Do Designers Work or Do Designers Play?

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Recently I met someone and, upon finding out I’m a graphic designer, they said to me “Oh how nice! You get to play all day!”

Haha.

Of course I smiled and agreed, not bothering to mention that this is akin to claiming “hey, Dr. Doctor, you get to save lives all day” or “hey, Policeman, it must feel good to put away the bad guys every afternoon”. Most people forget about the paperwork and meetings nearly all jobs entail.

I am a graphic designer, by day and by night. I am fortunate that I truly enjoy my profession and my job. (And I’m not just saying that because I know my boss reads this blog!) I had parents who were supportive enough to encourage me to pursue getting degrees in things I loved – design and writing. And then I found a way to make a living doing it.

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I love what I do. I followed my passions. But work is work, and I think everyone can understand that. Luckily for me, it happens to be the era of design. Many businesses and people recognize the need for good design, and the resources that should be put into it.

What she said stuck with me – where does work for artists-painters-writers-creatives cross over from work to play and play to work? I like to think/hope I’m always straddling that line.

Are you an artist? How do you differentiate between work and play?

Or are they one in the same?

Top 9: Nautical Shower Curtains

Nautical Shower Curtains

The nautical theme is oh-so-trendy at the moment. Maybe because it’s summer, or maybe because clean graphic prints are very popular right now. Lucky for me, I’ve always loved the nautical style, so this temporary influx of nautical decor/fashion means it’s easier for me to find things I love.

Now that our bathroom is fully functional (Hallelujah!) I’m on a mission for a new shower curtain. I’m on the fence between biting the bullet and splurging on a fancy one, or keeping it cost-conscious. I like to change-up my shower curtains fairly regularly (there are too many fun ones to stick to one forever!) and I feel less guilty when I didn’t spend much on it.

Now I just need to decide which one to choose!

1. DENY Designs Jennifer Denty Woven Polyester Jellyfish Shower Curtain – $89 I love this fun and playful jellyfish pattern!

2. Sailboats Shower Curtain – $58 Graphic and colorful. Would pop in any bathroom.

3.Light Teal Anchors and Chevrons Shower Curtain – $58 Anchors and chevron are “so 2013″ but this one is clean and cute!

4. Bright Red Lobsters Shower Curtain – $58 Classic crustaceans with a bright pop of red.

5. Stripe Shower Curtain – Dusty Navy – $39 This West Elm curtain is nautical without the kitsch.

6. Octopus Shower Curtain (Custom your own color too – cool!) – $78 Very cool, you can match to any color of your choosing via Etsy Seller RedBeauty.

7. Martha Stewart Collection Norfolk Shower Curtain – $40 Understated and clean.

8. Second Wind Sails Recycled Sailcloth Shower Curtain - $225 A pricey option, but sustainable and customizable option! (And locally made for those in Massachusetts.)

9. Navy Blue Herringbone Shower Curtain – $58 This funky graphic herringbone print is a modern way to bring some nautical edge into your bathroom.

Are you over the nautical trend? What’s on your shower curtain? I love that they are great big pieces of art!

 

How to Restore an Old Steamer Trunk – Part 1

A very long time ago I posted about the antique steamer trunk that belonged to my Granna. It’s been sitting in my basement patiently waiting for some TLC, and that time has finally arrived!

Since trunks were used as a method of shipping goods for so long, there are many different kinds of trunks. My trunk is a Flat Top style Steamer Trunk, a silhouette popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Steamer trunks can be covered in wood, leather, metal, or canvas. My trunk is covered in a brown canvas with wood strapping (for added structural strength), decorative metal pieces (mine is a single-lock), and leather handles. The original canvas was coated in a shellac to make the trunk waterproof.

Fortunately, my canvas is in relatively good condition. It’s certainly dirty, but shows no signs of rotting and only a few small spots of being worn through. All the better for me – because I have no desire to remove the canvas. I like the look, and I don’t want to strip it down to the bare wood. (There are many other posts online if you are interested in stripping off the canvas.)

