Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Doing Good With MAAV

For anyone that in newer to this blog you may not know that I am on the Board of Directors for an organization called MAAV (Melrose Alliance Against Violence).  I've been on the Board since I started working at the hospital (over 4 years ago) and it truly is a group of the most talented, generous, dedicated and fun people ever! 

Every summer we have a Board Retreat and in the past it has been on a work day in a local hall with a guest speaker as the focus of the day.  This year we decided to change things up and make it a real "retreat" in Kennebunk, Maine!  One of our board members, Mary, offered up her father's home for the day.  A few of us ladies went up the night before and I'm so glad I went.  It was SO much fun.  We grilled out and had a delicious dinner and then played "charades" on the iPad.  We laughed so hard and stayed up past midnight!

The next morning the rest of the crew arrived (a few people couldn't make it and we missed them and they missed all the fun)!  We sat in the backyard and did some ice breakers and shared why we stayed involved with MAAV.  It was really great to hear everyone's reasons and I feel so fortunate to be on a Board of Directors with such amazing people for an organization that does such important work.

I shared more photos from my time in Kennebunkport here and since I was already in Maine I got to see my college friend Taylor and visit Portland Head Light which I blogged about here!

A few days later I went to Cut It Out at Avenue Hair Designs in Melrose.  It is a great program where DA Ryan goes into the salon (and all other area salons were invited) and talks about their special role in helping victims of DV.  It is so true. . . people open up to their hair stylist right!?  They need to be educated so they can point their clients toward resources that can help.  To read more about this program read the follow up news article here.

The is the "walk committee."  Every year MAAV has a walk and candlelight vigil during DV Awareness Month (Oct) and the committee gets sponsors and does a bunch of other behind the scenes stuff.  I'm actually on the "Leadership Team" for the committee again this year and I'm in charge of team photos.  So if any of my local friends want to volunteer to take photos on Oct 19th let me know!

This is my busy time of year with MAAV and my busy time of year in general b/c it is MS Challenge Walk time and Fashion Plates meetings too.  So as you can probably guess I'm very excited for my 4 day Labor Day weekend coming up!

If you want to know what MAAV is up to follow on Facebook here and Twitter here!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Italy Vacation: What I Bought

So remember when I went to Italy?  I managed to do a little shopping while there.  I didn't want to buy too much and I didn't want to spend too much money but I always like to bring home a few mementos.  Whenever I go on a trip I have my typical items I like to buy - pottery/glass, Christmas ornaments and paintings/artwork.  I feel like those are all items that I can use once home and also are great mementos of another city/state/country.  So here's what I got. . .

I bought this ornament in Cinque Terre - Monterosso to be exact which is the village we stayed in while there.  I actually bought this just in case I didn't find anything else in Venice.  I actually forgot I had bought it and "found" it when I got home and unpacked. 

I bought this painting one night while we were in Riomaggiore watching the sunset.  The artist was sitting there painting and I love supporting local artists.  He was actually originally from Croatia but living in Cinque Terre.  I love that it is small, will be cheap to frame and will give remind me of the most wonderful days spent in those five villages!

I also grabbed these postcards while in Cinque Terre (prior to the night I bought the above painting).

Pesto!  Cinque Terre is pesto country so I had to buy some.  Oh and that reminds me I need to make some pasta and use this!

Venice had some great shopping and I bought the most stuff while there.  I found a great jewelry store that sold all this cool stuff made of beads.  I had the hardest time choosing and finally settled on the 2 bracelets above.  I loved the way they looked with my gold Alex and Ani's too!

This bowl - I love it!  Love it!  I had my eye on it for a little while and made sure to look around at several shops before buying it.  Love the blues in it.

This ornament is my favorite.  This is the one I really wanted.  I love it.  So pretty and I can't wait to hang it on my tree.  It will always remind me of Venice/Murano.

I also bought this ring in Murano.  I got my mom and black and white one too.  So simple, easy to pack/bring home and something that will get a lot of use!

I HAD to get my nieces these pretty masks while in Venice.  I gave them to them at their dance recital instead of flowers and they matched their costumes perfect!

So that is what I bought!  Vacation shopping is the best.  Love looking for the perfect mementos to bring home.  What is your favorite thing to buy on vacation?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cruising The Boston Harbor With Odyssey

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I know I did.  The weather in Boston was picture perfect and I'm so thankful for that.  Another thing I'm thankful for. . . the opportunity to cruise the Boston Harbor on Odyssey while enjoying a delicious brunch with Blog and Tweet Boston.
I had never been on an Odyssey harbor cruise so I was very excited to check it out.  The boat was really nice and had a great outside top deck where you could see amazing views of Boston but first let's talk about the food.

The food. . . OMG the food.  Where do I even begin!?  The food was amazing.  I should know because I made sure to sample most of it.  Above are my plates and yes I like love bacon.  Any brunch with well done bacon and chocolate fondue is already a winner but in this case all the other food was really good too.  See for yourself below - I managed to get a few photos of some of the food.

