2018 has been an interesting year so far. For me, these first nine months have been a mix of incredible highs and devastating lows. On the positive side, I've been so fortunate to travel to several wonderful, beautiful places this year. I went to Turks and Caicos (more on that in a minute), Palm Springs, Lake Winnipesaukee, Cape Cod and had two great visits with my family in Miami. However, in the past month, I've been coping with a difficult client at work, one of my best friends moving away, Scout suffering through a terrible bout of gastroenteritis, and the loss of my grandfather, who passed away on August 29. The past four weeks have been very taxing.
I will say, having this resolutions list and continuing my quest to achieve all of them, has been a great distraction. Especially in the past few weeks, when I really needed a bright spot in the day or the weekend to look forward to, planning these adventures has provided that silver lining.
If you've been following along for a while, you may remember there were four resolutions from past lists that I wanted to carry over into this year:
- Spend at least one weeknight at home every week - I made this resolution in January 2016 and sticking to it has become a major priority. Last year, I was able to keep this promise to myself for 42 out of 52 weeks. So far this year I've stuck to this resolution for 35 out of 37 weeks - nearly perfect!
- Use my gift cards - Every time I write about this I feel like a jerk, because what an embarrassment of riches it is to have too many gift cards. I still stink at this, and have a giant pouch of cards in my purse. The only ones I seem to be able to spend with any urgency are Starbucks and Target. I did just rediscover a restaurant gift card that was tucked away inside a Hanukkah card from last year, so looking forward to making a reservation and chowing down.
- Attend the Revere Sand Sculpting Festival - I made my very first trip to this festival in July 2016 and I instantly fell in love with it. The sculptures are amazing and they set up all kinds of fun games, rides and food trucks on the boardwalk. Both last year and this year I had family in town and wasn't able to convince them to go, so I keep missing it! I hope I can get there in 2019.
- Experience the Hull Harbor Illumination - I am thrilled to report I made it to the Illumination this year! I went with my cousin, sister and brother-in-law and we had a blast. The lights looked beautiful on the bay. The photos don't really do it justice. You can read my full recap of this year's event here.
1. Take a tropical vacation
Status: Complete! In March I went to The Shore Club in Turks and Caicos with two of my closest girlfriends. This trip is, hands down, one of my favorite memories of 2018. The resort was stunning, our room was fantastic, the beach was tranquil, the swimming pools were gorgeous - it was a dream.
Since our visit, we've seen magazine after magazine promoting the resort as a top destination - Condé Nast Traveler, Glamour, Town & Country - it was even featured on Southern Charm Savannah on Bravo.
I was very lucky to travel with these same ladies to Palm Springs, CA in June. We're on a roll with the luxurious, poolside destinations.
2. Visit Charleston, South Carolina
Status: Rescheduling. I was hoping to fly to Charleston for my birthday weekend, Friday 9/28 - Sunday 9/30, but the friend I was trip planning with had a change of plans and isn't able to fly away that weekend. With less than two weeks until the intended take off date, it feels too ambitious to try and find another travel buddy on such short notice. So, back to the drawing board.
In the meantime, I had a great time reading my friend Bianca's Charleston travel diary on her blog. Definitely bookmarking this!
3. Get back to New York City
Status: First bite of the Big Apple. When I first graduated from college, I used to go to New York every few weeks. My cousin lived there, as well as several close friends, and I always had a couch to crash on. I got to know the city so well and I relished being there. Over time, as my NYC friends moved to Connecticut and New Jersey, I had less work events in Manhattan and I got Scout (making travel less spontaneous) I just haven't been able to spend as much time in New York as I would like.
This year, I've been twice, both times just for one day. In June, I went for a new business pitch and in August I went for a day on route to Jersey City. During the August trip, I was able to spend an hour in Madison Square Park, one of my favorite places to people watch.
My intention is to travel to NYC for a full weekend (just for fun, not for work) before the end of the year. I really do love being there, so I just need to nail down the weekend.
4. Spend time on Cape Cod
Status: Complete! I grew up spending at least one week on Cape Cod every summer. My grandparents used to rent a house in Dennis and then my parents started renting in Truro. Last year we decided to do a family vacation to Camden, Maine instead of our week on the Cape. We all agreed that Camden was lovely, but it just couldn't replace Truro.
This year, we had our rental house booked in January.
On a Saturday morning in July, we hit the road with two SUVs backed to the brim with beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, coolers, water jugs and more. We couldn't wait to put our feet into that National Seashore sand.
Our first stop was Captain Frosty's in Dennis, a place we've been eating since we were babies.
On our first morning in Truro we headed to Chequessett Chocolate for ice mochas (we would wind up going two more times).
The next day, after several hours relaxing on Corn Hill Beach, we came back onto dry land to visit Truro Vineyards. You can revisit my posts about them here and here. This year, they introduced a new drink, the sangria slushie. It was the perfect ratio of wine to ice and let me tell you, you will be buzzing like a bee after just one.
We spent most of our beach days at Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro. Tide pools form every afternoon and they are super deep - amazing for swimming and floating.
Four days after we left, a man was bit by a shark at the very next beach, Long Nook in Truro. I am so grateful we were safe the entire week.
On one of the overcast days, we drove to Wellfleet to bop around the art galleries. The Frying Pan Gallery on the pier is a favorite. Here are two quick photos I snapped while wandering around.
Naturally we had lunch at Mac's on the Pier afterward.
Towards the end of the trip, me, my sister and my brother-in-law did a kids-only night in Provincetown. We had dinner at Canteen, a new restaurant right on the beach. We loved it and I can't wait to go back next year.
