Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Boston Bloggers Event at Scampo

Going out two nights in a row = tired Jodi!

Worth it though.  Last night I went to a Boston Bloggers event at Scampo in the Liberty Hotel.  

For those of you not familiar with the Liberty Hotel, it was the Charles Street Jail from 1851 to 1990.  After major renovations it looks amazing!  In addition to the hotel there are several restaurants/bars inside.  You can read more about the history of the jail here.

Anyways, in addition to the place being very cool the event was also a lot of fun.  The food was delicious.  The desserts were AMAZING.  I could have eaten the whole plate of treats that was conveniently placed in front of me!  Don't worry I shared.  

The service was excellent.  We were a big group.  The servers were so attentive to taking our drink orders and clearing away our dirty dishes.  I will definitely go back here for dinner at some point.

It was so nice to catch up with some of the bloggers that I have met in the past.  I spent time chatting with Jen, Abby, Morgan, Georgina and Kate.

I also met some new people too and I look forward to stalking checking out their blogs!

As always, Allison and Kate put on an awesome event.

Have you ever been to a blogging event in your city?  What did you think?

I highly recommend connecting with other bloggers if you have the chance!

P.S. I forgot to set the DVR for The Bachelor but I got home in time to see the last date and the rose ceremony.  I can't believe we have to wait two weeks for the finale.  Oh and it is a THREE hour finale.  Seriously!  Good thing I love this show.  Ha!  

What do you think of the final two ladies?  Do you have a favorite.  I know who he picks so I'm keeping my mouth shut.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Recap

Another fabulous weekend in the books.  Oh and it was the last weekend of February so you know what that means right. . . March is almost here which means spring is almost here!  Woo hoo!

I started out the weekend by celebrating Georgina's birthday on Friday night.  She invited her friends to Abby Lane for drinks.  We had a great time!

Saturday was Ella's 4th birthday party. . . finally!  The snow couldn't keep us away this time (but unfortunately it kept some of the out of state family away).  Ella had a blast at her "princess, Hello Kitty, ballerina, cupcake" birthday party.  Oh to be 4!

She  had a HUGE smile on her face all day and everything was exciting. . . presents, cupcakes, ice cream, nail polish, party hats, princess dresses, Hello Kitty shoes. . .  I would say she had a good time.

On Sunday it snowed AGAIN!  But that didn't stop me.  I made my way downtown for a fun night out.

The a capella group, Pentatonix was at House of Blues.  It was a great concert.  I loved them when they were on The Sing Off and it was fun to see them perform both the favorites from the show and some new originals.  The finale was awesome - SO much talent in these 5.  If you have a chance to see them go for it!

I made it home in time to see the last hour (since it went way over) of the Oscars.  So happy for Jennifer Lawrenece - I loved Silver Linings Playbook and I love her.  Also happy for Argo - great movie and love Ben.  He is so talented!  Oh and his wife, Jennifer Gardner, looked so beautiful.  Loved her dress.

The rest of the show is on my DVR and I'll watch tonight or tomorrow. . . I hear there are a few good parts I should see.  

How was your weekend?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Counting Down. . .

the days until. . .

I don't know about you but I'm done with winter.  With another snow storm predicting for this weekend that will make three weekends is a row!  Talk about overkill.

So what's a girl to do w/ the winter blues?

Count down the days until warmer, happier, more exciting events!

{Do you have the "Days Until" app?  Love it!!}

I'm Going, Y'all!

. . . 28 days until BlissDom/visiting Rachel

. . . 45 days until the Boston MS Walk
(this will be our 5th year participating)

. . . 99 days until Rachel comes to Boston  
(and 101 days until we see NKTOB!)

. . . 121 days until Stephanie's California wedding

. . . 197 days until the MS Challenge Walk
(also know as just over 6 months which means I need to start doing some major fundraising)
(want to join us?)

. . . 260 days until Fashion Plates

Looking forward to adding many more exciting events to this list!

What are you counting down to?


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Your Voice Matters

When you think of February a few things probably come to mind. . .
Valentine's Day, Black History Month, Groundhog Day and even snow but did you know that February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month?

As most of you know I am on the MAAV Board of Directors and I participate in many prevention and education events.  I was fortunate to attend two very special events this month.

The first event was a community breakfast to kick-off Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  Community leaders, teachers, students, parents and community members gathered for an event with several speakers - the best, in my opinion, a teen dating violence survivor who spoke shared her very personal story.  

All who attended had the opportunity to participate in the "photo booth" project.
 Love is. . . Love isn't. . . Do you know the Difference?

