USA

MAGGIE ROGERS IN BURLINGTON, VERMONT

Maggie Rogers at  Higher Ground

Maggie Rogers at Higher Ground

Mojitos and post-show Jazz at  Radio Bean

Mojitos and post-show Jazz at Radio Bean

Gingerbread house AirBnB

Gingerbread house AirBnB

Last summer I stumbled across this video then proceeded to listen to Alaska over and over and over again through the fall.

Then one night at 2 AM in January I bought a single ticket to a Monday night Maggie Rogers show in Burlington, Vermont because her first tour wasn't stopping anywhere near Boston.  

I woke up the next morning with the kind of vague regret that usually only accompanies heavy champagne consumption (the $12 ticket seemed like a bit of rash purchase as she had only released 2 songs at that point). Nevertheless, I packed a bag that Monday morning and drove 3 hours in the snow to Burlington. 

Going to a show by yourself is kind of like a weird form of meditation. You find yourself standing quite still (as to not bump into anyone to avoid polite conversation), very mindful as to what is going on around you (like noticing how the kids in Burlington get dressed up for a night out in what I would wear snow-shoeing) and quietly reflecting back on the last time you were in this situation (Fall 2004, early Freshman year, at a tiny John Legend show in a BC basement class room. I barely had any friends at that point and none of them had ever heard of John Legend). 

To my relief, her set consisted of more than 2 songs and her modesty ("I feel like new artists shouldn't really play an encore. The Rolling Stones should play an encore but not me") and enthusiasm ("Oh my god, thank you all so much for coming! This is the biggest crowd we've ever had! Well, I've ever had. My band has played a lot more shows than me. This is only my 5th show. Thank you so much!") was sweet and genuine.

She was also amazing live. It was definitely worth the drive. 

The rest of my time in Burlington consisted of coffee shop hopping (Uncommon Grounds is good for people watching and Muddy Waters is like dining in a tree house) scoring a signed copy of Maria Semple's Today Will Be Different at Crow Bookshop and talking politics and watching Trevor Noah with my AirBnB host. 

It was a great winter trip to Vermont.

 

P.S. Maggie Rogers now has an EP out, called Now That the Light is Fading, if you'd like to check it out. It has 5 (!) songs on it. And her new US and European tours are selling like hotcakes. Go if you can. 

NAUSHON ISLAND

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ari-warsaw
naushon-island-water
naushon-island-water
naushon-island
naushon-island
naushon-island-house
naushon-island-ma
dinner-naushon-island

My friend Ari lives and works on Naushon Island, a private island just off of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. A bunch of us took the ferry over for a cozy weekend full of Ari's cooking and general goodness.

He's missed on the mainland but island life seems to suit him. Plus, it's always nice to have an excuse to visit a place that has a population of 30 people. 

APPLE PICKING

Jess and I entered full on, basic-bitches-in-fall mode for a morning of Apple picking at Smolak Farms in North Andover.

We went so late in the season that we were the only ones in the orchard but we fully immersed ourselves in the autumnal spirit with hot apple cider, apple cider donuts and bags of apples which I had big plans for (apple sauce! apple crumble! apple pie!) but then just ate raw over the next month because honestly, who has time for that. 

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apple-picking
apple-picking-jess
apple-picking
apple-picking-massachusetts
These boots were in no way practical for the occasion but they perfectly matched my hat which was just begging to visit an apple orchard. Look at that hat. Where else was I gonna wear that hat.    

These boots were in no way practical for the occasion but they perfectly matched my hat which was just begging to visit an apple orchard. Look at that hat. Where else was I gonna wear that hat.    

SUMMER IN BOSTON: PART 5

Coolidge Corner.

Coolidge Corner.

Fletcher. 

Fletcher. 

lowell-folk-fest
The South End. 

The South End. 

jamaica-plain
Chance The Rapper at The Pavillion.

Chance The Rapper at The Pavillion.

Downtown from JP. 

Downtown from JP. 

fletcher
fletcher-scott
Jamaica Pond. 

Jamaica Pond. 

This city has a certain vibe which although not my exact ideal, has a weird to charm to it.

