Nostalgia is sometimes disappointing.

I woke up this morning with the intention of finally getting our second bedroom into shape. Right now it’s just full of boxes; some of the boxes are recent: full of wedding leftovers, random things we didn’t know where to put, and so many Cooking Light magazines that if the room caught fire it would go up in a second; but piled precariously on top of the newer boxes are old, falling apart boxes full of items from my child- and teenage-hood.

These boxes contain pictures, newspaper clippings, school papers, framed photos, and of course many handwritten journals. I was immediately distracted by the journals: how could I not sit here and read them all?

I read through one starting during the summer before freshman year of high school that continued through the summer after my sophomore year. Oh, the memories! Of course, I don’t remember being so precious. I was though, falling for a new boy every month, taking the risks of asking him out, and of course the inevitable fights between friends when you both liked the same boy. That happened less than I expected, or at least I didn’t write about it; I tended to mask my emotions, surprisingly. I also, much like now, forgot to write when I was happy, because I was too busy being happy.

A lot of my entries are things like “Omg I like him so much!” and “I just wanted to grab him and kiss him!” (I was quite forward), but there are sprinklings of troubles with friends (“Perry is such a bitch!” I said a lot – I now realize that she was probably mad at me because I kept trying to date her friends and boys she had crushes on. Sorry, Perry.) and trouble with my extended family (I really didn’t like my cousin Heather.) I rarely talked about anything of substance (sadly) and only touched upon my experiences in music and theater. Reading over this journal was like reading about the life of a stranger. Where were the entries about my struggle with learning my lines and memorizing the German aria my voice teacher had assigned? Where were the entries about my desire to be a Broadway star or a writer? Why did I seem so… lame?

Not everything was superficial though. I had quite a few entires about what love is and how I had not been in love. I never lamented over not finding love – I was 14 after all – but I was adamant about not being in love with any of the boys I “dated” in those two years. I teased myself with the idea that this boy, Jordan, I had crushed on for several years (and “dated” in 6th grade), was someone I loved, but at the end of the entry I dismissed that thought. In one entry, my 9th grade boyfriend Mike had apparently told me he loved me, but I wrote “I did not say it back, because I do not love him.” I was frank and honest, and I liked that about me.

I have memories, however, of my 10th grade boyfriend, Travis, and I exchanging “I love yous”, and yet my journal mentions nothing about the encounter. To be fair, I may be remembering wrong, but I do remember that he had plans to purchase me a ring that had “I Love You”, but in Latin, engraved in the inside. That never happened, of course, as Travis and I had a “mutual” break up (I am pretty sure Teenage Emily lied about that – the entries leading up to the break up are things like, “Why didn’t Travis call me back??” A few years later, in college Travis came out, which explains why he probably never bought me that ring. We’re still friendly.)

The thing that got me the most, however, was starting on my next journal, the one I kept during the year I finally started dating Jesse, the person I consider to be my first love. I skipped the several months before we got together and found the entry about our first kiss. I am pleased to say I was ecstatic, and I actually proclaimed “I’m in love!”, which sounds like an exaggeration for a 16 year old (us not even being a couple yet), but Jesse was slightly older (thereby justifying real feelings) and if my memory serves me correctly, we had already expressed that we loved one another months before. (Jesse lived far away so our relationship began through letters, emails, and IMs all which made us more open and honest.)

I was sad to see that I was either so busy being in love or so afraid of writing down feelings, that I wrote very little about our relationship. I have such vivid memories of every moment we spent together. These entries speak only of things like, “I brought him to prom and every one liked him. Jen and Kristen said he was HOT!” or “I visited Jesse in New Jersey for the first time. He lives on the beach!” Not every entry was superficial; I touched upon some of the deeper moments of our relationship (in one entry I mentioned that we had discussed having sex – it would have been my first time) but I never dived into the emotions I was feeling.

God, I remember being so incredibly in love and enamored. I remember staying up until the sun rose, talking to him on the phone or online, because we missed each other so much. I still have the gifts he gave me for our “month-a-versaries” packed away, and today found a framed collage of us he put together – and yet I mention little of these things. I remember, fondly, us deciding to go on a real date: we made reservations at a real restaurant up north, but that morning he slipped while shaving and sliced open his lip. He was embarrassed to see me, but I didn’t care. We went on the date anyway, then parked his car on the beach and talked (and made out, certainly) for hours, as the sun set. I remember eating Milano cookies with him all the time (it was our cookie, for some reason) and all the inside jokes. And yet… I wrote so little about this time.

