Thursday, April 25, 2013

A day in Negril, Jamaica

  I want to start this post by saying .. if you have not been to Seven Mile Beach YOU MUST GO!!! I am not a conosuir by any extent, but I have traveled all over the Caribbean, and this was the prettiest most happening beach I have been to! 
Mark ... on the way to 7 Mile Beach
  The cab ride from Mo Bay  took  a bit over an hour.  The driver first quoted us $180 USD, but after the week went on we got the trip for $120.  I love bargaining in Jamaica!  Our driver acted as a tour guide as he took us toward the west coast of the island.  We traveled through what looked like the countryside and learned all sorts of facts about Jamaica.  Such as…
  -Jamaica has 14 Parishes and each city has a parish.  These Parishes  run off donations and offer “kindegarten” for children ages 3 to 5 for a small fee. 
-We also learned that Jamaica has not welfare system or housing assistance, so people MUST work.  Many people who do not have work or full time work are forced to pedal goods in their time off.  Because of this, you do not need a license or permits to sell goods on the side of the road etc.
  After arriving in Negril we saw a series of American looking hotels (large and luxurious) as well as some smaller, more Caribbean styled, hotels.  I love stying in smaller paces like that, but not during my first time in a country.  We got dropped off in Margaritaville Negrill, which was perfect.  They have chairs and security that watches your items for a small tip.You do not need to eat or drink there, but it is of course suggested.  The chairs were located at a great spot on the beach, so we set up shop and started walking.  We walked for a solid hour and passed by all types of resorts, smaller hotels, shops, bars and restaurant.  The beach was truly pristine, and one of the better beaches I ave ever been to.  Mark and I walked and walked and grabbed a few drinks at Margaritaville  and headed into the water.  The water was so clear and the sand very smooth.  I was in heaven!

Largest Sting Ray I have ever seen in nature, about 3.5 feet across.  He was just hanging out while I swam!

  For lunch we at at The Treetop Hotel and Bar.   We dined on fresh fish fingers and a Caribbean lobster with herbed butter sauce.  The lunch was delicious and filled with Caribbean flare.  At around 3pm it started to rain, so we packed up shop and headed to Rick’s CafĂ© to cliff jump and watch the Sunset.

 This was a small hotel with a bar built around a tree and into the ocean.  Talk about "on" the water dining!
  Rick’s is a must-see if headed to Jamaica any time soon.  It is a restaurant built into a 35 foot jumping cliff.  The restaurant boasts great views of the west end of Jamaica, as well as a top notch sunset spot.  Unfortunately the clouds did not nullified the views and sunset we were promised, but I’m sure they would’ve been incredible.  As for the jumping, Mark jumped and I did not!  Jumping from a platform surrounded by jagged rock is not for me; although I know I should have because there are no guarantees I will have the opportunity again.  Oh well!
  We departed ricks around 5:45 and headed back to Mo Bay. 
On the whole this day was PERFECT and I would recommend going for sure!

Back to reality:
  I’m blogging from 35,000 feet, and it feels great!  Of course this won’t be posted until later tonight when my normal Internet service resumes, but it still feels good.  As much as I love vacation, it is also good to return to the comforts of routine. 
  Yesterday was a bittersweet day, like most last days of vacation tend to be.  Although I am so thankful for our law enforcement officials for finding both marathon bombing suspects and holding one in custody, it was a difficult week to be away from the ones you love.  Many of my friends and family live right in Boston, as Mark and I did when we were younger (Mark full-time me a frequent visitor).  I wanted to ensure that everybody, especially those who were close to me were safe and sound.  As gorgeous as Jamaica was, you couldn’t avoid the story.  CNN, other resort guests, cab drivers and local people alike were talking about it, and sharing their versions; while the whole time I longed to be back in my city with my loved ones and friends.
  We were determined to “pass the time” yesterday, although the weather wasn’t always cooperative.  Mark played a few rounds of beach volleyball, his primary exercise for the week.I tried to read, listen to music, take walks, talk to others etc.  We grabbed lunch around 12:30 and soon after the rain came.  We played cards to pass the time, and eventually packed up our stuff and became instantly glued to CNN.  Although the newscasts were repetitive and at some points ridiculous, it was comforting to see our city on tv, and to know that progress was being made.  It is silly to be worrying from so far, I know; but we both were.
   Right before dinner we discovered the second suspect had been found and was in police custody.  It felt like a boulder had bee lifted from my chest!We went to dinner eagerly!  I dined on a grilled salmon dish served over steamed baby spinach and mixed veggies.  The fish was great, as were the cold and hot appetizer options.  Mark and I decided to celebrate our last night of vacation by taking a plate of desserts up to the room and  eating them, while watching a movie.  We dined on German Chocolate Cake, Fruit Tart and Chocolate Cake Balls while watching …… A sweet ending to a blissful vacation!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Attention all MA readers!!!!

