A Little Fall

I could sit and make up excuses for why I’ve been an absent blogger…Or I could just share my awesome new Fall photos with you!

We arrived in Vermont late on Friday night, in the dark.  When we woke up, we were in a Fall Wonderland with beautiful foliage all around our log cabin getaway.

We browsed local stores with fresh produce and plenty of Pumpkins!

And saw some amazing antique stores. One even had a 50’s ice cream parlor inside!

We also made some friends

So much fun!!

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New Hampshire: The Mountains

I think this is what my blog should be – the recounting of amazing adventures, because these are the posts I love to write more than the rest!  If you missed the details of the first day, you can read about our camping experience the night before our hike.

If you read about camping, you will know that we started the day without a decent night’s sleep.  The ground isn’t that comfortable and the continually dropping temperature kept my deep-sleep at bay.  But regardless, we woke up and immediately started breaking down camp.

The tent went down first.  Everything was wet with dew, so we wanted to fold our tent so that it would dry why we packed the rest.  I cut fresh fruit for breakfast while The Boyfriend went to the camp store and brought back java.  (straight to my heart)

We drove the few short miles to the start of the trail, and went into the visitor’s store to purchase a map.  I imagine this map would have been useful, had it not been left on the seat of the car during the hike.  Oops.  It depends who you ask as to why it was forgotten.  If you ask me I’ll be sure to let you know that I put it on his seat while he was packing his bag, and said something along the lines of “Here is the map!” as in, “PACK THIS!”  But, if you ask him, he’ll let you know that since I purchased it, and I brought it back to the car, I was supposed to make sure it came with us.

This is the loop we took:


Source

We started the hike with big smiles on our faces

The first 2 or so miles was in very dense tree coverage. It was cool, yet humid, and very green. The first mile was relatively flat, but at mile 2 the incline steepened sharply.

During the first 2 miles, there were 3 beautiful waterfalls

But apparently I only edited pictures of two of them.

Toward the end of the second mile and into the third, the trees slowly thinned and we caught tiny glimpses of the land below and the skylines

Finally, as we neared the summit, the trees really cleared and we got better, wider views

We were getting so high at that point!!

Reaching the top was an amazing, overwhelming and BEAUTIFUL experience. We were sooo happy to get up there

We only took a couple pictures before plopping down and eating our sandwiches. After we ate we took lots of pictures though

We then started to traverse the ridge. The ridge is part of the Appalachian Trail. The first summit of the mountain we reached was Little Haystack, then we walked along the top of the mountain to Mount Lincoln, and finally down (then back up!) to Mount Lafayette. The ride was such a different and amazing route. The weather could not have been more perfect, and it allowed for a neat change in scenery from the tree-cover.

The panoramic views across the sky were just aboslutey breathtaking. We had to take more pictures.

Finally, we reached the top of Mount Lafayette and took the Greenleaf Trail (to the Greenleaf hut!)

This is the path down from the top, which had a lot more exposed rocky terrain than the Little Haystack we climbed up

See that little house-looking thing toward the top of the picture in the center?  That’s GreenLeaf Hut – it has a full staff in the summer, a kitchen, water, and bunk beds that you can rent.

About 2.5 miles down, we had turned parallel to the Ridge trail and I snapped this picture. Mt Lincoln is on the right, and Lafayette is on the left

Making it down the last 3 miles after the Hut was definitely a challenge, and we were wiped out by the time we got back to the car. I was so infinitely overjoyed by the whole experience. I found out later that Mt Lafayette is nearly exactly the name height as Mt Katahdin in Maine, which I climbed two summers ago. That climb was life-changing, and so was this one. But amazingly, I was in such better shape for this one, and the overall hike was longer – my working out has absolutely paid off!

As we entered the treeline, I knew that this is why I belong in New England. While I love boating, beaching, and all the other South Florida fun – these are the sights that give me peace.

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New Hampshire: Camping

I’m not posting about music today because I’m way too excited to share pictures from my amazing weekend adventures.

IMG_6605.jpg

This past weekend, The Boyfriend and I decided to do things at our own pace, and get out of the city for another of our epic hikes.  We chose to visit the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and hike another section of the Appalachian Trail.  Since he has late hours at work, he didn’t arrive in Boston until 11pm on Friday night.

The agenda was to get some sleep and head out to the campsite early on Saturday morning, and hike the trail Saturday.  With alarms set for 7am and a goal to leave by 8 – we went to sleep.  Meanwhile…we remained unpacked for our adventure.

7am is really rude on a Saturday morning.  So rude, in fact, that we denied it’s existence until around 7:45….oops.  We got up and ate some cold slices of pizza, checked the internet, showered….and our bags remained empty.