 


Label Removal

The trunk was also covered with a lot of old labels, and label residue. (It was, after all, a method for transporting her belongings!) There were two labels that I wanted to keep, one was an address label my Granna filled out when she sent her belongings to college. The other was a neat looking shipping label.

Restore a Steamer Trunk - DesignLively

To protect them both during the cleaning process, I used a thin coat of quick-drying polyurethane, applied with a small foam brush. (Always remember, you should never shake the poly, or you will end up with bubbles drying in the poly that end up feel like sandpaper.)

Originally, I had tried to remove the labels with a razor blade, but was unsuccessful to due the delicate paper. The thin coat of poly held the label together together enough that I was able to remove the shipping label from the trunk altogether, and will glue them back on at a later time.

Restore a Steamer Trunk - DesignLively

For the rest of the label residue, I use a sharp razor blade.

To start, use a sharp razor at the lowest angle possible to remove debris. Change blades regularly, even if the blade still looks sharp, you’ll be surprised how quickly the edge dulls. Remove as much residue as possible without scraping the canvas.

On areas where there was still residue from the labels, I wet the area and attempted to remove the rest with the razor.

Cleaning the Trunk

Next I cut off the leather handles. (Mine were both broken.) I kept them so hopefully I can match the new ones to something similar.

Restore a Steamer Trunk - DesignLively

Then I gave it a good thorough cleaning. It’s important to search how to treat your specific type of trunk cleaning method, as they all have different coverings and treatments. My trunk is covered in canvas, which was the popular thing to do in the early 1900s.

I took a pair of old sweatpants and cut them into squares. I dipped a corner into a dish of water and started gently cleaning the trunk. It’s important not to use too much excess water because I didn’t want the canvas to shrink further while drying.

Restore a Steamer Trunk - DesignLively

On the wood strappings I used Pledge wood cleaner spray.

Removing the Liner

The inside of my trunk smelled to the high heavens. The lining definitely needed to go. Fortunately, my peeled right off. Some trunks are lined with wallpaper, mine was lined with fabric. The adhesive is so old it gave way at the slightest tug.

Restore a Steamer Trunk - DesignLively

Underneath the bottom and top was a thin piece of cardboard. I removed as much as a could with a paint scraper.

Restore a Steamer Trunk - DesignLively

Removing the liner definitely helped with the smell, but not completely. I’ve taken a few smell-removal methods. First, I used trusty old baking soda, well known as an odor absorbing material. I sprinkled it inside the trunk, shut it and left it for a few days. I came back, and the smell was not gone, but certainly diminished. I used a vacuum to get out the baking soda.

Restore a Steamer Trunk - DesignLively

My next tactic against the smell was a simple one – fresh air! On nice days (with no chance of rain) I take the trunk out in the sun and let it sit outside with the top open all day. We’ve only had a few of those so far, but the smell is almost gone! I am hoping after another few days of sunshine I can move forward.

If that doesn’t work, I may try kitty litter, or freshly ground coffee beans like I did with the baking soda. Both are supposedly odor-removals as well.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, but now I am definitely motivated to keep working on it. Next I’ll be sanding down the wood strappings on the outside of the trunk, and restoring those. There are some spots that are chewed up, so it will take some very careful elbow grease!

If you have any steamer trunk restoration tips, please leave them in the comments. I am still trying to figure this whole process out. The average cost for a basic trunk restoration is over $500, and so far I haven’t spent a penny. We will see how this turns out!

Have you restored a steamer trunk before? Any tips for a newbie like me?

The Cloisters Museum

The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

When you enter the Cloisters Art Museum you’ll leave Manhattan and step into a little piece of Europe. Located in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, the Cloisters Museum is a medieval art museum. The museum is a blend of paintings, architecture, sculptures, artifacts, and stained glass. With several courtyards, you’ll wander in and out of doors admiring everything from sunshine-laden stained glass windows to dark rooms protecting tapestries featuring mythical beasts.

