Beautiful Boston

The fact that Iowa was getting dumped on with snow helped me appreciate Boston’s beauty that much more.
IMG_2192One of the other things I love about Boston is that there is no shortage of caffeine in that city. Aside for the 300+ Dunkin Donuts alone, there are countless other little charming cafes. We spent one morning lounging at a cafe (Cafe Nero) near our hotel reading. When we IMG_2243needed a break, we went for a walk in the park. Does it get more perfect? Yes, it does. Look at my Gingerbread Latte!


Boston, we will be back!

JFK Presidential Library and Museum


IMG_2227We lucked out with great weather Friday and Saturday, so a rainy Sunday didn’t get me down. We used this day to head out of the city and visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The gorgeous building sits right on the water with views of the city skyline across the bay.

Until we were at the museum, we didn’t realize we were visiting on the anniversary of JFK’s death. Maybe that’s why it was so gloomy outside.

The exhibits and self-guided tour were organized in chronological order. Interactive video boards and real television footage helped tell the many stories along the way. Gowns and pieces of jewelry from the first lady were also displayed. The last hallway has no lighting and is painted navy blue with a handful of small television screens replaying the terrible news broadcast the world heard on November 22, 1963.

Shamrock Series: Fenway

IMG_1433The victory was ugly, but the venue was incredible

The pre-game party included a concert from the Celtic rock band Barleyjuice right outside of Fenway from 3-6 p.m. The only interruptions were for interviews with Brian Kelly’s family and injured players. This kept us entertained all afternoon until the stadium doors opened.
Fenway 2

Our seats were perfect (Thanks, Dad), and allowed us a complete view of everything. John caught this great photo of the firework display from our seats.

As for the game, I blame the green jerseys. I was hoping the team would come out of the “dugout”/lockeroom (ha!) with blue on for the second half. No luck. At least it was a still a “W”.

Go Irish!

Shamrock Series 5k

IMG_2186Call me crazy, but the Shamrock Series 5k was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip.

The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and the participants were almost all Irish fans. To top it all off, John came out of “running retirement” to join me. (The last race we ran together was the BIX7 in 2011.)

It would have pumped me up enough to have the Notre Dame fight song playing at the start, but the Shamrock Series did it right. The Notre Dame
IMG_2175-0Marching band was there to see us off, complete with the leprechaun leading the way. While most people associate the Notre Dame Fight Song with football games, it reminds me of the Notre Dame Sunburst Marathon four years ago. I was ready to run!

Past the Cheers Bar on Beacon St. IMG_2249and then down Commonwealth Avenue, the route was out-and-back. The turnaround took us close to Fenway, and the finish was back at the Boston Commons Park. This route was flat and offered gorgeous architecture. It was the perfect way to take in the city.

And if that wasn’t enough, check out the finisher’s medal.

As promised, we went straight to Dunkin Donuts for warm pastries and hot coffee as a reward.

Back to Boston

When we found out the 2015 Shamrock Series game would be in Boston, we joked about attending. Since we knew tickets were limited, we didn’t have our hearts set on it. However, being the planner I am, I asked my boss last school year if I could take a few days off around this game if we somehow obtained tickets. Good thing I did because John received a call from my dad over the summer that he had been granted tickets through the alumni ticket lottery. We were going to Boston!

IMG_2168We were lucky enough to fly out Friday morning before the snow arrived in Iowa. We arrived in Boston in time for dinner. At 47 degrees, we walked around downtown taking in the holiday lights and enjoying the “warm” weather.

Wicked Good Cupcakes from Quincy Market were dessert.

We stayed in a different part of Boston this trip, and I liked it better. Last year, we were really close to Fenway. This time, we stayed just blocks away from the Boston Commons Park. While the game was our main purpose for the trip, staying near the park made the starting line for the Shamrock Series 5k just minutes away on Saturday morning.

More on the 5k in the next post.

20 Problems Only Book Lovers Understand

I want nothing more than to curl up next to the fireplace with a soft blanket and an addicting book on chilly evenings. Unfortunately, grading is in full force, and the stack of unread books on my nightstand is a tower. Thanks to goodreads for understanding the dilemma.

DarkDarkWoodsThankfully, I have a few plane rides coming up that will allow me some uninterrupted reading time. I’m looking forward to In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware during my flights to Boston this week.

20 Problems Only Book Lovers Understand

1. “The urge to buy books even though you still have too many books to read at home.” (Rie VdWarth)

2. “Feeling sad for people who don’t really exist.” (Kimberly Moniz)


4. “Getting interrupted when you are on the last few pages of a book.” (Sobe Daya)

5. “The book hangover. When a good book finishes but you can’t start a new one because you’re still too immersed in the last book to move on.” (Meagan Lewis)

6. “Wanting every book in a library section but knowing it is impossible to read all of them.” (Richard Azia)

7. “Waiting so long for a sequel that you forget what happened in the first book.” (Jessica Luong)

8. “When you’re lying in bed and it’s all cold in your room—and the hand holding the book freezes to death, even though the rest of you is warm under the blankets.” (Alina Marie Swan)

9. “Finishing a book and having to wait a whole year to read the next in the series.” (Sarah Scanion)

10. “Trying to keep the book dry while reading in the bath.” (Patricia Boland)

11. “Ordering a book online and getting the book with the movie cover. A book with a movie cover just doesn’t feel the same.” (Anna RN)

12. “Not being able to read and eat lunch at the same time because you don’t have a third arm.” (Bernadette)

13. “When someone borrows your book and doesn’t return it for ages!” (Pallavi B)

14. “Deciding. Which. Book. To. Read. First.” (Monique Balsamo)

15. “Getting to a ‘can’t stop reading’ spot in the book and it’s 3:00am.” (Joan Chesley)

16. “When you have a book with you, but it’s not the one you wanted to read right then.” (Virginia Osborne)

17. “Being forced to stop reading by other obligations, but choosing to ignore those obligations. Then getting in trouble.” (Feel Like Fangirling)

18. “Packing for a trip and never being able to bring enough books.” (Erika Gallion)

19. “Having a book fall on your face because you’re reading on your back while holding the book up.” (Manuel Cedillo)

20. And the ultimate book lovers’ dilemma: “So many books, so little time.” (Navy Reading)

Salted Caramel Blondies

IMG_2006You can’t go wrong with cookie dough and caramel.

This recipe makes a 9×9 pan, which seems perfectly acceptable for two people to devour. Right?

(Adapted recipe from

Preheat 350 degrees

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Half a bag of Kraft Caramel Chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, salt, and flour.

Mix in (most of the) caramel chips. These unwrapped caramel baking chips are such a time saver compared to unwrapping and cutting up pieces of carmel.

Bake 20 minutes

Once cooked (don’t overcook!), melt some of the caramel chips in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Cover the blondies with a coat of sweet caramel.

John enjoyed these with vanilla ice cream. I plan to make these again soon.