• Eight Years Get Me Every Time

    by  • September 1, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Skyline_BostonGMETHappy Labor Day, guys!

    Here’s hoping you had a great long weekend. Today, I’m celebrating our (last) day off (as two) and along with it, eight years in (greater) Boston. Eight great, wonderful, amazing, long, short, life-changing years.

    Instead of recapping my 8 years here, I thought I’d give you guys my eight reasons to love (greater) Boston. Some are quite obvious. Others, maybe it’s just me.

    FreedomTrail_BostonGMET1. History: it’s everywhere. A trip down the Freedom Trail teaches you about a lot of it, but it’s all over greater Boston.

    Mass_BostonGMET2. Seasons: After growing up in a place where we basically had two seasons, warm and hot, I’m in love with all of Mother Nature’s glory and the seasonal wardrobe that goes along with it.

    Sports_BostonGMET3. Sports: I might not cheer for all the Boston/New England teams (You can’t take the Pittsburgh out of the girl.) but I love that we have access to professional sporting events year round. And I love the way this city gets behind a (winning) team.

    Holidays_BostonGMET4. Shopping: From every major retailer to small shops like Pod and SOWA, you can really find everything you need.

    MBTA_BostonGMET5. Transportation: If you live here you know we all have a love/hate relationship with the MBTA. But, live in a city where public transportation isn’t so great and you’ll appreciate even more.

    6. The Burbs: I just made the jump last year, but I already/so far love living outside of the city yet so close to it at the same time.
    Boats_BostonGMET7. Water, water everywhere: the above photo was taken on my lunch break. Because most places in the city you can go for a short walk and see some body of water, be in the river, the harbor, the channel, etc. Love it.

    8. Eating Up: I haven’t written about every single place I’ve ever eaten (that’s a blog in itself) but you know from the all the food Instagrams and posts like Cutty’s and Jimmy’s Bar that I’m not one to turn down a good meal. And there are plenty of those to be had in the Boston area.

    There are so many great reasons to love Boston and New England and I can’t wait to spend (at least) the next eight years getting to experience all of it.

    Lazy Sunday Links Get Me Every Time

    by  • August 31, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Succulents - Get Me Every TimeI’ve been saving these links for you guys for quite some time. I know, I’m sure you’ve been waiting. Apologies if you’ve seen them already or they’re old news.

    Common cooking conversions because how much is a handful? 

    How to make your own pet pop art you know I totally want to make Louise pop. 

    How to make Iced Coffee better tis the season, after all. 

    A simple(-ish) succulent hanging garden just lovely.

    10 creative Instagram accounts to follow even though I love your selfies.

    No-churn vanilla ice cream because Martha. and last weekend of “summer.” 

    How to take/edit better iPhone photos who carries their real camera these days? 

    A glitter resin countertop in the dining room because you so fancy, we already know.

    A ninja turtle party because my nephews are obsessed. 

    How to be a grown-ass woman as I think I should probably start thinking about that any day now. 

    Sausage cheddar muffins will freeze nicely, I think. 

     

    One Year at Home Gets Me Every Time

    by  • August 28, 2014 • 0 Comments

    HomeTour_GMET_1

     

    This post has been in the back of my head for about a month now. We’ve just been a little busy and I haven’t had the chance to get everything out that I wanted to say. But it’s all about our one year anniversary of being home owners.

    So far, we’ve managed not to set the place on fire, so we’re doing pretty good. However, we have had some learning curves along the way as we’ve survived four seasons in our new abode.

    Truth: we paid someone to paint our kitchen cabinets and then repainted them ourselves. I came home from work expecting all the painting to be complete and found half of the kitchen cabinets hung upside down and all the cabinets a little less than what our standards required.

    Lesson learned: A good painter can be hard to find. And even harder to afford. This isn’t a place to try to save money if you want it done right the first time.

    Truth: a house is a lot of work. Like you wouldn’t believe. Case in point, this post is overdue because our weekends have been spent doing things around the house this summer. (More on those projects to come soon.)

    Lesson learned: You either need time or money to get most things done. Have a plan and stick to it so that you don’t end up with less of either than you’d like.

    Truth: we almost flooded our basement. We were trying to “turn on” the water line to our new refrigerator when a piece, installed by the previous owners, popped off and water went EVERYWHERE. It was late, and just the two of us, and I had to run and get a neighbor (thank God for neighbors) to help us stop the water.

    Lesson learned: Know where the main water shut off for the entire house is. It might come in handy at some point. And it’s good to know where that is before the chaos begins.

    Truth: location really is everything.

    Lesson learned: And by that I mean your neighborhood. You can’t change it. And your neighbors (see above.) You can’t handpick them. We’re glad we did our research and found a community we love.

