New Home Holiday Survival Guide

It’s certainly easy to say that the holiday season is probably my absolute favorite time of year. From Thanksgiving to Christmas and over to the New Year, there are the most wonderful moments that you are able to share with loved ones. My family and I have the BEST traditions (okay, my opinion is probably biased) and every year I look forward to them. And then all of a sudden, I’m all grown up, moved across the country and find myself experiencing the holidays in a whole new world (once again, I do understand that Boston is not a whole new world but it certainly feels like it sometimes compared to Utah.) I know that this is true for many individuals in their twenty-somethings and being away from family can make the holiday season seem a little less exciting. So, how does one fully enjoy this beautiful season, push away the crazy strong homesickness and embrace all the new experiences in a new place that isn’t the ‘home for the holidays’ that you are used to? Well, I might have a few ideas.

1. Allow yourself to be homesick.

Living approximately 2,500 miles away from my parents hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world and as Thanksgiving approached and now as we dive into the Christmas season, those miles seem to be getting longer and harder. In these moments, I’ve began to allow myself to be homesick. Maybe not dwell on it for hours but rather acknowledge the sad feeling. Then I remember how blessed I am to have a family that I love so much enough to miss. Right after these moments, I call up my mom and the distance feels a little easier. So, go ahead and let yourself feel the feels. The Pixar movie Inside Out literally teaches you that it’s okay to be sad. So, feel it. Then if you need to call your family every day during these next few months, do it. And then tell them how much you love them because that’s what this season (and family) is all about.

2. Keep the traditions going.

My favorite parts of December are all of the traditions that I have had with my family since I was a little girl. Moments like decorating the Christmas tree while listening to music, reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve by the tree and so many other traditions are some of my most beautiful and special moments that I have been blessed to share with my family. Now that I’m starting my own adult life, I certainly don’t plan on stopping these traditions because of how important they are to me. I’m still going to carry on the traditions that my family has always had along with starting new traditions here in Boston. This time of life is all about making the life that we have always imagined for ourselves growing up and that includes carrying on traditions and making new ones! My life is going to be filled with joy and I hope you are also able to keep traditions that you hold near and dear to your heart as alive as ever.

3. Find new holiday experiences in your new city. 

So far, I’m finding that nothing is going to be the same as your dad’s stuffing at Thanksgiving (Shout out to my dad for the BEST STUFFING EVER) but there are so many experiences to be had! For instance, in Salt Lake City I did not have the opportunity to go to the Boston Opera House and watch the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker. Here, I get to do that and I am so excited! New memories in new places are exciting and once you are able to embrace it, everything is brighter and filled with joy!

4. Surround yourself with loved ones.

Loved ones come in different shapes and sizes… co-workers, relatives, your significant other and their family, and friends (even the people you share an hour sweating together during barre class). Reach out! Whatever this looks like to you, do it. If you have distant relatives close by, maybe now is the time to catch up over some dinner. Those new friends you’ve made through work? Now is the time to set up an ugly sweater party, drink hot cocoa, and play board games with them. (Just gave myself an idea while typing this out… *self high five*) The point I’m getting at is community is everything in a new home. So, step a little out of your comfort zone during this season and see what happens.

5. Continue to practice self-care.

During the holidays, you can easily feel overwhelmed with commitments with other people, prepping for Christmas, and just extra hustle bustle that comes with this time of year. Don’t let your self-care habits down now! Now is the most important time to have a movie night by yourself, take a bath and go to sleep early. The more you are able to practice self-love and checking in with how you are doing physically, mentally and spiritually, the more you will be able to enjoy this wonderful season.

Just remember to enjoy the holiday season in whatever way makes your heart the happiest! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year! (*cue the best song EVER*) So, continue onwards my friends with your head held high and joy in your hearts. Until next time (which will be soon because my break from blogging is over! WOO!)

The Last Rays of Summer

So, I have been slightly absent from this blog for the past several weeks for one reason: Jeremy and I have been soaking in every single bit of sun and fun during our first summer here in Boston. We certainly have filled up our days with traveling and adventuring and every time I sat down to write a new blog, I couldn’t write because I didn’t want to come to terms with the fact that summer is indeed ending. *insert sniffles and pouty faces here* But alas, here we are. The end of summer is near!

