Last week I came across the above quote and it really spoke to me. Being physically present and being mentally present have two completely different definitions. Lately I have been feeling the absence of deep, meaningful conversations in my life and I yearn for that void to be filled.
I cannot remember the last time a phone wasn’t pulled out at some point during a conversation. When hanging out with a group of friends all it takes is one person to pick up their phone and everyone feels obligated to check theirs too. We have grown accustomed to the presence of technology and it is getting harder and harder to be fully present in day to day life. The truth about technology is saddening because no one my age knows how to entertain themselves without a screen. Someone whip out Yahtzee or Pictionary, PLEASE.
It may seem ridiculous to live without technology but pulling back from constant screen use is a great way to slow down your brain. Lock your phone and instead pass some time by reading, journaling or drawing…unleash the creativity! Once enough time is focused in a more constructive place than the depths of someone’s Instagram page a feeling of relaxation arises. There will always be time to be engrossed in social media but I hope more than anything that young people can learn to stay present in the more simple joys of life.
When having a conversation, I try to remind myself to continuously look someone in the eye and ask questions about what they are saying. That is the best way to show your true interest in another person. It is just too easy to get lost behind a screen when the world is going by around us. We walk around engrossed in the latest Tasty video or Snapchat story, completely oblivious to the beauty passing by with every step.
It may seem impossible to go a full day without your phone but the experience will allow you to see the world a little differently. You don’t need that perfectly staged Snapchat video or Instagram story to show that you are having fun with your friends. There is definitely pressure in our world today about posting constantly to ensure that your followers know you are maintaining an interesting life. Your friends that you are hanging out with already know how much fun you are. Pictures and videos are great, but soaking in the memories with your eyes and ears is more organic and fulfilling.
It is always great to snap some pics of a new place or some cool food, but save the editing and posting until after in order to enjoy the rest of the day. People always seemed surprised when I say I left my phone at home for the day or night; it’s like a security blanket that is thought to be a necessity when I can function just as well without it.
Right now you are looking at a screen, as are billions of people around the world. Try taking a breather from all the screens and pay attention to the beautiful details all around you because the world is a lot more interesting than the Instagram popular page.
Whether you are an art connoisseur or not, Boston’s art museums are a must see. Beautiful exhibitions are scattered all throughout the city and admission is free or discounted for all of them if you are an Emerson student! Here is a quick look at some of the great things these museums have to offer:
Museum of Fine Arts
Admission: Free with your Emerson ID
Must see: Egyptian Art Exhibit
One piece of advice: Plan to spend an entire day at the MFA…maybe even two. The MFA is the most classic museum experience on this list, showcasing a wide variety of artistic styles and classic paintings from different time periods. This museum offers art collections from all across the world to really put into perspective the vast array of artistic styles that exist. There are also photography exhibits, prints, drawings, musical instruments, and jewelry scattered throughout the museum.
It can be overwhelming how much content is inside the MFA, but each room deserves as much attention as the last.
For all sports fans looking for something interesting…there is an exhibition all about David Ortiz that is open from now until September 4th. Tickets must be bought to view this gallery, but anything is worth it for Big Papi, right? Ortiz’s 2013 World Series MVP ring will also be on display, so get a close look while you can!
A rainy day is best spent at the Museum of Fine Arts, or multiple rainy days in a row!
ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art
Admission: Student discount with ID
Must See: Nari Ward: Sun Splashed
The ICA is a great place for college students to explore. The exhibits are fun, modern, and sometimes interactive. Each exhibit is important to view, many often presenting social and political issues in unique mediums.
This museum really makes you think about what you are seeing and how it can be interpreted to convey a bigger message. There is also a new exhibit by Dana Schutz being put up right now, set to open July 26th…even more new art to check out!!
The large glass building overlooking Boston Harbor could not be more picturesque if it tried, and you could easily spend a whole day enjoying the incredible views. Aside from the amazing art, the ICA also holds outdoor concerts every Friday in July and August. These fun outdoor events feature new DJ’s every week and certain themed events to keep things new and interesting. The ICA always keeps me guessing, and I cannot wait to see what fun thing comes out next.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Admission: Student discount with ID (or free if your name is Isabella!)
