Canadian Vacation

I finally found my camera cord so I can share photos of our vacation two weeks ago!

We spent 5 (+1 extra) cozy days in Canada/Montreal/Mont Tremblant together and it was just lovely (and really freaking cold!) Dr. J went to Mont Tremblant to ski when he was growing up, but this was my first adventure to Canada.

Day 1: Wake early to catch the Amtrak Adirondack train. It’s cheaper than flying and less stressful than driving – although it takes about the same amount of time (more with the ridiculous border crossing events we encountered), we would totally recommend it! The view was along the route (Adirondack mountains, Lake Champlain, the frozen Hudson River) is gorgeous, you can bring all the snacks/food you want, there’s plenty of leg room, and there are no baggage fees! We arrived in Montreal at 8:30PM, so we spent the night in the city before renting our car to drive to Mont Tremblant.

Day 2: Driving to Mont Tremblant through the mountains is stunning! And there are also a lot of Costco stores – like more abundant than Target stores in the states – Canadians must really like to buy in bulk. We had already made plans to cross country ski on Day 2 before checking into our hotel, so we ate lunch in the little village outside of Tremblant before heading over to the cross country ski area. I like to cross country ski because 1. it is slow going – less risk for serious injury, 2. the scenery is beautiful – and because you’re going relatively slow, you can enjoy it, 3. you’re more likely to get hot/sweaty cross country skiing than you are to freeze – and I hate being cold, 4. cross country ski areas usually have groomed paths where you can just put your skis in the grooves and go – so it’s basically fool proof. It was very quiet and peaceful in the forest around Tremblant, so much so that a bird landed on Dr. J’s hand while he was taking a picture! It started to snow just as we ended our three hour rental – perfect timing to head to the hotel to grab some hot cocoa!

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Day 3: Dr. J’s ski day! Dr. J knew full well when we got married that I do not enjoy downhill skiing, nor will I pay money to engage in something that makes me so nervous I want to vomit. So, I slept in while Dr. J woke up early to get a head start on the freshly fallen snow. Mont Tremblant does have a cool/lucrative lift pass for pedestrians to take the gondola up to the Summit where theres a lodge with crazy overpriced, underseasoned food – but a glorious view and a great meeting place for skiers and non skiers to meet for lunch! After lunch I picked a spot with a beautiful view of the mountains/lakes at the summit lodge, and got cozy with my Kindle while Dr. J got in some afternoon runs. And when Dr. J was finished, I just took the gondola back down to meet him at the base where we ate Beaver Tails (aka flat fried dough with nutella on top and maple syrup taffy aka maple syrup poured on snow to haren up just a bit. It was Superbowl Sunday, so we cuddled up by the fireplace in our hotel room to watch the first half and then decided we should probably eat some dinner at one of the conveniently located sports/apres ski bars in the Mont Tremblant Pedestrian Village.

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Day 4: Dr. J ski’s again! We also went on a walk around the ski area, saw some deer and some more lovely scenery, went on a road trip out the resort area, and watched curling (yes, that Canadian sport) on TV in front of the fireplace. We then splurged, because when you’re on vacation and that’s what you do, and went to the AquaClub aka pool with rope swing/outdoor hot tub area – there’s something about going to the pool when you’re on a ski vacation that is both a little ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Our fingers were thoroughly pruned by the time we were leaving. We ate dinner at a little Italian restaurant called Auberge du Coq de Montagne (recommended by Dr. J’s oral surgeon 10 years ago) outside of the resort and it was easily the best meal we had since arriving.

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Day 5: We woke early to allow for twice the amount (3 hours instead of 1.5) of time to get back to Montreal for our train in case of traffic, etc. Unfortunately, we did not account for an epic 4 hour traffic jam and missed our train, which also happened to be the only daily train from Montreal to the US. Major oops. In our efforts to make the train on time we also decided to just not fill up the rental car with gas as required and just ‘take the hit’ on the charges. Oops again. Luckily Amtrak kindly switched our tickets to the next morning without a charge, we found a hotel room around the corner, a super nice ViaRail man let us store our bags for free at the train station overnight, and decided to just make the most of our extra day in Montreal. We ate macarons, went to the Canadian History Museum, ate the best Indian food, considered opening a food truck on the premise of our Indian dessert (honey donuts), and watched more curling (we were fans by the end of this trip).

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Day 6: We made it to the train station on time! The best part of the last day of our vacation was coming home to Luke Skywalker – I imagine it’s how parents feel a coming home to their children – I don’t know who was happier but Luke ran up to us and literally gave us a hug (and lots of licks) when we finally made it home.

Dr. J is now on MICU (that’s medical intensive care unit) night float (that’s working 9PM until 11AM) for two weeks (that’s torture!).

Happy Snow Day to the East Coast!

