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. 

Blog post backup! Thai yoga with Bodywaves Boston

Ohhh my gosh. How did it get to be October? The past month has been absolutely crazy – so crazy that I haven’t had a chance to tell you about a couple of awesome activities that I got a chance to try out courtesy of the Blog and Tweet Boston group!

One of those awesome activities was a Thai yoga class in the North End Greenway with Bodywaves Boston. If Bodywaves sounds familiar, they’ve been a part of a couple of events that I’ve gone to in the last year or so – including both of the Wellness by the Water events that I attended. I already knew they were amazing – so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to learn Thai yoga.

We had an absolutely gorgeous morning on the Greenway and I was paired up with Adam (@conciergeboston) and the ladies from Bodywaves walked the group the partner Thai massage/yoga.

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Adam and I quickly introduced ourselves, and then we all learned all about pushing and pulling each others limbs in a bunch of different directions.

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Oh, hey! Seriously though – my hamstrings hated this stretch (they’re the farthest things from flexible). Mwahaha.

In all seriousness, the Thai yoga instruction was awesome. Via Bodywaves – Thai massage is a” wide variety of stretching movements combined with gentle rocking and rhythmic compressions are applied. In essence it is a combination of yoga and acupressure.” It increases flexibility, promotes relaxation and is great for injury prevention.

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I walked away feeling stretched out and relaxed.

If you’re in the market for a massage and in the Boston/North End/Faneuil/Government Center area, I’d hiiiiighly recommend checking out Bodywaves. I’m already planning my next appointment with them.

Massage. needed.

 

 

 

Thanks to Bodywaves and Blog and Tweet Boston for the opportunity. I received this class free-of-charge in exchange for blogging about the experience. 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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No stress swimwear: Cerulean Blu

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend another event through Boston Blog and Tweet at swimwear boutique, Cerulean Blu – just off of Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay.

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 Side-bar: “Cerulean” alllways makes me think of The Devil Wears Prada

 It was a great night of some wine, food from B.Good, positivity, and how to make swimwear shopping a little less intimidating. A group of us met in the cute boutique, located on Hereford – just steps Newbury. The store is a bright, cheerful space with a lot of choices, but it’s not overwhelming. Within seconds, I spotted a dress/cover up that I wanted (and still have to go back for!!).

We mixed and mingled, checking out the gorgeous suits made for all shapes and sizes. Rachel from Healthy Chicks gave a great talk about body image, positivity, and embracing the now – not waiting for the “when I [lose the weight, get the job, etc, etc]…THEN I can [whatever the end goal]. She had us do a great exercise where we each had a notecard with our name on it, and passed it around, and everyone –we’d all just met – wrote anonymous, nice things they noticed about the person on the card. It was a really cool exercise to see how people look at you – which is often so different from how we nit-pick ourselves!!

After that we chatted with Desiree, owner of the boutique (with locations here in Boston and in St. Petersburg, FL), and how she opened the store because she “was tired of the way that typical swimwear shopping had the power to make women feel less confident, exposed and uncomfortable.”

 I mean, c’mon – I don’t care how great of shape you’re in…standing in a dressing room, trying on suits under fluorescent lights….rarely a confidence booster. Their store really has silhouettes for all body types – Desiree heads down to Mercedes Benz Fashion week every year and handpicks designs for her store. This is a place that pairs awesome customer service with a really comfortable, no-pressure atmosphere. Win/Win!!

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 Blush Airbrush Tanning was also there, and gave a great demo of their portable tanning services. I’ve always been curious about air brush ((and slightly, scared…think orange Lindsay Lohan circa 2004)), but having a history of melanoma in my family, the idea of being bronzed but not damaging your self or health is super appealing. I was super impressed by their ability to customize for skin tones, and how natural the airbrush tan looked. Definitely something to consider! And the ladies were super nice.

