Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Travel Tuesday- Traveling With Kids

As I think we know, I do not have kids. I know when I do, Eric and my travel bug will have to tame itself due to budget changes and the fact that traveling with kids can be just difficult sometimes. It’s unlikely that I will visit Peru or Italy with young children, but I would like them to see some special places in the United States.

Eric and I both traveled a fair amount as children so sometimes we discuss our philosophies behind travel with children. I think the biggest debate in our minds is whether children gain a lot of important knowledge and fun experiences while traveling or whether it is a bit “wasted” on them because they don’t fully appreciate what they are seeing. I think there is a little bit of both in this and it really depends on the personalities of the kids and where you take them. Some children will embrace a new experience and enjoy it and others will be dreaming of getting back to movies and video games with their friends.


I found a great article from Budget Travel on CNN about the 15 Landmarks (in the USA) that Every Child Should See By Age 15. Below I have listed these landmarks, whether I saw them by age 15, and whether I agree all kids should see it.

Grand Canyon, Arizona- I saw at age 25.

Yes. The Grand Canyon is cool and at a young age you probably won’t mind the tiny hotel rooms. The article recommends some things to do on the West Rim, so that’s worth considering since the South Rim was pretty uneventful.

Redwood National Park, California- Technically, never seen but I have been to Muir Woods.

Yes. What kid doesn’t love playing in the woods? Bonus points for being near San Francisco and other kid-friendly things.

Monticello, Virginia- I saw at age 15, whew!

Maybe. I think a kid who is into history may be more excited about this. It’s pretty, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. I enjoyed other parts of VA more at age 15.

The Freedom Trail, Massachusetts- I saw at 10 (maybe before, can’t remember).

Yes. I know I’m bias, but it’s history every American kid should know. Plus I was a huge fan of Mike’s Pastry rock candy as a kid, which is at the end of the freedom trail!

Niagara Falls, New York- I saw at age 24.

Yes. Go to the Canadian side though, and try to stay clear of the ridiculous Vegas-style attractions nearby. Kids will love the Maid of the Mist, the Whirlpool Jet Boat Rides, and the deck view area under the falls. If the “kids” are over 21, there are some awesome wineries nearby as well. Just say’

The National Mall, Washington DC- I saw at age 10.

Yes. DC is a must-do for kids in my opinion. There is so much to see and do but one of my personal favorites? The Air and Space Museum.

Williamsburg, Virginia- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I know I just said I haven’t been there, but kids love this kind of thing so I still think they should go.

Walt Disney World Resort, Florida- I saw at age 9.

Yes. Okay, maybe not as educational as the others listed, what kid does not LOVE Disney World? It’s simply a must-do for most kids.

Independence Hall, Pennsylvania- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I have to say yes for this one based on the history aspect alone. You may want to check out this website, Liberty's Kids, to give your kids a little background. I will say the article mentions ghost tours based on true stories as a kid-friendly idea. You know your own kids, but this would’ve given me nightmares as a kid. I’d like to go now though!

Alcatraz Island, California- I saw at age 24.

Yes. It may not be for every kid but most I know would love to visit a famous jail. Plus, the kids will love the whole ferry experience and running around at a place where criminals once did.

Ellis Island, New York- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I went to NYC in fifth grade and we didn’t go to Ellis Island. However, for kids today I think it’s worth seeing. The US is getting more and more multicultural every day and kids should know about the immigration experience back then and now.

Yellowstone National Park- Wyoming, Montana and Idaho- I’ve never seen.

Yes. Eric went at age 17 so I consulted him for this. He thinks the idea of seeing buffalo, bears, elk up close could be enough to convince children under 15 of the coolness of Yellowstone. I wonder a bit about their ability to appreciate the beauty of the place, but it depends on the kid.

Fenway Park, Massachusetts- I saw at a young age, obviously!

Yes. Like you expected me to say otherwise? I actually have a condition for this one, I think all kids from Boston and all kids interested in baseball should see Fenway by age 15. Kids who have heard all about Babe Ruth and Ted Williams or even are current fans of baseball will love it!

Carters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho- I’ve never seen.

Maybe. It certainly sounds pretty awesome, but I don’t know enough about it to say for sure. Also, is it hard to get to Idaho with kids?

San Diego Zoo, California- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I’ve never been, but who hasn’t heard of the greatness that is the San Diego Zoo?

I guess I agree with Budget Travel, huh? That being said, I don’t think kids MUST see all of these places, I just think they happen to be places it is cool to take your kids to. For an absolutely must see list, I would want to know your family lives and what their interests are. This is a good start though!

Have you ever been to these landmarks? Would your recommend them to people with children? Would you add any places to the list? If you don't live in the US, where would you go in your country?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Are You a Hugger?

The topic of today's post is the very important question: Are You a Hugger?

But first, what is a hugger?

A hugger is a person who likes to hug people. They will definitely hug friends and family when they see them and when they say goodbye to them. Often the hugging may be extended to people outside of the close circle of friends. For example, Eric's aunt told me that Eric's mom once hugged the waitress at a restaurant. Cheryl = hugger. I also consider Eric to be a hugger but actually for him it's most often shown in the form of handshaking. Last week Eric and I were walking around our neighborhood and two kids were outside in the street playing basketball. Eric shakes one of their hands as we walk by. I kid you not. Eric = hugger/hand shaker.