Good Morning!
  I am reaching out to my Massachusetts blog followers today, in hopes that you folks will be interested in supporting my Grey Matters Campaign this weekend.

 This Saturday 4/27 the Riders for Rohan are hosting a benefit night at The Turnpike Cafe in Canton, Ma.  The benefit night runs from 6pm until whenever and will offer live music, light food items, fantastic raffle and silent auction opportunities and a boatload of fun!  More importantly, all proceeds from the event will go directly to the National Brain Tumor Society, providing necessary funds for research and support for people affected.

Some of the FABULOUS prizes you could win in our raffle/ silent auction include....
-Restaurant gift cards for area restaurants like The Halfway Cafe, Rick's Cafe, J.P. Licks, The Flying Bridge, Pasta Bene and many more!
- 2 White water rafting passes for Northern Outdoors in The Forks, ME (Kennebec river)
- A $100 Camping giftcard for Normandy Camping Resort in Foxboro, Ma and some camping gear from Campnor
-Free beer ever month for a YEAR!
-Designer handbag/ clutch
-Yoga passes
-A taco party for 20 of your closest friends (via Qdoba)
- Free burritos for a year @ Qdoba
- Four hours of limo service and a gift card to a providence restaurant
- Massage, salon(s), and skin care products and gift cards
-Hand- Knit baby sweater and blanket
-Golf club
and many many more!  Thanks so much to those who donated.

Come, have a drink and a bite, and enjoy the night with THE RIDERS FOR ROHAN!!!
Thanks so much,

Friday, April 19, 2013

Catamaran Cruise to Doctor's Cave and Margaritaville

  Our hotel offers  motorized water sports for a small fee.  From day one, my Mom was looking for a half day catamaran snorkeling trip.  Lucky for us, the hotel offers one at a fair price, and since its Jamaica, the price is always negotiable!  The afternoon cruise left, which was a perfect activity after a long day in the sun.  Mark was eager to get on the water because he loves it, and he hates to sit still on the beach. However, I LOVE to sit and read; but usually I cave and play all kinds of activities with him!
  We ended up going on the cruise which stopped at the Doctor’s Cave beach reef and at Margaritaville Montego Bay.  Mark and I were in this area the day before, but it was till fun to visit again.  I have very few pictures from the boat ride itself, because we had a wet ride!  The wind was high and so wasn’t the surf.  This made the ride damp and entertaining.  In fact, it reminded me a lot of last April when Mark and I sailed the BVI with friends.  Good times! 
  While snorkeling, we saw a bunch of small fish such as angel fish, tiger fish and few rainbow and parrot fish.  These species were not nearly as large as we have seen in other areas, but they were still very fun to see and feed.  After about an hour of snorkeling, we headed over to Margaritaville. 

We ordered a few appetizers and drinks and ate quickly.  Mark and I were eager to use the water toys we had seen the day before.  After eating we headed out there.  We decided to use the large inflatable slide, which looked like fun.  We found out shortly that it was fun, but hard work to get up to the top.  The inflatable mountain had rope rungs to put your arms and feet in.  Lots of upper body strength was a necessity!



Here goes nothing!

  The boat ride back was much smoother and less crowded.  Many of the girls we went with had a dance party on the back, which allotted for MUCH more room on the front for viewing the sunset from the sea.  It was a LOVELY night.
Hidden Mark!

  The boat trip tired us out so much we grabbed a light dinner and headed to bed before nine.  Losers I know!  A few drinks in the sun really takes a toll on you!