I did write about him going away for a month in the middle of us dating. He went on a whirlwind trip around Europe that July. I wrote little about my feelings towards him being gone; the most in-depth I got was “I heard from Jesse today, I miss him so much. He sent me a post card and some journal pages.” Later this morning, after I put away the diaries, I dug up those postcards and journal entires – they were about his time in London and Paris (I’m not sure if he ever sent more) and the difference in quality of his writing versus mine (at least in those diaries) was substantial. He wrote beautifully (and apparently called me his Sweet Emily, which was a pleasant reminder) and filled his entries with thoughts and desires and so much more than I feel young Emily was capable of.

I flipped through the diary, trying to find the entry that I wanted to read most. I wanted to know what this superficial version of Emily wrote about losing her virginity. I remember that time like it was yesterday: the first time it got brought up, the reasons why not, the decision to do it, the planning, and the actual event. But yet, young Emily wrote nothing about it. I am so disappointed to learn that I didn’t allow myself to explore my feelings in writing. But let’s be honest, for a girl who was so frank in her writing I wasn’t really that frank. I skirted major issues, avoided diving into my hormone driven emotions, and I skipped over major life events.

I wish I knew why I wrote like that. And I wish I could go back to young Emily and tell her, “Please don’t not write! Please don’t hide your feelings in these pages: these are the pages where you’re supposed to express your deepest, darkest, secrets. These are the pages where you can write about anything. Don’t hold back.”

I am glad that I have such vivid memories. I’m glad that I can still remember so many little details about those years. But will I always have these memories? I sure hope so.

After I lamented over the lack of information in these diaries, I flipped one more: it was my sophomore year of college and I had been dating Oliver, the person I consider my second love, for a few months. There I didn’t hold back any emotions, although I read over the words now and wonder why I never could write that way about Jesse. Was I too young? Was it because I wasn’t encouraged to write? Or was I just stupid?

All of this reading is making me want to start keeping a diary again. I kept one through my first year or two out of college. Maybe if I do it now, I can write about things more intelligently, more deeply, more openly. Maybe now I won’t mask my emotions, so when older Emily picks one up in 15 years, she’s not as disappointed as I am right now. But I guess, isn’t that sort of the point of this blog?


Doing Stuff: the Crafty Edition

We’ve been very busy over the past three months: while living with my mother in law I was commuting nearly four hours a day and then spending most weekends at the house, getting it ready for our move in; once we moved into the house on May 1, we started committing every waking moment to getting unpacked or buying furniture or just trying to figure out how many things we can grill because we don’t currently have a working stove. Let me tell you, you never realize how much you use a stove until you don’t have one.

We’ve done other things, like attend some friends’ wedding (it was gorgeous and wonderful); we hosted a bunch of friends, families, and colleagues for Memorial Day (/house-warming); and we started doing little projects like replacing lights or, in my case, refinishing ugly furniture.

It’s too expensive to purchase all new furniture, although we have spent a pretty penny doing it anyway. We were looking for a coffee table for the living room, as our previous one was giant, ugly, and had been destroyed (by me) right before we moved. We were struggling to find anything that might fit into the space without covering up the funky carpet but also without overwhelming the room. It’s a narrow space, only about six feet between the couch and fireplace, so we couldn’t do anything massive. After lots of discussions, we decided we wanted to get a plush ottoman that would be good for multiple reasons. Once we settled on our idea, we were then tasked with trying to find something in a good price range. Sadly, everything that we liked was just a little more expensive than we could justify paying right now. Enter: my mother.

In January, during the first weekend we had the house, my mother had picked a dirty, stained ottoman off the sidewalk in front of a house down the street from our own. It seemed to be in perfect condition, save a teeny tiny tear and black stains (that looked sort of like ink). She threw it into the back of her truck with the intention of re-upholstering it and sneaking it into our house. Of course, she never got around to doing so and when she heard that we were looking for an ottoman, she trekked it over to our house on a visit. It fit perfectly. Except for the stains, of course.