I, on the other hand, am not a hugger. It's not that I don't like hugs because I do. It's not that I don't accept more hugs than the average person on any given day given my position as Kindergarten Teacher/Receiver of Hugs Extraordinaire. However, I have some kind of difficulty knowing when the appropriate hug-time/place is and therefore I would prefer to skip this pleasantry all together. This little complicated- is it a good time to hug? thing got even more complicated a few years ago when people started adding kissing to the mix. Are we hugging? Are we kissing? Are we waving awkwardly at each other? It's a mystery.

I bring this up because last night I was totally called out on my lack-of-huggyness. I don't know where it came from but suddenly Eric's aunt says, "oh yea, Kelly hugs like me, a nice little tap." Caught in the act. Then Eric proceeds to inform me that he can tell I don't really like hugging people because I always look really awkward. Awesome. Was kinda hoping those thoughts were just on the inside.

There are times when there is no question, hugging is the best plan. Leaving for a long trip? Hug. Returning from 6 months in Australia? Hug. Friend or family member is crying? Hug. Friends have huge news? Hug. There are even certain people where you know hugging is the best plan. Eric and his mom for one. I had a friend in Australia who was such a hugger she even linked arms with whoever she was walking with. She did it to me more than anyone else because she knew it was the anti-Kelly. I didn't mind it though because it was predictable. I don't like unpredictable huggyness. If you want to hug me, you must be decisive and go right for it, don't leave me in the awkward limbo of "should we hug right now?"

I think my original lack of love for hugging comes from middle school. At my middle school there were these girls who were SO fake and loved to hug everyone. It didn't matter if they hated the person it would be this fake squeal of pretend love and then a big hug. I made it my mission to not give fake hugs. After awhile, not giving hugs just became part of me. I now realize most hugs are from a place of love, but old habits die hard? It's gotta be something in my personality too, middle school can't ruin you for life, can it?

I should probably mention though... few glasses of wine Kelly = hugger. So, if it's true that a drunk mans words (actions) are a sober mans thoughts then I guess that makes me a closet hugger?

Tell me, are you a hugger or not? Why do you think you are the way you are?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Week In Bullets

-FIrst of all, I want to address the great comments on Wednesday's post about my wedding advice. I completely agree that it is just a day and no one cares about the color of the chair covers or the way the napkins are folded. I think most people who know me know I'm actually not much of a control freak. My biggest problem with wedding planning was that I did not care about some of the little details but when planning a wedding you have to put time and effort into details that you don't care about and that's what annoyed me :) Nothing at all bothered me on that day so that's my last piece of advice (echoed by Abby in my comments), nothing should bother you on your wedding day!

-Eric and I are probably the least confrontational people ever. Especially in adulthood, we've noticed that people who complain get what they want more often than us. This week, we were those people. Goodbye $45 per month on our cable bill, goodbye $250 on our rental car in Arizona bill. Wahoo.

-I have this adorable kid in my class this year. His favorite hobby is making presents for people. He once made me a present out of an oatmeal container. He covered it with decorated paper and filled it with books from his house and a couple of book marks he made for me. Then he wrote me a note about how he thought I would need more than 1 bookmark because I probably like to read lots of books at the same time. His favorite Christmas present this year was a box of bows to put on his presents. Unfortunately, this child also really struggles with social skills. Instead of acting normally when he wants the attention of his friends, he does things like eating his pencil or tapping the friend on the back over and over even after they ask him to stop. Harmless, yes. Annoying, also yes. I had him on a behavior plan since October which I didn't really expect to work. However, something has worked (more likely developing friendships and learning some social skills) and he is SO much better than he used to be. On Friday I dropped his behavior plan completely. I don't know if I've ever actually done that before.

-I have another awesome student who's dad plays in a jazz band. I went to see them the other night with some others from work. My student was there drumming on the table along with his dad and brother. Also he was wearing a ridiculously cute sweater vest. Also when he saw us there he asked if we remembered to bring our BEE folders (these are folders the kids have to bring back and forth to school every day). Yup, I carry those around, obviously.

That's about all from me. I'm off to a surprise party now :) Obviously a 30th birthday, like you even had to ask!

Tell me something that happened in your week. I like to hear good things but I suppose you can tell me bad too :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Presenting... Kelly's Wedding Advice

Since I began this blog when I was already engaged, there have been a lot of wedding related posts from wedding meltdowns, my bachelorette party and of course the wedding itself (actually that was more like several posts!). After I got married, I really wanted to write a post on my wedding advice. But frankly, I needed a massive break from thinking about weddings at all. It's now been over 8 months so I feel calm :) Also, wedding related events are creeping back into my life... besides Amber's exciting engagement, Eric and I both have cousins getting married this September and a few of Eric's friends getting married next summer. In a few weeks I have to multiply myself yet again because Eric's cousin's shower is the same night as one of Eric's friend's engagement parties. I'm sure you can imagine which one I'd rather attend but due to me being lucky enough to be female, I'm representing at the shower (first at least).

So here is some of my 8 months out advice for those planning weddings...