-Bridget

P.S. Special and huge thanks for Dr. E and her boyfriend for taking care of Luke while we were gone! He got to spend the 6 days at home in the apartment (instead of a kennel or other scary new place) with his new friends coming over to walk him and feed him at his usual times.

Happy New Year!

Bring it on 2014!

I’m so excited for this year – we just booked a ski vacation to Mont Tremblant in Canada, despite the fact that I despise winter – Dr. J loves skiing, so this one’s for him! My parents live in a whole new and awesome town, Newburyport, so I can’t wait to visit and explore! We have 4 weddings this summer/fall, each from a different time in our lives – high school, college, med school, family! And last, but certainly not least, the first of our friends is having a baby in March – congrats Dr. K and Josh!

I also have several projects and DIYs to my/ Dr. J’s to do list – one of which is already completed! As you may already know, I’m a little obsessed with chalkboard and typography. I really love the Paper-Source Chalkboard Inspired Calendar, but $30 on a calendar is a little much for a one time use paper calendar if you ask me. The wall of our kitchen also needed a little life added to it, so I was determined to make a statement. But how to add a chalkboard to the wall without painting and screwing into the wall (we rent) but without sacrificing quality and durability (the contact chalkboard paper didn’t get the best reviews)?

Home Depot, that’s how! (I was not compensated by HD for this project in any way, they just happened to have everything I needed in one place)

First, I discovered that Home Depot has these awesome pre-chalkboarded sheets of MDF for the very low price of around $10 for a 2×4 size board – I got two, because I wanted a giant wall calendar!

Second, so I don’t have to redraw the calendar grid or the days of the week every month – I used these very permanent oil based paint Sharpie markers (and a ruler) to draw right on the chalkboard MDF before mounting it on the wall. (Disclaimer – I used pencil first because I’m a perfectionist and because I cannot stress to you enough the permenance of the oil based Sharpie markers)

Third, because we didn’t want to use nails or screws to mount the calendar, I stocked up on some Command Picture Strips with the highest lb-rating I could find and used probably three times more than I needed for the 7.5lb sheet of MDF.

TA-DAAA!

Our Giant Calendar! It measures 2' x 8' so it's hard to get it all in one picture

Our Giant Calendar! It measures 2′ x 8′ so it’s hard to get it all in one picture

The days of the week, the grid, and the ribbon flag are permanent - everything else is erasable!

The days of the week, the grid, and the ribbon flag are permanent – everything else is erasable!

Recognize the font?

View from the other side

The chalk wipes clean with a damp cloth and the oil based Sharpie markers leave very permanent calendar grids, days of the week, and other doodles/decorations! Now we have a Giant Perpetual 6-month Chalkboard Calendar that we can use year after year!

Happy DIYing in 2014!

Bridget

p.s. You may have noticed that one of our chalkboards is held to the wall with nails. That’s because you need flat flush/plumb walls to use the Command Strips with such a long, heavy item. Turns out, the walls in our old Philly brownstone are not flat!

A Bittersweet Christmas

Christmas is my favorite time of the year! (Minus the weather being cold, of course)

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas things (in no particular order):

1. 24/7 Christmas music on the radio

2. Christmas lights!

3. My mom’s chex mix

4. My Aunt Judith’s wrapping (seriously, people, you ain’t got nuthin’ on Aunt Judith’s wrapping – she made her own wrapping paper this year!)

5. Spending time with family at home (yes! even with Dr. J’s schedule – we got to spend 5 days at home in Marshfield for Christmas!)

This year it was especially nice to be home because my parents are moving! They watched hours of HGTV, spruced up our childhood home, staged it, took awesome pictures, and sold it in one day! While all us kids are all thrilled that my parents are following their downsizing dreams, it was a little (ok, a lot) sad to say good bye to the home we grew up in at the end of the Christmas night.

I managed to hold back the tears until Dr. J and I were pulling away.

Found the tree! Do you think it's too big to fit in the apartment?

Found the tree! Do you think it’s too big to fit in the apartment?

Siblings in front of our childhood home!

Siblings in front of our childhood home!

Luke is ready for Christmas with his jingle bell!

Luke is ready for Christmas with his jingle bell!

Tucker the chef in charge of the brisket - so good!

Tucker the chef in charge of the brisket – so good!

Stew, Maggie, Curt, Grace

Stew, Maggie, Curt, Grace

Annual Christmas Night Poker

Annual Christmas Night Poker

Aunts Strategizing

Aunts Strategizing

We take poker very seriously

We take poker very seriously

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

To Play or not to Play

To Play or not to Play

Dad, Aunt Andrea, Tucker, Nana, Aunt Judith, Sara, Brew, Curt, Grace, Grammie, Mom, Me, Dr. J

Dad, Aunt Andrea, Tucker, Nana, Aunt Judith, Sara, Brew, Curt, Grace, Grammie, Mom, Papa, Me, Dr. J

Next year, Christmas in Newburyport! We can’t wait!

