Blog post back up – Part 2: Cruisin’ and brunchin’ with Odyssey Cruises

A few weeks ago, I had the awesome opportunity via Blog and Tweet Boston to hop on board the Odyssey Boston yacht and cruise around Boston Harbor all while boozin’ and brunchin’ with blogger friends (I was so tempted to say “buds” just for the alliteration…say that 5 times fast =)).

My friend Katharine and I arrived at Rowes Wharf just before noon on what was a seriously gorgeous day in Boston. We hung out, caught up (she just moved back up to Boston from Florida) and waited to board the boat.

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We joined my fellow blogger friends – Stacey, Rachel and Jen (plus, guests) – and a bunch of other bloggers and …well, tweeters… and quickly made our way to the bar. I mean c’mon what’s brunch without a little bit of booze. Champagne, anyone? We worked our way through a wedding party and made our way up to the top deck of the boat to enjoy a little sunshine and –of course – take pictures. After that we managed (not gonna lie, we struggled a bit to find where our group was) to find our way to our little section and settled in for the buffet.

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This was not a diet brunch (what fun would that be, really?). I fully embraced it and piled my plate with French toast, bacon, eggs, home fries, and my FAVORITE smoked salmon – though I was bummed that their bagels weren’t anything to write home about. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had French toast so I was a super happy (and full) camper.  They did have a bunch of lunch options (pasta, chicken, etc) but I skipped out of those in favor of a few more servings of smoked salmon. My obsession knows no bounds.

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I digress. The food was good, and it was nice to sit by the windows and watch the city roll by from the water. Boston’s just beautiful. No denying it.

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After we’d stuffed ourselves, we made our way up to the top deck where we finished out cruise out with some fun Boston facts that I never knew about (did you know they turn Castle Island into haunted houses at Halloween – one for adults, one for kids, and that Nix’s Mate isn’t just a bar in the Hilton in the Financial District but an island that “legend-has-it” they used to hang pirates off of as a “warning” to other sailors?).

Stacey, me, Rachel

Stacey, me, Rachel

Overall, I had a great afternoon cruising around Boston on an absolutely gorgeous day with awesome people. The Odyssey would be a great option for special occasions. Like I mentioned, there was even a wedding party on board when we were there, so plenty of space!!

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Just a lil’ bit of wind

Thanks to Blog & Tweet Boston and Odyssey Cruises for the complimentary ticket/meal/alcohol. While I was provided the ticket for free, in exchange for a blog post, my opinions are my own. 

Seasons 52 has made its way to Mass!

Hello, hello! I’m back. After the craziness of moving out of my old apartment and then into my new one…I’m happy to be back, successfully connected to the internet, falling into a new commuting routine aaand back in my tiny kitchen (those who’ve been with me for a while, you may notice that it is the SAME lil’ kitchen I was cooking out of two years ago…yes, back in the same place, what’re the chances?!)So now I’m settling into my new/old apartment (I was lucky enough to re-connect with my awesome former landlord who was nice enough to fly up here to show me units before they were officially on the market! – I mean c’mon, once you find an awesome landlord in a city of less than stellar ones you hold on tight and don’t let go!) In the craziness of the move, I was actually lucky enough to be able to take an evening and enjoy a dinner at the brand new Seasons 52 in Burlington, MA. Seasons 52 is a franchise – but this location in Burlington is the first in MA (they’re also moving into Chestnut Hill soon!!) and I’m so thrilled to see a trend towards delicious and health conscious dining options coming to the Bay State!

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So to back up a bit, I received an invite to attend a media dinner held at the not-yet-opened restaurant on August 27. I was really excited, but didn’t quite know what to expect.

I arrived at Seasons 52 in Wayside Commons in Burlington (right above the Ethan Allen and L.L. Bean) and was surprised at how big the place was! We walked inside (I extended an invite to my bloggie friend Stacey as well and we carpooled) and it was a large, but really warm space. They weren’t open yet, but the place was buzzing with happy customers as the restaurant conducted its last night of “soft opening” before the big day.