    HerculesSnowStorm

    There are many other things I’m sure we’ve learned in the past year, but those are the biggies, in my mind. We’ve made a good amount of changes inside and out and I’m looking forward to sharing them all in the next few weeks. N

    Burgers from the Grill Get Me Every Time

    by  • August 13, 2014 • 0 Comments

    grilledburger2One of my favorite things about living in the ‘burbs of Boston is having real outdoor space. Not a stoop, or a fire escape or a porch that seems nice but you’re too afraid to go out there because it leans just a little too much. A real-life, backyard outdoor space. We’re fortunate that ours came with a nice patio that has turned out to be a great parking spot for a grill. While we haven’t fired it up as often as I would like, we have tossed a few burgers on there this summer. And they have been nothing short of awesome.

    grilledburger1

    Burger #18 : Burgers on the Grill

    THE INGREDIENTS:
    for the burgers (makes 3 obnoxious burgers or 4 regular ones):
    1 lb ground beef
    salt & pepper (according to your tastes)
    + your favorite buns + toppings (cheese, mustard, ketchup, tomato, etc.)

    THE DETAILS:
    The easiest ever. (This is nowhere near a recipe. Just too delicious not to share.) Turn on the grill so it gets all nice and heated. Form 3 or 4 patties with the ground meat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side. Put on grill. Cook. Pile on toppings. Eat.

    ** This year, I’m making (at least) 20 burgers. See ‘em all. **

    A First Home Gets Me Every Time

    by  • August 12, 2014 • 0 Comments

    newart2

    It’s been a while, yet again, since I’ve posted any updates here. I mean, the last few were huge though, so I felt like they probably carried you for a while. But, the reason for the delay, is because we’ve been so busy readying our home for our baby’s arrival. So, there’s a lot to share, but first, I want to take a moment to share more about our first home—a small, one-bed apartment in Brookline, MA, right outside of Boston, and pictured above.

    newart4

    It wasn’t a glamorous place. A walk-up. Hadn’t been remodeled in years. Pink tile bathroom. No parking. Smelled a little funny. Packages got stolen. So, it’d be easy to remember it for those cramped quarters, slanted walls and noisy neighbors. But I’d rather remember it for everything else it stands for in our lives.

    It was the first apartment we “picked” together, even though I was living there alone. It was where Mr. GMET first lived together after we got married. It was where we made decisions about purchasing our first home. Where we spent so many firsts as Mr. & Mrs., from Christmas to birthdays, etc. It was where I got an order for, foolishly accepted and made 500 business card holders with eyebrows.newart1I’m excited to turn our old home into new art, but I’m even more excited for all the memories we’ll make in our new home. “Old home, new art” is tucked behind our front door with our spare keys and not to be needed again address stamp. It’s a great reminder of where our family started and just how far we’ve come.

    PS. The shortened version of how I made this: 1) take picture. 2) print out. 3) tape to window & trace. 4) scan and print on card stock. 5) frame with accessories (spare keys & address stamp.) 

     

    Instant Classics Get Me Every Time

    by  • July 18, 2014

    carshow3While I know very little about classic cars and I wouldn’t even go so far as to say I’m interested in learning more, I did attend a classic car show recently. It got me thinking, not about classic cars, but instead about the phrase “instant classic.

    carshow4

    See, the cars on display seemed to have withstood the test of time. They’ve been labored over and loved. Treasured and kept in pristine condition. Passed down between generations and restored to their original glory. They define what it means to be a classic.

    carshow2

    But an “instant classic” doesn’t stand for any of that. Is anything so great that it should arrive and instantly be given such a title? Sure, things are “instant hits,” “instant sensations” or “instant favorites.” But “instant classic?” Shouldn’t we reserve that title for something more deserving?

    To prove that it’s overused, I’ve found some recent examples:
    - Dana Carvey’s Choppin Broccoli (funny, sure. instant classic…. jury’s still out.)

    - Advertising during this week’s all-star game (c’mon, I work in advertising and don’t even think it should be labeled “instant classic.”)

    - Melissa McCarthy’s Jet Ski Story (so, wigs make everything better?)

    - This stupid picture (what grade are we in?)

    Really. How can any of those ever live up to the standards and glory and beauty of a 1957 Chevy? Will “Choppin Broccoli” be searchable in 60 years? And will anyone really want to search it? And should that be what is known as a classic from our generation?

    carshow6

    I’m not here to provide any further answers or insights. Just to say that “What really is an instant classic?” is a question we can all put some thought to, I suppose.

    A Baby Story Gets Me Every Time

    by  • July 16, 2014

    MyBump“Your baby’s not normal.”

    It’s not exactly the words that first-time expectant parents want to hear at 8am on a Tuesday morning during what should have been just a routine ultrasound. But that’s what the radiologist said with no more bedside manner than that of a butcher.

