A Weekend in Portland, Maine

by agirlandhermutt on May 29, 2015

Heeeeyyy there. Today I am preparing for an epic beer weekend after coming off of an epic getaway weekend. I’m going to need a break from all things beer and cheese related…starting Sunday! 😉

My traveling schedule has been a little sad this year because of my illness and surgery and I was feeling the itch to get out of town. Because I can’t really take too many vacation days right now, I have deemed this the Discovering New England year. I’m going to explore what my neck of the US has to offer.

First stop was Portland, Maine. I’ve actually been a few times but but for *very* short times. We are talking a few hours at most. This time we went for the weekend!

There isn’t much to tell you about the weekend other than it was perfect weather, Portland is perfect for beer lovers and foodies and that AirBnB is a fun way to find places to stay!


Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth.

UntitledUntitledUntitledIf you love beer, you will find plenty to love about Portland. We visited several breweries over the few days that we were in town.

Bissel Brothers– Go early! The line starts forming about 30-40 minutes before they open. It is a small brewery so they sell out quickly of the cans of their popular beer. We saw MANY people walking out with cases (~$75/each) of beer. We had a few samples and bought a 4-pack. Losers. 😉

UntitledUntitledIn the same neighborhood are several other breweries, Allagash, Austin Street and Foundation. Allagash was our original destination. We had to reserve tickets (free) for a tour several weeks in advance. Totally worth it!


We stopped at a few other breweries in the area, but one that really stood out was Oxbow. I didn’t fall in love with any of their beers, although they were all good, but the space was AMAZING. Entrance. Not creepy at all, right?! Untitled

But inside?! So cool! I want to throw some fat party and have all my really cool hipster friends come and drink with me. Now I just need more than my 4 girlfriends of friends and for them to suddenly change into hipsters. UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled

There is SO MUCH FOOD in Portland! Our host at the AirBnB we stayed at gave us several suggestions on places to eat, including Street & Co for dinner, DuckFat for milkshakes, Flatbread for pizza, and The Front Room for brunch. Perfect suggestions! I should note, try to get reservations at the places you are interested in eating at for dinner. Every place we went was packed and required a two hour wait. That isn’t to say that the food wasn’t worth it, but we were starving by the time we sat down.

Grilled Lobster at Street & Co.

Some of the best mussels I have ever had at Street & Co. Untitled

And I can never say no to stuffed dates. Seriously. If you have a party and want me to come, tell there will be stuffed dates. Wrap them in bacon to make me arrive early!

I should note right about here that I’m sorry for some weird coloring in the photos. I exclusively am an iPhone photographer now. 😉

Potato Gnocchi for brunch at The Front Room. Gnocchi for brunch? Uh…yes.

No trip to Maine is complete without lobster. Honestly, lobster isn’t my favorite seafood item, but I do enjoy the novelty of having lobster in Maine.

We managed to sneak some in during almost every meal. I had a lobster poutine and of course, the traditional lobster roll at 3 Buoys Seafood Shanty Grill.
In addition to touring around Portland, we also ventured out into the water to visit Peaks Island. The island is about 3 miles from Portland and accessible via ferry. Most people tour around on bicycles or golf carts on the island, but I like to get the steps in so we walked. It was a total of 4.5 miles to go around the perimeter of the island.

No trip to Peaks Island is complete without a trip to the Umbrella Cover Museum. Yep. You read that right. The museum curator, Nancy 3. Hoffman, was a small hilarious woman that played the accordion. She was fantastic in every way. And yes, her middle name is the number “3”. The museum’s mission statement sums up this quirky spot perfectly.

The Umbrella Cover Museum is dedicated to the appreciated of the mundane in everyday life. It is about finding wonder and beauty in the simplest of things, and about knowing there is always a story behind the cover.


And the most entertaining things to watch that day was the line of people going into a bar right near the ferry drop-off. Apparently, Bud Light was hosting some party and people were showing up in packs to attend this party. The line kept getting longer and longer and longer. It was nuts! There was a lot of plaid, Sperry shoes, rompers with really, really high wedges and pants with anchors or lobsters on them. I loved all of it.

In addition to some great beer, food and sightseeing, we also stayed at an awesome AirBnB. We stayed with a woman, Denise, who had a HUGE house that we pretty much had to ourselves. One afternoon we came home to a little cheese plate and some wine to enjoy. Pure Portland perfection.
Oh, and did I mention we went to Freeport to see the huge LL Bean factory?! I was obsessed with seeing the giant boot. Done.



Enjoy your weekend and see you soon!


To Florida and Back

by agirlandhermutt on April 16, 2015

Hello there! I spent the better part of March complaining to anyone who would listen about how I needed some sunshine and a break from Boston (or really just winter). My parents heard my cry (or multiple cries), took pity on me and allowed me to go down to Florida for a little visit this past weekend.