Much Love,

Bridget, Dr. J and Luke Skywalker

Snow Day!

There’s something about snow that just makes me smile. As much as I hate being cold, snow is just such a wonderful thing!

I loved living in New Orleans while Dr. J was in medical school because winter consisted of approximately two weeks with a low of 40 degrees. I’ve realized in moving back to a region with four seasons how much I want our future kids to grow up in a place where you get to play in the fluffy white stuff on a regular basis!

Snow in Rittenhouse Square

Snow in Rittenhouse Square

Also, I’m watching the Eagles football game on TV and it’s pretty hilarious to watch these pro football players rolling around in the snow like kids!

Happy Hot Chocolate Season!

-Bridget

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. J won the intern vacation lottery this year and we were able to spend Thanksgiving at home back in Massachusetts!

We are so lucky (and thankful) to have the holiday off this year – since we know doctoring and nursing are two of those 24/7 professions.

The holidays are a little bittersweet this year as my parents sold just our childhood home and are moving at the end of the year to a whole new and awesome town, Newburyport! I am totally thrilled for them but also just a little (selfishly) sad that the house we grew up in won’t be our house anymore. We were able to take a trip up to see the new place – both home and city – and we cannot wait to have more time to explore once they are all moved in!

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Dr. J also somehow had more time off than I did for Thanksgiving. I took the train back Philly last night so I could get to work Friday morning and he could spend more time with his family. At work on Friday though I got a lovely little text that said he decided to drive back that day instead of Saturday so we could spend the whole weekend together! What a romantic guy!

Luke with Christmas lights

Hope everyone is enjoying their leftovers! Isn’t apple pie for breakfast the best?!

-Bridget

Girls’ Weekend Getaway

Last weekend I left Dr. J at home/work and drove up to the Catskills in NY for a weekend getaway with my seven roommates from college (and two dogs!).

A little background: Freshman year of college, we all lived on the only girls’ floor of the smallest dorm on Boston College’s Newton Campus. The eight of us have stuck together ever since then, doing our very best in the years after college to get together for at least one weekend a year – which takes much coordinating because we are spread out all across the country now!

Usually these getaways happen on the 49-hour weekend (which would have been the weekend I’m writing this today), but with weddings and work – last weekend worked the best for all of us (except Elise, who joined us via Skype).

We rented a little lake front house in the Catskills of Eastern NY via airbnb.com for the weekend. I was a little skeptical of renting via airbnb.com because all you have to rely on are photos, a handful of reviews and a hopefully-honest-owner. Luckily, the house we rented was beautifully decorated, had a fully stocked kitchen (minus the food), and perfectly made beds with extra fluffy pillows. What was extra nice was that because there was no hand off of keys necessary – we could arrive whenever we wanted and depart at our convenience. Many of us took full advantage of this and took the day off from work Friday to get some extra girl time together!

The weekend was picture perfect – the air was crisp, the leaves were changing, and it was just chilly enough to make it acceptable to hang out in sweatpants and sweaters and slippers all day!

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Meaghan and Lauren

Meaghan and Lauren

Marissa and Alicia

Marissa and Alicia

Luke had a weekend full of naps

Luke had a weekend full of naps

Meaghan - and the Ice Caves!

Meaghan – and the Ice Caves!

Kate

Kate

Back: Meaghan and Kate Front: Me, Marissa, Alina, Lauren, Alicia

Back: Meaghan and Kate
Front: Me, Marissa, Alina, Lauren, Alicia

Hope everyone enjoys their extra hour this today!

I am going to be attempting a recipe.. I’ll post about it if successful!

Happy November,

Bridget

 

P.S. When I got back from the weekend getaway, Dr. J had cleaned the apartment and bought me flowers!! What an awesome husband!

Harry Potter Festival and Apple Picking, too!

I’ve been lazy about posting lately but that’s only because we’ve had some visitors and adventures the last two weeks!

Two weekends ago, my friend/former college roommate came up to visit Philly and we had a great time exploring the city (well actually exploring outside the city). First up, we took the regional rail out to Chestnut Hill, PA for their annual Harry Potter Festival. It was so well put together and so heartwarming to see sidewalks full of kids dressed to the nines in wizarding garb. Every store, including the fancy ones, changed their signs for the day to better resemble the wizarding world – there was Treacle Tart and Butterbeer and even a Knight Bus for transportation around town. We walked down to Chestnut Hill College Hogwarts to watch some Muggle Quidditch – which turned out to be a pretty violent game (rugby+dodgeball+sticks between your legs).

Quidditch!!

Quidditch!!

Treats made by house elves

Treats made by house elves

Sweet treats!

