the thursday special.


Mixing things up this Thursday highlighting what is undoubtedly the Best Bolognese Recipe of Our Time. It's no secret that I love bolognese: if it's on the menu at a Italian restaurant, 9/10 that's what I'm ordering. At home, I've dabbled in a number of different recipes over the years: ones with just beef, ones with pork, veal and beef, ones with tomato paste and ones with copious amounts of garlic. I finally tried Marcella Hazan's Bolognese Sauce and it is by far the most delicious recipe I've ever made--absolute restaurant quality. It's fairly simple, but I think the secret is cooking the meat down in milk and using white wine instead of red. It's not a saucey sauce, but instead clings to the noodles and provides insane flavor with every bite. 

Will this recipe change your life? Look, I'm not going to lie to you: yes, it will. 

At the very least, it will make you incredibly happy and satisfied while you eat it and every time you think of it for the rest of your life. 


life lately.


Hello! I can't believe it's been almost two months since I last checked in here. (Just kidding, I totally can). I guess I've just felt a little burned out between the political climate and the more recent increases of coronavirus cases. And truthfully, I really don't do much these days. I had been meeting friends for outdoor dining a bit this summer and played a bunch of golf, but I think I'll be reeling it back and returning to extreme hunker down mode.

Otherwise things have been been pretty good. I was promoted at work again which was rather unexpected, but I'm really excited to take on more responsibility. We're also officially not going back to the office until July 2021--I didn't realize how much I was going to miss it. Kind of a bummer, but Olive will definitely appreciate my constance presence for the next 9 months. 

My Peloton arrived in mid-September, and I'm completely obsessed. It's really helped me get back into a workout routine, and as someone who didn't really take a ton of spin classes before I made the big purchase, it's been a pleasant surprise to see how much I'm loving it. An added bonus? My pants fit again. 

Other than that, I'm making all the cozy meals I can, making my way through The Americans (with some Lovecraft Country added in) and looking forward to Thanksgiving. It's going to be very different this year but I'm still excited to head to my parents' place for a much, much smaller celebration.

Wear your mask and stay healthy. 


the thursday special.


Ilia mascara

The Thursday special is a new weekly post where I highlight something (anything) I'm loving. Will it really be weekly? Will this be a one and done like so many of my other posts? Only time will tell.

Even though I'm working from home and my human interaction is severely limited, I find some comfort in 1) putting on normal-ish clothes and 2) putting on a bit of makeup. Pandemic or not, I don't typically wear a lot of makeup, but most days I'll usually slap on some tinted moisturizer, mascara, my beloved eyebrow gel and a little blush. 

A month or two ago I bought Ilia's Limitless Lash Mascara from Sephora and have loved it ever since--it's not clumpy and while I don't necessarily see a difference when it comes to eyelash curl, it definitely extends them in a major way. What really sealed the deal on my love for this mascara was when I had a socially distant outdoor drink with a dear coworker and friend, and the first thing she said to me was "Your eyelashes! They're insane!", which is never a bad thing to hear. It comes off easily with makeup remover but really does a superb job of making your eyes pop. I recommend it most enthusiastically. 


life lately.


Hello! I'm kind of in shock that in spite of the fact that we're in the midst of a global pandemic, the weeks are somehow flying by. How is August almost over? Truthfully, I'm very much looking forward to fall and the cooler temps--it's no secret that I run hot. Last week we were in the low seventies and dropped to the high fifties at night and I was in heaven. I so prefer sleeping with the windows open and a fan on as opposed to a/c that cycles on and off. And I know in the grand scheme it's not that big of a deal but I'm all about celebrating little happinesses right now--including buying fresh flowers every week. Small things make a huge difference in my psyche. (And I recently ordered 4 of these candles from Anthro so come September it will be pumpkin soufflé city in my condo).

The past couple of weeks have been filled with wine and couch time. I started and finished Killing Eve which I LOVED (can't wait for season 3 to come to Hulu), and I think I might tackle The Crown next. I made Jon and Vinny's Fusilli alla Vodka with Basil and Parmesan and I'll definitely make it again--super easy and good, and I just halved the red pepper flakes but it was still plenty spicy. And, I finally got my hair done--last time I got it cut/colored was December, and to say I feel like a new person is an understatement. Olive continues to be a velcro dog and I'm in serious trouble when I go back to the office...but that's a problem for future, 2021 Heather.

