And so ends another great week in 2016; another getaway, another nap curled up on the couch, another lunch comprised of leftovers from brunch and another week where I wore a sweater to work backwards by accident. I love 2016 already. Everything about its sleep-in-late-and-watch-The-Hangover-3-while-your-boyfriend-makes-breakfast kind of mood has been good for my soul. It’s been a long time coming but I think that 2016 is going to be quite the year.

Lazy days have been filling up my weekend calendar.

Keep reading for some of the new things I’ve experienced so far.

Continue reading new.

City Girl Goes Country: North Conway, NH

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you know that last weekend I ventured up north to New Hampshire for a quick little vacation and a change of scenery.

I LOVE vacations. Lucy, my 1 year old rescue, does NOT love that I love vacations.
I LOVE vacations. Lucy, my 1 year old rescue, does NOT love that I love vacations.

Keep reading for what I did, where I went & how I pack for trips!

Continue reading City Girl Goes Country: North Conway, NH

The Non-Diet Diet

I have a confession to make: I am terrible at maintaining any kind of healthy diet. This could be due, in part, to the fact that my birthday is in the summer and ice cream sundaes are mandatory, all year ’round. I balance this by staying active and drinking lots of water and trying to practice healthy eating habits whenever possible.

There's nothing like fresh bagels to kickstart a busy weekend!
There’s nothing like fresh bagels to kickstart a busy weekend! (at Brooklyn Water Bagels)

Keep reading for my top tips to staying in shape without suffering from foodie F.O.M.O.!

Continue reading The Non-Diet Diet

City Girl Approved: Boston’s Best Businesses

Does it ever get better than a cityscape like this? In a word, YES.
Does it even get better than a cityscape like this? In a word, YES.

Between you and me, the last thing I want to think about right now is moving away from the fan I have strategically positioned in my bedroom but the truth of the matter is, it’s summer, it’s hot, life goes on and you/ I should probably take advantage of it. That being said, I’m all about leisurely exploring and enjoying these summer days as much as possible which is why, when I saw the most recent issue of The Improper Bostonian, I decided that their annual review of Boston-area locales was worth a look.

Turns out, I’ve been to a significant number of the places they mentioned (further validating my self-proclaimed title as “Boston’s It Girl“). Since discovering that I seem to have a pretty good handle on where to go and what to do, I thought I’d make it my civic duty to share with you my personal favorites a la Improper‘s list. Check ’em out!

1.BAGELSBagel Rising

Mom, I hate to say this but you might have some breakfast competition...
Mom, I hate to say this but you might have some breakfast competition…

What they said: “There are two types of people in this world: people who love bagels, and liars. This cozy Allston outpost delights lovers (and liars) with 16 varieties of rolls-with-a-hole cooked Old World style-kettle boiled, then hearth oven baked. We’re talking chewy, soft rings with crispy shells. Cream cheeses from plain to jalapeño are also made from scratch, and vegans will applaud the homemade tofu spreads that taste like anything but afterthoughts.”

What I say: An old boyfriend of mine once delivered a creation from here to my poor starving body after an exam with a small homemade fresh squeezed orange juice and I’ve never been the same. Never mind the fact that I’ve been to New York and enjoyed all that the namesake of Brooklyn bagels has to offer, the bagels from this Allston spot are absolutely heaven. Perhaps that’s where the reference to rising comes from? Keep it up Bagel Rising, you’re doing it right.

Check them out at: 1243 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, 02134

2.BEER BARSunset Grill & Tap

Because there really is no wrong time a day for exploring/ researching "watering holes"...
Because there really is no wrong time of day for exploring/ researching “watering holes”…

What they said: “Sure, there are newer buzzed-about beer bars, but this old master is still the top draft pick. With 380 different brews, including 112 on tap, Sunset Grill & Tap has your favorite-and your soon to be favorite. The ever-changing lineup includes many rarely seen specimens. (We recently savored Samuel Adams’ Cherry Chocolate Bock.) Rotating daily beer specials, a strict policy on keeping taps fresh and a carefully curated selection of 5-ounce beer flights keep this bar shining bright.”

What I say: Just down the street from Bagel Rising is my other favorite way to consume carbs (and no I don’t mean vis à vis blueberry pancakes). Despite its beer-themed decor, this is actually a fun place to bring parents when they’re visiting you at the Allston apartment you likely wish they’d help you pay for. Their menu is extensive and equally impressive is the quality of the food. Their specials are about as diverse as their beer selection (just not as long) and there’s a great room in the back in the event you ever need to plan a surprise party for your favorite at-home brewer.

