Triplet Reunion

Growing up Sophie, Julie and I were often thought to be triplets. Maybe we looked alike, but it was probably because we did everything together. From endless sleepovers to all the sports, we were inseparable. I hadn’t seen Sophie in about a year and a half and even then it was only for a few hours so this trip was much needed.

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Julie and I arrived in San Francisco around 10:30 am on Friday. Sophie, Walker, and Kaia (their dog) picked us up and we began on our itinerary (I seriously loved that their was an itinerary). First up was a driving tour of the city outlining some of the major tourist spots before we began our trek out to Carmel. We spent the car ride sleeping (Julie) and catching up on life.

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Once in Carmel we went to a cantina for dinner since this girl was starving. I was trying to adapt to local time by eating at “normal” times and not sleeping until “bedtime.” The night consisted of many margaritas, some skinny and some not, chips, some covered in cheese and some not, and a quesadilla. Julie and Walker chatted away while Sophie and I snuggled up and talked in our booth. She called me out on always being so hard on myself, but said it in the nicest way possible. It broke my heart a little that someone who cares about me that much lives so far away, but ultimately I feel just lucky to have her in my life. It’s really eye-opening when someone says something that you’ve always felt, but never truly acknowledged.

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The next morning this girl was feeling a little sick from exhaustion, dehydration, and the margaritas combined. While Julie and Walker went running (I love that Walker is comfortable spending time alone with us), Sophie and I did a BeachBody workout outside. It was sunny and in the 40s so we got outside ASAP. I only survived 15 minutes before the nausea kicked in, but a homemade breakfast and latte helped settle my stomach.

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Our adventure that day started with a hike along the coastline. It rained while hiking, but it was a light rain that wasn’t too cold so I didn’t mind at all. The views were spectacular and there were even some seals. Unfortunately I am near sighted and don’t have prescription sunglasses so I couldn’t see them…time to upgrade.

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After showering we walked along the beach into town. Kaia went CRAZY on the beach with the other dogs and I was absolutely mesmerized by the waves. They were huge and the white caps were beautiful against the teal ocean. Walker said the waves die down in the summer, but I could sit there and watch/listen to them all day long. The road along the beach is also splattered with unreal houses, all of which are so unique and even more expensive than the last. I felt so lucky to even walk on that street and no, I didn’t see any celebrities.

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Carmel is a little gem. We wandered through town looking at the shops and various restaurants before stopping for some ramen and a wine tasting. While sipping on some vino Julie, Sophie and Walker reminisced about their trip to Napa and we began planning my personal trip to Napa with them. Walker has a superb taste for wine so I will go wherever he goes.

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Dinner was at a new brewery in town called Yeast of Eden. We hung out at the bar trying some beers before being seated. We were hangry (well, Walker and I were) by the time we got to the table so we had our orders ready to go. The tacos were amazing and the cauliflower entree was decent, but a bit spicy. While we took a lot of time deciding on a place for dinner, I ultimately didn’t care about the spot because it for once wasn’t about the food, but rather the people. Post dinner we snuggled up with blankets, wine, and a movie, First Man. I put myself to bed mid movie because I was exhausted.

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Sunday morning began with a run with Julie. She is the only person who can convince me to go for a run. I love the alone time with her despite my ongoing complaining. It’s on our runs where we have our most heartfelt conversations it seems. Also, I knew that this would be my last moment to view that view.

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We made it four miles before packing up and heading to a French bakery for breakfast to fuel our drive down Big Sur. All the bridges along here were built in the 1930s after the depression and are still sturdy and gorgeous. One of the things I love most about trips is learning the history and boy did Sophie and Walker deliver.

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To break up our drive back to San Francisco we stopped at In-N-Out Burger where Walker ordered the specials for us newbies. Double Double Animal Style for me with a few fries. I don’t eat fast food burgers often, but man that was worth it.

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Back in San Francisco we continued our tour on foot through Chinatown and onto El Barcadero. The market in the old ferry building is maybe my favorite place ever. I bought a cookbook at a cute little shop and then some chocolate and a magnet at a local food store (I am not telling you how much money I spent on chocolate). I wanted to buy so many things but I should start saving money and I only had so much space in my carry-on bags.

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Every photogenic opportunity we had we took advantage of. Thanks to our personal photographer, Walker Harden.

