Archive of ‘NicNacs’ category

Weekend Adventures

So often someone will ask myself or Dan what we have planned for the weekend, and then once we list our potential plans, they will make a comment like “you guys do so many fun things!” We do. So many fun things. Often it stresses me out when it seems like we have all of our weekends planned from April to December, and in the days leading up to them I will complain about never having time to relax at home, but then I go and make MORE plans. And the thing is, I enjoy almost all of them. The solution? A day between Saturday and Sunday to enjoy more relaxing while still having plenty of time for fun things. Genius, right?

This weekend was no different. We kicked it off with the usual Friday night date night and ventured into Salem (in October!) for dinner at a new (to us) place. Food was decent, prices were good, but not a lot of options for a pseudo-vegetarian like myself.

We braved the crowds and the witches to head back to Salem on Saturday for a scavenger hunt. We had done a Watson Adventure before at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and loved it, so we were pretty pumped for this one which promised to be spooky and festive.

_DSC0031

While we did feel like we had a bit of an advantage being locals, the crowds were just too much on a nice Saturday during October in Salem, and we found that we couldn’t even get close enough to some of our clues to be able to solve all twenty questions. Other groups were able to complete their entire sheet however, so maybe we were just slow? It also got dark about halfway through, which only frustrated me more, and I ended up giving up about two-thirds of the way through while Dan searched for one last clue alone.

_DSC0032

While our last Watson Adventure had a story to it and required you to solve a mystery at the end, this one did not. This allowed us to visit some of the areas in Salem that we often overlook and to learn some of the history of the area, but I think we would rather have done this particular hunt in the Spring at an earlier hour. Overall though, I really recommend doing a Watson Adventure if you haven’t. They are VERY well put together, always a lot of fun, and just a super cool way to explore an area or museum.

_DSC0034

The next day was beautiful outside once again and proved to be the perfect day to not fall off a horse.

FullSizeRender_1

A few friends and I got together to cross an item off of my Fall Bucket List – horseback riding! We went to Bobby’s Ranch and rode with a small group for about an hour. While I was a little nervous at first, my horse, Finn, knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t require me to know much at all. Definite plus since I had no idea what I was doing.

20141026_140620

I would certainly go back and do it all again. If you’ve never been, it’s an amazing place with all kinds of animals roaming free around the parking lot. We spent a little time just petting and gushing over the miniature horse and barn cats before heading out to lunch.

20141026_140446

All in all, another great weekend and I even had some time to relax a bit with a book on Sunday night!

How was YOUR weekend? Any fun things planned for the next one?

From Fan to Fanatic

I’ll admit it.

I’ve been a terrible football fan this year. As someone who used to spend their Sunday parked in front of the computer, watching the Pats game while checking the scores of every fantasy league I belonged to, it became too much for me and I’ve slowly been taking back my Sundays and using them for things like leaf-peeping and apple-picking. I only get two weekend days after all, and any time spent outside is time well spent to me.

_DSC0171edit

But since the Patriots are going to continue to pull themselves together this year and make it to the Super Bowl (a sort of uncertain but hopeful prediction), I’m planning to step up my game as well, even if it means DVR-ing those suckers to watch at night when it’s no longer gorgeous outside.

Whether I watch the game at my own apartment, or out with friends & family, I always throw on one of my jerseys or sweatshirts to get into the spirit. I usually pair them with jeans and throw a white t-shirt underneath. How boring, right? Time to make dressing for the game a little more fun!

NFL Jersey collage jersey|leggings|shirt|shoes|clutch|hat|jewelry|nail art

To start my look, I chose a jersey from Fanatics’ impressive selection. To this day, I still don’t own a Brady jersey, so it was a tough decision, but I had to go with Gronk. I already own this one in white, and several others in blue, so I chose red to mix it up a bit. It also seemed like it would look the best with those killer leather leggings. If you’re not quite ready for full-on leather, a legging with leather details, or even plain black would work just fine.

