I recently took a day trip to Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, which I chronicled in a previous blog post, but I left out the most important part of any trip: the food! Check out some of these spots in Oak Bluffs with excellent meals, drinks, […]
If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you’ll know that I went through a few (positive) life changes over the past few months. One of these changes involved moving back home with my parents after living in the city for 7 months. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous to move home. Last time I lived at home was last summer, when I was dying to get a job so I could leave my (boring yet quaint) hometown. Once I started a position I was happy with, I had a feeling the move home wouldn’t be quite as tough.
Naturally, living with other people has its drawbacks. Living with people you’ve known for your entire life can be hard, especially after you’ve lived independently for 7 months. Nonetheless, living at home has been wildly successful and I don’t regret it at all. While I’m super excited to get back to living away from home in a few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed living at home.
So many people feel ashamed to move back home with their parents, no matter the situation. Let me tell you: there’s a big difference between the trope of a 45-year-old man living in his parents’ basement and a young adult in his or her early- to mid-twenties living at home. In fact, I know so many people with great jobs who lived with their parents for one to three years after graduating from college. Whether it was to save money, pay off their student loans, or work around a commute, every excuse is justified and valid.
If you’re planning on moving back home, whether you’re a 22-year-old recent college graduate or a 28-year-old in a financial rut, you’ll have to face a few realities, some of which are positives and some of which are speed bumps. After living at home for 2.5 months, I’ve experienced both the pros and the cons.
1. You’ll save a lot of money.
This one’s pretty obvious. Living at home means cutting down on a ton of expenses. By moving home, I’ve saved over $2500 on rent and utilities alone, not to mention groceries and the added expenses I inevitably faced by living in an apartment. My savings account already looked pretty good, but this extra money in the bank will make sure I’m ahead in my student loan payments and give me the financial freedom to book travel — which I’ve already done, woo! — this year. Some people I know even saved up enough money living at home for one or two years to completely pay off their student loans — that’s pretty amazing.
Some parents charge their kids rent. While I’m lucky enough to have parents cool enough to not charge me for the 3 months I lived at home, I’ve made sure to contribute in other ways, like buying my parents ice cream or coffee and even chipping in with food shopping. In fact, you should be helping out your parents in some ways if you’re living at home, whether it’s for a month or for 2 years. Even if you’re just buying a gallon of milk and carton of eggs from time to time, it’s important to help out and show your parents that you appreciate them opening up their home to you.
2. Making plans with friends gets a lot harder.
If most of your friends live at home — which is likely if you’re a recent graduate — this doesn’t apply to you just yet. If you’re like me and most of your friends live away from home, you’ll experience this sticky situation. In high school, I could send a quick text to my friends individually — group messages on iMessage weren’t a thing when I was in high school — and everyone would come right over. In the city, I could send two or three texts and head right over to my friends’ apartments. I even went over to my friends’ place on Monday nights to watch The Bachelor on a weekly basis when I lived a quick Uber ride away.
While I’m at home, I’m finding myself wanting to stay locally more often than not. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I’ll be living in the city again in September, so I know I’ll have plenty of times to go to trivia nights, bars, and such. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I live in a beach town and it’s the summertime. Or maybe it’s because I’m a homebody and the idea of putting on pants that don’t have an elastic waist makes my heart ache. Either way, I found myself spending nights out in the city on weekends far less frequently this summer… and I don’t mind it one bit.
3. You’ll lose some independence.
This was the biggest issue I faced when I moved home after college. In college, I stayed out until 2 AM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays — not to mention other days of the week when the opportunity arose — and I know that wouldn’t fly if I was living at home. I think working a 9-to-5 naturally tames most people, so I haven’t felt hindered by this, but I know some people feel trapped living at home and abiding by their parents’ ground rules.
4. You have to pull your weight.
Even if you think you’re a good roommate who keeps up with the chores and keeps the common areas neat, you might not be the same when you move home. You have to help out with chores around the house and clean up after yourself. You’ll even have to help out with your pets, do yard work, and complete other miscellaneous tasks (like teaching my parents how to do menial iPhone tasks, like downloading apps or saving a contact — sigh, baby boomers). Overall, you’ll probably be doing more work than you did when you lived on your own, but the smaller or nonexistent rent makes it pretty worth it.
