On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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Today: What to pack for three days in Maine.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]It’s very simple, really.

Three bathing suits.  Two novels (one should have a lobster on the dust jacket).  One pair of peace moccasins.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your summer getaway essentials?


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Today: Healthy Living Summit 2012.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]If you’re planning to attend Healthy Living Summit 2012 in Cambridge (which is just across the Charles from Boston, yes, but ’tis not Boston), to quote Outasight,  tonight is the night is the night.  To register, that is.  Registration opens at 8:00 PM EST.  Set an alarm.  Set two alarms.  Tickets for last year’s HLS sold out in twenty minutes flat.

To register or learn more about the event, please visit the Healthy Living Summit website.

[Photo source, before I put words into Outasight’s mouth]

I am very excited that HLS is returning to my neck of the woods, and hope that many of you will be able to join us for what I am sure will be a fun, informative, and engaging weekend.  As part of the planning team, I am looking forward to pulling together a great cocktail party (a specialty of mine, if there ever was one), connecting attendees with opportunities to experience the best of Boston (and Cambridge), and supporting those involved in organizing, speaking, and presenting throughout the weekend.

I attended my first Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia and found the weekend provided a great opportunity to learn from peers and experts, explore the city, and spend time with friends.  Sound like a good time?  Join us this year!

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you traveling at all this summer?  Where to?


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Today: Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]For a casual country music fan living squarely in the North, the songs I like the most make the least amount of sense.  I had no idea what being way down yonder on the Chattahoochee meant until this week, when I drove across the Chattahoochee for a meeting.  Turns out it’s a river.  I didn’t burn any rubber, but I did drive the wrong way on a one way street in my rental car.  So there’s that.

In the last 36 hours, I’ve spent 16 hours in Tennessee, 7 hours in Georgia, and a few hours in airports in Michigan and Illinois.  I spoke to a group of eighth graders at a middle school assembly, ate one of the best salads of my life (at a steakhouse, naturally), slept in Chattanooga’s most haunted hotel, was told to have a “blessed day” by a TSA agent, and made a stop at the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest two day battle on my way to the airport.

By the time I made it back to the aforementioned hotbed of paranormal activity, the Sheraton Read House,  on Tuesday night, most of the local shops and attractions had closed, so I set my alarm extra early to have time to explore before my flight took off the next morning.  I did manage to get decent night’s sleep, despite tossing and turning and wondering if that noise was a…. no…. probably not.

I arrived at the Chichamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park just as the visitor center was opening this morning.  The rangers on duty handed me a map and instructions for the park’s cell phone tour (a free service, which offers a lesson at each stop along the seven mile route), before walking me through the visitor center exhibits.  I am fairly certain I was their first customer of the day, hence the special treatment.  Then again, people are much friendlier down south.  It’s both lovely and unnerving.

I haven’t taken a US history class since my sophomore year in high school, but as I stepped onto the battlefield and climbed the steps to the top of Wilder Tower, I could feel all those lessons coming to life.

There was a quote on the wall of the visitor center that described the carnage of the battle and the indecency of war.  I wish I had copied it down, because the Google can’t seem to track it down.  Regardless, I kept thinking about it as I moved along the tour.

As beautiful as the landscape was, and as well preserved as the area is, being there was overwhelmingly sad.  I am not sure why that surprised me.  I can be such a dingbat sometimes.  The slow moving fog only added to the gravity of it all.

At nearly every stop along the route, deer danced through the high grass, and grazed along the edge of the path.  They looked so graceful and serene, so opposite the bloodshed being described on the audio tour.

I’m glad I got to be there this morning.  I had plenty to think about on my way back to Boston (which was helpful, because I needed a distraction from the woman behind me who wouldn’t stop talking about bunions).

If I could play the guitar, I’d be writing my own country song right now.  It would be about the perils of wearing heels on one of those little planes, the kind that require you to exit down a narrow stairway to the tarmac.  Or maybe it’d be about how travel is great and all, but nothing beats coming home.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited this year?


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Today: Make room for mini toiletries.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]This time of year, I often find myself living out of a weekender bag.  They have slightly less room than a suitcase and are more apt to cut off blood flow to your forearm while you dash through the gate.  They also pose a higher risk of crashing from the overhead bin during the post-flight rush, and if they’re going to fall on anyone, he or she is guaranteed to be the most salty passenger on the plane.  I write from experience.

Trust me, that’s never a fun apology to make.  Especially when you have a connecting flight to catch.