The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

A cafe in one of the courtyards at The Cloisters

The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

Books + Illumination. My medieval profession of choice.

The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

A tapestry in the Unicorn Room

  The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

Where: The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, New York City

When: Open 7 Days a Week, 10am-5:15pm

Why: The Cloisters was the collection of George Grey Barnard, who had a personal passion for medieval art. The Cloisters has been a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1925. There are countless vivid stained glass windows, altarpieces, paintings, and statues. Downstairs in the “treasures” room are smaller pieces – and definitely worth the time. See some amazing illuminated books, and even a modified deck of playing cards.

Of Note: Don’t miss the Unicorn Room. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a whole room of medieval tapestries portraying hordes of men attacking the frightful mythical beast. There is even (what they believed to be) a unicorn horn on display. (Which is actually the tusk of a Narwhal.) Also, the Cloisters Museum has multiple courtyards (including one with a cafe) for milling about and enjoying the sunshine. (It’s always nice when art museums have pleasurable places to sit down. My feet need a break every once in a while.) Also, from the front of the building is a large terrace with beautiful views of the Hudson River.

Admission: $25 “recommended”, which means you can give whatever you choose. (I gave $10.)
The Cloisters Museum - DesignLively

All the credit for this afternoon goes out to my lovely tour-guide of a sister-in-law! We spent about three hours exploring The Cloisters, as well as some of the nearby Fort Tryon Park. We spent the rest of the beautiful and sunny afternoon walking through Central Park and then a fantastic dinner at Greek restaurant Kefi. I was in NYC for business, and managed to also eat at Rosa Mexicano (legit table-side guacamole service) and the Empire Hotel Rooftop (you’ll have to lurk for a seat but the views are worth it)! I recommend them all!

The city of a million restaurants!

Medieval art isn’t my favorite, but this museum was worth the trip. What’s your favorite type of art?

What to Know if You Want to Start Juicing?

Our CSA is officially back for the seasons. (Hip-hip-hooray!) Because of the harsh winter we had last year, the vegetables this year came late. Nothing makes me happier than having a bowl of fresh and locally grown strawberries on my kitchen counter.

This week I got lots of greens – kale, arugula, romaine. And at the store we got turnip greens and spinach.

Why so many greens? Well, we’ve started juicing!

I’m an avid reader of The Food Babe, and then we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary about a man on a juicing fast, recently. We’ve started juicing every morning before work and it’s been good so far. I’m excited to try more options – we’ve started with a Green-Celery-Cucumber-Carrot-Apple-Ginger combination, and it’s actually a lot better tasting than I would have guessed.

The juicing basics I’ve learned so far:

- Wash your vegetables beforehand! Especially if you get veggies from your local CSA – they come with a little more dirt :)

- When juicing, start with your greens. The other flavors will blend into the green juice

- Before you drink your juice, skim off the foam. These nutrients have already oxidized.

- Drink your juice within 10 minutes of making it

- Drink your juice first thing in the morning to absorb the nutrients. Eat breakfast 15 minutes later. (Juicing is not a meal replacement, it’s like a vitamin).

- Don’t use a lot of fruit to keep sugars low. I use an apple or carrots to sweeten my juice.

 

I definitely don’t claim to be an expert. I’d love to know if you have any juicing tips? Am I getting it right or wrong?

Favorite recipes?

My Juicing Resources: The Food Babe, Lauren Conrad, FitSugar

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation – Part 2

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

I last left off talking about gutting our bathroom, having new walls built, with rough plumbing and rough electrical, new door frames and window boxes, and the promise of progress. I am happy to say that, eight weeks after the initial gutting, we have a shower again!!!!! Not one of those exclamation points is excessive. Two months with no shower is too long!

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

Next came blue boards. Once the blue boards went in, it was mighty dark in that bathroom. I’m so glad we decided to put a new window in. Blueboards are the base material that plaster is applied on.

