Apple picking @ Shelburne Orchards

Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards
Apple Picking @ Shelburne Orchards

The day started off gloomy and rainy, but by the time the students and I got to Shelburne Orchards it was – HELLO – so beautiful outside. We picked Fuji and McIntosh and ate our fair share off the trees (I eat like three apples a day during apple season, easily). The only downside was that they were out of apple cider doughnuts. Still. This is one of my favorite times of year in Vermont.

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BE 100 FD #100!

BE MY 100 from DANIEL CASTRO PHOTOGRAPHY on Vimeo.

One of my favorite blogs is having a contest for her #100th date! Enter and hopefully you’ll win if you are so lucky. I’ve had coffee in person in NYC with this badass lady, and let me tell you, she’s a dream. Deadline: October 15th!

P.S. Partnered? I have another contest for you! Jen and I keep trying for REI’s Travel Sweepstakes. I enter every.single.day. for the trip to Peru.

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Allison’s visit to Vermont

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My sister’s first visit to Burlington in almost five years! It’s mostly pictures of my sister Allison, my cat Merlin, and/or food! I whined to Allison that no one took pictures of me, and then she kept taking them and they looked so terrible, I told her to just stop trying. Haha! But we had such a lovely time, and I keep hounding her to come back soon.

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Before she arrived I made a batch of Serious Eats The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. A new chocolate chip cookie recipe for me, which is a rare thing and gets me all cookie nerd excited inside. This recipe called for browned butter! Very caramelized in taste and chewy in texture, but my friends like my NYT Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe better.

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I had to work most days, so Allison walked all over town with her Fitbit. One day she walked from campus to North Beach (which equated to like a half-marathon that day), so after work, I brought Allison down a warm chocolate chip cookie to the beach. #bigsisterbonuspoints

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I also made a huge pot of homemade spaghetti sauce for a pan of my mom’s lasagna right before Allison flew in and we ate the ENTIRE PAN of lasagna over the week. We’d usually go out to eat, go do something until late at night, then come home and heat up lasagna, while watching episodes of Portlandia in bed. It was so fun, but I don’t need any lasagna for a while…

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Other good eats – Burlington Bay breakfast sandwich!

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Anything at Mirabelle’s. Allison got the popovers she’s always been wanting.

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Early bird dinner @ Leunig’s on Church Street.

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Beer, bed, cat.

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$5 wine night at Oak 45 in Winooski –> the prettiest wine bar in town.

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My all-time favorite Burlington lunch: City Market’s North Country sandwich with Cape Cod chips, apple, and Honest Tea’s Moroccan Mint!

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El Cortijo margaritas and tacos.

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Free Ben & Jerry’s at the South End Art Hop. It was about 90 degrees that day, so this was an epic free treat.

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Iced coffee & apple cider doughnut at South End Kitchen.

Allicat!
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One day we drove out to the swimming holes in Bristol and Warren. It’s so beautiful and different looking from Burlington out there – pretty dreamy.

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Besties. He enjoyed having her just as much as I did.

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iPhone Gifs, my world’s been changed.

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Did you know that you can send GIFS over iPhone messenger?!?!?!?!

Allison and I just figured out how to do it last night (um, copy and then paste) and our world’s been changed. We can’t stop. I’m so over emojis now. Last night we were out at El Cortijo and I think we annoyed our waitress with all our gif giggling.

Some of our favorites from Portlandia (Allison feels like she’s living in an episode up here in Burlington) and Reddit.

 

 

 

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Beach house in Sampieri

Beach house @ Sampieri

My first breakfast in Sicily, that’s espresso and almond milk granita eaten al fresco with a plate of fresh brioche buns.

Yo, I lived la dolce vita for exactly five days. Everyone kept asking why I was only there for such a short time. I DON’T KNOW?! Reality is cruel. In an alternate universe, if Americans had off all of August, I’d have stayed longer. Sicily is spectacular.

I flew from Dublin into Catania – there’s a direct flight! – and explored the city of Catania in the morning with my friend Lisa and her uncle Aldo before we drove to meet her aunt Mira at their beach house in Sampieri. I couldn’t get over Catania’s fresh produce at the market.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Post granita, we drove down to Sampieri. I had no idea where this was, and it’s basically this tiny beach town in the very southern spot of Sicily, across from Malta and Tunisia. It already sounds awesome, right? I thought so too. And then I arrived and saw THE VIEW of the Mediterranean. Their adorable cat. The hibiscus flowers. I was like, whoooooaaaaaa, sensory overload. This is all too cool.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Mira and Aldo’s house is also very artsy and I was essentially obsessed with everything, down to their hand-made raku ceramic towel-rod holders in the bathrooms and the mosaics on their walls.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Lisa and I slept here!

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Shortly after arriving Mira, Lisa, and I went the beach AND to the market (love a double market day). I laughed at the pasta aisle at the grocery store: SO MUCH PASTA.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

The next few days had a similar routine: wake up, read a little outside, drink espresso, maybe grab a granita, go to the beach.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Head home – 1:30ish – for a big lunch. (I’ve never eaten so well for lunches in my life.)

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

Then we’d relax and go on an afternoon excursions, gorgeous old cities like Scicli or Modica or places with ancient Roman ruins. I MEAN…and I’d usually eat gelato somewhere in there everyday. One afternoon, we also saw a proposal on the steps of a beautiful church. He had set up a little table on the steps outside, complete with flowers and wine. It was soooooo romantic.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

*Lisa and I look so weird and creepy here – we are literally posing in a tomb that Aldo thought would make for a neat photo opportunity.

