SOS (And 100 Days of Kindness, Day 22)

5 words for you: Friends. Laughing. Dancing. Cupcakes. Heels.

This weekend was great. As seen here:

YUM Mix Bakery cupcakes

Perfection

Birthday girl ready to dance!

The new face of PBR

Some of my favorite people ever

We stuffed ourselves with cupcakes from Mix Bakery, got all gussied up and headed out on the town. I even wore high-heels! I always plan on wearing heels, but I also always chicken out. This time I did it and even though I was the same size as Shaq, I wore them and loved it.

Fab evening all around.

Now onto my ‘kindness’ today…

On may way home from work I called my grandpa to chat. It’s good to check in every now and then. A few things I absolutely adore about my ‘Par':

  • When you ask him what’s going on/how things are going his usual reply is “S.O.S” which means, “Same old S%#t”
  • He laughs after almost everything either he says, or I say on the phone
  • He answers the call “Helloooooo is that Colleen there?”
  • He always tells me how good it is to hear from me
  • He signs off “See ya later alligator” in which I naturally say “In a while crocodile”
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Friends! (And 100 Days of Kindness, Day 20)

My ‘kindness’ today – I picked up my fabulous friend Kait Braz from Logan because she’s in town for the weekend. We’re going out tonight for my other fab friend LVP’s birthday. Happy birthday in advance m’lady!

A bunch of friends from college out on the town = gonna be a GREAT night! We’re excited to say the least. Tonight might look like this: (a scene from one of the best nights in college. Prepare yourself. It’s scary.)

Ok I’m so nice, I did TWO nice things today. Well, I’m going out now to do my second nice thing. I’m picking up Mix Bakery cupcakes for my little LVP’s birthday. Like I’ve mentioned before they are the.most.delicious.cupcakes.in.the.world. The girls have never had them before, so I’m pumped to share them with them!

Ok, I’m off to get my cupcakes. I hope everyone has a great night!

Blogoddesses in the square

Healthworks has gone and done it again. They so graciously invited me to their Blogger Picnic this past Tuesday, so of course I obliged (those ladies know how to treat their bloggers!) They started the evening with a walk through the Copley Square Farmers Market (which unfortunately I didn’t get there in time for) and then they moved on to a Bosu class with Kate (which I was tid bit late for but made it to most of.) Kate was a great instructor – really cheerful and motivating and not in an annoying way at all (which I always appreciate in an instructor.)

The Bosu class was WAY more difficult than I thought it was going to be! I should have known after the intense spin class from last time (and I was only there for like 20 minutes! I need to step it up.) I honestly thought I was someone with relatively good balance until I stood on the Bosu. It was hard, but there was definitely an element of fun in the class as well – good music, good company (and I liked jumping and bouncing all over the place to be quite honest.)

After class we all showered (not together, you sicko!), grabbed our bags of food (courtesy of Whole Foods) and headed out to sit and chat in Copley Square. It was a gorgeous night for some maxin’ and relaxin’. I’ve never just sat and hung out in Copley Square. It was awesome and I’m glad the Healthworks mamacitas chose that as our spot.

Farmer's market

Little crooked

Bloggers everywhere

First we heard from the ladies from Whole Foods (they provided us with our delicious food, either a Turkey sandwich or Avocado – I had avocado – and also orange, cashew and quinoa salad as well as some fruit. So good.) Melissa and Lynay talked to us about their new healthy living revolution. Whole Foods is committed to making it as easy as possible for customers to choose healthy options in order to live a more balanced life. They’ve partnered with Eat Right America to personalize a program for each individual. Basically we have to eat right in order to reach our ideal weight, to feel our best, to have more energy, to overall lead a better life.

Whole Fooders

Outside shot

Yum!

From their pamphlet –

“Whole Foods market was founded in 1980 out of our desire to be a resource for people looking to eat a healthful diet, free from artificial ingredients. Over the years, our Quality Standards have become the benchmark for natural and organic foods.

Our goal remains to help you understand the value of eating natural, fresh, whole foods that are minimally processed. By choosing nutrient-rich foods, and eliminating foods with artificial ingredients , you can improve your health and vitality.”

We also heard from Lauri Meizler, the founder of Joos. All juices are made from 100% organic fruits and vegetables. We got to try the greens based juice, the carrot based juice and the beet based juice. They definitely had a bit of a zing! to them; I think I liked the carrot based juice best.

I mean, if she has arms like this, maybe I should drink a lot of Joos...

Last, but certainly not least, we heard from Kelly the owner of Mix Bakery. The only thing I can say is that I think I’ve become obsessed with these cupcakes. I dream about them, think about them often and wish that everything I eat could be a Mix Bakery cupcake. They are beyond words amazing. I’m not just saying this because Kelly seems like a really fun, nice person, I am saying this because these are 150% the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. My whole idea of heaven has changed. It’s not clouds and spirits and all of that. Instead, it’s a world filled with Kelly’s cupcakes. Beautiful, fluffy, delicious cupcakes all over the place. And not only are you surrounded by a sea of cupcakes, you can also eat as many as you want, whenever you want to.