Deep Sea Fishing

 As I previously mentioned, Mark and I went Deep Sea Fishing on Monday and it was incredible to be out on the open water, Caribbean style! The boat, a 37’ Luhrs, departed from Doctor’s Cave Beach, a gorgeous , crystal clear beach in the heart of Montego Bay.  The beach is well-known for its clear water, because it is mineral water mixed with the salt water of the Caribbean Sea.  It is said to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world.  Very cool.
  We were picked up at 7:45 and headed right over to the docks.  It was cool seeing all the school kids in their uniforms wating for the bus.  Here in Jamaica, many kids go to school in sessions.  Session one is from 7:30 to 12 and session 2 is from 1:00 to 3:30.  There is also a charge for education here, because you need to buy uniforms and books.  Very interesting.
   Our captain informed us that we did not need to travel  for hours, like we do at home, to catch the largest fish.  In Jamaica, there is a trench called the “Caribbean Trench” that drops the sea floor from 1000 feet to u to 12,000 about 8 minutes after the shoreline. This is quick considering we’d be driving for hours off the Cape!  The long and short of it is, we didn’t catch any fish; but we had an absolute ball and got to see the Jamaican coastline from the ocean.  We are happy we did it.
St. James Parish ( Montego Bay) from the water.
  After fishing, we headed over the Margaritaville for Lunch and  drinks.  I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich, which was very good! 
Water Toys!!!

After lunch we headed back to meet up with my mom, and veg out by the pool/ beach for the second half of the day.  Mark also took out the Hobie Cat, a small catamaran.  The hotel includes non-motorized water-sports  in the all inclusive package, so I have a feeling these hobie cat trips will be daily!.  Mark likes to sail on Hobies, and did so in Mexico as well.  Since our hotel is protected by a large reef and private island (owned by Sandals Montego Bay) there is some wind, but not a tremendous amount of wake; just perfect for sailing these smaller boats.  Mark had a ball out there, and I joined him for a second ride.

Dinner at Mo Bay Steakhouse and DayTwo in Paradise:

  The Mo Bay Steakhouse was lovely, or at least I thought so.  My Mom and Mark both ordered the land and sea skewers and thought they were “okay”.   However, I ordered a filet of sea bass served with seasonal veggies and LOVED every last bite!  The meal was also served with a plated appetizer of tempura veggies, which I had never tried before.  They were good, and rather sinful! 
  Earlier in the day, The three of us watched a destination wedding take place, and the reception happened to be at the steakhouse.  It was heartwarming to see the bride and groom with their families and friends.  The ceremony was also very island-esque, with tropical and bright flowers, loose flowing dresses, and the beach on the horizon.  We have talked to and seen a few destination weddings since we have been here.  I guess I have mixed views.  I would love to go away with my family and friends and have a simple  and fun wedding, but I feel horrible about the associated costs.  Not to mention, what if important people in your life don’t have the means or time off to attend?  Food for thought I guess, but I sure do love the laid back, island vibe!
   The night wrapped up at the sports bar again for a gin rummy tournament.  Mark and I always play while on vacation,  and we are trying to get my Mom into the game.  This time Mark won, but we were neck and neck for a while.


 I write again, a second time this week, to pay tribute to my city, my part-time home for a few years, and ultimately to the state of Massachusetts.  Before my Mom departed Jamaica, our April vacation island home,  she made a great point.  She said she was afraid to come here to the island, to travel alone and at night, but after the recent happenings in our own fearless city, one can never be so sure.

  All I know is this:  hold you family, children, pets and friends close today simply because they are with you and unharmed.  Pray for those who were affected on Monday, and for the the injured police officer and his family affected again last night.  We must unite as a human race to fight off violence of all kinds, especially violent episodes at undeserving as this those of this past week.
  I am in some ways thankful that I am not in school this week. Although I would love to see each and everyone one of my students and colleagues to ensure that they are safe and well, I'm not sure how I would do with their innocent, relevant questions.
How would I ease their anxieties?  In a place where I preach acceptance, kindness and equality for all.  How would I defend my views now?  How would I field questions from close to 90 eleven and twelve year olds regarding the recent attacks on Boston, their home cite as well ?   How could I tell them that it is okay to be angry, sad, hopeful, but to sit and wait for justice to take its course?  Will it take it's course?
  I guess these are answers I will never know.

Monday, April 15, 2013


 My thoughts, sympathies and prayers for those affected by the Boston Marathon Bombings earlier today... for the runners, marathon volunteers and officials, first responders and spectators... I hope you are okay.
  To my family and friends watching  and running the race:  I have never been so happy to pay for international phone charges!!  Keep texting  when you can!

