Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weekend Getaway to CT

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I am writing to you all from lovely Vermont with my family.  Before we get into the wonderful week we have planned here I need to tell you all about the most amazing weekend I just had at Mohegan Sun with a great group of ladies.

Bianca invited me as her guest for a Girls' Only Blogger Weekend at Mohegan Sun hosted by the resort.  From the moment we arrived I knew we were in for a treat! It was wonderful to catch up with a few Boston Bloggers I knew and to meet some other bloggers that I personally read daily! What a great group of fascinating and amazing ladies!

The weekend kicked off with Bianca and I leaving Boston bright and early to make it to Uncasville, CT by 9am! The schedule for the day included options to bike, hike or visit the local aquarium.  Can you guess which excursion I chose?  

If you guessed the Aquarium then give yourself an extra slice of pie today! 

Bianca and I picked to visit the Mystic Aquarium for the morning. We lucked out with a beautiful day that was crisp but still warm enough to walk outside w/ just a vest and scarf.   I am sure you can tell from the pictures but my favorite part of the morning was the outdoor exhibits. When Bianca and I saw the Beluga whales we both squeeed and giggled louder than all of the actual children at the exhibit!!  

The whales were happily swimming by the glass and I am pretty sure they were laughing and smiling at all of us. It was amazing to see such massive creatures act so playful and graceful throu the water. 

After pulling ourselves away from the whales (and Bianca convincing me NOT to jump in the tank and swim with the whales) we made our way to see sea lions, seals and penguins all frolicking in the sunshine. There was plenty of giggling and photo snapping by both of us!

Once inside we explored the many tanks of fishes from around the world. I even had the chance to touch a shark!!  
This guy felt more like a pair of well worn boots than the slimy fish I expected.  ( and yes I was the only person over the age of ten at the interactive tank but I did not care! How often do you get the chance to touch a shark?!?!?!?!?! )
I even ran into Nemo!!! 

This turtle did not like to have his photo taken..... But the jellyfish below didn't even take notice of me :)

We even saw the most fashionable crustacean ever! A blue lobster who accessorizes with hot pink bracelets!

After the aquarium we headed back to hotel/ casino in style!

We checked in to our rooms VIP style then headed to Bobby Flay's burger joint for lunch.  Two words for you.... CHIPOTLE KETCHUP! God bless Bobby Flay!

I will get into the details of the weekend in the next post. A few spoilers include a steak to convert all veggie lovers and shrimp n' grits that made this Yankee think about moving to Alabama!

My weekend was comped by Mohegan Sun but as always my reviews of the weekend are 100% my own!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Boston Blogger Holiday Meetup!

The lovely ladies over at Boston Bloggers have set up another great Boston Blogger meetup next month.  If you are around December 4th please come out and welcome in the Holiday Season with old and new friends.  They will also be collecting unwrapped toys for charity.  You can register here and find more details here.

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween - Doctor Who Style!

I know, I know...  I went on vacation over a month ago and haven't written since. Yes I have been busy but honestly I just haven't been in the mood to write. Hoping by sitting down and typing will help get me over this block.

Good news today is one of my FAVORITE days of the year!  As a kid my mom would start planning our costumes in the summer.  My sister and I were everything from a man eating flower to a hot air balloon (complete w/ free standing balloon and actual basket my sister stood in!)  Mi Madre is pretty freaking awesome when it comes to Halloween and being creative!

In honor of the funnest lady I know, this year I made my costume (more like Semi-homemade) but it still counts right?

This year, I went as the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) Machine from the show Doctor Who.

For inspiration I went to the place where all first world women go to these days.... Pinterest!  One quick search for TARDIS Dress brought up some pretty impressive outfits!

Thankfully I already owned a blue dress that I picked up at Target years ago (even better it still fit!).  I figured with the help of some paint and a glue gun I could whip an "inspired" tardis dress without too much injury trouble.

Unassuming simple Target shift dress from mid-2000's 
I knew I wanted the dress to look like the front door of the TARDIS, so I figured I could paint the white panels and glue on the signs (literally I glue gunned actual paper print outs..)  this is not a long term option but it did hold up for an entire party Saturday night and I will be rocking it again tonight!

I used card stock to mark where I wanted the panels and also taped the other pieces to the dress while I was wearing it to make sure everything was where I wanted it. (This dress tends to bunch as you walk so I didn't want the paper to constantly be pulling).

I laid out my supplies and plenty of paper (no need to paint the hardwoods!) 

Annnnnd I cracked open a bottle of liquid DIY courage....  I knew this would either come out awesome or the result of letting rabbid monkeys loose with a paint brush....

I spent 2 nights on the costume.  First night I glued and painted the white panels.  I let this all dry before adding the details and the belt.

For any Doctor Who fans, I hope you enjoy the extra "flair" I added to the dress....

Day 2, I did my best at free hand window panes and borders.  I also hot glued the "Police" sign to an old black fabric belt I had laying around.

Not too shabby right?!?!

The end result came out AWESOME!  I even met a couple who dressed up as the Doctor and River at the party!!

I will totally be saving this dress for future events...  I am really happy with the results even if it isn't perfect.

Anyone else dressing up for Halloween?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

To Wine Country I must go!

As I type this I am somewhere high above the United States on my way to Sonoma/ Napa via San Francisco!!!  