As I said above, I always throw a long-sleeved white t-shirt under my jersey, but I’m done with being basic, so I went with a chambray button-down instead. The bonus to this is that when the game is over, you already have a cute outfit ready to go! It’s a sort of two-point conversion, if you will. ;)

No matter which jersey you choose, there will be Vans that match to keep your look sporty and casual. I also grabbed a clutch via etsy, and several sellers make these specifically for sports fans in their team colors, so it’s easy to match your accessories to your outfit!

Speaking of accessories, you can get those right from Fanatics as well. One-stop shopping leaves much more time for cheering and eating nachos. I chose a Patriots bracelet and earrings, and a beanie that looks so toasty warm I would wear it all winter long. If you’re really into showing your spirit, you could grab some temporary tattoos, paint your face (or other body parts?), or stick on these nail decals, also from Fanatics.

You know what I think would go even better with this outfit? A Super Bowl ring. We should have a few of those lying around in New England, right? ;)

[[ I was not compensated for writing this post and all opinions are honest and my own, especially the ones about this season's Super Bowl winners. ]]

You’re (sort of) Invited!

I’m having a party!

But don’t get too excited – the party is in my head. Sometimes it really does feel as if there’s a party in my head and people are very, very drunk, but that’s neither here nor there.

This party is a product of Halloween envy and nostalgia. A few years ago, Dan and I threw a pretty fun Halloween bash in our apartment and, due to timing and just, well…LIFE, we haven’t been able to have another one since. Our decorations are up, our costumes are somewhat planned, I’ve eaten just about every pumpkin creation ever made, and I’m dying over all the cute decorations I see, but still no party this year.

So I threw this one for you! Here’s your invitation:

Halloween Party Invite

I hope you can make it! There will be plenty of decorations, like this adorable banner from Paper Source:
Banner

The best thing about that banner is that it would be so easy to make your own if you wanted to. Some burlap, stamps, craft paint, and you’re good to go! Just punch holes in each side, string some twine through each letter, and hang it for your guests to admire.

Side note: This is a non-scary party. It has to be that way because I’ve gotten rather old and well, neurotic? so I can’t handle scary things anymore. Last night, we went to a haunted corn maze that we had paid a decent amount of money for, and I got past the first creepy-looking thing that jumped out and shouted at me before I decided that this was NOT going to happen, NO way, NOPE. I used to live for Halloween and all its haunted houses and scary movies, and in fact I had done this SAME haunted maze just last year, but this time I was just not having it, so we turned around and headed right back out of that maze and sold our tickets to someone in line. I’m still annoyed at myself.

1911992_10100515096789116_5172144545530413509_o

What this party WILL have are some cute, non-threatening, mummy pumpkins.

mummy pumpkin{source}

This party may be fake, but in real life, I will be attempting to create one of those pumpkins tomorrow. I recently crafted a couple of paper pumpkins, found in this tutorial, but there is only this one left standing on my bookshelf because CATS. It’s not just the black ones that are evil.

_DSC0035cropped

Another quick and easy decoration idea is to blow up a black balloon, stick it to your wall or ceiling, and add crepe paper “legs” as seen here. Or stick some googly eyes (found at any craft store) onto your plastic drinking glasses. The possibilities are endless and I could easily get lost in decorating for my fake party.

At our last party, we had a few games for our guests to enjoy, including guessing the amount of M&Ms in a jar, or naming the movie that a selected iconic image was from. For the party in my head, I think it would be fun to have a “photo booth” set up where guests can use different masks or props (stock up at the local dollar store, or make your own with printables like the ones below) and then take photos against a backdrop with a cell phone or Polaroid. You could also create a specific hashtag for your guests to use when uploading their pics to social media, such as #myfakeparty2014.

photo booth{source}

If kids are invited, you could put together an inexpensive craft table complete with foam paper, stickers, ribbon, glitter, markers, and glue so that they can create their own masks to wear.