Bostonians aren't warm and friendly immediately -- but if you do chip away at our frozen (from years of shoveling out our cars in January) social exterior, you'll probably end up meeting all of our friends from high school and getting invited to the family Cape house for 4th of July. All of our bars may look exactly the same (dark wood, vaguely Irish) but I truly appreciate that there's a Dunkin Donuts on almost every corner that's frequented by people in every tax bracket. 

P.S. The Simpsons actually did an episode this summer where they went on  a "hate-cation" to Boston and it's wonderfully spot on. "It's like heaven for people who don't believe in heaven!"

PORTLAND, MAINE

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kris-portland-maine
Kris getting a few shots for his  Paka Appparel website . 

Kris getting a few shots for his Paka Appparel website

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portland-maine-lighthouse
maine-flowers
rachel-portland-maine
cody-family

I drove up to Portland, Maine to visit my friend Kris from my time in Naples.

We had a bonfire, jumped off a bridge, learned about his first year of college (!!!) and his newest venture: Paka Apparel, got poutine and milkshakes at Duck Fat, had an early morning at the beach, met his cute brothers and enjoyed brunch to the sounds of his parents playing blue grass music (the whole family plays string instruments and they jam together). It was a great trip. 

If you're a fellow New Englander that needs to keep warm this winter, I recommend checking out Kris's clothing brand Paka and specifically, The Costa sweater (you may recognize a few of the models -- ha!). 

 

AROUND THE INTERNET #3

It's winter coat weather here in Boston, so I'm officially wistfully thinking of summer days -- like this one from camping in Newport in August. 

It's winter coat weather here in Boston, so I'm officially wistfully thinking of summer days -- like this one from camping in Newport in August. 

A PRELUDE: You never feel more patriotic than once you've actually left your country, so traveling the last 2 years has definitely boosted my sense of America pride.  

I think the American work ethic (while perhaps relentless and unbalanced) is something to admire -- it's nearly impossible to get anything done past 3 PM on a Friday in New Zealand.

I stand by our portion sizes.

And I really like that we're a big, giant, ever-evolving mix of people. I like that the USA is very different from Italy, for instance, where everyone kind of looked the same. And I know, because they all looked LIKE ME: big brown eyes, big noses and curly hair -- these Italian chicks were copping my look LEFT AND RIGHT.

With that (freshly amplified) pride, being back in the USA for this election season has been a bit confusing and soul-crushing. So in that spirit:

 

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried" - Winston Churchill, 1947

"It's like Humpty Dumpty fell and broke, then a giant lawn mower ran over it, acid was thrown on the pieces -- and a bunch of racist idiots ran off with an arm and a leg" -John Weaver, longtime Republican consultant on the state of the GOP 

Brilliantly edited, completely terrifying video on The Authorization for Use of Military Force which our next President will continue to have. 

What Obama told his daughters after Trump won the election

...and in other news: 

Women Having a Terrible Time Parties in Western Art History.

Words for Emotions You Didn't Know You Had -- I was relieved to see I'm not the only weirdo who experiences "L'appel du vide". 

Tricky and Brilliant: 10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Vacation Time

A photography project that makes you notice (the usually cramped + crowded) New York buildings as the incredible feats of architecture (that they are): Misplaced New York

A stunning collection at NYFW and a smart kickstarter worth supporting. 

I was reading a post about Pipilotti Rist's (a video and multimedia artist) new exhibit at The New Museum in NYC and of course, fell down an internet rabbit hole to one of her other works Ever Is Over All... which, reminded me an awful lot of Beyonce's "Hold Up" music video... and then the internet confirmed that Beyonce's video is indeed paying homage to Rist:

"The exuberant display of female power - the juxtaposition between Rist's cheerful demeanor and violent actions - is both charming and cryptic. It seems obvious that Rist is commenting on the false expectations of feminine delicacy, but the deeper significance isn't so easy to divine. All this makes it a perfect point of reference for Beyonce, whose work frequently charts the intersection between female power and sexuality." 

 

That's all. Thanks again for reading my particular contribution to the liberal echo chamber and I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, filled with hearty American portion sizes. 

SUMMER IN BOSTON: PART 3

Scott and one of his new friends in JP. 

