’s fun for an hour or so until people head home to get a hot shower.
Idletyme Brewing (in downtown Stowe): This local brewery is best when it’s nice out as they have a huge outdoor bar and patio with fire pit. You can sip on beer flights and munch on bar food (burgers, sammie’s, salads) and have a beautiful afternoon.
Alchemist Brewery (in downtown Stowe): While it’s not exactly a “hang out” spot, you’ll want to trust me when I say you should go here and try some beer in the tasting room. Alchemist was made famous on their “Heady Topper” double IPA but they’ve stayed solid and cranked out a ton more local favorites, including Focal Banger. You can also buy their beer directly here, which is nice since it’s typically hard to find in town. 

So, the obvious thing to do when you come to Stowe is to go skiing or snowboarding. You can get a day pass, a season pass or an Epic pass (we have). Stowe has the highest peak in Vermont and definitely has that “resort” feel if that’s what you’re looking for. However, there is so much more to do in the area! Whether you come in another season, or if you’re just not that into skiing (like me!), I’ve compiled a list of my favorite non-skiing activities to do around town. Most are family friendly as well:
Stowe Mountain Lodge: At the base of the mountain, this is the absolute best location you could stay in and by far the most convenient. While it’s not cheap, this is a good route for those who can afford it and want to have everything at their disposal – ski lessons, ice skating, gym, spa, etc. It’s a really beautifully built resort.
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa: This resort is built within the heart of Stowe, so you’ve got access to the local downtown shops, breweries, restaurants & more. It’s similar to Stowe Mountain Lodge in that they’ve got a gym, spa, dining, etc. but it’s not located on the mountain.  A nice alternative.
Topnotch Resort: We have quite a few friends who have stayed here and really enjoyed it. They’ve got rooms, suites and homes to rent at the resort. It has a lot of activities as well, including tennis, horseback riding, a spa and more.
AirBnB/VRBO: This is what a lot of people do as Stowe can be extremely pricey. If you’re here for a long weekend or with more than four people, this may be your most economical route (a lot of condos have ski busses that will pick you up on the way to the mountain).
Ski House: For us locals, this is the best thing to do. Going on on a “ski share” with a group can be a more economical option than staying even two weekends out of the whole year. We pay a seasonal fee and the house is ours to use, whenever we like.

the quintessential Vermont covered bridge

Life Lately, Vol. 41

Happy Friday Y’all! What a weird week it’s been. I arrived groggy & out of it on Monday at 6am on a red eye from San Deigo, we had a blizzard on Tuesday, then picked up the pieces on Wednesday and had a normal work day yesterday – is today Tuesday or Friday? HA! I’m hoping to get back into the groove of things next week – I’ve got a lot of exciting projects and travel plans to share over the next few weeks. Speaking of sharing, let me ask you what you would like more of: interior design, travel, lifestyle, recipes, or something else? Let me know!

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our master, with the current lamps

Looking to buy some new lamps for our master bedroom. When we moved, I opted to keep the Target ones we had (sold out, similar); however, I think they’re a bit too short and too blah. Given the grey campaign nightstands, I want to bring in some brighter, white lamps. I like the white + gold on these Safavieh lamps, but they’re too short. Here’s a set via OKL that’s similar. I’m liking the detail on this Pottery Barn lamp (also named the Alexis!) as well as the texture on this set from One Kings Lane. What do you think?

Eagerly awaiting Spring for a variety of reasons (cold temps & snow being TOP of my list), but one is so that I can clean out my closet and transition my wardrobe from winter to Spring. I feel like it has been sooooo long since I’ve worn a dress or tank! Given that our closets are pretty small, I’ll be following this guide on how to best organize our closet for Spring (it’s a totally different ballgame when sweaters, boots & down jackets are out of the space). Also loving this post titled “How to Spring Clean Like the Pros” – these are great tips that apply to many rooms of the home, including closets, office & kitchen. Bring on the spring cleaning!