You can bet there will be plenty of themed food, just like we had last time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

353724463

Finally, you could easily DIY some treat bags for guests to take home candy or other items. Just use any small paper bag and go crazy with black and orange designs, lots of BOO!s and EEK!s, or maybe some fake blood.

halloween-gift-bag {source}

I hope you have a great time at my party! The best thing about parties that aren’t real? No hangovers or sugar crashes when you get home!

My Dream Wedding with Lover.ly

I was so excited when Carolyn from lover.ly contacted me to participate in a project for the website, which she describes as “the wedding planning binder in the cloud”! I was asked to choose from three different destination wedding locations and then select all my accessories and extras in order to style it however I wanted.

You can imagine my excitement when one of my three choices was my ACTUAL dream wedding destination:

Italy

ITALY!!

Since I’ve already spent a lot of time planning this out in my head, I already had an idea of exactly what I wanted my look to be like. I went right to lover.ly and searched for a vintage-inspired lace dress. With all of Italy’s deep historical roots and rustic views, I think the vintage look fits right in.

monique-lhuillier-liberty

You can filter your search by designer, style, price, length, even neckline or sleeve. The range of dresses to choose from was phenomenal, with everything from David’s Bridal to Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta. In fact, the dress I almost chose was an affordable gown from David’s Bridal, but since this is my dream wedding, I decided to go all out with that gorgeous Monique Lhuillier piece that you see above. Isn’t it just so pretty?

From there, I decided to search for shoes and accessories. I wanted something simple because I feel like the rich colors of your venue in Italy (think Tuscan wine country or Venice canals) should be allowed to stand out, and I didn’t want anything to take away from that amazing dress. I went with rose gold to compliment the vintage look, but I think bronze would have worked just as well. The rose gold adds a little bit of a modern flair in my opinion.

Loverly print screen

It was easy to search for accessories based on the ideas I had in mind of how the completed look should be. I even found the perfect cake and table setting!

Lover.ly wedding dress collage

Dress|Shoes|Earrings|Hairpins|Cake|Table Setting|Flower|Necklace

The necklace and the earrings were chosen from etsy, which is another great resource for choosing your wedding accessories. The earrings are my “statement” piece and tie in to the rose gold color of the cute Kate Spade sandals (look at that bow!). The necklace was chosen to be simple in order to let the neckline of the dress have it’s own moment. I love the “love” wording (yeah, I did that.) but similar designs that would also work for a wedding are an ampersand (&), the word “mrs”, or a monogram of your new initials!

As I said, my pops of color were left to the decor, and what better color palette to use in Italy than a wine-themed one! The burlap of the table number keeps it rustic, while the design of the cake uses similar colors in a modern shape.

I just love how everything looks together! It makes me wish I could fly off to Italy right now and tie the knot in that dress! Fittingly enough, I am off to a wedding in a few hours and I can’t wait to see how the bride incorporated all the elements of her fall theme. What is your dream wedding like?

[[While this post was created in partnership with lover.ly, I did not receive any compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.]]

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

A few months ago I was adding a book to my Goodreads account when I decided I had reached my threshold for the number of items on my “to-read” shelf. I spent some time going through the list and determining if each one was something that I would still be interested in reading. Roughly 115 of them made the final cut, which is a much more manageable number than what I started with.

Sometimes I will read a book by a particular author and decide that I love them and have to read everything they’ve ever written. Suddenly 17 more books have just been added to my account. Considering I average about a book a week or less lately, there is no way I would ever get through that stack. So, moving forward, I vow to do two things: 1) Only add books to my “to-read” shelf that I’m really excited about and not ones that will do “when I have time” because I’m learning that I will never have time for those! 2) Read more! Much more. I’m a little overwhelmed with magazine subscriptions at the moment, but I plan to fit more reading time in, whether it’s during my lunch break or for a little while each night. I’m not sure I will ever get that list down to zero (and I truly hope that I don’t!!) but I would like to keep it from giving me panic attacks.