Scott and one of his new friends in JP. 

Salisbury Beach. 

Salisbury Beach. 

joes-famous-italian-sausage
walking fletcher
hallway-dogs
Jesse (my new friend and roommate) and Scott, prepping a lobster dinner. 

Jesse (my new friend and roommate) and Scott, prepping a lobster dinner. 

boston
A little  Smokey  (!!!)

A little Smokey (!!!)

fletcher
The Mayflower.

The Mayflower.

breakfast-guy
toast
Whale watching in Plymouth.

Whale watching in Plymouth.

fletcher-scott
An afternoon on the Ocean Frank. 

An afternoon on the Ocean Frank. 

Dusk at Jamaica Pond with Basil. 

Dusk at Jamaica Pond with Basil. 

This summer in Jamaica Plain included many day trips out, dinners in and a surprising amount of new dog friends for someone who doesn't own a dog.  

SUMMER IN BOSTON: PART 2

In May, we scored a great sublet in Jamaica Plain (it's now my fourth apartment in that neighborhood) and settled in for a summer in the city. 

A new home. 

A new home. 

surface-road-boston
Commuting through Chinatown. 

Commuting through Chinatown. 

Charles Bradley in Cambridge. 

Charles Bradley in Cambridge. 

The Charles River. 

The Charles River. 

Locking up our new bikes. 

Locking up our new bikes. 

Farmers Market in the North End. 

Farmers Market in the North End. 

farmers-market
downtown-boston
Commonwealth Cold Brew at the JP Farmers Market. 

Commonwealth Cold Brew at the JP Farmers Market. 

Scott appreciating American portion sizes. 

Scott appreciating American portion sizes. 

Wanting to re-create the magic that was biking around Newcastle, Perth and Singapore, we bought bikes and declared ourselves a two-man bike gang, cruising around everywhere: commuting to a co-working space downtown, to farmers markets in the North End, through Chinatown, Castle Island in South Boston, over the Charles River to Cambridge and yoga in Brookline. 

P.S. I bought my sky blue Linus bike at Superb Bicycle on Beacon Street and now it's now become one of the top 3 items I wholeheartedly recommend to people (...the other 2 being a Spotify account and an electric toothbrush -- all 3 will elevate your quality of life enormously). If you want a bike that's super comfortable, easy to ride -- and (let's be real here) hella cute -- I deeply recommend a Linus. 

 

SUMMER IN BOSTON: PART 1

Landing in Boston. I was overjoyed to see the Pru from the plane, but was simultaneously crying from watching the end of the movie " Me, Earl and Dying Girl " so it was a real rollercoaster of emotions. 

Landing in Boston. I was overjoyed to see the Pru from the plane, but was simultaneously crying from watching the end of the movie "Me, Earl and Dying Girl" so it was a real rollercoaster of emotions. 

New England quaintness. 

New England quaintness. 

Cape Cod Canal. 

Cape Cod Canal. 

Ryan Family Amusements. 

Ryan Family Amusements. 

Ikea. 

Ikea. 

Craig's List find. 

Craig's List find. 

Pizza at Mark Anthony's in Onset. 

Pizza at Mark Anthony's in Onset. 

Arriving home in Boston, Scott and I hunkered down at my Grandmother's beach house in Wareham. It was April, so it was more rainy than beachy, so there wasn't much to do. We hit up the arcade and other local hot spots (like Target) but spent most of our time scouring Craig's List for apartments and furniture in an attempt to piece together a solid home for the summer, and perhaps beyond.

After being away for an extended period of time, being home has a way of smacking you in the face with the realities of life.

That was especially true this summer, but having Scott around as part of my team made everything a little easier.  He has a way of making even the boring domestic stuff weirdly fun: treating Craig's List like a treasure hunt, never failing to be delighted by ordering "a slice" (you can't order slices of pizza in NZ, only whole pies) and getting excited about grocery shopping ("I discovered this awesome place today. It's called 'Whole Foods'. We HAVE to go there"). 

 

AUSTIN, TEXAS

On my way back to Boston, I visited Austin for my friend Jordan's wedding. 

Tourists. 

