[Handpicked: August 2016]

Summer sure flew on by. This was my first summer in Boston, and I’d been waiting to see what would make it memorable. I wanted to get a head start on my Boston Bucket List (more to come on that) but summers are for relaxing, sometimes procrastinating, on everything. Let’s avoid our responsibilities together.

Stingray BodyArt

image1Being in one place can be soothing or extremely nerve-wracking, depends on how you look at it. I was getting restless last week, looking for something past traveling, past a new book, past staying in one place all summer. So I got my nose pierced. I can’t say exactly why, but I had a feeling now was the time for something to change. The closest I can get to explaining that feeling is that the air felt a little sticky, and I just couldn’t change that. So, I changed what I could. An added plus: the people at Stingray are so friendly, and I’m glad they looked past my nervous laughter. Even though you make this kind of decision, it’s still natural to be nervous. I don’t need to tell y’all that, I have a feeling you take more risks than I do. A few deep breaths, and I had something on my face. I knew I wanted a nose piercing for a while, so there was minimal spontaneity here, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Brattle Book Shop

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Since I work near Downtown Crossing, I’ve been passing the iconic outdoor bookshelves almost every day on my walk to work. Brattle is quite the locale, with cheap books and rare books and silly books. It’s a little heaven in the city. If you’re looking for a first edition copy of Ulysses to stare at wistfully as a broke college student, this is your place. I would recommend the books outside the most, underneath that incredible mural, because sometimes there’s a hidden gem in the $1 section that could be your new weekend read. I’d also been missing books lately; since I started working, it’s been harder and harder to find time to read. In times like these, sometimes just being near books helps. For me, it feeds the soul. I’m excited to pick up some more reads this week.

Excuse My French, Lavender Royale

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I might be cheating with this one, since it’s in NYC, but you really need to hear about it. Excuse My French is a little French restaurant on the edges of Chinatown – too charming for words. Lela and I went the night I got into New York last weekend and we took two seats at the chef’s bar. The waiter informed us that sitting at the bar meant we would get treats from the chef; exactly as he finished that sentence, the chef gave us a sample of a roasted vegetable goat cheese garlic bread. ‘Yum’ is an understatement. They also had a series of incredible cocktails and royales, dry sparkling white wines with a flavored syrup, and I picked the lavender royale. It might’ve been the star of my meal, with a lavender sprig in my drink, but I don’t think I’ve ever loved bubbly at dinner more. If this isn’t the epitome of being twenty-fun, I don’t know what is? And what better city to be 21 in than the big ol’ apple? We all know I have a love affair with New York, even though I live in Boston, so this just another reason to go back.

Painting Lounge – Midtown Studio

image5This one’s not exactly the most ‘out of your element’ you can get, but if you can’t paint like me, it sure feels like it. I like to think I can paint, but when you’re looking at a subpar version of the original painting you were supposed to make, it’s a bit of a wake up call [read: a disaster]. But it is a fun disaster, especially when you can bring a bottle of wine and sit right up front near the cute art instructor. Our priorities for this mid-afternoon activity were definitely in order, but it helped us escape from the NYC heat and we found out that the Painting Lounge was just down the street from Melissa’s apartment. A new favorite pastime? We shall see! As Lela mentioned, at least we were good at the wine.

Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

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A recommendation I got a year ago, I followed up on finally reading Crazy Rich Asians. I won’t lie, it was at the bottom of my list since I’ve been so focused on the Rory Gilmore Challenge. But, this did not disappoint. It’s the summer and everyone needs a few beach reads. China Rich Girlfriend served as a great sequel to the original and had me laughing with my Chinese boss about Kwan’s spot-on representation of literal crazy rich Asians. It’s a good laugh, and a good laugh is always worth it. {I love that the Times review calls it ‘wicked funny’ because I trust anyone who uses the word ‘wicked’ un-ironically.}

Who’s Most Likely To?

A favorite game of ours, Melissa got me the formalized version for my birthday. The premise is that you and a group of particularly close friends, in my case the French model crew, play a game to tell each other how you really feel. And I mean really. You tell everyone in the group who out of the group is most likely to… do something. Jump off a cliff? Go to hell? Break the law? Be sure to take it lightly, though, you’ll never know what you’ll hear.

The Avett Brothers, “You Are Mine”

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Breaking: if you haven’t already heard, there’s a new Avett Brothers album titled True Sadness out this summer (you should’ve heard because they’re my favorite band). Read on here for the NPR review since mine is a 10/10 but I’m a little biased. I hopped over to Coney Island for a beach-side concert this weekend that featured all of these new songs but ‘You Are Mine’ has really stuck with me. Maybe it’s the piano, the sound of the keys by the sea. Maybe it’s the upbeat sweaty performance we watched, the brothers in true form. Or Joe Kwon’s cello-dancing contribution to every piece. Either way, I was beaming all night long.

So, try something new this month. I went bigger than I usually go with the nose piercing, but it’s nice to be out of your element every now and then. Some much needed perspective, my dear friends. All the better to prepare for the fall, because as times change, so do people. And with that, I’m excited for what’s coming up next.

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