In past years, it’s been work trips to Houston or New York, bridal showers on the South Shore or Long Island, a drive up to Maine, or a weekend at the Cape.  For something new and different, I’m headed to rural Georgia by way of Detroit and an evening Tennessee.  Not exactly what I would call a direct route.  Life is a lot of things, but fortunately, it’s rarely boring.

After packing a bunch of stuff I didn’t use, eat, or appreciate (namely a bag of extra socks and non-running clothes, a box of graham crackers, and approximately 48 magazines) for our Reach the Beach adventure, I am making a concerted effort change my over-packing ways (while not giving the airlines a single dime over my ticket fare… stickin’ it to the Man since 1982… sort of).

I am determined to not check a bag.

For my plan to be successful, I will need to arrive at my final destination looking lovely and work appropriate, portion out toiletries to meet TSA requirements (allowing me to smell relatively good), maintain possession of various business materials, and have something to wear for the return flight that isn’t yoga pants.

Clark says, “Pants are for fools.”

Once the necessities are packed, I am hoping to have room for running sneaks, reading material, and security checkpoint-friendly food.  Knowing myself, and the inevitable panic that will set in three minutes before my cab arrives, I will likely use up every scrap of room in that bag (you never know when you might need to play a game of Taboo… by yourself… in your hotel room), only to exceed the size or weight limits.  Thereby needing to check the damn bag.

I’ve made myself two lists this time.  The people you really want at your wedding stuff I need, and the stuff it would be nice to have with me on my whirlwind tour of (a very small part of) the South.  An A and B list, if you will.  The A list has things like underwear and toothpaste on it.  The B list has things like my fiance’s sweatpants, a framed photo of my dog, and my entire nail polish collection on it.

I think it’s going to be a long night.

Also On Tap for Today:

What items are always on your packing ‘A’ list?


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Today: The Paparazzi Club goes to Portsmouth.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]As nine of us sat down for dinner at Portsmouth’s Black Trumpet, cameras were drawn from pockets and handbags and given prominent spots at the table.  “Is this a paparazzi club?” our waiter asked.  Sort of, if you consider artfully arranged plates of food, cute antique shops, and rustic bridges to be celebrities.  (Side note: If we were to form a paparazzi club, can our theme song could be modeled after that of The Babysitters Club?  Please.)

A day that had all the makings of a CSI episode (namely, traveling across state lines with people I met on the internet, complete with a dying iPhone battery) proved to be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday in New England.

Though I like New Hampshire far more than I like Rhode Island (which isn’t saying much, sorry), it has never held much allure for me.  I loved our family trips to the White Mountains to ski, and once even summit-ed one of those mountains (and stayed awake all night, convinced I’d encounter a mountain lion or serial killer… or both).  These days, New Hampshire seems like a good way to get to Maine.  Or, in an emergency, to the border.  I am pleased to report there is much more to New Hampshire than a lack of helmet laws, a now-defunct Man in the Mountain, and a penchant for living free (or, you know, dying).

From bustling sidewalks to charming seaside vistas, Portsmouth was the perfect day trip from Boston, made only more perfect by the company (Elina, Jen, Michelle, Bridget, Meghan, Bianca, Megan, Daisy, and Emily).  Emily, Megan, Bridget and Daisy all have ties to the area– they had great suggestions for places to eat, grab coffee, shop and explore.

We started the day with lunch at the Cataqua Public House and a tour of the Red Hook Brewery.  We ordered samplers of Red Hook’s brews (never fear, I only had a few sips of each… I was driving, after all) and appetizers to share.  The fried artichoke hearts and sweet potato fries were especially good.

After plenty of snacking and lots of catching up, we made our way over to the brewery’s store, where the tour would begin.  Having toured the Dogfish Head not too long ago, I sort of knew where beer comes from, but looked forward to touring Red Hook.  Our guide was quite a character (in the best possible way), but rather than actually tour the facility, we went up to a single room overlooking the the brewery floor.  It was a bit stuffy up there, so I ducked out early to get some fresh air (I make a point to not faint whenever possible).

We were soon on our way to downtown Portland, where we enjoyed tea, treats and people watching at Breaking New Grounds.  We stopped into Stonewall Kitchen and several other shops and took in the view from a waterfront park.  Elina and I ducked into Three Graces Gallery and fell in love with Denise Duong’s whimsical paintings.