Myself, awesome roommate and two great friends are about to embark on an amazing week in Wine Country!  To say that I am excited is the understatement of a lifetime!  The majority of my vacations are spent either on MV or exploring a city solo after a work trip.  To have the ability to visit some of the more well known wineries in the US with 3 amazing ladies make me a very lucky girl!  

Our trip begins today in San Fran were we will spend the night. Tomorrow we will meet up w/ our 4th partner in crime (she lives in LA) and begin our trek north to Sonoma.  The week is packed full of tastings, tours and even a "make your own wine blend" class at Paradux. I have my camera and iPad charged and ready to go!  I am hoping to get in a few posts this week on our adventures!  I even have a Moelskine wine journal to keep track of all the wines we taste!  

Now it should be pretty obvious that this foodie would not get on a 6 hour flight without snacks!  In my little cooler I have packed apples, almonds, roasted sweet potato slices, veggies & hummus (3oz Tupperware) and a container of chickpea & avocado "egg salad". I am ready to relax and nosh my way across this country today!  

FYI, you should all try this vegan egg salad!  It is super easy to make, very inexpensive and really delicious!  All you need to do is smash together 1 can of drained chickpeas with 1 avocado until it looks like traditional egg salad.  Add some lime juice, cilantro and a hint of salt and you are ready to go!  That is it!  I did add hot sauce to mine because I love all these spicy but the possibilities are endless!

Ok! I am off to snack and finish watching Snow White and the Hunstman on my Amazon Prime account.  Love that site!!

What do you pack for snacks while traveling?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quick soup and a Sonoma update

I am in paradise people!!!  Sonoma may be the most quaint place I have ever been.  It is the perfect mix of small town New England and laid back California style.  Today will kick off a week of tours and tastings throughout Sonoma and Napa. To say I am overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation is an understatement!

While I am off tasting I thought I would share a simple, healthy, and delicious vegan soup that you can make super fast during this first week of fall!

This soup came together after a weekend of camping.  I was tired, and had not been grocery shopping for the week yet.  I fought with myself to not order takeout and use what I had in the pantry.  I am so glad that I did!  This soup is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a first course for a more formal dinner ( ie: holiday dinner parties). 

The only real prep is roasting the squash first in the oven until soft.  Once roasted, add the squash to sautéed veggies, add spices and veggie broth.  Cook until everything is soft, blend with an immersion blender and then enjoy!!

I added a few slices of raw leek for crunch but you can use homemade croutons or whatever you are craving. This soup is hearty, vegan and good for the soul. 

Acorn Squash, Leek & Sweet Potato Soup:

1 Acorn Squash (roasted)
1 Sweet potato(diced)
1 Leek (sliced)
2 cloves garlic diced
2 small apples (diced)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp sumac powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
4 cups vegetable broth

Roast acorn squash until soft in oven, Aprox 30 mins at 375. Remove and cool. 
In a large stock pan soften leeks and garlic in olive oil ( or coconut oil), once softened add in apples, sweet potato and spices. After about 5 minutes add in squash and broth. Cook until all vegetables are soft and soup is simmering. Next either purée soup with immersion blender or carefully blend soup in blender. Serve hot with sliced raw leeks or crutons. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Set Fire to the Rain?

This past weekend I went on a camping trip up in New Hampshire.  While the majority of the weekend we lucked out with great cool temps and sunny skies for hiking, we were also treated with the remnants of a hurricane passing through on Saturday night!  I really thought we were going to loose our rain tarps at one point the wind and rain was so hard! (I may or may not have slept in an SUV Saturday night due to the flooding of our tent....)

Even with the excitement provided by mother nature we still had a great weekend hiking, cooking on the camp fire (after many attempts to start it in the pouring rain!!!) and huddling under tarps playing card games.
Strong winds leave me with AWESOME hiking hair!  #Sarcasm

If you live in the New England area I HIGHLY suggest the Crawford Notch General Store & Campground Campsite.  The staff is great and the campsites are large, on the water and close to many many trails!

Thanks to Seth, Allie, Jay  & Scott for planning another great trip!  Here's hoping next year mother nature decides to hold off on the major storms!

I was one of the first to arrive on Friday night, so we set up the tent and got the fire going. Which really means, that I did what Jay told me to do and tried to stay out of the way so the actual camping professional could set up the site properly! (Thank you for putting up with this city girl Jay!)

Cold beer and a camp fire... what more could a girl want?

 I am officially obsessed with New Balance Minimus sneakers.  Sorry all other brands, these are my sneaks of choice from now on!

Love random rock art left by other campers!

On Saturday after breakfast at the site we made our way down the road to Mount Willard trail.  It was a pretty straight shot up the mountain but I will take a shady steep hike over an exposed sunny gradual hike any day of the week....

The hike took us about 45 minutes to the top (about 2500 foot elevation) but the reward is like none other!
Top of Mount Willard

Soul Searching at 2800 feet

photo break

After the hike we headed over to a natural waterfall for lunch.  It was the perfect sunny spot to stretch out, refuel with PB&J sandwiches and Instagram (there was zero reception for 99% of the weekend! GASP)

I had such a great time, even with the rain!  I really enjoy heading off the grid with this group every year and look forward to many many more trips with them!