1. Decide on an engagement length that is best for you. There was really no other option for us than a long engagement because things book up fast at the Cape and we had to do a summer wedding because I was not getting married during the school year. However, the year and a half engagement nearly killed me. I am a get everything done ahead of time person and in wedding planning that is nearly impossible, so having that hang over my head for such a long time might have been a bit much for me. If you do have a long engagement, I highly recommend spending a lot of time in the middle of it trying not to think about the planning aspects.

2. Prioritize your opinions. When it comes to wedding planning you will quickly learn that many people have opinions. Decide early what you will not compromise on and what you will. For example, Eric and I seriously considered getting married at a church even though neither of us are particularly religious. In hindsight I am so happy we did not do this. On the other hand, I like flowers but I really don't know anything about them. My mom really likes the high vases- I thought I didn't but I decided to just let her do the flowers because she knows what she is doing and I don't. This was a brilliant decision because the flowers were amazing and I was very wrong about high vases.


3. If you don't get married in a religious place, have someone you know do it and write the script yourself. This may have been the biggest risk that Eric and I took in our wedding, at least according to others... even our coordinator at Wychmere was like... "you trust this guy right?" I kept thinking... I trust him more than some random guy I would pay to do it! After the wedding I think everyone agreed with us! Writing the script myself was also kind of scary, but I just went to the internet (like I do whenever I have a problem haha) and I was able to personalize it for us. The only major mistake I made was not telling Mike to give both of us the rings, but hey- I think it added character to the ceremony :) (and in my defense, many people read over the script and didn't see the problem).


4. It's all in the details. I'll admit, I am NEVER going to put on my resume, "detail-oriented." I hate details. I am the definition of a big picture person. However, with weddings details really are important. All I can say is delegate them. Now is not the time to be a control freak. Someone who actually cares about how the napkins are folded or about the place cards is going to do a way better job than you (even if you do care, I'm serious- it's important to not do it all yourself).

5. Make it "you." My favorite thing about our wedding was that it was just 100% us. Our favors were donations to a charity we really care about. Our table names were places we have been. Our ceremony was short, a little funny and very much us. Our location was a place we love.


6. When it comes to family, be inclusive. I really debated a lot about bridal party. I was sure about my sister (obviously), my best friend Katie, college roommate Ash and middle/school high school friend Tiff. From there, I couldn't decide. Should I include more family, 2 of my younger cousins? Should I include more friends? I ended up deciding to include two of my cousins and I think that was the right choice. I didn't include any more friends and I think that was okay too (though I don't think it necessarily would've been bad if I did). I have one friend in particular that I've been friends with most of my life, but I knew she had a lot of bad experiences being in weddings before and although I knew mine would (hopefully) not be annoying, I decided she knew I loved her anyway, and I think she does. I also think it's important to be inclusive of each other's family, however you can do that. I think with family it can be hard because in life you are going to be closer at some points with some people than others, based on age differences and locations and whatever else. When it comes to family I don't think you have to be the absolute closest right this second, it can also be about past closeness and possibility of future closeness. Just my opinion. Also, your sides don't have to match, I promise pictures will still look fine.


7. Avoid wedding meltdowns. That is all.


That's all I can think of for now. Now it's your turn in the comments, what is your advice on wedding planning? (and yes, being in a lot of weddings qualifies you to give advice out).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Looks Like Somebody Has a Case of the Mondays

It's Monday again... why does that always happen? This Monday is particularly fun because our heat broke and obviously it cost a billion dollars to fix. Okay maybe not a billion... but a lot. Oh adulthood, how fun you are sometimes.

Sometimes you just need some YOGA. My new On Demand obsession? The 10 Pound Yoga Slimdown. Ignore the 10 Pound aspect, you'll need to do the other exercise dvds (upper body, lower body, total body blast and core) and probably eat very differently to actually lose 10 pounds. But it's a nice 20 minute yoga video for those days when you really don't feel like working out but can probably manage 20 minutes.


I'm usually a big supporter of the Yoga Sculpt video on On Demand but sometimes it's fun to change it up and be 10 minutes shorter. I was originally drawn to this because it was under the Top Videos of 2010. Sure popularity isn't always right, but it's worth a try.

To access the video, I went to Free --> Home and Leisure --> Exercise TV --> Most Popular 2010. If you have a different cable provider it might be different but I find they all have similar video choices.

Overall I really like this video. It includes a lot of my favorite poses including pigeon in only 20 minutes! It does have some awkward transitions I'm not used to like going straight into Warrior 2 without doing Warrior 1 first and going straight from lunges into chair, but it was actually kind of fun to change it up and have to pay attention to what she was saying. It's not shockingly difficult but you do a lot of lunges and tons of good stretching so it might actually be a nice warm up or cool down for a run. Let me know if you try it :)

In other news, some recent events I haven't had a chance to write about.

#1- Erin's Birthday Celebration last week at Eric's parents house...



Cake = delicious.

#2- St. Patrick's Day parade...



Don't worry I really did have green on, I swear.


On my way back home I ran into the anti-parade filled with the people who were rejected from the original parade. I hate the idea of not being inclusive (it's the kindergarten teacher in me) so I officially declare the anti-parade better than the regular one...