Our home is older and has plaster walls, which we’ve decided to continue with in our newly renovated rooms. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, plastering is an artform and I’m so impressed with plasterers. Plaster is more expensive than drywall, but the continuity of the finish throughout the house is important.

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

After the plaster went in, it was time to level the plywood floors with self-leveling concrete. After this dried we were able to move in the vanity! Woo hoo! (More on the vanity later.)

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

After the plaster had cured for a few days, it was time for painting prep. While plaster is pretty smooth straight from the get-go, you’ll want to go over it with a fine sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections. Once you’ve finished sanding you’ll want to wipe down all the walls with a damp rag. Next up is priming and painting. I applied two solid coats of Zinsser 123 Primer – it smells horrible, but we needed the good stuff to protect the bathroom walls from all the shower moisture.

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

After that, I painted the bathroom ceiling with two coats, and then our bathroom walls with two coats. Believe it or not, I hadn’t thought a wink about what color to paint it (despite having lots of time) and we ended up choosing one at random. It seems hard to go wrong with a light gray when we’ve got so much marble, so we picked Valspar’s Tempered Gray. Since we plan on installing board and batten, I only painted the top 1/3 of the wall.

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

While that was going on, the tiling began! Tile for us was a big fat mess… we purchased our tile from The Tile Shop, about three months earlier. We kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting for our tile to come in. It came in quite piecemeal, and delayed the whole room by quite a bit. We ended up having to give up on one of our tiles (we had originally chosen a 1″ hex for the ceiling and recessed boxes) to get a move-on with the rest of the room. Instead we picked the tumbled version of our 2″ floor hex as the accent.

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

Another lesson we learned, your tile might not match the sample you looked at in the showroom. Once our floor tile finally came in, it didn’t look anything like the sample we picked from – much creamier, less varied, and slightly different crystallization. I knew the lot would be different – but I didn’t expect it to look this different! We brought it home and laid it out on the floor, and fortunately I still loved it! While it looked very creamy next to the original sample in the showroom, once it was on the floor next to the vanity it looked great!

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

All in all, we ended up not DIYing the tile. It was the best decision (remember, 8 weeks with no shower!) but I am still a little bummed we didn’t get to try doing it ourselves. At the end of the day, we knew that if we DIYed the tile, it would take us a few more weeks, versus hiring someone who could do it in one!

The shower does NOT get plastered, instead the boards were coated with a special red sealer for moisture protection. We choose to go with the smallest grout lines possible, and a pencil trim with I think finishes off the tile nicely.

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

We also needed to pick out our countertop. Since we were doing marble in the shower and on the floor, I thought it was best to stay consistent. Lucky for us, our double vanity was small enough that we were able to purchase a remnant piece (read: less expensive).

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

Since marble is such a thick material, we paid extra for the backsplash piece to be shaved down so it didn’t protrude quite as much.

Unfortunately, right around this time we realized that the boxes for our recessed mirrors were not in the right place. Once the countertop went in we noticed that the backsplash came right up to the bottom of the box, and then we realized that the existing mirror was WAY too low! Perfect for a shorty like me, but not so much for my tall husband (who wouldn’t be able to even see his forehead in the mirror). Even later we realized that the mirrors wouldn’t have even been able to open with our tall faucets.

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

We decided to scrap the recessed medicine cabinets altogether. Since we intended to build them ourselves, we hadn’t purchased anything yet. With all the storage space in the vanity, plus some plans we’ve been formulating to make a new closet in the hallway, there seems to be plenty of storage without them and it was easier to plaster over them than try to move the boxes. You win some you lose some.  `

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

Along the way our new toilet was installed. Notice anything? Like the fact that there is no flusher!?

That’s right, we got the new touchless toilet from Kohler! Haha!

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

For the lighting in the bathroom, we had a few recessed lights put in the ceiling, and one in the shower, in addition to two light fixtures over the vanity. And we still have the original ceiling vent/heat unit.