Must See: Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is like something out of a movie. The minute you step inside the museum it feels like you are taken back in time, admiring all of the beautiful paintings and scenery. The inner courtyard is breathtaking, and visible from every angle of the museum.
What makes this museum unique is that Isabella Stewart Gardner actually used to reside in the building before it turned into a museum, and still resembles a home in many ways. The tall ceilings and wooden floors add a homey feel to the artwork which is something you do not see everyday.
I highly recommend reading up on the Gardner heist before visiting, as it adds excitement and a bit of spookiness to your visit.
A great addition to the museum is the modern wing, which is the only part of the museum with changing exhibits. Set aside from the original building, this modern room showcases beautiful artwork and sculptures to add a modern twist. Next to the modern room is also the Gardner Museum’s incredible concert hall, which must be seen in person to truly admire. Isabella Stewart Gardner had a passion for music and this hall keeps her spirit alive in a beautiful space. The concert schedule and ticket options can be found on the museum’s website.
The Museum of Bad Art
Admission: Free museum passes can be requested.
Must See: “Dog” By: Unknown
After you have admired all of the famous pieces in the previously listed places…why not lighten the mood with this fun museum?? The MOBA gallery in Somerville is a private institution that is committed to celebrating bad art. Located in the basement of a theater, it is not the most glamorous of exhibits. That being said, it is definitely a memorable experience. It is a one of a kind museum visit and every piece of art is sure to make you chuckle.
Can’t get enough of the bad art? Have no fear, there is now a book available for purchase, “The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks,” that showcases the worst of the worst, bottom of the barrel pieces of artwork.
Some pieces imitate famous works like the Mona Lisa, and with others it can be hard to decipher what is going on at all…
Quirky and humorous, the MOBA is Boston museum fun for all ages and a great way to lighten the mood after viewing maybe one too many gorey war depictions.
I hope this master list of Boston museum’s inspires you to view some new places and some very cool art.
Crying does not correlate to weakness. Navigating your own emotions is not an easy feat and it takes time to understand what you are feeling. There are some things you feel that you may never be able to explain. Though sometimes it can be difficult to feel like your tears are validated, crying is always worth it and necessary.
Obviously everyone cries, but I think the more crying the better. I have been thinking about this concept a lot lately because I am a very emotional person and I have learned not to think too much when my emotions get the best of me. If I am holding back tears, my stomach starts to turn and I feel my chest getting heavy. As stated by an article on AgingCare, crying is a natural response to negative emotions and a natural way to reduce emotional stress. There is a reason you feel more relaxed after a good cry! I can understand some people not wanting to let their guard down in front of others, but sometimes it is necessary. No matter how stupid you may think your crying is, it is not stupid. Your emotions don’t lie and you should listen to what they are saying. Crying is a good way to relieve stress and stay aware of yourself and what your body needs to recover from the tears to get to a happier mindset.
Another reason to let the tears flow, it’s good for your eyesight! According to an article on MedBroadcast, the moisture caused from crying helps keep your vision clear because it lubricates your eyes. Studies have also been done that show some people are more prone to crying than others if you are empathetic and relate to other people’s suffering. I am 100% a part of this category and there are pros and cons to being this type of person. Being emotional is not a flaw and I accept that quality with open arms and if you are like me, you should learn to love it to. Crying a lot is something that I wasn’t always comfortable with, but I realized that it made me feel good so why should I fight it? It feels so good to let all of the tension in your body go and be content with being upset. Even the happiest person has to let out the tears.
Keeping your sadness bottled up inside creates more tension and can lead to a bigger blow up in the future. Whether you feel tears coming on in public or when you’re alone, don’t be scared to let it out. When I am with someone who is upset I encourage them to just cry it out because it will help them feel better. No one should feel embarrassed or scared to cry when they feel that intense emotion no matter where they are or who they are with. If you haven’t cried on the T at least once….do you even live in Boston?