5. You won’t miss out on family memories.
Part of the reason I moved home in the first place was to spend time with my family, especially my sister, who just returned from living abroad for about 2 years. Though Christie decided to extend her stay in the U.S. to several months instead of weeks, it’s been great for the 4 of us to catch up. Also, I’ve been able to watch our new puppy grow and mature during the few months I’ve been home, which has been adorable! I have a year ahead of me of making memories with my friends, so it was nice to have a few months at home with my family.
6. You’ll see your significant other less often.
Unless your boyfriend/girlfriend lives in your hometown or in a surrounding town, you’ll probably see him or her less often. When I lived in the city, I could make spontaneous plans with my boyfriend (just as I could with my friends). He even lived on my way home from work, so sometimes I would stop by to hang out with him and to split up my commute. Now that I’m living at home, we have to make a specific plan and make sure our schedules line up. Fortunately, we have a routine of seeing each other on Wednesday nights, when I’m in the city for my improv classes. Aside from that, we have to put in more effort to see each other. I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who lives nearby, so even my current situation is much luckier than other couples that actually deal with long-distance relationships.
7. Your routines will be subject to change… but you’ll create new ones.
This one affected me both after I moved home after college graduation and when I moved home this June. During my senior year of college, I was used to rolling out of bed at 9:30 AM, doing my makeup and eating my breakfast at a glacial pace, and getting to my 11:00 AM class 5 minutes early. When I lived in the city this fall and winter, I woke up promptly at 6:15 AM, showered and got ready for work, and left at exactly 7:20 AM. Then at night, I would come home from work at around 7:20 PM, make something fast for dinner and eat it in my room with Netflix playing. I would sit in my bed watching Netflix until midnight, when I’d shut my lights off and go to bed.
Living at home, my schedule and routine have become much less consistent. Since I drive to work with my dad, sometimes I’m waiting for him in the morning and sometimes he’s waiting for me. Because I have 2 dogs, I can’t be self-centered. And since I’m living with my family, rather than with strangers, I can’t simply eat dinner in my room and watch Netflix all night; I’m spending more time socializing, which has had positive results in my morale. No two nights are exactly the same, which is what I enjoy about living with family or friends. Though I’m crossing less TV shows off my to-watch list, I feel equally as productive.
8. Your eating habits will change too.
Whether this is for better or worse, it depends on your family. My family cooks healthy meals and doesn’t keep junk food in the house. When I lived alone, I would cook really healthy meals but splurge on a box of Oreos or pint of Ben and Jerry’s from time to time. Since I was doing more walking when I lived in the city, I haven’t felt much of a change in my body or health since I’ve moved home and started eating less junk.
Food allergies and dietary preferences are something to consider as well. When I lived on my own, I cooked about 3-4 vegan meals a week or simply had 1-2 days a week in which I only ate vegan food. (This was a personal preference for health and environmental reasons. Believe me, I still downed chicken wings like a champion.) At home, it’s rare that I even have a vegetarian meal. In addition, I never cooked red meat for myself, but at home, we eat red meat 1-2 nights a week for dinner. This would have been an issue if I had gone full-blown vegetarian or vegan, but since I’m not, this hasn’t been much of a transition for me. If you’re vegan or have a gluten or dairy allergy, you might need to substitute a portion of your meal or eat something different from what the rest of the family is having.
9. If you don’t have a goal moving into it, you might never get out.
I remember last summer thinking to myself, I’m going to rot in this town! 2 months later, I landed a job and moved out. I was a little dramatic, yes, but this fear was what motivated me to reach my goal. This summer, I moved home knowing that I’d be moving back into the city for a September 1st lease I signed. The fact that I had an expiration date to living at home may have been what made it enjoyable.
