Thursday, December 8, 2016

Black Friday Hike on Turkey Mountain

Have I mentioned that I like to keep things the same?

In keeping with tradition, the day after Thanksgiving I took an #optoutside hike with Cece and Roger. This year, we decided to check out Turkey Mountain in honor of the delicious bird we'd devoured just 24 hours prior.

It's a fantastic, not too strenuous hike, and it's a loop back to the parking lot, which I love, because it means you're always seeing something new. Pretty much the perfect post-Thanksgiving hike, considering how full our bellies still were from the meal before.

That evening, Alisha organized another great get-together of some friends from high school. It was such a blast to see them, and a highlight of the evening was telling everyone about our engagement, making us the third couple at the table to get engaged this year!

I also really loved using Amy's lipstick. You can now purchase it for me for Christmas if you'd like.

On Saturday, Roger and I took a drive up to Green Chimneys to visit with some of their farm animals. A delight!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Alaina Kelly

It's been a while since we've had a Writer Wednesday post, but when I saw that Alaina had started up a blog, I knew it was time to get the band back together! Alaina is a dear friend of our family—I've actually known her for almost 25 years—and it's such a honor to see the incredible things she's doing now that we're all grown up. Alaina is a professional hair stylist and is taking her first steps into the world of fashion blogging on Black Jean Bird. I'm so excited to feature her here today, and I hope that as soon as you finish this interview, you'll go check out some of the great outfits and fashion tips she's sharing there! (And, I'm selfishly hoping she does a blog post on bridal fashion soon, since the photos from hers are gorgeous and an inspiration to me as we're wedding planning!)

Who are you? Hi! I am Alaina Kelly, a twenty-something New Yorker living in New England! I am a crazy pup mom of two who has always been a little eccentric.

Where can you be found online? How would you describe your blog to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you. They want all the details. You can find me online @blackjeanbird on instagram or

I am currently starting a fashion blog to show my personal style and favorite items while showing my generation that you don't always need to shop at Forever21 for up-to-date styles. Now is the time in our lives where we should start investing in statement pieces as well as investment items (a hand bag that may be worth more money one day, or that you can pass down to your kids). You can buy good quality items that will last more than one wash at a good, affordable price if you look hard enough. I want to do the looking for people. I want to show both girls and guys in my age range that quality products will last and be worth the money in the long run. I feel like some many people will run to large market stores like Forever or H&M on a Friday night to get clothes to go out in that weekend. Don't get me wrong, you can find good items at both of those places, but will you be able to wear it again next year?

I also want to show people who might be a little shy or afraid to express themselves. That its okay to break out of their shell! I am sure everyone has that ugly pea-green stripe sweater in their closet that they love but are just a little too afraid of what someone might think if they wear it!

What inspired you to start blogging? When did it happen? I have always spent a lot of my free time on the internet looking for fashion inspiration; whether it be on blogs, websites or social media. In the last few months I knew that what I was doing with my career path was wrong for me. I needed to step out, follow my dream, and see if I could make something of it. After a few months of working with someone who knows how to build websites and has more experience then me, I was able to make my dream a reality!

Why do you write? I write because I have always been an open person; I have always said what was on my mind (for the better and worse!). Whenever I wear something that gets compliments the first thing I will say is where its from and how great of a deal I got it for! I just love to share information and maybe to inspire people in a way.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? I think one of my biggest inspirations is Victoria Beckham. First of all, I just love her, but she also went from British pop start to one of the biggest influences of the fashion world. I also grew up with the Olsen twins, who have also built a fashion empire.

Aside from the typical celebrities, women who follow their passion in life just inspire me in general! People who aren't afraid to be their real selves in public.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hmmm... all-expense paid trip.... that is really hard because I love to travel. I am also not very good at being too hot so I would say somewhere pretty and cold.

The perfect place would be Sneem Ireland. My husband's family is Irish and we went to Ireland on our honeymoon. We now joke about moving there and having a black sheep farm. Seem is beautiful: it's right on a coast—and by "coast," I mean cliffs too. It is the perfect distance from Galway and Dublin for shopping and I can wear an Irish knits every day!!