To the runners who have trained for the past 6 months or so:  I hope you finished.  You deserved to finish.  Your hard work and training did not go unnoticed.

To those hurt:  I am so truly sorry for your pain.

relatively speechless,

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Travel Day and Our First day in "Mo Bay"

  Travel days are always stressful, but the good kind of stress where this a sunny bright light at the end of the tunnel!  Make and I awoke at 4:45 to shower, fine tune our packing, and head to the airport.  My mom met us at 5:30, and we were quickly on our way; leaving  our cute fur ball behind ;(
  Last night, Mark and I had dinner and drinks with Katie and Andrew, and Katie graciously offered to drive us to the airport.  Typically, we drive in and leave a car, so we can head right home after the trip; but Katie’s taxi service saved us over $200!!!! .. Score more $$ for fun in Jamaica.  Last night was also super fun.  We ventured off to a bar that Katie and I frequented in college, but has since changed ownership.  Emmas’s downtown is pretty basic, but we brought the party by playing keno,  picking all the juke box songs, and enjoying the inexpensive draft brewskis!
Good Times with Great Friends!

  Arriving at the airport was quick and painless, and then the lines began.  Being a teacher for the past six years has taught me many things, and getting to your travel spot early on school vacation week is one of them.  We let  two full ours before our flight of “wiggle room” and walked up to the gate ten minutes before our scheduled boarding time!  It was crazy how long the lines were, and how many people were headed off to fun vacations.  Surprisingly, I didn’t run into a any of my students, but my mom did run into one of the doctors that works for the same hospital group as she does. Small world!
  We are slotted to arrive in “Mo Bay” at noon, since we got a bit of a late start.  The weather forcast is 85 and sunny, and I can’t wait to get my feet in the sand.  I also can’t want to try the jerk chicken at our hotel.  Everyone who has written a review has RAVED about the chicken hut on the beach, and I have a feeling this may be our daily lunch ritual.
Hopefully the next two hours run smooth.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday before vacation: a teacher's nightmare

Good Friday Morning to you!

  Today, as many of you in the New England area with children know, is the Friday before April Vacation.  In many New England towns the Presidents Day long weekend is extended into a week long vacation for school-aged kiddos and their teachers (wahooo).  Today  is our last day at school before an entire week off, and Mark and my trip to Jamaica.  I am VERY excited to say the least, and just did our online check-in before I started this post.  I feel like that makes it more of a reality.  I simply can't wait to be on a lounge chair, with my toes in the sand, and the sun shining on my face!
Loblolly Bay, Anegade, BVI
  Now.... if only I could get through this day.  Days like these, the day before vacation that is, are tough for kids.  Many children enjoy the structure and safely of the school routine and don't want to head home for an entire week.  This often causes meltdowns, behavior problems, lashing out, tears, drama etc.  Today is especially sad for my students because a member of our team is moving across the country.  Our section had a party with mini bagels and made her a nice card.  In the past I would bake for my kiddos, but since the new health and wellness policy forbids this, we had a whole wheat mini bagel party with light cream cheese. It's not that I disagree with the policy, I just feel that moderation should be taught alongside healthy vs unhealthy.

On to Jamaica.... I am getting  ecstatic about our trip.  Thus far, Mark and I will partake in a deep sea fishing charter on Monday.  It starts at 6:30 am, but I am excited.  Mark loves to fish, and this will be a nice opportunity the nature that the island has to offer.  The captain has caught many wahoo and yellow fin tuna this week, so I hope we are just as lucky on our venture.  They also see dolphins on a regular basis, another  observation I long to see in the wild.
  We are also planning on visiting 7 mile beach in Negril.  We don't have nay plans for this day, just that we want to do it.  The pictures on Trip Advisor totally rock, so I think it will be worth the cab fare.

Who wouldn't miss this face!
The only things making me sad about the trip is Tucker.  I WISH we could bring him everywhere with us, Jamaica included.  I know that isn't a reality.  Tuck will be spending the week at his dog daycare. I packed up his food last night and bought him some extra special Bully Sticks for snacking.  I will miss him terribly while we are gone ;(  But, we will make it up to him next Sunday for is fabulous 2nd birthday celebration!
Upcoming blog posts... Other than my trip to Jamaica, I am also working on  a Sunday Survey Series to get to know the blogger and readers, as well as some healthy, affordable and convenient lunch post series.  Stay tuned!