That being said, here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

book collage

Torch [Cheryl Strayed] – This was one of those cases where I picked up a book by this author, loved it, and then wanted to read everything else of hers that I could get my hands on. This time it worked out well for me, as I enjoyed both Torch and Wild. Torch is fiction, but is based on the author’s own life. I read Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things first, and since both are autobiographical, I enjoyed connecting the parts of Torch to those parts of Cheryl Strayed’s story that I already knew. I will say that had I not read this book after the other two, I may not have been as interested, as it can be a bit slow and is certainly a little depressing, although moving.

An Abundance of Katherines [John Green] – Ok, so I guess I really do this a lot. I picked up this book after finishing The Fault in Our Stars and having actual pains from missing the crap out of that book once I turned the last page. An Abundance of Katherines was a similarly endearing story with quirky characters, but I didn’t fall in love with it as much as I did the first John Green novel that I read. Being the nerd that I am, I can’t discount a book with so much math in it, so I still would say it was a good read, but definitely start with his other books.

Landline [Rainbow Rowell] – I was waiting for this one to come out before it was even published. After finishing everything else that Rainbow Rowell has written (yeah, yeah, it’s a thing.), I actually set a reminder in my calendar to grab this book on Kindle the first day it was out. I finished it the next day. I just love all her stories, all her characters, and the way I get sucked in. The one and only thing I didn’t like about Landline was that [SPOILER ALERT] I never got a logical explanation as to why the crazy, time-traveling phone thing was happening (intrigued yet?), but that wasn’t enough to keep me from loving this story. It was one of those where I put it down at the end and feel like I just lost my best friend, which may sound like a terrible feeling, but that’s how I know it was a good read.

So that’s my list! What have you been reading? If I were to (carefully this time) add some books to my list, what would you suggest??

Fall Fashion Wishlist

Let me point out right away that I am by no means a fashion blogger. I’m not really a fashion anything, unless shopper counts? The things I am about to show you probably went out of style before I was even born (if they were ever “in style”?), but these are the things that I’m searching the malls for lately.

Fall Fashion Wishlist

[one] – I need me a cargo vest. I’m not sure why, but I’m dying to wear it over a striped shirt with some cognac boots. I’ve seen these all over blogs lately and yet I can’t find one in the stores that I like, so I’m cursing all of you who caught onto this one before I did and snatched them up!

[two] – I’ve also been on the hunt for a cute graphic tee. I think they are a good alternative to a neutral t-shirt when you want to add some interest to your look. I could wear this under a cardigan, with a vest, or on its own with some colored jeans or a skirt.

[three] – If only I had saved ALL my plaid, flannel shirts from the 90s. Sadly, most of those were probably a little boyish and not trendy at all, so this time around I want one with some pinks or purples and more of a modern flair to it.

[four] – This leopard cardigan is practically a neutral and I feel like I could wear it with so many things! It would look great over a graphic tee, with my olive green skinnies, or dressed up for work with a black skirt.

[five] – New obsession. I want colored pants in ALL the colors. I’ve started a collection with olive green, burgundy, and cobalt pairs, but I want them all, especially the mustard and the red! I seriously wear these more than my plain denim now.

[six] – Really searching for a cute dress that I can wear with some tights, boots, and a cardigan for fall, but still get some use out of in the spring and summer as well. This one would be perfect!

[seven] – Puffer vests are my go-to fall thing when I don’t want to wear a jacket yet. I already own a white and a silver, but I would like one in a darker color like this navy pinstripe one. So cute!

[eight] – I was SO excited that ankle boots were becoming a thing this year because I’ve had a pair in my closet for years that never got much use. Unfortunately, I think mine were a chew toy for my cat because pieces of them were hanging off in shreds when I pulled them out to wear to work this week. Embarrassing confession? I wore them anyway and hoped no one looked too closely! I just had to get one last wear out of them before adding them to the list of things I need this year. Yes, need.