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We were escorted through the dining room to a large, private room in the back where I was (pleasantly) surprised to see only 6 chairs set up – an awesome and intimate setting – and greeted with glasses of champagne (yum!)! We received a tour of the place – which includes awesome amenities (live piano 7-nights a week, and rooms that are perfect for your bridal shower or a business meeting!).

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Once all of us were settled in, our wine-tour and meal got rolling. We were lucky enough to have the chef speak to each of the plates, and world-class Master Sommelier, George Miliotes, guide us through each glass of wine that accompanied our meals.

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The food was phenomenal. It was my first time trying quail – and let’s be honest, filet is always a winner in my book. Cool fact – all of their entrees are 475 calories or UNDER. Craziness right? Especially since we live in a world where you can almost expect to have an salad that runs you 1200 or
more! It’s not 475 calories and the size of a thimble either – these are full-plates of awesome, comfort food. You really can’t go wrong.  Just take a look at that menu.

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Okay, let’s be honest – you’re all here for the photos. Just take a look at this awesomeness. And if you’re in the area – I highly suggest you check them out. Great people, great food, great wine. Can’t go wrong.  Thank you to Chris Potter from Ogilvy for reaching out, and Seasons 52  for your hospitality and the amazing meal. I will be back – and bringing friends.

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Go {Cocoa} nuts!

One of my big “resolutions” for this year is to put myself out there more – meet new people, and blogging has been such an amazing way to do that.

I went to the Healthy Living Summit this summer, met Erin, Erin started the Healthy Living Boston Blogger group – which I then joined, the group introduced me to some great people and events like Wellness by the Water –where I met Jen and found out about her Blog and Tweet Boston group.

Is your head spinning yet? haha

You know, the post-college realization of “Oh my God, I’m in the real world and I’m a peon in a ‘big’ city and my friends are all over the place…and busy… and not necessarily next door…or even in the same state..” can be daunting. Meeting new people is hard. Fact. Being a part of these groups have given me some great opportunities to try new things and meet people…who love food [and like to take pictures of it], love health/wellness [and like to talk about it], love writing, and are introducing me to new things.

Last night, I had the opportunity through Jen’s Blog and Tweet Boston group to attend a private tasting event for bloggers at Cocoanuts Boston. CocoaNuts is a cute, boutique-style chocolate and confection shop nestled in Boston’s North End.

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It was great to see Jen – whom I’d met at Wellness by the Water – and Erin was there as well. Tara and ( a different) Jen, who own Cocoanuts, hosted us and were so kind. They poured us champagne, and it was great to hear their story (they’re besties!) and how the shop came to be.

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Erin and I tasted our way through the shop. I tried some sea salt caramel (multiple times) by Suss. I’m obsessed with salted caramel and this didn’t disappoint. So good! We were also able to try some of the creative shortbreads from Lark. I loved their rosemary sea salt shortbread.

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We had a great time chatting with Rebecca Novak from Yes Chocolates. She makes her chocolates out of her own kitchen – and they’re incredible. They were stunning and delicious. She sampled her chocolate covered brownies, and chocolates: Sticky Bun – cinnamon ganache, caramel & candied pecans…yummm, The Perfect Pour – Guinness stout ganache in dark chocolate, Cloud Nine – marshmallow and dark chocolate, and Berry Smoothie – strawberry puree and raspberry liquor. I tried…everything…duh. No shame.

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Heather and Melissa Forrester, owners, sisters-in-law, and candy makers of Little Bits Toffee, were there as well – and just the sweetest things. I have a huge weakness for toffee – I’ve eaten a lot of it! – and theirs is fantastic. I tried a sample of their new coffee flavor and I *had* to try their coconut. Two of my favorite things, and it was amazing. Also, I just discovered that they have a cookies & cream toffee on their site….need.now!

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On top of some great chocolate – I met and was able to chat with some fantastic ladies. I met Becky from Pop & Circumstance. My first reaction was “LOVE your blog name!” I’ve always had a not-so-secret love for interior design (I was that girl who moved her bedroom around in the middle of the night as a child… what no one else did that??…okay, I *still* do this) so it’s no surprise that her blog is already lined up in my reader.