Question of the day:  Do you have any plans for the long week/vacation?  If so what are they?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kick ASS 5k in SHORTS!

Run Stronger Everyday's KICK ASS Virtual 5K  was TODAY!!!

All week I have been eyeing my iphone weather app, and have been BEYOND excited to participate in  Run Stronger Everyday's Kick Ass Virtual 5K!  The weather was the pick of the week, just south of Boston: Sun with some clouds and showers early on, high of 75!!!!
  All day at work I was eyeing the windows to scope out the day's beauty.  Right after my after school meeting, I hit the ground running and headed home.  I dug out some running shorts, dusted them off, and found a running tank tucked away in the basement.  I have had no need for these items for the past 5 months or so, so I was surprised how easy the weather appropriate outfit came together.  After pinning on my race bib and asking my neighbor to snap  a pre-run picture, I was off to the races! I had planned to run the route Tucker and I walked on Sunday, and I assumed it was around a 5K.  Typically I run longer than a 5k, especially in weather like this; but I have dinner plans, laundry and a MILLION papers to grade..

Ready to kick some a$$

  I started off very fast, and it caught up to me around mile 1.2, but I felt "okay".  My legs were tired from the 3 sets of weighted squats I did yesterday at the gym.  Halfway through, I hit this neighborhood filled to the brim with children playing outside, communicating, exercising, and having fun without any cell phones of electronic devices.  I LOVE seeing this, and I find it so rare these days.  Especially young kids, older kids, boy and girls alike, all sharing a basketball and hoop, just enjoying the afternoon rays. 
  After leaving the cul-de-sac, I turned the corner and headed home.  I ended up completing the 5k in 25 minutes or so, but felt tired, hot and out of breath.  While running, I discovered I have a cold, as opposed to the "allergies" I self- diagnosed earlier this week!  
Running nose + Sore throat+ extreme headache + muscle aches =  A cold!
 After the 5k, Tuck and I enjoyed a photo shoot in the yard.  He did his own doggie 5K today at daycare, and played a little tennis with me, while wearing the "official" race bib!  He is so tolerant of my crazy photo antics!
Poster Dog!

Tuck the badd ass! hahaha

Oh man ... Tuck looks much better than me!
  Okay, I must run to meet my mom and Brother for dinner.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Restaurant Review: Alden Park Plymouth, Ma

Last night, Mark and I ventured over to the Colony Place in Plymouth for a few quick returns and dinner at Alden Park.  Alden Park was recommended by a colleague and friend, so I was excited to try it.
 We started out  afternoon out with a few returns at Old Navy and my first visit to "Charming Charlie".  The returns went smoothly, and Charming Charlie's is incredible.  They sell primarily accessories, but they also have a few eccletic dreses, and shirts.  I was utterly impressed with the prices and item variety and originality.  I ended up purchasing a sleeveless dress for our upcoming trip to Jamaica that is white, croqueted material with a long leather belt.  (getting pretty excited!!).  I also pruchases to slip dresses four some upcoming spring events.  The slip dress is a new concept for me.  They feel so light, airy and comfortable, but I am alsways concerb they are too short.  Mark and the sales clerk assured me that each dress looked fine, but I still have my worries!  (more photos to come of each dress).
  After  shopping, we headed to Alden park.  We were both starving, so we were psyched when our server greeted us with garlic bread and a parmesean garlc butter spread.  In fact, the bread was so good , Mark thought that was our appetizer!  I order the roasted vegetable and cheese appetizer.  I thought this would be like a fondue with roasted veggies and pita bread.  When it came out, it was more like a spinach and artichoke dip with some veggies inside the dip, and bread served on the side for dipping.  Although this was not the "light dish" I expected, it was truly delicious.  Mark ordered the lettuce wraps which were also good, but a bit spicy for my taste buds.  We split an entree, the land and seas skewers, which were also good.  The consisted of a shrimp and streak skewer, served over mashed potatoes and a side of asparagus.  On the whole, our meal and drinks (red sangria) were excellent, and we would definantly go back.  They also offer $5 appetizers at the bar through the week, which is exciteing.  The appetizers were excellent, so I would consider heading back for this promotion.