Eventually, did some quick jumbling and assembled the necessities.  I had scored a $5 queen-sized air mattress off Craigslist last week, so I packed sheets.  We had discussed packing a blanket to sleep with, but I made the executive decision that it wasn’t going to be that cold, and a sheet would be just fine.

After a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts for java and a stop back home for forgotten essentials, we stopped for gas.  There was a minor mishap with my car/the oil/the oil tester dipping stick/our patience, and after an hour, some yelling, and some jubilant rejoicing – it was 10am and we headed toward New Hampshire.

Now, remember how I took some responsibility during the packing process and didn’t pack a blanket?  Ken decided that I was irresponsible and we needed one.  We made a stop at a certain corporate store that is a SUPERcenter of everything and picked up final camping essentials (food, cooler, airpump for mattress, and BLANKET).  I’m pretty sure it was about 3pm when we arrived at Franstead Campground, and they told us they had no vacancy.

We walked out of the office feeling defeated.  We had tried to make a reservation earlier in the week, but all the campgrounds required 2-night reservations.  Franstead told us on Monday that they had SIX open tent sights for Saturday night, and it was possible that we could do a drop-in for the night.  However, I’m sure that would have meant getting there before 3pm to secure a spot…

As we walked out the door, not sure where we were headed, Ken muttered something about should have booked 2 nights (an idea I vetoed because it was an irrational waste of money when surely we could get there early enough in the day to get one of the SIX sites), when the owner sauntered out the door of the office and said, “Wait, we might have something.”

With a leap of excitement, the anger that was brewing diminished.  The owner was mumbling about a tiny site, how he’d take us to see it on the golf cart, they usually don’t rent it out, since it’s only two of us for one night, but we can look to decide, yada yada.  In my head, I was thinking “I don’t care what it looks like, we’ll take it!”

OhEmGee it was perfect!  We quickly handed over our money and started making our home-for-the-night.

After we were set up, it was late. We decided to aim for the hike the next day…we poured ourselves a drink and set out exploring

The campsite had their own beach, and a brook that ran though it…

But sand wasn’t quite the forte here

Also down the brook was paths for tubing down the river! I wish I had brought an intertube….

Franstead is a super family friendly campground, and it was absolutely adorable. They had all kinds of games, wagon rides, ice cream socials, etc, scheduled during the evening. People who come here love this place, and leave a little harmless piece of themselves behind for next year

Even though it’s blurry, I’m posting this picture I took with a timer on my camera and a rock as a tripod because we were super happy

We played catch (by the end, I had caught a ball or two! I still hate it though), basketball, frisbee, horseshoes, football, and that games where you throw a rope with a ball attached to each end….and you try to wrap it on a stand w/ 3 vertical rings on it (what is the name of that game????)

We roasted veggies in our fire for dinner

We also bought a bag of marshmallows and appropriately made a s’more each. We sat in front of the fire talking and drinking NH brews until bedtime. There was no wind, so the smoke went straight up, and we were comfortable and warm.

Around 11:45pm we headed to bed. At one point, Ken noticed we could see our breath. I ignored this little portend.

Let me just share some excitement about our $5 air mattress…..

We picked up the airpump from the store on the way up because I had an adapter in my car that would turn my cigarette lighter into an actual wall plug, and then we could blow up our bed. However, when I turned on the pump I got “blup blup blup” and the pump was dead. Upon further investigation, Ken pointed out that my adapter was 100 watts, and the pump required 250w. Again, oops.

We went in search of a power outlet and found one in the public restrooms. This was before our walk around the campsite. By the time we got back…the bed was much closer to the ground…which meant that we had to re-pump it before bedtime. So when we went to bed, we layed on a slowly deflating airmattress in comfortable weather.

The first time I woke up, I realized that I was closer to the ground. The second time I woke up, I pulled the sheets around me a little tighter. The third time I tried to conserve/share body warmth. The fourth time, I woke up Ken because I was freezing. We busted out the blanket and I slept moderately until I woke up again to frozen toes. Eventually when ACTUAL wake-up time came…I was really cold and infinitely happy that Ken made us get a blanket. There, I said it, he was right. Blanket = lifesaver.

Check back tomorrow for details and amazing pictures of the hike.

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Music Tells All

Music is a language with an infinite number of dialects.

We all have the ability to speak it, but how, and in what context, defines a large part of ourselves.