So, here’s a quick rundown on the best moments that we have had in August! (okay, they all were the best but I had to narrow it down to a somewhat comprehensive list in order to not write the longest blog post ever about the month of August)

1. Blueberry Picking!IMG_1353

As a Utah girl, I have never experienced the magic of fruit picking. Turns out, there’s a TON of fruit to pick here! And get this… you can go to an orchard and pick it all by yourself. *the crowd gasps in shock* Now, I did know about this but I never thought that I would be able to experience it for myself. It was the most magical experience ever! We went up to Crane Beach for the day but after realizing that we might not get into the beach for a lil’ bit because of the parking situation up there, we decided to stop in at Russell Orchards to kill some time. Turns out, we made a day of it and ate yummy food there and picked lots o’ blueberries. We didn’t even go to the beach! It was so wonderful to just walk around the beautiful grounds and look at all the fruit that could be picked and some spots that were growing fruit for the fall time! We will definitely be going back for apple picking!

2. Probably the Quickest Trip to Brooklyn, NY in History of Mankindfullsizeoutput_525

We woke up super duper early in the morning and made our way down to New York for the day! In our trip, we explored around SoHo district and DUMBO in Brooklyn. I would say our total visit would amount to about 5 hours and it was seriously so worth every minute spent there. I mean, now that we live over in the East Coast EVERYTHING IS SO CLOSE. IT BLOWS MY MIND. Anyway, I love it and it’s so great. We ate yummy food, did some wonderful shopping (which Jeremy loves so very much) and then left. A perfect day trip. I’m not afraid to say that I have a little crush on that city. Okay, fine. A big crush. The magic of New York is unlike anywhere else in this world and I plan on visiting often. You can feel creativity and passion pulsing through the streets and it is infectious.

3. RED SOX. WOO.IMG_1517

Now, for those of you who know me pretty well (or barely at all), you know that I do not do the sportsing. It has never been a specialty of mine BUT an old co-worker and friend of Jeremy’s in Utah came to visit us and took us out to the ballgame. I can now say for a certainty that the ballpark life is not the life for me. HOWEVER, there were things that I would return to Fenway Park for. 1. The hot dogs. I’m a sucker for hot dogs. 2. THE SINGING. I LOVE SINGING ALL THE SONGS. Singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and the “Shipping Up to Boston” (as you may recall from a previous post that is my current life theme song) on the top of my lungs was possibly one of the greatest moments of my sportsing life history. and 3. It’s a great place to spend some time with friends yelling at the players who will probably never, ever hear what you’re going to say. The end of the game got super intense and I certainly was screaming on the top of my lungs in order to help the people do a great job out on the field. I did the sports ball doing! WOO! Oh, and we won. That’s an important part to mention. And by we, I mean the Red Sox. Duh.

4. Beaches, Beaches, Ponds?IMG_1592

It is no secret anymore that I’m basically a mermaid. So, in honor of this, Jeremy and I have taken every chance we can take to be by the water. We took a day trip up to Ogunquit, Maine and spent the afternoon at the beach. We also took a trip to Walden Pond which was also beautiful. The end of our beach trip season is certainly the hardest part to come to terms with but I will manage. I’m not sure how but I know I will somehow.

5. The City, Of Coursefullsizeoutput_527.jpeg

Jeremy and I are still amazed that we live in this city. We keep having moments where we are just in awe that Boston is our city now! We have spent so much time learning the ropes about this city, finding the best hidden secrets, making new friends and just enjoying the Boston life. This past weekend, we rented the Hubway bikes and biked around the Esplanade and Back Bay Area and it was quite possibly my favorite day in the city thus far. There’s just so many incredibly wonderful things to find here! So, of course we have to adventure in our new city and we certainly did a lot of it this month especially with a few friends we met in Utah stopping by to say hi to our city.

So, I’m sure it has now become very clear that Jeremy and I have done nothing with our past month and we really, really dislike adventuring. (hehe, I’m really good at sarcasm too, in case you haven’t noticed yet) But in all seriousness, August has been so wonderful and now that the air is starting to get a little chillier, I cannot wait to experience a new season in Boston!

With loves, Nicole

 

 

Making Time for Living.