I hope you're continuing to stay safe and healthy and you're wearing your damn mask. 


the thursday special.


The Thursday special is a new weekly post where I highlight something (anything) I'm loving. Will it really be weekly? Will this be a one and done like so many of my other posts? Only time will tell.

Have you heard of salt straps? Launched by two friends in 2018, these straps are handmade by Colombian artisans and a portion of each strap sold goes to Nest, which is "a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of global artisans through transparency, sustainability and advocacy". 

I can't quite remember where I first came across these, but I received one for Christmas last year and I fell in love--I've since bought another, and these interchangeable straps go perfectly with any bag with removable straps, from L.L Bean to Chloé. I especially love them with my Cuyana carryalls, (not that I'm really going to the office) but the thickness of the straps make them super comfortable and they're really chic.

If you're in the mood to switch up your standard bag with a new strap, I highly recommend salt.



weekend things.

Hello! Did you have a good weekend? I did my usual Saturday/Sunday routine of laundry and grocery shopping but I mixed things up and got real crazy by walking down to The Highroller Lobster Co. for a takeout lobster roll and Frosé on Saturday. So good.

Aside from that, I rented You Should Have Left (it was meh) and read my current book, Friends and Strangers. I ended Sunday by making what has become my most favorite recipe of the summer: Bon Appétit's Broccoli Bolognese. It's really easy, veg-heavy, healthyish, and makes for very tasty leftovers. While the recipe calls for Italian sausage, I've always made it with Seemore Broccoli Melt Sausage--highly recommend.

That's all I've got. Here's to Monday. 


the thursday special.

truff hot sauce

The Thursday special is a weekly post where I highlight something (anything) I'm loving. Will it really be weekly? Will this be a one and done like so many of my other posts? Only time will tell.

Coming in hot (see what I did there? ) to feature Truff Hot Sauce as this week's Thursday Special. I've never been the biggest hot sauce person, but God knows I cannot pass up anything truffle. I grabbed this at Whole Foods recently, and yes, it's pricey, but man is it tasty. It's hot but not too hot, with a subtle sweetness and a divine truffle flavor. So far, I'm loving it on eggs, breakfast hash and cauliflower tacos. Go get some. 


gluten free sweet lavender scones.

I am most definitely not on a gluten free diet, but my dad and my sister are, so whenever I'm at my parents' house I've been known to dabble in gluten free recipes for the benefit of my gluten free family members. 

My dad is a huge fan of lavender and I usually make a batch or two of lavender honey ice cream for him every summer. I ordered a bag of edible lavender from Amazon for this very purpose when I went to visit them and decided to see what else I could use it for--he's a scone aficionado so sweet lavender scones it was. 

I used this recipe from Bon Appétit and they ended up being delicious. The only change I made was subbing regular flour for gluten free (either Cup-for-Cup or Bob's Red Mill 1-for-1) and while I think adding lemon curd would be great, it's totally not necessary.

So if you're gluten free (or not!) and enjoy lavender-flavored things, go forth and make these scones. 


hey, it's august.

Hello! What a crazy few months this has been--I can't believe it's already August. It's really been a bit of a roller coaster and I think I've settled into somewhat of a routine...kind of? I had been hunkered down in my place in Portland since March, but I spent the last two and a half weeks at my parents' place in Massachusetts. My sister came up for a visit from Pittsburgh, and it was a nice little vacation for these strange times. We played ping pong, had a couple of get togethers with my brother, had a socially distanced visit with my grandmother, played golf, and just hung out which was really, really needed--and, since we had all been quarantining at our respective places I felt okay expanding to this little familial pod. We have tentative plans for an outdoor Thanksgiving this year (with heaters) and I'm really hoping it all works out.

As great as the past couple of weeks have been, May and June were tough. My maternal grandfather passed away from Covid-19 in May--he had been in assisted living and was in his 90s, but it happened really quickly and it was pretty shitty to have to mourn solo. We did have a Zoom memorial that ended up being wonderful, but it wasn't the same. 

Olive had some stomach issues, and after multiple trips to the emergency vet and a ton of stress she was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I changed her food and she's now getting a small dose of steroids but she seems to be on the mend. She turned nine at the end of July, and I want to have many more years with my tiny little friend.

