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    Books, Life, Thoughts

    7 Epic Series to Read in 2018

    1. Six of Crows Duology/The Grisha Trilogy

    Casinos, pirates, magic, political intrigue and an impossible heist.  Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo had caught my eye and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  After Thanksgiving I was wandering around Target and on a whim bought it even though I was in the middle of several other books.  I took a chance and fell in love.  It took half the book to get completely into the world and to become invested in the characters, but it was worth the wait.  Before I move onto the second book in the duology, Crooked Kingdom, I plan on reading the Grisha Trilogy to truly immerse myself in this world.  It’s suggested, though not mandatory, to read the trilogy first to really understand a lot of what is described in the beginning of Six of Crows.

    2. Everything V.E./Victoria Schwab

    A Darker Shade of Magic, is a book I cannot believe I waited so long to read.  Parallel universes, magic, and folklore.  Without a question this will be a series (trilogy) I complete this year.  Not only that, but I plan on reading ALL V.E. Schwab in 2018.  Once I went down the rabbit hole and started watching her interviews I knew I had found a new favorite author.  I even lucked out and found the first book in her Monsters of Verity duology on BookOutlet, her next series I plan on reading where your crimes turn into physical monsters.

    3. The Magicians

    The power of Netflix.  Last year The Magicians, a SyFy channel series, come up in my suggestions and I proceeded to binge the entire series and then watch it a second time with Pat.  We then enjoyed the second season as it aired and I moved right along to the book series upon which the show is based because I’m totally not obsessive over things.

    I’ve only read the first book in the trilogy by Lev Grossman so far, but I can explain my feelings quite simply as a love/hate relationship.  I think anyone who has read these books will say the same.  You love that it takes place in our present day world, you love that it’s a school for magic in upstate New York, you’ll even love the intriguing story line.  However, you HATE the characters.  Don’t get me wrong, they are well developed and have incredible one-liners, but they are selfish, self-centered, and self destructive.  But guess what?  You love the explanation that those who are more emotionally volatile are the only ones who can access our world’s magic.

    4. Three Dark Crown Duology

    One a generation three princesses are born, each with their own magical power, but only one can be crowned Queen.  The sequels name? One Dark Throne.

    I’m not sure how long this series will go on, but I know the description has me hooked and there are two books waiting for me to tear into.  Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake will not be a series I wait too long to get into this year.

    5. An Ember in the Ashes

    A civilization of scholars and philosophers conquered by a neighboring military empire and forced to be slaves in their own lands.  The resistance is waning, but two unlikely heroes meet and begin to alter the Empire’s fate.

    Well over two years ago I stayed up late into the night reading An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir in one evening.  By the time the second book, A Torch Against the Night, was released I decided to completely fan girl and reread Ember so I could completely delve back into this world I had been so taken with the a year earlier.  The only problem was that I had lent it out to a former coworker.  All of those words you understand equal me never seeing this book again.  So, I’m biting the bullet an investing in another copy of Ember because Torch has

    6. The Licanius Trilogy

    God-like beings are overthrown in a rebellion and those with any magical abilities have to submit to strict laws or face being killed themselves.  Davian begins to discover his own powers right as an ancient enemy in the North awakens.  Only two days ago I while wandering the fantasy section of Barnes & Noble when The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington caught my eye.  I read the description and knew I couldn’t leave the store without this book.  I am literally itching to start this series.

    7. The Wheel of Time Series

    Five years ago I embarked on a journey reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, the first book in his Wheel of Time series. I had read it during the beginning of a mildly turbulent time in my life and I swear losing myself in this book helped bring me out the other side still somewhat sane.  It’s hard to give a summary of this book because there is too much to explain and so much to love.  If you love high fantasy and adventure this modern classic is for you.  With 14 books in this series (all quite chunky) I’ve decided to make my goal one book per month. Technically I won’t be completing this in 2018, but I’m happy with my plan.

     

    I am terrible at sticking to a TBR (to be read) list, but I’m certain all the series I’ve talked about here will be read in 2018. I’m also sure more series will find their way onto my shelves.  I’m mildly intimidated but excited to read Robbin Hobb and Brandon Sanderson, if you can suggest where to start with them, PLEASE fill me in!

     

    What series do you love?  What’s series do you plan on reading/continuing this year?

    Books, Connecticut, Life

    January Wrap Up | 2018

    I seem to be in that deep winter funk where words escape me. So if you’re into it, here’s a video of what I was up to this month. Mainly, it was reading/listening to 10 books, but we managed to fit in the Off Broadway production of Puffs the Play which I also rave about!

    What were you up to this month?

     

     

    Connecticut, Day Trip, Weekend

    Brunch at the Roger Sherman Inn

     
    Historic Inn and Gathering Place Offers Seasonally Inspired Menus,
    Catered Affairs, Fine Dining, Casual Tavern Fare, Libations, and Even a Chocolate Menu!

