I moved!

Hello from Portland, Maine! It's been a whirlwind couple of months, but I'm almost settled into the new digs. I officially closed on my new condo on April 27th, and the past few weeks have been a ton of back and forth from Maine to Massachusetts as I wrap things up with my job. So since I've been MIA for so long, here's a little Q&A to start things back up:

Why did you move to Portland?
It's no secret that Maine has a huge piece of my heart, and I knew I wanted to end up here eventually. While I really loved my home in the sticks of MA (#highstreethouse), socially it was a bit of a nightmare and for the next chapter, I wanted to be in a city. I thought about Boston, but I already did that when I was in law school and wanted a change--and although I love Chicago, I knew I wanted to be closer to my family. Portland is the perfect small city with an amazing restaurant scene and proximity to my family in the Northeast.

Why buy instead of rent?
I was in a position to buy after I sold my house so I viewed this a great way to start my life in Maine and also make a financial investment for the future.

What's the condo like?
I most definitely downsized--the square footage of my current place is less than half the size of my previous digs (which was really too big for me anyway). It's a one bedroom that's pretty open with super high ceilings and it gets amazing light. It also has two gorgeous marble fireplaces that are currently non-functioning, but I might try to convert them to gas down the road.  It's really all I need at this stage, and it was actually cathartic to get rid of a ton of stuff. Stay tuned for house pics!

Where are you in Portland?
I'm in the West End, which is perfect. It's walking distance to downtown but it's a spot that's a little quieter with a community feel. I already love the neighborhood--there are great places to eat within the block and everyone is super friendly. 

How is Olive adjusting?
To be perfectly honest, I was a little worried about Olive transitioning from country life to living in the city (I was used to opening the front door and letting her wander around the yard and now she goes for full blown walks on a leash). But from what I can tell, she loves it--she likes to be out and about and she's rather popular with fellow pedestrians, which I think she appreciates. So far, she's been great.

New job?
I've been in the same field for the past 10 years, and I was really ready for a change--my plan was to start to look for something new as soon as I was settled, but I was approached by a company on LinkedIn and voila! I start after Memorial Day. It's a similar field to what I'm currently doing (legal real estate) but with a different focus. I get to work remotely (!!!) with a little bit of travel mixed in, and I'm really excited about it.

So that's where I am--it's definitely been a crazy couple of months, but I'm really excited to start this next chapter (and blog more with the help of a new computer that actually works).

Happy Monday!


checking in.

{ ali cayne's townhouse in domino - 5 years later and it's still one of my favorites }

I'm still here. Checking in to say hello and complain that it's snowing in April. Time is flying by, and in happy news, I'm closing on a condo at the end of the month! I'm so excited, and it's an amazing space but in the meantime I've been dealing with the stresses of banks coupled with some not-so-fun job stuff. I have to keep reminding myself that there's a light at the end of the tunnel (and if you're unhappy about something, DO something) but the past couple of weeks have been blah.

I have, however, been thoroughly enjoying scouring pinterest for home decor inspiration and I can't wait to move in and slap some new paint on the walls. So if you're still out there reading, hang tight--I promise there's some good stuff to come.


{long} weekend in chicago.

skyline views.

art institute lunching.

little goat brunching.

ramen at slurping turtle.

sitting on top of the world.

On Thursday the 25th, I hopped on a plane with my mom and sister headed for Chicago. My sister had a work trip so my mom and I decided to join (my mom had never been before, and I was excited to show her my favorite places). We were a bit delayed on our flight out and by the time we got to the city we just dropped our stuff off at the James and went to Shake Shack for a late dinner (so good).

My sister was in meetings all day on Friday so my mom and I headed to the Willis Tower first thing--we still had a bit of a wait, but it was well worth it for the city views and the super scary ledge. We made our way to the Art Institute for a delish cheese and wine lunch, and meandered around the museum for a bit. When my sister wrapped up her day we went to Pops for pre-dinner drinks and truffle fries. Then we headed to Slurping Turtle for dinner--I hadn't realized that Restaurant Week coincided with our trip, but it ended up working out great: I enjoyed a four course dinner for a fraction of the usual price.

On Saturday we went to the West Loop for breakfast at Little Goat and it was amazing. It had always been on my list of places to go and I was super happy with my "Bull's Eye French Toast": eggs in a french toast hole with fried chicken and bacon maple syrup. We then walked around a bit and later had a bite to eat at Eataly and drinks at The Purple Pig.

That night we went to Boka for dinner--I was rather annoyed to be seated a 1/2 hour after our reservation time, but it ended up being one of the best meals I've ever had. We did the four course menu with wine pairings and each course ended up being more delicious than the previous--if you're in Lincoln Park I highly recommend.

And on Sunday we headed home--it was a quick but perfect trip (and we totally lucked out with the weather being in the high 30's/40s). I can't wait to go back. 


alison roman's chocolate chunk shortbread cookies.

Another Monday, another weekend that flew by. Mine wasn't too exciting: I went to barre a couple of times, took care of a number of dogs and watched some of the Superbowl (but mostly scrolled through Pinterest while eating a plethora of snacks).