I've also been dealing with condo issues--the joys of home ownership coupled with dealing with an association has been a giant headache (and I recognize in the grand scheme of things, totally not that big of a deal). I think that there's a path forward but it's been one more "thing" to worry about. 

Work, on the other hand, has been great--I've continued to stay busy and the transition to working from home has been pretty seamless. I did decide to invest in a new office chair, and while I kind of want to puke with how much I'm spending on it I know it's a good investment. I'm going to be working from home until at least January 2021, and who knows if I'll even be back full time. My buns and my back will thank me.

And in other investments, I bought a Peloton. Again, big money, but when I think about what I was spending for a Pure Barre membership that wasn't being totally utilized, this made more sense. It doesn't arrive until September but I'm pumped.

And that's pretty much all that's been going on in my world over the past few months. I hope you're staying safe and healthy and having the best summer you possibly can.


the thursday special.

Kush Fiber Brown Gel - Milk Makeup

The Thursday special is a new weekly post where I highlight something (anything) I'm loving. Will it really be weekly? Will this be a one and done like so many of my other posts? Only time will tell.

For the last 5 years I've been on what seems like a never ending quest to find the perfect brow gel/pencil/powder. I've bought products that have had zero effect on my brow shape and color, and bought others that made me look like a scary Peter Gallagher/Eugene Levy combo. I was the goldilocks of eyebrow enhancement: it was either too bland or too severe.

But this all changed when I pulled the trigger on the Kush Fiber Brown Gel during Sephora's recent VIB event: I finally found the perfect brow tamer/enhancer. I ended up going with the Herb color, which is a neutral medium brown, and it provides grooming plus a hint of color that isn't too intense. It lasts all day and every time I look in the mirror I'm impressed with how fantastic and natural my brows look (and I'm not afraid to mention them every time I FaceTime with my mom and sister, which I know they really appreciate). I seriously cannot recommend it enough, and it's become a must-have for my daily makeup routine.


how's it going?

Hi! How are you holding up? Honestly, there's still a part of me that can't believe this is happening, but over the past couple of months I've kind of settled into a new routine. I'm not going to call it "the new normal", because there's nothing "normal" about it, but I've slowly been able to adjust my expectations and my understanding of reality, and I'm doing okay. I hope you are, too.

I'm still hunkered down in Portland and have been communicating with family and friends via FaceTime--I don't anticipate seeing people in person any time soon, which is tough. Even with all of the re-openings and the constant call for getting things back to they way there were, I'm really struggling with the fact that nothing has changed--yes, the curve has been somewhat flattened and yes, maybe there are more hospital beds, but the risk remains the same and there's no vaccine or life-saving treatment in place. I'm super hesitant to make any trips to Massachusetts in the near future despite an insane ache to see my nearest and dearest.

Lately I've been trying to support local businesses by ordering takeout from the places that are still open and buying meals for hospital workers at Maine Medical. And aside from the limited trips to the grocery store and taking Olive for walks (and some recent trips to the emergency vet--she's fine, but yikes), I've been inside where I should be.

In terms of other things, I'm working from home and have a set schedule with that for the months to come, but I've been pretty crappy when it comes to working out. There are online barre classes that I need to take better advantage of, and I also need to run more earlier in the morning (it seems like so many people are out and about later in the day, so the earlier the better). But I'm not going to lie, getting out of bed has been tough, and that's okay. On the plus side, my absence from the office has meant my breakfast sandwich consumption has decreased significantly--I'll take the little victories where I can get them.

So I don't have much else, but I'm sending a little bit of love from Maine. We'll get out of this.


checking in.

Hi. How are you doing? I had been meaning to do a life lately post and fill this page with photos of cheeseburgers and my recent trip to Pittsburgh but it all seems a bit irreverent given the current state of things.

I've been working at home since the 13th and have pretty much confined myself to my condo aside from taking Olive out and going on the occasional grocery store run. I've also been trying to support local restaurants that are doing takeout (I got a delicious three-course dinner from Chaval on Saturday night and it was so nice to mix things from my home prepped meals).

And that's pretty much it. Things are super scary and stressful out there--seek out what makes you happy and safe.

And stay inside and wash your hands.


