How To Spend Three Days in Boston

My first escape from the Big Apple came in the form of a girly city-break to Boston! Four uni-girls; two from U.K. (country-girl and city-girl) and two from U.S. (Seattleite and New Yorker) made for a full house (or Air B'n'B) and a happy local liquor store! A few precious days of vacation booked and three days in a new city awaits.

Standing innovation for Amtrak and a comfortable, picturesque train ride from New York to Boston along the east coast. If you are used to the British transport networks, Amtrak is like travelling first class. Hello reclining seats, downloads on Netflix and a train picnic later. Flights to Boston are commonplace from most major American cities too (e.g. Seattle, New York etc.) and internationally.

Uber. Lyft. Curb. Whichever app you have, your chariot awaits in Boston. We met some interesting Uber drivers including one who sang the entire rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" en route  and gave us tips of where to go dancing, another practised out his English accent on us and one less amiable driver got into a shouting match due to his rather selfish parking outside our apartment! Whilst we were staying in an area south of Boston, we were conveniently located on the Red Line which was just two stops from South Station and five stops from Boston Common. Equally, Boston has earned its nickname as 'America's Walking City' due to it's close proximity making walking the #1 mode of transit!

Thank you Twitter, Instagram and IRL friends for recommendations of what to do in Boston. We had the perfect list to refer to in moments of decision and also had the freedom to follow the cobbled streets in the sunshine. If you're short for time, here are the must do's:

Day One
The Freedom Trail is the perfect 2.5 mile introduction to the city on foot taking in the history of the United States. Once you've worked up an appetite, head to the waterfront and feast your eyes upon the endless food stalls at Quincy's Food Market. Whilst in the area, look out for street entertainment and you can catch a ferry to Boston Harbour Islands. Take the afternoon to explore the #1 attraction in Boston with the Tea Party Ships & Museum for an interactive experience of the events that started the American revolution. Once the historical adventures are complete, Abigail's tea-room offers a sweet treat. Alternatively, Blackbird Doughnuts came highly recommended if you like to walk a few thousand steps before your sugar in-take!
Day Two
A trip to Boston wouldn't be complete without, at least, half a day at Harvard University. Prepare to feel intimidated by the genius that surrounds you and even entertains you on a free campus walk on the hour. You can easily hop on a train or grab a taxi to Harvard University. The surrounding streets offer great eateries and homeware shops that seem rather out of place for dorm rooms. Return to the hub of the city with a river cruise to see the city by water. We opted for a(nother) taxi to Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for a spot of fine art and culture. Explore the incredibly well-connected home of Isabella Gardner - described as the seventh wonder of Boston - adorned with famous masterpieces hanging from every wall. Work your way up to the top floor where you see an incredibly radical portrait of the lady herself which her husband banned from public display! Round up the day with a beer in the infamous Cheers pub.

Day Three
My third and final day exploring the idyllic Beacon Street area was my favourite. It's the place where Instagrammers and bloggers flock for the perfect picture. Grab a bite to eat from Tatte Bakery & Cafe for sweet pastries or brunch before weaving through the side streets complete with cobbled streets and brownstones. Stroll through Boston Common and Boston Public Gardens to hit the shopping district - Newbury Street aka. Fashion Walk - for your Kate Spade, Sephora and Reiss stores. For a more unique shopping experience, head to West Street to brown the open-air book store with $1-$5 bargains to be bought! On the topic of reading, Boston Public Library is gorgeous to explore! Top off your city-break by cheering along the Boston Red Sox at a baseball game!
I hope you've enjoyed my three-day itinerary - adequate time to explore, experience and devour Boston! All four of us left there feeling sure we would all move there if the opportunity arose!

Have you got any Boston highlights?


