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Sweet Eats: Loco for Loco! | Review

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I am a big fan of South Boston’s well known (and dare I say best) restaurant: LOCO.

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Why am I so enamored with this establishment you ask? Well let me tell you (and no, I was not given endless amounts of free tacos and oysters to write this review. I actually love this restaurant).

If you’re looking for a place with

1. a courteous and enthusiastic staff (and easy on the eyes), then LOCO is the place.

2. If you’re looking for a restaurant that has great big windows (to take in the sunshine on a beautiful and sunny Boston day) for the perfect Instagram-worthy picture, then LOCO is the place

3. If you’re looking for an atmosphere that transports you to a place and time other than the sucky Monday you just had at work due to your boss going nuts, then LOCO is the place!

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4. If you’re looking for top of the line tequila drinks, and a menu that never, ever, ever disappoints (think, tacos, $1 oysters, wings, ceviche for days) then LOCO is definitely the place.

Listen, LOCO has it all, and if you have not yet tried this establishment then you are missing out on one of Boston’s best restaurants!

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Follow Loco on instagram here!

xoxo

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Sweet Soul: A Balanced Life | Joanna Nicoletti

As a verb, balance is defined as: “to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall”. As a noun, balance is defined as: “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” When it comes to my new series “A Balanced Life” I have chosen a few lovely ladies to feature that I believe embody what it means to live a balanced  and healthy lifestyle. These women inspire me to keep buying organically (even if it is more expensive and some people just don’t get it), to keep working out (even if it is the first time in my life I am getting fit in a healthy way) and to keep up the positive attitude and energy.

My first interview is with an old high school friend, Joanna Nicoletti, who has traveled the world, seen the most beautiful places and experienced jaw-dropping and mind blowing adventures yet, like me, she too once suffered for many years with an eating disorder. Thankfully, Joanna is now on the other side and did not let the disorder destroy or kill her. She is a great inspiration to me for her hard work on recovery and keeping a balanced life.

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TSSB: What does a Balanced Life mean to you?
Joanna: A balanced life to me means being able to eat to fuel my body for the level of activity I perform on a daily basis.  I am a runner and I live an extremely busy and active lifestyle in New York City with a huge goal of running the NYC Marathon this fall, in order to be able to run that distance and train properly, I need to be fueling my body correctly.  For me, balance means having a pretty set routine, I simply do better when I plan ahead in terms of my weekly training routine, meals and going out on the weekends.  I think we as a society have an issue with moderation and we are either over-restricting ourselves in all aspects of our life or we are completely over-indulging.  For many women, myself included, who have struggled with an eating disorder, disordered eating or any kind of unhealthy relationship with exercise and/or food, finding balance is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve.  After developing a very debilitating eating disorder in high school, which continued throughout college and into my early twenties, I couldn’t actually remember a time when I felt truly balanced in my life.  I made some major lifestyle changes at the end of 2014 and really focused on how I can maintain a healthy weight, have a better relationship with food and exercise, and actually indulge in moderation without feeling guilty or slipping back into eating disorder symptoms.  I simply became sick of being sick and really sad that for over ten years my life was controlled by my eating disorder.  In the end, the hard work and months of effort paid off and I started to actually feel balanced in every aspect of my life.  As difficult as some days and weeks are to stay on track with my recovery and stay balanced in all aspects of my life, I am finally present and enjoying my life, my family and my friends instead of being consumed by an illness. 
TSSB: Do you have an AM and PM routine that contributes to your balanced life?
Joanna: Absolutely!  I have a big white board in my room with a Monday-Friday list of my daily workouts/training sessions, I also keep this schedule in my IPhone Calendar.  Every evening I pack a bag with whatever I need for my day in terms of clothes/shoes and I lay out my workout clothing for the morning so I can simply wake up and have everything ready.  I chose a gym that was midway between my apartment and my job so I can shower and get myself ready for my day after class and then walk to work.  A few times during the week in the evenings, I will either take a yoga class to decompress or have training sessions for running so, I will typically take note of this the night before and pack my gym bag accordingly.  The more organized I am in terms of my weekly schedule, the better I do mentally and physically.  Finding a routine and a schedule that works for my goals and lifestyle was really key to staying balanced and healthy. 
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TSSB: What is your definition of self-love and positive body image?
Joanna: This is a difficult question as I think often when women recover from an eating disorder the last part of recovery is self-love and embracing a positive body-image.  My definition of self-love and a positive body image, that I still have yet to master, is not thinking or speaking negatively about your body and appreciating your body for all that it allows you to do on a daily basis.  I also feel that self-love is really being able to accept, believe and take compliments from others.  When I am struggling with really debilitating thoughts about myself or my body, I like to think about how amazing it is that my body is able to run half marathons or blast through a SoulCycle class.  Five years ago when I was very ill I never would’ve been able to run a mile, let alone do the kind of activity I now do and that helps me refocus my negative thoughts. 
TSSB: What are some ways you stay active and foods you eat to achieve a balanced mind, body and soul (favorite work out routines, favorite healthy dish/ snack etc.)
Joanna: I switch up my workout routine daily, I think varying your exercises is extremely important and it keeps you in shape.  My weekly routine is:
 