5 days in helsinki.

helsinki old church.
Hello! It's Helsinki recap time. I don't think I mentioned this before, but my sister had a work trip scheduled in January and I decided to tag along. We left Wednesday night, arrived early afternoon on Thursday and then flew back Tuesday afternoon. Here's a breakdown of what we did:

How we got there:
We flew Iceland Air to Reykjavík, and from there we flew to Helsinki--the prices were super reasonable, and that might be due to the time of year but my round trip flight cost less than $500. Traveling there and back was a breeze--aside from being a tad disoriented from the time changes, (and much longer flights on the way home) it really wasn't too bad.

Where we stayed:
We stayed at Hotel Indigo in the design quarter, and the location was perfect. It was very walkable and there were a lot of restaurants and shops in the surrounding area. The rooms were a bit on a small side, which wasn't surprising, but we would both stay there again.

What we did:
cooling off after a sauna session at Löyly.
After attempting to sleep in on Friday, we walked down to the water to Löyly. We had sauna reservations at 1:00, and we grabbed a quick bite in their restaurant beforehand. I highly recommend making a reservation, as this spot is really popular and can get packed, but it's totally worth it. There are two saunas: a traditional sauna and a smoke sauna (which was hot) and then a couple of lounge areas with fireplaces. You can also order snacks and drinks in the lounge. The reservation is for two hours, which I thought was the perfect of time to do everything, including a couple of dips in the Baltic. It was definitely freezing, but really refreshing.

helsinki's design museum.
On Saturday, my sister was at work all day so I was left to my own devices. I walked all over the place, and ended up going to the Design Museum. They had an exhibition on "Collectors and Collections" and it was cool to see extensive collections of Moomin mugs and Karhu sneakers. The museum also featured works by other famous Finnish furniture designers and clothing by Marimekko.

On Sunday I went to the Sinebrychoff Art Museum (and didn't take any pictures). It's a house museum that showcases the 14th through 19th century art collection of Fanny and Paul Sinebrycoff, and the second floor has their furniture and is set up to reflect a glimpse into their lives as members of 19th century upper class.

festive esplanadi.

Helsinki Cathedral.
I also spent some time walking around the Esplanadi and saw the Helsinki Cathedral. It was pretty dreary and a little chilly so I kind of speed walked around town.

skywheel sisters.
On Monday we went back to the Esplanadi and rode the Skywheel. It was super touristy, but fun to see the views from the top. They also have a Veuve Clicquot bar that's adjacent to the wheel but sadly, it was closed when we went. The Skywheel also has a special Veuve gondola and sauna gondola which we did not partake in, but looked pretty cool if you're willing to shell out the $.

Where we ate/drank:


beef dolsot bibimbap.
Giwa was so good we ate there twice (dinner on Thursday and Monday). It's a Korean restaurant that was a stone's throw from our hotel, and they had the most delicious bibimbap bowls ever.

healthy lunch at Löyly.
Before our sauna adventures at Löyly, we had a very tasty lunch at their restaurant. My sister had the chicken grain bowl (pictured above) and I had their salmon soup which set the stage for my continuing love affair with all things salmon for the rest of the trip.

Drinks at Pikkulintu.
We had drinks at Pikkulintu a couple of times during our trip. It's a whiskey and beer bar with a pretty great selection on tap, and the bartenders were really knowledgable and nice.

tasting menu.

salmon was the fish of the day.
delicious dessert.
We did a tasting menu at Gaijin and it did not disappoint. Gaijin is North Asian restaurant located by Old Church Park and we had stopped in for drinks on our first day in Helsinki. The menu looked really good, so we made reservations for Sunday figuring we'd get a bunch of small plates to share. It turns out they only do tasting menus on Sundays, which ended being perfect--each course was better than the first, and it made for a really fun night out.

drinks at liberty or death.
Liberty or Death is a speakeasy where we stopped for drinks before dinner one night. It's super small, dark, and cozy and the drinks were innovative and tasty.

coolest building for a great lunch.
I had seen the Kappeli restaurant during my walk along the Esplandi, and I dragged my sister there for lunch which ended up being a good choice. Kappeli dates back to 1867 and is a really beautiful space with gorgeous, light-filled windows. The food was also divine--we had a three-course lunch that including a sweet potato soup, salmon and a meringue dessert. I highly recommend.

We also had dinner one night at Grotesk, which, despite its name was a fun steakhouse, had burgers at Naughty Brgr and grabbed sushi for lunch at sushibar+wine. I neglected to take pictures at any of these places, but all were delicious.