It may take one cry, two cries or thirty to feel better. However many tears it takes to help you feel better. Don’t question how you feel, but learn how to recover from the sadness. Listening to music may help calm you down, going for a walk in the fresh air, talking to someone you trust, or maybe just being alone and winding down. Find what makes you feel good and run with it. Though no one likes seeing anyone cry, it is important to encourage the tears if someone is holding back so they can experience the relief that follows. Crying is therapeutic, amazing, helpful, and emotional all at once.
The next time you feel tears welling up, welcome them with open arms. Happy tears, angry tears, sad tears…whatever it might be, let it flow and you will feel a lot better afterwards.
Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean running ten miles to feel good about yourself. Why run when you can do yoga to feel just as good physically and mentally? Yoga is one of the greatest forms of exercise because it is both physically and mentally satisfying. The intense focus on mentality is why I love yoga so much. I feel rejuvenated after, not exhausted. I want to go to yoga, I don’t dread this type of exercise. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise and yoga is a wonderful outlet to strengthen your brain.
You may only be at downward dog right now, but pretty soon you could be bending like a pretzel.
Yoga is all about focus. Forgetting about work, relationships and any other responsibilities to focus on your body and mind. Yoga is the only time I am allowed to focus on just myself, how my body is moving and allowing my mind to focus on keeping my breathing deep and steady to relax my mind. It is also a great technique to help sleeping problems because the breathing techniques can be implied if there is trouble falling asleep. Yoga breathing has helped me many,many times with sleep when my mind is too cluttered to think about resting.
Yoga allows you to relax your body and mind to create a better you. What I love about yoga is how breathing is a centric part of all classes. Deep breathing is an amazing tool to use in times of stress, pain, anger, fear…the list goes on. Once I began practicing yoga regularly, it became easier to apply the breathing techniques and notice a change in how I handled tense situations. You don’t realize how many benefits there are to yoga until you find yourself in public stretching out your shoulders or letting out a deep breath.
Another great aspect of yoga is stress relief. The breathing paired with stretching will wash all the stress away and allow you to relax your body and mind. Yoga moves tend to focus on relieving tension from the shoulders and back, which is where stress builds up in your body. Stress can build up quickly in your body without you even realizing it. This can lead to pulled muscles and other health complications like chronic stress which is more serious. Yoga allows you to stretch out all of your muscles and replace any pain caused by stress with soothing relief and comfort.
More experienced yogis can do intense backbends and splits but don’t feel pressured to match their expertise right away. It takes time to increase flexibility, but it is possible for you to get there! Dancers tend to have impeccable posture because they are stretching and increasing their flexibility constantly. Yoga can have the same results!! Weekly stretches and poses will strengthen the muscles in your back and shoulders, which will lead to better posture. This could take a few weeks, or maybe a couple of months. The benefits of breathing techniques will be present almost immediately, but don’t give up on the physical benefits which will take some more time. Consistency is key! Whether that means five minutes of breathing everyday, or 20 minutes of new poses and stretching, it is all positive for your mind and soul. Letting out stress while increasing flexibility…double benefit!
The BEST part about yoga?? You can be your own teacher! There are dozens of YouTube tutorials and apps you can download that will guide you through stretches and breathing techniques to get you started. Once you get the hang of it, you can start doing it alone! Just 10-15 minutes every day can do a world of difference for your body and mind. I can say all I want about yoga, but you have to try it yourself to experience the benefits.
If you’re anything like me, you like trying new things and visiting new places. Even if you aren’t as inclined to branch out, summer is a great time to try new things and visit new places. New adventures don’t necessarily require lots of money and preparation, you can have a lot of fun in and around your hometown to spice up your summer and discover some hidden gems. Trust me, growing up in a small town has forced me to get very creative when I’m bored.
Whether you’re bored on a rainy day, or sick of going to the beach on your day off, these ideas can help you find something different to do this summer.
The best vacation I have ever been on was to a national park. Last summer my family visited Acadia National Park in Maine, and the sights were breathtaking. I have never seen such natural beauty and it made me want to go on a national park road trip. Wherever you live in the world, there are public parks, hiking trails, and lakes that many people don’t know about. A lot of them are free entry, too! If there is a daily fee, the money goes back into environmental efforts to keep the parks open and thriving.