-2x per week TRX/HIIT Class
-2x per week Spin Class
-1-2x per week Yoga
-2-3x per week Short/Long Outdoor Running
 
For food, I am all about meal-prepping and lists!  I will typically sit down on Saturday mornings and go through my fave cookbooks and select two recipes for myself to cook and prepare ahead of time for my lunches and dinners during the week.  I do my shopping on Sunday’s and then I cook and prepare my lunches in individual packs so I can easily grab it in the morning and I cook and freeze my dinner in one big batch, which makes it easy to heat up in the evenings.  I am very big into eating small meals throughout the day, so I keep tons of snacks in my office and in the house.  My gym has a fantastic but very expensive juice bar so once a week I will treat myself to a Matcha Shake, which is pretty fantastic to have on my walk to work!
 
I do not eat out often but when I do, I actually use that time to indulge and not be so rigid in terms of my eating, I am still conscious of what I am putting in my body, but if I want to have a glass of wine or two, I will absolutely go for it. 
 
My Lunch ‘Box’ This Week:
-Steamed Kale and Broccoli
-1 Hardboiled Egg
-1 Grilled Chicken Breast
-Raw Almonds
 
My ‘Go-To’ Snacks:
-Individual Skinny Pop Popcorn Bags
-Individual Pretzel Bags
-Organic String Cheese
-Fage Yogurt
-Sliced Green Apples and Peanut Butter
-Baby Carrots/Celery Sticks and Hummus
-Raw Almonds
-Protein Powder/Almond Milk/Peanut Butter Shake
-Quest Bars
 
Fave Cookbooks:
-Deliciously Ella
-Oh She Glows
-Against All Grains
-It’s All Good
-Everyday Detox

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TSSB: Words to live by/ favorite quote that has to do with positivity, good vibes or positive body image.
Joanna: ‘Running reminds you that even in your weakest moments, you are strong.’ 
 
‘and I said to my body softly, “I want to be your friend.” it took a long breath and replied, “I have been waiting my whole life for this” -Nayyirah Waheed
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If you want to follow Joanna and continue to be inspired by her journey, then click here to follow her on Instagram!
Stay tuned next Saturday to see our next Balanced Babe of the week!
xoxo
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Sweet Life: Weekend Recap | Beautiful Boston

Here is my weekend recap for this past week/weekend, (5/19-5/22). It started off with a pick me up from Mother Juice at the Boston Public Market. I am committed to this life of balance and to kick start this commitment, my boyfriend and I are doing my own version of the 7-day clean program.

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As part of my new “A Balanced Life” series that will be starting up this Saturday, I interviewed my new friend, Gabby Mbeki, of First and Warren (can’t wait for you guys to read her inspiring interview!) at this lovely little coffee shop, Render Coffee. We all know I am not a coffee girl, so I got a delicious iced tea instead. The space is just gorgeous. The art on the wall is amazing and provided me with great gallery wall inspo for my apartment. It’s also a great space to hold some kind of blogger event (hmmmm….).