Okay, honestly these are the best cupcakes in town so check out her site and place some orders people! You need to try them. We were lucky enough to try Carrot Cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting as well as Peanut Butter cupcakes. (Thank you Kelly!)

Kelly

Delicious!

I had such a lovely time. It was so good to see Elizabeth, Chelsee and Susie, Bridget, Meghan, Elina, Jean, and to meet Sharon and the rest of the bloggers! I wish I got a chance to chat more with everyone, but hopefully we’ll have many more fun blogging events to catch up at. :)

Thanks Judith and Hannah for a fabulous event!! You two are thebomb.com.

And for the daily craic-ers, if you’d like to give Healthworks a try, by all means, please do so with this three-day pass! They weren’t named the Best Women Only Club in America (2010) by Fitness Magazine for nothin’. They are the best. I hope you like it as much as I do!

My Top 5 Summer Desserts

{Thanks Foodies at Work! I think I might attempt a blueberry pie this week!}

I like a good dessert any day (in fact I eat at least one every day, yes seriously) but Summer desserts are special.  We have the opportunity to use fresher ingredients and perhaps have more time to make homemade treats.  If it’s sunny outside, there’s more incentive to take a walk to get a dessert.  Who doesn’t enjoy a pleasant stroll after big dinner – a stroll to a bakery? If you say no, I don’t believe you!  Here are my favorite desserts to eat during the Summer.

Blueberry Pie

You may be familiar with my thought that fruit does not qualify as a dessert.  Desserts, in my opinion, are unhealthy by nature.  Sure there are low fat and fat free options, but sticking fruit in there is like pouring chocolate on your broccoli – STOP! You’re ruining it!  (Hmm, new experiment?) But Summer rules are different.  Fresh fruit can totally be a part of a dessert in the Summer.  One my favorite summertime activities is picking berries.  And what’s a foodie to do with so many fresh berries? Put them in a pie, of course.

Making homemade blueberry pie is really simple.  For this pie I used store bought crust and filled the bottom crust with blueberries tossed with cinnamon and a little sugar, both white and brown. I cut the second crust into strips to make the criss-cross pattern and topped it with more brown sugar.  Bake according to your pie crust directions and if you want a little something extra, top it with homemade whipped cream!

Ice Cream at a Fenway

I don’t usually choose to eat ice cream, but stick it in a plastic Red Sox hat and I’m sold.  The soft-serve vanilla at Fenway, and probably other ballparks, is so creamy and delicious; it’s a perfect way to cool off on a hot day if you’re lucky enough to be there.  Big surprise, my favorite part of going to a game is the food.

Cupcakes

While cupcakes are not specific to Summer, they are and always will be my favorite dessert.  Cupcakes can be enjoyed in any season, but Summer is a great time to try new ones.  Remember that after dinner walk I mentioned? Go ahead and take one.  Find a new bakery and try a cupcake you’ve never tried before.  These cupcakes are from Buttercup Bakery in New York.  They’re special because last Summer I had a list of cupcakes I wanted to try and my friends not only went long with my cupcake plan, they tried them all with me. Do I have great friends or what? J

S’mores

A traditional summer campfire treat, I’m putting S’mores on my list.  Just graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow.  Three simple ingredients combine to make a crunchy, toasty, chocolately treat.  Make them around a fire on a cool summer night, or make them my way: open faced in the toaster!

Congo Bars

You might call them Blondies, which is fine with this blondie, but at my summer camp we called them Congo Bars.  I always looked forward to BBQs at camp because the dessert was always the same.  Half baked ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie bars.  We never cared about eating the possibly raw cookie dough because it tasted soooo good.  Make your own by following my go-to recipe, the one on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag.  Instead of dropping spoonfuls on a baking sheet, spread cookie dough evenly in a brownie pan and under cook them just a little!  Here’s my cookie dough:

A big Thanks to Colleen for asking me to write this list! It was fun and made me hungry!

Top 5 Summer Food Finds in the City

{A big thanks to Fun and Fearless in Beantown!}

When Colleen asked me to write a guest blog post while she is away in Ireland, I immediately accepted her invitation. I am a huge fan of Colleen’s blog and her tweets, so I’m thrilled to be writing to her readers!  To tell you a little about myself, I’ll start out by saying that although I do write about other things on occasion, my blog, Fun and Fearless in Beantown, tends to stick to a subject matter that most of us enjoy – food! I love to write about my experiences in the kitchen along with dining reviews of local restaurants.  Since summer officially arrived last week, I wanted to share my top five summer food finds in the city!

