Category Archives: Life

We’re Back!

Hi friends,

So after over a year long hiatus, Ryan and I decided to start up the blog again as a way for our friends and family (mainly my mother) to keep up with what we’ve been doing. So much has happened over the past year and sadly the blog fell off to the wayside, but we’ll try not to let that happen again.

Here’s a brief summary of what’s happened over the past year:

  1. Lisa started a Diagnostic Radiology Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
  2. Ryan started a new job at Analgesic Solutions in Natick, MA.
  3. Ryan and I both got two new cute nephews.
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    At Cheu Noodle Bar in Philadelphia with Lisa’s nephew Walden

     

    5. We traveled to Chicago, St. Louis, Vermont, Miami, Maine, and Montreal to name a few.

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    Wyndham Walls, Miami, FL

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    St. Louis Arch in St. Louis, MO

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    Ate our weight in Montreal’s famous bagels

  4. We spent the summer grilling with Ryan’s sweet 50 dollar find on craigslist.13668908_10101095546897041_7596809110748811198_o
  5. We did a lot of hiking/trying not to let Lisa fall off mountains.
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    The Labyrinth aka Lemon Squeeze Trail at Mohank Preserve, High Falls, NY

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    Mt Dorr, Acadia National Park

    8. We became national park and national historic site enthusiasts collecting cancellation stamps wherever we go.

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    Kayaking in Everglades National Parks

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    National Parks Passport Book and Centennial Stamps

    Life has been good. We shouldn’t complain (although we sometimes do). Look out for some more blog posts soon!

-Lisa (and Ryan).

 

Upstate NY Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, Ryan and I went to his hometown of Vestal, NY for a little weekend getaway. I was born and raised in NYC, so I have to admit that when I envision upstate NY, I picture cold weather, snow, and not much excitement. Both of my brothers went to SUNY Binghamton for undergrad and I’ve visited Ryan’s childhood home several times now, so I have a decent idea of what to do when you are a Downstate New Yorker finding yourself in Upstate New York. Here are the highlights of our very short trip last weekend.

1. Corning Museum of Glass: The museum was celebrating the opening of a new contemporary art wing, so admission was free all weekend. Free things are just more fun in my opinion. I was blown away by how wonderful this museum was. There were live demonstrations. We got to see Italian glass artist Lino Tagliapietra make some breathtaking pieces.

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Lino Tagliapietra at work (right) and his piece Endeavor (left)

Tagliapietra’s piece Endeavor is an installation of 35 glass boats inspired by the gondolas in his hometown of Venice. His work took me back to college when I studied abroad and traveled all over Europe.

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Linda and our friend Stephen on a gondola ride in Venice back in 2008 (left) and Burano, Italy (right)

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The piece above was my favorite in the entire museum. From far away, the piece looked like three trees, but as you got closer you could see that they were made of individual recycled glasses. Ryan and I have been searching for a coupe, and I wanted to snag one so badly they were so beautiful!

2. Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes

We had limited time, so we drove up and down Seneca Lake. The Finger Lakes have the best Rieslings in the country, and quite possibly in the world. My favorite vineyard we visited was Herman J. Weimer. I definitely want to return in the summertime to see the grapes growing!

We ate at FLX Wienery. The house-made sausages and hot dogs were spectacular. This was Ryan’s first time having poutine!

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FLX Wienery Before and After: As Ryan put it, “we did some serious damage to the napkins.”

The rest of the weekend involved lots of driving, trips to Wegmans, and watching House Hunters while eating cold pizza =). It was perfect.

Have you been to upstate NY? Any recommendations on things to do? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

-Lisa

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Wacky Wednesday: What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

It’s Wednesday! Here’s another funny video from Dr. Hamblin to get you through part 2 of the week. Stay tuned for our first installment of a weekly weekend cocktail post this Friday.

Here are some links to other funny articles around the interwebs on the same topic.

http://www.rd.com/slideshows/10-things-never-to-say-to-a-pregnant-woman/view-all/

http://www.omaha.com/momaha/things-you-should-never-say-to-a-pregnant-woman/article_f32f82b8-11d7-11e4-894a-001a4bcf6878.html

-Ryan

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Follow the Process: Rise & Shine

Under the comb
The tangle and the straight path
Are the same.
-Heraclitus

Rise and Shine! For those of you struggling on your New Year’s Resolutions, keep it up! Bit by bit life’s a cinch! Trust the process. Many of us have today off, so it’s a perfect day to regroup, refocus, and get back on track. I know I’ve got some mileage to make up too!