Review: Atelier Cologne Clementine California

To set the scene, I'm walking down Elizabeth Street in Lower Manhattan in the dappled sunshine on a Sunday afternoon. This neighbourhood is home to a beautiful array of fashion and beauty brands. The first Sezane 'L'Appartement' has recently opened here, the first on American soil with its perfectly Instagrammable pink velvet seating area, bouncer and red carpet! Just next door is the British leather emporium, Grenson, and beauty brand Aesop with it's incredible window displays and on-street samples that always remind me I need to use hand-cream more often! Across the street from here, my eyes fell upon the teal exterior of Atelier Cologne, a perfume house I had been lusting over in Sephora for months and months but never knowing it had its own bricks and mortar store. 

"Our dream: to create colognes to be worn as Pure Perfumes."

I figure when it comes to perfume, you are either incredibly loyal (yes, Chanel Mademoiselle fanatics, I'm looking at you) or you embrace a wardrobe of fragrances that you flit between depending on your mood, the season, etc. I have always been in the first camp and so a fragrance purchase is often either a predictable re-purchase or... kind of a big deal. 
My fragrance history is pretty much a shelfie full of citrus notes. Ever since my twelfth birthday when I received a gift of French Connection Eau de Toilette, I could not be swayed for almost five years. From my teens onwards, it is only the sharp, zesty scents that have appealed to me, meanwhile my friends emerged from a heavy cloud of Hugo Boss Deep Red, Gucci Rush and Ralph Lauren. Ryan and I even had Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin as our wedding fragrance! Needless to say, a perfume on display in Sephora featuring clementines is definitely going to pique my interest. And so, my love affair with Atelier Cologne began – a brand that celebrates and founded its first collection of exquisitely curated and long-lasting colognes purely from citrus and herbal notes - and I became a serial spritzer of California Clementine.  

"Each of our Cologne Absolue tells the story of treasured emotions and powerful memories."

The reason I photographed this blog imagery in the sunshine is that's exactly where the fragrance transports you. Hot summers in California with luscious, fresh and clean notes. As I'm sure you've heard (or realised), scents are very powerful at triggering emotional responses and connection. This is my first New York summer in a bottle. Despite us being now in October, the heat and humidity still lingers and I'm reaching for the bottle time and time again. 
This exquisite French brand has over 30 different fragrances in their repertoire and, depending on individual taste, can be unisex in their appeal. After ages chatting and learning about the brand and its husband and wife co-founding dream team, my nose and I had sniffed countless beautiful scents yet nothing could quite beat my California Clementine! 
What's great about visiting the store is you find out about their exclusive offers (and meet their friendly, passionate staff). In this instance, it was a complimentary 30ml travel size fragrance of your choice with any full size 200ml purchase. To top it off, I was also given a personalised leather case which they hand-pressed in-store. For me, this brand struck the right chord between great customer journey and incredible product.

Discover your fragrance wardrobe and nearest location with Atelier Cologne.


Tips for Starting a New Job

When recently asked by one of my friends for some advice on starting a new job, her response of 'THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I WILL DO ALL OF THIS!' made me think it might be worth sharing with the ether. Having been in the beauty industry for over six years, I have certainly experienced my fair share of first days and been witness to plenty of comings and goings to have formed a little army of tips. Whilst I hope there's something in there you can take away from this, at least I know it helped my friend who aced it through her probation and first six months in the role. Here goes...

1. Meeting new people.
This is probably the most overwhelming part of starting a new job. So many new faces. Introduction > hand shake > already forgotten their name. That's usually how it goes, right? They all know who you are (aka. the "new girl") but you don't have a flipping clue who they are. 