More interestingly, we can all pretend to speak a variation.  Predictably, you will get asked “What kind of music do you listen to?” when you meet someone new.  Although we all loathe this question, it’s an opportunity to embody whatever persona/stereotype we wish to reflect.  We could be any of the following:

  • Whatever is on the radio/Top 40
  • Pop/Hip-hop/R&B
  • Metal and Rock
  • Alternative, Rock, and Indie
  • Punk, Ska
  • 20th Century Classical
  • 18th Century Classical
  • Your neighbor’s MTV they play too loud
  • Your roommate’s trance techno dance parties
  • Local indie shows your boyfriend/girlfriend drags you to
  • insert
  • cliche
  • stereotype

 

Regardless of how you answer, the person automatically makes assumptions about you.  We all know this.  We all hate being defined.  We all hate this question – but secretly, it’s that opportunity to “defend” ourselves, to fit a mold, or to be an ideal.

 

 

 

Spotify is a new music-service which originated in (predictably) Sweden that was recently introduced in the US.  It provides custom playlist development, like the Grooveshark I know and love; it acts as a resource for exploring new artists/bands, the tool pioneered by Pandora; and the best quality that we all miss from Napster and Kazaa, it’s FREE!

Well, it’s not completely free.  The watered-down version (which has a limited number of listening hours, which isn’t popularly advertised, and commercials) provides access to stream over 15 billion (?) songs and you have to be online to listen.  However, you can pay for it and have access on a mobile device and listen without being connected to the internet.

Blah blah blah (free marketing for Spotify, you’re welcome).  I think the most intriguing element of Spotify is how it links up to your iTunes and facebook.  You sync it to your facebook to see what other friends are connected, and then when you view their profile….you can see their iTunes playlists.

Now, Remember before when I mentioned using “The Question” as a tool to prentend to be whomever you want to be?  Well – there are no secrets here.  This provides the insight to what those friends really listen to.  And I think it’s intriguing.  I have already found some neat new bands by exploring my friend’s playlists, but people can really surprise you.

I guess it goes all back to that cliche saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we all know that’s a load of crock because we all do it.

But we all speak music:

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Music Monday, Volume II

The band for today’s Music post has been on my “to write about” list since before the first edition of Music Monday.  Admittedly, sometimes I tend to jump on the wagon a bit late.  This was the case with many beloved bands of mine.  Today’s band is no different, as I’ve waited until years after they’ve stopped doing anything active to discover their awesome aural experience.

(photo from Facebook)

The Six Parts Seven is from Kent, Ohio (according to wikipedia) and has been on hiatus since 2008.  An instrumental band, they practice a minimalistic approach in their writing style.  Short motifs repeated over traditionally pleasing harmonics leave the listener feeling complacent and not jolted.   The artful repetition borders on annoying, yet the band does an impressive job of subtly altering the accompaniment so that as background music, the mind is stimulated yet the listener doesn’t have to focus on the progression and development.  Their music is definitely the kind you can listen to over and over through a variety of tasks.

It can be challenging for a musician to connect with an artist without words, especially in the concept of a band that (formerly) performs on stage for fans.  Yet this group of musicians sets the tone of each song and clearly communicates their emotions with few notes and even fewer words.

Although I love solid performances and jarring frontmen/women as much as the next music fan, there is something to be said for instrumental bands.  I find that music can take you a variety of places, but the place that I go when I listen to good instrumental music is a place of complacency where the world can stop and I can just be.  My soul resonates, and I say this in the most literal of ways because there is no closer metaphor for that feeling I get.  Not even yoga brings me to such a content accepting place.  It’s not even that the music clears my mind to sort out confusion, or to that it empties me of emotion or thought.  I become the emotion, the passion, expressed from the musicians, through the speakers, and into myself.  This is music I can sit and listen to, and become.

My other favorite metaphor for this genre is Art Music.  This is the best music to support the art process without hindering or influencing it.  I can listen to this music and photograph, or write, or blog, or sketch, and it helps streamline the creativity from my mind to the medium.  It satisfies that “multitasking” need of mine by giving the “back of my mind” something to focus on while the “front of my mind” produces the art.  Unfortunately, it is hard for me to focus on one thing straightforward, I always have a separate thought process going on.  Instrumental music is key for me to focus.  It was how I studied in college, how I journal, and how I blog.

What I like about The Six Parts Seven, which separates them from a band like Explosions in the Sky (who I absolutely love), is their instrumentation.  There were points when I was listening to The Six Parts Seven at work, and I had to stop and sit back for a minute.  The horns were artfully incorporated, without it taking any reflection of jazz, ska, or punk (for this, listen to Knock At My Door, off Casually Smashed to Pieces).   I also love their reflection of when to add drums, and when to leave them out.  They do a great job providing rhythmic stability without drums, which can suspend you in time with a particular motif, or drive you forward toward the development of new emotions.

Since 95% of my music listening occurs at work, I’m usually putting together playlists on Grooveshark.  However, it looks like you can purchase their albums on iTunes (however, they’re not on Spotify – boo for that).  They were signed to the record label Suicide Squeeze, who is also the label for This Will Destroy You, Minus the Bear, and Russian Circles.