There are numerous parks in Massachusetts alone, and thousands across the country. Many offer kayak and canoe rentals, camping grounds, and scenic walking trails. Parks are a great way to bring out your inner adventurer and spend time outside.
They are also perfect for your furry friends to enjoy.
Aren’t into climbing mountains? Have no fear! Pack up a nice lunch and go sit by a beautiful lake or overlook, I promise you will not be disappointed. Lunch with a view is always a good idea.
Parks can be packed during the summer, but there are multiple trails so nothing ever feels too crowded. Getting out into nature is great physically, but also mentally. The warm summer air and the sound of birds chirping in the trees creates a natural zen environment. There is something so peaceful about sitting in a quiet park and taking a step back from a fast paced life. Every time I visit a park I feel happier and more relaxed when I leave.
If you live near the ocean, I’m sure you’re familiar with the local beaches. But do you know all of small, secret beaches that aren’t crowded with a million umbrellas and coolers?
I am living on Cape Cod for the summer and I have started to discover multiple tiny beaches that are nearly empty. Most don’t even have parking lots and consist of a tiny path on the side of the road that leads to a little slice of heaven.
These beaches can be tricky to look up online because people like keeping their secret sanctuaries private, so doing field research may be your best bet. They are usually close to public beaches, unmarked and down a side road. Getting to them is an adventure in itself but once you reach the destination the serenity is well worth the journey. If there isn’t a sign that says “Private Property,” put your towel down and make yourself at home.
When you find a place like this, shhhhh! It’s a secret beach for a reason!
Give your tastebuds something new and different
One of my favorite things to do over the summer is try to find the hidden gems of the food world. They are everywhere! So many restaurants in the U.S. are inspired by places all across the world, bringing an international food experience right to your hometown. Yelp is a great place to start and gives a reliable outline of what kinds of dishes to expect. It is particularly helpful to read reviews of dishes you aren’t used to before making the trip.
I like branching out to find different food because it is easy to get sick of the same things. I fell in love with Indian cuisine through my summer research and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to go to somewhere so new and different with so many amazing flavors I have never experienced before. My taste buds were happily surprised.
Picky eaters can enjoy new food too, most places can create dishes that are fairly mild if that is what you’re comfortable with. No matter what kind of cuisine you are trying, try to choose something on the menu that sounds different and exciting. If you discover you really like it, try making it yourself at home! Fill this summer with new food adventures and maybe discover a new love for cooking.
Grabbing some friends and visiting a funky place for dinner is an awesome adventure and summer is the perfect time for it.
The category of sports encompasses a lot more than baseball and football. No running is involved, just fun! Whether it’s ziplining, whitewater rafting or bubble soccer, there are many wacky activities out there to try this summer.
One place I have really been wanting to go the past year or so is a treetop adventure park near my house. Definitely find one of these places near you if you want to feel like a monkey! This park is a course of ziplines, tightropes, rope walls and more. It has been built in the woods so you really feel like you’re a tree animal! I went ziplining once before in New Hampshire and absolutely loved it and I am yearning to check this place out.
Bubble soccer is another funny one that has become somewhat recreational in the Boston area. Once you put on the “bubble” you look like a hamster ball with legs. It is hilarious to watch but looks like it would be so much fun to try. There are locations and variations of this activity all across the U.S. and it would be perfect to rent some for a party, or just for fun with friends!
The zoo is so underrated. I absolutely love the zoo. You can find me there, standing next to a seven year old, just as excited as they are to see the giraffes walking around. They are fairly cheap to visit and showcase amazing, exotic creatures.
If you live near Washington D.C., the Smithsonian National Zoo is free!! It also happens to be the best zoo I have ever been to…they have giant pandas, lions, elephants, and so much more.
The zoo is a great summer day trip, and I definitely recommend going on a weekday if you can because it is a lot less crowded and easier to get up close to all of the animals. Some zoos also allow you to bring in your own food and drinks, so you can save money by packing snacks from home.
In addition to the zoo, go to the aquarium! So many beautifully colored fish, penguins, seals, and other water creatures that are amazing to see up close. The aquarium is a perfect adventure for a rainy day.