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Since my boyfriend and I are doing a 7-day clean program type cleanse, we are eating as clean as possible while having 2 smoothies a day filled with greens, seeds and nut butters etc. to aid our bodies in performing to the best of its ability.

Our date night meal didn’t look like it usually does (think fries, BBQ, burgers etc.), but we stopped into Stephi’s in Southie and we shared a colorfully delicious chicken lettuce wrap dish and I had a salmon salad for my main entree.

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Sunday turned out to be the best day of my weekend. Days when you expect to do nothing but clean your house and sit on the couch, but an unexpected adventure ensues instead are always the best days.

The night before, I told my boyfriend I wanted to go to Jugos Boston Sunday morning, as I’ve been dying to try out some of their juices, but he was a little reluctant. (he’s not as amped about green juice and superfoods as I am). I woke up on Sunday ready to go to Jugos but could tell my boyfriend didn’t really want to go, and as fate would have it, my friend Annie (who I’ve mentioned a ton of times on this blog) texted me asking to go to Jugos. Talk about ESP!

Annie and I went on a little adventure and got some goodies at Jugos and then roamed around Boston hitting up Back Bay, strolling down Newbury St, making a pit stop in Kiehls for some new skincare products (review to come in the next couple of months), and then ended our stroll in Faneuil Hall.

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At Kiehls I found out that my skin is not combination skin, rather, I have normal to oily skin. *Mind-blown*. I would def recommend getting your skin tested to see exactly what skin type you have as it is imperative that you purchase skincare products that target your specific skin type. You don’t want to buy products for dry skin, when you actually have very oily skin.

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Boston, you’re gorgeous, and I am proud to call you home. Thank you for a great and relaxing weekend.

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xoxo

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Sweet Soul: A Balanced Life Series

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It comes as no surprise to those who read my blog on the regular that I am now starting a Balanced Life Series. I’ve talked about it here, and then collaborated with the lovely girls of ThePartyof2 on a balanced recipe here.

Although I am a food blogger and instagrammer who likes to eat at the hot spots in Boston and beyond, I’m taking my blog further and starting to focus on balance and happiness; as well as positive body image and inspiration. Too often we are bombarded by images in the media that tell us we need to look a certain way or have a certain “thing” (whether it’s physical or costs $25,000.00) in order to be happy, and sadly it becomes “bible” to some young women, men and older people as well. Trust me, I’ve fallen victim to the brain-washing of it all and developed an eating disorder for many, many years. (read here)

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It becomes a constant tug-o-war to have to pull yourself out of that mind-set and tell yourself that “I am enough”. I try and say to myself that my brown skin is beautiful and I do not need to be lighter to feel sexy to the rest of the world…I AM SEXY! I do not need to be a size 0 to be desirable, having curves and big boobs makes me, me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and made in the likeness and image of God. He made no mistake when he created me and I need to hold that sentiment close to my heart and live and breathe it.

So ladies and gentleman, I am starting a series called “A Balanced Life” where I interview some of my dear friends, my favorite bloggers, Youtubers and health and nutrition influencers to get a peek inside how they keep the positivity going when it comes to balance and body image.

Hopefully this will inspire you to live the most balanced and body positive life you can, and if you struggle with it, it is okay! We all struggle. The key is to keep trying to search for what works for you, and not what you think others think should work for you! At the end of the day you have your back 100% and that means your health, your sanity, your mind, body and soul; so cherish it and foster it. Be gentle with yourself.

Stay tuned every Saturday for a new feature of someone I admire who leads A Balanced Life!

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xoxo

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Sweet Life: Weekend Recap

This past weekend was filled with beautiful views, delicious cocktails, Boston bloggers and the most amazing smoked chicken and buffalo cauliflower this girl has ever had.

First off, a bunch of us bloggers were invited to be the first to check out the now open (as of Monday 5/9/16) Lookout Rooftop and Bar at the effortlessly modern and polished Envoy Hotel.  Taking the elevator up to the rooftop, I was blown away by the gorgeous Bostonian views of the Harbor and downtown Seaport and Fort Point. Every inch is picture worthy (and instagrammable) especially with the colorful decor strategically spaced out on the patio. The music was bumping and the drinks were flowing, I cannot wait to go back once the sun is shining high and bright.

