Favorite Boston Coffee Shops

Back when I pressed publish on on my first blog post on here, I knew I wanted to write this post but never ever got to it and told myself I was still researching (which means eating and caffeinating my way through Boston). I am a coffee shop fiend and am always trying out new spaces! When I lived in Harvard Square during college and then the North End after college, I worked from coffee shops all the time. There’s something about being around a constant hum that I just love. I work much better around some sound! 
I am so excited to share this list of my favorite Boston area coffee shops and what I order to drink and to eat (you’ll see a constant love for avocado toast, I think I need to have a separate avocado toast post). Please leave any recommendations and feel free to refer to this list if you are from out of town or if you are a Bostonian looking for a new place to try! 
Boston: 
Caffe Nero: Almond milk chai. Best chai hands down. They sprinkle cinnamon on it and it is just perfection. Trust me. For food, their pistachio muffin is incredible and their ham and cheese on a baguette is so good, brings me right to Paris (I literally lived off of ham and cheese baguettes when I went there). 
Tatte: The most instagrammed coffee shop in Boston…and for a good reason. This place is beautiful and also amazing. I order an almond milk latte and top with cinnamon. For food, anything. I love the avocado tartine, the BLAT, and the french toast. Definitely go for brunch. Not a great place to get work done, but fun for a coffee date with a friend!
Gracenote Coffee: Cappuccino. This is the cutest little mini coffee shop in Boston. They usually have some delicious baked treats as well and gorgeous chocolate bars. 
Cafe by Salon: Latte with a special treat—everything is delicious! Shop while you sip as well. This is the most amazing design space, I dare you to not buy something. 
Render: Pot of tea. I loved sitting in here and working with some hot tea when I lived in Boston. They usually have some yummy cookies and treats as well. 
Ogawa: Matcha latte! They are KNOWN for their latte art so make sure to get whatever that day’s special is. Food: I love their different desserts and they are very elaborate! 
George Howell: Just all around GOOD coffee. I get a regular coffee here! They have a brick and mortar (attached to the Godfrey Hotel) as well as a small shop in the Boston Public Market.  
Thinking Cup: I get a tea or an almond milk latte here. What I really come for is the sea salt chocolate chip cookie! I went to the one in the North End every day when I lived there. There is also one on Newbury Street! 
Pavement Coffeehouse: Spanish latte! A friend recommended that I try this and I am officially hooked. They’re cold brew is also delicious. 
L.A. Burdick: Skip the coffee, grab a hot chocolate. This is REAL hot chocolate so think drinking melted chocolate…absolutely amazing. 
Cambridge: 
1369 Coffee House: London fog and the incredible honey sesame biscotti.
Broadsheet Coffee Roasters: This place is very aesthetically pleasing, and the coffee is delicious. I get a black coffee with a splash of almond milk. Their avocado toast is scrumptious. 
Flour: Forget the coffee…anything, literally anything from their baked goods. 
Darwins: I order a tea latte here, I switch it up. The sandwiches are all absolutely incredible. I grew up going here and then went to college in Harvard Square so got to continue going here. I CRAVE their sandwiches.  
NOCA Provisions: Cutest little spot! I love this hidden gem. I grab an almond milk latte. The food is DELICIOUS, literally anything is a good option. 
North of Boston (where I live!): 
Tartine: Beverly, MA Cappuccino! They serve their espresso drinks with a speculoos cookie…SO GOOD. This place is the reason we created the avocado toast tees for Katherine James Co.! We love their avocado toasts with egg and Jimmie gets the smoked salmon on his. They offer beer and wine so I always joke that this is the best first date spot since you can start with coffee and if it’s going well order some “real” drinks 😉 
Jaho: Salem, MA I always try a fun latte here. They always have different specials and flavors that are yummy. For food, usually get a breakfast sandwich or a cookie! 
Honeycomb: Hamilton, MA Latte with their homemade cashew milk! I get a salt bagel with egg and cheese on it if I make it in time for breakfast! Their chocolate chip cookies are absolutely drool-worthy. 
Blue Canoe: Marblehead, MA We order black iced coffees here! We love sitting here for breakfast and we get breakfast sandwiches. They are delicious! 
Crave: Beverly, MA Ok, so this place is amazing. I get the Crave Latte with almond milk, it’s ridiculous. Their breakfast sandwiches are out of this world. They make their own gluten free bread and even though I am not gluten free, I order it on that bread. SO good. 