The highlight, however, was finally making Alison Roman's Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread. I had been meaning to make these cookies for a while (they're everywhere) and they did not disappoint. These cookies are the perfect combo of salty and sweet, and even substituting gluten free flour for regular didn't take away from their tastiness. Definitely add these to your cookie list.


what I've been up to...

I didn't mean to stay away for so long, but I have a good excuse: I sold my house!

Between packing everything up and celebrating the holidays, the past couple of months have been a total blur, but I'm so excited this finally happened. I put it on the market in the end of June and thought that it would sell quickly--there wasn't a ton of inventory in my tiny town and houses were selling at a fast pace, but mine just didn't. I definitely got frustrated in the fall (hence my vague references to being anxious for things to happen) and I thought multiple times of pulling it and trying again in the spring, but everything clicked in December. While bittersweet, I know the people who bought it will love it as much as I did.

The reasons for me selling are twofold: first, I really didn't need to be living in a four bedroom house by myself--it was just too much. I thoroughly enjoyed decorating it, but I had two rooms that went essentially unused. Second, I need to get out of the sticks. While I love the area and I love being close to my family, there is nothing going on here which makes things very tough for a single lady.

I have zero regrets about buying it--I spent a really great three years there and it allowed me to build equity and have a good foundation for my next move...which is yet to be announced. I plan on staying with my parents for the next couple of months while I figure out job stuff and I hope to move at the end of the spring. I will say my destination is in another state and one of my favorite stay tuned.

Here's to 2018 being the year of new adventures. I'm so ready and so excited.



{ classic window display in Portsmouth }

Oh hey, it's me. It took a couple of weeks, but I think I'm finally coming out of the funk I was in during the beginning of the fall (daylight savings was another battle, but I've accepted that it's going to be dark when I go to work and dark when I get home).

I had a lovely Thanksgiving followed by a relaxing long weekend in Maine, and I'm definitely getting in the holiday spirit. On Sunday I did a little decorating and that (coupled with constantly burning a holiday candle) has made me excited for the weeks to come.

So here's what's been happening lately:

Black Friday:  While there were certainly deals to be had, I found the entire thing to be somewhat overwhelming. I managed to get 85% of my holiday shopping done (along with a few purchases for myself), which feels great but the whole ordeal almost seemed like it was too much.

Good eats: A couple of weekends ago, I paid a visit to my dear friend L. and her sweet family. We managed to sneak away for dinner and had the most delicious meal at Ledger in Salem. The restaurant is in a old bank building which makes for a super unique venue and the food was so good--I highly recommend.

Beauty buy: I was due for some new mascara (I know you're supposed to chuck it after three months but I always keep it for way too long and it ends up being gross) so I used the VIB sale at Sephora as an excuse to try something new. I ended up going with the Smoky Extravagant Mascara by Makeup Forever because 1) I'm all about extravagance and 2) it comes in a mini tube so I have a better chance of using it up before it goes bad. The verdict? I love it--it makes my lashes super long with just one swoop, and with two applications we're in quasi-fake lash territory. This will definitely be my new go to.

Recent reads: I need to devote an entire post to books I've read and loved over the past couple of months, but I'm currently reading Rules of Civility by Amor Towles--while it's a change from my usual genre of creepy thrillers, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'm adding his other book, A Gentleman in Moscow to my list next.

Fitness: I've been pretty good about going to Pure Barre a couple of times a week, but I really, really want to get back into running. I know I say this all the time, but it's the one exercise that always gets back in shape--I've just had the hardest time getting into a routine. I'm really going to focus on making this a priority, and will hopefully schedule some races in early 2018.

On tap:  This weekend I'm planning on getting the rest of my decorating done, and I have a fun visit to the tree farm scheduled with my brother and his family (after the requisite pancake breakfast, for strength).

Here's to being halfway through the week (and it almost being December!)


weekend things.

river views during a dog walk.

I went up to Maine for the weekend and it was just what a doctor ordered--a little time away always does wonders for my psyche. On Friday I headed north with my parents and I had a low-key evening with Chinese food and Stranger Things (I'm only two episodes in to the 2nd season but it's so good). On Saturday I stocked up on some fall essentials at Stonewall Kitchen and then we went to Portsmouth to meet my godfather for lunch at Surf (it was great to see him and also get stuffed on truffled lobster maki). We did a little bit of shopping and then had a low-key night with takeout pizza.

On Sunday everyone gathered at my parents' house to celebrate my mom's birthday. We had a fun brunch and then I transitioned my closet from summer to fall/winter (with much needed guidance from my mom and sister--it was just in time, too: the cooler temps have definitely arrived and sweater weather is officially here). Then some crazy storms rolled in and I lost power until mid-morning on Monday.

It was a jam-packed weekend but good to sneak away for a bit (especially before the hellish couple of weeks I have coming up at work).

And happy Halloween--I really don't care much for this holiday (I hate dressing up and get zero trick or treaters) but I'm excited that this means we're a little closer to Thanksgiving.