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After leaving the rooftop and getting drinks at my all time favorite Tavern Road (Thank you Robbin and Marlo Marketing!), Georgina, her photography intern and I got a quick bite at the  always faithful: Legals Seafood Harbor Side. We had ginormous shrimp cocktail and swordfish over some lentils and melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms.

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To close out the weekend my boyfriend and I went on a double date with our friends to the highly anticipated Coppersmith. When I say highly anticipated, I’m referring to my restaurant check list, as this establishment has been open for a while. As I said on instagram, Coppersmith did not disappoint. The atmosphere was bustling as it was the Kentucky Derby. You can imagine all of the characters donning their floppiest hats and preppiest bow-tie and suspender combo. After finally pushing through the crowd and getting to my seat I could finally breathe and take it all in. The rumors were true! There was a full on food truck in the middle of the restaurant. Coppersmith has a warehouse feel with wooden tables and chairs reminiscent of an industrial era cafeteria/ open concept eatery.

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If you go, which you most definitely should, make sure you get the Raspberry Martini (more sweet, less sour) and just order rounds of that. It is so delicious and refreshing. I can definitely see myself drinking a few of those on their patio in the warmer months.

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As we had one vegetarian in the group we made sure to order a meatless appetizer along with our brined + smoked wings. I’m not just BS’ing you when I say that the smoked wings were the BEST smoked wings I’ve had. They were the perfect blend of tenderness, smokiness and crispiness. Now onto the Buffalo Cauliflower. I’ve seen this item on all of the feeds of my favorite food instagrammers, but never wanted to order it myself. What could be good about cauliflower in buffalo sauce? Well my whole world was rocked Saturday night at Coppersmith. They.were.AMAZING!

They literally (I try not to say literally a lot, but this deserves a big fat LITERALLY) tasted like buffalo chicken. They were so crispy and bursting with awesome flavor. I would’ve gotten a full plate of the Buffalo Cauliflowers and called it a night if I could.

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For my meal I had a half roasted chicken with a side of baked mac + cheese with a corn bread topping. Talking about down home cooking where every single taste bud is jumping for joy, while you have to unbutton your pants (should’ve worn stretchy pants!). Every morsel was worth it and I cannot wait to go back to Coppersmith. I hear they have a great brunch menu as well (bring on the corned beef hash!).

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xoxo

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Sweet Eats: Go-To Green Smoothie Bowl ft: Ashley and Katie Hess (ThePartyof2)

You guys thought I was just spewing out words when I wrote about going on this quest for serious balance  in my life, huh? Nope! I’m getting genuinely serious about my health and am ready to open up my mind, body, soul and wallet to ensuring I live this balanced life I always talk about living. It was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to collaborate with Ashley and Katie Hess of The Party of 2. If you’re following them on Instagram (if not, what the heck are you waiting for?!), then you know their feed is not only aesthetically pleasing due to it’s perfect curation of their travels and outfit posts, but they’re also pretty big foodies too!

I admire that they seem to lead a balanced life when it comes to their food choices and workout routines (check them out on snapchat too! @thepartyoftwo) and was stoked to get the scoop on their favorite go-to green smoothie bowl for all of my readers to try at home.

So without further ado, take it away ladies!…..

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(A+K): We all have those nights of overindulgence. Maybe you had one too many martinis or stayed out a few more hours than intended or than your head would have liked the next morning. Whatever the case, we’ve got your quick fix for finding your center of balance again. When it comes down to it, food influences the way we feel and can act as our greatest medicine when we choose to let it. So whenever we feel that our bodies are in need of a little lovin’, we pull out our blender, turn to our refrigerator, and go diving. The result always tends to take some form of an energizing smoothie bowl, but the one we’ve concocted here tends to be our most often made. Check out the recipe below and try your hand at our greenest go-to!
Go-To Green Smoothie Bowl:
Serves 1:
Ingredients:
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut water (milk is creamier option of the two)
– 3/4 frozen banana
– 1 cup chopped, frozen kale
– 1 scoop of vanilla vegan protein powder (we like either Sun Warrior or Garden of Life)
Toppings:
– Pomegranate Seeds
– Chia Seeds
– Dried Mulberries
– Flax Seeds
– Dried Goji Berries
– Hemp Seeds
– Frozen Blueberries
– Fresh Raspberries
– Granola (we mix grain free granola by White Lion Baking Company and Back Roads)
– Powdered Peanut Butter