After filling out the poster boards you could enter the photo booth (how fun right!?)  The photos are on display here so go and check them out.  Like the page while you are there!

I was so impressed to see so many people gather at this event.  I think the community of Melrose is taking the lead on this topic and other communities should follow right along!

The other event I had the opportunity to attend was a special assembly for Melrose High School students.  Sharon Love (pictured above), Yeardley Love's mother and Sharon Robinson, Yeardley's cousin came to Melrose to speak to students.  This was their first time to speak at a school.  We feel so honored that they took the time to come and share Yeardley's story.  

Do you remember Yeardley?  She was the UVA Senior who was beaten to death by her boyfriend.  He is currently serving a 23 year sentence in jail (not long enough in my opinion).  

Yeardley's family founded the One Love Foundation in 2010 in Yeardley's honor.  Their mission is to end relationship violence through education and technology.

Sharon's main message to the students was to speak up.  She shared how she never knew Yeardley was in a violent relationship.  Her message goes along w/ the message we are spreading in the Melrose community - YOUR VOICE MATTERS!


The One Love Foundation has created an app with a "danger assessment" on it.  It is anonymous and can be taken by victims, friends or professionals.  It will give you a series of questions to answer and then a score of how dangerous the relationship is. 

I think it is great that One Love is using technology to reach teens - how smart since teens live on their smart phones right!?  I hope that this app will help victims realize that the abuse is not their fault and hopefully lead to getting help.

On a personal note. . . I think of Yeardley often.  Her story has touched me.  I think it hit close to home b/c her sister, Lexie, is also an Elon alumni.  Knowing that this happen to someone in the extended Elon "family" makes it that much more real. 

I really appreciate Sharon taking the time to come and speak to the students.  I think it is amazing that she has turned something so horrible into something good.  Even if she helps one student. . . but I have a feeling she will help MANY!

If you or anyone you know are in a violent relationship please get help.  Most police stations have a domestic violence officer.  There are also numerous organizations out there to help victims.  Don't suffer alone. 

Here are a few resources:

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

This is such an important topic.  Just this week I saw a news story about Rihanna getting back together w/ Chris Brown and who can avoid the story about "Blade Runner" being charge w/ murdering his girlfriend last week. . . 

If you've made it this far thanks for reading.  Didn't mean for this post to get quite so long but so important to share about this topic especially during February. 

Don't forget. . .

Your Voice Matters!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Three Day Weekends Rock!

Happy Tuesday!

I'm back to work today after enjoying three days away.  I love long weekends.  I mean, who doesn't?

On Friday night I caught up w/ my of my former adoptive couples.  It was so nice to see them after {almost} three years.  I was their social worker for their first adoption and they recently adopted again so I got to meet baby #2.  It was so good to see them.  Both kids are beautiful!

Saturday morning I was up and out early.  I had a date planned with two special little ladies.  While Peyton and Ella's parents were away in Mexico for a wedding the littles were hanging w/ the grandparents.  I gave my parents a little break and watched the girls.  We had so much fun!

We had a play date w/ my friend and her son.  They hadn't seen each other since the summer but they wasted no time get reacquainted!

We did arts-and-crafts which included several "Welcome Home" pictures for their parents.  
{Yes Ella is stretching out the birthday celebrating for the entire month!}

After playing we all went out to lunch at Five Guys!  The french fries there are the best.  Oh and have you ever tried the grilled cheese?  SO good!  After lunch we went home and the girls really wanted to play outside in the snow.  So I got them all dressed in their gear and out we went. . .

They had a blast running through the snow, rolling in it and making snow angels!

Then it was time to make a snowman!  The snow was nice and sticky so making the balls was pretty easy.

They were very pleased with their little frozen friend!

We were sitting on the fire pit taking some pictures and Neely decided she wanted in on the action.  She jumped up and joined us.  Too funny!  

We had a great time playing in the snow but after an hour I was ready to go in.  I had to drag the girls in!

Sunday morning I was up and out of the house early again.  I had to work for a few hours supervising a visit.  It was snowing but fortunately I didn't have to go far and the roads weren't too bad.

 Sunday night I had a dinner and a movie date w/ my friend Missy!
The movie was really good.  It made me realize that we have very smart people working for us (CIA) and very brave people protecting up (military).  Of course I already knew this but seeing this movie made me think about it a lot.  It was so interesting to see what was going on behind the scenes from 9/11 until Bin Laden was killed.  I definitely recommend seeing it.

Monday was a "no work" holiday which are the best kind!  I decided the great thing about long weekends is that you can go a lot of fun stuff during the two days you usually have and then you get an extra day to do what you usually don't have time for - rest/nap/relax!