Top Tip: Draw a sketch of the office layout with how the desks are configured and write down the names of where people sit as soon as you are introduced. You can always ask your boss to help you fill in the blanks if it's too inappropriate to complete in real time. Once that's done, layer up with their job titles so you can start to make sense of who does what and those you'll be working with the most.
 I did this for one of my new starters and it helped her get up and out of her chair to speak to people as she knew where they sat! There's nothing more terrifying than walking around a packed office worrying you're going up to the wrong person!
2. Take a notebook with you everywhere...
...and always write notes. By writing it down you'll be processing the information and it will help to build upon your understanding of the wider business (this is important for identifying ways to improve efficiencies, ensure you work effectively in your role and make yourself indispensable to the company). Particularly the early notes you write will always be a great reference point when you get stuck into the day-to-day. It will also mean you don't have to ask your boss how to raise a purchase-order five times a day!
3. Ask Questions. 
Don't feel awkward or embarrassed to do so. No matter how basic the question, ask it to ensure you are 100% in your knowledge and understanding. We've all been there when we've sat at our desk worrying about asking a particular question for fear it might be stupid, allowing that (irrational) fear to grow into being "found out". That, put simply, will not happen. Every company has their unique way of working and it will take some time figuring out how they work.

Be mindful that not asking for clarification could lead to your team/manager presuming you know what you're doing or you presume something (which could be wrong/different). You're new so you can ask questions! Consider it a grace period when endless questions are tolerated (albeit read the signals if your manager / colleague happens to be crazy busy at the time and request some time to set aside with them one-on-one). Keep hold of your right to ask questions when you are years into a job too - it shows you are trying to constantly learn, improve and be as efficient as possible.
4. Filing. 
If you don't know me personally, it may be new information to you that I love to be organised. At the age of seven I had implemented my own filing system (much to my father's despair and diminished office supplies!). So, on hearing this, it will be no surprise to know that I'm efficient AF with my filing. Labelled folders, project sheets, status trackers, an email archive (or three) to make the New York City Library look easy to navigate. My advice? Build out a detailed filing system so you can locate something at the drop of a hat. Chances are you'll be juggling so many projects or details that searching through an inbox of 5000 emails is just not the one. My advice? Match your inbox filing system with your computer document filing system so you can easily access information - the file paths will become second nature and you'll be more efficient than Mr A navigating London's streets (he has inbuilt GPS, I'm not kidding). Also, never delete anything job-related as it is better to archive it than lose it altogether (this has nothing to do with most of us working in a blame culture, obvs).

5. Know what the business wants from you.
Understand what is expected of you in your role. It sounds simple but with the incoming barrage of emails, you can quickly lose sight of this. Keep a copy of your job description or KPIs at easy reach so you ensure you prioritise effectively. Deliver them and then some. Focus on the first half of that sentence in your first few weeks and then over the months develop upon that.

6. Show respect. 
When you're first meeting everyone, you won't know who is Director from Intern so just be polite and friendly and professional to everyone.

7. Start as you mean to go on. 
It's important to be aware of the company culture and to digest what you see and hear around you in your first few weeks (hopefully you will have an idea from asking about this in your interview!). Get a feel for how the office works, i.e. lunch breaks, tea breaks etc. There's no point working 12 hours days throughout your probation only to drop it off dramatically once you've passed. You're in it for the long haul so it's important that you don't set the wrong precedent. Consistency is a greater trait from a manager's perspective. 

8. Avoid 'cliques'. 
Stay reserved for the first few weeks as you get to know everyone's role in the company. There will inevitably be 'that' crowd so just be cautious before you jump in. That's not to say don't make friends, just let the dust settle and feel the lay of the land before you start a group WhatsApp.

9. Listen and adapt. 
Making notes will help craft your own little Bible for getting your job done, particularly where processes are concerned. Whilst it might all seem a bit alien at the start, put milestone dates in your diary to revisit your notes and refine them.  Once you become more familiar with the people and departments etc, you will have gained more perspective and understanding to see if you can improve upon these processes to make them more efficient based on your experience to date.
And my few final pointers:

  • For the managers out there, this book has been highly recommended for tackling a new role. Let the professional do the talking and make all the right moves in your first 90 days for maximum impression. 'The First 90 Days' by Michael D. Watkins.
  • Keep your phone off your desk. A buzzing phone and messages from your Mum/best friend/dog with the inevitable "How's it going, love?" is not a distraction to have on your first day!
  • Write a daily to-do list. It will help you keep focused, be at the top of your mind to share with your boss / in a meeting and give a great sense of satisfaction as you tick off! Top Tip: No more than 6 a day is realistic!
  • And finally, have confidence. You know your craft otherwise you wouldn't have got the job in the first place. Now, just show them why they hired you.