I have very limited experience with upholstery, having only recovered the seats and backs of some easy to take apart and put back together chairs Jason brought to the old apartment. I considered just taking it to a professional, since we’re eventually taking our armchair to one, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on this very free item. Mom casually mentioned painting it, and after some researching, I discovered a crazy number of tutorials on painting fabric furniture.

I finally settled on using a post titled “IKEA Hack” that seemed to fit my fancy.

It’s pretty simple, and you can follow her tutorial, if you want to do this, which will be a little more involved than mine. I started out by purchasing a quart of latex paint from Home Depot – what’s nice about buying latex interior paint is that you have a world of colors to choose from. Originally I planned to go for a green, but on a whim grabbed a pink sample that ended up being almost a perfect color match. I then purchased two 6 oz bottles of Martha Stewart’s Fabric Paint Medium and some Martha Stewart All Surface Paint in Gold, both from Michael’s. I used a regular brush (Purdy) for the majority of painting, and a small paintbrush for the trim.


I mixed two parts latex paint with one part medium: or as close to my forgetting to figure out a way to measure as possible. I didn’t choose a large enough mixing dish, so it got a little messy. (that drink cup did NOTHING!)


Once mixed, I sprayed the top of the ottoman down with warm water – not until it was soaked, but just damp. This is supposed to help the paint adhere better. I cannot honestly tell you that it helped on top, but it sure did on the sides.

I gave the entire thing two coats, which took about 90 minutes – the color match was so dead on in places that I couldn’t tell what I had gone over. Also, even though the cushion on my ottoman was attached, it did lift up to expose about 6 inches underside; I chose to not paint too much of that since it’ll never be seen.


After I put two coats on the ottoman, I had planned to paint large faded gold polka dots all over the piece, but changed my mind. Instead, I just painted the piping trim around the top cushion. That took me forever (about an hour for the entire thing) and i only did one coat. I decided to leave it with a slightly worn and aged look.


The paint on top wasn’t drying evenly, so after it fully dried I painted a third layer there. That was a mistake, because I couldnt’ get close to the trim for fear of messing it up. Luckily, that dried better than expected.



It still isn’t perfect: the stains on the ottoman seemed to have created a barrier of some sort, so the texture is different. If you look really close you can see the difference.



But really, it’s not too noticeable. Plus, I have a wooden tray on top and that looks pretty darn good. Overall, it was a good project and I am very much looking forward to my next one.




My next project might involve the sander, which is pretty exciting. Until next time!

Emily: On Writing

Yesterday at lunch, my friend Allie challenged me to write her a character description and send it to her by next week. I am longing to get myself really back into writing, but I find that instead of sitting down and focusing, I allow myself to binge watch Netflix and Hulu. Not the healthiest habit.

I have been struggling with finding a direction for several years: I don’t know if I want to focus on fiction or try my hand at non-fiction/personal essays. I read my friend Jenna’s blog and long for her frankness and raw talent, and I talk to Allie about her novel and find that I am jealous of her ability to write more than a few paragraphs. I honestly wonder if I am really a writer, or just someone who used to be a writer and now have lofty, whispers of a dream left. Then I think about phrase like “whispers of a dream” and think, hey that’s not half bad, maybe I am a writer.

Sometimes I want to write about my past, about my high school and college boyfriends (I wanted to use the word lover here, but it felt insincere – it’s not a word I normally use to describe any aspect of my life) and about how I was feeling and what inappropriate or ridiculous things I was doing at the time. But I also want my husband to read and want to read my writing, and I don’t think he would be comfortable with these essays.

Hm, this seems like the perfect opportunity to write about myself and my past life in fictional form… Maybe I am on to something.

But I am impatient. I want to be at the middle of the story before I even begin; I want my characters to be perfectly developed without me having to try. That’s not how it works and I know that. Another reason I fear I may not really be a writer. And maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m just a really good reader.

I am going to take Allie’s challenge, and if I like what I write, I will post it here as well. Maybe. Maybe I will keep my character to me and Allie only, until it’s ready to go out on its own into the world. I don’t really know, but I hope this challenge brings me back into something that I was once incredibly passionate about, back to something that many people expected to me pursue as a career. Back to what used to be part of who I was.