So Monday I did nothing!  I pretty much stayed in bed watching tv all day.  I had good intentions of blogging, baking, cleaning, etc but none of it happen.  Ya know what. . . I really don't care.  Lazy days are the best!  

Ended the weekend w/ The Bachelor.  Pretty sad to see Desiree go home.  I felt so bad for her.  Her brother really is terrible.  I don't think he helped Sean's decision at all.  Ugh!  Three ladies left.  They all seem very sweet.  I don't really have a favorite (and I know who he picks according to realitysteve).


(I know it isn't Monday but since I didn't blog yesterday I'm linking up today)! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Why I Will Never Go On A Cruise

They lose power. . .
Unless you live in a bubble I'm sure you've heard about that latest cruise ship mishap.  The Carnival Triumph lost power and passengers were stranded at sea for 5 days.  Not only did they not have power but they had no working toilets and very little food.  So basically they were on a dark, smelly, hot boat w/ no food or alcohol.  Sounds like a wonderful time to me.  (It actually sounds worse than camping! Ugh!)

The norovirus spreads like wild fire. . .
Being sea sick is bad enough but having the norovirus while on a cruise ship would be the worst!  I've had the norovirus and it is not fun.  There are literally hundreds of passengers on some cruises that get it and all I know is I wouldn't want to be eating at those buffets.  Imagine the germs.  Gross!

They crash. . .
Remember the Concordia that crashed in Italy last year?  Thirty-two people died b/c of that!  I can't even imagine the horror that the passengers experienced.  What a nightmare!  The worst part of this whole thing is that it likely could have been avoided - investigation still in process but captain error is likely.  Oh and did you know that ship is still stuck there in the ocean.

People go overboard. . .
People fall off cruise ships.  Yup!  Don't believe me - just google it.  I really don't think this little orange float is going to help you either. . .  b/c they probably won't be able to find you floating in the middle of the ocean hundreds of miles from land!  Drowning is not the way I want to go.  Oh and I don't want to be eaten by sharks either! 

Pirates attack cruise ships. . .
We all love the movies but in real life there actually are real pirates that hijack cruise ships!  Scary stuff and not my idea of a vacation.  I do realize that this is more likely to happen in other parts of the world so I might actually be safe from this one if I stick with the Caribbean!  Ha!

I could probably come up with a few other reasons but I think you get the idea.  Next vacation I plan will definitely not be a cruise.  I'm thinking a nice all inclusive resort is the way to go!

(This post is not meant to offend anyone who likes cruises.)

So tell me, have you been on a cruise before?  Did you love it or hate it?

Would you go on a cruise in the future?




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Almost Friday. . .

This has been a VERY long week for me.  I am more than ready for the weekend!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blizzard, Birthday and Baby

Hello there.  

Don't worry, I didn't get stuck in a snow bank.  Just a little busy 'round these parts.

So I'm sure you know we got hit w/ a huge blizzard over the weekend. . .

some were calling it Nemo.

 We got about 2 feet of snow.  Hard to tell exactly how much b/c of the snow drifts.  It was a lot.  Too much.

Friday from 4 PM to Saturday at 4 PM no driving was allowed.  The public transportation system was also shut down.  I was home in my warm house.

I should have used the time to get a bunch of stuff done.  Unfortunately that was not to be.

I'm a snow hater.  So the blizzard put me in a funk.  I pretty much watched the weather all day long.

Exciting I know!

Boston schools are finally open tomorrow.  Trucks are busy removing the snow banks from all the street corners.  There is still a lot of snow out there.  But it is much better in the last 24 hours due to the rain cleaning things up a bit and the sun melting some of it.  Love that sun!

Anyways enough about the stupid blizzard.  Yesterday was Ella's 4th birthday.  Her party over the weekend had to be rescheduled so we haven't celebrated yet but we will soon.

I really can't believe she is 4!  I'll be seeing her this weekend!

Now here we are at Tuesday night and I'm finally finding some time to blog.  I've just been so busy at work the last 2 days.  Tonight I got to meet my friend's baby.  He is 3 weeks old now and so adorable.  It was so nice to catch up w/ her and to hold a newborn!  Love that.

Now I'm watching the dog show.  I want a dog.  Let's make it happen.  Oh yeah first I have to move to a place that allows dogs. . .

Ok I'm exhausted and rambling. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wicked Big Stawm Comin'

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  That does indeed say 24-30" for Boston.  That is 2 feet or more of snow people!  Seriously!?  Is this pay back for the mild winter we had last year???  Dislike!