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Instructions:
1. Pour almond milk or coconut water in blender. Place banana and kale in next, and add scoop of vegan protein powder. Secure the top of the blender so you don’t have a mess of green slime all over your kitchen.
2. Blend on high for about a minute or until smooth. Make sure you blend well, no chunks allowed.
3. Pour into bowl.
4. Top with your favorite seeds, granola, nut butter, and fruit. Grab spoon, take it to the face, and resist using your finger to lick the bowl.
*All ingredients are organic*

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Thanks Ashley and Katie for sharing your go-to green smoothie bowl! I feel healthier just looking at the pictures. Try your hand at making this bowl and tag @thesweetsceneblog on Instagram! I’d love to see your different creations.

xoxo

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Sweet Soul:F**k A Diet! | All about Balance

Pretty strong title, right? I know. A strong title is needed in order to typify my very strong feelings towards the word “diet” and all of its negative connotations. As all of my Day 1 readers know, I suffered from an eating disorder starting when I was 19 for 4 years. It was a horrible time in my life and I am so happy that I have come up on the other side (hello!).

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The one thing they definitely do not teach you in a treatment facility is how to adopt a certain fad”diet”. The average person describes a diet as a label/ program where you eliminate certain things/ restrict yourself from having certain “bad foods” as a means to lose a certain amount of weight. In treatment, we are taught that there is no such thing as “bad food”, but there are foods that are much better for us than others and all food is great in moderation. (unless you have a food allergy of course)

After conquering treatment and beating my disorder (FYI: you’re never fully cured from an eating disorder….it’s a daily struggle) I never “dieted”. I was too afraid I would spiral out of control and go back into that dark hole of binging and purging and restricting.

I say all this to say that as I sit here in front of my computer screen, I’m realizing that I have never lost weight in a healthy way in my life. The moment I became conscious of my body and decided to lose weight, it was a restriction thing which then turned into a full blown bulimia fueled chaotic lifestyle. My problem is that I want to see results pronto and when I don’t see a drastic change in a month, I get discouraged. I’m used to dropping weight quickly, even though it was due to unhealthy and possibly deadly practices.

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So here we are ladies and (possibly a few) gentlemen, we’re at this point in my life where I have retrained my brain to love food and now need to train my body to fully commit to balance. Throughout my years after treatment and reading up on inspirational people such as Hannah Bronfman and Gwyneth Paltrow and their daily lives of balance, I have learned that in order to have a healthy, happy and feel-good-life/body and mind you need live a life of balance. Balance means leading a lifestyle of mostly nutrient dense, organic, super-foody foods as well as working out multiple times a week; but still allowing yourself to have indulgent foods once in a while. It’s knowing that what you eat most certainly effects how you feel/ your mood, as well as your skin, nails and hair. As someone who not only suffered from an eating disorder, but also suffers from high anxiety, it is extremely important that I focus on the foods I’m putting into my body (but not in an obsessive way, of course).

I notice that when I work out 5 or 6 days a week and eat fruits, veggies and fish, I feel amazing! I have so much more energy and drink a lot more water as opposed to eating fried foods multiple times a week with wine or beer and not working out. It’s all about listening to my body, after all, it is my temple.

This is just a random rant filled/ diary type post and also a way to hold myself accountable. Thanks for listening.

xoxo

What does balance mean to you? Leave a comment below! I’d love to gain some inspiration from some of you guys

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Sweet Travels: A Weekend in Portland,ME Part II

The last stretch of our Portland weekend found us at 2 breweries: one well known (Shipyard) and one local company (Liquid Riot). Liquid Riot introduced me to my first real glass of kombucha (meaning, there was actual elevated levels of alcohol) and crowned me the reining queen of pool! (Annie, round 2 soon?)