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Photos taken by the amazing Katie Salerno Photography and edited by me. 

Xo,

KGB

Wedding Stationery

Let’s chat wedding stationery! This has been something I have looked forward to during the entire wedding planning process! Our wedding planner, Cristen, from Cristen & Co. helped us find Valerie from The Paper Perfectionist and the second I saw her work I knew we had to have her help us! Wedding stationery is so important to me for so many reasons, one of which is that it is the last time my full name will be written out on paper with my maiden name since I am taking Jimmie’s last name. I am a thank you note girl (and just a note gal in general) so it makes sense that I love all things paper and stationery! I recently had our design meeting for our invitations and I could not be more excited. Valerie is the most amazing designer and brings her invitations to life for her clients. The coolest thing about our design meeting is that we got to look through all of her past work (all of the photos in this post are pictures of her incredible past clients’ invitations)!

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A question I keep asking myself through every wedding related decision Jimmie and I make is: What are the overall words that we want our guests to use to describe our wedding? The words classic, traditional, romantic, and timeless are all the words that we have come up with that keep coming to mind. When it came to designing our wedding invitations and Save the Dates with Valerie, we wanted those words to continue to hold true!

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Some things she helped me think about:
Colors 

Do you have colors? Do you want these colors to carry through to your invitation? I think that if a wedding has dominant colors or a theme that it should somehow come through in the invitation. It gives guests a little sneak peek but remember that there is a way to do this in a non IN YOUR FACE way. Valerie had some really awesome ways to incorporate our neutral colors but also preppy feel into the invitations (you’ll have to wait and see what we chose to do). Some ideas of bringing your colors or themes into the invitation are through a wax seal, the colors of the font, envelope liners, and the color of the insert paper. Valerie’s office is filled with so much fun beautiful paper and things to look at I was booming with ideas, but the amazing thing about having someone help you design your stationery is that they keep you on track!

Fonts 

I once heard that you really should only use two (sometimes three) fonts in a design/brand/project and I really have found this to be true. You don’t want to overwhelm the page. Also, make sure you can read all the fonts! My parents have been kind enough to offer the perspective of someone without 20/20 vision (hehe love you guys). I am so glad that they pointed out that although some certain cursive fonts look gorgeous to me, they might not be the easiest to read and your invitation is first and foremost a piece of paper to deliver information to your guests and it is important that the font is easily read so that they know the time and place of your wedding!

Extras

Pocket folders, vellum, ribbons OH MY! There are so many different things you can do to embellish your special invitations. My advice–don’t over do it! We had a very simple Save the Date with a fun vellum envelope.

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Reminders
  • Don’t forget to order extra! If you work with someone like Valerie, they are professionals and know to do this! You will forget someone or you might misspell a name, you’ll want an extra just in case!
  • How are your guests responding? Online? Or on an RSVP card…if so don’t forget stamps for their envelopes.
  • Double check spelling of names! But also don’t obsess, some names will be spelled wrong and that is just life. I have received so many wedding invitations where I am Katie or Kat or KathArine (Katherine is how I spell my name). Who cares, they meant well!
  • Do you have a wedding website? Put that on there–perhaps on the Details sheet. Don’t forget to add the password if there is one!

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I can’t wait to share what we came up with after the wedding! Eek! We’re so close! Starting to feel so real!