If you move home without a goal, you might be stuck there. If you’re living at home for a year to save up for graduate school, which you’re starting up soon, that’s great! Your goal is to save up money so you can pursue your education. If you’re living at home until you get a job, that’s great too! Most landlords require you to have a job when you sign a lease anyway. Moving home is probably just a transition stage, so having a goal or time frame for the near future is key.
10. If you don’t compromise, you’ll suffer.
If you’ve just lived on your own or with strangers, you probably forget what it’s like to live with your parents. They like things a certain way, just as you do. In order to create a livable situation for both parties, make sure you talk through differences, set boundaries, and make compromises when appropriate. In the end, following your parents’ house rules is the way to go, even if you aren’t getting your way. As I’ve mentioned before, you’re living under their roof; you need to abide by their rules and be a convenient houseguest for them. If you’re having any differences, communicate with each other to see what you can do to prevent the issue from happening again. It sounds simple because it is.
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I was recently nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Christie from the blog Girl Sees the World. Thanks, Christie! She’s my sister, so I would have been a little pissed if she hadn’t nominated me. But she did, so you should totally check out her […]
My last post, 7 Tips for Saving Money for Travel While Maintaining Your Sanity, offers my advice on cutting out some unnecessary spending so you can afford to travel. One of my pieces of advice is to cut out going to restaurants, as restaurant bills can really add up. But I love going out to eat. A good restaurant meal is one of my favorite ways to treat myself.
Naturally, it’s easy to spend way too much money at a restaurant. That’s why I’ve created a list of amazing meals you can get in Boston that will cost you $10 or less. There are some traditional options, as well as some off-the-beaten-path ones, and I promise you won’t find a big chain anywhere near this list.
1. New England Clam Chowda in a Bread Bowl — Boston Chowda Co.
For less than $9, you’ll get a massive portion of their famous chowder in a bread bowl. If this doesn’t fill you up, I honestly don’t know what will. Located right in Quincy Market, this makes for a perfect quick lunch or dinner.
2. “Super” Chicken Burrito — Anna’s Taqueria
I’ve never actually been inside an Anna’s location, but my company has had their food catered and it’s super delicious. For under $8, you can get a massive burrito from Boston’s famous Mexican street food joint. Anna’s has several locations around the city, so you won’t need to go on a wild goose chase looking for it. With that cheap a price point, you can even splurge the extra $1.15 for guac!
3. Cannolis — Mike’s Pastry
All the Boston locals are probably rolling their eyes, but I don’t care. Yes, this place is touristy and always packed. But it’s a place all Bostonians and tourists need to experience when in Boston. I personally prefer the pastries across the street at Modern Pastry but prefer to send the tourists over to Mike’s instead. Less long lines at Modern for me, Instagram-worthy moment for them; it’s a win-win. Last time I went, cannolis were around $4 each, but they are massive. Make sure you tip the employees; anyone who doesn’t tip a dollar at Mike’s is practically Satan.
4. A Bowl of Pho — Pho Pasteur
Located right in Chinatown, this spot is perfect for a cheap, hearty meal. Even if you’re not craving the Vietnamese comfort food that is pho, there are a bunch of items on the menu for less than $10. The prices are so good, you’ll be saying, “What the pho?” (Sorry, that pun was necessary.)
5. Vegan Pad Thai — My Thai Vegan Café
Pad Thai is one of my favorite foods, but some places charge a lot for it. My Thai does not. Don’t let the word “vegan” steer you away from this spot. The chefs here use veggie-meat that’s so delicious, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
6. “The Big Tasty” Burger and Fries — Tasty Burger
For $6, you can get the massive Big Tasty burger. If the picture below doesn’t look like enough to fill you up, you can add an order of fries, while still keeping your budget under $10.