Must get to bed soon. I still have not adjusted to this time change and I've been exhausted every week day since spring forward. Wah.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Love To Save Money Online

Good morning! :)

I hope everyone's weekend is going well so far. I think I've been spending too much time studying sea creatures with my darling kindergartners and BBMing Amber about her wedding because last night I had a dream that I went to a tropical location to plan my wedding (isn't that over?!) and saw manta rays, whales and dolphins there... lotta wedding planning I'm going to get done while I'm snorkeling with the manta rays. We all know how zen that makes me and I'll tell you, a zen Kelly is not going to plan another wedding!

Yesterday I spent the entire day organizing. I was going to take before and after pictures, but there isn't a drastic enough difference to show since I mostly organized the inside of closets and drawers. However, I did donate 3 full trash bags of clothing (anyone have any idea how to estimate how much that is worth for tax purposes?), and do 4 loads of laundry. Even though I can be a cluttered person, I actually hate clutter and it makes me very happy to get rid of that many clothes :)

Another thing that makes me happy? Saving money! I've started reading some really good money blogs lately including The Simple Dollar and Money Under 30. I wanted to share some of the cool ways to save money I've heard lately. I'm sure you know some of them but hopefully you'll learn something new...

Tina told us about Ebates the other day on her blog. Basically, you get cash back (without doing anything) just for doing shopping as you would already do at tons of different retailers online. This morning I bought myself a new pair of running shoes for $99. Just for that, I get $10 back! Amazing. All you have to do is sign up, and then go to the ebates website first, search for the product or store you want and then start saving. Also, what Tina did not mention but I think is awesome is that Groupon is an affiliate of Ebates so if you buy a Groupon through them, you can save on the Groupon itself as always AND you can get more cash back on your ebates account, sweet.

I also recently joined Swagbucks. I also read about this on a blog first, but I can't remember which one, I'm sorry! Swagbucks are great because you don't even have to buy anything (read: spend more money) to earn them and you can use them to buy amazon or target giftcards (and so much more). All you have to do is install the swagbucks toolbar and use it to search the internet like you would use google. You get 1 point every day just for having it and every time you search you are eligible to win. I usually win at least once a day and I don't even use it to search every single time. Also, if you are a fan of the group buying sites like Groupon, Tippr, Livingsocial, BuyWithMe, etc you can also get swagbucks for buying through these sites. All you have to do is go to the "Earn" part of the toolbar and click on "Daily Deals." If you buy today's LivingSocial deal you'll earn 450 swag bucks which is equal to a $5 amazon gift card. Not bad, especially if you were going to buy it anyways. Other fun ways to earn swagbucks including printing and then using coupons at the grocery store, taking surveys and watching videos on SwagTV.

I have to admit that I am not the BEST at using coupons, but I love these online deals because I don't have to cut something out, bring it with me, remember to use it, make sure it's on the exact correct combination of products etc. I just shop like I normally one or search like I normally would. Of course, none of these fantastic sites will save you any money if you buy something you wouldn't normally buy, so be careful :)

*In the interest of full disclosure, I get referral points if you click on my links above, but I really like and support all the companies I recommended.

Do you have any full ways to save money online? Share them with me please, I clearly have a bit of an obsession!

I'm off to the South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade. Time to put on my green outfit!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hump Day Inspiration

Before I get to my inspiration of the day, I would like to mention some exciting news about Amber. You probably already know that I love Amber because I mention her a lot on the blog. She is somewhat famous among my friends and family that read the blog- mainly my mom :) Therefore I figure it's only right that I announce that Amber got engaged AND bought a house in the last week. Wahooo! Now it's time for me to offer some great advice to her on wedding planning (avoid it at all costs) and house renovating (make Eric do it). Also, you should know that her fiance's name is Eric, I'm not actually suggesting my Eric fly to Canada to help Amber with her house. Though now that I think of it, maybe the Erics can work together while Amber and I relax at yoga class and drink some wine. Just sayin'

So I think you guys know how much I love my kiddos. In fact, Eric's brother Josh thinks it's hilarious that both Eric and I refer to our students as "my kids." The kids I often work the hardest for, and then often love the most (assuming of course that I don't have "favorites") are students with diagnosed special needs (or undiagnosed as the case often is in kindergarten). In my classroom, the diagnosis I see the most is autism. In tutoring, the diagnosis I see the most is dyslexia. So... that's the background for my inspiration this week. Now for the inspiration...

First inspiration = my brother Jake. Obviously we know he is very awesome. However, he is also inspiration for my little elementary school dyslexic children who have to see my wonderful face a few times a week after they have already faced a long day at school (or when they are about to face it as is the case of my current kiddo who must deal with me at 7 am). Why? Well because Jake has dyslexia, but who would know it? Not only did he graduate what must be one of the hardest public high schools in the country, he is now on the Deans List in college AND last week his English teacher asked him if there is any chance that he would consider majoring in English. ENGLISH?! I don't think in their wildest dreams my struggling readers (or their parents) are dreaming of majors in English. Neither is Jake of course, because he is also smart enough to know he is not going to be buying me any Ferrari's with an English major (no offense English majors, clearly I am not buying myself any Ferrari's either with my education major either which is why it is important to suck up to my business major siblings). Jake = awesome inspiration.

