Evening at The Nutcracker

Boston Ballet‘s Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition for me for a long long time. One of my first memories is actually of being sick sitting on a booster seat for The Nutcracker at the Wang in Boston, the former home of the Boston Ballet. My mother says I was 5 and slept through much of the ballet. The Nutcracker is magical. The story of a Nutcracker who comes to life on Christmas Eve and a journey to a magical wintery palace….the costumes, the music, the sets…all in the beautiful Boston Opera House.

This year I went with a few girlfriends and we met up at Teatro Restaurant beforehand. I can’t recommend the food there enough. I got linguine with shrimp and it was delicious. It definitely made up for not getting a goodie at the Boston Common Coffee Co, which is my usual pre ballet ritual. Boston Common was beautifully lit up which really set the scene for the winter magic of the ballet.

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The Boston Opera House was all decked out with Christmas trees and other greenery. We grabbed champagne and Nutcracker gingerbread cookies and head in for the show. One of my former section mates was playing bassoon in the pit orchestra so I went to say hi during intermission. We hadn’t seen each other since I was in 9th grade!! Crazy…oh and thanks Facebook haha!

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It was a Tuesday night show, so I will admit, the ballet seemed a little skeleton crew-ish? The Nutcracker Prince had to also fill in for the Snow King so the Nutcracker Prince was missing from the last scene when Clara bids adieu to the palace. The dew drop was also missing? Kinda weird, but it was still a great show. I guess its just something to remember for next year.

The Nutcracker has always been a part of my Christmas season. I haven’t been in a while, but I also love the Holiday at the Pops by the Boston Pops Orchestra. What are your holiday traditions??

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The Festival of Trees in Wolfeboro NH

Wolfeboro NH is one of the adorable New England towns on Lake Winnepesaukee. It is the home of Mitt Romney, Brewster Academy (boarding school made up of whitewashed colonial homes and a seriously amazing boathouse right on the lake), many antique stores, quaint shops, and the Wright Museum. The Wright Museum exhibits a great collection of WWII memorabilia, and around this time of year, over 60 decorated Christmas trees!!! The Christmas trees are decorated by various organizations in the area as part of the Wolfeboro Festival of Trees.

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The charities benefitting from donations to have a tree and donations from patrons are going to the Child Advocacy Center of Carroll County and the Global Awareness Local Action this year. Different charities are chosen every year to be the recipients of funds raised. There were holiday cookie platters, punch, and live music for wandering around checking out all the different trees. My husband’s two favorite trees were both fishing themed, and my favorite trees were decorate with metallic hydrangeas and model boats!

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Tree made of fishing rods, decorated with lures and bobbers!
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Ice fishing themed tree!
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The silver and gold hydrangeas, oh my goodness, it was beautiful!
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This tree had so many perfect model boats! The boat museum in Wolfeboro will be showcasing Fred Clausen’s extensive model boat collection. Some of them had the cutest details.

So now of course I need to go to the NH Boat Museum in Wolfeboro! We walked around the  town dock area of Wolfeboro, and checked out a great used book store called Eyes of the Owl. We grabbed a couple old hiking books…Trails and Summits of New England….Vacation Tramps of New England….and Lucy Crawford’s History of the White Mountains. I can’t wait to start reading them! The book store was literally a one bay garage with books and records stacked from the floor to the ceiling. It was perfect.

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Beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee
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The Town Docks in Wolfeboro
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Out on the dock with the Brewster Academy’s Pinckney Boathouse up on the horizon!

I am wearing my LLBean Signature fisherman sweater, LLBean fair isle hat/mittens from last year, and my new favorite Tory Burch boots. I love this LLBean sweater and I have been wearing my new boots nonstop since they came. The sweater is cotton which is heavy and warm, but not itchy.

Alright folks, back to Gilmore Girls. I am just into season 6 on Netflix, and honestly I have no idea how I lived so long without this show. I started watching this past spring and have been chugging along in anticipation of the new season!!

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Summer Staple- The White Tank/Sleeveless Top

One thing that I feel like I need to replenish every couple years are the white tank/sleeveless tops. They are my go-to with printed skirts and shorts over the summer, but man, they are not the most resilient items. Between stains from drinks/food and then the oh so flattering underarm stains from our sweat and deodorant, it feels like the OxiClean spray works overtime  on these items during the summer months.

Here are some that I have been checking out!

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Drapey Tank Top with Silky Hem for $27- this one is actually ivory

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TH Harlie Eyelet-Striped Sleeveless Top for $36.99

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Charter Club Sleeveless Ruffled Top for $32.99- this one reminds me of an old classic Lilly Pulitzer tank that I love! It comes in a couple different colors too 🙂

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LLBean Embroidered Linen/Cotton Shirt  for $44.95- a little pricey I know, but I love LLBean and the embroidery is actually really nice I think!