Xo,

KGB

Hidden Home Buyer Costs

Hey there!
SO sorry for this long overdue post but I wanted to make sure I included all the costs in buying a house including the immediate month following the closing date! Let’s just mention what is paid for before you even move into the house: deposit, inspection, down payment, closing costs including rest of payment, realtor’s fees, homeowner’s insurance, etc.
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Jimmie and I actually did not use a realtor to sell our condo this summer, and also did not use one to buy our house. The house we bought was sold by the owner as well so we saved quite a lot of money in those fees; however, they are very typical and most people use them since they are very helpful (I just secretly want to be a realtor). We also bought a house that was turn key, meaning we could move in right away with little to no work. We thought we wanted a fixer upper since we both enjoy projects and creating a space into our own but the moment we stepped foot into our new house, we knew it was our home. This house was a flip: purchased by a general contractor, and finished exactly how we would have wanted to do it ourselves. Our house is from the 1600s, so we had a couple extra tests we did including lead testing and a radon test after moving in. I would suggest doing this in any house just to feel safe and it will run you about $200 in total since you can buy the at home tests at Home Depot, you can also include it in your contingencies.
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As far as furnishing our house, we started fresh with furniture. We sold our condo in August and sold most of our furniture as well since we moved in with his parents while we saved and started looking for a house. I think that most people know that they will need to furnish their new space and spend money on that but going from a two bedroom condo, to a one bedroom studio at Jimmie’s parents, to a 4 bedroom house has definitely been a shock! However, there are tons of ways to save money on furnishing your home! Facebook marketplace, craigslist, and Home Goods are all awesome options! Target has some fabulous trendy lines as well. My best advice is to not rush anything! It’s ok to have empty rooms!
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Alright onto our hidden costs…
We have been very lucky (knock on wood for me right now) with not too many surprises so far, but here are some $$$ we have run into pretty quickly within the first month:
Electric: We had an electrician come in and wired some new outlets for us as well as hook our tv up to the wall above the fire place. $400
Lawn Work: We had the leaves picked up since we didn’t want them to rot and ruin the grass and soil over the winter. $400. We also had 5 large trees that were rotted and needed to come down so that they weren’t a liability. They were leaning towards the road and one near the house. This cost us $2500.
Random small repairs: touch up paint, fixing nail holes in wall $200
Chimney inspection: Since our house is from the 1600s, we definitely needed to quadruple check the chimneys. This inspection ran us $150. We were told that they are unfortunately a “hot mess” so we will be using candles for now, if we wanted to get them fixed it would run us $15,000. Down the road we will get gas inserts put in which will run us about $4000.
New mail box: $100
Locks Changed and Keys: $150
Home Maintenance: Keeping up with your house is so important! Jimmie and I are both pretty OCD and very clean but having a black lab makes things get messy a lot faster. Invest in a good vacuum, a Swiffer, and cleaning supplies-$300.
Outdoor Maintenance: Ok folks, we do not have a garage on our house yet so good shovels, and snow removal supplies is a necessity. We also rented a stump grinder when we first moved in after the trees were removed which although saved us some money from a professional doing it it still cost $. We also will want to get some tools for gardening but we have not yet done that. $200.
Total: $4,500
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I am sure there are some things I am forgetting but I hope this is helpful! Oh and not to mention your monthly mortgage hahaha! Have a fabulous weekend!
xo,
KGB

Home Away From Home

Staycations/vacations are one of my absolute favorite things ever (who doesn’t love them) and sometimes you just want a homey feel and your own kitchen to cook meals in. You can now have both! In my opinion, this makes an experience in a city feel as if you were from there and you are able to have the most authentic visit. I have partnered with Booking.com to share with you how they have now made it easier than ever to rent a home in your city or in another. The coolest part is you can even list your own home if you want to share your house with others through Booking.com site! Want to try out a new city or thinking of moving to a new place? I highly recommend using Booking.com’s new way of listing your own home or renting from someone else to really feel like you are a local! I explored my own city and discovered you could rent bikes for $3 an hour! What a fun way to explore while staying comfortable. Don’t forget to also make use of my $30 off discount on Booking.com when booking your next trip by clicking herekate in salem-41.jpgkate in salem-55.jpgkate in salem-17.jpgkate in salem-23.jpg

Xo,

KGB

Thanks to Booking.com for sponsoring this post.

Photos: Catherine Threlkeld Photography

Sundress Season

Hey Everyone! Hope you all are having a fabulous Monday!

