Monday, November 10, 2014

Home For The Holidays With Wayfair And Boston Bloggers

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be one of the Boston Bloggers who attended Wayfair's Home For The Holidays at their new offices in Copley Place.  As Emily said it was like Disney for bloggers!  It was all things holiday - DIY crafts, table decor, meal planning and more.  SO.MUCH.FUN!

The Wayfair office is awesome and it was all decked out with holiday decorations! Many of us were snapping photos of the gorgeous tree surrounded by gifts.  Little did we know that those weren't just empty boxes.  At the end of the day we each got to pick one and they were real presents (you'll see what I got at the end of this post)!

We were broken up into groups and I was in group Mistletoe.  We attended the break-out sessions in our small groups then had lunch and the keynote speakers with the entire group.  The day started out with keynote speakers Christiane Lemieux, VP of Creative at Wayfair and Heather B. Armstrong, aka "Dooce" and very famous "mommy blogger" sharing their thoughts and experiences.  It was great to hear from these two fabulous ladies, both who are very talented and successful.

Following that we went to our first break-out session, DIY Pennant Banner.  The best part of this DIY is that the Wayfair staff had done all the prep work then did all the clean up when we were done.  So we just got to do the fun part.  I love banners and this was so fun and easy to make.  I plan to hang mine with my Christmas cards that I receive and display!

Next up, Tabletop Styling with Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty.  Abby shared her expertise on how to decorate a table for any dinner  party.  Then some bloggers in our group got to try it out using Wayfair's stuff = so fun! Abby is so down to earth and fun.  I really enjoyed hearing from her.  Since I don't even have a table in my teeny tiny Boston apartment I won't be using any of her tips right now but I'll be storing them away for the future!

Then it was time for lunch made by Kitchensurfing and was so so good.  We had our choice of several fancy grilled cheese sandwiches, salad and soup.  I had the curried butternut squash and it was so good!  If you don't know about Kitchensurfing then check out the website - it is such a great concept. A chef comes to your house and cooks then meal for your dinner party.  Then they clean up too! 

Next break-out session, DIY Gift tags.  Below are samples of each gift tag that we were taught how to make and then the last photo (bottom, right) are the two tags I made.  The best thing I learned during this session was to use double sided tape for glitter.  So much easier than glue. Genius!

Last break-out session, the least crafty of the day, SEO Q&A with two of the SEO staff members from Wayfair.  Honestly I really have never worried about SEO with my blog since I have no intention of becoming a famous blogger.  But I must admit that this session was great! They really simplified things so that novices could understand it all.  I definitely took away a few things that I could be doing differently.  Very helpful info and I look forward to receiving the slides via email so I can review all the info and then apply some of it to my blogging!

We ended the day with one last keynote speaker, Jeremy Sewall, who talked Menu Planning.  He is the owner of several Boston restaurants including Row 34 and Island Creek Oyster Bar. He brought along some oysters for us to try (which I did not since I don't like seafood). He had some really practical tips for preparing a holiday meal like to do a few things really well and buy the rest (like buy pies from a bakery so you can focus on your main dishes).

And then. . . the grand finale. . . wine!  Andegavia Cask Wines treated us to glasses of their wines which was such a lovely way to end the day.  We all got to mingle and chat about all the fun things we did and learned.  This was such a cool opportunity to have right in our own backyard.  I loved that we didn't have to travel to another state for a big blogger conference but still had all the benefits of one of those conferences.

Oh and here is my present!  I LOVE it!  It is a hurricane for a candle but I plan to put Christmas bulb ornaments in it for the Christmas season!  I can see many other uses for it too.  I can't find this exact one on the Wayfair website despite looking through several hundreds of them on there. I did find a few similar ones though. You can view them here, here and here.

Thank you to Wayfair and all of the sponsors.  I had such a great day!  Thanks also to the Boston Bloggers who organized this event, Kate and Alison.  You ladies rock!

If you want to see more photos you can search the hashtags #HFTHBoston #WayfairHeartHome on Instagram!