Make this your AM alarm and you’re sure to get out of bed and get moving!

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Monday Afternoon Humor: Sad Desk Lunch

Another work week is upon us. Here’s a funny health video from our favorite radiologist turned Atlantic Magazine columnist to help you get through another Monday with a smile on your face.

Enjoy!

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Stop Procrastinating Now

We all procrastinate. No one can possibly do everything at once. I saw this video the other day about how to manage a tendency to procrastinate. I just used the tactic to stop myself cold.

See what I’m talking about here: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/how-to-break-the-procrastination-habit/256199/

Do you have any techniques you find useful?

-Ryan

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The Marathon Challenge: Recap

“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any moment.”

-Viktor Frankl

On October 26th, 2014, I joined the thousands of others who participated in the Marine Corps Marathon. As my first marathon, my primary goal was to finish. In that regard, I was successful, finishing 213th in my division of 1143, in 3:45:51.

Here are my splits:

Location Net Time Clock Time Time of Day Pace Pace Between
Start 00:00 2:12 7:57:12
5K 25:39 27:50 8:22:51 8:14 /mi
8:00 /mi
10K 50:31 52:42 8:47:43 8:07 /mi
8:07 /mi
15K 1:15:45 1:17:56 9:12:56 8:07 /mi
8:00 /mi
20K 1:40:38 1:42:49 9:37:50 8:05 /mi
8:07 /mi
13.1M 1:46:10 1:48:22 9:43:22 8:05 /mi
8:10 /mi
25K 2:06:01 2:08:12 10:03:12 8:06 /mi
8:23 /mi
30K 2:32:04 2:34:15 10:29:16 8:09 /mi
8:50 /mi
35K 2:59:32 3:01:43 10:56:43 8:15 /mi
10:28 /mi
40K 3:32:06 3:34:17 11:29:18 8:32 /mi
10:05 /mi
Finish 3:45:51 3:48:02 11:43:03 8:36 /mi

I’m pleased—what more is there to say, I finished my first marathon and came in under my goal time of 3:45:99.

MCM swag

MCM swag

Perhaps it’s cliché, but the marathon taught me about myself. The first few miles passed slowly and while I was eager to get going—part of me wanted to stay close to the 3:35 pacer—I knew it better to methodically trust the process and stick to my internal clock. As the race progressed others fell one-by-one; I remember a steep hill at the 5k mark where some began walking—the process was taking care of itself. Around the 10-mile marker I must’ve passed the 3:35 pace group because I saw them behind me after the course took a hairpin turn. I continued to feel great, keeping a steady pace, and watching the miles pass.

At mile 20 fatigue set in; my thighs and calves cramped up. I had to stop and stretch. The cramping worsened over the last 10K. Frustrated, I considered walking. Each step felt like a thousand little knives stabbing each leg. I wondered how I would cover the last 6 miles. I reminded myself I already ran 20. I kept telling myself “yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” I followed everyone else’s lead, sucked it up, and kept running. What other choice did I have? At some point the 3:35 pace group passed by, I felt deflated; but I remember the crowd cheering us. The energy was electric, the current palpable. I wouldn’t walk to the finish—I couldn’t. It was not pretty, my form broke—it was horrid actually—but I crossed the finish under my realistic goal. I remember smiling. The pain was over.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture from the finish, but I imagine my smile looked something like it did when Lisa and I finished our first half marathon.

Our first Half Marathon

Our first Half Marathon

A PA that sutured my eyebrow weeks before, and ironically also ran the MCM, correctly predicted the outcome of my race. She told me that day in ED that I would feel exhilarated upon finishing and that I’d be signing up for another marathon soon. Now that January is here my training for the Providence Marathon in May 2015 is under way. I’m excited to see what I can do.

-Ryan

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On Entertaining: Being a Good Guest

Lisa recently gave her 5 tips on entertaining and I wrote a longer post on the lessons we’ve learned on being good hosts. Every story has two sides though, so now it’s time to review the top 5 traits of a good guest.