I'm sure you've heard it throughout your life and maybe you've even said it once or twice. "There's just not enough time in a day!" Well, I've definitely said that before because at times, it feels just so true. In just a mere 12 hours, you work for 8 or 9 of them and are left with just enough time to eat and go to bed. Right? I think not! Jeremy and I are in the middle of the coolest parts of life, where we get to play in the sandbox (okay, not so much a metaphor for me because I teach preschool) and figure out what we want our lives to be like. Doing this while working a full-time job, leaves you with almost no time for the simple things like sitting down for dinner or catching up on your favorite Netflix tv show. Something I've learned in this process is that you aren't just given time, you need to make time. If you want to work on your gardening skills, then go buy some plants and a book of how to keep them alive (and then tell me how to do it because apparently I can't keep plants alive) If you want to go on a hiking trip, take some of that vacation time that you haven't used and go. There are so many ways that we can grow if we just make the time and decide we're going to do it. So, I figured I'd share some things that I have learned to make time for and if you are going through a big moment of change, maybe it'll give you an idea of what you want to make time for. The small moments are grounding and have ultimately provided me with a sense of making this home. Basically what I'm getting at is making time is important, mmkay?

  1. Make time for a morning routine. Morning routines are essential because the routine can help center your whole self and become more in tune with your mind, body and spirit throughout the day. My routine includes time for self-growth or reflection (i.e. journaling and stuff like that) and time to relax before work. I've also been throwing in some exercise into that routine but more on that for a different post on a different day.
  2.  Make time for creativity. Finding time to channel my emotions about this big change into a creative outlet (mine is songwriting and just dinking around on my guitar and ukelele) has been vital to not only surviving here, but thriving. This can come in many different forms though. If you used to paint in college but life has just started to get in your way, go pick up some paints and get goin'. If you used to throw some pottery (okay, I know that is DEFINITELY not the term you use but it sounds cool, I think.) then find a local pottery making place and join. Do something for YOU and a hobby or passion that you're well-versed in or something new that you've always wanted to try but never had the time. Make the time. (Wow, well don't I sound like lil' miss bossy pants? But it's just so true!)
  3. Make time to be in the present. Sitting out on our little patio and just enjoying the sounds of the neighborhood is one of my favorite things about this apartment. Jeremy and I love to have dinner out there and leave all distractions inside the house. This gives us the chance to talk about not only our days but things that we're struggling with and things that we want to celebrate. These moments help build our relationship amidst the whole 'we're super busy millenials who both have such big goals and there's not enough time in the day to pursue them' thing.
  4. Make time for self care. Okay, I can say this isn't my strongest suit BUT I am learning and it is a process. Just yesterday I got sent home from work because I was still so sick but felt like I needed to be there. Ultimately, my stubborness to be a good employee rather than taking the time to get better didn't help anyone. And now, since I was able to get that extra rest, I am feeling better and am able to be more present for the day at work today. Make time to curl up with the book you've been meaning to read but just haven't gotten around to it or take a nice bubble bath with a Lush bath bomb (shameless advertising because I love Lush so much) but just do something for yourself.
  5. Make time for family and friends. I can admit that I haven't been the best at staying in touch with all my friends when we all moved onto our new adventures but I can say that when I take the time to reach out and hear about their lives, I feel closer and we're able to cultivate those friendships from afar. Talking to my parents has been my lifeline during this move. I call my Mom and Dad every chance I get and whenever I do, I hang up the phone missing them terribly but also knowing that they're happy and so am I.
  6. Make time to make new friends. This one has been something that I need to do because Jeremy and I knew NO ONE when moving here and apparently it's kind of hard to make friends out of college and in a new city. BUT we have already made some friends here which has been so much fun! Basically, what I'm saying is take the time to reach out to someone new in your community. It goes a long way, I promise.
  7. Make time for adventures. Adventures are literally the best thing in the whole wide world and I love them so much. I don't even need to explain this one because who doesn't like to adventure? Our most favorite part about living in a new city is that every single day is filled with some kind of new adventure, whether big or small. And there are so many places to visit! Adventures are just fun and filled with no stress and they're just SO COOL.

So, get out there and make some time. I promise it'll be worth it.