Monday, November 3, 2014

On My Mind. . .

Do you ever have those days weeks where you have so much on your mind you can't seem to get anything done because all you do is think about all those things that are on your mind?  Well that is how I've been feeling.  I have a to do list a mile long of a lot of projects and things that I really want to focus on and accomplish but I just can't seem to get out of my own head.  So I thought I would blog it out and see if it helps clear my mind a bit!

Tom Menino, Boston's Mayor for 20 years died last week after battling cancer for the third time.  He made the decision to retire as major after serving our city for 20 years and then just months after getting out of office he received the devastating news.  He was loved by this city and will be fondly remembered.  He wasn't your typical politician.  He was the "people's mayor" and was often described as "honorable." I just think it is so sad that he put in all those years of service then when it was his turn to finally relax and enjoy retirement with his family he gets sick.  He died much too soon.  The city gave him an amazing send off today.  If you are interested in seeing any of the coverage from today you can go here.

While we are on the topic of cancer. . . this story just broke my heart.  Brittany Maynard was such a brave woman.  Her story really touched me and I can't even imagine what I would do if I were ever in her situation.  I only hope that she has paved the way for others to access the Death With Dignity Act without so much criticism and judgment.  Whether you agree or disagree it doesn't matter.  It is not for me or you to decide.  It was her choice and she did what she felt was best for her.  I'm just glad there is a place that would allow her to make that decision.


On a MUCH lighter note I'm already in the early stages of planning my next MS fundraiser. In early 2015 I plan to have a wine tasting.  If you know me well you know that when it comes to alcohol I love sangria and I love champagne. . . like LOVE.  So making the decision on whether to have a Spanish Wine Tasting (reds, whites and cava) or All Bubbles Tasting (champagne, prosecco and cava) I'm torn.  I've been thinking about this a lot (I'm really not kidding).  I want to choose the one that will be the most appealable to the majority.  So help me out and vote in the comments!

Oh and I also need to figure out where to have it. I need a place that is free/cheap and will let me bring in the wine for the tasting.  If they will let me bring in food too that is an added bonus. Let me know if you have any suggestions in the Greater Boston area.

I want everything.  I could make a Christmas List with about 100 things on it right now.  What is wrong with me?!  I don't need most of it but I just want it.  Clothes, accessories, make-up, vests, coats, boots, decorations. . . I seriously can't even look at because there is something on there that I want to buy  I'm on a spending freeze until after Christmas.  I can't buy anything for myself (with the exception of something to wear to Fashion Plates)!

That's all for now.  I'm tired.  I stayed up way too late last night (since I napped during the day) and with changing the clocks I'm all screwed up!



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween And Fall Fun

I had a very relaxing weekend with not too many scheduled activities which is rare for me. I spend a quiet Halloween night at home and since I live in a locked building had no trick-or-treaters come.  Saturday morning my client canceled while I was in route to meet them which did not make me very happy but it did allow me to get an earlier start on the rest of my day. I drove down to the Cape to see my grandmother.  My mom was there too and the three of us went out to lunch. My grandmother went back to sunny Florida today! Lucky her since it also snowed for the first time of the season TODAY!  Due to that I stayed inside all day long and it was wonderful!  I had a long to do list and unfortunately only got 2 big things done on it (well 3 if you count the nap I took)!

Here are a few snapshots from my weekend!

My trick-or-treating = wine! Cheers!

My favorite thing to do on Halloween night is watch my Facebook feed as everyone loads photos of their kids in costume.  So much fun to see all the cuteness!  My nieces looked so cute as a puppy and a unicorn (their favorites so no surprise that is what they picked).

Since I have no children or pets of my own I have to share someone else's.  This dog is one of the pet therapy dogs that comes to the hospital for the program I run. He visits the patients and they LOVE it!  He looked pretty adorable as a lion even if he didn't think so!!

The other day I was driving and saw this!  SO beautiful with that sky in the background.  Oh how I love fall and wish these colors would stay around just a little longer (Mr. Snow that means you need to STAY AWAY)!

