Brynn’s Best of Boston (On a Budget!)

I’m officially moved out of Boston, and ready to spend my last semester of law school in Washington D.C. These past two and a half years in Beantown have been quite the adventure for this west coast gal. When I think of my favorite memories of Boston, these top 5 haunts come to mind:

  1. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Whether it’s stopping by for a concert with A Far Cry—the museum’s resident chamber orchestra—or winding my way through Ms. Gardner’s quirky exhibits, this museum enraptures the senses. Also, admission is free with a BU ID card!
  2. The Mystery Lounge: Tucked away in Cambridge, this weekly comedy show features magic acts that will leave you in awe. I’m still dying to know how the magician pulled a $1 bill from out of a whole orange!
  3. Black Heritage Trail: This trail winds through charming cobblestone streets behind the Massachusetts State House and passes by the Abiel Smith School, now the home of the Museum of African American History. This museum is filled with artifacts that tell the story of Boston’s black history and the Civil Rights Movement. Next door is the African Meeting House, where notable figures such as Harriet Tubman and William Lloyd Garrison spread the gospel of abolition.
  4. Barrington Coffee Roasting Company: This quaint café was my study haven. Located on the fashionable Newbury Street, Barrington boasts the best lattes in Boston and fine views for people watching.
  5. Boston Common: I never tired of walking through the Common. Every season offers different sights and events. Winter brings less foot traffic and quiet strolls through snow-covered paths. When summer comes ‘round you can catch a ride on a swan boat or find a music festival to wander through.

Happy New Year! See you in D.C., friends!

Holiday Travels Podcast: RadioLab’s More Perfect

With winter break comes holiday travels, and with holiday travels comes a lot of time spent in cars and on planes. I’m not a huge podcast person, preferring books and music, but recent bouts of carsickness while reading in the car has forced me to explore the world of podcasts and audiobooks more seriously. One podcast that I absolutely love is Radio Lab’s More Perfect.

More Perfect explores various Supreme Court decisions, whether they are ones awaiting writs or have been landmark decisions in the past. What I love about More Perfect is that they go in-depth into the history of the parties, the story of the case, and the human element of the legal decisions. They tell each case as a story, from start to finish, and they interview relevant parties which add great first-hand nuances. They also tell the story in plain English, not “legalese,” which makes it easy listening for non-lawyers too (my boyfriend, an engineer, loves the podcast too).

I have a few favorite episodes of More Perfect. One, titled “Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer” (each capital letter stands for something related to SCOTUS, can you guess what it is?), tells the background of SCOTUS power grabs and growing authority. It starts with the landmark Marbury v. Madison, and carries through Brown v. Board of Education. Another, “The Heist,” tells a little-known story about Justice Frankfurter, his fan club (affectionately called the Hot Dogs), and a cache of stolen documents that potentially had a significant impact on the make-up of Supreme Court justices. And “Object Anyway” explores the unique process of picking (and removing) jurors from jury pools, with the main case being Batson v. Kentucky. I also love one of RadioLab’s other SCOTUS-based podcast episodes called “Sex, Ducks, and the Founding Feud,” which details how one terrible lawyering episode led SCOTUS to clarify the interplay of and modern rule between treaties, congressional statutes, and state law.

If you’ve got a lot of traveling to do this holiday season I highly suggest checking out More Perfect. They just released a second season so you have plenty of air time to get you through long car rides. Let me know what your favorite episode is!

From the Taipei Airport…

Hello from Taipei! I am sitting in the Taiwan Taoyuan airport, sipping on Boba Milk Tea. I can hear a variety of languages around me, including Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English. I arrived here only a few days ago, after 24 hours of travel. In another hour, I’ll hop back on a plane for another long journey. Although my trip was short, it was well worth it. Yesterday, one of my dearest friends married the love of her life, and I had the honor to be a bridesmaid in their wedding.

I left the U.S. on the morning of the 27th, and arrived in Taipei late on the 28th. The first day I felt like a sponge, taking in as much as I possibly could.

Taipei is incredibly beautiful. Skyscrapers and tiny, colorful shop fronts fill the streets, against a backdrop of luscious green hills. The bride and bridesmaids spent the day preparing for the wedding, getting facials, and eating delicious Taiwanese food. I thoroughly enjoyed trying a variety of Taiwanese teas, including a savory red bean tea. I was adjusting to the time difference (Taipei is 13 hours ahead of Boston), finding my way around on the MRT (the Taipei metro), and learning a few basic words in Taiwanese and Mandarin.

 

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The second day was the wedding. I am so happy I got to stand beside my friend and her (now) husband as they vowed to spend the rest of their lives loving one another. I have a great deal of respect for this couple. They spent the first couple years of their relationship doing not only long-distance, but international long-distance! She lived in the U.S., while he lived in Taiwan. I am in a (domestic) long distance relationship, and I have always found their relationship an inspiration.

It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of law school, and forget the bigger picture. First, the wedding was a reminder of the importance of friendship, love, and family. Second, being in Taipei was a reminder that even though we spend our days immersed in the law of the United States (except for our international law classes), there are so many other countries, cultures, and bodies of law. Our law school does an incredible job of encouraging diversity, cross-cultural dialogue, and an international perspective. But nothing can replace actually stepping into another  culture, even if it’s just for a few days.