Adventures in Real Estate

*peaks out from behind door* Hi Readers… are you still there?

I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA, my dear ones. Things have been very, well, insane. See, the thing is: we bought a house.

A house! you say? Yes, a house. A cute little yellow four-bedroom cape in Weymouth, close to a park and the beach. Most importantly: close to Wahlburgers (I’m kidding, they’re not that good.) Actually, what I am excited about is that we’re going to be much closer to my bestie Michelle. But I digress: we bought a house.

It happened very quickly. Back in early November, Jason and I decided to start looking at open houses. At the fourth and last house of our first outing, we met Jean, the greatest realtor ever (it turned out). We took an immediate liking to her, and a month later allowed her to guide us to our new home. Fun fact: it was our first official day out, and we almost didn’t view it – it had escaped Jean’s report and was right around the corner from our original first choice (which ended up being horrible.) The house needed a new kitchen, updated bathroom, and a second bathroom, but we were up for the challenge.

The house is adorable: the floors are oak and in good condition; there is a fireplace in the living room and a hand painted tree on a closet door. There is a huge deck out back! The upstairs bedrooms are huge, with tons of closet space; and Jason gets his own office. We were pleased.

We learned quickly that my mother (holla!) would not be able to do the renovations if we wanted to get a 203K loan, so we interviewed a handful (read: two) contractors, and finally settled on Matt. It was actually much more complicated than that, as we were traveling in England and everyone kept forgetting to tell us things like YOU HAVE TO PICK A CONTRACTOR BY THIS DATE, but, whatever. Plus, the seller was a pill – it turned out that it was her childhood home, so she was struggling to fix/change anything that needed it. Finally, it’s January 9th and we’ve signed the papers!

This is where things get messy.

When we hired the contractor, we were given a four-week timeline. That quickly changed to six, which is fine and honestly, more realistic. They promised to start the week of the 12th, which they did… just at the end of the week so nothing really happened. But the next week they were at it full force (I guess?) and then. We got hit with the most amount of snow that Boston has seen in nearly 20 years.

Needless to say, things were quite delayed.

We (I) argued with the contractors a lot. They gave us a hard time about putting things were we wanted them, giving me a deep tub, and other little things that most people probably don’t really think about but apparently mean a lot to us (me). There were a few things that I wish I had fought about more; for example, they removed a light out back to put in french doors, broke it, and then had no intention of replacing it. They also removed a bunch of chair rail in the dining area, threw it away, and then told us they had no plans to work on that part of the room (we’re combining the kitchen and dining room for a bigger space). Little things, but I’ve been irritated. (Editor’s note: I complain about my contractor, but he’s actually pretty great.)

As the 6-week timeline stretched out to eight, Jason and I were preparing to sublet our apartment by the end of February. Since our mortgage payments started in March, we couldn’t really afford to stay longer than that. We both began to worry that we’d have no place to live.

And then we didn’t.

Right before the 4th storm in as many weeks we came to the house to discover water dripping in through the front window and later, the front door. Snow had pushed up against the house so hard that it broke the siding and formed ice barriers. The snow on the roof melted and re-froze, creating massive ice dams along the edge of the front and back of the house. I checked the eaves regularly that weekend and saw no issues… until we showed up one more to a huge black stain on a wall (from an almost-fire) and then, leaking in the eaves.

We were panicked. We called the contractor and asked what he could do. He promised to get the snow removed from the roof as quickly as possible but due to the demand, it took almost five days. By then, we learned, the damage was done. A few days later we got a call that the ceilings were falling down and the walls were wet. We headed over that weekend to see the damage (and remove some wallpaper). Long, sad, story short: we have to replace all the front and back exterior walls, in addition to finishing the house (which, btw, is currently SO CLOSE to being done – they were just waiting for the inspection on the electricity and plumbing, then everything was going in). They’re also worried that we need a new roof, and we definitely need to replace out front door. We have a lot to do.

They weren’t able to give us an updated timeline.

At this point we’re owned the house for almost two months, and haven’t yet been able to live there. We officially moved out of our apartment on February 21st, and have been living with my mother in law in Rhode Island for about a week and a half. She is generous to let us stay here, and it’s not bad at all; except for my commute, which takes nearly two hours. I do miss having my stuff, my space, but Pickwick is content (and dry and fat and warm, as am I. Yes, all three.) so I can’t complain too much.