What is your favorite place on earth? I feel like there are so many places I love! I would have to go with Napa. It is just so relaxing and calm. I love to romp around the vineyards and drink wine. There's an In-and-Out burger pretty close and the temperature is cool at night; perfect for a night out.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I am also a professional hair stylist so there will be a lot of beauty and hair aspects to the blog! I love to share my knowledge and help people build their confidence.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pumpkin Field in Bradford, VT

Roger and I spent much of this weekend driving around the Upper Valley, checking out houses with "for sale" signs and peeking at wedding venues and generally wandering a bit. This part of New England feels so much like what I always dreamed New England would be like, and seeing the snow fall as we walked around Norwich and Woodstock, all decorated for Christmas, was lovely.

This field of pumpkins, with cows climbing up the back, was more foreboding, but still beautiful in its own way.

Monday, December 5, 2016

We're Engaged!

It's official! Roger and I got engaged on November 13th!

We've had a lot of really perfect weekends lately, with beautiful hiking and leaf peeping and meals out, so I think it's pretty funny that before getting engaged, we spent an otherwise completely normal weekend together. Saturday was all about running errands, and on Sunday, we went up to Northfield for the Darn Tough sample sale and brunch with James and Emily and some of their friends. In the afternoon, we went to our first meeting of the West Fairlee Community Club, a social club we joined after moving here.

In the evening after dinner, we started talking about how now might be the right time to get engaged. We've been talking about it for ages (I really wanted to get engaged last winter in India, and we picked out the ring together this summer), and after talking about it this weekend, the timing felt perfect. Roger asked what my favorite memory of our relationship was, and I talked about the shooting star we saw when we first starting dating back in 2004. It was so bright and fiery, and although we were in a little group at the time, no one saw it but us, and it's something I've often thought back on since then. Sunday was the night before the supermoon, so we'd spent some time gazing at the moon on our drive that evening, and it felt like a sign from the stars.

Me, trying to take a cheeky photo of my engagement ring.

Since then, we've been slowly telling our family and friends, in person when we can, and it's been so nice to see how excited they all are for us, even if they expect us to have the whole wedding planned out already. When we finally announced it on Facebook a few days ago, the outpouring of love from everyone there was overwhelming! Although by this point we've been together for a substantial portion of our lives, I'm so excited to finally be marrying this person I've loved so deeply for so long. This feels like the exact right next step, and I can't wait for it, and for all the happy memories to come afterward.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hiking in Holderness

On Halloween weekend this year, Dave came up from Boston and stayed at our place so we could catch up and try a little bit of hiking in New Hampshire. We (incorrectly) expected him to be late, so we ended up being the late ones to meet him, since we spent most of that Saturday running errands and finishing up the last of our storage trips. So, Saturday was a little shorter than it could have been, but we enjoyed a nice meal at Harpoon Brewery and then Roger and Dave played a board game while I literally dozed off at the table.

On Sunday morning, we took a longer drive out to Holderness, NH to do a little bit of hiking on Squam Lake. The first trail we took, the Old Bridle Path up West Rattlesnake Mountain, was super short and had a really gorgeous pay off at the top:

It was a pretty ideal hike for anyone who wants a fast, relatively easy hike to start off with, and would be a nice spot for a picnic, if perhaps a little crowded at the top.

Since it was such a quick hike, we ended up walking down the other side of the mountain via the Pasture Trail and then did the Five Fingers Point loop before taking the Undercut Path back to the parking lot.

After the hike, we had a late lunch at Walter's Basin, which we thought was going to be a real dive bar, but which turned out to be a pretty nice and very tasty restaurant. After that, Dave made his way back to Boston, and we headed out on back roads to get home.

Definitely one of my favorite weekends since moving to Vermont! I can't wait to explore more trails this winter!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dartmouth Homecoming 2016

Do you know that I have a serious love for tradition? It's true, even though I went to a decidedly untraditional school. You can read my laments about Sarah Lawrence not having enough campus tradition from 2007 me here.

So, one of the things that most appealed to me about coming to work at Dartmouth was their love of tradition, and I was quickly able to participate in that history during Homecoming this year, which was a delight. On Friday and Saturday mornings, I staffed the Baker Tower tour group, and helped bring alumni and their families up and down to see the newly renovated clock tower, and it's incredible view.

And, it was pretty neat to see the backs of the clock faces. All of the material for the restoration was sourced in the United States, and much of the work was done by hand. It's a pretty incredible thing to have witnessed, and I'm really glad to be able to see the copper before it oxidizes!

It was also really cool to see the bonfire being built during the days before Homecoming. It's really quite the feat of engineering that it's able to safely burn so tall!