Second inspiration= my favorite American Idol contestant this year, James. James has both Asperger's and Tourette's and he is in the Top 12 on Idol. Again this is a case of him embracing what was probably his biggest challenge as a child: social skills. I find him actually pretty hilarious on Idol, but it might be the fact that I am secretly picturing one of my students as him in 15 years...

Just a few things to think about tomorrow morning when it's pitch black when you wake up, feels like STILL an hour earlier and you kind of hate life... oh maybe that's just me this week. Do you have any good inspiration stories for me?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Travel Tuesday- Saving Money

Welcome to Week #2 of Travel Tuesday! Subject? Saving Money on Travel. I couldn't get too far into the Travel Tuesday series without giving a few tips on this. Let's face it, I think most of us would travel endlessly if we could possibly afford it. Hopefully some of these tips will make it a little easier...

General Savings:

Join a credit card rewards program that saves you money on travel. I have a Capital One card that I charge everything to (and then pay off immediately). I've also heard good things about the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card.

Research as much as you possibly can. Tripadvisor is THE BEST for reviews. Kayak is awesome for comparing prices without checking a million different websites.

Travel in the off-season times. This can literally save you hundreds and maybe even thousands. I know this because I enjoy torturing myself by checking the prices of flights during off-season times even though I know I can only travel during school vacations (aka ridiculously inflated price time).

Choose more "off the beaten path" places. People always ask Eric and I why we ever decided to go to Arizona last February. From Boston, the natural place to go in winter is Florida. Since everyone thinks this, it's about $500 cheaper to go to Arizona instead of Florida. Score for us!

Join AAA. Not only will you be in good hands if you get a flat tire or you accidentally leave your lights on, but you will also will be eligible for great travel rewards. I rarely find a hotel that will not give me a AAA discount.

Set up an automatic savings for travel. I've mentioned before my love for my ING savings accounts because I can give them different names and you better believe that one is called "Trips." If you save $50 a week for a year, that's $2600 which is plenty for an awesome trip!


Subscribe to the e-mail updates from your favorite airlines. They offer tons of discounts especially if you can travel on Tuesday or Wednesday. Also check the flight prices on Tuesday as well, that's when most airline sales start.

Join the frequent flyer programs and use them to book your flight. They are free so there is no harm even if you don't think you'll use them enough to gain a free flight.

Bring food on the plane so you don't have to pay for airport food or anything on the flight.

Do some research on trips you can drive to, you'll save on flight costs and rental car.


Join Vacationist (if want to, let me know and I'll give you my referral code). They offer awesome sales on really nice hotels. Eric and I stayed at a luxury hotel in Scottsdale this vacation for over $100 off per night from what it was supposed to be. Wahoo. Plus I find it kind of fun to look at luxury hotels in Morocco... just me?

Also join the Hotel Rewards program anywhere you may go. Just like the airline programs, it doesn't cost anything to join and you may have benefits starting at your first stay. We got free internet in Arizona because we were rewards members, that's a savings of $14.99 a day!

Look into renting a house or apartment. Tripadvisor now has reviews on what it calls "Specialty Lodging" which includes houses you can rent. This can be an awesome deal for a group of people and will save a TON if you have a kitchen you can cook in.

Restaurants/Things To Do

If you are visiting a city, join Groupon for that city before you visit. You may be able to score some awesome deals.

Ask for local recommendations or use Yelp. It's easy to get stuck in tourist traps if you rely on information once you are already at your hotel.

What are your tips for saving money on travel? Share with everyone!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Both Sides of the River

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. It's been nice weather in Boston so I have no complaints :) This weekend has involved...


Some brotherly margarita drinking. Poor Eric, I need to post a picture of him lifting twice my body weight to make up for the pink girly drinks and Lady in the Tramp margarita style I've been up to lately.

Also, the snow melted enough that Eric and I could check out our favorite walk/run trail. The res has been frozen over for months and look, it's starting to melt, wahoo!


Today I have a couple of Boston/Boston area restaurant recommendations for you guys. Even if you don't live here, you are obviously going to come visit so you need to know about the best places to eat.

A couple of weeks ago, right after we got back from Arizona, Eric and I went into Boston with my parents to go to dinner at a restaurant called Oishii. Eric and I love Japanese food so we had been wanting to try Oishii for awhile. We sat at a high table in the bar area, which I think may have been more spacious than tables in the main restaurant area which looked pretty tight.

There was a cool view of the restaurant entrance from the bar area...


The food was delicious too...


(shrimp dumplings)


(lobster sushi)


(sweet potato tempura sushi)

My parents got a delicious cod appetizer that I am definitely going to get next time I go so stay tuned for pictures of that.

Oh and since my mom thinks I have to try out the restrooms everywhere I go, I thought I'd mention that the bathroom was beautiful...


Good times at Oishii... definitely try it if you are in Boston. It's not cheap though, just so you know.


The other restaurant recommendation I have for you is Dante. Dante is an Italian restaurant, that is actually in Cambridge. However, the view of Boston is so nice from your table, it's actually better.


Dante has a ton of great things about it. First of all, the bar area is awesome (although you can't see the view of Boston from there, you need to be in the main restaurant I think). They have lots of fun different cocktail choices and a good wine list (not that I am really an expert on wine lists, but I like the wine anyway). Also, the food is amazing and right now they have Restaurant Week specials going on.