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When in Maine, have Mexican, right? Well, that might not be the saying, but Annie and I decided to grab a quick taco bite at the cleverly named Taco Escobarr in between beer tastings. The décor was very bright and festive, especially in the bathroom. Bring on the margaritas and the dancing woman in a red dress emoji!

I, of course, got fish tacos and a beef taco with a side of margarita. I liked the fact that you could choose what style tortilla you wanted for your taco: soft, crispy or puffy. I played it safe and got the soft, BUT, I will be back to Portland this summer, so there’s plenty of time to try different tortilla variations.

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After lunch we noticed this beautiful piece of art work in a parking lot/alley way and of course had a 30 minute photoshoot…..just the two of us.

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At the shipyard brewery I fell in love with the Sea Dog Sunfish beer and have been on the hunt to find a 6 pack of it around Boston ever since. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried the flavor or if you’ve seen it around the city so I can go stock up.

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The mission for our last night in Portland was to try another highly recommended restaurant for dinner, hit up our first ever speakeasy (won’t blog the name or location…you’ll have to find it for yourself) and then shimmy our way to a Portland style club to dance the rest of the night away. We successfully accomplished all three tasks with ease.

After heading back to the hotel and putting on our not-so-Portland, going out outfits (I had on all black, a leather jacket and fur vest….talk about sticking out), we headed to Green Elephant for some yummy vegetarian cuisine. I wasn’t too hungry, so all I got was edamame and spring rolls, but everything on the menu (and what I had) was everything a vegetarian or vegan could ask for. The ambiance of the restaurant was very calming, especially with our server who was ecstatic when I told her she reminds me of  Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.

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I discovered that I am a fan of white beer, specifically Allegash White.

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Some of the best spring rolls I’ve had (and I have had my fair share).

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The next morning I was sad, yet excited to leave the hotel on our last day; sad because it meant we were leaving the gorgeously, quaint city of Portland, but excited because it meant it was brunch time at another highly recommended restaurant: East Ender!

When there is a line of hungry customers waiting (more like hovering/stalking) 15 minutes before opening, then you know a restaurant is going to blow your tastebuds away. That was the case at East Ender in Old Port, Portland, ME. I finally got my hands on legit chicken and waffles, and it was beyond amazing. The waffles were crispy and melted in my mouth like air. I basically said those exact words when I took my first bite “It’s like eating crispy air!”. The fried chicken was a commonwealth farm 1/2 chicken accompanied by syrup, hot sauce and butter. My mouth is watering just thinking about it all. I cannot wait to go back and re-order it again, definitely highly recommended by The Sweet Scene.

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Just before we hopped on the highway to head back to Boston, we stopped at Fort Williams Park and took in the beautiful New England scenery. I definitely wish we explored this part of Portland a little bit more, but luckily summer hasn’t started yet, so there is plenty of time to see what else Portland has to offer.

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What are some of your favorite Portland, ME restaurants, shops or sites to visit?

Leave a comment below!

xoxo

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Sweet Eats: ¡Margaritas!

I will honestly admit that I was not always the biggest fan of Mexican food that I am today. I did not appreciate all of the flavors (still not a fan of cilantro) and spices and cultural history that came with Mexican food, but those are all feelings of the past. I have a couple go-to Mexican restaurants I like to frequent, and when we used to live in Waltham, Margaritas Mexican Restaurant was one of them.

When I had the opportunity to head back to our old stomping grounds of Moody Street and try out their new menu, I jumped at the opportunity. Sadly, the new tasting menu was not available at the Waltham location, but it was for beautiful reasons. They recently just opened back up after months of renovations that were well worth it and long over-due. It looks SO amazing inside, still colorful, but more refined and updated.

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One of my favorite items is complimentary to all: the chips! I don’t know what it is, but they are salted just perfectly and are so light and crispy. I recommend pairing them with a Dos Equis, or a margarita with prosecco (the one item off of their new menu I was able to get *insert alleluia emoji hands here*) while you wait for your main course.

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I still play it safe when it comes to ordering, “stick to what I know” kind of mentality, and I know that I love tacos; especially fried fish tacos. It was a no brainer for me to get their street tacos: 1 fish, 1 chicken and 1 beef, all 3 amazing.