 

Will post again soon! Just as a sneak peak, here’s the title: “Yes, You Can Have a Personal Life.”

Favorite Places in Back Bay

A lot of my recent blog posts have been about reflections on 2L thus far, so I thought I would add a little variation to the mix and talk about some of my favorite restaurants and places to explore in my neighborhood: the Back Bay.

  1. Copley Square Farmer’s Market: Unfortunately, this farmer’s market only operates from May 12th through November 21st, so I have to wait for the spring to go back, but this was a staple for me, especially as a 1L. I’m big into health and wellness, and since eating fresh and seasonal foods is important to me, frequenting this market on Fridays (it’s also open on Tuesdays, but Fridays always worked better with my class schedule) was a no-brainer. Side note: Dig Inn is right across the street – it’s one of my favorite places to grab a quick healthy bite. You can also order online for pick up and everything is fresh, seasonal, and reasonably priced.
  2. Joe’s American Bar & Grill: I went here for the first time when my best friend visited on Halloweekend and it was phenomenal. It’s indoor/outdoor and the music was great – ambiance is huge for me with a dining experience, and this restaurant totally got me. American food is honestly my favorite food despite my Italian roots, and the burgers and fries were amazing. It’s a bit on the pricier side, so this is good for a treat or when parents or friends are in town visiting.
  3. Abe & Louie’s: I went here for the first time with my parents when we found my apartment and it’s similar to Joe’s in terms of the type of food. The ambiance is also A+, and the décor reminds me of being on an old ship. There’s lots of mahogany and beautiful woodwork, and everything I’ve ever eaten here has been phenomenal. The same goes for this restaurant with pricing, and it’s definitely a great spot to go when family is in town.
  4. Lolita’s Cocina & Tequila Bar: My first time going here was actually for a bar review this year, and I absolutely loved it. The décor is moody and the drinks are great (I personally recommend the Fresca Mojito). They also have food, but I have yet to eat there. That’s definitely on my to do list for the spring semester – everything I saw people ordering looked incredible.
  5. Anthropologie on Newbury: I worked at the Anthropologie in my hometown one summer during undergrad so it’s safe to say that this store will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the music that they play (and I don’t think I’ve ever been in that store without using Shazam). During wintertime, they have adorable holiday gifts, ornaments, cards, and journals. Even if I don’t buy anything, I find it so cathartic to just wander around, try on a few outfits, and take in the general whimsical energy of it all.

Thanks for reading!

 

Halfway Done with Law School

As of Friday, I am at the halfway benchmark of completing Law School! It’s so hard to believe that I’m halfway there. I had two traditional finals during the first week of finals week, and then I came home to New York and wrote my big final paper for Entertainment Law. It felt so good to submit (especially after finalizing so many footnotes!) and to relax and hang out with some of my oldest friends as a little celebration afterward.

I’m home on break now (and thankful that break is a little big longer this year, as we don’t have the Lawyering Lab this year). I’m taking advantage of this longer break by going to Paris with my college roommate for New Years. I’ve never been before, and couldn’t be more excited! I will likely do a post on the trip once I return, but for now I thought I’d reflect on the most valuable lessons I’ve learned at the halfway mark of this educational journey:

  1. Make time for balance. Understandably, I had the most difficulty with this as a 1L due to the sheer volume of work that had to be done each week. I am the queen of telling everybody how important self-care is. The constant stimulation that most of us experience in daily life needs counter-balance. For me, it means taking time for exercising, hanging out with friends, going to the movies, reading non-law school books, cooking, taking Epsom salt baths and doing face masks, organizing my apartment (I find it super therapeutic), or just giving myself a simple manicure. There are so many ways to approach this – it could even mean carving out 15 or 30 minutes in the evenings to listen to a podcast, scroll through your favorite blog, or meditate. A mantra that I’m taking into 2018 with me: “Extremes are easy. Strive for balance.” – Colin Wright
  2. Schedule your weeks in advance. Every Thursday after classes end for the week, I take time to map out how my next week will generally look. This helps me to block out adequate time for doing homework and assignments (I had the issue 1L of not setting time parameters around my work and spending way too many hours doing readings in the first month or two). It also helps to block out time for running errands, socializing, cooking, the list goes on. I love doing this because it helps me to prioritize my workload and also allocate time for non-academic pursuits.
  3. Don’t be attached to outcomes. As a self-professed Type-A (and at times, straight up control freak), this is very difficult for me, but it’s probably the biggest life lesson that law school has taught me so far. There’s a lot of unspoken (and spoken) pressure to perform exceedingly well in class. Most of us were used to this before entering law school, but there’s something to be said for working hard, giving your best effort, and then accepting the result – no matter what it may be. I think it’s very easy in life to fall into the trap of having external factors affect our self-worth. It’s a dangerous game because we cannot be in control of how things turn out 100% of the time no matter how hard we try. There is something beautiful about surrendering to that uncertainty – it’s definitely a practice and it take conscious effort, but it is transformative to live in that space.

Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!