Proud of the students at the high school I attended, Lakeside for their collective effort and coming together for the school walkout this week. The students, teachers & administrators all came together and it was a successful, peaceful movement. Without getting political on here, I will say that what happened in Sandy Hook (and the other countless school shootings in 2018, 2017, and prior) should never, ever happen again – it’s just outrageous! So I am proud of these teenagers for standing up in what they believe in and trying to make a change for the better in this world.

This Week on South End Style

San Diego Travel Guide

(All *newly updated* travel guides!)

Life Lately, Vol. 40

Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

San Diego Travel Guide

I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend with two of my best gal pals from childhood and we had the best time. There’s something about friends that you’ve known forever – you can go without seeing them for a few months, yet you back up like no time had passed. That’s exactly what this trip was – catching up, sharing stories and just having the great conversation with my favorite people. Like I said, the best time! Given that I was only there for a few days, we shoved in as much as we could, but of course, there are so many places that we didn’t make it to.


Beautiful Pacific Beach with two of my best friends


Raglan Public House, Ocean Beach: a local spot perfect for burgers & beers. They’ve got an adorable outdoor spot with a huge greenery wall and overhead lights. Ideal for a low-key night.

OB Noodle House, Ocean Beach: Across the street from Raglan, this Asian inspired spot has a great bar with tvs, an indoor/outdoor vibe and a full crowd. Great neighborhood place.

Wonderland Ocean Pub, Ocean Beach: With a rooftop open to the water, this is the local spot to go for killer views. We enjoyed fresh fish, salads and local with a view of the ocean. A bit pricey but you’re paying for location.

Backyard Kitchen & Tap, Pacific Beach: We came here strictly for the beer, specifically the Cali Creamin’ & Benching Beaver PB Milk Stout, both on nitro. The nitro beer scene in San Diego is huge and it was new to me – we enjoyed sampling the delicious beers while sitting outside on their exposed patio. We didn’t eat, but it looked to be standard bar food.

PB Ale House, Pacific Beach: We started upstairs on their huge deck with heat lamps (it got so chilly at night) where we did a local beer flight, but the best spot was downstairs next to the fire pit. We sipped on some brews while watching the sunset. And what a sunset it was! Wow, I forgot how beautiful California is with the red and pink skies.

Café Coyote, Old Town: Hands down some of the best Mexican food I have ever had. The jalapeno margaritas and salsa had the perfect amount of spice. The fish taco & shrimp enchiladas were both outstanding and incredibly fresh. But the real star of the show was the homemade chips – something about local, house made fresh tortilla chips doesn’t even compare to the junk we buy in the grocery store. The ladies were making the chips & tortillas in the window, which was fun to see. The entire Old Town was a lively, upbeat vibe and you really felt like you were in Mexico. I would love to go back and try another spot in this area – I have a feeling you can’t go wrong!

Pure Press, Cowles Mountain: The perfect treat after hiking for an hour or two, this smoothie hit the spot. All of the smoothies, juices & bowls looked delicious and mine was a mix of berries, vegan protein & spinach. So delicious and refreshing! We kept hearing about all of the amazing acai bowls here but this was the closest we got. Next time!

Ironside Fish & Oyster, Little Italy: If you want a trendy spot with great service and outstanding seafood, this is the spot. We absolutely loved everything about Ironside, from the décor to the rose on tap to the oysters. I had seared yellowtail over a fresh Caesar salad for my entrée, which was out of this world. We all licked our plates clean and agreed that this was one of our favorite spots and great for a girl’s night out!

The Prado, Balboa Park: We stumbled across this place while exploring the park and lucked out that it was happy hour on the back patio. With beautiful scenery and an inexpensive happy hour menu, we each had one drink and shared a few small bites. It was the perfect spot to chill for an hour and refuel ourselves.

Great Maple, Hillcrest: Move over smoked salmon plate, I’ve found my new favorite brunch item. Holy sh*t y’all, if you haven’t had Chilaquiles, I recommend that you find some immediately. They’re basically Mexican breakfast nachos and they’re to die for. Again, the local tortilla chips made all of the difference. To balance it out, we shared these and a salad but truthfully, we had a hard time deciding. The brunch menu is amazing and I can see why the place was fully packed the entire time we were there.