A Weekend in Martha’s Vineyard

Okay, so I just want to start off with stating how Jeremy spoiled me rotten this weekend and I pretty much felt like a princess on my birthday (woo, 23!) I seriously am so grateful for him and how special he makes feel everyday, even when it’s not my birthday.

Now, being the Utah girl that I am, I didn’t know much about Martha’s Vineyard. All I had really heard of was that there are a lot of rich people (fact check: not sure if that’s true because most people don’t walk around sharing how rich/poor they are… although, some people actually do that) and the Obamas like to vacation there (fact check: also true. I saw a picture of Obama eating at a restaurant that I ate at.) Annd that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge in the matter. So, when Jeremy told me that we were going to Martha’s Vineyard for my birthday, I thought to myself “Time to pack my fancy, floppy hat!” I am sad to report that I did not see one single floppy hat during my visit there. Television and hearsay LIED TO ME. So, it’s a good thing I didn’t pack my floppy hat. Anyway, here’s a lil’ run down of our weekend in the Vineyahd (I’m working on my Bahstan accent and I’m learning that when there is a ‘r’, just use ‘ah’… R is a neglected words ’round these parts. (Okay, but I do want to clarify that I have actually only heard a few stereotypical Boston accents in the past few months so, there’s that)).

On Saturday, we started out at Art Cliff Diner. Now, Yelp and all other review sources all said the same thing that went something like “AAHHH THIS FOOD IS GREAT. COME EAT HERE. ITS A LONG WAIT.” And as a first timer in the Vineyard, I based my decisions primarily off of the words of peoples on the Google. The people of Google did not lead us astray in any regard. I would highly recommend showing up around 8am or so, as to avoid the whole waiting for a table because the place is super small. Luckily, Jeremy and I waited for about 3(ish?) minutes. And the food was well worth the wait (3 minutes is a long time) AND it was the best omelette that I’ve ever had. If you go, be sure to order their salsa with whatever you get. Okay, maybe not with blueberry pancakes but I suppose whatever your heart desires.

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Once our tummies were sufficiently overfilled, we rode the bus over to Joseph Sylvia State Beach for a morning by the water. The bus system was super easy (I mean, it is an island) and quite affordable. Pro tip (because I’m a pro now): Get the day pass, no matter what. It’ll be well worth the eight dolla’ bills, yo. Anyway, we made it to the beach and played in the water all morning long. Fun fact about this beach: it’s where the famous bridge from the Jaws movie is. Not having seen Jaws ever, this was not too intriguing of a thought to me but apparently it’s a big deal. Everyone was jumping off the bridge and it was quite the hip hop happenin’ place to be on that beach. Because I’m not a fan of jumping into water from a tall bridge along with a large crowd of random people, I chose to forgo that tourist opportunity.

Side note: I would like to thank Portrait Mode on the IPhone 7Plus for making Jeremy and I look real good in all the photos in this post.

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After beaching (Yes, it’s a verb in my life), we ate at #9 Sandwiches in Edgartown. Would 10/10 recommend the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. We then proceeded to go to another beach, by accident as we were exploring around Edgartown. We stumbled upon the beautiful Lighthouse Beach and went shell hunting (one of my favorite activities in the WHOLE WORLD.)

IMG_0869 (1).jpgWe then explored the town more, shopped a little (okay, shopped a lot), ate some ice cream and then ended the day eating at Nancy’s Seafood in Oak Bluffs (the place where I saw the picture of Obama eating there!) Also another place I would highly recommend. We got the lobster mac ‘n cheese and the seafood platter. SO MUCH FRIED GOODNESS. Needless to say, it was an incredible birthday. I mean, come on! Look at that view. (Ha, see what I did there? It’s a picture of Jeremy. And a lighthouse. Two very handsome objects.)

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Day two was TOO quick! (AH BAD PUN ALERT. SO BAD BECAUSE IT’S BARELY A PUN.) It was super cloudy but we figured to take the “when in Rome” mentality (minus the being in Rome part) and took the hour bus ride the South Beach. We were told there that we could shred the gnar there. Now, there definitely was no gnar to shred but the waves were pretty big and the water was beautiful and warmer than the air. And because of the scary looking clouds, the beach was not full of people for the first few hours. So, I’m definitely a fan of that beach. Plus, look how picturesque it is.