It's location is probably less than 10 minutes from Downtown Boston and there is parking inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel or across the street in CambridgeSide Galleria. I have also heard good things about the other restaurant/bar in this hotel called Art Bar, but haven't been there myself.

What's your top priority when you look for a restaurant? Great food? Great service? Location? Maybe all 3 :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Need To...

I'm glad you guys enjoyed my Travel Tuesday post yesterday. Let me know if you have anything specific you want to hear about in future Travel posts.

This week I have realized there are certain things I need to do...

1. I need to work out, very consistently. I should've known this already but I've let busyness and injury make the extent of my working out yoga with the occasional cardio on the weekends. This might be fine for some people but doesn't work for me. Last week I was coming home every day exhausted and my stomach was absolutely hating me for seemingly no reason. This week I made the decision that I was going to work out no matter how I felt and guess what? I feel 100 times better. Duh Kelly! Also, I went to the doctor today and my blood pressure is usually a consistent 110/60 and this time it was 120/62, probably just random but I am going to take that to mean CARDIO (and yes I am aware 120 is still normal, I just like to be below normal haha).

2. I need to blog. I totally fell out of the habit of blogging early this year again due to work taking over my life. However, work is one of those things for me that can easily occupy 24 hours a day or at least the hours I am awake. Blogging forces me to do something else with my night besides plan and search the internet for kindergarten ideas. And it's fun.

3. Eat a good breakfast and lunch. This is not news to me by any means but it was affirmed today when I accidentally forgot my breakfast/lunch I had packed in a bag at home. I've done this a few times (maybe like 5 times in 5 years?) before but I usually notice in time to go back or at least run to grab a lunch before the kids arrive, but today I didn't. I didn't have time to go get food so I ended up eating a bagel with cream cheese for both meals (don't ask). Don't get me wrong, I love bagels and I can easily handle one for breakfast with no problem, but two did not work. By 3pm my stomach was growling and I continued to pay for this after dinner when I still felt starving after having a dinner with tons of protein, carbs and veggies. I've been fighting the crazy urge to snack all day and just finally gave in and had a small bowl of ice cream- there might be popcorn during American Idol as well. I guess it's true what they say about the importance of a good breakfast and lunch huh?! Lesson learned.

What do you NEED to do health-wise? Or not health-wise if you prefer, just in life? haha :) Happy Hump Day... almost Friday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Introducing Travel Tuesday

Hi everyone and welcome to Travel Tuesday. I finally managed to get it together on a Tuesday to write this post. Well actually I wrote most of it last night but I planned ahead and that deserves points. Travel points? I have a one track mind...

My plan is to talk about something related to travel every Tuesday. If you ever want to write a guest post, please let me know :)

Where to Go

It's not secret that I have a bit of a travel addiction. Since I love travel so much, it's very hard for me to decide where I want to. Anyone remember my endless list of possibilities for our honeymoon? Oh boy! Clearly I'm not an expert but I do have some ideas for places to go based on my own experience. I am going to divide each category into budget, mid-range and splurge. Of course, this depends a bit on where you live- Sydney would be a huge splurge for me but if you live in Australia, it may be a road trip for you :)

If you are looking for a city...

Chicago- Chicago is a great city to visit- nice to look at and lots of great things to do... not to mention deep dish pizza. My favorite things to do in Chicago include taking an endless number of pictures at "the bean," doing an Architecture River Cruise, and seeing a Second City performance.


San Francisco- What's not to love about San Francisco? Well... actually I'm not a huge fan of the food there to be honest, but the wine more than makes up for that! Anyway, everyone should bike over the Golden Gate Bridge at least once and if you want to go shopping for a bit, you can always entertain your male counterpart with a little Bushman watching (this entertained Eric and my brother for hours, not kidding). Alcatraz and Sausalito are worth a ferry ride as well. If you are in the area, it's obviously worth a visit to Muir Woods and Napa/Sonoma.

Sydney- I really just LOVE Sydney, that's all I can say. Well, I can say more: it's worth the crazy plane ride just to experience the beautiful Australian accents and "no worries" attitude. If you make it there, visit the Opera House, climb the Harbor Bridge (if you dare), take a ferry to Manly Beach and walk the amazing cliffs from Bondi to Coogee.

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If you are looking for relaxation...

Cape Cod- It's no secret that Eric and I love the Cape. There is just the right number of things to do, but also time for relaxation. While I love to think of the Cape as unique, I also think that most people have a coastal or lake area similar in their area. What's yours?

Florida- Truth be told, I'm not a HUGE fan of Florida. However, when it comes to relaxation that is not going to cost an arm and leg (unless you try to fly on school vacation weeks), Florida really can't be beat. I like how areas like Miami have beautiful beaches but also great restaurants and entertainment. Just be careful, there is also some not-so-nice areas of Florida and I'm not sure if Disney World really counts as "relaxing" (though it's fun in it's own way).

Big Island, Hawaii- Eric and I went to the Big Island for the first half of our honeymoon and it was amazing. The landscape is awesome and very unique, black lava meets gorgeous ocean and in a totally different way than the Greek islands. It's totally possible to spend days on end at the beach, swim with dolphins or enjoy some of the tourist spots. For the ultimate relaxation you absolutely have to try snorkeling or scuba diving with the manta rays!