I love how most things on this list will pair will the other things, or with items I already own. The leopard cardi over the dress? Awesome! Black booties with a graphic tee and vest? Yes!

Wait, what was that noise? Did my closet just moan?

Fall 2014 Bucket List

Well. August was a rough month. In some ways I feel like August didn’t even happen and I jumped right from enjoying my summer into mild, fall-like temps and I’m still pouting a bit. Between a family emergency that meant several nights away from home (everyone is doing well now!), an ongoing battle with bronchitis, and not too many warm, sunny weekends, my Summer Bucket List definitely suffered. Since I can’t really request a do-over, I’ve decided to save the few things that I didn’t get to and make sure they get back on the list next year.

In the midst of kicking and screaming about the end of summer (I’m not dramatic at all. Really.) I managed to stir up some excitement for fall things, like leaf-peeping, the Patriots, and my favorite month-long holiday – Halloween!

Halloween 2010 - Popeye  Facebook  - Olive Oyl made an appearance on a different night

Halloween 2010 – Popeye and Facebook – Olive Oyl made an appearance on a different night

Instead of the 40 items that I had added to my Summer Bucket List, I decided to be a bit more realistic this time around and ended up with 19 fun things to do this fall. Without further ado…

Fall Bucket List3-page-001

I’m jumping right in on this Fall Bucket List and can’t wait to stuff my face with cider donuts and pumpkin EVERYTHING. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin toothpaste. What? It would be awesome, I promise.

Road Trip Recap! Part II – Hershey, PA

As promised, I’m back to tell you about the sweetest part of our recent road trip vacation (pun shamelessly intended, of course).

10492988_10152596313209708_1374744090762774688_o

How cute are those street lights? On the way there, Dan jokingly asked me if everything would be edible, like the roads and buildings, and sadly, they’re not, but when they open THAT theme park, I will gladly be there for the opening ceremony. And every day after that one.

reeses

I had been to Hershey as a kid, but since my brother and I were about 2 and 10 at the time, we skipped the amusement park. Since Dan and I are both roller coaster fans, we were excited to read about the 12 different coasters at Hersheypark.

HersheyPark

For a sunny-ish, warm, weekend day in July, we were really expecting a crowd, but the lines, both for parking and rides were next to nothing! I don’t know if it was the threat of showers that day, or maybe we just got lucky, but we never waited in a line for more than 30 minutes, and most were far less. While in line for the first coaster, we decided to employ the “go big or go home” strategy and waited in a separate queue for the front seat. This was the longest we waited and it was still only about 30 minutes and completely worth it!

coaster

Both of us are used to being at amusement parks with other non-riders who will hold our phones and wallets while we flip upside-down and sideways on all the coasters. This time was a little different, and after a couple of near losses, we headed back to the car to get rid of our important things. Unfortunately, this included my phone, so I have no pictures from the rest of our day at Hersheypark, including the adorable little black bear in the zoo.

We made it through five or six coasters (we skipped the wooden ones and the kiddish ones) and thought we were done, but on our way out of the park we discovered one more that we hadn’t already tackled. All of the spinning around had gotten to us both, though, so we decided we were happy with what we had accomplished so far and that it was time to head over to Chocolate World.

You don’t have to tell me twice.

10353477_10152596313659708_6264560457727097877_o

The first thing we did here was the tour. The ride runs continuously through a makeshift factory showing you how all the different types of chocolate are made. This was the one thing that I had done before when I visited years ago and I still had a really strong memory of the smell of chocolate at a certain point in the tour. I got that weird, nostalgia-like, deja-vu feeling midway through the ride when I smelled it EXACTLY the same as I remembered.