I also met Sara, who knew Erin from some other events, and we got chatting about (my newest obsession) yoga, and the great teachers and classes in the city.

So I walked out of there toasty from a little bit of bubbly, with some new acquaintances, and on a sugar high (and I also bought some candy for some lucky people this Valentine’s Day!…it’s only a couple of weeks away, people!).

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Not too shabby for a drizzly Tuesday, eh?

Great gift ideas (and deals!!) from Whole Foods

Happy weekend, bloggies!

Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit the Whole Foods Market in Wayland, MA (which is absolutely adorable, for the record) for a “sneak peek” – I use that phrase loosely, considering this had already started – at their 12 Days of Great Whole Body Deals – that are happening NOW!!

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Whole Foods has some great sales happening in their Whole Body department from now through December 24. Whether you need some last-minute gifts, some party supplies or just want to treat yourself – there’s a ton of great stuff, at even better prices! Plus, it’s the weekend…and like you really need an “excuse” to visit Whole Foods.

We’ll start with this weekend!

Now through Sunday, December 16 – You can get 25% off all makeup and all hair color. I was lucky enough to receive a sample of MineralFusion blush in “Airy” – I tried it this morning, and love it. Plus, it’s hypo-allergenic and paraben free…which is awesome for someone like me with ridiculously sensitive skin.

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Monday, December 17 – You’ll get 25% all Navitas Superfoods! Pumped about this one – you’ll find me in a Whole Foods somewhere in the Greater Boston area for sure on Monday. I received a bag of Navitas Cacao Nibs from WF – I have yet to crack into it, but I’m excited. I’m obsessed with a trail mix that has them in it…so I think I’ll be making my version soon!

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Tuesday, December 18 through Wednesday, December 19 – You’ll get 25% off all 365 Everyday Value & Whole Foods Market Winter Wellness Supplements. This includes items like Flu and Cough Ease …and considering the amount of coughing I’ve heard in my office recently…I would say it’s not a bad idea to stock up.

Thursday, December 20 through Friday, December 21 – You’ll get 25% off all candles, holiday plates and napkins. Say you’ve got a holiday party to attend that weekend – perfect timing…pick up plates, napkins and a host/hostess gift! I received a Big Dipper Wax Works beeswax candle from WF – still trying to decide if this is something I’ll selfishly keep or give as a gift….

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Saturday, December 22 – You’ll get 25% off all toys! I don’t have too many lil’ ones around, so I didn’t even know that WF *had* toys! In Wayland, I saw some super cute stuffed animals!! Any little kid (or some full-grown kids…) would love them.

Sunday, December 23 – You’ll get 25% off all boxed holiday cards and gift wrap. Perfect timing for anyone like me who…no matter how early I start shopping…always has last-minute shopping and then wrapping to do! Or time to stock up for next year!

Finally, the last day of deals, Monday, December 24 – You’ll get 25% off all Whole Body Gift Baskets. Perfect for some super last-minute gift ideas for Christmas….or just as a big gift to yourself for surviving the holiday season!

To learn more about the deals, and see WF employees showing off their favorite products –check out Whole Foods Wayland’s Facebook page. … and then check out the deals at your local WF (see disclaimer below to see if your store qualifies!)! Who doesn’t love a good sale?!

Thanks again to Whole Foods Wayland. Everyone at the store was so nice! And thanks to Katie for the invite and taking me around the store.

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Now, just a disclaimer – these deals are only available on the specific days stated, no rain checks! Sale prices are only valid at participating Whole Foods Market stores in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Greater Hartford, Connecticut. Obviously, certain items may not be available in all stores.

Also, I received the Big Dipper candle, Navitas Cacao Nibs, and the MineralFusion blush free-of-charge – but was not asked to do any sort of review of them by Whole Foods or any of the individual companies. Any opinions stated on my blog about these items are solely my own and do not reflect the opinions or values of Whole Foods Market or the respective companies in any way.