The Odyssey has a new Bloody Mary Cart and it has all the fixings for garnishes.  Would you believe I've never had a Blood Mary!?  I'm more of a sweet fan than savory when it comes to drinks but I figured I would try my first ever while on the cruise.  Plus I need to take photos of a pretty drink to show all of you!

I had my choice of vodka (from 3 different top shelf options) as well as numerous garnishes.  I went with bacon, shrimp, celery, lime and some little caper thing that the bartender recommended.  And do you know what. . . it was pretty good.  It didn't taste like what I expected (tomato juice).  If you are a fan of Bloody Marys I'm sure you would enjoyed the ones on the Odyssey!

I stuck with my favorite brunch drink, the mimosa!  The Odyssey has their own personal twist on it and add a splash of St. Germain and a sugared ginger garnish.  It was delicious!

When we weren't drinking and eating we actually did explore the boat.  We enjoyed the top deck the most because you could see beautiful 360 degree views of Boston!  It was such a beautiful day with a bright blue sky and sun.  The photos below are unedited.  The sky really was that blue!

We were able to bring a guest with us to this event so I invited my cousin Katelyn to come with me.  We were hoping for a boat filled with single men but no such luck!  We had fun anyways! Haha!

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to attend this event and cruise the Boston Harbor with Odyssey.  The event was 12 to 3.  The boat departed at 1 so it gave you time to sit and eat while the boat wasn't moving and then get up and explore once it took off.  The buffet stayed open the whole time so we made sure to eat more once we had taken in the views for a little while.

There was a large extended family there celebrating a 60th wedding anniversary.  The adults and kids all seemed to have a lot of fun and I think it was such a good idea to celebrate/party on the Odyssey.  I will have to keep this in mind for future events!!

Oh and there was live entertainment on our deck.  The two singers (one male and one female) were very talented and sang both old and new songs.  I enjoyed them a lot.

All and all a great afternoon.  Thanks Odyssey for your generosity in allowing us to come on board for free.  Also thanks to Blog and Tweet Boston for organizing another fabulous event.

To learn more about the cruises that Odyssey offers go here.  There are several different options.  The brunch cruise we went on costs $62.90 which I think it a great deal for a full buffet and cruise around the harbor.

Have you been on a cruise around Boston Harbor?


Thursday, August 21, 2014

TGIF! 2 Weeks Until MS Challenge Walk!!!!!

Howdy friends.  I'm so happy it is Friday!!!  I'm ready for a weekend at home after being in NYC and Maine the last couple of weeks.  On the weekend agenda is a LONG training walk.  Let's hope for NO blisters.

When the "change of clothes" bag arrives in the mail you know things are getting REAL.  The MS Challenge Walk is in 2 weeks.  2 weeks.  Ugh!!  I can't believe how soon it is.  I'm so excited and nervous.

{For those of you who don't know I'll be walking 50 miles in 3 days on Cape Cod with my teammates on The Bean Team}

We each have to raise $1,500 to participate or $9,000 as a team.  We are SO close right now at $8,330 so if you would like to help us please donate.  Every dollar helps so feel free to donate any amount! Go here to donate to me directly.  Go here to donate to our team.  THANK YOU!

Look I'm famous. . . see that girl in the red dress?  That's me!!!!  Much to my surprise I'm on the National MS Society's webpage for the Fashion Plates link.  Very cool. 

The Bean Team is making last minute preparations for the walk.  The banner has been ordered featuring our sponsors, Lower Mills Pub, Irish Whiskey Society and Katie Slater Photography. 

Our team shirts have been ordered too.  They are pink!  You'll just have to wait to see those!

There is still time to enter my giveaway.  Go here to enter!

P.S.  Come back next week to hear about my time in NYC!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Visiting Kennebunkport, Maine

Last weekend I went to Maine.  Friday night I stayed in Kennebunk and on Saturday I attended the MAAV board retreat (more on that coming soon).  After the retreat I did some sightseeing around Kennebunkport since I had never been there before.  Then Saturday night I went to Portland to visit a friend.  Make sure you check out my post on Visiting Portland Head Light if you missed it.  It is a beautiful lighthouse!


The above photos are of Mother's Beach in Kennebunk.  It was such a gorgeous day and the beach was fairly empty!

In addition to the beach, Kennebunk was filled with gorgeous homes and gardens.  I loved walking around and taking it all in.  My favorite is that lamp post with the pretty purple flowers.


Kennebunkport has the greatest downtown! Check out this planter in the shape of a boat! So so cute!!  I just loved all the flowers, shops, boats, etc.  Everything was great about this downtown!

This building/museum has a birthday exhibit for President George H. W. Bush but it was closed so I didn't get to see it.  I love the 3 flags!

George H. W. Bush's Summer Estate
You can't go to Kennebunkport without checking out the Bush summer home estate!  It is a big place with several other smaller houses on the property.  The views are outstanding!

I had such a nice afternoon exploring Kennebunkport.  It is an easy downtown to walk through and just a short drive to the Bush estate.  They have a Shipyard Brewery which I would love to visit another time.

I've hardly spent any time in Maine since I always go to the Cape but I've decided it is a new goal to explore more of Maine's coastal towns!  Where should I go next?

Enter my giveaway to win $100 here!