September Highlights

September is one of my favourite months for satisfying my inner neat-freak; clearing out the uncomfortable summer wardrobe (this pale rose isn’t built for heat) and hunkering down for Autumn and, with it, coat and jumper weather! Whilst the seasonal change embodies everything I love about Autumn, the weather gods were still in Summer mode and I could book-end the month with near-sunburn. Fuelled by a quick visit back to the UK to stock up on Earl Grey and Marmite, September was also the start of a whole stream of visitors.

After my little recharge of mother’s cooking and country walks, I was back in the office and working hardest of all at keeping balance in my every day. Taking ten minutes to walk around the block/park/square to get some fresh air (it's questionable how fresh the air is here but deep-breathing certainly offers short-term release) plus keeping my Vitamin D levels topped up! I’ve absolutely loved being back at Physique 57 to burn off the lunchtime carbs! I’ve even treated myself to a new sportswear wardrobe – H&M gym leggings are the best. I would wear them all day every day if I could! More stress-busting tips to ensure you don’t take the work-stress home with you here.

Whilst the stunning sunsets from our apartment window are happening earlier and earlier each day, I have been getting prepared for the evenings drawing in with a massive Amazon order of reading material to keep me entertained. I am channelling the positive visualisation of The Secret whilst getting swept up in the love triangle (or square?) of Paige Toon’s latest chick-lit The One We Fell In Love With. Check out my Autumn Reading List here.
I have absolutely loved celebrating International Podcast Day (30th September) and shared five podcasts every millennial should listen to covering every one of life’s topics. I couldn’t be without them on my commute to work, walks home from the gym and special shout out to the ‘Hey…it’s OK’ Glamour podcast for keeping me thoroughly entertained during some particularly boring PowerPoint presentation work! Since I’ve published that blog, I’ve received so many recommendations that my subscription box is going to be keeping me busy into winter!

Ticking off more items on my New York Bucket List, the month started with Labour Day weekend at the US Open. Tennis is perhaps my favourite sport to watch and I generally plan a stay-cation around Wimbledon every year.  In true American style, there was popcorn and hot-dogs to devour whilst watching the tennis greats in the Final 16. It was quite incredible to be on the Arthur Ashe Court watching the current No.1 Ladies and Mens champion (Hello, Nadal!) defend their title. 

The final weekend of September has not only brought with it my fabulous friend (and photographer of the above) - Elizabeth Ruth - but also my first Chinese takeaway!! Devastatingly, the noodles didn't come in a little cardboard box though!! On the topic of food , an incredible brunch at Two Hands in Tribeca and last-minute 11pm reservation at The Stanton Social – their tapas style food is worth staying up that late for! My sister discovered the dangerous nature of New York’s free-pouring Gin & Tonics at Pizza Beach and Ryan and I were again reminded of the advantages of living in the city that never sleeps when an East Village drinks session manifested itself into a Rite Aid trolley-dash at 2am. Don't judge. It certainly eased the next day hangover.

And a poignant final note is to say that being in New York on 9/11 was a very moving experience. As we live on the doorstep of the memorial sites and with the Freedom Tower the primary view from our window, we saw the preparations that went into their commemoration service with hundreds of service men marching the nearby streets. Having visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum the weekend before, it was a reminder of what this city has been through. A trip across the water to Jersey City gave the iconic skyline an incredibly emotional touch as the two beams of light reached up into the night’s sky.

Now, as October awaits, the stores are brimming with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and the Halloween stores are popping up! I am excited for the leaves to change colour and a little trip to upstate New York to escape the city! Happy October everyone...

© Rose Tinted Spectacles

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