    November 7, 2017, New Canaan, CT: Celebrated Chef Francois Kwaku-Dongo spearheads the reinvention of the Roger Sherman Inn, a historic landmark in New Canaan for nearly a decade. The stunning New England restaurant and 17-room Inn will undergo a significant culinary transformation as it remakes itself for the 21st century.
    Chef Kwaku-Dongo is introducing a seasonally-inspired menu, showcasing fresh, locally-procured ingredients. The menu is a culinary tour of New England, its coastal seafood, local family farms, and talented artisans. Using these East Coast ingredients as a foundation for flavor, Chef Kwaku-Dongo applies techniques honed in some of the most demanding kitchens in the country. 

    This past weekend I was invited to experience brunch a the Roger Sherman Inn located in New Canaan, Connecticut.  Brunch in a historic colonial building prepared by a world-renowned chef.  Yes, I did have the perfect Sunday, thanks for asking.

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    How To, Life, Thoughts

    Your Best Year

    Do we not make the same or similar resolutions every new year? Personally, I always want to be healthier, manage my money more efficiently, and enjoy life a little more.  New Years resolutions feel a little tired and I’ve never found them to be that helpful. Instead, I’ve been making lists of long term and short term goals rather than resolutions.  Several times throughout the year I check in with my short term goals and adjust strategies accordingly to reach the long term ones.

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    Collinsville, Connecticut, festival, Life, New England, Support Local

    The Collinsville Champagne Walk

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Collinsville is Connecticut’s hidden gem. When most people think of Connecticut they think of Stars Hollow, the fictional town from Gilmore Girls.  Stars Hollow is based on Washington Depot (another great CT town), but there is just something so magical about Collinsville.  They have LaSalle’s Deli that hosts open mic nights every Friday and serves AMAZING food.  The train tracks that run through town have been turned into a handicap accessible walking trail that includes a bridge over the Farmington River.  There are multiple yoga studios in the coolest converted buildings you’ve ever seen.  You can even visit The Underground Art Studio that is, you guessed it, underground.  Most importantly, Collinsville frequently holds the most unique and community cultivating events.

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    Connecticut, Health, Life

    Mix Creative Kitchen

    November 16, 2017, Greenwich, CT: One could say that MIX Creative Kitchen was born out of necessity. A need for fresh, healthy food, usually while on the run, but without sacrificing quality and flavor. This past April, Palm Foods LLC, the entrepreneurial team behind the MIX brand, put their hunger where their mouths are and introduced a made-to-order breakfast fix, salad, and sauté bowl concept that offers quality food in a fast-casual setting.

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    Day Trip, MA, New England

    Autumnal Massachusetts

    Last month, Pat came up to Connecticut for an extended weekend and we decided it was the perfect opportunity for a day trip. He took time off before starting a new job so we tried to take advantage of that time. Since it was right before Thanksgiving and we have so many planned events and trips coming up, I didn’t feel like getting too creative. We recreated the day trip my mom and I had taken during the summer to Deerfield and Montague, Massachusetts.  I had wanted to go back in the autumn anyways for the foliage. There wasn’t much foliage this year due to the  drought over the summer, but Massachusetts at least had a little color for us. We started in Historic Deerfield walking around then took a scenic drive to the Montague Bookmill and ended with a late lunch and beer at Wolfie’s in South Deerfield.

    Since I’ve covered this trip before you can view my original Deerfield post here and the Montague Bookmill here.  You can also click below for the autumn pictures or just watch the little video I made above.

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    Day Trip, MA, Weekend

    Rockport, MA

     

    The coastal village of Rockport, Massachusetts was settled back in 1623 when it was still part of its neighboring city, Gloucester.  In 1840 the residents of Rockport broke off to form their own town with their own unique identity.  During the Industrial Revolution they were suppliers of stone and granite and became a popular vacation destination. Rockport has also been a long time artist’s colony.  Today the rocky, New England beaches and downtown are still filled with tourists and there is no shortage of art galleries and studios.

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    Connecticut, Life

    Bow Tie Cinemas

    Movie theaters will always hold a special place in my heart.  I have a multitude of happy memories from growing up and seeing movies with family.  I also met my fiance, PK, while we both worked at the same theater.  Once we moved on to other careers and the option to see free movies stopped, unfortunately, so did our theater visits.  When you have to pay for rent and a car in Queens (not to mention you have a Target addiction) there isn’t much money left over.

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    Autumn, Connecticut, Day Trip

    Hogan’s Cidermill

    Hogan’s Cider Mill has existed in the same beautiful barn in Burlington since 1912.  I can’t believe I only discovered it in 2017, considering it’s only 15 minutes away from where I grew up.  After seeing someone else post a picture of it on Instagram I had to get there as soon as possible.  A gorgeous, historic cider mill practically in my back yard and I had no idea!