A good guest…

  1.  Is on time, or slightly later, but is never ever early. Unless the party host specifically asks you to arrive early, don’t. If you must, immediately offer to assist with set up. However, unless you know the hosts very well, the far safer move is another lap around the block. That’s because a good host will spend the final 30 minutes before their party relaxing. If you arrive then, it’s destroyed.
  2. Never drinks to the point of illness. If you’re no longer capable of making a life-or-death decision, you’ve had enough. If you’re throwing up in the host’s bathroom, you better return the next day to help clean up.
  3. Always and sincerely compliments the hosts upon arrival. Everyone likes being appreciated. Your party hosts are no different. They undoubtedly put a lot of effort into making a good impression, so pay them the hearty compliment they desire and deserve.
  4. Contributes to the party or bar in good looks, conversation, cheerful disposition, gift, or cash. Gifts and cash are always appreciated, just keep the setting in mind. For example, the host of a cocktail party may prefer a bottle of liqueur, Vermouth or even bitters over comparably priced beer or wine. If hors d’oeuvres are served, a bottle of olive oil, vinegar, or even spices are other great options. All of these are less perishable and the host will remember you fondly with each use in the following months (never a bad thing). I can’t think of a home cook who would be upset about receiving a bottle of saffron. Nor would a cocktail enthusiast be peeved about receiving Regan’s Orange Bitters or Dale Degroff’s Pimento Aromatic Bitters.
  5. Always responds to RSVP requests in a timely manner. Planning a party is hard enough, don’t make it even harder. A host doesn’t want to know 30 minutes before the party that you’re suddenly coming and that you’re bringing a group of 5 other people. Likewise, if you RSVP that you are attending, honor it.

How about you, what makes someone a good guest that you cheerfully invite back?

-Ryan

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On Entertaining: Being a Good Host

Hello & Happy New Year!!!

In my recent New Year’s Resolution post my first goal for 2015 was to take a more active role in hosting, and in doing so, become a better cook. For newcomers to our little section of the interwebs, Lisa recently posted five entertaining tips. What follows is a composite of other tips we’ve gathered from our hosting experiences and those garnered from others:

Know the Occasion

Are you hosting a halloween costume party or a Fourth of July celebration? Is it a summer BBQ, Thanksgiving feast, or a New Year’s Eve bash? Are you serving brunch, a five-, seven-, or nine-course meal, or just hors d’ oeuvres? Are your guests drinking Mint Juleps, beer, mead, hard cider, Champagne, prosecco, or Eggnog?

These are crucial elements to pay attention to when party planning because they determine the food, the setting, and the reason. All of which determine the drinks. You wouldn’t serve eggnog or a French 75 at your Fourth of July BBQ, nor would you serve Bloody Mary’s at your dinner party. New Year’s, a graduation, a big promotion, or a wedding all call for Champagne, but a smaller celebration pairs better with a more modest prosecco (what’s the difference? Coming soon).

French 75
The French 75 packs a wallop. If you serve it, they will come… but won’t leave until tomorrow morning.

Know your Focus

Are the drinks, or food, your focus? If food is your focus, choose drinks that pair well. You’re better off skipping the hard alcohol—axe the Navy Strength spirits or 100-proof vodkas or ryes. Opt instead for aperitifs like a Negroni or a collins. These lighter drinks stimulate the palate and prime the stomach for the coming meal. Conversely, if drinks are the stars one good approach is to focus on highballs, a family of mixed drinks composed of an alcoholic base and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer, rather than lowballs. Unless you want to spend your whole night mixing at the bar giving away all of your expensive booze to guests who’ll spend the remainder of the night passed out on your floor… Your choice.

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The Boston Sour—perfect if you want to spend your entire party dry shaking.

Consider your Guests

A good host thinks of their guests first and foremost. For every cocktail lover there are equal numbers of people who are either: scared of, don’t like, or don’t drink hard alcohol. Give them options!

“Virgin” drinks. Last year Lisa’s graduating class created a series of twelve parties called the 12 Days of Match. Being Providence, at our hipster themed party we hosted we used two punch dispensers to serve flavored waters to guests that either a) didn’t want to drink alcohol or b) had enough for a night. Everybody loved it! Try citrus, mint, or cucumber infused water for a surefire hit!

Another option is to serve your guests craft sodas, kombucha, or even mocktails. Stay tuned for more on these topics in the coming weeks, as I’m about to brew our first batch of ginger beer—a key ingredient in Lisa’s favorite lowball, the Dark N’ Stormy.

Low ABV drinks. Beer, wine, and hard cider all pack less punch and allow your guests to self-serve—freeing you up to actually enjoy your party. Consider also serving Champagne, prosecco, or beer-inspired cocktails, like a Campari Shandy.