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

This week Moose put several layers of sealer over the tile in the shower so it’s all set to go! Now we’re trying to decide whether we should go with a tension shower curtain rod, or if we’re willing to commit and drill into the marble.

Decisions, decisions!   ; )

 

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation  - DesignLively

We still need to do all the trimwork, board and batten, fix up the plaster-covered mirror boxes, clean and seal the floor tile, and add hardware to the vanity. But we have a fully functional bathroom!! The faucets just got hooked up this week, and I’m thrilled!

Suffice it to say it’s been a long eight weeks, but it’s been worth every minute!

Phew! Longest post ever. If you got to the end of this post, I congratulate you and bequeath thee one million patience points. 

Happy 4th of July!!

My 10 Favorite Things to Do in Downtown Boston

To celebrate my 10th year of living in Boston, I’m sharing my top 10 favorite things to do in various parts of the greater Boston Area.

My Top 10 things to do in Downtown Boston - DesignLively

Some famous, some not. Some popular, some random. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Downtown Boston.

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My Top 10 – Boston the City

1. Café Algiers in Harvard Square - This cafe in Brattle Square is one of my favorites. Go upstairs and enjoy being tucked away in a little corner with fun Moroccan architecture. Get a regular latte, or try something crazy – like the orange mint hot chocolate.

2. Boston Public Gardens in the Springtime – I’m not sure if there is anything more glorious than the first springtime walk through the gardens after a harsh winter. Grab a cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes, or an iced coffee at Dunkin’ and enjoy the view.

3. Boston Duck Tour – If you are a local, you are probably rolling your eyes. But if you haven’t been on a Duck Tour, just GO! It’s fun, entertaining, and informative. I’ve gone twice and the guides have always been highly entertaining, and it’s fun to blitz through Boston’s historical sites with fresh eyes and learn some trivia about the city. *Quack Quack*

4. ICA / Isabella Stewart Gardner – The Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is beautiful and worth several trips, but the less frequently touted Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are two more art museums that should make the cut! The ICA is right on the water in the growing Seaport District and around the corner from Legal Test Kitchen (the testing restaurant for Legal Seafood). The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is not your typical art museum – as the pieces were arranged by Isabella herself. It’s home to one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of art theft in history.

5. Boston Harbor Hotel Summer in the City Nights – It’s like a drive-in movie, except the screen is floating on a dock in Boston Harbor, and instead of being stuck in your car you’re sitting at the base of a beautiful hotel. Classic and popular movies are played every Friday – for free! You may want to bring a cushion to sit on.

6. The Nutcracker by the Boston Ballet is the perfect Christmas-time activity. The Boston Opera House is sumptuous and the Boston Christmas Tree is only a few blocks away.

7. Ana’s Taqueria – I eat Chipotle with the best of them, but if you want a real burrito Ana’s is the place to go. It’s no frills, all delicious.

8. Marathon Monday – I attended the Boston Marathon this year, and I’m glad to say it was every bit a celebration as in the past. There are few things more joyous than Boston on this day – celebrating the official arrival of spring, Patriot’s Day, and cheering on 36,000 people who have come to achieve their dreams.

9. Salsa Dancing at the Havana Club is one of my favorite ways to warm-up in the frigid Boston winters. Rockin’ music, fun crowds, and sizzling dance moves. If you don’t know how to salsa, go early and catch the free lesson.

10. Quincy Market is the epitome of touristy, but I love the performers! The street performers at Quincy Market are required to audition and get a permit, so they are pretty great. My personal favorites are the drum troops and the live musicians. Once you’ve been able to take in the bubble and twinkle lights, head on over to Hanover Street in the North End for dinner. If you’re still not ready to go home, get a cappucino at Cafe Vittoria.

 

What’s your favorite things to do in Boston? I’m always up for a new adventure!

 

 

Happy Summer! And a Few Blog Updates

HELLO! Our summer has FINALLY begun! We have been very busy this spring and early summer with bathrooms and decks and yard and plantings and an everything-is-out-of-place renovation for the last two months and it’s finally coming to a close. (Yeah!)

