Mini Adventure: Café-Hopping in Boston

Mini Adventure: Café-Hopping in Boston

14:30 After our magical Midsummer ritualPaige and I meander to the T and talk Hogwarts and witchcraft and Bostonian-ness. Wonderfulness. We get on at the Boston College stop, the end of the B line; I’ve never been here before, but it reminds me of living in Wimbledon, the end of London’s District Line. 

14:40 I meet Valerie by the Whole Foods at Washington Street and she walks me to Washington Square. My best Bostonian blogger friend is a well-dressed lady with some smart writing, and a shared love of literature. We browse the pastries at a little European café and select dark chocolate squares and teas, which arrive in teapots. Nothing like the ritual of brewing, steeping, pouring, and drinking tea.

15:00 We talk of dreams and travels and visas and internationalism, and she surprises me with some beautiful book plates for the book club we will one day run. One day. 

15:45 On the C line this time, I catch the T and head towards St Mary’s St, where, thanks to Google, I found the Tatte Café, another adorable little European-esque hidden gem where I meet June. Later that night I realize that all three ladies – Paige, Valerie, and June – have studied in Oxford, and we all share a gushing love for that magical place. 

Mini Adventure: Café-Hopping in Boston

15:55 Over brioche, tart and more tea, we catch up on the past two years, with occasional interruption from daring lingering birdies. Adorable.

Mini Adventure: Café-Hopping in Boston

16:15 We walk through BU – it’s such a nice day – and get on the T at Kenmore. June has never been to the Common, so we must visit the literal heart of Boston (all distances to/from Boston are measured from the State House. I used to be a tour guide at said state house). We sample teas at David’s, window shop for cupcakes at Sweet, and meander through the green. She points out that the Park Street station makes sense because it’s at the park. Eleven years a Bostonian and I never made that connection. 

miss xandra bee

Sunday Sampling: Free Books and Dressing for Your Sign


♡ How to dress by your rising sign. Good news: they’re all fabulous. But let’s be honest, I am the one in the crazy coat. Cough Leo.

♡ Sarah is on a roll over at The Laughing Medusa. Got big dreams? Here’s an excellent [Tim Gunn-inspired] pep talk.

♡ Time to go to Johannesburg to visit this guy: Homeless Man Gives Free Books to Kids - and has literary chats and impromptu book club sessions with passersby! 

♡ Elle Fanning looking gorgeously dressed for the occasion [as always].

♡ This one’s for the Gryffindors: Taking Risks Without Being Reckless

♡ Ladies with long hair: please do these hairstyles so I can live vicariously through you.

♡  a reminder to PLAY. How cute is this?

miss xandra bee

Simple Fix for Tight Muscles

Simple Fix for Tight Muscles

My masseuse could tell right away that I’m right-handed because of how tense my right arm and neck were.

[I say 'my masseuse' because it sounds fancy. But really I was just cashing in on a free one-time massage coupon I won in a charity raffle.]

I’ve noticed my fingers and wrist aching after a lot of writing, but I had no idea my right-dominance inflicted soreness all the way up to my neck! 

She suggested doing as much with my left hand as possible, and let me tell you – it’s a hard habit to build. I am so clumsy when I try to eat, stir, or even click with my left hand, and yet, at the same time, it’s made me notice just how much I rely on my right hand for everything. 

Simple Fix: practice using your non-dominant hand as much as you can. Be strong.

miss xandra bee

P.S. Yes, Simple Fix is back! This week it’s on the blog, but I’m also sending exclusive Fixes on my newsletter – are you signed up?

My Go-To Ethical Brands for Clothing Basics

My Go-To Ethical Brand for Clothing Basics

If t’were more convenient, all of my clothes would be ethical, Fair Trade, environmentally friendly, etc. Sometimes, though, it’s just not practical. Most ethical brands are online only, or are not sold in my area, and it gets expensive to pay for shipping on top of the usual extra cost to buy consciously anyway. 

Here are some quick, widely sold, brands that sell loverly ethical staples!

American Apparel – tights

American Apparel’s factories are located in LA, and their company is 100% sweatshop free. Right now all of my tights are from American Apparel, because they come in great colours, are non-pinchy and durable, and are easy to buy in person.

Hanky Panky – underwear

Proudly made in the USA since 1977, this is the most comfortable underwear ever, and it comes in a variety of styles and colours.

Braintree – socks

These bamboo socks - as they call them, ‘super socks’ - are luxury for my feet, and the most durable kind I’ve worn. I used to regularly replace cotton socks every few months, but these have lasted me way longer without wearing thin! Braintree focuses on ethical fabrics, like bamboo and hemp. Originally from Sydney, Australia, they now operate in London. I pick up pairs at Indigo when I’m in Oxford!

What are your go-to ethical brands and shopping tips?

miss xandra bee

P.S. more on ethical fashion, simplified here.

Mini Adventure: Midsummer Magic

Mini Adventure: Midsummer Magic 

I’ve decided that every year I will recognize my second-favourite holiday [to Halloween], Midsummer. Last year I went on a literary retreat in the countryside [Wyndstock], this year I finally met my fellow Bostonian/Oxfordian out west, Paige, a professional witch, who was hosting a series of Midsummer rituals in her ol’ hometown.

12pm I find the labyrinth – which is actually a labyrinth – and read the wonderful War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The nice thing about allowing way too much time to get somewhere is that I enjoy the luxury of spending it when I’m early.

1pm Paige comes bolting towards me: “XANDRAA!” Her enthusiasm is infectious and brilliantly unashamedly nerdy. Ghost arrives not long afterwards, and her entire aesthetic is mesmerizingly ethereal.

Mini Adventure: Midsummer Magic

1:15pm Paige bops us on our heads with a magic wand, and into the labyrinth we go. It’s a maze-like path, but not a maze: there’s only one way in and one way out, and no wrong turns. It’s meditative. Once we reach the center, we write our Midsummer wishes on bay leaves, rub them in attraction oil, and ignite them in Paige’s cauldron [YES CAULDRON.]. Then she does a reading for each of us. I feel my physical stress disappear, as the cards turned over are exactly what i need to hear.

Mini Adventure: Midsummer Magic
1:45pm [or who knows, since I wasn't watching the time] The scent is magical, and we have worked towards our wishes with mindfulness. We exit the way we came in, silent except for Paige’s occasional magical hum, and the Midsummer breeze on our backs.

2pm I’ve been playing the waiting game with the border agency. [I still am]. I keep saying there’s nothing I can do, but I can be positive. There is nothing I can do to get that parcel to arrive, but there are things I can do to better handle myself. I needed magic to remind me of that. We snack on vegan picnic food and discuss places and personalities, discovering magic, and strange food allergies. Ghost sums up believing in magic perfectly: it’s not believing in a higher external being, but in channeling different energies within yourself. Bring out your own sun god. 

miss xandra bee

P.S. Last year’s magical Midsummer celebration

Being a Heroine

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