And of course, seeing the first years running around the bonfire was a blast. It was so warm even outside their circle that I have no idea how they managed to do it for those 20 laps. Troopers, all of them.

I'm so glad to have celebrated my first Homecoming (even if we lost our football game to Harvard), and I can't wait for many, many more!

Monday, November 28, 2016

1966: Truman Capote's Black and White Ball

I've been mildly obsessed with Truman Capote's black and white ball since I first started reading Capote, back before high school. It's 50 years ago today, and so it makes sense, I suppose, that Roger and I are planning our first major party: our wedding. Makes sense, too, I suppose, that I fawned over Nothing Left Unsaid and The Crown this month, wanted to buy a mansion.

Happy 50th anniversary, Truman. I suppose all your prayers were answered.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Hearty Thanksgiving Greetings

I've been looking over some of my older holiday posts, and I realized how deeply similar all my holidays have been for most of my life, and what a great comfort I derive from that. Cases in point: I've dressed up as Amelia Earhart every Halloween since 2007. Thanksgiving without Friendsgiving feels just a little more dull. And my Christmas Eve dinner has hardly changed in three decades. Especially since things are changing now at what feels like a breakneck pace, these touchstones help make the years feel coherent. They tie a bow on the year, bringing it to a close.

This year, like last, I'm looking forward to spending this last, dark month of December in gratitude. I hope you'll join me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hiking the Palisades Trail in Fairlee, VT

Way back on October 23, after yet another day of trying to get the apartment looking inhabitable, Roger and I decided to take a break and check out a hike a neighbor had mentioned to us, the Palisades Trail.

This awesome trail is within walking distance of our house, and I expect we'll be doing it many times over the coming years. It's very short, just about one mile, but quite steep on the way up, so definitely not one to be underestimated.

But, after just a short trek uphill, you're rewarded with this incredible view, overlooking the highway and the Connecticut River:

And that's not even the best part, although it literally did take my breath away when we stumbled upon it. After that, there's a bit more walking through the woods before you come to a second clearing with an incredible view of the mountains over Orford, NH:

It's a little hard to tell in these photos, but over all that foliage, up in the mountains, there's snow! Honestly, have you seen a more typically New England vista?

This part of the trail is closed from March to August while the local peregrin falcons nest there, but it's a perfect autumn hike, and I can't wait to try it with snowshoes this winter!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

First Snow in New England

On Sunday night, I have my very first New England snowfall! I don't count the flurries we've had on and off since October, but since this inch or so of snow stuck to the ground overnight, I'm calling it: this was my first snowfall while living in New England. These are a couple photos I took on campus yesterday.

We'll see if I'm still this excited about snow in February. In the meantime, this seems to bode well for all the winter sports we're hoping to try out this year. I'm ready for a little snowshoeing, skiing, and skating!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Friendsgiving in Philadelphia

We had a really nice weekend in Philadelphia this year to celebrate Friendsgiving at Laura and Jeff's house. 

Roger and I ran the Rothman Institute 8k together on Saturday morning, which was a blast. It's a nice, flat course with a pretty view of the boat houses behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Our friends mostly killed it on the half-marathon course (shout out to Christine, who ran it in under 2 hours!), but I was pretty happy to take a more relaxing route. Hopefully I'll be more fully trained for next summer's Covered Bridges Half!

After the race and a bit of getting prepped at Molly's house, we headed over to Laura and Jeff's for the party. They made an enormous ham, and everyone brought really tasty side dishes and dessert. We all chatted about how our races went, what we're planning to do for the holidays, and our plans for a group trip to Europe next summer. Although it had been a balmy 70 degrees in the morning, by the time we walked back to Molly's that evening, it was flurrying, which was a little crazy.

And the next morning was a delicious brunch with more chatter about Europe, before Roger and I drove up to Mahopac to drop him off for the work week and I headed to Vermont. A long trip for a too-short weekend, but a delight nonetheless.

What a joy to be surrounded by loved ones all weekend! A joy to be thinking of the future with them.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

I hope you have a fun, spooky day!

Today, I'm dressing up for the 9th year in a row as Amelia Earhart, the most perfect of all wear-to-work Halloween costumes.

And if you're looking for a tasty, easy dinner tonight, I'm bringing pumpkin lasagna to my Halloween potluck, and I hope everyone there loves it as much as I do. It's also an excellent dish for Thanksgiving, which will be here before we know it.