Cupcakes from Mix Bakery

This past year, I discovered one of Boston’s newest bakeries – Mix Bakery.  I first discovered them when I was searching for vegan desserts for my fiance’s birthday party.  Since a few of his friends were vegans, I wanted to make sure they had something sweet to indulge in but I didn’t have time to make a separate vegan cake!  Mix Bakery came to the rescue and helped make my party a success.  Since then, I’ve also had Mix Bakery’s regular (i.e. non-vegan) cupcakes and they are all fantastic but the strawberry rhubarb is definitely my favorite!

Since the owner, Kelly, is operating out of a home studio right now, she will deliver cupcakes to you for a small delivery charge, which makes Mix Bakery an easy go-to for your summer barbecues and Fourth of July parties!

Banh Mi Sandwiches from New Saigon Sandwich Shop

During the summer, I love eating outdoors as much as possible.  Often times, I’ll head to New Saigon Sandwich Shop on Washington Street in Chinatown.  This place is an absolutely tiny store but the food is big in both size and flavor! Banh mi is a sandwich made of a Vietnamese baguette with thinly sliced pickled carrots, daikon, onions, cilantro and hot peppers.  There are different types of meat for the sandwiches but my favorite is the curry chicken.  Best of all, the sandwiches only cost a few bucks! Since the store has limited seating, I like to grab my sandwich and head to the Common to indulge in the sunshine.

Government Center Farmers Market

I absolutely love eating and cooking with local and sustainable ingredients.  From June to November, I make several trips every week to the Government Center Farmers Market, which is conveniently located on my walk home from work.  I’ve picked up some delicious finds already, including the first cherries of the season from Keown Orchards in Sutton, MA.

If you want to find out more about where and when you can find a farmers market near you, check out the Mass Farmers Market website!

 Olive Oil Tasting at Miel

I love eating (and drinking) at the Intercontinental Hotel during the summer because a lot of their restaurants offer such amazing waterfront patio seating.  Miel is one of my favorite spots because in addition to their delicious French bistro fare, they also offer a complimentary olive oil tasting to anyone who asks.  A server will tell you all about the different olive oils, why they taste differently and of course offer you lots of different breads to dip with.   I can’t wait to return back this summer to get my fill!

 The Patio at Alibi

Now that it is warm out, I’m definitely excited about sipping a few cocktails on Alibi’s patio.  Although this hotel bar isn’t exactly new to the scene, I wanted to mention Alibi because they have recently done a major re-vamp of their bar menu.  From what I understand, their food was previously made by a neighboring restaurant across the street and from my personal opinion – it wasn’t anything special.  But recently, they have done a complete overhaul and the food is now coming straight from the Lydia Shire’ kitchen at Scampo.  I went there a few weeks ago to sample some of their new menu items and my favorites included the ciccio (a flatbread-like quesadilla) and their truffled polenta fries.  Of course, I also indulged in a cocktail or two – including their Dirty Harry martini (dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives!).

I think this last photo is a perfect note to end this blog on!  I want to thank Colleen for giving me the opportunity to guest blog and wish her safe travels!

No Phone Zone

You see your phone lighting up. You hear the beep. Your ringtone is going on and on and on… You pick it up, read the text, and have to slam on your brakes because you just looked up from your phone and it’s a red light. You almost just crashed into the car in front of you. Your heart is racing, you start sweating and you think ‘Phew! That was a close call.’ 

Your thought should be ‘I need to stop texting while driving. No more cell phone when I’m in the car, unless I’m pulled over.’ 

It is unacceptable to read your texts while driving. It is unacceptable to text someone back while driving. It will cause an accident. Maybe it hasn’t yet, but it will – and you could hurt someone else, or even yourself. Put the phone down, put your hands on the wheel and keep your eyes on the road. That text is just not worth it. 

I’ve texted while driving. I think a lot of us have in our time. In today’s day and age we have millions different things begging to distract us while we’re trying to concentrate on something else. We always have to be up-to-date on everything, we need to be busy busy busy, always on our cell phones, always on the computer, always multi-tasking. Well, we need to focus while driving because honestly, everything could change in a second. That’s reality. 

“A call or text isn’t worth taking a life. We must not allow our mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers to die before we take action against distracted driving. Let’s put a stop to it now by joining together on April 30th for National No Phone Zone Day and by making our cars a No Phone Zone.” – Oprah 

Today is the first National No Phone Zone Day brought to you by Oprah Winfrey. I signed the pledge today, have you? Sign here – http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html

Does this scenario ring a bell?  

These stories are devastating

Please sign the pledge. And please take the pledge seriously. 

On a lighter note… since tomorrow is my birthday, my work best friend Nicole made me cupcakes today and a birthday sign! She also brought me Fruity Pebbles - one of my favorite treats!!! Today has been a great day :) 

My sign!!

YUM!

Now, I’m heading out to meet Colin and get on the road to New York! Birthday celebration time with my parents, Colin, my grandfather and one of my best friends in the world, Heather – should be a great weekend! 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Enjoy the weather. Go take a walk, you need a break!