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Campari Shandy: Summer in a glass.

Food. Never serve alcohol without food.

Common Sense. Use it. Know when to cut off your own guests and know how to do so politely. As soon as you notice trouble brewing your responsibility as host is to steer your guest towards the nearest seat, hand them a NA beverage, and engage them in conversation. The host that continues serving alcohol to such guests is a clown in man shoes.

Be Prepared K.I.S.S.

Never throw a party without thoughtful prior preparation. Prior preparation prevents poor performance. Keep the drink menu limited and make sure you have enough supplies for the night. Lisa previously suggested limiting your cocktail menu to 5 or less, because that keeps it focused on drinks you know, reduce costs, and controls the environment. But other things we would add include:

  1. Run the dishwasher before the party—this ensures you have enough clean glassware, flatware, and plates. Not to mention, an empty dishwasher for easier post-party cleanup.
  2. Ice. Be sure you have enough before the party starts; and remember it takes time to freeze. Your best bet is to make it in batches leading up to the party.
  3.  Plan for disaster. One dish will invariably not work. Have a backup plan to feed your hungry guests.
  4. Consider batch made and easy-to-assemble drinks—unless you’re keen on standing by the bar all night. Punch is your best friend, use her wisely.

Location

Do not put the food near the libations. Keep things separated spatially to encourage traffic flow around chokepoints in your apartment or home. Our kitchen is tiny, whenever we host, we put all food and drinks out in the main room to encourage guests to mingle and move about.

Last, Be a Great Host

You’re the host—always remember that. Enjoy yourself and your guests company, but do so responsibly. Your primary concern is that everyone gets home safely. They’ll thank you for it the next day.

-Ryan

10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

I confess, I enjoy making personal goals. Trouble is, I have difficulty with the follow through part. To help me overcome that, this year I’m listing them here as SMART goals for everyone to see. I also plan to write about my progress attaining these by year’s end—December 31, 2015.

  1. Become a better planner and host by organizing at least six dinner/cocktail parties: Since moving to our fair city of Cambridge, Lisa and I have hosted a few parties. Our most recent was to celebrate Lisa’s 26th birthday. Honestly though, Lisa planned and cooked mostly everything. I can clearly be better here, so to improve my cooking skills, be a better partner, and contribute more I’ve decided to take more of a leadership role in party prep this year.We’ve previously posted about our DIY bar cart, since I’ve grown increasingly interested in cocktails. A few books I’ve enjoyed from our borrowed cookbook library include: Proof: the science of booze, The 12 Bottle Bar, and Jeffrey Morganthaler’s The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique. I’d recommend all three.
  2. Reach out to my lost friends & make at least five new ones: Since graduating from college I’ve moved a lot—every two years basically—and because of that, the post-college drop-off has really affected me. Since settling in Boston, I’ve learned several of my collegiate friends reside here, so one goal is to rebuild those friendships and foster new ones as well—I like the idea of mindful catering of friendships to build my own justice league. It’s important to have good people around you, who make you better.
  3. Take three weekend road trips:
    1. Burlington, VT
    2. Montreal, QC
    3. Portland, ME
  4. Finish a book every month: Aside from those mentioned above, I’m also reading:
  5. Plan that activity I’ve been wanting to do for years:
    • A trip to Europe—Belgium actually. I can’t wait for the beer! To see Nic! Or to try authentic genever!
  6. Take a class: There are plenty of affordable online courses out there: here, here, here, here and here. I’m personally very interested in thefollowing MOOCs, mainly because they’re in line with my career interests.
  7. Conquer an obstacle that scares you:
    • In 2014, I ran the MCM—in 2015, I’d like to run another half or full marathon
  8. Develop my current hobbies, seek new ones, and find ways to make money from at least one:
    • Cocktails/mixology
    • Home brewing/fermenting
    • Cooking
    • Photography
    • Drawing
    • Blogging
  9. Attain passable foreign/computer language skills:
    • Since I plan to visit Belgium and Montreal, it’s time I learn some French
    • Re-learn R, learn to code in SAS
  10. Get into professional school—in reality that’s my #1 goal for 2015.
  11. I lied—there’s an 11th goal. I’d also like to blog more, so I plan to journal more about my progress in attaining goals 1-10. I’m aiming for at least one entry a month.

How about you? What are your goals for 2015?

-Ryan

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