And that was our trip! I'm so glad I had the chance to visit Helsinki--it was a really fun time and it's worth visiting if you have the chance.


weekend things and wheels up.

bedroom mantle scene.

Hello! I hope you had a lovely weekend. Mine was even more uneventful than usual because I came down with a gross cold on Friday (and I know you're wondering how it's possible for my weekends to get more low-key than they already are, but hey, I'm an overachiever when it comes to being a sloth). I did nothing on Saturday aside from going through an entire box of tissues, and on Sunday I was feeling a little better so I took a Pure Barre intensive class. I promptly canceled any benefits from said class by going to the Little Tap House for a burger and beer, and then I started packing for Helsinki (I leave Wednesday and I'm super excited). And if you have any recommendations, send them my way--we're definitely going to Löyly and have a couple of restaurants lined up, but I'm otherwise going to figure things out on the fly.

Follow along on instagram if you're so inclined @heatherandolive.


three things I've got my eye on.

l.l. bean wicked good lodge chukkas

my mom got these for christmas, and I would have stolen them from her if my feet weren't too big. currently backordered until march, but 20% off until 1/14/20 with code WINTER.

cuyana oversize carryall tote

I have the medium version of this, and it's slightly too small for everything I want to bring with me to work (mostly, another pair of shoes and my beats headphones, along with all of my other office stuff). I will be buying this sooner rather than later (and it's way more practical than the other designer bag I've been considering). 

madewell roadtripper jeggings

can jeans change your life? If they're these, they can. I'm super late to the madewell jeans game, but I finally snagged a pair during black friday and I love the fact that they're super high waisted and fit like a glove. I will be slowly replacing all of my denim with some version of these in the future, 


weekend things.

what may be the best pizza in all of portland.

one of the funniest faces I've ever see Olive make.

sunday's din.

Happy first full week of 2020. I don't know about you, but I think I'm ready to face it.

This weekend was rather uneventful, but I have no complaints. On Friday night I got pepperoni pizza with hot honey delivered from BLVL and it was seriously the best pizza I've had in Portland. The pepperonis were perfect little cups of salty/spicy deliciousness and the pizza itself was huge--I ate it over the next couple of days and it was just as good as the first time. This will definitely be a repeat occurrence. (I will also say that while this goes against my "less takeout in 2020" proclamation from a couple of days ago, it's a new restaurant I haven't tried before so it complies with "branching out" declaration. It's all about balance).

Saturday and Sunday I worked out, and on Sunday I did some laundry, got groceries and gave myself a manicure. I finished Olive Kitteridge (and cried), started Olive, Again and I finished Season 2 of You (super creepy). With some football sprinkled in both days, I wrapped up Sunday making Half Baked Harvest's Coq au Vin Meatballs (and froze half!). It was very tasty but definitely took longer than 30 minutes. 

Here's to a good week. We can do this. 


what I'm excited for in 2020.

Happy New Year! I know this is the time when people declare their resolutions, intentions, plans, hopes, dreams, etc. but I'm not going that route this year. Instead, I'm listing some things I'm excited about. It's better that way (for me).

Going someplace new. While I only have one trip scheduled so far for the upcoming year, it's a place I've never been: Helsinki! My sister is going on a work trip, and I've decided to tag along. We go in a couple of weeks, and I'm really looking forward to hitting up some saunas, trying new food and Kalsarikänni if we don't feel like venturing out.

Running. I know I say this every year, but this year it will be different. Here's why: I signed up for a race. Every time I say I'm going to start running again I fail, and I've come to the realization that I need something to work towards. I'll be doing the Portland 10 Miler at the end of April, and it's the perfect motivator to get me out the door (which is very important during the difficult winter months).

Cooking. I love to cook, but truth be told, I've become exceptionally lazy past couple of months. It's beyond easy to just order in (or if I'm feeling extra ambitious, go to a restaurant around the corner) and I get really sick of cooking a big meal and eating leftovers for days. I received Half Baked Harvest's Super Simple for Christmas, and I'm pumped to be better about meal planning (and halving recipes).

Trying new restaurants. I know I just said I want to cook more, and it's true, BUT if I do go out to eat, I need to try new places. It's so easy to stay close to my apartment and eat at the same (delicious) spots, but there's a whole side of Portland I never go to. Washington Avenue, I'm headed your way.