RED SOX x TASTY BURGER GIVEAWAY! 🍔 ⚾️ 🍔 ONE lucky winner will be receiving a $40 gift card to Tasty Burger and TWO TICKETS to the Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians game on Monday, July 31st! 🍔 ⚾️ 🍔 TO ENTER: 1. Follow @tastyburgerusa and @wanderingbostoneater 2. Like this photo 3. Tag your Red Sox, burger-loving friend __ You can enter up to TEN times: a different comment with a different real account = a different entry. __ Giveaway closes Monday, July 10th at 4 PM. GOOD LUCK. 🍔 ⚾️ 🍔 [The Big Tasty at @tastyburgerusa: cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, sauce] #wanderingbostoneater
7. Nutella Cannoli Crepe — The Paris Creperie
Located in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner, this café offers a bunch of sweet and savory crepes. While many of the options from their menu cost less than $10, the Nutella Cannoli Crepe really sticks out to me. Nutella and ricotta? Yes, please!
8. Italian Sub — Monica’s
$9 for a size small sub might sound pretty steep, but trust me on this one. The small is massive; I was so stuffed, I can’t imagine how big the large must be. Monica’s is one of the North End’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away on a side street, tourists don’t make it over there. Only the die-hards and North End residents make up the deli’s line. If you’re craving a fantastic sub with fresh ingredients and big portions, you need to check this place out.
9. Chicken Burro — Border Café
If you’re searching for a cheap, filling meal in Harvard Square, look no further. I went to the Border Café a few months ago and was blown away by the portion size and flavor of my “burro” — which is practically a burrito with enchilada sauce on top. Excluding the tip, this goes for about $8. For a sit-down restaurant with a fun atmosphere, that’s a bargain.
10. Pork Soup Dumplings — Dumpling Café
Dumpling Café is one of my favorite spots in Boston, and is absolutely my favorite Chinese restaurant in the city. As the name suggests, you can’t come here without indulging in their famous dumplings! I usually opt for the steamed pork dumplings, but the pork “juicy buns” are more popular.
11. Slice of Cheese Pizza — Ernesto’s
At Ernesto’s, one “slice” is really two, and happens to be 1/4 a whole pizza! For $4, you can get a slice of cheese, or for $4.50-6, you can get a slice of pizza with toppings. Though all the sit-down restaurants on the North End are excellent, sometimes we all crave a traditional, inexpensive slice of pizza.
12. Fish and Chips — Sullivan’s
Sullivan’s is a Castle Island staple. With such a cheap menu and great atmosphere, the line is constantly out the door — but it apparently moves very quickly. Not only does this spot offer one of the cheapest lobster rolls in the city — at $14 — the rest of the seafood options are much lower than the market average. The fish and chips — at about $8.50 — are a steal.
13. “Breakfast Grilled Crack” — Mike and Patty’s
$9 for a breakfast sandwich might sound steep, but this is more than your typical bacon, egg, and cheese. It’s called “crack” for a reason, right?
14. Any Sandwich or Burger — The Pour House
One of the most affordable restaurants in the city — The Pour House — even has daily specials, offering marked-down prices on the already dirt-cheap menu. Sandwiches and burgers are priced between $6-8 and include a hefty portion of fries. If you want some comfort food at a comfortable price, this spot is perfect for you.
[Pour House] Idaho Double Burger | Because fries on the side wasn't enough | Side note: Pour House has some pretty awesome happy hour deals. | 2 Patties • Lettuce • Bacon • Cheddar Fries • Pickles • Tomatoes • Regular Fries | #eats #Boston #bostoneats #happyhour #burger #fries #food #foodporn #eat #foodie #bostonfood
15. Regular Poutine with Pork Belly — Saus
I haven’t been to Saus yet, but as a poutine lover, I need to change that! Saus has a lot of awesome options for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike, all at super reasonable prices. While a traditional poutine will set you back about $7, you can add some toppings — like pork belly or bacon bits — and still keep this under $10.
16. Breakfast Egg Sandwich — Flour Bakery
For about $7.50, you can get a bacon/ham, egg, and cheese sandwich from one of Boston’s most beloved cafés. Actually, most of Flour’s menu is under $10, making it perfect for breakfast or lunch.
17. Lox Toast — NOCA Provisions
Hit up Cambridge’s new experimental café for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner! NOCA’s toasts, eggs, and salads are funky and absolutely Instagram-worthy. You’ll want to splurge on one of their caffeinated drinks too, like the Espresso Fizz — espresso over sparkling water and lemon!