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Back at their apartment, we got to cooking and watching the Grammy’s AT 5 PM!! I need to live on the West Coast just so I can finish awards shows and big sporting events (like the Super Bowl). Walker spoiled us with some delicious wine yet again. He cooked chicken piccata while I cooked risotto in their cozy kitchen. The risotto came out to be like four pounds so they’re probably still eating it as they read this a week later. We snuggled on the couch for the rest of the evening and chatted about old friends/acquaintences and what they’re up to as well as our own personal aspirations and goals in life. Who else but your best friend do you get into the deep stuff with?

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Before the plane ride on Monday we got in a few more breathtaking views a la Walker. By this time Julie and I were exhausted and anxious (okay, only me) so we weren’t the most talkative. So a big thank you to Walker for putting up with us. And a big thank you to Sophia for having us over to her office for lunch. So inspired to see how far she and Walker have gone with their careers.

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All in all, this was a perfect trip. I originally thought it would be too short, but when visiting friends who have separate lives and work to do, it makes sense to do a long weekend. Sophie and Walker were extremely generous in showing us their life in the city, but also treating us to a special trip to Carmel, that I probably would not have been able to experience without them. We’ve grown up a lot and we’ve grown apart physically, but we’ve definitely grown closer mentally and I never would have thought that to be possible. I love Sophia, my triplet, and I also love her life with Walker and Kaia in San Francisco. I’m going to be visiting again you two, thank you for everything. And a big thank you to Julie for traveling with me even though I’m not the best flyer.

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San Fran FOOD

My trips always have a food focus. While it certainly wasn’t the main focus of this trip (seeing my childhood BFF was), it certainly impacted some of our decisions.  

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San Francisco has so many restaurants! So many that I frequently wondered how they all stay in business. There is an impressive variety of cuisines and ambiance throughout the food scene, something that could be seen as overwhelming to some but excited to others (aka me). I also loved the abundance of quick bite restaurants. You know, the places you can eat at, but you order at the counter. In Boston that’s like Sweetgreen, Dig Inn, Honeygrow, etc. In San Fran we went to Soufla, which blew this dietitian’s mind.  There are three (or four) main entrees that you can either order as a sandwich or a salad. There are also fries and plain frozen (Greek) yogurt that you can dress up depending on your preference. I went with the pork salad. It was a mix of kale and other greens with pickled onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and a yogurt dressing. For dessert we shared an olive oil and sea salt frozen yogurt and a baklava frozen yogurt. My next idea is to freeze plain Greek yogurt and top with my own version of olive oil and sea salt.

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That night we stopped at a cantina in Carmel since the traffic delayed us a bit. I ordered a round of skinny margaritas and guacamole and chips to be enjoyed by the fireplace. Now, let me be honest, I definitely rolled my eyes ordering skinny margaritas, but for a girl who prefers tart margaritas to sweet margaritas this was PERFECTION. I just wish they called in a tart margarita or literally anything else besides skinny. We shared a quesadilla and nachos for dinner in addition to the guacamole and extra chips. This girl can’t say no to nachos.

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Breakfast was epic bagel sandwiches a la Sophie and Walker while I laid on the rug trying not to be sick (it happens). I think being thirsty (from the plane), being tired (from the travel and time change), and being excited created a margarita monster the night before. The bagels sandwiches made of egg, sausage, avocado, cheese, and a special sauce were epic and cured my stomach woes.

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Lunch was random ramen at a little spot in Carmel since hunger hit quickly without warning. I went with the tofu and seaweed Ramen before hitting up a wine tasting.

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Dinner was at a new brewery in Carmel called Yeast of Eden. We hung out at the bar waiting for our table and tried some half pours. I love when placed do half pours so you can try multiple and don’t need to commit. Once our table was ready Walker and I were hangry like never before seen. We had our meals decided before being seated, starting with an appetizer of three different kinds of street tacos. I thoroughly enjoyed the mushroom asada tacos because you know how I feel about funghi. There were also carnitas and baja fish tacos shared amongst the table. For entrees Julie and Walker went with the burger while Sophie and I each got the Asian cauliflower dish. It was flavorful for sure but the amount of salt in the sauce was overwhelming. The restaurant/brewery is a month old so I would offer some suggestions for that dish if needed, but it was definitely interesting!

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On our way out of Carmel the next day we went to a French bakery for coffee and treats, such a hidden gem! The other three split some pastries while I enjoyed a salmon and spinach quiche since my body was craving savory over sweet.