Check them out at: 130 Brighton Ave., Allston, 02134

3.MUSIC LINEUPHouse of Blues

Just steps from everyone's (OK, mine) favorite billboard is my next favorite spot...
Just steps from everyone’s (OK, mine) favorite billboard is my next favorite spot…

What they said: “Sure, you can see Aerosmith or Mumford & Sons play at other amphitheaters in town, but such spaces are more likely to leave you drowning in the sea of show-goers, not lost in the music from the stage. Ample accommodation and a roster of can’t-miss headliners converge at the House of Blues, a venue large enough to attract big-name bands but with a capacity that  ensures you’ll still catch some sweat flying from the guitarist’s arm. And you won’t have to sell your firstborn for a ticket.”

What I say: Have you ever heard of Sammy Adams, Ingrid Michaelson, or Mat Kearney? What about We The Kings, Pat Benatar or Damian Marley? (If you answered no to either of those questions, perhaps you’re living under a rock…) Well, if music is your thing I give my seal of approval to this place as the best music hall in Boston. If you’re the kind of person who has mastered the art of “moving up to the front” mid-show, this space is very conducive to your strategy (whatever that may be). Additionally, there really isn’t a poor viewing angle (in my opinion) anywhere. Between the bars that line the perimeter, optimal viewing, and good company you’re undoubtedly with, House of Blues Boston delivers just the kind of experience I had hoped for since seeing Lindsay Lohan perform at one in 2003’s reboot of Freaky Friday.

Check them out at: 15 Landsdowne St., Boston, 02215

4.BAKERYFlour Bakery + Cafe

You're going to want to give up your daily Starbucks run for this one.
You’re going to want to give up your daily Starbucks run for this one.

What they said: “It’s the least gym-friendly of mottos: ‘Make life sweeter…Eat dessert first!’ But once you peer into Flour’s pastry case, how can you resist? Sticky buns are varnished with caramel-honey-sugar “goo”. Flaky, glazed pop-tarts erupt with raspberry jam. And our favorite cookie, the Chunky Lola, bursts with bittersweet chocolate, coconut and pecans. One whiff, and your willpower will dissolve into meringue clouds bigger than you’ve ever seen.”

What I say: On my last campaign, it was a certain co-worker’s fault/ joy/ responsibility that any attempt I made at keeping a healthy diet was seriously endangered/ destroyed/ disrupted every week. This individual, (who shall remain nameless,) happened to live in the neighborhood of this fine establishment and would bring in treats so unspeakably tantalizing to the eyes that I just could not resist not sharing my selection with whichever of my cohorts was standing close by. To anyone who ever just wanted a small bite of the last croissant I would always take, sorry I’m not sorry…

Check them out at: 1595 Washington St., (South End), 02118 & other locations too!

5.HOTEL BAR: The Hawthorne

If you were ever looking for a day to celebrate "Treat Yo' Self" Day, this is it.
If you were ever looking for a day to celebrate “Treat Yo’ Self” Day, this is it.

What they said: “Every night at the Hotel Commonwealth’s Hawthorne feels like attending a swank cocktail party in your sophisticated friend’s living room, complete with eye-catching art, cozy seating, and conversation-sparking coffee table books. Attentive service and soft lighting add to the elegant feel, but the true star of this party is the wide-ranging and innovative beverage program.With classics old and new, summer-ready swizzles and originals like the spice-tinged Bull Fighter (zucca, Bärenjäger, ginger and lemon), it’s no wonder the patrons are always singing the praises of co-owner and bar director Jackson Cannon.”

What I say: For the kind of night when homemade pretzels, macaroons and a fancy cocktail will pretty much do the trick, The Hawthorne is your place. The fact that its almost always booked up for private parties whenever my friends have a special occasion in need of a venue is probably a pretty good indicator that this place is in high demand. If The Improper Bostonian‘s description intimidated you in the slightest, don’t worry. Simply pull up to the bar, talk to Jackson or any other friendly neighborhood bartender and pick your usual poison. They’ll show you what their mixologist brains are made of.

Check them out at: 500 A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 01125

Honorable mention- BEST UNDER-RATED NEIGHBORHOOD: Charlestown
Honorable mention- BEST UNDER-RATED NEIGHBORHOOD: Charlestown

What are some of your favorite places in the city? Had any great experiences in the Boston-area to share? Be sure to comment below!

xo, Vanessa