18. Large Sandwich — Roast Beast
Since Boston is made up of so many colleges, there are lots of affordable restaurants that cater to a college student’s budget. Roast Beast in Allston is no exception. For $9, you can get a large sandwich, filled with your choice of meat, toppings, and sauce. If you don’t think you can handle the large, go for the $7 small. Vegetarians might want to stay away from this place, unless they don’t mind making lots of substitutions.
19. Number 5 — Mul’s Diner
South Boston isn’t usually synonymous with “cheap,” especially nowadays. However, you can get some affordable meals in Southie if you seek them out. For $7.50, you can get the Number 5, which includes coffee, 2 eggs, French toast, bacon or sausage, and homefries. Diners are seriously the best — where else could you get all that food (and coffee) for such a small price?
20. Classic Beef Pie — KO Pies
I’m so mad I was working from home the day my office catered KO Pies. I’ve heard it’s incredible. And reasonable too! KO Pies brought an Australia delicacy — meat pies — to a few locations in Boston, and they’re pretty damn successful. For less than $7, you can get the Classic Beef Pie, one of the restaurant’s bestsellers!
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Can’t afford to travel? Sorry, but that’s not a good excuse. So many millennials “can’t afford” to do certain things, like go on a life-changing trip or make their monthly payments on time, yet they’ll post a picture of their Starbucks venti macchiatos on Instagram […]
Summer is all about the outdoors, sitting in the sun and swimming in the ocean, right? Wrong. It’s about applying 4 layers of deodorant, wearing a T-shirt at the beach to avoid painful sunburns, and staying in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. I’ll be […]
I’m going to try something a little new this week! Originally, I considered doing month-by-month “favorites” lists. But then I realized 2 things: 1. I don’t buy things often enough to call for monthly favorites lists. and 2. I only post once a week anyway, so I don’t want 25% of my content to be favorites lists. Instead, doing seasonal favorites lists seems like a better idea for me!
Spring has been a pretty busy season for me. I went on vacation with friends, celebrated a birthday, moved back home with my parents, added a new little member to our family, and started a new job as a professional writer. Since I’ve been so busy, I didn’t have time to do a lot of shopping, reading, or binge-watching, so this list feels a little short. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as I only wanted to cover things I’m really passionate about. Without further ado, here are my favorite items in beauty, fashion, TV, books, and more!
This is actually the first brow item I’ve ever bought. Up until recently, I never even touched my eyebrows. Last fall, I started using clear mascara to keep the flyaway brow hairs in place. However, on my trip to Miami, when my friends and I stopped in a Sephora to pick up some essentials, my friend showed us this brow product she’s been loving. I tried the sample and immediately fell in love. Actually, all four of us walked away with one of these, each in a different color that suited our eyebrow shade best. I’ve been using the Rich Chestnut shade every single day and I feel like it makes my eyebrows — which are already pretty dark and thick — really stand out. Disclaimer: Definitely use a gentle hand when you’re applying because the product itself is very pigmented.
Considering I’ve been a makeup fiend since I was 14 — back when I spent 1 or 2 hours a night recreating makeup tutorials on YouTube — it’s pretty shocking that I’ve never used one of these until recently. I hate to admit this, but before I bought a beauty blender, I applied liquid foundation with my finger. I used to wear foundation only on special occasions, but since it’s super fast to apply foundation with a beauty blender, I wear it almost every day now. This was a spur of the moment purchase on my trip to Miami at the Walgreens we seemed to frequent daily. I got a 2-pack by Real Techniques and spent only about $10. I saw the same shape beauty blender in Sephora for $16… for one, not two of them. In my opinion, buying cheap beauty blenders is the way to go. They have to be replaced every few months anyway, and — though I have nothing to compare them to — my cheap beauty blenders work flawlessly.
How I clean my beauty blender: I saw a YouTube tutorial of a girl (that looked about 12 years old, making me — at 11 years her senior — feel like a terrible adult female) using her favorite technique to clean her beauty blender. You take a thumbnail size of olive oil and dish soap, wet the beauty blender, and scrub lightly. The dish soap get the foundation marks out while the olive oil keeps the foam soft. Whenever I do this, I feel like a life-hacking genius.