It is really hard to think about anything else going on in the world right now b/c everyone is talking about the snow.  I'm at work this morning but going to be leaving early to (hopefully) beat the traffic and snow.

All schools are closed.  Many businesses are closed.  The subway is shutting down at 3:30 today.  This is no joke.  The blizzard is coming.

My iPad is fully charged as well as my phone.  Praying we don't lose power.  But just in case I did go to Bath and Body Works last night for 2 new candles.  I'm prepared!

For the next 2 days you will find me in bed doing any or all of the following:
reading Gone Girl
watching various shows that are on my DVR
reading blogs, twitter, FB, etc
oh and shoveling - ugh!

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  This will not be my favorite weekend of all time but I'm sure I'll survive!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Blizzard Warnings

These kind of blizzards = BAD

These kind of blizzards = GOOD

Unfortunately the blizzard watch that we are under is not the good kind.  Wouldn't it be amazing if it snowed sweet treats?!  Oh sorry where was I. . . oh yeah the snow.  Not just a little bit of snow guys.  Like 18 to 24 inches of snow.  Ugh!

The problem with these kinds of snow storms in Boston is that there is no place to put it.  So the city becomes a crazy mess.  It is not fun.

I've never liked snow.  Not even a little.  It is a mess and it ALWAYS ruins fun plans.  And it is doing just that this weekend.  Ella's birthday party has been canceled.  All my plans w/ friends have been canceled.  And my very important eyebrow was has been rescheduled.  DISLIKE!!!!!

So this weekend is one that I'm not looking forward to and that NEVER happens.  Trying to look at the right side. . . reading the rest of Gone Girl, catching up on the DVR shows, watching an On Demand movie I've been wanting to see, sleeping. . .

Why is it when you are forced to have a relaxing weekend at home it is torture but when you want one you are too busy???  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bloggy Business Cards

I finally got around to making business cards for my blog.  It only took me {almost} three years!  I knew I would need them for Blissdom (which by the way is only 43 days away).

Someone on the Blissdom facebook page suggested including a picture since you meet so many people.  I thought that was such a great idea.

I also included my phone number but not showing it here on the good old blog b/c ya never know who is reading! Ha!  If I meet you in person I'd be happy for you to have my number.

I made them on Vistaprint and got a great deal.  The quality is really good.  I like the way they came out (the colors and picture look better in person - this is an iPhone pic).

Do you have business cards for your blog?  Anything else I should have included?

Also if you are going to Blissdom let me know so I can check out your blog.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tonight: Smash is Back

I don't know about you but I've been looking forward to this day for a while now.
 Smash is one of my favorite shows and they sure left us hanging last season. . . 

Now it is back with the addition of Jennifer Hudson who I adore. 

The two hour premier is tonight along with The Bachelor (someone please tell me why it is on twice this week?)  I'll be watching Smash live and DVR'ing The Bachelor so I can fast forward through all the boring parts.

Will you be watching???

Oh and let's hope Karen says a big GOODBYE to Dez and hello to new hottie!!!!  Yes!?

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Super "Bowl" Weekend

Ladies, I don't know about you but for me this weekend wasn't all about the Superbowl. . . 
not when you have the Burrito Bowl and the Puppy Bowl! 

On Saturday I went to Boston's 3rd Annual Burrito Bowl at Poe's Kitchen at the
Rattlesnake with Jen and Kerrie.

We tasted seven different "burritos" each to go along with a city/football team.

They were all good but my favorite was the Seattle Seahawk's fried guacamole by Andy Husband's Tremont 647.  Why didn't anyone think of this soon? Fried guacamole!? Yum!  Many others agreed b/c it actually won for the "People's Choice."

The "Judge's Choice" went to Boloco which was my second favorite of the day.

All the participants got to vote - Jen and I voted for Tremont 647 and Kerrie voted for Boloco.  I'd say we have pretty good taste!

For me the Superbowl is all about the food so this was a great way to start out the weekend!

Saturday afternoon I made a quick trip to the Wrentham outlets.  I only went in one store - my usual - The Loft Outlet.  I always do so well there that I can't afford don't need to go in any other stores.  More on what I bought later this week.

On the drive home I may have gambled a bit too much. . . just in case you ever wondered if you could make it from Wrentham to Newton with your low fuel light on. . . the answer is NO!  I actually ran out of gas.  I'm such an idiot.  I was literally less than 1/2 a mile from the gas station.  Thank God for AAA+ who was there in 15 minutes with gas!  From now on I'll pay attention to that low fuel light!!!!!!