Dukes, La Jolla: An ocean front spot in La Jolla, this restaurant did not disappoint. The mahi-mahi fish tacos were so fresh and the view was even better. Make sure to snag a table outside on the patio if you can. The restaurant has a Hawaiian theme and there was a lot that looked great on the menu but I was craving fish tacos – excellent choice.

Poke, everywhere: I couldn’t remember the exact name of the place we went but I know there are a million to choose from. Having heard about poke bowls forever, I was thrilled to finally have one. Let me tell you, this did not disappoint. Basically, a deconstructed sushi roll, if you like raw fish this is the best. Mine had spicy tuna & salmon over lettuce, topped with seaweed salad, cucumber, avocado and spicy soy sauce. Yum!


The stunning waterfront view from Dukes in La Jolla


There’s nothing like a California sunset!


Hike Cowles Mountain: With beautiful 360 degree view of San Diego (all the way to Mexico), this was one of the most beautiful hikes! Our route was about 1.5 miles each way and took around 75 minutes, including wandering around at the top. The parking is easy, the entry is free and there are bathrooms at the bottom. I heard that locals will do this often and I can see why – it’s quick, challenging & fun!

Explore Balboa Park: This 1,200 acre park is home to over 16 museums, endless gardens, various performing arts centers & multiple shops and cafes. We enjoyed just walking around and exploring. We stumbled upon quite a few gorgeous gardens and had happy hour at an adorable outdoor café. There’s so much to do here and it seems like they have a lot going on for those interested in the arts.

San Diego Zoo: We didn’t go here on this trip, but I have been before. It is consistently voted the number 1 zoo in the world, due to the wide variety of animals. I remember loving it and because the weather is pretty much perfect in SD, you can visit it year-round. It’s definitely worth going to once in your life, especially if you have kids or enjoy animals.

Visit Torrey Pines Nature Reserve: This is where my friend was married on the beach and, wow, it was stunning!  We hiked up to the top and then down to the beach, where we walked along for a while back to the car. Having the mountains meet the beach is especially unique and the fact that it’s a well-protected reserve makes it even more beautiful. The golf course is nearby (which you’ve probably heard of), as is downtown La Jolla, so you could really make a day of it.

Walk around Mission Bay: We took the pup for a long walk around the bay which was filled with bikers, rollerbladers, runners, etc. It’s a great spot for locals to go if they want to get some outdoor exercise while avoiding traffic and cars. The entire loop is about 8 miles so I can see why a lot of people who are training for marathons run it!

Well, there you have it – my city guide to San Diego. I’m hoping to visit again and add many more restaurants, bars, beaches & local attractions into my repertoire as I’m sure the list is never-ending. We had a fabulous time and hope to return soon!


View from the top of Cowles Mountain


The beautiful beaches of Torrey Pines Nature Reserve

Life Lately, Vol. 40

Happy Friday Y’all! This weekend is a fun one as I’m spending it in Southern California with two of my best friends! I was able to escape the Boston winter juuuuust in time and made it here without getting snowed on too much. I foresee a lot of outside patios, fish tacos, beach walks & happy hours on our horizon for the weekend!

made it just in time for my first Cali sunset

Shopping for new Spring decor pieces! I’m loving this Anthropologie pitcher, perfect for serving fresh lemonade or stuffing with freshly picked flowers. Also love this blueish-green tray, perfect for hosting. Lastly, this vase is great for atop the mantle or a buffet.
Reading a lot more these days, likely because I’ve got so many flights on the horizon. A few books that I’ve got on my immediate list are An American Marriage, The Break, Crazy Rich Asians, Little Fires Everywhere and The Nightingale. Have you read any of these?
Still planning our trip to Ireland in May! Luckily my friend Ryan lived there for two years so he’s giving us amazing suggestions. Currently, I’m looking for castles to stay in! I have heard of the famous Dromoland Castle, Blarney Castle and Ashford Castle, but I’m looking for more off-the-beaten-path (aka not so overpriced) castles. Anyone have suggestions?
This Week on South End Style:

THP: February: Marriage

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m doing a little bit of self-discovery this year and I’m reading my way through The Happiness Project as I work through it myself (which I discovered via my love for Podcasts!). In January, my focus was vitality (mainly health + wellness and de-cluttering). Each month, I’ll share what the previous month was about – the overall goals, some takeaways and general practices that I’ve implemented. I also want to highlight what has stuck with me as habit, month over month.

