Home Sweet Home

Just because I haven’t been writing on here as frequently this month doesn’t mean that I haven’t been following through with my #30daysofwriting challenge. I’ve missed a day here and there, but have still been writing a ton—it just isn’t necessarily the kind of writing that you share (read: journal entires and book reports). I’ve been home in Boston and on the Cape for the past few days though, and in my journal I started a list highlighting my favorite moments of the trip, which I realized would be perfectly sharable for a blog post. So here goes, a list of things I’ve loved about this trip.

  • Breakfast at Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown right when we got in on Friday morning.
  • Taking a long walk around Castle Island with my good friend Amanda and spending the day catching up over mate and fresh juice from Bee’s Knees Supply Company in Fort Point.
  • Getting pizza and wine with some of my favorite friends at one of my favorite spots, Pizzeria Regina.
  • Catching a class at Underground Studios with my teacher Ben on Saturday morning.
  • Having an epic 3.5 hour brunch with some wonderful old friends at Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant in Southie.
  • Checking out the incredible Nick Cave show at the ICA.
  • Stopping by Grammy’s in Brockton and eating my mom’s famous stuffed shells with my family.
  • Going out to breakfast with Dan and my brother at one of my favorite high school spots: Betsy’s Diner in Falmouth
  • Getting a homemade ice cream sandwich at Par-Tee Freeze, my Aunt and Uncle’s ice cream shop, and visiting with one of my best childhood friends Amy, who’s adorably pregnant.
  • Checking out a funny, 300 sq ft tiny house that’s for sale in my home town at the perfect time of day (see photo below).
  • Taking a nice, long beach walk with Dan and my parents this morning and discovering a cluster of abandoned beach chairs in the dunes that we proceeded to use for a little Spring sunbathing.

And we still have a whole day left. How sweet home really is ❤

Brunch with this fine looking bunch

Brunch with this fine looking bunch

My dream house

My dream house

My Dad's first selfie

My Dad’s first selfie, or “salty” as he called it

360 degrees of beauty

Ocean all around

My loot from the beach

My loot from the beach


Lent Vacation: Weeks 2 & 3


I thought I’d take a little break from my lent vacation to say hello and catch up before I disappear into the great moving abyss of 2013 (T-Minus 10 days, holy…). Here’s what’s been happening over in my world since I last wrote:

  • I had an awesome time at lululemon’s leadership conference in Vancouver last week. I met tons of amazing ladies and lads of luon from all over, listened to some pretty incredible guest speakers, like davidji and Scott Harrison of Charity Water to name a few, hashed out what my top 5 core values are with the help of my sweet new deck of value cards (for the record they’re: adventure, freedom, creativity, simplicity, and connection), figured out what my “Winning Formula” is (which probably means something totally different than you think it does), and ate lots of delicious local Vancouver-fare while taking in the beautiful views of the water and the mountains—which just so happen to be situated right next to each other. Amazing, eh? You’re a pretty city Vancouver, I’ll be back.
  • After my Canadian adventure, I took the Greyhound down to Seattle where I reunited with my long-lost west coast cousins for some seafood on the pier and some majorly-overdue catch-up and family time. It was so great to see them—and Seattle too, which I had never been to before. I’ll be back for you too, Seattle, you pretty little city, you…
  • Then my amazing cousins were gracious enough to drive me all the way down to Portland, Oregon so I could spend the last leg of my trip visiting one my favorite ladies, Miss Jess Powers (you may remember her from this memory). I had the best time on the beautiful farm she runs with her main-farm-man Brian, and I spent the weekend in good company, slowing down, soaking it all in, and taking a much needed pause—not to mention eating some of the best meals I’ve had all summer. Talk about farm to table…

And now I’m back on the east coast, keeping plenty busy wrapping things up at work, getting psyched about my new store (how awesome is this video they made btw?), planning and packing for the move, making the rounds to visit friends and loved ones, and filling all the moments in between watching this kitten live stream. Thank God for kittens, right?