Their discography is as follows (wikipedia, again):

Studio albums

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Blogger Bandwagon

Now that I’m actively blogging again, there are all these wordpress blogs popping up on my facebook newsfeed.  It’s like when you buy a new car, and all of the sudden there are 10x more of the same model on the road than there were the day before your purchased it.  It could be a situational perspective…but I could be just hopping on a new trend.

Since blogging has transcended from the “unrelatable” category to the “totally cool community” sphere for me – I’ve been reading all kinds of blogs.  There is really a new form of uniqueness and self exploration and representation.  And it’s providing new challenges.

I used to be an anonymous writer.  I used to write ambiguously.  Metaphorical, unrealistic, and definitely not entertaining.  But when I moved to Boston and began chronicling my exciting adventures, I learned that I loved to story tell!  I really love recapturing moments, and providing elaborate descriptions for expired experiences.

My blog is taking me through an identity crisis analysis.  Not in that mushy, overthinking personal way.  In the “where does my blog” fit way.  This is something I’ve been asking myself since I started jotting down “blog ideas” a month ago.  Am I exciting enough to keep recounting amusing/entertaining/mundane Bostonite adventures?  I think this just came to me….but my ideal blog would be rampant with readers and crazy New England adventures – and people would invite me to their events (read: via press pass, not your neighbor’s BBQ invite via facebook) because they know that my blog recaps would provide free publicity for their events.  And then I could just “review cool things” on my blog….yeah, I think that would be ideal.

Maybe that’s why there are two different words to describe “ideal” and “real.”  But I can dream aspire!  But what I also like about Blogs is the ability to be creative, and share it in a digital way.

[cue a total topic change] I have a hopeless pen obsession.  I say hopeless, because if I had it my way, I would continue to purchase pens until there is no way I could possibly use all the ink and I would be withholding super-cool writing tools from other people who could actually expend them at their full potential.  I exercise my pens through writing in my journal.  There was a couple years of brief hiatus that I jumped on the scrapbooking bandwagon, and they got a lot of exercise in that role, but now they’re back to filling volumes of pages that no one will be able to appreciate until I expire.

[resume original blogging topic] I think that blogging, while it provides a variety of forms of personal expression, completely diminishes the value of the written word.  I love the colorful pages of words that fill my journals, and I feel like the words and colors as a collective is beautiful art.  I’m someone who is constantly modifying my handwriting to develop different effects in the artistic look of my words.  Blogging, and the digital arena in general, loses the value of this.  But I’m still on the bandwagon.

UPDATE: Even Michael Phelps posted a new WordPress Blog on facebook today!  It was his sister’s….I guess having a famous brother totally helps for traffic.

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Foodie Friday II

Hello! If you missed the first Foodie Friday, you can find the other one here.

This is the new mantra of Foodie Friday:

haha. Not really. Looks good though, yeah?

I’ve had quite a palate-full past 2 weeks and I’m excited to share my highlights with you.

My roommate-turned-friend has been a huge advocate of a particular yoga studio, which was also previously associated with a raw food restaurant.  Raw food is something I never really understood.  Mostly, my interpretation of raw food was that people survived on veggies and fruit alone.  I had no idea the culinary delectables that could come out of raw food.  Unfortunately, this restaurant has now closed, but I did get to taste some of their best dishes before they closed their doors.

Tacos

Sushi

Pizza

All the dishes featured above are considered raw foods. This means they were not cooked, processed, or pasteurized in any way – and contain no animal products. (read: extreme veganism)

The biggest struggle with eating raw food is disassociating the name from their perceived taste. The “titles” above describe the American food they emulate…but they’re really deserving of their own name because they taste nothing like their predecessors. But that doesn’t discredit their tastiness! I used to think that “raw foodists” took chomps out of a whole cucumber for lunch, but Prana Cafe opened my eyes to a whole new variety of foods!

Next is features from Katz’s Deli in NYC. Below is a Reuben on Rye that I split with Margeaux

and their oh-so-tasty pickles

Soooooo amazing.

Lastly….I returned to S’Mac! This time I had the Mediterranean, sans the olives:

Be swept away to the Mediterranean Sea – Goat cheese, sauteed spinach, kalamata olives, and roasted garlic. You can almost feel the breeze from the water…

You all know how cheese steals my heart.

Finally, I leave you with a repeat picture of the-best-coffee-I’ve-found-in-NYC. This is from some famous hotel, where they brew Stumptown Coffee from Seattle. The bottles claim that the brew is fresh daily, and their iced coffee is serves in these adorable chilled bottles

Yum.

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