The only thing that’s better than spending a day with my family, is spending a day with my family AND farm animals AND a plethora of unhealthy fair food! And to my utter delight, that is exactly what happened this past October. The weekend before my birthday, I had a work trip that brought me to the states, and I couldn’t pass up a cheeky 24 hours in Maine with my family before flying back to Amsterdam. I haven’t heard my family sing happy birthday to me in more than nine years, so it was an extra special visit as we were able to have a little birthday gathering in my honor, followed by a day at the Fryeburg Fair, which topped off a very magical Maine weekend.To be honest, the timing of my visit kind of sucked, as my parents had just sold their house and were three weeks away from their big move! At first I thought the fair might just be a sister outing, as my parents were both bogged down with moving-related tasks, but my mom somehow managed to plow through her chores on Saturday, which meant that on Sunday she was able to join us at the fair! Continue reading
Although Kai and I have been together for two years, he only managed to come visit Maine for the first time about six months ago. Two summers ago a trek across the Atlantic together seemed a bit too soon, and I really wanted the sun to be shining on his first visit – so we waited until the summer of 2017 for his first trip to Maine (yay). I had a Maine bucket list for him that was about a mile long (you can read one of my favorite Maine bucket lists here) which was a bit ambitious since we only had about 10 days together on the east coast. However, we did our best to tick our way down the list, which included going for a ride in my dad’s Firebird, playing ski ball at Old Orchard Beach, watching fireworks, getting an ice cream at the Diary Corner, spending a day at the lake with my family, eating lobster, going to a Red Sox game, basking in the sun at the beach, having a camp fire with s’mores and sparklers at night, and visiting LL Bean at an ungodly late hour – just to name a few! While he was visiting we also wanted to do something that was new for the both of us, and so we booked a three night adventure in Acadia, Maine, with plans to hike, eat, and swim!While all of Maine is referred to as Vacationland (my parent’s little slice is especially pretty) even those who already live in the state often have a favorite seaside town or lake district they like to escape to in the summer. Before my family moved to Maine, we used to vacation in Scarborough (where my parents now live!) and then once we moved to Scarborough, we would drive up the coast to go camping in Damariscotta. However, despite spending the majority of my adolescent years in Maine, I never made it all the way up to Bar Harbor, the blue seaside town right next to Acadia National park. And so Kai landed on this destination together, one we were very excited to visit! Continue reading
As I’ve blogged about visiting Maine many, many times before (see here, here, here, and here – just to name a few!) I was less vigilant about whipping out my camera for the sole purpose of blogging this time around. I snapped a few photos here and there, but mainly to remember the moment or capture a smile – as most photographers would :) And so while I don’t have specific reviews or recommendations to post, I do have a great collection of Maine memories to share from this summer. From a photographic perspective, the highlight of the trip was getting to spend lots of time in Portland, Maine, which is a quick 15 minute drive from my parent’s country house. Portland is the biggest city in Maine, and (although I’m totally biased) it’s also one of the most beautiful. The small, harbor city is set on a hill and boasts of cobblestone streets, long wharfs, red brick buildings, and deep-blue ocean views. Continue reading
How is it already January 15th? Time is soaring by and life in Amsterdam is slowly ramping up again after a long and leisurely winter hibernation in the USA. Last night was actually my first night alone in the apartment (so much catching up to do after two weeks away!) so I spent some time sorting through holiday photos, in addition to making a big pot of stew for dinner, unpacking my suitcase, and cooking heaps of bacon (I had an 8am meeting this morning and bribed the whole team with bacon – I know, I’m the most ethical and awesome Account Director ever). Bacon, suitcases, and stew aside, it was a nostalgic evening, as the holidays are over and everyone I love so much lives so far away. This especially sucks in the winter when the nights are long and dark and I accidentally cook too much soup. One girl can only eat so much soup!
Instead of sharing my holiday photos in posts like last year, one by one by one, I’ve just included a bunch of my favorite Christmas images here, all in one place. So let’s take a little journey through winter in the countryside of Maine :) First and foremost, check out Sox, my trusty 6am jet-lag buddy . .He’s the only one in the house who is up before 6am, and year after year he’s willing to hang with me in the living room until all the normal people wake up to start the day. Also awake at the crack of dawn is my best friend Casey, who has a newborn and therefore doesn’t really observe night or day. Continue reading
While in Maine I tend to live on oysters and lobster. Social gatherings almost always involve wine, a terrace, and a platter of icy cold saltwater clams. And while oysters are a social treat, I find lobster to be a very comforting food. Lobster tastes like childhood, like summertime, and like home. If given a choice, I would happily dine at a seaside lobster shack every single night of the week. For this reason, rarely do I step it up in the culinary department while in Maine. I can get hearty meals with delightful flavors in Amsterdam, so I tend to stick with the seasonal Maine delicacies you can only find in New England – lobster by the bucket, sweet corn on the cob, oysters, wild Maine blueberries . . . yum!