    It’s been 141 days since I heard those words and they still ring shrilly in my ears. Here’s the short version of our story.

    At our first appointment (9ish weeks) where they listen for the baby’s heartbeat, it wasn’t heard, but there was no need to panic. We were to go for an ultrasound the next day where they would just confirm viability. And we weren’t worried. There could be a million reasons why the heartbeat wasn’t picked up.

    The next morning, the heartbeat was there! But the radiologist also told us about something else that was there—a fluid buildup on our baby’s neck.

    Initially there were a lot of questions, tears and prayers. Let’s also put out there that Dr. Google is no longer covered by our insurance. (That’s also why there are no links in this post… don’t go searching. Just don’t.)

    What the ultrasound showed was a septated cystic hygroma. It’s a pocket of fluid on the back of the baby’s neck that can sometimes be life-threatening in utero. We are fortunate ours was not fatal. It’s also extremely rare. We’re talking 1% (or less) of pregnancies. That’s like a 1 in 6,000 chance or something. So, unless you know more than 6,000 pregnant women, it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard of it.

    There can be many causes of cystic hygromas, about 50% of the time they appear because of chromosomal disorders. We did some initial blood work (10 weeks) that came back negative for some common disorders. We chose not to do any further DNA testing (14 weeks) because it would not affect the management of our pregnancy. (Even if we found out about a certain disorder, there’s not much we can actively do, except worry, until the baby arrives.) We have continued with regular ultrasounds and we had an echocardiogram (20 weeks) as some cystic hygromas are associated with heart defects.

    At this point we know that our baby has a bilateral SVC (20 weeks). (Everyone has a right SVC and our doctor said that as much as 20% of the population could have an extra left SVC and just not know it.) It’s not a problem on it’s own unless a person needs bypass surgery later in life.

    At this point we know that the cystic hygroma has resolved or (that the nuchal translucency) is no longer larger than normal (24 weeks). We also had an MRI and a second echocardiogram done around this time that showed no further heart anomalies and what the doctor’s called a “boring*” looking brain.

    At this point we know way more about fetal diagnoses and ultrasounds and echocardiograms than we ever wanted to know. (see weeks 9 – present) We still have a few more extra ultrasounds and appointments to get through, but we’re keeping a positive outlook.

    And at this point (30 weeks) we know September will be here faster than we could imagine.

    So readers, I’m sharing this here not because we want your sympathy, but because writing about difficult things helps me process them. Because writing this here might help some other young family that’s in a similar situation.

    One thing you may not know is that I am a religious and spiritual person. And I believe that the prayers we’ve made and those made on our behalf have helped strengthen us and our baby. So thank you for the prayers thus far and if you have any more prayers or positive thoughts you want to send our way, we will certainly take them.

    Sorry for all the words. But thank you for reading and being part of our family’s journey.

    *Boring has never looked better.

    PS… I’m not a doctor, so my stats or explanations are not exactly scientific. This is just my version of what we’ve gone through. If you are in a similar situation, please speak to a doctor or counselor.

     

    All the Podcasts Get Me Every Time

    by  • July 15, 2014

    p5rn7vb

    Morning Walk Daisies | Gets Me Every Time

    Remember a few weeks ago when I was trying to figure out how to keep up with all the reading I want to be doing? Well, now you know all the reading includes throwing in a baby book or two, which makes it even more difficult to get to the “just for fun” reading.

    Enter Podcasts. 

    One of the things I’ve been trying to do the past few months is get in a daily walk. For a while walking and listening to music was fine. But a couple weeks in, I was getting bored with the same songs, same route, same, same, same.

    And then I remember someone telling me they listened to the Jess Lively podcast while at the gym. So, I thought I’d give it a chance. And I liked it.

    I liked it so much I had caught up on all the episodes and needed something else to listen to.

    Well, this spiraled into a iTunes search, a web search and a lot of downloading podcasts to my phone.

    Here’s what’s in my current playlist:

    The Lively Show
    Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! (NPR)
    The Solopreneur Hour
    Elise Gets Crafty
    After the Jump (Grace Bonney, DesignSponge)
    Your Kick-Ass Life
    The Accidental Creative

    Oh, and the best part… these are all free. And there are hundreds and hundreds more where they came from.

    Are you on the podcast bandwagon? What should I be listening to?

    A Magic Number Gets Me Every Time

    by  • July 14, 2014

    Three. Three decades on earth. Three years of marriage. Three members of our family (four if you count Louise, and we do, of course.) Yes. Three.

    Baby1

    I guess three really will be a magic number for our little family this year, specifically, come mid- to late-September.

    Baby2

    And while most of my readers probably already know this news, I think there are a few of you who don’t.

    Baby3

    So, sorry for the lack of posts recently… we’ve been a little busy planning, prepping and praying.