Today I am partnering with August Morgan by Kate Hersch to share their gorgeous summer line with you all! This dress is my absolute favorite dress from the line and I have already worn it 5 times in a week…oops! But how fun are these sleeves? This would be the cutest 4th of July or Memorial Day Weekend dress–just add some fun earrings and heels for date night! I love a shirt dress and picked this one to share since shirt dresses are so versatile. They can be dressed up or dressed down. Here, I went for a bit of a mix with my hair up instead of down and some fun earrings. I also chose to wear flats since I was having a date night on the boat with Jimmie and heels and docks…just don’t go, unless you are more coordinated than I am 🙂 This is the Rum Punch dress and I am wearing an XS for reference! She also carries the CUTEST bar cart essentials and comfiest pajamas!

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Xo,

KGB

 

 

Thank you to August Morgan for sponsoring this post.

 

3.11.18 We’re Engaged!

Hey y’all! Wanted to give you the quick version of how Jimmie proposed for everyone asking! So on Sunday we woke up and went to the dog park as usual to let Bodie run around. Jimmie is in paramedic school right now so he usually studies all day to prepare for the week. We grabbed coffees, came home and I did some emails and a little work while he studied (in reality he says he really got zero work done and was staring at his books blankly). We had dinner plans for our favorite restaurant and said he made the reservations for 5:00…my favorite time to eat dinner but not his so I was a little weirded out that we needed to leave by 4:15 to drop Bodie off at Jimmie’s parents (normal, we never leave him home alone), and head into Salem but not enough to make me suspicious. After dropping Bodie, we heading on in towards dinner. As we were getting close to the restaurant (it was about 4:35 at this point), he looked at the clock and said his dad asked us to look at the transmission on the little boat something is wrong. (This is where I sort of clued in being that the boat is out of the water and Jimmie wouldn’t be the one to check the transmission). I shoved those thoughts out of my head so that I wouldn’t get disappointed if it wasn’t happening. He pulled over quickly at the Sail Loft building in Salem, a place where we have spent many hours chatting about since it’s near the boat and we would love to potentially get married there. He said that it had been on the news for erosion and so I said oh cool are going to go look at the erosion?? We got out of the car and I kept trying to tie my trench coat and he kept grabbing my hand. I remember saying “Aw the place we will get married one day” and him saying “Yea we will really need to figure out how to get a permit” as he was trying to find a spot without any snow which I thought was so nice since I was wearing mules but I kept saying it’s ok don’t worry about me. He then said something that he always says: “Do you trust me” and that’s when I knew, I turned around and he was on one knee and we both just cried and I kept saying “what???? what?? what??” like a broken record. We keep laughing since he technically didn’t even ask me to marry him since we both were crying and he could barely get anything out but it was our moment together and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. After hugging one another and Jimmie giving on-lookers the thumbs up, we started walking towards the car and I asked if we still were going to dinner. He said yes and asked if we could wait to tell people and have just an hour to ourselves. I swallowed all my desires to call my mom and family and said ok. We drove the two minutes to the restaurant and Jimmie went the longest way possible and parked as far away as possible. When we walked into the restaurant he said “we’re sitting at the chef’s…” and before he could get the word “table” out they said “Oh yes yes right this way…” and we walked around the corner and our parents and his sister and brother in law were all there to greet us. I cried…again. We had the best three hour dinner and just enjoyed ourselves as a FAMILY (I was in a complete daze still thinking it was all fake and don’t think I had more than one bite of food). After dinner, we headed to Jimmie’s grandparents house and were welcomed with the warmest hugs and “we knew, we knew!”. We got back to our home and snuggled with Bodie around 11:00 and finished calling friends around 12:00. Jimmie fell fast asleep and I am still running on zero hours of sleep but that’s ok because this is the best feeling ever and I have the most amazing man to spend my future with. The diamonds in the ring are from my grandmother’s ring and I could not be more honored to carry a piece of her with me every day. Can’t wait to start wedding planning and sharing the journey with you all. Thank you for being so supportive and loving as always and here’s to even more Jimmie #OOTDs 🙂 So sorry for any typos I am still on Cloud 9 and don’t plan on coming down any time soon!!! EEK!
Xoxo, Future KGC

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Beauty Must Have Items

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Hey Y’all! This is a post I have been meaning to put up for a while now. I wanted to put it together to answer a lot of common questions about products I use. I will be updating this every little while with new items I love. Please feel free to email, comment, or DM me on Instagram (@prepofboston) if you have any questions about any of these products! I know many questions you all have are on hair so I will be posting a separate post on more details on what I use around that and only put up a couple around that topic here!