There have been a few changes here on DesignLively that I am thrilled to have made progress with. First, after much wool-gathering, I finally made the move to becoming a self-hosted blog. It was tricky, but so much easier than I thought it would be and am glad it’s over with. If you’re looking to move your WordPress blog from a WordPress-hosted site to a self-hosted site – this tutorial from WPBeginner was very helpful. This gives me a lot of flexibility and options to add cool features, like linking to similar posts and sharing my social media links on the header.

A word on commenting: While I’m still figuring out the design aspect of the blog, my comments button is unfortunately hidden. If you’d like to leave a comment on a post you’ll need to open up the post (click on the post title) and scroll to the bottom. I apologize for the temporary inconvenience!

In order to help you find older posts more easily, I’ve been creating a catalog. In my new navigation you’ll see tabs like “Crafts & Projects”, “Travels” and “New England” and can see topics that I’ve posted on in the past.

 

My Crafts & Projects links to all the art projects, refinished furniture, DIY home decor,
and holiday projects I’ve shared in the past. Enjoy creating!

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My Travels Log lists some of the wonderful places I’ve traveled to.
When I am planning a trip, I reference blogs as much as gurus like Rick Steve’s and the Frommer’s books.
I hope my tips will help you as others have helped me.

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Life in New England for all my posts on New England adventures,
favorite things in Boston, and tips for beaches/restaurants/activities.

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I am still working out lots of small issues, so please be patient as they are smoothed out. And if you have any suggestions or feedback on the new changes you’ll see around here, let me know if you love/hate what’s going on.

Here’s to much more blogging! and Happy Summer!

- Kat

A Boston Bakery Crawl

boston-bakery-crawl

I’ve got a sweet tooth, and fortunately so do some of my best girlfriends. A few weekends ago we spent a sunny Saturday morning crossing off one of my 101 things – a Boston Bakery Crawl!

We paired our sugar-craze with lots of walking and a bit of shopping, and it was such a fun way to spend the day! A few weeks ago I started hunting through online reviews of city bakery locations, and there were so many to chose from it was very hard to chose:

flour

 

Flour Bakery

We started the day at Flour, one of the most talked about bakeries in Boston. Flour now has four locations, and we went to the new bustling Back Bay location. It was hoppin’ – to say the least. With our eyes bigger than our stomachs, we ordered iced coffees and their famous sticky bun, a twice baked brioche, the blackberry lime muffin, and the sugar brioche bun.

Everything was delicious, but a group favorite was the sticky bun. It was still steaming and the perfect goo-to-bread ratio. The blackberry lime muffin was something I wouldn’t have noticed in the gleaming array – but tangy and unexpected in a wonderful summery way.

Flour offers a wide array of food options, including some amazing looking sandwiches I intend to try next time, and everything we tried and tasted like perfection. It’s easy to see why this bakery has just opened a fourth location. It’s busy, you’ll have to scramble for a place to sit. If people-watching on a Saturday morning sounds fun to you, this is a great place to be.

sweet-bakery

 

Sweet Bakery

It’s never too early for cupcakes, right? I’ve been to Sweet before and appreciate their knack for unconventional combinations – like Blueberry Pancake with Maple Syrup Frosting. The Chocolate Covered Pretzel cupcake was no different. It was very good, although I would have liked a bit more of the saltiness to cut through all the chocolate.

Sweet is small, quiet, and charming. There’s only a handful of small tables to sit at but people are usually in-and-out fairly quickly. Also, they sell “frosting shots” – how fun!

patisserie-on-newbury

Patisserie on Newbury

Located on the lower level of a beautiful brick building on Newbury Street, this French bakery offers everything from sweets to bread to olive oils. We tried the chocolate croissant, lavender blueberry macaron, and lemon gluten-free macaron. Macaroons were delicious, although not bursting with flavor.