It was the definition of short, but sweet.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have a close relationship with my parents. I am an only child and my parents are my BFFs. Creepy? Maybe. But it wasn’t like that when I was a kid. My mom was hardcore. As an adult, it is a totally different story. While you were all posting pictures of your sibling love a few days ago, I was enjoying a day of attention all by myself.

While I was really craving some sunshine, Florida had a different idea in mind. I think I saw the sun once in 4 days. ONE TIME!

No trip back to visit my hometown is complete without a few crucial things.

First, a trip to the beach. We made it just before it started to rain. And then continue to rain for the next 3 days.

Oh, and those are my parents sunglasses. They have those kind that fit over your glasses and kind of look like Stevie Wonder sunglasses.

There were quite a few people at the beach despite the nasty looking clouds. You can always tell who are locals and who are not. The folks sitting on the beach when it looks like hurricane weather are visitors and they are determined to get their money’s worth out of the trip. I totally understand!

Even a short trip to the beach leaves me feeling like a new person. A person with crazy hair, but refreshed.

Another old almost truism! An old Navy man once told me that the ocean's salt water cured everything. I guess it depends on what hurts.

Another hometown favorite and can’t miss spot in Pensacola is Joe Patti’s Seafood.

Should I ever be required to choose a last meal it would be boiled shrimp, crab legs, my Dad’s mashed potatoes and Cock of the Walk coleslaw.

I say this with only the slightest bit of sarcasm, but I could eat my weight in boiled shrimp.

But this isn’t just any ol’ shrimp and potatoes. I like the way my Dad makes make mashed potatoes. We call them “coat your throat potatoes”. I don’t just like any ol’ coleslaw. I like coleslaw from a restaurant down the street called Cock of the Walk. I can’t remember if any of their other food is good because I haven’t eaten there in decades. But that coleslaw? It should be illegal it is so good.

This year we busted out some of the wine I had at my wedding to pair with dinner. Just a tip…Moscato and seafood are magic together.

In recent years, Joe Patti’s has added a little food truck outside of the store that serves beignets. I happen to be a huge fan of beignets, but leery of food cart beignets.

Dumb. I was so wrong! These babies were just heavenly little friend dough puffs!

I ate one before we even got home. Then I proceeded to shove 2 more down. For those of you following along, I’m on Weight Watchers. I don’t think there are even enough points for me to have documented this little beignet escapade.

The most important thing for me to do when I visit my parents is RELAX. Legend says that their house has tryptophan pumped through the air conditioning. Well, at least it feels that way. The minute I sit down on the couch I go into a coma. You know the kind where you drool a little?

Fortunately, the boys keep me company. Butch and Spike are snugglers of the highest level. If I can’t have Kork around to keep me company, these two nuts will do.

And last, but certainly not least, I just like hanging out with my Mom and Dad. I went to swimming class with my Dad. I shopped with my Mom. I laughed a ton with the two of them.

When I got sick a few months ago, my parents dropped everything to come be by my side. I always knew that they would do something like that if I ever needed it, but to see it in action is completely different. My Mom didn’t leave my hospital bedside once at night and my Dad drove through every weather storm possible to get everyone where they needed to be and visit the pharmacy 50+ times.

So a few days later, I’m back in Boston. The sun is shining and the world seems a little brighter. I feel refreshed and ready to go!


One last thing! The Tone It Up Bikini Series is now in full spring! I’ve been updating on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so be sure to stop by and say hello. If you are doing the series too, please let me know! I’ve had a few questions on how the schedule works and honestly, I know it can be a bit confusing. Monday morning I will have a little run-down of what they posted as the schedule and how I will be adapting it into my schedule. Hopefully that will help some of you figure out how you want to fit the workouts into your day!

See ya soon!


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Weekend Recap: Brooklyn Bound

by agirlandhermutt on April 6, 2015

Life has been a little hectic lately. I needed a break from Boston for a few days so we headed down to NYC for a little rest and relaxation. Ha. NYC for relaxation. How about them apples?!

I used to take a bus from Boston to NYC, but it was time consuming and I hated being stuck on a specific schedule. Plus, the bus always smelled funky (chinese food and urine). For the last few visits we have just driven, parked in a garage and stayed in Brooklyn. So much easier!

On the way down I wanted to start to work on my 35 While 35 list. Specifically, #27 and #30. We took a pit stop to the Two Roads Brewing Co in Stratford, CT.

I’ve tried several of their beers at various beer fests, but wasn’t expecting such a big brewery or for it to be as crowded as it was. I got the sampler so I could try a few new-to-me brews. The two worth noting are definitely the Road 2 Ruin (Double IPA) and Rye 95 (Belgian Tripel).

By the time we got into Brooklyn it was about 6:30pm. We quickly checked into our hotel and cabbed it over to middle-of-nowhere-Bushwick to pay a visit to Arrogant Swine, a Carolina whole hog bbq joint.

Pitmaster Tyson Ho had written several articles on Serious Eats about his experience of moving from the financial industry to opening a a BBQ restaurant in Brooklyn. The articles were really interesting and made you want to visit his space even more.