This year's Cape trip was extra special for me because it was the first year I got to bring Scout. We rented a place that allowed dogs and Scout was a natural! We took him to the beach several times and he absolutely loved it. Here are two shots my sister took on a night we brought him to watch the sunset at Great Hollow Beach in Truro.
Truro is a happy place for me. Though I had to take a few work calls during the trip, it was still mega relaxing.
5. Revisit my favorite downtown restaurants
Status: On a reservation roll! I made this resolution in January because I had gotten too comfortable in my Watertown / Cambridge / Somerville routine and had essentially stopped going downtown to dine out. There are so many exceptional restaurants on the other side of the Charles River and I was committed to pushing myself to spend more time in Boston proper.
At the start of this year I set out to revisit six of my downtown favorites: Blue Dragon, Trade, Nebo, Ocean Prime, Cafeteria and The Marliave. I have been to Trade, Nebo, Ocean Prime and Cafeteria - four of the six.
In addition to those six, I have also dined at Bin 26, Boston Chops, Committee, Earl's in the Prudential Center, Eastern Standard, Eataly (twice!), Myers + Chang, The Paramout, Picco, Stella and Wagamama in the Seaport. Not too shabby!
I'm looking forward to hitting my final two - Blue Dragon and The Marliave - before December 31.
6. See Hamilton when it comes to Boston
Status: Tickets secured! I had pretty much given up on being able to see Hamilton in Boston (unless I wanted to pay an absurd amount) until a miracle happened. I was mindlessly scrolling on Facebook, when I noticed a friend from high school had posted she was selling her tickets. I messaged her immediately and said, "I am sure someone already snatched them, but just in case, I'd love to buy them!" Like the merciful soul she is, she sold them to me for face value. I was in shock and disbelief.
I have two tickets for a show date in late October and I cannot wait. Everyone has been saying that it's really important to listen to the soundtrack in advance because everything happens so fast on stage, that if you don't already know the plot, it can be easy to miss things. So if you're riding in the car with me at all in the next few weeks, get ready for a sing-a-long.
7. Tour Short Path Distillery
Status: Delinquent. I had planned to visit Short Path Distillery with my cousins in June, but I wound up traveling way more than I expected that month and lost track of it. I really want to get there and experience the outdoor patio before the weather gets too cold.
Anyone feel like a cocktail?
8. Go treasure hunting at the Brimfield Antique Show
Status: Complete! A few days ago I hopped in the car with my treasure hunting partner in crime to drive to Brimfield, MA (next to Sturbridge) for the Brimfield Antique Show. The event happens three times per year and brings 6,000 vendors to town selling everything from furniture to clothing to life size LEGOS.
We had the best time (you can read my full recap here) and are planning to make it an annual tradition. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day.
9. Become a plant lady
Status: One plant casualty. In May, I went to IKEA for the first time (I know, I know). You can read all about it here. During that outing, I bought my very first plant. Isn't she cute?
Unfortunately, I was away so much this summer and I didn't think to have any of my dog sitters water the plant, so she died.
I have held off on picking out a new plant (or plants) because I was waiting for my travel schedule to slow down. I want to make sure the next one I get has a fighting chance!
I know as the temperatures drop and it starts to get darker earlier, I will really want to have green, living and breathing things in my house to remind me of warmer days.
Any suggestions on a good starter plant for a newbie like me?
10. Feature more female-owned businesses
Status: Failing miserably. When I made this resolution in January, I had high hopes of beginning a new blog series that would highlight female business owners. I knew aiming for a weekly feature was unrealistic, but I was hoping to spotlight one or two women per month.
Well, one of the biggest challenges I've faced this year is finding time to blog. As my role at work has gotten more intense, I'm working longer hours, I sometimes have to work on the weekends, and I'm traveling for client events too. The truth is that I often get home at 7:30pm or 8:00pm and I am just exhausted. I don't have an ounce of creativity left to write.
All that being said, if you know an amazing woman running her own show, please message me. I still want to do this, even if it's a post here of there to start.
11. Hire a Pop.Bop.Shop. intern
Status: Zero progress. Of all the resolutions I set for this year, this is the one that would have made the biggest difference in my day-to-day life. As I mentioned above, finding time to blog has been a real struggle this year. I love it so much, so I carve out time whenever I can, but it's really, really trying.
I was hoping to hire an intern, passionate about creating content, who would be my wing woman to brainstorm new ideas, celebrate theme days (I just missed the chance to acknowledge National Chocolate Milkshake Day), hunt for the perfect presents for my 2018 holiday gift guides, and help me plan an event to mark Pop.Bop.Shop.'s 10th anniversary, which is coming up on January 4, 2019.
Because I've been so busy at work, I never wrote a job description, I never promoted the opportunity anywhere (other than in these quarterly updates) and I just kind of dropped the ball.
If you happen to know a talented, motivated college student who is excited about writing, social media or photography, please let me know.
There you have it! My September progress report. Here's the current tally:
4 resolutions complete
#1 - Take a tropical vacation
#3 - Get back to New York City
#4 - Spend time on Cape Cod
#8 - Go treasure hunting at Brimfield Antique Show
4 resolutions in progress
#5 - Revisit my favorite downtown restaurants (only 2 left!)
#6 - See Hamilton when it comes to Boston
#9 - Become a plant lady
#10 - Feature more female-owned businesses
3 resolutions yet to be tackled
#2 - Visit Charleston, South Carolina
#7 - Tour Short Path Distillery
#11 - Hire a Pop.Bop.Shop. intern
If you would like to come along on any of my upcoming resolution adventures, leave a comment below or shoot me an email. These outings are always more fun when I can share them with readers and friends!