There’s no seating here, so you’ll want to get your goodies to go. The restaurant next door allows you to sit in their cozy bistro chairs, but only before 10:00am. While the macarons weren’t the best I’ve had, they were the most inexpensive (at $1.75 each).

georgetown-cupake

Georgetown Cupcakes

This hot spot originally wasn’t on the agenda (as it’s not local) but during a stop into bath and body shop, Lush, we ran into a salesman that was a former pastry chef. He wasn’t a fan of Sweet Bakery (he thinks the frosting tastes fake) and recommended Georgetown instead. (His all time favorite place for treats is the Mandarin Oriental hotel restaurant, which I’ll have to check out another day.) So off to Georgetown cupcakes we went!

The line was long, but moved quickly. As for the cupcake, our pastry-chef-friend was right. We tried the Peanut Butter Fudge Cupcake and it was divine. The frosting was definitely particularly good. There was only one small table at the front of the building, so don’t expect to get a seat. Take it a few blocks down the street and sit in the Boston Commons instead!

Also, if you follow Georgetown Cupcakes on Instagram, you’ll be notified daily of their secret cupcake of the day. If you ask for it, you’ll get it for free! Only for as long as supplies last though. We were there around 11:30am and they were already gone! It’s worth a shot though!

 

union-square-donutUnion Square Donuts

Next we headed out to Somerville to test “Boston’s Best Donut” (according to Boston Magazine) at Union Square Donuts. It was out of the way, and kind of randomly located, but definitely worth the visit. We ordered a Sea-Salted Bourbon Caramel donut and a Maple Bacon donut. Hands-down, we all agreed the Maple Bacon donut was one of our favorite things we tried that day. It was sweet, melted in your mouth, and the sprinkled bacon on top was a great flavor combination. (Perhaps you, like my parents when I told them my favorite, think this sounds very strange?) The Sea-Salted Bourbon Caramel donut was great too, but paled in comparison to the Maple Bacon.

The environment is lacking. It’s a dimly-lit, hole-in-the-wall with just a few folding tables. But, Union Square Donuts is certainly worth the trip out to Somerville. Union Square Donuts can also be found at a number of farmer’s markets around the city, listed on their website.

evelyn-and-angel

Evelyn & Angel’s

The last stop of the day was at Evelyn & Angel’s – the “Best Macaron in Boston”. The cafe rests in Cambridge, near Porter Square. Evelyn & Angel’s also specializes in fine candies, as noted by the colorful backdrop of candies behind the bar. Known particularly for their macarons, we decided to try the Chocolate Mint, Kalamansi (similar to Key Lime Pie), and Passion Fruit. They definitely had a more unique offering of flavors – with options like Blueberry and Dirty Chai.

These macarons were delicious and very flavorful (although not cheap at $3.25 per macaron). The Kalamansi is the most popular flavor, we managed to grab the last one, and it was delicious!

Evelyn and Angel’s also has a fantastic Brew Bar – where they tout their hand-crafted pour-over coffee. It was, indeed, a fantastic cup of coffee. The cafe environment is quiet, with classy chandeliers and small booths. It would be a wonderful place to spend a morning (or evening) chatting with a friend.

 

Boston Bakery Crawl Summary:

We had a great time testing out a handful of Boston’s best bakeries on a sunny Saturday morning! By splitting all of our choices we were able to try many different sweets and treats (and slow down the sugar intake).

The highlights for the group were the Sticky Buns at Flour and the Maple Bacon Donut at Union Square Donuts.

There were so many other places we wanted to visit as well, which I will list below. Maybe this will become an annual event!

 Other Boston Bakery Crawl Places to Consider:

  • Mike’s Pastry
  • Modern Pastry
  • Cafe Vanille
  • Lulu’s Sweet Shop
  • Sweet Bakery
  • Hi-Rise Bread Company
  • Yi Soon Bakery
  • Japonaise
  • Verna’s Donut Shop
  • BakerBaker
  • ClearFlour
  • Sofra
  • Violette Gluten Free Bakery

Do you have any New England bakery recommendations? My unstoppable sweet-tooth would love to know!