Onto next week.... Mark and I are traveling to Jamaica NEXT WEEK!!!! The trip was relatively last minute, and I am seeking out fun things to do and see.  Please, Please, Please leave a comment if you have been.  This far I have the following intriguing adventures:

Seven Mile Beach and Booby Cay:
  We are staying in Montego Bay, but we were considering heading to Negril for a day to enjoy the Seven Mile Beach.  Across from Seven Mile Beach, there is a remote island called Booby Cay.  Apparently you can catch and purchase your own BBQed lobster right there on the beach?  Sounds kind of cool, so I think mark and I may look into this.

Deep Sea Fishing:
  Mark loves to fish in MA, so he often looks for these opportunities when we travel.  I have been on contact with a few deep sea fishing charters, who have been EXTREMELY helpful.  We are hoping to do a half day charter out of either Montego Bay or Negrill.   I am not one for fishing, but I will gladly go because many of the companies claim to sea dolphins while fishing ;)  I hope I get to !
Happy Red Sox Opening Day!

Ps... Can't wait for Abby's Kick Ass 5K tomorrow!! I have my outfit already picked out!
Question of the day:
  Any fun Jamaican  attractions I should know about ?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter Rally...

 Good Morning and Happy Saturday!

Tuck is in more of a lazy Saturday mood!
  All week long I felt like I was playing a mean game of catch up, in all aspects of life.  Although the Easter weekend was fun with family and friends on the Cape, it was far from productive in the planning and grading departments. I also left the weekend feeling .... fat ( for lack of a better word).  The combination of high calorie foods, sleeping less, and grabbing a quick drink with friends quickly caught up to me.   Ironically, I read one of my favorite blogs, Happy Being Healthy, and Melanie felt the same way.   Although she does have those 5 children that must play a small role in her exhaustion and eater candy availability HAH).  I decided I need to prioritize my week as far as eating, exercise and my  classroom.  Ready go...

1. Meal Prep:
 I started by making some of my favorite Bananas Foster Overnight Overnight Oats adapted from Hidden Fruits and Veggies a few weeks back.  The recipe is perfect for me, because it makes enough for the week, and served with greek yogurt, it hits all the food groups I'm looking for.  It is also easy to make (mix/ set overnight in Crock Pot), and ridiculously easy to pack up and bring to school. I continued to map out me meals for the week according to taste, health and the weekly circular.  This week was a bit tougher, due to leftovers from Easter ( I refuse to waste food), but I did okay with it.  I did not make any new recipes per say, but I did resort back to some oldie but goodies that I will share with you real soon.   How many of you ate more than your fair share of hard boiled eggs this past week? I did, but I only like the whites.  I also had a greek yogurt egg salad one night for dinner that was quite good.
One night I had grilled Swordfish with a new cajun rub Mark's dad bought for me.  The rub is called "Chef Paul Prudhomme's" Magic Blends: Seafood Magic.  The rub is a bit spicy, but not as spicy as the blackened options at restaurants.  I simply defrosted some swordfish (also on sale this week), and rubbed this into each side of the fish.  I grilled it on medium for about 4 minutes per side.  Dinner was light, filling and protein packed.  I also sauteed some summer squash, zucchini, and mushrooms on the side.  None of those veggies are "go to's" for me, but Mark loves them.

2)  Cleaning (house and classroom)
  Both of these areas of my life were a MESS last Sunday night.  I spent the week creating lists.  Not immediate to-do lists, but more so small tasks that are manageable to achieve in one day.  For example, I decided to clean off one round table in my classroom, not all 4 tables that are bursting at the seams with papers, school supplies and stuff kids leave behind.  I also washed one room at a time at home.  On Monday, my task was weekend laundry and putting al the clothes I washed away.  ( I tend to stink at that last part)

3)  Exercise Regime:
  Before I begin, I feel I fell a little bit short in this department.  It is Saturday and I have had two full body workouts, and one yoga session this week, thus far.  Typically, I do at least one more cardio sessions, but this week other priorties took the front seat.  I always feel exercise guilt when this happens, but I will just need to be diligent this weekend to get two stellar workouts in.  I also registered for Run Stronger Everyday's Virtual 5K (see Kick Ass 5K post for details).  this week and am excited to participate in that on Tuesday.