I don’t think I’ll ever buy a house again though. This is it. This is the end of house buying for me. It has been stressful and not fun (ok, it’s been a lot of fun too). I am ready to be in my house! I’ve been meaning to write about this for quite some time, but everything is still so unresolved that I felt it wasn’t fair to you guys to burden you with this unresolved story. But my friend Allie gave me the task of writing this out tonight, so I had to.

And now you know why I’ve been missing. My whole life has turned upside down. I’ve barely been able to read, I’m exhausted all the time, and I am drinking one-too-many glasses of wine at dinner. I am doing my best to take it all in good humor, but it gets exhausting, ya know?

I hope that I have an update you all sometime soon. Jason is meeting with the insurance folk this week and I pray that we’re in the house by the end of the month. Keep your fingers crossed for me?

Until next time darlings,


’twas a good year!


I have been a very bad blogger as of late, but I can’t end this year without saying a few words about this incredible year.

This year was one of the best I’ve had in my life (even if the rest of world had a pretty lousy one). This year, I:

  • went to Mexico!
  • hiked, hiked, and hiked some more
  • turned THIRTY!
  • learned to love martinis!
  • traveled to England (post to come)!
  • (bought a house! sort of. more to come, shhhh)

I am excited for 2015 because:

  • I get to celebrate the marriages of TWO couples (Yay, Justin and Sabrina! Yay, Jacy and Nick!)
  • We’re moving!!! (more to come, shhhhh)
  • I am going to drink ALL the gin. (while learning to make martinis, of course)
  • I am going to hike even MORE.
  • I am going to run 2 5Ks. At least that is what I just decided. This exact minute.
  • We’ll probably get to go on some sort of awesome vacation. Maybe.

My hope is that 2015 brings me good things in addition to my above goals – I want to write more, I want to lose that weight I’ve been promising to lose, I want to finally learn to sew, and learn to knit. I want to bake bread and throw elaborate dinner parties. I want to read as many books as I can (but I am forgoing the Goodreads challenge, sort of). I want to learn to run a 10 minute mile. I want to remember to send cards for every birthday and return phone calls and visit the people I love!

I am not one to make resolutions; every year I try, and every year I fail. So instead, I am just giving my self some hoped goals (mixed in with the things I know are going to happen) and we’ll see where I land.

Have a safe and fun night tonight, fellow celebratory people! I hope you get to ring in the new year with the people you love.

See you next year!

Thoughts I had while reading a Baby-Sitters Club book, as an adult

– This font is really big.

– It must take Stacey forever to write if she puts hearts over every single “i”.

– These girls really like emphasizing words.

– “[Claudia] is a really sophisticated dresser: for example that day she was wearing a lacey white top over a solid white bodysuit.” Yes, sophistication is also the word I use for bodysuits.

– These girls sure talk to themselves a lot. I have never opened a box while alone and said “A-HA!”

– How is it acceptable to hire 11 year olds to babysit 10 year olds?

– They sure eat a lot of crackers without cheese. WHERE IS THE CHEESE?

– Seriously, did Stoneybrook ban cheese?

– Girls, just tie up Jackie Rodowsky when sitting and call it a day.

– It must be really inconvenient for the parents to have to wait until a meeting to request a baby sitter.

– They sure wear a lot of jumpsuits.

– Mary Anne and Logan are the worst couple. They don’t even hang out.

– WAIT. Dawn and her mom like to eat healthy food? (Health-i-os? REALLY ANN M. MARTIN?)

– I love the idea that the girls sit around their meetings eating bon-bons.

– Bart Simpson was just referenced as “a real person.” Yeah, ok.

–  So they’re painting “realistic” historical figures, and using bright yellow paint. Sure, why not.


– No seriously, I have never kicked over a can of paint in my life.

– Ok, now they’re having a paint fight in MARY ANNE’S DEN. Her dad is going to be so pissed.

– So they’re all covered in paint but their cutouts are ok? World’s Most Controlled Paint Fight.

– Logan taking off his shirt makes his girlfriend blush. He is 13 years old, Ann M. Martin. Stop sexualizing him.