Lotion: Alba Botanica Hawaiian After-Sun Lotion I swear by this stuff. I use it all year round because 1. I LOVE the scent, it smells like summer to me: coffee, coconut, yumminess. It also is meant to be extremely hydrating since it is made for using after a day in the sun where you skin just gets drained of all of its moisture. I use this when my skin is still warm after I shower. It is so gentle that I have even used it on my face.

Moisturizer: Fresh Overnight mask I have loved the brand Fresh for a while now and have even worked with them which was a dream come true. Their overnight mask is a heavier moisturizer that I sleep with. I was scared at first since it is definitely a thicker mask but I have never broken out from it. My skin always feels amazing when I wake up. I also use their cleanser and it is super gentle.

Dry Shampoo: Living Proof , I LOVE this dry shampoo. It actually cleans your hair so it doesn’t feel like a normal dry shampoo. I have no joke tried every single dry shampoo option out there and this is one I swear by. I usually will take my blow dryer to my roots where I sprayed it for a few seconds after and massage with my hands just to work it into my hair better.

Mascara: Well People Expressionist Mascara in black and jane iredale PureLash. I use the conditioner first, always starting at the root of my lashes and working my way up to make my lashes appear fuller. You will immediately see how this formula is LIFE CHANGING and lengthens your natural lashes. I let this dry for a few seconds and then do the same motion with the mascara and apply two coats. I love this mascara since I never have fall out.

Bronzer: Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer or Nars in Laguna. Both of these bronzers have red undertones so you will never look orange or like an oompa loompa! A little goes a long way with both of these I always tap my brush a couple of time before applying. Nars has a slight shimmer and the Benefit one is completely matte.

Lip gloss: Nars Turkish Delight and Smith & Cult Life In Photographs  both of these are a beautiful light pink that are super subtle. They add a little brightness to your face which I love. Most days I only wear mascara, bronzer, and one of these.

Curling wand: T3 Micro Trio I tried this out c/o and I will never use another wand again. This baby holds a curl like no other and I love that it is one iron instead of 5 or 6 but can do so many different looks. I typically use the largest iron for touch ups and the smallest on first day clean hair since it is a tighter curl that then relaxes over the next few days.

Self tanner: St. Tropez Self Tan Express I recommend buying the mitt as well since it gives an even tan. I leave the tan on for the longest amount of time: 3 hours. I love how natural the tan comes out and yes, I do use it on my face. I apply it to my entire body and use what is left on the mitt to spread over my face. Tip: I put lotion on my hands, feet, and lightly on my elbows and knees to since those are the driest parts of our bodies so they tend to collect a lot of the product! ALSO, if you are a local Bostonian, I also go to blush tans in West Peabody (20 minutes north of Boston) and see Kate. She gives the most natural tans and they fade incredibly. If you don’t want your whole body sprayed, she can also just do your face or your upper body which is great for the winter.

Nail polish: Essie Ballet Slippers If you know me, you know my nails are always painted. I love how a simple nude or a plain white (although spray tans make white a little hard) can make you look clean and put together in one second. I am also weirdly good at painting my own nails but ever since gel nail polish came into the picture I go and get my nails done frequently; however, I got a couple infections from nail salons so I usually just get a gel polish change where they just paint my nails and I do my own cuticles at home!

Hair Scrunchies: Velvet hair scrunchies are my GO TO for holding my hair in pony tails or top knots. They don’t leave any creases in my hair which means I can go longer with out washing or styling my hair but if you know me you know I wear my hair down a lot but when I am working or running around the house, I always have my hair up and these save me time having to re do my hair.

Detergent (wow I must be an adult): Tyler Diva. I always tell people to buy this in the smaller size since it is less expensive and it is good to see if you like it first. It has a strong scent (in the best way possible) so I mix half with half of unscented laundry detergent. It is absolutely AMAZING and my perfume has been neglected lately since I don’t need it. I use it on Jimmie’s clothes, too, and he LOVES the compliments he gets at work and from complete strangers (not kidding) haha!

Photo by: Katie Salerno Photography

 

 

 

 

 

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