So that’s what’s going on over here friends. I’ll update as much as I can over the next few weeks, but stay tuned to Twitter and Instagram for more frequent updates between posting.

I’ll leave you with a few shots from my trip:

Vancouver looks a little bit like this...

Vancouver looks a little bit like this…

The leadership conference in a  nutshell

The leadership conference in a nutshell

Pretty, pretty Seattle

You’re a fine looking city, Seattle

This is what greeted me at Working Hands Farm

This is what greeted me at Working Hands Farm

Floatin' down the Yamhill River...

Floatin’ down the Yamhill River…







Readers’ Memories: Week 2

This week’s reader memory comes from Lee-Ann Dyke from Ontario, Canada: 

I am from a family with four children. Me being the oldest with two younger sisters and a younger brother. With four children, I’m sure my parents thought jet-setting family vacations were a little impractical, but they still made sure that we had something absolutely fun to look forward to every summer. We were from the city so cottaging was our thing! Every summer since the time I was about three or four, we would pick a cottage or resort and rent anywhere from one to four weeks at a time.

The first one we went to for a few years was called Elmhirst’s Resort in little Keene, Ontario. There was so much to do there! There was a dock, a fishing boat, the lake, and an indoor swimming pool with a sauna and hot tub. There was a petting zoo, a park, even a store where we were allowed to spend our allowance on treats!

It became a tradition for my sister and I to start planning our time there at least a week in advance. We would make lists and schedules just to make sure that we had every day planned and that we could fit it all in. On the first day, we’ll play on the teeter totter at 9am, swings at 10, fishing at 11—with hotdogs for bait. We planned every day like that and it was so exciting to finally get there and put our plans into place. It was a wonderful memory and I cherish those moments dearly.

The best part is that now my sister has two daughters of her own. They are 4 1/2 and 2 and had their first big family vacation this spring. My sister couldn’t wait to tell me how her oldest daughter was doing all the same things we did! She wanted to plan every day and rearrange the schedule over and over—just so excited to make sure—just like we did, that she fit it all in.

So the story is really about how two generations of memories can come together. My own that I cherish dearly, and my nieces’ as they are also wonderfully created, almost with the purpose of reminding us how special the moments are.

…Pool at 1:30?  🙂

Got a favorite memory you’d like to share? The offer still stands, send your memories to 12monthsoflent@gmail.com

Readers’ Memories: Week 1

I’m very excited to share the first of my favorite memory posts from reader submissions, which I’ll be posting every Friday this month. The first 2 come from my 2 best friends from college: Jocelyn, my Italy buddy from Memory #2, and Amanda, my partner in karaoke crime. I love these 2 ladies to pieces and am so happy to still be close with them, and to have them share their favorite memories with me. I have to say too, I absolutely LOVED reading these stories (even the one that wasn’t about me, I swear), and it’s been amazing to have people share their favorite life memories with me. Keep ’em comin’ everyone!

Favorite Memory from Jocelyn Gomes, Boston, MA: Oliver

Growing up, my family (along with much of our extended family) spent our summers at Camp Dennen, on Hedges Pond in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I have so many wonderful memories of summers spent swimming in the pond, hiking and collecting blueberries for pancakes, 4th of July field games, going to the Snack Bar at the “Rec” Center, camp-wide Pig Roasts, and rainbow campfires—my Ti Pat would throw a copper pipe covered with a piece of garden hose into the fire, and the flames would change color as the hose-covered pipe burned.

Two of the people that you would see every summer at Camp Dennen were Rick and Penny, along with their dog, Muffy. She was a white Shih Tzu, and one summer, when I was about 11, I found out that Muffy was expecting puppies. Unbeknownst to my parents, and being the precocious child I was, I asked Penny point-blank if I could have one of Muffy’s puppies. I remember being told that Shih Tzu litters are usually very small, maybe 2 or 3 puppies at most, and that Muffy’s puppies had already been promised to other people. But, if Muffy had more than 3 puppies, I could have one! As summer wound to a close, my family packed up, and headed back home. A new school year began, months went by, and my dream of having a dog began to fade.