– JK JK if this was written now, they’d be sleeping together.

– Note to self: don’t trust 11 year olds to hold eggs. They will surely drop them.

– A 13 year old babysitter is not an acceptable replacement for a parent at a parent-child picnic.

– AMM worked really hard to give everyone in town very unique names.

– Why would a census taker need to make an appointment? Not a thing, AMM.

– Emily Michelle is the best name ever.

– Ann M. Martin was big on divorced and mixed families. For real, I think Claudia is the only member with a normal family and non-divorced parents.

– Kristy has a hard time complimenting other people on having good ideas, cause she’s the idea person? Whatta jerk.


– I really don’t think someone in the 19th century would have moved across the world because a small town, in which she knew no one, need a hat maker.

– I do not miss having to decipher all the different handwriting.

– Damn you Kristy and your wild schemes to raise money. CAN IT.

– Mary Anne is justifying going out with another boy cause “his grandmother wanted him to.” YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND. MA you are a slut.

– I’m sorry MA. I didn’t mean it. You’re perfect.


– Seriously guys, just lock Jackie Rodowsky in a room and throw away the key.

– According to the author’s bio, Ann M. Martin likes ice cream and I Love Lucy. My kind of lady.

And Now We Are Thirty.

Hello, Dear Readers, I’m sorry that it has been over two months since I’ve allowed myself to sit down and write. I’ve had the time, sort of – Gilmore Girls started streaming on Netflix on October 1, so I’ve been a bit distracted.

Really though, I have been busy; spending time with Jason, catching up on reading, working, hosting my brother for a week, and seeing my friends. Over the past two months I’ve joined a new gym (and started seeing a personal trainer), gone apple picking and wine tasting, had dinner with an author, went to two author signings, ran a 5K, celebrated a friend’s birthday with a book swap, went to two trade shows, celebrated 5 years of the Beantown Book Club, tried clam chowder for the first time, took Jason on a birthday Boston brewery tour, got a faux hawk (and dyed it purple), visited Napa for the first time (and bought 17 bottles of wine), hosted a Murder Mystery birthday party with my bestie Michers, and nursed the longest cold of my life.

OH! And turned THIRTY.

At my party this weekend, my friend James asked what I was putting on my bucket list, now that I was old. I hadn’t really thought about it, to be honest. I was focusing on just getting rid of my gray hairs and excess chub. But now that a list had been suggested, I decided to make some goals, similar to my “Doin’ Stuff!” goal from this summer.

So now, Dear Readers, I propose to you: Emily’s 30 New Things at 30.

During the next year, my goal is to try 30 new things, whether it be food, drink, activities, hair styles – you name it, and I am going to try it.

I began my journey yesterday, exactly one week into my 30th year. (In reality, I probably did a bunch of stuff in that week that might have worked in this challenge: I didn’t get wasty face drunk at my party, I pressed 65 lbs, etc. But that’s neither here nor there.) For my birthday, I received a bottle of gin from Michers and some gorgeous coupe/cocktail glasses from my friend Monica. As most of you know, I am an avid gin drinker, but most of my gin drinking involves mixing it with tonic or lots of lemon. So goal number one was born: learn to drink martinis


So, last night I pulled out the New Amsterdam gin, vermouth, olives stuffed with garlic, and a shaker. I dug up a recipe entitled “World’s Best Martini” (which did look promising). I chilled my fancy coupe glass (I did get martini glasses for the wedding, but alas, they are at my MIL’s house). I measured out my ingredients, added some ice, shook it up, and poured into the chilled glass… took a sip… O-M-G delicious. I made what I guess is considered a “dirty martini” since I got a little olive juice in the drink, and it was delightful.

I plan to try it many ways: clean, with a twist, with onion; with different kinds of gin; but never with vodka. Not my thing. I’m looking forward to discovering what I like best.

I am slowing building my list for the remaining 29 items. So far they include: buy a house, start volunteering (I just signed up as a volunteer at the French Cultural Society of Boston), drink all the wine we bought in Napa (kidding, that’s not a real challenge), and um, actually I don’t have any more yet! But stay tuned for 29 more exciting things that I am experiencing for the first time!

And, if anyone wants to go out for martinis and oysters, just give me a call.