However, when the lovely Amie invited me to the East Ender in Portland for her birthday, I was excited to give it a go. The East Ender is slightly more fancy than the dinning experiences I’m used to in Maine (think picnic benches and ketchup packets) but they still have that fresh farm to table Maine flavor I love. Amie is an excellent friend, and I have to say, she has excellent taste as well!
The space at the East Ender is adorable. It captures Portland’s historic seaside charm, with bright pops of blue, exposed brick walls, nautical menus, and twinkling fairy lights. Continue reading
I’m so behind on blogging. Like, embarrassingly behind. I have two more Maine posts, three London posts, a delicious Amsterdam restaurant recommendation, and a trip to the zoo to share. I am strongly determined to catch up. But at the same time, I appreciate the lag. Going through Maine summer photos in late September makes me smile. These memories are precious and I am glad to have cause to visit them again. I mean, just look at this dreamy lobster roll . . . . If that doesn’t make you lament summertime, I don’t know what will. Double drool. I’m going to try and wrap up the Maine posts in the next two days, so without further ado, here’s a very big and delicious taste of New England. Continue reading
Pressed Words isn’t just my blog, it’s my diary. Sometimes I write for hours, and then publish the post privately. It’s a collection of adventures and thoughts for you, and even deeper notes and memoirs for myself. It’s been an excellent, therapeutic healing tool over the past few months, and I truly believe that in 10 years, when I have 3 kids and am living in some cookie-cutter neighborhood, I will look back at Pressed Words and will feel genuinely thankful that past-Ali took the time to document her travels and young adult adventures. But last night something weird happened, and it made me question whether I should use Pressed Words as a private diary in addition to a public forum. I published a note my Mom had sent to me, as a private post. The title of the post read ‘private’, as all private posts do, but five minutes later my mom sent me a text asking why the heck I had shared her e-mail on my blog. I looked, and it was still marked as private, but apparently a glitch had occurred and all of my e-mail followers were sent the private blog post. I actually got a few high-five comments from readers today saying how much my mom rocked (no denying, she is amazeballs) but either way, I was confused and annoyed, and definitely questioning my judgement in using Pressed Words as a private journal. The post could have been much, much, much worse, and the last thing I want to do is spam you with annoying Ali-thoughts that don’t make much sense.
I’m telling you this for two reasons. A) I am taking the leap and am going to start journaling with a good old fashioned pen and paper. I have terrible, scribbly handwriting and typing is so much faster (my thoughts tend to race too fast for a pen and paper) but I’m going to give it a shot!! Do any of your journal the old fashion way? Care to share some advice? B) My mom has been on my mind (if you couldn’t tell by the faulty e-mail post!), and this update is for her. She’s a sea-lady and loves the ocean. So even though I’m not posting her super-personal e-mail, I am writing this post for her, as deep sea blues and cyan skies always remind me of my mom :)
Meet Boothbay Maine: Continue reading
Summer is coming to an end. I had hopped that we would get a surprise August heat wave. But no, it’s been raining almost every day here in Amsterdam, and I can confirm that it is definitely now jacket weather. My feet feel chilly on the wood floor in the morning. I’ve busted out my fall clothes. And I’ve been drinking warm tea again – a sure indication that winter is coming soon. Despite the shift in season, I still have still have a few more Maine holiday posts to share. In fact, I’ve had such an active and fun summer, I have a LOT of photos I want to get up on the blog over the next few weeks. A back-log of happy memories and fading summer glory. Today, I wanted to show you the beach.
I am really lamenting this scene. Deep blue Maine sea hues, adorable fishing boats, and sunny blue skies . . . Continue reading
If you’re ever in Portland, Maine for the summer, going to Peaks Island for Reggae Sunday is absolutely mandatory. It’s a quintessential Maine summertime outing, and it is not to be missed! The adventure starts on a ferry that departs from Commercial Street in Portland, and cruises through Casco Bay, passing lighthouses, fishermen, and sailboats along the way. Continue reading
While in Maine, my mom suggested a family outing to the Costal Maine Botanical Gardens.
I’m sure I’ve made this apparently obvious over the past few years, but I LOVE flowers. I usually have a bunch of fresh peonies or ranunculus brightening up my indoor space, my balcony is adorned with white lavender and potted daisies, and I’ve been known to take road trips for the sole purpose of gazing at fields of tulips.
At the time of my mom’s suggestion, the Keukenhof was the only flower garden I’d ever visited. It’s one of the biggest and most beautiful spring gardens in the world, with a kaleidoscope of color, featuring more than seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. As the Dutch are known for their beautiful blooms, I was eager to see what Maine’s botanics had to offer in comparison.And so my mom packed us a delicious picnic lunch, and with my sister and gramma in tow, we hopped into the car for an early morning drive up to Boothbay, Maine.