Then we’d have a late dinner and drink bitters with their friends – usually Sergio, who was absolutely hilarious, would stop by. Lisa would laugh because I was NOT used to staying up so late. I needed a few more days to get on the night owl routine! I think this explains why I have no dinner food photos? At all. And the dinners….oh the dinners. The creamy ricotta, salty olives, sweet tomatoes, pastas, grilled vegetables, and wine. The wine was homemade, as was the olive oil, so I’d pretty much drink wine at every meal and drizzle everything in this delectable oil which Aldo had in a barrel in the dining room.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

On Sunday we went to the festival of St. Sebastiano, or what Lisa dubbed as the Naked Baby Festival. He’s the patron saint of Palazzolo Acreide. I can’t even describe this properly, and I could look up the actual religious description (but I don’t feel like it, or care to). It’s more fun to tell you how crazy it was as a bystander who knew nothing of what was going on – the church pretty much exploded with confetti for a full ten minutes and then people handed guys standing on a Jesus statue their naked babies to hold up in the air. Afterwards, we all went out for pasta and wine.

Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri
Beach house @ Sampieri

On my last night, there was a super moon. My camera couldn’t capture it’s amazingness – okay, lunar photography just continues to elude my photography skills even after I spent a good amount of time dragging tables and boxes and rocks out on the patio for height/camera stability and playing with a variety of ISO/aperture/shutter speeds – but I think you get the gist of its loveliness. Much like my blogging can’t really capture all the loveliness of Sicily.

Beach house @ Sampieri

Lisa’s aunt and uncle were the most incredible, sweetest, coolest hosts ever. It made me want to learn Italian and go back again and maybe never leave. I think Lisa’s onto something here!

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August around Burlington

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I was out late last night listening to a friend’s band play at Radio Bean (pic above of The Van Burens, so good!), so tonight I’m being a lazy thing on the couch at home, occasionally eating brownies and/or reorganizing the digital files on my hard-drive and phone. Woo! Some snippets from the past month around town.

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When I got back from Italy, it took about five days for me to see a blue sky. I documented it.

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Then the weather flipped and it got super hot in town. Ice cream break on a warm summer evening with a coworker and her ex-boyfriend’s dog, whom she still has a close relationship with:)

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Work meeting with another co-worker at the MOST BEAUTIFUL NEW COFFEE SHOP IN BURLINGTON, Scout & Co. I need to return and properly photobomb the place without appearing to be a weirdo. It’s like I left Vermont and walked into what I imagine Stockholm to look like when I’m inside. This will be my winter paradise place.

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Ooooh, I hosted a couple of cool cats. Some friends of my friend Liza were biking from Cape Cod to Montreal, and stayed over with me for a night. He made furniture, she was a barista. They both lived down in Austin, Texas. I loved them!

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Speaking of cool cats. He always flops over so I rub his belly when I get home.

August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont

I’m on a boat! We took over 100 students on a cruise on Lake Champlain at the end of our student leader training earlier this month. It was the one overcast day of the week – grrrrrr – but the sky still looked really beautiful.

August in Vermont

CURLY GIRL HAIR ENVY. Those are unreal. I creeped up on a student and asked her if I could take a picture and what she used on her hair.

August in Vermont

Then promptly bought the products. (Although my hair still didn’t curl as well as hers….)

August in Vermont

I also fell for Nars Heatwave in terms of beauty products this month. I’m not sure why I bought red lipstick? I never rock super red lips, and I have yet to wear it because it’s summer and I’m not into wearing make-up much in the summer anyway. BUT it’s this lovely matte red hue so when I feel the urge: game on.

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My little sister Allison is coming up to visit me this week. Squeal, I’m so excited! I got us tickets to see Future Islands at Higher Ground. Maybe this is my perfect Nars Heatwave moment?

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Hiking in the ADKs –> Fall is coming!

August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont
August in Vermont

I was a little mopey when I got back to Vermont. Post-vacation blues. Some close friends moved – Jen actually left for an internship in Seattle when I was in Europe, tragic! (But she LOVES it there and must visit soon.) Anyway! I was feeling a little ‘meh’. But my dear friend Marissa was like, get over it, come to New York and let’s do some hiking. She lives about an hour away, across the lake in Plattsburgh, NY. I drove over early on Sunday morning for breakfast at her place, a paleo (she does Crossfit) meal of eggs, homemade turkey sausage, and half a peach. We hiked up Cascade and Porter in the Adirondacks, which took us about five hours total. It’s been years since I’ve been hiking in the ADKs, and it’s rockier and just different from the vibe of the trails in Vermont. It was LOVELY. And we had the best weather. And the coolest pooch. Marissa also brought her fiance’s dog, Hudson, who is so smart. He’s a legit hunting dog – with more degrees and a larger vocabulary than most human beings. Ha! We stopped for milkshakes from Stewart’s on the way home, and my trip ended with a stop-over at Target, where I happily filled my cart with totally random things that I didn’t need, and drove back home slap happy because that was an awesome day.

P.S. Lisa is asking about my Sicily blog post. It’s coming!
P.P.S. Marissa recently got engaged on a boat in Alaska this summer. and she’s MAKING her own wedding dress. That’s so badass. She’s so badass.

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