If you are looking for outdoor adventure...

New Hampshire- In the summer, I have the following favorites on my list of things to do in NH: waterskiing, wakeboarding, rafting, hiking and swimming. In the winter, NH is known for it's skiing, snowboarding and snow mobiling. If that's not enough outdoor adventure for you, I don't know what is.

Arizona- Between the beautiful hikes of Sedona and the crazy mule rides of the Grand Canyon, what more can you really ask for? Or if you prefer to go Eric's route, you can just throw snow balls into the Grand Canyon for a little perception on just how LARGE it really is.

New Zealand- To be honest, I didn't really enjoy the NZ outdoor adventure while I was there, but I did enjoy the outdoors. You can read more about my NZ adventures here and here. Thought I didn't try it out myself, New Zealand is known for it's bungee jumping and ski diving. So, outdoor extreme adventures!

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If you are looking for history...

Boston- I might be a little bias, but Boston does have a LOT of history. Walking the Freedom Trail will give you a huge sense of Boston's history and you can reward yourself at the end of the walk with a tasty North End dinner. If you really love history you can take short trips out of the city to experience even more history- think witch trials and the Revolutionary War :)

Washington DC- Personally I just really like Washington DC and I haven't been there in about 8 years so I need to get back. You can see the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress, and Arlington National Cemetery (plus a billion more). Or you can go to my favorite place- The Air and Space Museum... I don't know why I just find it cool.

Rome/Athens... pretty much any city in Europe- Unless you are exploring Native American history, American history simply does not go back as far as European history and that makes European cities awesome to visit. Eric and my favorite thing about Athens was the fact that you'd be strolling through a modern city when all of a sudden...

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Oh just the Colosseum... no big deal. Amazing. Man I love travel.

Now it's your turn: Where would you recommend for a city, outdoor adventure, relaxation and history?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Embracing Seasonal Treats

Yet again a weekend goes by way too quick. I did spend most of the weekend relaxing, reading, getting some work done and eating delicious food. So I can't complain. I'm just not ready for another crazy week yet. Last night Eric and I visited our favorite Japanese restaurant at the Cape (well, favorite anywhere actually). When we walked in the waitress said she recognized us from an issue of Well Wed magazine(a Cape Cod wedding magazine), we hadn't even seen it yet! We spent the rest of the night searching for the issue at bookstores and CVS, but couldn't find it. We'll have to order online. It's mainly about our florist but it has some cool pictures of us so it will be fun to have.

I got my favorite Japanese dinner, Miso Soyaki Eggplant and I found out they changed it up a bit so now it looks like sushi. Cool, huh?


So delicious. I wish I had any idea how to make this at home. I need an Asian cooking lesson.

Anyway, enough about healthy foods. Let's talk not-so-healthy treats. When it comes to cravings for unhealthy foods, I find that people are part of one of 2 groups(unless maybe there is anyone who doesn't get cravings?)...

#1- Those who cannot have even a taste of the treat they want, because if they do they will inevitably have the whole box/container.

#2- Those who cannot resist having a little bite and if they try to, they will end up bingeing on that treat or another at a later time.

I belong to camp 2. I am quite capable of resisting an entire carton of ice cream, but when I try to give up ice cream for a few weeks, nothing good comes from it.

For the past 3 years I've had this annoying pattern in my health/body. In the summer, I can eat normally and never gain a pound. Sure, I eat healthy but I also enjoy summer drinks, popsicles, ice cream, and whatever else summer may bring. But in December-March/April, it doesn't matter how healthy I try to eat, I will gain weight. Not 20 pounds, but what I consider to be a noticeable amount. Up until this year I tried new things every time; writing down what I ate, weight training, trying to give up foods that I really like, etc.

This year I decided I'm not playing that game. Instead I am playing this game...


Doesn't that look like a much yummier game?

What I mean is, I'm not going to attempt to give up ice cream for the month of March, or refuse to buy Cadbury Mini Eggs. I'm just going to accept that I can eat a small bowl of ice cream at night and a few Cadbury eggs as a lunch dessert and it's not going to kill me. No matter how much I resist, I will ultimately end up eating them (or eating boxes of Chex cereal as I enjoyed doing last year after previously mentioned weight training classes, ah!) so I might as well embrace it.

The weight will come off in June when Cadbury Eggs, Peppermint Gharadelli and Girl Scout Cookies say goodbye for the season and fresh fruits and veggies are abundant :)

If it doesn't, I'll worry about it then. As Ted on "How I Met Your Mother" would say, "That's a problem for future Kelly."

Which camp are you in? What are your seasonal food weaknesses?

How was your weekend?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Random Thoughts on Saturday

This is going to be a random post, just warning you :) Can't be any more random than the ABC's of Kelly, right? And by ABC's I mean the version that actually includes all the letters of the alphabet, not my terrible you-can't-possibly-teach-kindergarten rebel alphabet.