I’m almost positive that every J. Crew necklace I’ve gotten has been a gift. Nonetheless, I have 6 of them! Most of my clothing items are relatively simple; I don’t like spending a lot of money on trends that I know will fade in a few months — I’m talking to you, off-the-shoulder tops! — so I like to add color and uniqueness to my outfits through bold jewelry. These necklaces are beautiful. Each one is so different, people are probably unaware of the fact that I practically circle through the same shirts on a weekly basis. While I prefer the bright-colored ones during the spring and summer, some of my more neutral shades look amazing all year round. I’ve been warned, don’t buy them through the store, as they’re crazy expensive. Instead, go to an outlet and load up on the coupons. You can save anywhere from 25% to 75% on these statement pieces!
The Sixties, The Seventies, & The Eighties
3 favorites for the price of 1! These 3 series make up the CNN mini docuseries and are all on Netflix. As you can imply from the titles, each series goes through a different decade in U.S. history, broken down by different categories. The first 1 or 2 episodes of each series are about television during the decade and the last episode is about music; these are my favorite episodes. Between these bookends are episodes about specific events in history, such as the assassination of JFK, Watergate, the Vietnam War, etc. Videos from the period in addition to modern commentary by historians — and Tom Hanks — make the episodes factual, interesting, and easy to understand. I was never a history buff in high school, but after finishing this, I can’t wait for The Nineties to come out!
If you — like me — were a huge fan of the older seasons of Glee, this might be your post-“Finchel” fix. This fun, lighthearted comedy on The CW features 2-3 original songs and dance numbers per episode. The plot revolves around Rebecca, who leaves her high-paying job in New York City when she bumps into her middle school ex-boyfriend and decides to follow him back to his town in California, where she gets a new job and makes new friends, all while trying to woo Josh over. The show is completely over-the-top and silly, which makes it the perfect show to put on after a long day of work. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix, so you can binge-watch in anticipation of Season 3, which comes to The CW later this year.
As a pretty unadventurous drinker, this is the perfect app for me to step outside of my comfort zone. I’m the kind of girl who orders Bud Light because it’s the cheapest and drinks hard cider like it’s water ever since my semester abroad in England. This app makes me stop and think, I don’t want to log another Bud Light. What else is on tap? Through the app, you can earn badges the more you log in different brands, styles, and countries of origin. (Don’t worry, fellow cider lovers. You can log cider in too!) It gives wannabe-comedians like myself a chance to write some funny captions on the beers I rate. You can even “toast” your friends’ logged-in drinks. It takes “social drinking” to a completely new level!
What an incredible book! I hadn’t seen the movie before, so I went into this with fresh eyes. Dennis Lehane is a spectacular writer, and he specializes in my city, Boston! This story follows 3 former childhood friends as they deal with the aftermath of a murder. One of the men is a detective investigating the case, one is the father of the murdered girl, and the other is the suspect of the crime. Lehane offers multiple points of view, switching between the 3 men, allowing us to find out some dark new developments along the way. To me, the murder is merely the backdrop of the real conflict, the inner demons these men face, from childhood trauma to present tragedy.
My short attention span often finds me avoiding books longer than 400 pages, but I remained hooked the entire time. I want to read more of his novels, like Shutter Island — even though I already know the ending — and Gone, Baby, Gone, along with some of the less popular ones.
Maddie, my new puppy!
I’ve already talked about Maddie a little bit in a former blog post. In short, my family got a second dog, a little cockapoo named Maddie! We already had one dog, a 12-year-old labradoodle named Chloe. We weren’t sure how Chloe would do with the new addition to the family, but they have been getting along so well! They’re constantly cuddling on Chloe’s dog bed or playing; they’re attached at the hip! Maddie is still having occasional accidents but she’s starting to learn tricks. She can sit, give her paw, and do a high five! We’re so glad we got her and can’t wait to see her grow even more (yet we still want her to be puppy-sized forever).