Sunday, July 20, 2014

Revere Beach 2014 National Sand Castle Festival

This weekend was the annual Revere Beach National Sand Castle Festival.  I've been a few times before (see 2012 here and 2011 here) yet each time I see these elaborate sand castles I am in awe.  They are incredible.  The detail is amazing.

Revere Beach is a city beach but they have cleaned up the area a lot over the past few years and it is quite nice.  Revere Beach is a National Historic Landmark for being America's first public beach.

The sand castle competition brings sculptors from all over the world which is pretty impressive.  The winner gets $5,000 which isn't much when you consider their travel expenses and time!  There are strict rules including only sand and water being allowed, approximately 12 tons of sand each, 30 hours of competition and only the master sculptor may work on the castle.

Since we went on Friday night the sculptors were still working on their castles.  It was cool to see them in process and watch them work!

This is the "Centerpiece Castle" and the theme this year was Stars and Stripes in the Sand (although if you ask me it didn't seem like any other castles went along with this theme)!

 This Rio 2 castle was Carter's favorite!

4th Place: Eternal Love

3rd Place: Snail Trail

 2nd Place: War - My Heart Tells Me Otherwise

 People's Choice: Time Is Running Out

Somehow I missed taking photos of a couple of the castles.  Go here to see the 1st Place Winner. I guess I wasn't that impressed with that castle since I didn't take a photo.  Haha!   

Carter loved that the army had a bunch of trucks/jeeps there for the kids to try out!

We were smart of go on Friday night because not only was the weather awesome but it wasn't too crowded.  In the past we've gone on the weekend days and it has been CRAZY! This was much better (except for the fact that the castles were not 100% finished).

The rest of my weekend was spend in a conference. . . exciting stuff for me and my career but don't want to bore you with all that!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Visiting A Cape Cod Lavendar Farm

Have you ever been to a lavender farm?  Did you even know that lavender farms existed?  I sure didn't until I came across this article and knew I needed to see this place for myself.  It just sounded so pretty and relaxing so this weekend I convinced my mom to go check it out.

The Cape Cod Lavender Farm is in Harwich and while not easy to find it is a unique and serene place to visit.  While it is 20 acres of land we only visited/walked around in a small area.  You can pick your own lavender or pick some up that the family picked that morning.  The little shop smelled amazing and immediately made me want a massage!

There were several birdhouses on the farm but I didn't see too many birds during our visit - plenty of bumble bees though!

Visiting a lavender farm isn't something I would do everyday but it was nice to visit and see other side of Cape Cod.  There are so many corners of The Cape to explore and I'm always amazed with the natural beauty.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Weekends Should Always Include. . .

-Outdoor dining in the city
Kate, Emily, Kerry and I went to the Boston Harbor Hotel with plans of watching the "Summer in the City" movie which was Wizard of Oz.  Unfortunately the movie didn't start until 8:45 PM and the food and drinks were way to expensive for us to linger for three hours.  So we had a light bite and moved onto another bar.  It was such a pretty nice to walk around the city and we made the most of it.

 -Cannolis in the North End
We couldn't end our evening without dessert.  We walked over to the North End and went to Modern Pastry.  I may have finished eating mine before we even got to the T station.

-Pool time on The Cape with my nieces
I went to The Cape on Saturday and my nieces were there with my parents for the day so I got to hang out with them for a few hours before they went home.  Their swimming skills have really improved since last summer and it was fun to watch them in the pool.

Ella, Ma and Peyton (my grandmother/their great grandmother)
 -Family dinners
My mom, dad, nieces and I had dinner on Saturday night.  We had fun looking at photos from the day on my iPhone and talking about all of the girls favorite things to do on The Cape (it is a very long list).

-Country concerts
My dad dropped my mom and I off at the Cape Cod Melody Tent for the Martina McBride concert.  We went two summers ago and had a great time.  As soon as we saw that she was coming back this summer we bought the tickets.  She puts on a great show and I love seeing concerts at this venue because it is so small.  Oh and the stage rotates so you get too see her really well.  Her band and backup singers were amazing too.  All in all a great show!

-Beautiful views of Cape Cod
What would a weekend be without taking in the pretty sights of the hydrangeas, ocean, and Capey things like lobster traps and buoys!

And that my friends makes for an incredible weekend.  Why can't they last longer?!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Soul Cycle: Do You Spin?

I recently had the opportunity to try out a class at Soul Cycle with Kate.  The Chestnut Hill location was generous enough to let us come in and try out a class for free.  Typically your first ride is $20 and after that it is $30 for a single class.  But if you buy a package the price of each class decreases so you can grab a better deal if you are going to spin regularly.  You also rent your shoes for $3 to clip in (or you can bring your own). 

When I arrived at the studio I was quickly helped out by one of the staff members.  I had to fill out a waiver since it was my first visit and then found my name on the sign-in sheet to see my bike assignment (typically you can sign up online and choose your bike).  There are free lockers so I locked up my keys and phone then filled my water bottle.

When you enter the actual studio you find your bike and there are staff members available to help you set up your bike (seat height, handle bar height, etc).  There are 2 hand weights at your bike and you need to check the weight and change them out up front if you want (we had 2 pound weights and changed them to 1 pounds weights since it was our first time).  They also have seat cushions and I didn't get one but I should have - my bum was sore for days!

Once your bike is adjusted and you have your supplies (towel, weights, water, etc) you are ready to go!  Justin taught our class and he was excellent.  I was a little nervous that it was a male instructor because I didn't know if I'd be able to keep up.  I wasn't but Justin was so encouraging that I didn't feel bad about keeping to my own pace.

He played great music and talked just enough while we worked.  He is tough don't get me wrong but you can still adjust your bike to work at your level and since it was my first class clearly I'm at a lower level than more experienced riders.  It was a great workout and I was hurting early on in the class which led to me sitting while the majority of the class stood (when instructed to do so).

My only complaint about the class/studio is that it was VERY hot.  It was a warm day out and you could tell in the actual studio - there were fans in there but they were not on.  Now I'm not sure if the studio is suppose to be hot (maybe like hot yoga?) but for this girl with MS heat and working out are not a good combo.  I was hot from the start and feeling a bit dizzy and tingly throughout the class.  Not sure if others in the class felt it was hot but I did.  I would have preferred the studio to be much cooler.

Other than that it was a great experience.  The class was challenging and fun. The time flew by and I feel like I got a great workout.  I would love to do classes at Soul Cycle on a regular basis but the location and price will prevent that from happening.  I hope to go to a class here and there on weekends when I have more time.

Have you tried a spin class at Soul Cycle?  What did you think? 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Italy Vacation: Riomaggiore (in Cinque Terre)

So you may remember that in May I went to Italy and then proceeded to blog about it for the next two months.  Like it or not this is my last post in Cinque Terre then we move on to Venice!

The last village in Cinque Terre we visited was Riomaggiore (aka village #1).  This village did not disappoint!  We loved it and got some beautiful photos. 

I know that I took A LOT of photos of pretty much the same thing but how could I resist?!  It was just SO pretty!  I love all the colors of the buildings and despite the cool night it was beautiful and we saw a gorgeous sunset. . .

This seagull was so crazy!  He was sitting so close to the people and just didn't care.  It was like he was posing for me!  I love the photos I got of him!

I love that a bird flew into my photo right as I was taking it! So pretty!

I had to convince Stacy to stay for the sunset but I'm so glad she agreed because it was SO pretty.  It was worth waiting for a later train.  Riomaggiore was great.  We really enjoyed our dinner and walking around!