 If you’re in Back Bay and in need of a swimwear, cover ups, cute flowy dresses, hats, bags, sandals – pop into Cerulean Blu. I know I’ll be back, and thanks to Boston Blog and Tweet and Cerulean Blu for having us!

Who You Callin’ Cupcake?

Undeniably, there has been a large amount of baked goods on this blog in the last month. I promise – the main staples of my diet are not butter, sugar and flour! Though maybe I wish they could be.

As I’ve mentioned before – May = birthdays. Yesterday was my mother’s, and I knew that making a cake or an entire batch of cupcakes for three people (Mom, bro, me) wasn’t really a good idea. Sure, lots of extra…but that means that I’d just keep eating it.

Self-control is not exactly my middle name.

The remedy – get to a bakery stat!!

I had been in Salem, NH earlier in the week, and had noticed a new (to me) lil’ cupcake shop called Who You Callin’ Cupcake? and decided to do a little research – after some Yelp help I decided that it was worth the drive, and got my butt over there before the schools all let out for the day and traffic was ridiculous.

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Very easy to get to – the parking lot was a little packed with people getting pizza and subs at a place next door, but they had a couple of reserved spots just for the bakery. Nice touch. I was surprised that the windows looked really dark when I pulled up; I actually wasn’t sure if it was open – but there was that open sign beckoning me to the front door.

I was inititally surprised by it’s darkness – but I took to the more “industrial theme” pretty quickly. It went with the snappy attitude of the name, and quite frankly it was kinda of refreshing to not walk into a pearly, pink bakery full of miniature cakes. Kinda badass.

The case was full of fun looking flavors (the pistachio immediately caught my eye), and the prices were absolutely incredible compared to Boston pricing. $2 – $2.50 per (normal, baked them in your own oven-sized) cupcake (apparently $3 for some that contain liquor). That’s a $1 to $1.50 less than cupcakes (of smaller stature) in Boston! WIN! The girl behind the counter was so nice. I could see some more…traditional individuals… being put off or maybe intimidated by the “Rock N Roll” nature of the place and staff, but judgement gets you nowhere…and in this case you’d be missing out on awesome cupcakes.

After scoping out the case and counters, I settled on 4 cupcakes: Pistachio (one of my mom’s favorite flavors), Red Velvet (I felt obligated 😉 ), White Chocolate Raspberry, and Cookies and Creme.

Packaging and logo – adorable, right? Love the corset on the cupcake – I’ll need one of ’em soon if I keep eating like this… haha

Alright, let’s get down to business – first off, ALL of the cupcakes were incredibly moist and light. Major points in my book.

The Pistachio.

By the time we dug into this, the nuts on top had gotten a little soft, but that didn’t take away anything from the cupcake. It was light, airy and moist, and the frosting was like air. It was ever-so lightly flavored of sweet pistachio – enough for you to enjoy it and know it’s there, but not overwhelming, and the green color made it a fun one! The scent of the cake was incredible. I’d never seen a pistachio cupcake before, and I would get this again in a heartbeat.

The White Chocolate Raspberry.

This was a vanilla cake, filled with a bit of raspberry jam and topped with, I believe, a white chocolate type frosting and raspberry sauce. Again, a moist and light cake, and the jam in the middle was fantastic – naturally sweet and sour. It was like they just put a raspberry in there. So great. The frosting was great on this one, too – but the jam in the middle stole the show, for me.

The Red Velvet.

Props to them for this one. A great cake, but for me, red velvet is all about the icing – and they hit it out of the park. The icing is a really great, smooth and light cream cheese. I can’t say much more other than they do it better than most other red velvet cupcakes I’ve tried.

The Cookies and Creme.

This was great. I had never seen the whole – cookies in the batter – thing done before. Awesome.

It was still super light – even with the cookies all mixed in – and the frosting was so good.

We shared them all – and they were all fantastic. I think the pistachio was my fave – simply because the flavor was new to me!

All in all – if you’re ever in the Southern NH/Rockingham County area – check this place out. Awesome cupcakes and a badass (but nice!!) vibe.