By the time 5:30 rolled around, we were all eager to sit down for dinner.  We had the back wall of The Black Trumpet to ourselves, and settled in at copper topped tables with glasses on sangria in one hand, and cameras in the other.  While most of the girls ordered from the Restaurant Week menu, I chose a salad and one of the “medium dishes,” a squash ring potato latke with sage quark and candied crabapples.  While the menu was quite varied, there were few vegetarian options.  Both the salad and latke we good, but nothing extraordinary.  The ambiance, sangria, and delightful company more than made up for that, though.

We are so lucky in Boston to have such a warm, welcoming community of bloggers.  To be able to venture outside of the city with this group of ladies was a real gift.  By the time I pulled into my driveway in Southie, I had a full stomach, a much evolved appreciation for the Granite State and a smile on my face.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite day trip?


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Today: The waiting game.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I am pretty sure I have packed any and everything I could possibly need for this weekend.  And then some.  I’ve looked at the course map more times than I can count, and Googled “how to get to the Staten Island ferry” more times than I should admit (this is what happens when someone who is easily distracted multitasks). I stuck to my training plan over the past 18 weeks.  I got plenty of extra rest this week.  I have said my prayers.  My iPod is loaded up with Michael Jackson, Prince, and the Boss (though, from what I hear, New York will provide its own soundtrack).  There are two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches tucked into our mini-fridge.

And now, as I sit here on my hotel bed waiting for a bowl of plain pasta and six bottles of water to arrive, with a view of the sun setting over the Hudson, all that’s left to do is wait.  When I wake up tomorrow, however, all that will be left to do is run, baby, run.  Best of luck, fellow runners!

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you running or spectating tomorrow?  I’ll keep an eye out for you!


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Today: In a New York minute.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]One of my favorite things about New York is the undeniable character of its many neighborhoods.  Each is different, and it seems, inhabited by its own sort of people.  I spent the weekend visiting my friend Meg, enjoying a practically perfect two days in the city.  Having spent so many weekends at her Upper East Side apartment when we were younger (and better equipped to drink Orangina cocktails at O’Flanagans until 4 in the morning), I was happy to finally make the trip down to see her not-so-new-anymore place in Brooklyn.

As I stepped out of the taxi at her street corner in Williamsburg, I was instantly charmed.  I loved every minute of it.

Except for the minute during which a fellow yoga class participant peeled off his jeans in the lobby of Go Yoga, primed to down-dog in boxer briefs (holey ones, at that) and a hitched up flannel shirt.  Yes, really.  Meg and I stopped in for what was supposed to be a foundations class, but turned out to be  a class of die-hard regulars, some of whom may have invented yoga.  Or at least pretended to.  Despite being a bit more challenging than expected, it was a great class.  The instructor seemed very kind, and offered gentle corrections and modifications.  She massaged my back a little at one point, which was both welcomed and sort of weird.  I decided to embrace it.  Sort of.  If nothing else, it was a nice distraction from the underoos.

Earlier in the day, Meg and I headed over to the West Side to do something I haven’t done in, oh, fifteen years: ride a bike.  When Meg suggested renting from The Waterfront Bicycle Shop earlier in the week, I was both excited and terrified.  Would riding a bike be just like, well, riding a bike?  After stashing my giant Michael Kors in the basket and climbing onto the seat, I awkwardly fumbled for the pedals and pushed off.  It was a wobbly start, at best.  As we approached a stop sign ahead, I realized I didn’t remember how to break.  Gone are the days of back pedaling.

It didn’t take long to get into the rhythm of things, though, and soon I was smiling like a cheeseball, cruising along the Hudson River.  From high atop my bike seat (serious question– are those thing supposed to hurt?), I watched soccer games unfold, skyscrapers fly by, runners enjoy their Saturday long runs, and caught a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty on my right and Ground Zero on my left.  I was reminded that in a New York minute, as the song goes, anything can change.

After an hour’s ride (for a bargain: $11, including the awesome basket), Meg and I strolled through the West Village, looking for a place to grab a bite to eat.  We quickly settled on Spasso, located on a corner perfect for people watching.  I snacked on grilled bread with house-made ricotta, drizzled with honey and topped with shaved almonds.  It was divine, as was the weather.  To be eating outside in late October is really a gift from the above, likely sent to make up for underwear yoga man.

Just as our tea and coffee arrived, we heard a man yell “Learn to drive,” and looked up to see that he was yelling at… a student driver.  Brilliant.  I really do love New York.  And New Yorkers even more so.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite New York ‘hood?