I hope this list helps you kickstart an amazing, adventurous, memorable summer. (:
I could not be happier about the doughnut invasion that seems to have taken over the food world over the past year. I was never that into doughnuts because they are so decadent. But, boy oh boy, how times have changed. I have experienced the doughnut craze in cities all over the world and not one doughnut has left me unsatisfied. I am going to recall some of my fondest doughnut memories, some of which are in New England that you must try if you haven’t already.
1. The first time I fell in love with donuts was at Blackbird Doughnuts, located at 492 Tremont Street. This location is not far from Emerson’s campus at all. If you are an Emerson student and have yet to visit Blackbird, shame! They change their flavors weekly which always keeps people (especially me) coming back for more.
The flavors tend to be seasonal, so in the fall, expect pumpkin spice inspired donuts and fresh, fruity ones in the summer. One of the best doughnuts I have ever had was at Blackbird last summer. They had a peanut butter and jelly doughnut that changed my life forever. I’m serious. The brioche dough was so fluffy like a cloud with a perfect balance of the peanut butter and jelly filling. I hope they bring that flavor back one day because it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth….ever. What is cool about Blackbird is that there is a glass window where you can see right into the kitchen to see live doughnut magic. Blackbird is a little slice of heaven, right in the South End.
2. As if doughnuts were not amazing on their own….now there is the “cronut” craze. Let me do a little math for you. Croissant + donut = cronut. I never thought my first cronut experience would be at the Barcelona airport but when I saw it staring at me from behind the case of baked goods, I knew it had to be mine.
This Oreo cronut with marshmallow filling was everything I hoped it would be. The Oreo crumbles and flaky crust of the croissant paired together perfectly, and the filling was just enough sweetness without overpowering the entire ensemble. As I sat in the terminal awaiting my flight, I knew I made the right decision. I have yet to come across a cronut in the states but I am sure they are out there and it is my mission to find one.
3. My most overwhelming doughnut experience happened at Camden Market in London. Camden Market is one of my favorite places in the entire world, filled with artists displaying local work and food vendors with dishes from all around the world. What really caught my eye at Camden Market was an unbelievable doughnut cart. A cart a mile long, with any doughnut you could ever want. You could smell the sweetness wafting off the cart from a mile away.
Never before had I seen so many different shapes, sizes, and colors of doughnuts. I accept every doughnut for who they are on the inside, not physical appearance. I decided to go for the most ridiculous doughnut I saw that was bigger than my head. A buttercream filled, chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered, doughnut. A triple threat doughnut.
I could only conquer about five large bites before throwing in the towel.
4. PVDonuts in Providence, Rhode Island is another one of my favorites. I went there for the first time last week and was impressed by the organization they maintained behind such a small counter. Having to choose just one flavor was nearly impossible so I grabbed six to go so I could share with my family. Some of the flavors were banana split, cereal milk, piña colada, and maple bacon. My favorite had to be strawberry cream, a doughy pillow of pastry filled with fresh strawberry jam.
The atmosphere inside PVDonuts is super cozy and they even have donut pillows to complement the couches. They even have a sign on the wall that says “Treat Yoself!” which makes me feel even better about stuffing a doughnut the size of my head into my mouth. One important tip for PVDonuts is to get there early because they sometimes sell out of doughnuts by noon. These doughnuts are most definitely worth the drive, so make the journey down to Providence ASAP!
There is always a new doughnut adventure to be had, so go out and explore the doughnut craze for yourself! I promise, you will NOT regret it.
Three hour meals are rare in the United States, but a European staple.
I spent this past semester in the Netherlands and every day was filled with magic and adventure. I can honestly say that I learned more about myself in 90 days than I have in my entire life. One of the biggest cultural differences that I miss about Europe is the dining routine. Eating a quick meal is considered rude in many cities and leisurely dining is more widely accepted.
Sports were never really my thing. Of course I love to cheer on the Red Sox and yell at the referees through the TV during hockey season, but I never got involved with school athletics. I did theatre and dance never stepping foot into my high school’s locker room.
Fast forward three years later and running has become a huge part of my life. If you told high school Hannah that she would be training for a half marathon this summer, she would snicker in your face. My athletic ability is truly being put to the test but I am welcoming the challenge with open arms and fast feet.