10551517_10152596313724708_6750667368250193673_o

After the tour, we had booked a chocolate tasting. Yes, it’s even more awesome than it sounds. You’re given several sample-sized pieces of chocolate, some that I never tried before, and told to absolutely NOT chew them. You let the chocolate melt in your mouth so that you can really enjoy the flavors and pick out the different notes in each one. That was equal parts difficult and eye-opening for me. Everyone’s taste buds pick up flavors differently, but it was really neat to notice the fruity and earthy flavors in a piece of dark chocolate.

10457652_10152596314389708_2456400798021759643_o

After that, we put on some really flattering glasses and watched a 4D movie that was clearly intended for kids, but enjoyed by us just the same. There was a motion-capture effect that kept Dan interested and the smell of chocolate and Jolly Ranchers that did it for me. There will never be a time where I complain I’m bored while pieces of 3D chocolate are flying towards my face, even if they’re simulated.

4d

If you promise not to judge, I’ll tell you that we hit the gift shop afterwards, even though we already were stuffed full of free samples. Ok, fine, I had a sundae too. Vacation!

10373106_10152596313254708_1140791978102709071_o

If you can resist that, we can’t be friends. Unless you give me your piece.

I definitely think we saved the best for last with our road trip vacation. I enjoyed D.C. and most of the things we did, but I feel like it’s more of a place that you visit once or twice just to be able to say you’ve done so, whereas Hershey I would love to visit again in the near future. There were a few other things, both at Hersheypark and in Hershey itself, that we didn’t have time to check out, and I can always find more to do in the gift shop (wink, wink).

Drive six hours for chocolate? Piece of cake. With ice cream.

Road Trip Recap! Part I – Washington, D.C.

Hey guys!

We just got back from a little road trip to Washington, D.C. & Hershey, PA and I thought I would share some of the details. I’m going to try to summarize here because we did a LOT of things. I’m the kind of vacationer where I want to plan everything out and try to see & do as much as possible, which ends up wearing me out and I’m so ready to go home and relax by the time vacation is over. I realize that is the complete opposite of a vacation, but that’s just how I am. Every time I say that I want to leave just one day for relaxing by a beach or pool, but I know I would be bored with that in a matter of hours, as would Dan, so…. it never happens. Lots of walking, early mornings, jam-packed days – we’re nuts. But we had a lot of fun and took over 1300 photos, so let’s get started.

10498093_10152596246019708_5044813321270274583_o

We left on Wednesday morning and drove straight through, with the exception of one stop for gas, food, and bathrooms, so we got there just before dinner time. I’m like an impatient road trip Nazi and I really, really hate to make any stops along the way, I just want to GET there. Luckily, neither of us needed to stop more than once each way, and we didn’t hit any traffic coming or going, except for a 25-minute or so annoyance over the GW Bridge, so I would definitely recommend leaving around 9am on a weekday if you’re planning a similar trip.

10553957_10152596237414708_6892655550369256146_o

We booked a couple of tours through our Senator’s office and the Capitol tour was by far our favorite. I have so many photos of the Capitol building from every angle, it’s ridiculous. It’s just such a massive building, and the architecture, just as with every other building in the city, is incredible.

10507142_10152596253654708_6336504156229594114_o

10496950_10152596250434708_2631842376035680875_o

10497161_10152596248409708_3977734065337664345_o

The inside was gorgeous as well and we learned a few little anecdotes about the rooms, paintings, and history of the Capitol building.

10557036_10152596249084708_8399675028808481268_o

From the Capitol there is an underground tunnel to the Library of Congress, which is hands down the most beautiful building we managed to get into. I highly recommend checking it out if you end up nearby.

10497026_10152596249774708_1873074698224385842_o

10535817_10152596249819708_1398394670634759408_o

We toured The Bureau of Engraving and Printing where we learned how money is made. Unfortunately, there were no free samples, but they do sell some in their gift shop as shredded up insides of Christmas ornaments, pens, and cards.