    Baby4

    There is a lot more to this story that I need to share with you guys. But I think this is enough news for one day, Internet.

    (PS… as for the questions. No, we don’t know the gender. Yes, we’ve narrowed down names. No, we won’t tell you. Yes, I’m feeling good. Yes, we’re so excited/freaked out/scared/in awe. No, you can’t touch my belly.)

    A Century Gets Me Every Time

    by  • July 8, 2014

    Nana100

    My grandmother would have been 100 this past weekend. That’s her, second from the left above. The one with her eyes closed. Clutching a doll. She was the fourth of five children. A good-looking group, if you ask me.

    While she didn’t make it to 100, she did live 94 very full years. And when I think about all she lived to see, I’m sheerly amazed: Prohibition. The Great Depression. World War I. World War II. Space. Vietnam. Korea. Computers. The 80s. September 11th. The list goes on and on.

    She was a teacher and a dancer. And a crazy intelligent woman. She swam and walked daily into her 90s. She did crossword puzzles, loved the Pittsburgh Penguins and played a mean game of Boggle.

    Her birthday got me thinking about what life must have been like back when she was born, so I did a little digging. According to TheCostofLiving.com, a home cost about $6,000. A car, about $500. And the early calculator, known as an adding machine, debuted at about $125. I imagine the pace of life must have been so much different. People didn’t travel the way we did. Obviously they didn’t need to check in on Instagram or Twitter or anything. They didn’t have all the stuff we have today. They didn’t eat all the processed crap we eat today. It all sounds so simple. Like a place I’d like to vacation to.

    What else happened in 1914? The Boston “Braves” won the World Series. The first scheduled airline flight lifts off. The first successful blood transfusion took place. They danced the foxtrot on a NYC rooftop. These things are so ordinary today. I can’t help wonder what “firsts” from our lives our future generations will look back on as just “everyday life.”

    Nana would be 100 now and I know she would be as bullheaded as ever. I hope to live as full a life as she did and to enjoy Oreos and swimming and hockey until I’m a ripe old age too.

    Choosing What To Read Gets Me Every Time

    by  • June 26, 2014

    Book with a heart made out of pages Valentina_A via Compfight

    I love to read. I wish I dedicated more time to it. I like to read magazines, books, newspapers, websites and, of course, blogs. Many times, though, I struggle to keep up. My feedly account is constantly overflowing. My email inbox has subfolders of newsletters and deals and more. My Amazon book wish list is a mile long. And I constantly swipe mags from work that I end up recycling.

    How do you keep up? I need to know. How do you prioritize what to read?

    Here are the blogs I’m currently obsessing over, in case you were wondering:
    Yes And Yes
    The Every Girl
    The Happiness Project
    &Jess Lively’s podcast (I listen while commuting)
    And, of course, internet faves, Design Sponge & Design Love Fest

    Your turn. What are you reading that I should read? What blogs are on your must read list? AND, how do you prioritize it all. Tell me.

    Closing Time Gets Me Every Time

    by  • June 25, 2014

    tealhippo2It’s been real. And it’s been fun. And it’s been real fun. But at times, it’s also been a real headache. Managing an Etsy shop is a lot of work. A lot, a lot, a lot of work. It’s also pretty rewarding. It’s fun to see your items pop up all over the web. It’s cool to see them on coworkers’ desks. It’s exciting when you get a request for a HUGE order. I started my Etsy shop about 2.5 years ago. And today, I’m making the announcement that I’ll be closing up shop. (keep reading or scroll on down for the part where I give you the coupon code.)

    redcow2Why you ask? Because running an Etsy shop the way it should be run is time-consuming. I’m sure that it varies for each shop owner, but the shop I envisioned, with multitudes of animals in myriads of colors that are customizable is just too much for me right now. The making I love. The sales and shipping I love. But dealing with taking photos and editing photos and the Etsy backend is just too much for me right now. I’d rather be in my backyard enjoying the sun than inside setting up a product shoot.

    giraffenecklace1I have learned SO much from this venture though. I do love making. I do love selling. I loved doing a craft fair. I loved being proud of shipping out a big order. I have great friends and family who helped me out with all of the above and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support over the past couple years. I honestly could not have succeeded without them.

    limezebrapencil2I’ve got a notebook full of other ideas and projects that I want to make and share with the world. And I also still have some “unaltered” toy animals that will need a home too. So, is this “good-bye” to Etsy forever? I don’t think so. Just think of it more as a “so long”. There might be a pop-up around Christmas. Or a new concept of Gets Me Every Time on Etsy sometime down the road.

    But right now, help me close down the shop with coupon code “ClosingTime20″ at checkout and save 20% off everything in the shop. (*I should mention that all sales are final and I can’t offer any substitutions or alterations… what’s there is what’s there and what you get is what you get. xo)