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Lunch that day was an experience to say the least. My very first time at In-N-Out Burger! Walker is a pro and ordered for the table. Double Double Animal Style for me, please. The double patty and the extra sauce really set this burger above other fast food burgers (not that I have that much experience). I’ve never been to Shake Shack or Five Guys and it’s been forever since I’ve been to a Wendy’s, Burger King, or McDonalds (and likely won’t return), but this burger was well worth the hype and the saturated fat.

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Dinner Sunday night was made in the cutest kitchen ever. It all started with burata toast with hazelnuts, honey, and olive oil. I was then in charge of the risotto while Walker made roasted asparagus and chicken piccata. He also chose some impeccable wine for the occasion, drank while watching the Grammy’s. I’m working on drinking with or after meals rather than before since then I can enjoy the eating experience in full. It’s a work in progress and I will keep you posted.

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Our last day we enjoyed coffee from Peet’s, an apple fritter from Bob’s Donuts, and lunch at Sophie’s office, Collective Health. I am so IMPRESSED with their health mission and the sustainability in the city. If only ever place could be as progressive when it comes to composting.

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I’m grateful that I can go on trips and enjoy all the food without worrying or feeling restricted or overly full (except for that first night). I used to go wild on vacations because it was a time to splurge and now vacations are just an extension of a normal day, just in a different city.

Weekends

A lot of people either love weekends because they can break off from their diet or fear weekends because of the many temptations. But what if we just went into the weekend with an open mind. We can try to eat balanced meals, but if something else comes up and we eat fried food, that’s okay too. Lifestyle changes are about making the majority of your days more balanced and full of fruits and vegetables, but certainly not every day.

Last week I got all my workouts in and ate balanced meals. Even when I went out to eat on Wednesday with a friend I took half of my pasta home. Turns out it’s super fun having leftovers to look forward to the next day. What I’m here to say is, usually weekends are when you don’t follow a plan or your typical routine. Therefore, things come up and food tempts you and it’s easier to get caught in the moment.

Friday, Sarah and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts First Friday event. We had a drink before heading to the museum where we had another {overpriced} drink while coloring and exploring the Ansel Adams exhibit. Unfortunately the food choices were limited and also overpriced so we decided to get food after the exhibit. By the time we sat down at the bar it was probably 10 pm and we both just needed food. Greasy bar food it was: fried cauliflower, truffle fries, and crab spinach dip. We even ended the night with a brownie. Of course I didn’t feel great the next day, but I know that alcohol, waiting too long to eat, and being tired were all working against me. There’s also this legit thing known as decision fatigue.

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Saturday morning I woke up tired and bloated but ran to Turnstyle (literally ran) to meet Maggie for a spin class. It felt so good to get up and work out after a night of greasy food and alcohol. Of course I also had drinking plans after spin and met Molly and Christine at Trillium in Seaport. We had a few sour beers and all got the Brewer’s grain bowl for a healthier option. My body craved whole foods and this bowl had farro, sunflower seeds, pickled vegetables, and tofu. My body was happy.

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Sunday I woke up after sleeping 14 hours. WHO AM I? I started the day with oatmeal and then grabbed coffee at my favorite coffee shop ever. I met my cousin, Meredith, downtown for a movie and brought her a grilled cheese and myself chicken salad and roasted vegetables. I may be drinking a beer while I type this (and watch the Super Bowl) but it’s the Super Bowl and I wanted a cold Conehead.

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Looking back as I type this, I realize that most of my food choices were with the intent to fuel my body with whole foods. I chose to bring my snacks to the movies. I chose the wholesome, unfried option at the brewery, and I got my workouts in. So I had greasy bar food and a brownie Friday night. So what? Most of my choices were healthful and made in a conscious effort to fuel my body. The other choices were made whimsically because I was spending time with friends. I will look back on this weekend and see how much fun I had and all the friends and family I was able to see, not the food that I did or didn’t eat.

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Getting Caught in the Moment

Last Thursday was our work holiday party. I went last year, but this year I knew so many more people after having been at the company for a year and a half now.

After work, we went to Tavern in the Square for a few drinks before going to the party. I had two Sip of Sunshines…I know, you’d think I would learn to not start with IPAs. But once a Vermont girl, always a Vermont girl (fun fact, I am not actually from Vermont). You can never say no to Sip of Sunshine…I still remember when these were just as limited as Heady Topper and now you can find them at Trader Joes! At the party I had a Fiddlehead and Be Hoppy…again, more IPAs.