Ah, my favorite time of year, that beautiful span between Halloween and my birthday. Welcome, holiday season!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

On Shopping

I've been shopping quite a bit lately. As you may or may not be able to tell from my monthly spending posts, I have something of a tendency to not shop for months at a time, and then kind of binge out on shopping for a while before heading back into my no-shopping cave.

I'm not sure why I'm so full of want right now. I think part of it is that my office is so well dressed, and I too, want to be well dressed. I want fancy twinsets and a fisherman sweater and new lipstick and a jacket and who knows what else. I've been trying to hold back, because moving was expensive and I am in debt for the first time in my 30-year existence, but the heart wants what it wants, and right now, it wants all the things. Sigh.

Monday, October 17, 2016

J.K. Rowling Book Signing - 2012

Four years ago yesterday, I was at Lincoln Center, getting The Casual Vacancy signed by J.K. Rowling. Shelby had an extra ticket, and so I went with her, Shylah, David, and Katie. We all had dinner at Carmine's beforehand, and of course meeting her afterward was lovely. J.K. Rowling is a delight, and I remember especially being surprised at how very beautiful she was. Lev Grossman writes about the evening much better than I could, especially all these years later.

I realized I never really wrote about it here, so I thought I should mention it. Harry Potter has always been a summer read for me, like so many other people, but there is something so decidedly autumnal about it, so now seems like an appropriate time to mention that this was a lovely evening in my life, a few years back.

I still haven't read The Casual Vacancy, though.

Friday, October 14, 2016

On Unproductivity

I thought I'd have loads of extra time once we moved to Vermont, and although I haven't exactly been spending every night out on the town, I do seem to be getting less done than I'd expected. What happened to those morning pages, the evening runs? It's all blurred into dark mornings, darker evenings, and lots of still-unpacked boxes. Perhaps this is always what moving looks like. Perhaps next week will be better.

In the meantime, here are some Instagram photos of autumn in New England. It's glorious, even as I complain about not having gone hiking yet.

A photo posted by Kristin Maffei (@ktin520) on

A photo posted by Kristin Maffei (@ktin520) on

A photo posted by Kristin Maffei (@ktin520) on

A photo posted by Kristin Maffei (@ktin520) on

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What Fictional Characters Are You Most Like?

The ever-brilliant Liz posted this question, along with three photos, on Facebook today. I stepped on a (live) mouse this morning with my bare foot and it sort of set the tone for the whole day so far. I've been packing like a madwoman (as anyone on Snapchat can probably tell you) for the last few days, and the longer I do it, the harder it is to keep up momentum. Plus my heel kind of hurts from running and--oh yeah, I stepped on a mouse this morning!

Anyway, this little meme was a much needed distraction just now, so I wanted to share with you my selections for myself. Sadly, though I may wish to emulate them, I'm just no Jenny Cavilleri, Charlotte York, or Elle Woods. Instead, I think I'm more a:

Jo March and

Hermione Granger combination,

with a very healthy side of Liz Lemon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Weekend in Hudson

Way back on the weekend of August 26th, we headed to Hudson to spend the weekend with two of my closest friends from Sarah Lawrence and their families. The town is super cute, and you can get there relatively quickly on the Amtrak.

On Friday, we wandered around the town, which is adorable, if pricey. We stopped in at a really gorgeous antique store that had some incredible modernist furniture, and then stopped at a tea and chocolate store for some refreshments. We also saw Gaby Hoffmann, star of Now and Then, perhaps the most-beloved film of my childhood.

Other than the one foray into town and a quick trip to Olana Castle, we mostly stayed inside at the house we rented, which was wonderful. It was a chance to really catch up and bond with some babies. We also had a ton of really delicious homegrilled dinners!

Obviously delighted to see an upping stone in New York!

On Saturday, Sarah, Matty, Roger and I all checked out Olana Castle, which was pretty incredible. I hadn't been since I was a little kid, so it was really fun to go back and check it out. The views were stunning and I can see why an artist would build a home here. If you go to Olana, I would definitely pack a picnic lunch and eat it on the grounds, which were really gorgeous.

On Sunday morning, we all enjoyed one last breakfast together before hitting the road. Roger and I made our way back to my parents' house to spend some more time with my sister and do a bit more packing for my parents' move.

I'm so glad we got to spend the weekend with all these incredible people and their wonderful babies. We're all so busy that we don't often get a chance to see each other, and so setting aside a full weekend to just enjoy being together was really powerful, especially right before we moved. I can't wait to do it again next year!