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As newlyweds, I thought this would be the perfect time to make sure we’re on the same page from day 1 (spoiler alert: we are!). So much of what we uncovered that we want to work on isn’t actually being “unhappy” – it’s more so making sure that we both actively implement healthy marriage habits in our everyday lives to avoid in future pitfalls. I think that a lot of people tend to be unhappy in their relationship because they get in bad habits – it’s best to try and recognize those right away so we can make ourselves (and each other) aware when we’re doing them.

Part 1: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

This one is huge! It’s way too easy to fall into the pattern of nagging or complaining about small, unimportant stuff. Does it really matter if he left a shirt on the floor again? A lot of this falls into what I call the “roommate’ type stuff – cleaning up, keeping tidy, house chores, etc. While I think it’s important to divide and conquer, you have to pick your battles. In fact, when I took out the trash for the third day in a row (so not my “job”), I was annoyed but then I quickly thought, “why does this matter?” My husband left the house at 5:00am for work because he has the most incredible work ethic and is providing for our family. I wouldn’t want to take the trash out either! At the end of the day, we are a team and that’s what matters.

The verdict: I found that as I think twice, try hard to pick my battles and really just be more easy going, we both are happier. Nobody wants to be a nag and certainly nobody wants to be around one. If you find yourself in this position, I encourage you to try really hard to ask yourself why you act this way and hope that you, too can lighten up!

Part 2: Give Proof of Love

Giving “proof of love” can mean a lot of different things to different people. In my wedding vows to Terry, I said that I always want “to create a home full of love, compassion & kindness that we can grow our family in”. I always want home to be the place where we both want to be, no matter what challenges we face. That means having a home that is full of comfort, warmth, and unconditional love.

One other practices that I wanted to implement (remember what I said about forming positive habits?) was praise in public, address in private. We are a united front and I always want my husband to know that I have his back, no matter what. Though we will of course have disagreements, those need to be handled in private, between only us two. It’s critical to praise with kind words and gestures in public (I think the same goes for your children) as it creates a trusting, loyal relationship without resentment.

A big component of this topic was to make time for a monthly date night. We are two very busy people and it’s easy to let weeks go by without having a dedicated time for us. Even if it means the two of us heading to the local Italian joint and splitting a bottle of wine, it’s “us” time that’s much needed.

The verdict: This part was easy to implement. Just remember, we are a team. We come first. Laugh more, hug more, kiss more. There’s never too much love to give!

Part 3: Learn Each Others’ Love Language

Perhaps the most important to me, learning each others’ love language is critical in developing and maintaining a fulfilling relationship, for both parties. If you haven’t read the 5 Love Languages Book, I highly recommend it – we read through it prior to marriage and found it to be highly insightful. What you  think makes your partner happy is not necessarily the case. For example, your husband can bring you home jewelry and gifts every week but if all you want is an act of service (i.e. picking up dry cleaning or handling the dishes after you clean) then neither of you will be fulfilled. It’s a commonsense approach – kind of a “put yourself in their shoes” – that has been proven to help any relationship. To me, it was worth reminding myself what makes Terry feel loved and what makes me feel loved. Since Terry is acts of service & I am quality time, we have been making sure to let the other know – in their love language – how we love him. When I meal prep his weekly food, he’s over the moon. When he dedicated time to just me, I feel loved.

The verdict: We’ve implemented an electronics-free dinner since often this is our only time during the day to connect one-on-one. I’m getting the quality time that I need, while he’s able to share his week so I can know how I can help. It’s a win-win.