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    Autumn, New England

    Hello, October!

    Autumnal

    “Pale amber sunlight falls across
    The reddening October trees,
    That hardly sway before a breeze
    As soft as summer: summer’s loss
    Seems little, dear! on days like these.

    Let misty autumn be our part!
    The twilight of the year is sweet:
    Where shadow and the darkness meet
    Our love, a twilight of the heart
    Eludes a little time’s deceit.

    Are we not better and at home
    In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
    No harvest joy is worth a dream?
    A little while and night shall come,
    A little while, then, let us dream.

    Beyond the pearled horizons lie
    Winter and night: awaiting these
    We garner this poor hour of ease,
    Until love turn from us and die
    Beneath the drear November trees.”

    -Ernest Dowson

     

    Day Trip, New York, Travel, Weekend

    New York Renaissance Faire

    Whenever you decide to make something a yearly event, you try to improve upon your experience every time you go.  For example, last year was our first time at The New York Renaissance Faire and while we had a fantastic time, we made mental notes to dress more comfortably and perhaps go when it wasn’t 80 degrees.  This year I thought, “Perfect.  We’ll go for my birthday at the end of September.  It should be cooler, at least not 80.”  So, of course it wasn’t 80 degrees.  It was 90.

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    Day Trip, MA, New England, Travel

    Marblehead, MA

    On Labor Day, my brother and I took a day trip to Marblehead, MA.  Located just five minutes away from downtown Salem, I’ve always had this on my list of places to visit.  The town is absolutely gorgeous, but I advise getting there much earlier than we did.  There was no parking lots I could find, but there is plenty of street parking, you just might be a few blocks away from actual downtown.  My other suggestion is map out bathrooms.  We spent the better part of an hour buying coffees and seltzers at various stores searching for bathrooms and could find none.  We finally found public restrooms at the historic Fort Sewall.

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    Connecticut, Day Trip, Support Local

    About Last Week


    Not only was last week my birthday, but it was my mother’s as well.  We always try to do something together, the two of us, to celebrate.  This year I was invited to experience the newly updated Royale 6 in Norwalk, owned by Bow Tie Cinemas.  Fun fact, Bow Tie bought the movie theater chain I once worked at on Long Island were PK and I met.  Our theater wasn’t anything close to this one, however.

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    Day Trip, MA, Weekend

    Deerfield, MA

    Last weekend my mom and I went on an impromptu day trip to Deerfield, Massachusetts.  It was only an hour and fifteen minute drive from where we live in Connecticut.  The distance is a blessing and a curse because I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot more time (and money) in this part of New England.  We didn’t do too much research before heading off, Dunkin’ pumpkin iced coffees in hand, and stuck to three of the biggest attractions in the area: The Yankee Candle Village, The Montague Book Mill (separate post), and Historic Deerfield.

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    Mystic, Support Local, Travel, Weekend

    Mystic Knotwork 05.29.2017


    There is a magical little New England town I talk about all the time on this blog.  A town where colonial New England meets the modern day seamlessly.  Preppy clothing stores, homemade fudge shops, and reusable bag boutiques live alongside each other in renovated historic buildings.  Here you can grab a fresh coffee and explore a local bookshop or antique sellers.  There is a music store that consists solely of records.  As you cross the historic drawbridge in downtown with your fresh-churned ice cream and gaze upon ships docked in the colonial era seaport museum you realize there is nowhere on earth you’d rather be.  Well, at least that’s how I feel every time I’m in Mystic.

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    Life, Travel, Weekend

    Chicago 05.06.17

    When asked how he wanted to celebrate the big 3-0 and his upcoming graduation from his MBA program PK made a simple request.  He just wanted to watch the Yankees play.  As it turned out, the Yankees would be on the road playing the World Series champion Cubs.  Luckily, for PK, I have some amazing family in Chicago.

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    Connecticut, Day Trip, Support Local, Woodbury

    Woodbury, CT 4.29.17

    The worst thing that can happen at the beginning of your vacation is discovering a store like, Soulbury.  My family knows me well enough that when they learn about fun, new shops they need to tell me right away.  This was one I couldn’t bear to sit on too long once my aunt sent me their Facebook page, especially with gorgeous warm weather last week.  My loyal adventure buddy, Coors was ready at a moments notice and we were on our way to Woodbury, Connecticut.

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    Day Trip, Salem, Travel, Weekend

    Spring in Salem

    I have been absolutely exhausted since Easter.  All I could do was envision my week long vacation and how I would do absolutely nothing but nap.  Aside from our Chicago trip at the end of my time off I tried to keep my schedule wide open.  Somehow, everyday began to fill with spontaneous day trips to some of my favorite places and I can’t really complain about that.  Vacation didn’t have as many naps as I was counting on, but I am feeling totally renewed and ready for warm weather and to plan more trips.

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