I was not privy to what happened next; but, as my parents tell it, they received an out-of-the-blue phone call from Penny. Apparently, Muffy had a litter of 6 puppies (!) and she was calling to let my parents know that we could come pick one out! My parents were surprised (no doubt, as I had not told them of my previous conversation with Penny) but decided that maybe the time was right for us to get a dog. After all, I had gone to an awful lot of trouble to arrange this. However, what they told my brother and sisters and I was that we were only driving to Rick and Penny’s to visit Muffy and her puppies. One of my favorite memories, and probably one of the Top 5 Greatest Moments of My Life, is the moment my Dad turned to us, as we sat in Rick and Penny’s living room, each cuddling or playing with a puppy, and casually asked, “Which one are we going to take home?” I distinctly remember burrowing my face into the fur of the puppy that had cuddled itself around my neck, and bursting into tears. Not dainty childlike tears of joy. Sobs. I am tearing up now, just thinking about it! It was a completely perfect moment of childhood wish fulfillment.

The puppy I had been cuddling (and using to mop up my tears) came home with us that day. We named him Oliver, and we had 6 wonderful years with him.

This memory, in particular, is one of my favorites, because it’s not only the (awesome) story of the day my family got a dog. It is one example, among many, of how incredibly loving my parents were and are, every single day, and what a lucky kid I was.


Favorite Memory from Amanda Eckhardt, Providence, RI: Karaoke at Flann O’Briens

There are so many incredible memories that we’ve shared together—so many that it’s really, truly, incredibly difficult for me to choose just one! After all, we did spend our college years together…In the dorms we first lived down the hall from one another, then next door to each other, and then later, when we moved off campus we lived practically across the street from each other. Everyone knows that your friends during your college years become like your family away from home. Through mixed feelings of intense stress from school, maybe a little homesickness, and excitement you end up cementing really strong bonds with this new little family. With that said, not everyone goes to art school. You’d think that with the crazy mixed bag of friendly, awkward, art kid weirdos, that surely there would be plenty of potential kindred spirits hidden in the mix. And believe me, I love eccentricity. Truth be told, I’ve been magnetically drawn to characters my entire life. But after finding the twelfth Polaroid self portrait of your roommate with a fake bloody nose taped to your bathroom mirror after excusing yourself from yet another viewing of Hedwig and the Angry Inch next door, you find yourself nearly knocking that kid off his unicycle in the hallway as you run…Cue Danne Dzenawagis.

I think I probably knew from the moment I accidentally barged into your room that first semester, finding you blasting “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin and drinking tea on your couch at midnight on a Friday. If not then, I DEFINITELY knew by the time we were begging our way into DDD’s under age just to watch karaoke (OK and maybe sneak a beer or two in the bathroom)…We both shared an appreciation for cheesy, simple, comforting, and nostalgic hits from our parents’ youth. By the time we found ourselves at Flann O’Brien’s together for karaoke for the first time, you were already a pro. I, on the other hand, was terrified. I had never sung in front of people that way before. Lets be clear. I LOVE to sing. But. I’m paralyzingly shy.

That night we decided to sing a favorite: “Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac. We chose to do it as a duet and switch off parts. All of our friends were there in the crowd (and tending bar) plus tons of people we didn’t know. Maybe it was the high we were feeling from performing, or maybe it was the gin and tonics, whatever it was, in that moment it was like we were magic and we sounded so incredible together! When we reached the chorus I chose the harmony and something crazy happened. The whole room lost control. It was like an out of body experience. I think at one point both of us dropped to our knees. When we finished people we didn’t know we’re coming up to us and congratulating us. It was truly a moment out of a movie and something I’ll always remember. Only maybe in my memory there is confetti raining down on us as we’re lifted onto shoulders and paraded down Tremont Street. We felt invincible.

Damanda livin it up