Sweet treats!

 

Dr. J had a day off, too – so we went apple picking! Apple picking is one of those fall activities that is so quintessentially Autumn-in-New-England. We went to Linvilla Farms and were awestruck by the enormous Disney-World-of-Fall-Things that it was. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we didn’t get to do all the fall things, but we did make a plan to go back this winter because Linvilla Farms has Chop-Down-Your-Own-Christmas-Trees!!

Apple Trees Dr.J + Apple Apple Picking Alina and Dr.J Alina Linvilla Farms Dr. J Apple!

 

Next Up! An Airbnb weekend in the Catskills!

Happy Fall!

-Bridget

Oh hello, spiffy new friend!

This weekend, I finally bought a bike!!

I love going for bike rides, especially in the fall when the air is crisp and it’s still warm enough that my fingers don’t turn blue if I don’t wear gloves.

We’ve had to save up to buy it because Dr. J’s bike that he initially brought to Philly was stolen the second day we were here. Since he actually uses his to commute to the hospital, we had to buy him a replacement and hold off on buying mine – until now!

Since I wasn’t in the bike-buying market for a high performance bike, looks were important to me (sorry I’m not sorry bike enthusiast bike store salesman). All our local bike shops had in stock were pretty standard looking black cruisers – so sad looking! I searched and searched online and read reviews of different online bike sellers. I finally ended up buying my bike through Amazon – mostly because I trust them as a seller, secondly because they had the best price on the bike I wanted, and lastly because I found a bike that got good reviews and looks pretty snazzy.

Love my navy and aqua cruiser!! (and aqua helmet to match!)

Love my navy and mint cruiser!! (and mint helmet to match!)

Dr. J and I went on a little bike ride this morning after he assembled the bike for me (I helped.. a little) along the Schuylkill River Bike Path. It was the perfect fall day, but we had to head back because we were going to a friend’s house to watch some football (we don’t have cable, so when Dr.J gets an offer to watch football at someone’s place- we’re in!)

Self Timer Camera Fail - but those are lovely trees in the background

Self Timer Camera Fail – but those are lovely trees in the background

Next time we’ll ride a little farther out, bring a picnic, a good book, and really enjoy the scenery that’s just a bike ride outside of Philly.

Back in Action!

I’ve been MIA for a little bit!

Two weekends ago we road tripped home for some family time. It was such a quick trip to see everyone that I didn’t even have time to bust out my camera and take pictures! Next time there will be more photos (family – you’ve been warned). Luke did really well in the car – he just wants to sit in the driver’s seat – so there’s a lot of pushing/gently guiding him back to the back seat. I kind of feel bad that we don’t have a seatbelt system for him, but we would chew the thing to bits if he had to be restrained for six hours..

We had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night catered by my amazingly talented little brother/aspiring chef (slash newly employed chef!). He made pizzas with the best sauce (red, white and pesto) and the best toppings (hello, short ribs!). I need to get the white sauce recipe from him because it was seriously good. I will post it here when it is in my hands!

In other news, we went on a little adventure today to the ‘burbs of Philly! Seeing as it might be a possibility that we could potentially end up in Philly for the long run (notice my use of ‘chance’ instead of finite words), we like to see what the suburbs of Philly are like for families. It’s definitely a still a little more urban than the suburbs we grew up in, but it’s bustling and green and there’s a pretty decent rail system that gets right into Philly..

We had lunch a cute little creperie – obviously we had to get the pumpkin pie crepe for dessert! It was delicious!!

Pumpkin Pie Crepe!

Pumpkin Pie Crepe!

Such good crepes!

Such good crepes!

I am savoring every flower because after fall comes the dreaded winter..

I am savoring every flower because after fall comes the dreaded winter..

Next time I think we’ll try taking the train – we’re hoping they go far enough out into the suburbs that we could find a place to go apple picking, too… (in which case I can post about my Mom’s apple pie recipe and my new favorite kitchen tool, the apple peeler-corer-slicer!)

-Bridget

P.S. HOMELAND IS BACK ON TONIGHT!! AAAHHH!!

The Big Golden Apple

For Dr.J’s first golden weekend (of two!) of September we drove up to NYC to visit some good friends from college (Lauren and Kevin) and med school (Drs. J & L). It was a lovely relaxing weekend (if you don’t count all the many miles of walking we did every day) and it was so nice to get to spend some time with our friends. Luke Skywalker came along for the ride and was mostly behaved, expect for the incident in the car where he viciously barked/attacked when Kevin got in the car to help us find parking. Out of the car, they became friends again and all was good.

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I feel so lucky to have a husband who matched in one of his top choices for residency giving us the ability to be closer to family and friends! We love and miss NOLA, but it is just so nice to be able to visit friends and family without so much advance planning!

Happy Weekend!

-Bridg