I have found a couple this spring, one that I mention here from TJMaxx and then one that I found at Walmart for $5! Thankfully I think both are thick enough to not need a cami underneath (score!).  The perfect white sleeveless/tank can be tough to find. Sometimes the arm holes are too big, or its too boxy, too flowy, too see through and you don’t want to wear a cami under it, or they have neck/back lines that make your bra show. Having a few different styles is nice too because a white tank that wear with shorts to a cookout might not be the same white tank you want to wear with a Lilly skirt to a polo match? You also hate to spend a ton of money on one because you know its a white shirt that might not make it through the summer! The struggle is real 🙂

Anyone out there have a tried and true for good white sleeveless/tank tops??

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Eddie Bauer: The Brand’s Past, Present, and Future

My earliest memories of Eddie Bauer was seeing the Eddie Bauer logo on some cars. Eddie Bauer had an affiliation with Ford, and my neighbor had one of the Eddie Bauer Ford Explorers. There is an Eddie Bauer at the Burlington Mall near where I grew up so then I started to associate the brand with clothing, but more clothes my mom and aunt liked. At that time it was all about American Eagle haha.

I have a couple pieces from Eddie Bauer; a flannel shirt (blogged here), a fleece vest,  a cable knit cardigan, a waffle knit henley. I loved one of their quilted vests that I blogged about here. The clothing is definitely on the preppy side I guess? Reminds me of Land’s End a little. Imagine my surprise when I started following Eddie Bauer on Instagram….to realize that they are an outdoors/mountaineering/winter sports brand? Thinking back, the display window at the Eddie Bauer at Downtown Crossings in Boston does show a man mountain climbing…..but I still didn’t necessarily associate them with outdoor pursuits and outdoorsmen.

I am one of those outdoorsmen. I ski, cross country ski, and hike NH’s 4000 footers in the winter with snowshoes, mountaineering boots, and crampons. I camp and hike, my fiance is a flyfisherman. The brands that I think of when I consider gear are REI, Eastern Mountain Sports, LLBean, The North Face, Columbia, La Sportiva, Black Diamond, Arcteryx, and Mountain Hardwear….Eddie Bauer doesn’t come into my brain at all. Enter Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent. If you do some poking around on the Eddie Bauer website, you will find ‘First Ascent’, their line for snow and mountains and ‘Travex’, their line for hiking and camping…and they have fishing/hunting gear as well. Do a little research on Eddie Bauer and the history of the company and you will find that Eddie Bauer, the man who started this company in Seattle in 1920, started it as an outdoor outfitter company.

Eddie Bauer held the first patent in 1940 on the down jacket! They were hired by the US Army and got to have their logo on outdoor clothing for the US Army. Eddie Bauer organized and sponsored numerous awesome expeditions!! First American ascent of Everest by Jim Whittaker,  first ascent of Gasherbrum I, first ascent Dhaulagari, first ascent of Great Trango Tower, and others…..history making expeditions where everyone was wearing parkas and gear from Eddie Bauer.

Here is a gorgeous vintage Eddie Bauer sweater that I scooped up in my travels:

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Love the ducks and how the layers of the yoke design represent the parts of the landscape like the grass, then water, then woods, and finally purple mountains 🙂

Eddie Bauer retired in 1968, and sold the company to Spiegel, Inc. Spiegel, Inc. declared bankruptcy in 2003, Eddie Bauer became Eddie Bauer Holdings which then declared banruptcy itself in 2009. Then there were rumors that Jos. A. Bank would buy Eddie Bauer in 2014, but now Men’s Wearhouse is buying Jos. A. Bank and will not buy Eddie Bauer…..craziness.

So where does this leave Eddie Bauer. Eddie Bauer’s social media advertises it as an outdoor outfitter company, showing sponsored skiers and climbers….but if you go to the Eddie Bauer website, it looks like a lifestyle clothing company and you have to hunt a little to find this outdoorsy stuff. I have never seen any bloggers wearing Eddie Bauer really, no sponsorships or collaborations. That’s fine by me, but typically big companies marketing toward the high school/college kids have some reach into the people with popular blogs/instagram accounts.

Eddie Bauer has awesome history, and somehow they have held on throughout the years, but they don’t seem strong enough as a lifestyle clothing company to compete with J Crew, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, etc. nor do they seem strong enough to compete with the outdoor gear companies like Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, and REI. As we enter 2016, I wonder where this company will go. Anyone out there from the west coast? Is Eddie Bauer the LLBean of the northwest? If you were running the marketing dept, where would you take this company? For me, I would think about a direction: go hard with the outdoor gear or go hard with the lifestyle/clothing….how do Orvis and LLBean do it? Is is their reputation for customer service and their marketing that keep them going with the clothing AND gear? Orvis has Land Rover and Barbour….LLBean has the iconic sweaters and boots….what does Eddie Bauer have?

Musings here free of charge, chime in, I would love to hear what others think about this brand.

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