10549066_10152596240289708_3321714478878352746_o

At the last minute (the night before we left!) we found out that we got to take a tour of The Pentagon. I was beyond excited for this, but it ends up that we were a little underwhelmed because you don’t really see much except for the hallways and some memorabilia that you pass by quickly. This is the only photo we were allowed inside the Pentagon.

10465278_10152596239904708_4408200108435302063_o

We weren’t able to get a tour of the White House, so this was as close as we got to it. I was really hoping to meet Bo, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

10446112_10152596253909708_416500800590921280_o

We climbed the Washington Monument (by elevator!) and looked out over the city from all directions.

10505251_10152596242624708_1513525323220451391_o

10548125_10152596242814708_8241601313609377842_o

We checked out the Smithsonian American History, Natural History, and Air & Space museums. For as excited as I was about the American History museum, I expected a lot more pop culture and found that I was a little bored with what we saw.

10495812_10152596239144708_6661784516902528992_o

The Natural History museum, however, ended up being better than I expected. I’m not sure what I thought it would be like, but it reminded me a lot of the Museum of Science in Boston.

10531288_10152596242269708_5345816421669447251_o

DayThree (21b)

The Air & Space museum was full of gigantic planes and shuttles to photograph and walk through. This was another museum that I ended up liking more than I expected. We even came back the next night to see a show in the planetarium.

10550080_10152596251599708_1475499227730401077_o

10528365_10152596245439708_1374307961196682918_o

One thing I was REALLY unimpressed with was the Holocaust Museum. We had heard from several people that it’s a really emotional place and very moving. Maybe we’re cold-hearted jerks, but all we saw was an exhibit for children that was pretty unimpressive and lots of empty space, so we left shortly after we arrived. Maybe we missed something? It was actually kind of bizarre walking from empty room to empty hallway, so I’m thinking we did?

10560335_10152596240004708_1257879214631336849_o

What we didn’t miss was a pretty crazy thunderstorm. Of course, while this storm was occurring, we weren’t indoors, but in a wide open expanse of land known as Arlington National Cemetery. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to be exact. In case you ever wondered, those guards do stay out in inclement weather even when lightning is flashing not far away and the rain is pouring down on their very heavy-looking military uniform. To top it all off, we got kicked out in the middle of the storm because the park was closing immediately after the final changing of the guard ceremony, so we walked back to the Metro with my camera wrapped in Dan’s shirt, hoping not to get struck by lightning.

10454510_10152596241309708_5083823575774353967_o

DayOne (186)

Speaking of the Metro? SO much nicer than the T in Boston. It’s pretty easy to follow, as once your inside the city you can take almost any train to the main tourist attractions, and we were blown away by how neat and clean it was. And air-conditioned!

10560396_10152596240594708_9138425443047848647_o

Of course we visited several of the monuments. The Iwo Jima statue was roughly about 8x larger than I expected. It’s monstrous.

1979084_10152596237184708_4606472107188468787_o

906605_10152596253719708_6329265415189173876_o

20140710_111714

When we got tired of tours, monuments, and historical museums, we visited Madame Tussaud’s!

10550196_10152596243564708_8079927248227949321_o

10519766_10152596246354708_6422562323176994838_o

10562573_10152596246144708_1148742950886154553_o

By far, the best place we ate at was Capitol City Brewing Company. In fact, it was the only place we visited off of the list I had made beforehand, since we spent most of the time at our hotel restaurant or grabbing snacks and fast food while wandering around.

10472811_10152596248254708_8660296399537269861_o

Definitely glad Capitol City Brewing was the place we chose to check out because my black bean burger with avocado aioli, cilanto rice, and soft pretzel “dinner roll” (omg.) were all great!