This is one of my pumpkins. Instead of carving it I decided to make it a Bean Team pumpkin!  I have a favor to ask you.  To raise awareness for MS would you smash your pumpkin and take a video or photo then share with me?!  Who needs to keep old pumpkins around anyway - much more fun to smash them and the kids will love it.  #PumpkinSmashForMS #SmashOutMS

I haven't smashed mine yet since it was pouring rain yesterday and snowing today! I hope to do it soon but considering it will be dark each night when I get out of work I'm not sure. . .



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fashion Plates Brunch

In my previous post I promised something interesting and sophisticated in my next post and I probably shouldn't have promised that without knowing what I would blog about! Thankfully I remembered that I never shared photos from the Fashion Plates brunch from a few weeks ago.  When I think about all of the amazing ladies involved in this event two of the words that come to mind are definitely interesting and sophisticated!

For those of you new around here, I've been involved with this incredible event, Fashion Plates, for 4 years now.  It is a Fashion Show and Luncheon to raise money for the National MS Society.  The coolest part is that all of the models are "regular" people with MS.  I was fortunate enough to be a model for the last three years while also serving on the committee.  This year I will not be modeling but have remained on the committee which is so much fun.

We always have a get to know you brunch a couple of months before the big day (which is just 2 weeks away)!  The brunch is a great way for the models to get to know each other and for the committee to share important info about the day.  And let me tell you we know how to throw a party brunch!  See for yourself!

The tag line for this event is "Real Women Real Stories" and it couldn't be more true.  All of the models are real people with diverse backgrounds yet all share one thing in common. . . MS!  We had so much fun at the brunch getting to know some of our new models and I can't wait to see them walk the runway in some fabulous clothes.  I'm also excited to attend the event and watch for the first time!  I still have room at my table if any of my local friends want to come let me know.  You won't regret it!

If you want to check out my past blog posts about the Fashion Show and see me as a model click on the links below!
2013 Recap & Professional Photos
2012 Recap & Professional Photos
2011 Recap & Professional Photos

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkins, Gourds And Goats Oh My!

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, this weekend I went to the pumpkin patch at Ward's Berry Farm.  But they have a lot more than just pumpkins.  They are a working farm with tons of yummy produce for sale, a deli, a smoothie bar and they recently added cider donuts!  I bought some corn on the cob and it was SO good!

They also do a weekly farm share that I would love to take advantage of. . . if I lived closer and if I cooked.  Haha!

Anyway I thought I would share a few more photos and a funny goat story!

So many gorgeous colors. . . I loved all the pumpkins and gourds! If I were rich I would buy a ton of the unusual ones and decorate my whole apartment with them!

Aren't they so cute!?  It was feeding time so they were all pretty occupied eating hay and didn't really care about us.  Carter was trying to feed them his dead corn stalk which they quickly realized was not as good as the hay!

And now for the story you've all been waiting for (or not just go with it). . .

When we first got to the farm we quickly made our way to the pumpkin patch since nobody else was there and we wanted to beat the crowd.  We had to walk by this guy who was in a pen all by himself and for some strange reason he had climbed up on this fence before he even saw us.  He was so cute and friendly but as we got closer we realized he was feeling pretty happy (if you know what I mean).  Carter was quickly going to get a lesson in sex ed but he actually didn't even notice because the goat was too busy making out with Joana's hand.  Yup he was very friendly.  OMG you see it all on the farm! Haha!

And while we are on the topic and since I am oh so mature let me just say this is actually not the first time this has happened to me!  Once when I was at Sea World in San Diego many years ago I saw a very happy walrus.  Now that was a sight.  Then a few years ago after horseback riding in Ireland with my cousin her horse gave us a show.  She almost killed me when I got out my camera to take a photo.  Yup real mature.

Ok now that half of my blog post is about male animals getting hard ons I'll end this post there.

I promise tomorrow my post will be about much more interesting and sophisticated topics.  Please come back!