  On the whole, I feel better  than I did last weekend.  I am cognizant of the workouts I need to produce this week, and am committed to doing so.  I also have a great bison burger recipe to share with you folks soon ;)

In closing, I found this picture while browsing Pinterest this week and fell in love.  I also made it into a poster for my students to see each day.  Sometimes things like this can brighten someone's day, so I hope it works for you too!

don't ever forget your worth.
Because sometimes you just need to know you matter!
Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Boston Brain Tumor Ride Update

The plans for the Boston Brain Tumor Ride are in full swing!  The ride will take place on May 19th in Waltham , MA.  There are, like last year, three route options: a 10, 25, or 50 mile course.  Last year I rode the 50 miles, and it was TOUGH!  I was hopeful to do it again, but I am not sure if time will allow. You see, I train on a fitness bike because it was a lot less money than the road bikes ,which start at $1000!  The problem with my bike is it isn't as fast, so LONG rides take a LONG time (excuse the pun). Needless to say, my route choice is undecided!  My team, Riders for Rohan started their fundraising efforts with a BANG!  We have large shoes to fill since we received the top fundraising award last year, bringing in  a whopping $40,000!!!

  Personally, I decided to take a slightly different approach to fundraising.  Since it is hard to be solely reliant on friends and family donations, I decided to orchestrate gatherings to raise funds in a more creative way.
Our plans are as follows:

Grey Matters Benefit Event:
  On April 27th, A few members of Riders for Rohan and I,  organized a benefit night at the Turnpike Cafe in Canton , MA.  The night include a live band, intriguing raffle and silent auction items, light fare and a whole lots of FUN for a great cause.  I am very excited about this event, and was hopeful it could all pan out.  The planning is in full swing and many local business have been VERY generous in the raffle department ;)

Let's Walk the Lake for Brain Tumor's Sake:
  This is a new event I am organizing at school, with the help of the Peer Leaders and Students Council Members.  Students and faculty alike can pledge to walk Lake Massapoag for a $5 minimum donation, although larger donations are welcome.  The group will walk after school and then enjoy light snacks after the event.  There will be a T-shirt contest for groups that plan to walk together with some kid-friendly prizes.  I am VERY excited about this walking event.  What is better than getting out there and moving for a great cause?

Wednesday Morning Breakfast:
  Sarah and I are hosting a Wednesday morning breakfast for the staff at our school. The breakfast includes coffee, light breakfast items and non academic conversion with colleagues in all three grades.  It is a great time to sit back, relax, and have a face to face conversation with someone. This will also be the first day of "Grey Matters" bracelet sales.  I am super excited about the bracelets this year because we adopting a new lime green writing color.  NEON ROCKS!

I hope that these events help fundraising, but more so bring others together for this great cause!

Happy Thursday!
Question of the day:
  Do you have any great fundraising tactics?  If so, please share ;)

Sites that may interest you:
My Personal Page
Riders for Rohan Team Page
National Brain Tumor Society Website

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kick Ass 5k!!!

Happy National Autism Awareness Day!  This post is in blue to spread awareness for autism ;)

Man do I have a GREAT opportunity for you!!!
  One of the blogs I began reading recently, Run Stronger Everyday, has a great opportunity to support a worthy cause, experience some of the warm weather we (New Englanders) are experiencing lately, and  exercise for 3.1 miles!! What a win, win!!!
  Abby, the blogger behind Running Stronger Everyday, has (had, read her blog for more details) Ulcerative Colitis, an auto-immune disease that attacks the digestive system.   She has truly been through the ringer with this disease; one that affects many women I know (and men too, probably, I just don't know any).  
  Anyways, Abby is running the Chicago Half Marathon for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.  To aide in her fundraising venture, she is hosting a Virtual 5K on April 9th, 2013. All participant's donate $15 to her fundraising page, and run, walk, bike, hope, jump or skip for 3.1 miles total.  Still not satisfied?!?!  Well, the amazing Abby is entering all participants into a raffle for miscellaneous gear. The exact items are not listed, but she does promise for the loot to be great! Ps- Abby moonlights as a Lululemon Ambassador... need I say more?!?!
  Wondering how you  join me on this journey to kick some ASS?
1) Click the link below to read  the full story on the Virtual 5K
Kick ASS Post and Donation Link
2) From there, Click her donation page link to donate your $15.  Abby will also email you a "race" bib!
3) Tweet, Facebook, or Blog (if you have one) for added entries into her super cool raffle ;)

If you are planning on participating, "holla" at me via commenting on this post, Twitter, or email !  I am super excited for this unique 5k opportunity, and I want to hear ALL about your workout plans!