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We had purchased a water toy called WABOBA! the day before and were very excited to try it out. It’s basically a ball that bounces on the water really high and it did not disappoint. We are WABOBA! fans. We had a traditional beach day filled with playing in the big waves, reading books and getting our bag of Goldfish snatched up by a seagull. Although I was a little hungry (as the Goldfish were my plan for sustenance for the expedition), it was a beautiful cloudy beach day. We got to wear our Martha’s Vineyard swag as well so that was great. (And yes, we did buy matching Vineyard shirts AND then sweatshirts because we embrace the tourist life whenever possible.)

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After beaching yet again, we ate at the infamous Black Dog Tavern. Jeremy had the Blackened Burger and I had the Crab Cake Sandwich. Both were OH SO YUMMY. Then we got one more round of ice cream from Mad Martha’s and took the ferry home *insert sad face and tears here*

So, I’m happy to report that my first trip to Martha’s Vineyard was a raving success! I will definitely be returning and certainly have the post-vacation blues today. But no need to fear! We are going to Boothbay, Maine and then camping in just three short days! Our weekends are more exhausting than the weekdays which means we’re definitely doing this whole New England Summer thing correct. Also, if you read all the way to the end, I like you. You are a real champ.

With Loves, Nicole

 

 

 

AYYO! One Month Down! *insert happy dance*

I woke up this morning and went about my new usual routine. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, check social media (trying to get out of that habit) when suddenly I looked at the date of my phone. Turns out, it has been exactly one month since we left Salt Lake City. When I saw this, I immediately smiled and thought how proud of myself I am for making this big change. Then I thought about how much I miss everyone back in Utah and Idaho. Then I thought a whole spew of emotions (which is basically my life right now) but ultimately, I am happy. I am SO SO happy here. It’s lonely at times, but then I realize it’s only been a month and there’s so much time to grow and build a community here. Somehow this month has seemed so long  yet has flown by at the same time. I didn’t post a blog post last week because I haven’t known what to write about. There’s just been so much going on that I don’t even know where to start! But now, I know what I want to say. I want to say, BOSTON IS THE BEST AND I GET WHY EVERYONE LIVES HERE.

This city is beautiful. As I watched the fireworks on the Charles a few days ago, I looked at the skyline and thought for the first time since being here how exciting it is that the skyline I was looking at is my home. Although I’m not technically a part of the skyline because I live on the outskirts of the city, it is a really cool feeling to know that you are a part of such a diverse, intruiging and amazing city.

In Salt Lake City, I always felt at home. Everything was familiar and I knew what to expect day to day. Being here now, every day is new. I’m constantly learning the ins and outs of this city. I’m slowly learning where the yummy food is, where to grocery shop vs. where not to, how to get around on the T… Basically everything I had mentioned concerns about a month ago. I recall that one of my other concerns was making friends. Well, I’m still working on that. Apparently making friends after college AND in a new state is fairly difficult. I’m just being patient and open to any opportunities that come my way. *insert internal pep-talk here* Actually, not even my own pep-talk… what’s running through my head on a daily basis is this video right here!  Please watch that video. It gives me joy daily. “I CAN DO ANYTHING!”

I also realized the other day that Boston isn’t actually that big. When comparing it to New York City, it’s a walk in the park… Literally, it’s like walking the span of Central Park. Upon this realization, the city became a lot more accessible and even more so, it became less frightening. I feel safe here. In downtown Salt Lake City, there were many times when I was working down there that I actually feared for my life due to the homeless community there. Walking around downtown Boston (while acknowleding that it is important to have street smarts and that danger is a thing) I have felt relatively safe AND the only thing scary ’round those parts are the tourists (please laugh, that joke is funny.)

Now, I won’t say that it’s been easy but I will say that in this past month, I have grown more than I ever thought could be possible. Plus, I’ve gone to the beach two weeks in a row now, which is almost more than my beach attendance for the past 22 years (almost 23! Yay birthdays!) From now on, my blog posts are going to be more frequent (hopefully!) and more about this city and the things that make it special to me as a new resident. I’ve already began to fall in love with this city and I can’t wait to share all the wonderful things that I find along the way.

With Loves, Nicole