10520819_10152596248079708_8999396307550905245_o

We crammed a lot into three days and our feet were definitely feeling it, but our wallets certainly didn’t. I still can’t believe that most of the museums and tours are free, so if you’re looking for an inexpensive summer trip, this is a great option. AND! People are obscenely nice there! Cars were letting us cross the street, people were asking if we needed help finding something, and no one huffed and puffed if we slowed them down by a millisecond while trying to figure out where we were headed. I love me some Boston, but this was a welcome change.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Part II involves lots of chocolate, so I hope you come back for that also. ;)

Just Grazing on Some Snacks

It’s no secret around here that I really like food, especially snacks, but I also really enjoy getting mail. Somehow those little targeted Facebook ads figured out as much and invited me to try Graze, a subscription snack box service, and my first box would be free! Free things? Food? Delivered directly to my lazy self? Sign me up!

This is the first Facebook ad that I’ve fallen for so far, but I am so glad that I was such a marketer’s dream that day because my first snack box was just delivered and I can’t shut up about it.

_DSC0008

I often have a hard time choosing snacks because I want something that isn’t going to make me feel guilty, but I don’t want to sacrifice my cravings (usually sweet or salty). That’s what got me about Graze – each box contains four different healthy choices that are also really unique and flavorful. Each snack has a benefit, whether it’s being a daily serving of fruit or under 100 calories, but with options like Wholegrain Banana Caramel Dippers and Tomato & Basil Pizza, you don’t have to feel like you’re being good.

_DSC0023

The nutritional facts of each item are included, as well as the “best by” date. You can also choose whether you want a regular box or one with only low-calorie (under 150) snacks.

_DSC0031

If you visit their website, you can learn more about each snack. Once you sign up, you can choose which ones you would like to try, or exclude any that you don’t want. I decided not to try a few of the spicier options, and after receiving my first box, I rated my favorites to make sure I will get them again (or similar flavors) in the future.

Once my box had shipped, I figured out (somewhat accidentally) that I could view its contents online. What a lesson in self-control this week has been! I managed to only sneak a peek at one of my four snacks and was hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the rest! Here’s what I received:

_DSC0032a

This was the first treat I taste-tested and I declared it my favorite right away. As I continued on I had to accept that it was okay to have several favorites, but this one is VERY tasty if you like savory snacks.

_DSC0048

Next up were the Mississippi BBQ Pistachios.

_DSC0038

This one was actually my least favorite of the bunch, only because I tend to want to stuff my face with the sweet and salty snacks. These are not spicy by any means, and for someone who is into BBQ chips and flavors, I’m sure they would be a nice change from ordinary pistachios.

_DSC0064

This next snack is going right into my oatmeal tomorrow morning.

_DSC0039

I don’t buy dried fruit often enough, but I really should. These taste great, even if they look like shriveled, odd versions of their original selves. The strawberries are my favorite and I rated this snack as one I would like to try again.

_DSC0073

And finally, here is my other favorite:

_DSC0041

These are so good that my only complaint is I wish there were more of them! I’m already planning on bathing in any of that leftover toffee dip.

_DSC0078

Each item comes sealed in it’s own little package, so they would all be great for snacking on-the-go. I’ve already taped mine back up and am currently ignoring the gravitational force that wants me to rip them all back open instead of waiting to pack them in my lunch bag tomorrow.

_DSC0047

If you want to try your first Graze box for free also, just use this link! Not only will your first box be free, but your 5th one will be also. Delivery is always free, so at $6 per box, I think the price-point is great. When you factor in all of the promotions, you will get 5 snack boxes for just $18 – less than $1 per snack! You can choose to get weekly or bi-weekly deliveries, but you also have the option of postponing them if you want to skip a week. You can cancel at any time, but honestly, I don’t see myself getting tired of these any time soon!

At least not until I’ve tried the Salted Fudge & Peanut Cookie. Whaaaaaaat?!

[[This is not a sponsored post and I did not receive any type of compensation from Graze for sharing my review. All opinions are my own. Referral code used above.]]

1 2 3 4