On Sunday I went out to brunch with my friend Joana.  I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of my food.  I got chocolate chip pancakes and they were delicious.  I've been craving them for weeks!  We had a nice time and caught each other up on all the gossip.

 After that I was right by Sephora so I just had to stop in.  I really needed a new blush so I picked up a new to me one by Nars.  I'm really excited to try it out!

After that I had a much needed manicure and pedicure.   I totally forgot to look at the name of the color.  It was an OPI one.  The color looks better in person.

Oh and I got this Stella and Dot ring for 1/2 price from my cousin who is a consultant!  Got to love a deal like that.

The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent watching the Puppy Bowl and reading Gone Girl.  

Now I get that they are trying to promote adoption but two hours of this silliness?! Seriously!  I'm a dog lover person and LOVE puppies but even I can't watch two hours of wrestling pups!  The announcer kills me - he keeps such a serious tone of voice the whole time!  And the ref. . . don't even get me started!

No Gone Girl spoilers please.  I've only just started reading it.  Liking it so far.

How was your weekend?

P.S. In case you missed it late in the day on Friday I blogged about the time I went to Romania.
Check it out here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Romania: Always in my Heart

Last night I attended a screening of the documentary Hand Held.  It is the story of photographer Mike Carrol's journey in Romania which led him to create Romanian Children's Relief.

It has been over eight years since I traveled to Romania.  Last night I was brought right back. . . the documentary is amazing and at times so hard to watch.  It is absolutely awesome to see how much this country has changed in the twenty plus years since communism ended.

I thought I would share some pictures from my time spent in Romania and tell you more about this country and the people.  Enjoy!

During the summer of 2004, I had the opportunity to travel to Romania as part of a grad school class.  We literally waited hours to cross over from Hungary into Romania.  While Hungary joined the EU in 2004, Romania didn't until 2007 which is why crossing the border was such a long process.

Romania was ruled by communist dictator, Ceausescu, until December 25, 1989 when a revolution led to he and his wife being assassinated.  The Romanian people were finally free.

During the communist years, Ceausescu moved all the Romanian people out of their villages into the cities.  He had block housing built for the people to live in.  When I was there I saw many of these buildings which are still in use and let me tell you they are not pretty. 

Ceausescu required that the women all have at least five children so he could grow the population and build his army.  As you can imagine this led to many problems including the creation of numerous orphanages filled with abandoned children that families couldn't afford to feed or take care of.

Fortunately, by the time I visited Romania the country had see many positive changes.  Although life was still quite simple and seeing a farmer walk his cows to pasture was not uncommon, the people were enjoying a happier life.

The orphanages from the communist days had long been closed and Romania designed a system modeled after the United States including the use of foster parents in order to get the children into home situations.  

For the grad school class we had the opportunity to travel all over Romania and study many parts of their social welfare system.  Absorbing the people and their culture was such an amazing experience.  This country was so different from anyplace I had ever visited.

Romania is a country rich in culture and we had the opportunity to not only watch the children folk dance but also learn a few steps!  I loved all the bright colors in their dance costumes.

Religion is also very important to the Romanian people and we had the opportunity to visit several churches while there.  

We had the opportunity to visit a baby orphanage in one of the towns.  This was not like the orphanages of the old days.  This was a beautiful facility funded by Americans with babies and toddlers who were well cared for.  Although these children are called "abandoned" they are not legally free for adoption.  During the communist years parents were allowed to leave their children in orphanages if they couldn't afford to care for them.  Unfortunately this mentality continued despite efforts to stop it.

International adoptions closed in 2004 due to corruption and remain closed today.  

We also had the opportunity to volunteer at a hospital program run by Romania Children's Relief.  This program was similar to what we refer to as "Child Life" here in the US.  It was so much fun to hold the babies and play games with the kids.  The language barrier didn't even matter!

We also had the opportunity to visit a "Roma" village.  The Romas are gypsies.  Romania has the larger population of gypsies in the world and they are very discriminated against.  They are the poorest people and typically live in villages outside of towns.  They are under educated and can't afford birth control which leads to very large families.  

The children in this village were so excited when we went to visit.  They acted like we were movie stars!  We had such a fun time playing with the kids.  I'm sad to say that I don't think things have improved much for the Romas since I was there although there are more programs to help them now.  

Romania is a beautiful country.  On our long bus rides I saw some of the most gorgeous landscapes ever.  My pictures bring back so many wonderful memories of a very unique opportunity I was fortunate enough to experience.  If you ever have the chance to travel to Romania do it!

Romania will always hold a little piece of my heart. . .

Have you been to Romania?

Have you seen the documentary Hand Held?