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Despite the beers, we also missed dinner since we were busy chatting at Tavern in the Square. Around 9:30 or 10:00 pm we went back to Tavern in the Square for food. By this point I was hangry and also past tipsy. The table shared nachos, tater tots x 2, and some chicken. I then ordered another round of nachos and proceeded to practically eat them by myself. I ate fast and without really thinking or feeling and before I knew it, I was FULL. I tend to eat fast as it is, but add some alcohol on an empty stomach and I eat like I haven’t seen food in years.

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I woke up the next morning to go to a 7 am spin class with epic bloat and a hangover. My first thoughts were: Megan, why? This is why you’ve gained weight. I felt guilty for getting caught in the moment. Maybe if I had slowed down I would have ordered something other than IPAs or wouldn’t have ordered a second plate of nachos. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel so terrible (physically and mentally) when I woke up if….

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Turns out an early morning workout does wonders for a hangover. It honestly felt like I was sweating out alcohol. I left the spin class with a new perspective. While walking through the beautiful streets of Charlestown I thought: Getting caught in the moment is normal, it shows that I am living life to the fullest and having fun. It shows that I am comfortable with the people that I choose to spend my days with. If I didn’t get caught in the moment it would probably be because I was regimented enough to restrict my food and alcohol intake. It would also restrict my amount of fun and living because I would always have to be 100% aware so that I could be perfect. I don’t want that.

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And so I walked through my beautiful neighborhood feeling grateful. And then I ate breakfast and baked banana bread because no day should be different because of what I ate or drank the day before. I am enjoying life. I am working out when I can and choosing nutritious food most of the time, but certainly not all of the time.

Disconnecting

I visit Julie because I miss her and love spending time with her, but also to disconnect from the city. I enjoy the city. The opportunities, the lights, the restaurants, the bustle. But at the same time it can be exhausting. So this past weekend after spending countless days and hours working, I took an Amtrack up to good ol’ New Hampshire. Our weekends center around relaxation, puppies, good food and wine, and sometimes an adventure.

Relaxation.

My room is finished and it is LOVELY. It’s Julie’s old bed, which I have always loved and the natural sunlight is so enjoyable to wake up to. I slept in and eased into the day with multiple cups of coffee. I even bought K-cups to keep at Julie’s so that I am not always steeling Greg’s. Sunday morning Ruger and Lyla came to snuggle with me while Julie did her long run on the treadmill.

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Puppies.

Ruger and Lyla are full of energy and spunk, but are such cuddle bugs at the same time. I love when they keep you company in the kitchen or can’t get enough of you in the morning.

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Exercise.

Julie is training for the Boston Marathon and I’m doing a new BeachBody program. Saturday she biked for 45 minutes while I did my 20 minute workout using the treadmill as a makeshift step. I finished off with walking at an incline for 10 minutes with 5# weights. Sunday morning I did a makeshift 30 minute Turnstyle workout and then my BeachBody workout while Julie ran for what seemed like forever. Once again I think I was sweating out alcohol from the night before, but boy does working out change my frame of mine for the better!

Good food and wine.

Friday night I taught Julie how to make pasta from scratch, we tagliatelle with my pasta maker. Topped with a makeshift white wine butter sauce, which was served with fresh scallops a la Greg. The white wine that we used for the sauce was actually delicious and I don’t usually like white wine, especially chardonnay. So go Josh.

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Saturday night Greg slaved over sushi which Julie and I drank a few margaritas and then ate all of said sushi. 

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An adventure.

This weekend Julie wanted to be crafty, specifically to make something to hold her jewelry. Greg brought us some wood, which we sanded and stained. It was really fun to use some tools and make something with our own hands. We had so much fun going to Hobby Lobby for our first time and looking at all of the door knobs! That store is unbelievable.

The train ride home I sulked because I hate leaving. I don’t want to overstay my welcome because it’s Julie and Greg’s house and they have their own lives to live, but I also want to visit whenever I can. I hit refresh whenever I’m there and we always have fun. I can’t believe Julie and Greg own a house, it’s amazing. Sometimes I feel like that means I should own a house, but right now I’m still finding my rhythm in the city. And so back to the city I go.

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