Websites that may interest you:
Run Stronger Everyday
More info on Crohn's and Colitis
Allstate Chicago Half Marathon

Question of the Day:
Are you thinking of participating?  If so, what exercise mode will you choose to complete you 3.1 miles?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Belated Easter

What a Weekend!
  This weekend was jam-packed with family, fun, and hard work to get our Cape cottage ready for the season.  I apologize for being distant, but we do not have internet or cable at the cottage.  It was something that meant a lot to me last summer, because I felt Mark, myself and the guests that visited, could truly connect and chat without technological distraction.  I realized this weekend this will make blogging infinitely harder, and Mark and I are looking into internet and cable options.

  Friday was a day filled with hard work! After I posted the last lenten friendly recipe post,  I had to get  our house ready for inhabitants.  I relied heavily on Josi's Cleaners and Delkin Laundomat to assist me with these tasks!  The ladies from Josi's cleaners arrived right now time (8am!!) and got started on our cottage.  Meanwhile, I collected all of our laundry/ bedding and pillows and headed to the laundromat.  Not only do we not have cable and internet at the cottage, we also don't have a washer and dryer. Both would have come in handy ;) 
All my hard work!
Stop cleaning and PLAY WITH ME!!!
 After all the laundry was washed, dried and put away, and the cleaning service had left, the house was spotless and I headed out for an amazing run.  I planned on doing about 4 miles, but ended up running five because the landscape was simply picturesque.  I kept running to get a better view of Nantucket Sound, Martha's Vineyard and the coastline; and before I knew it I  was five miles from home.  I love when this happens.
Hello Heights Beach!!! Check out these clouds, they look fake ! ;)

Oh Martha... How I've missed you ;)
  After my run, my mom came over and we headed over to visit with my Aunts and Uncle.  My Mom and her sisters have an Easter tradition of making traditional Italian Easter foods.  The make Strufollies( sp) and Pizzagana(sp).  Strufollies are small pieces of dough that are deep friend until crisp, and covered with a sugary syrup and sprinkles.  Pizzaganaa is like an egg, ham and cheese pie with a top and bottom crust.  Strufollies are not my favorite, but I love pizzagana, although it is definitely not a healthy choice!  After a quick visit, Mark picked me up, and we headed to a new restaurant that he was eager to try:  DJ's Famous Wings.  Dj's is a new restaurant in town, and I think they will do quite well.  They offer a wide variety of drinks and food items, as well as specialty nights.  Mark and I sat in a booth equipped with our own TV for March Madness ( I am sensing a trend here).  Mark and I each ordered a light beer, and Mark ordered the honey barbecue boneless wings.  Mark adores wings of all varieties, and since this place is known for their wings and they offer 16 wing sauces, I thought why not? ( They even offer Peanut Butter and Jelly as a wing sauce!!).  The wings arrived quickly and really were delicious.  They were served with house-made blue cheese as well, which had poppy seeds inside it;  a welcomed addition.  I loved scooping up the mixture with the celery pieces.  For dinner, I ordered fish, and Mark ordered ribs;  another dish they are well-known for.  The food was delicious and plentiful; we left with three take out boxes!
Mark and his beer of choice: a Cape Cod Blonde... (insert witty remark here!)
  Mark had a few appointments booked on Saturday, and my bother and I had plans to visit  and have lunch with my Gramp.  He made his homemade raviolis for lunch, which I really do love.  Unfortunately, my Gramp like to eat early, and I wasn't quite ravioli ready at barely noon!  Oh well, more for everyone else!  My Gramp also sent us home with quite the spread of desserts to conclude our easter meal.  He made a cheesecake, brownies and red velvet cupcakes ;)
  Later on, Mark and I met my parents for sushi and chinese food, as well as three competitive games of bowling.  Bowling is an on going joke between my Mom and I because we are terrible, and my brother and mark take it VERY seriously.  We ended up winning a game and losing the other two.  Oh well!