When we got there on Friday night it was busy, but not crowded. We were able to easily grab a spot at the bar and order almost everything on the menu.

East Carolina Whole Hog w/ cornbread and apple mustard slaw
-Western North Carolina Outside Brown Shoulder w/ cornbread and red vinegar lexington slaw
-Kenny G’s Mac & Cheese (a waffle made out of mac & cheese!!!)

I can’t lie. The best at this bbq spot is the mac & cheese waffle. Seriously out of this world! Amazing!

Bathroom graffitti

And what is even cooler, we got to rave about the food to Tyson Ho in person. He stopped by our section of the bar and we chatted him up for a good solid hour. He told us little tidbits about how the bar was made (burning wood with a flamethrower) and that the mac & cheese is his best seller. A tidbit he wasn’t too pleased with since it is a bbq place. Chatting with someone who is passionate about their work and the product they produce is always entertaining.

For dessert we headed over to the famous Junior’s for some cheesecake. However, I didn’t take a picture so those calories don’t count. Isn’t that how it works?!

The next day we were up bright and early to meet up with some friends for brunch at Chez MOi. The menu said they had a “Grits of the Day” dish. Yes, please.

Creamy grits, shaved and fried artichokes and a poached egg. Delish. I have never had eggs on top of grits, but I most certainly will in the future. Question though…how do I even shave an artichoke?!

I really enjoyed Chez MOi except for one tiny thing. Am I the only one totally grossed out by this?!

I desperately wanted to take a nap (and wash my hands with soap) after brunch but we had plans to meet up with my friend, Meg, in Manhattan. She had told me tales of a Bauble Bar jewelry sample sale happening and I was determined to make it there. It’s like she knows what makes me happy deep down in my soul.

First, a stop at Eataly, a huge space filled with gourmet Italian ingredients and a few restaurants. They always have the best looking produce section!

It was a gorgeous day in NYC so we grabbed a beer at the rooftop restaurant, Birreria.

It was sunny and warm on the rooftop. Actually, really warm. I was sweating in spots you shouldn’t in a matter of minutes up there. Fortunately, my friends put up with my sweatiness.

My skin was frying with so much sun. I felt like a chicken breast just baking in the oven. The whiteness of my skin is ridiculous. I feel like a vampire. Need.more.sun!

After the beer and a sweat, we headed over to the Bauble Bar sample sale.

Statement necklaces as far as the eye could see.

I came home with some good deals and all kinds of things I don’t really need!

Sorry for the funky lighting. You get the idea.

Meg is the same person who introduced me to J.Crew Factory. She is gunning for every penny in my wallet! 😉 I haven’t seen Meg since my bachelorette party back in October, but keep up with her NYC shenanigans through Facebook. It was good to see her in the flesh and give her a sweaty hug.

We said our good-byes to Meg and headed up to Central Park. My husband has never been to the park and I was feeling second-hand embarrassment for that fact.

Central Park never disappoints me. There are always interesting characters which means people watching galore. I’ve also taken my fair share of naps on a big rock in the middle of the park. This was back when I was stupid and didn’t really think about people robbing me.

We saw a few popular spots in the park and enjoyed the sun as it started to set.

We even took part in an actual wedding. Well, a wedding and a photo shoot. I’m sure these people will love seeing our big heads in the background of their photos.

That night we went to a “going away” party for some good friends of ours. They are moving to California and this weekend was their last one in the city. The night ended with a mustache bathroom mirror and a shot with pop rocks. Totally adult.

My last outing for the fuzzy vest this season.

Proof of what time we got home on Sunday morning. Ugh. This lady has a hard with anything after 11p.

Despite a late night, I was up bright and early on Sunday to get to church for Easter mass. Two thumbs up for staying up late, but not really drinking much.

The church in Brooklyn was quite lovely. It was right next to our hotel so I was able to really look around and check out all the lovely details.

The altar was practically glowing and it was perfect for an Easter service.

While folks were with their families dining on Easter ham, we hit up Smorgasburg in Williamsburg for some serious noshing. We met up with our friends again and went to town eating. Did you ask about Weight Watchers points?! There were no such things as points on Sunday!

Scotch Egg from The Imperial Egg

Cheese Curds with Truffle sauce and Pesto Sauce from Curd’s The Word

Teriyaki Balls from Mimi & Coco

Ice Cream Sandwich from The Good Batch

Cemita’s Mexican Sandwiches

This was our 3rd or 4th trip to Smorgasburg and probably the best one yet. If you ever get a chance to hit up Smorgasburg, you just have to. Bring friends to split meals with. Bring cash. Go hungry.

Thanks for having us for the weekend, Brooklyn. Although there wasn’t much relaxing, we had an excellent time.

FYI: Steps walked on Saturday 22, 000. Sunday 13,000. My feet and shins were on fire.

See ya later this week!