Tourists. 

jo-tx
Austin-tx
frank-public-art
austin-pizza
hey-homies
When in Rome.

When in Rome.

Austin-Boots
Torchys-tacos
austin-tx
austin-radler
Jordan and Maggie (her Maid of Honor) singing Karaoke at the spot Jordan and Timmer first met. 

Jordan and Maggie (her Maid of Honor) singing Karaoke at the spot Jordan and Timmer first met. 

Scott, dressed like a local. 

Scott, dressed like a local. 

rachel-jordan-maggie
Springdale Farm. 

Springdale Farm. 

wedding-garden
Timmer's clan and their newest member. 

Timmer's clan and their newest member. 

First pizza as husband and wife. 

First pizza as husband and wife. 

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BC'08

BC'08

Jordan + Timmer got married in a sweetly romantic ceremony at Springdale Farm, in the pouring rain. Jordan and I met at Freshman Orientation and it was wild to see her walk down the aisle 12 years later, with a husband so perfect for her it was as if 19 year old Jordan conjured him into being. 

RETURNING TO THE USA VIA LOS ANGELES

After 8 months away, I returned to the States with a layover in Los Angeles. It was apparent how thrilled I was to be back in the USA (despite the fact that the American state of affairs appears to be an absolute shit storm from afar) when I audibly squealed spotting Obama's portrait hanging above the escalators at LAX.

American accents were music to my ears as we power walked through the airports to grab our luggage, rent a car and make the most of our 9 hours in sunny LA. 

LA-beach
LA-beach
LA palm trees
LA volleyball courts
Filtered coffee/pure joy/airplane hair. I think I look a bit like  The Weeknd  here.

Filtered coffee/pure joy/airplane hair. I think I look a bit like The Weeknd here.

LA Hills
hike-LA
scott-canyon
LA-skyline
LA hike
LA skyline

We got breakfast at the must-always-visit Sloopy's, walked off 14 hours of flying on the boardwalk, got caught in signature LA traffic and hiked up a canyon for a view of the LA skyline. 

It was warm welcome (almost) home. 

END OF THE SUMMER

The last few weeks of August were spent back on the east coast -- celebrating, moving, packing and exploring all around Boston + New England. 

I turned 29 with this good looking group. We had a biiiig night out and I made sure that one of my favorite quotes, "If you aren't embarrassed by what you were doing last year then you aren't growing enough" will definitely ring true by August 21, 2016. 

I turned 29 with this good looking group. We had a biiiig night out and I made sure that one of my favorite quotes, "If you aren't embarrassed by what you were doing last year then you aren't growing enough" will definitely ring true by August 21, 2016. 

Afternoon at the Lawn on the D in South Boston. 

Afternoon at the Lawn on the D in South Boston. 

Birthday Partner for 17 years straight. 

Birthday Partner for 17 years straight. 

Birthday fish tacos in Fort Point. 

Birthday fish tacos in Fort Point. 

Trevor and Jay got hitched and it was truly a beautiful wedding in Lincoln. It was super smooth and effortlessly fun -- much like their relationship. 

Trevor and Jay got hitched and it was truly a beautiful wedding in Lincoln. It was super smooth and effortlessly fun -- much like their relationship. 

A night of scalped tickets and Fenway franks. 

A night of scalped tickets and Fenway franks. 

Boston Skyline
Scott's first baseball game. 

Scott's first baseball game. 

Downtown Boston
Visiting the Vanderbuilt Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. 

Visiting the Vanderbuilt Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. 

Inside the Vanderbuilt mansion, where they clearly ripped off  Versailles . 

Inside the Vanderbuilt mansion, where they clearly ripped off Versailles

Newport, RI. 

Newport, RI. 

Portsmouth, NH.

Portsmouth, NH.

Jamaica Pond. 

Jamaica Pond. 

Visiting the Alma Mater. 

Visiting the Alma Mater. 

Scott's reaction to visiting the Old North Bridge in Concord, where the "shot heard round the world" was first fired starting the American Revolution: "So you Americans have always been shooting people, ay?"

Scott's reaction to visiting the Old North Bridge in Concord, where the "shot heard round the world" was first fired starting the American Revolution: "So you Americans have always been shooting people, ay?"