My boyfriend got a chimichanga, and that was definitely the star of the night. I have never had a chimichanga before, and before you say “all tacos, changas and burritos are the same”, that is where you are wrong my friend. A chimichanga is similar to a burrito, but it is fried and just might be my new go-to menu item at Margaritas (sparingly, your girl still has a figure to watch).

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There are plenty more items to try on the menu as well as their delicious chips and $5 margaritas! Don’t have Cinco de Mayo plans, head to Margaritas for a fiesta, and bring some friends along with you!

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xoxo

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Sweet Travels: A Weekend in Portland, ME Pt. I

As you can tell by my indisputable title, I recently road-tripped it up to Portland, ME with my friend Annie this past weekend. Before hitting the road we had to stop and get a late breakfast at the newly opened Juice Press in Chestnut Hill’s, The Street. It was all that I’ve imagined it would be and more. I have never been to any of the actual stores in NYC, so to have one finally at my finger tips is both amazing and dangerous (for my wallet).

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With our bellies full of yummy açai and other healthy ingredients your vegan and holistic alter ego would love (unless you already are vegan and/or holistic), we hopped back into my car; with windows rolled down and music blasting, there was nothing between us and Portland but open road. It took us about 2 hours to get from Brookline to Portland and we were psyched to finally arrive and stretch our legs and soak in some sunshine. At first, we didn’t know what to think of this place: “is it a town? or is it a city? it seems so small and quaint! Look at all the tattoos, flannels and beards!”

After quickly checking in and unpacking a few things, we were eager to walk around town and do some exploring. Our first stop: the heavily recommended, “Duck Fat“. We went there for one reason, and one reason only: the fries! I had the Belgian hand cut fries which were fried in duck fat and served with my choice of truffle ketchup. I mean, just with the word “truffle” in that sentence and “fried-in-duck-fat”, you already know the fries were unbelievable.

Annie ordered the poutine and we both had a glass of Allegash White (my new favorite beer and I’m not even a beer fan). Duck Fat is definitely known by locals and tourists alike, so it gets very packed, very quickly. I’d advise arriving earlier than you plan to eat as there may be a wait.

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There was an OTTO about a 15 minute walk away from me when I lived in Brookline and I have never visited not one of the multiple MA establishments. I will admit that the foodie in me did not know that OTTO was born in Portland, but I am happy I waited until I was in its homeland to have my first slice (or 5). The crust was crispy, and each bite literally melted in my mouth.

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If you know me, then you know that I am not a sweets person at all. I barely have candy, or donuts or anything with a sugar content above 10g. Annie heard that The Holy Donut was the most blessed donut place in all of the land, so obviously we had to take a pilgrimage to try some of their donuts. I didn’t get any, but I did have a bite or three of Annie’s sweet potato donut and it was unlike any donut I have ever had (count how many times I’ve said donut).  Secret?: The Holy Donut makes their donuts out of potatoes! Mind. Blown.

What I have learned is that The Holy Donut makes their donuts out of local and healthy ingredients and I cannot wait to go back to Portland and try out some more flavors and explore this company further.

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If you’ve been following along with me via my blog and my instagram account, then you know that I looooooveeee a good green juice. My favorite ingredients to add are: raw cacao, ground flax seed and spinach, as seen here in my “Cacaoy-Wowie” post. Any place I go, I have to have a green juice in my system; usher in Maine Squeeze (….get it ??!). Typical to your neighborhood green juice joint, this place has fruity and green smoothies and green juices as well as boosters (chia seeds, goji berries) and shots (a spicy ginger shot that’ll knock your socks and sinuses off) that’ll make you feel like the healthiest person in the on the block!

They also have a 3 day cleanse which includes wholesome food and juices for a great price! (cheaper than Boston….I wonder if they’ll deliver).

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Did you think this was all I did while in Portland? Ha! Stay tuned for more fun adventures and delicious bites next week for a Weekend Recap of Portland Round 2.

Have you been to Portland, ME? Grow up around the area? Where should I go next? I am definitely going back!

xoxo