Hooray for Friday and for the second TGIF entry! What does everyone have planned for this wonderful, wintery weekend? What delicious dishes will you whip up? Fantastic friends will you see? Rockin reads will you delve back into? Rejuvenating and refreshing activities in store? Or, enriching and educational ones?
A little bit from recent happenings over on this end- hopefully they might offer some ideas or inspiration! Check out below for a unique and way cool museum, delicious eats, gripping reads, decadent desserts, an award winning TV show, and more.
Best Boston Spots Explored
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Why is this museum so well known and supposedly stellar? And who was Isabella Gardner?
Isabella came from a well-to-do family. At the age of 20, she married a man, Jack Gardner, and moved to Back Bay in Boston with him. They had a son together, who died tragically at the age of two. To help Isabella heal from her heartbreak, Jack took her to Russia and Europe, igniting her thirst for adventuring abroad. She went on to keep elaborate journals of her travels over the years.
Isabella was drawn to art and the intellectual life in Boston, receiving an invitation to join the Dante Society following attending the readings of Charles Eliot Norton, the first professor of Art History at Harvard. Following this, she began collecting rare books and manuscripts. On a trip with Jack to Venice, Isabella was deeply inspired, especially by the Palazzo Barbaro, from which she took much inspiration for her house in Boston (aka, the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum).
Eventually, Isabella met a charming Harvard student, Bernard Berenson. With funds from her husband and others, she set off to Italy in pursuit of a literary career. Instead though, she discovered her true calling as a connoisseur of Italian Renaissance Art. Berenson became Isabella’s chief art advisory. Berenson wrote of Isabella, “She lives at a rate and intensity, with a reality that makes other lives seem pale, thin and shadowy.”
Construction of her museum began in 1899. It was complete 2 years later, on which she moved into the fourth floor and devoted herself to personally arranging works of art in the galleries. She continued to acquire works of art and rearrange the installations for the rest of her life.
The Isabella Steward Gardner museum is also the site of a couple incredibly famous art thefts. You can read about those here!
See below for a smattering of photos I took, via grainy cellphone camera, of the museum. The pictures of course, do not do it justice. The museum is unique, fascinating, sumptuous, and romantic. Highly recommend going here and exploring.
Coppersmith is a way cool, warehouse-esque, rustic, trendy, red-brick lain restaurant set over a sprawling interior with copper accents and lots of wood. Will be attending my book club meeting here!
Delicious Dishes on which I’ve been dining
Paleo Fish Tostados. Grain/gluten free, lactose free, and sugar free, these are a homey, scrumptious meal that is also awesome for your health! I am addicted :-D.
Fluffy flourless chocolate chip cookies. I was skeptical on making these coconut flour (aka gluten/grain free) chocolate chip cookies, worrying they would be dry or weirdly textured. They weren’t. Tasted just like the real deal. A fluffy, cakey chocolate chip cookie. Yum. These are the new much obsessed over dessert in our home at the moment. Here is the recipe.
Dessert tour of Boston (created and conducted by, none other than yours truly ;-)). Stops included: Cafe Madeleine, Lady M Cake Boutique, Scampo, and Toscaninis Ice Cream. Involving the sampling of one sweet at each stop!
Writing class at Grub Street writing school in Boston (class: Writing Fiction from Real Life). I’ve been taking this for the last 6 weeks on Sunday nights, from 6pm-9pm.
The Body Keeps Score, Party of One: the Loners Manifesto, and The Light we Lost.
The Body Keeps Score, as the reviews indicate, is excellent. Engaging, fascinating, well written, just very good. Applicable whether you yourself have experienced trauma, or have a loved one who has. This is a worthwhile read.
Party of One is awesome reading for introverts. It will fill you with feelings of validation, a sense of peace and renewed confidence that there is nothing wrong with being very into your own company, and that even in some ways, its possibly better than those who have to be perpetually, ever surrounded by others. On feeling inspired by it, I wrote an article: One is Company.
And finally, The Light We Lost. While the synopsis appealed to me in that it sounds like a more unique love story than the conventional trajectory, I was a bit worried it might be terribly written and supremely cheesy (something along the lines of “How to Fall in Love” by Celia Ahern). Thus far though, I am finding it much the opposite. Beautifully written, and with characters that engage and interest me.
My Brilliant Friend on HBO.
Check out this review that NY Times calls “an intimate epic” and dubs a “critics pick.” It doesn’t contain spoilers. More, a general idea of the aura and themes of the story. Its an emotional, gorgeously and artfully done show.
Worthwhile article(s) of the week
Chia seeds- these nutritional powerhouses are awesome for you. They deliver a massive amount of nutrients for very little calories, are loaded with antioxidants, packed with fiber and protein, high in Omega-3 fatty acids, may lower your risk of heart disease, and more. They also lend any liquid a texture akin to tapioca pudding, though without all the added sugar.
Check out: Chia Seed Recipes that arent just Pudding
Healthy though scrumptious snack(s) of the moment
I am hooked on these. Almonds, covered in a creamy layer of bittersweet, dark chocolate. Addicting, and such a nice accompaniment with a warm mug of tea. A sweet snack you can have zero guilt over eating!