Happiness Habits Implemented
  • From January – “Power Hour”: I’m still incorporating 1 hour each Friday where I basically Get.Sh*t.Done. It’s proven to be impactful and worthwhile.
  • From January – Decluttering: Somehow I cleaned out two more bags from our closets and I’m working very hard not to re-purchase items. If you want more info on decluttering, especially emotional, read this article.

Have you started your Happiness Project?!

Top 7 Flying Tips

It’s no secret that I fly quite often (check out my total 2017 travel numbers). Given the extensive amount that I’m in & out of an airport, often for quick weekend trips, I have a pretty solid routine down. For those of you that don’t travel often, I get that the whole process can be intimidating and overwhelming. I am asked quite a bit how to ease the process, so I thought that today I’d share some tips I’ve picked up along the years.

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Make sure everything is charged.

The night before I fly, I charge everything – my computer, my Bluetooth headphones, my ipad, my cell phone. And then I put it all on low battery mode. The last thing you want is to not be able to access your phone or have your ipad die mid-flight. Many new planes have plugs so be sure to have your charging cords within reach (I keep one in my personal item and one in my carry-on bag). Also, it’s usually a good idea to carry a (fully charged) portable charger in case.

Invest in good carry-on luggage.

I’ll be doing a full luggage round up in coming weeks but to me, the 4-wheel spinner carry-ons are the best for domestic travel. They’re lightweight, easy to pack, fit in overheads and they maneuver easily. I always bring my Longchamp bag also as it fits right atop my Samsonite and it fits my laptop, ipad, clutch purse, scarf, water bottle & snacks. Also, it has a top zipper so I can squeeze it under the seat or in the overhead bin without worry of items falling out. I’ve had this bag for over 5 years traveling and it’s still in mint condition, no joke!

Don’t forget snacks & your water bottle.

In a recent post, “How to Stay Healthy While Traveling”, I harped on the importance of staying hydrated on airplanes. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking to spend $7 per water bottle each time I go into an airport. That’s insane! I’d rather bring my Swell and fill it up in the filter station (located outside each restroom) so I can make sure I’m drinking enough while waiting to board and while on the plane. Typically, I’ll pack a Larabar, an apple and some nuts so that I don’t get hangry if there’s a delay or if I missed a meal that day. You can never have too many travel snacks, am I right?

Dress appropriately.

This should go without saying, but I am constantly appalled surprised with what people wear to the airport. The lace up knee high boots, the ten layers of clothing, the pajamas (horrible!) …the list goes on and on. This is public people – let’s dress presentable. Going through security can be stressful, especially if you don’t have TSA precheck (which I cannot recommend enough), so why make it harder by having to take on and off a million pieces?! My “go-to” travel outfit is a pair of nice black leggings, a light sweater layered over a tank and either booties or nice athleisure sneaks that slip right on/off. I always throw a scarf and extra socks in my purse in case I get chilly on the plane. Usually I stick to gray/black as well in case I spill anything!

Come prepared.

Flights get delayed, you’ll get stuck in a middle seat or next to a crying baby, the airplane televisions won’t work…it happens. Best to come prepared and that means with a bag full of tricks – mine always includes my ipad, a book/magazine, a crossword puzzle & pen, extra headphones, sleep mask and snacks.

Be nice to airline workers

Travel can be stressful but remember, we can only control our reactions. So, you may as well come with the expectation that something will be annoying, but it’s always best to have a good attitude. Everyone is (usually) doing their best and so there’s no sense in getting snippy with the flight attendant or gate agent. In fact, having a patient, kind attitude can often times result in a free upgrade or glass of wine (believe me – it’s happened to me many-a-times). Trust me on this one. 

Keep boarding passes & reservations on your phone.

(This, of course, only works if your phone is fully charged…hence #1!) Again, the tips to traveling are making everything as seamless of a process as possible. Don’t waste your time printing out boarding passes, keeping stacks of papers – everything can be stored on your phone these days in your Apple Wallet. It stores and scans so simply. And let’s be honest, your phone is probably in your hand anyway!


Catching a 5am flight for 1 week out west isn’t easy, but we made it work!

So those are my top 7 travel tips for you when traveling domestic!

What’s your best travel tip?