First of all I am beyond happy this weekend has arrived. This week wiped me out completely and I had trouble doing anything other than lying on the couch at the end of every day. I did not work out even once since I went to yoga last Sunday. However, I think that was probably a good thing because my back has still been bothering me from my ridiculous ice sliding/falling incident. It feels 100 % as long as I don't work out at all, but as soon as walking/running/ellipticalling is involved it's back to hurting. I'm seriously considering getting my first ever massage (seriously, I'm a little scared of them and hate to spend money on that kind of thing) to see if that will help matters. Either that or I'm considering a life of zen yoga and a total abandonment of any attempt to run... it seems to lead to frustration for me way more than happiness.

Thursday night I finished the last book I downloaded on Eric's mom's Kindle. Both Lisa and Your Next Read recommended One Day to me and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Your Next Read recommended it when I told them I liked American Wife. I have to admit I was a bit concerned when I noticed the resemblance between the two would be an overly-cocky, privileged male character but he grew on me in the end. Plus it was fun to get to follow characters through many years of their lives.

So, last night I started reading our Blogger Book Club selection for March, In the Woods. Since it was expensive on the Kindle, and I need to give the Kindle back, I took it out of the library. However, I think it was the wrong choice for my return into "real books." I've mentioned before that I love a good real book and I love the library. However, my hardcover version of In the Woods is a bit dodgy to say the least. Not only did I feel an overwhelming need to disinfect the plastic cover, but the binding is falling apart which makes it a serious challenge to hold the book without a table present. Yes, I miss the Kindle already. Luckily the next book I plan to read is a nice, paperback, NEW version of Water for Elephants that I won from Emily. That should restore my love for books and not make me want to run to rush order a Kindle asap. Let's hope anyway.

Everyone knows I have a travel obsession right? As part of my travel obsession I really just love Jet Blue Airlines. Here is a brief list of why I think they are the best airline I have personally ever been on (note: I have not taken Virgin America or the other airlines that offer free internet, that could easily sway me I'll be honest):

1. Extra legroom. Jet Blue already offers you more room than most airlines and you can pay just a bit extra for even MORE legroom in Jet Blue. When your husband is 6'4", this is well worth the extra money.

2. TVs in front of you. I can't read on planes or I feel sick, so for me having a TV is the difference between complete and utter boredom and actually being somewhat entertained by House Hunters and Law and Order :)

3. They actually have GOOD food on Jet Blue! They give you a choice of a bunch of different free snacks- the blue chips and animal crackers are my favorite. They also have $6 snack packs that are not a bad deal either. They include things like pretzels and mustard, pita chips and hummus, chips and salsa, etc.

Since I love Jet Blue so much I've been considering getting a Jet Blue True Rewards Credit Card. Right now they have a deal going on where you get a bunch of points just for opening an account, then by the time you charge just $500 you have enough points for 2 round trip flights. I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to deals like this so I did some research and it seems like the only really "downfall" to this credit card is that it doesn't have great interest rates (which doesn't bother me because I always pay off my card in full every month) and it has a $40 a year fee. The $40 fee bothers me a bit, but compared to 2 roundtrip flights, it's not bad. I do have the sense that in a few years I may cancel the credit card if I wasn't really flying a lot and therefore not getting great deals from it. Eric has me paranoid about canceling a credit card because he says it's bad for your credit, but my credit is really good right now and I already own a house so I mean, would it really be that bad? Anyone have any thoughts or possibly have this credit card or another airline rewards credit card? Anyone know how much it *really* hurts your credit to cancel one card?

I hope you are all having relaxing and fun weekends :) If you didn't tell me yet, what are you up to?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ABC's Take 2

It is SERIOUSLY ironic that as someone who spends more time than the average person thinking about the alphabet, I skipped HALF OF IT when writing my previous post.

At first I thought okay, I was tired... but then when I looked back at the missing letters, I realized I ANSWERED THOSE QUESTIONS, they were there and then they disappeared. Why the heck do I still use Ecto? It is beyond terrible. I really need to just bite the bullet and buy Parrallels so I can get Windows Live Writer. Otherwise I might really lose my teaching reputation here lol.

Let me try this again!

Age: 26

Bed size: KING

Chore you dislike: The only chore I like is emptying the dish washer, and like is probably too nice of a word. I hate all chores.

Dogs: I like to visit them, but not deal with my own. See previous answer about hating chores.

Essential start to your day: A groaning about morning session with Eric, following by food of some kind.

Favorite color: Pink

Gold or silver: Silver, but Gold is growing on me lately.

Height: almost 5'5" and by the way, if you were a doctor, wouldn't you just give people that extra half an inch, I mean... they do it in sport pros all the time (or is that weight?)

Instruments you play(ed): I once played the clarinet and piano but refused to practice either one and frankly have no musical talent what so ever. My musical peak was "Josephine" in HMS Pinafore: 5th Grade.

Job title: Kindergarten Teacher

Kids: Does 102 students count? No kids past the school day/year for awhile.

Live: Near Boston, considering move to basically anywhere warmer, getting less picky by the day.

Mom’s name: Gail... which is now half of my middle name, attached to my maiden last name. Did I mention a bartender asked me how to say this name in total seriousness? Yeah, it's not a real name it's the RMV not allowing me to have 2 middle names.

Nicknames: Trips [maiden last name] and "Kel"

Overnight hospital stays: I don't think I've had any... I mean other than when I was born.

Pet peeve: "Teachers get paid too much with all those vacations." "You have the whole summer off!" "Kindergarten isn't like "real" school." "You must play all day, right?" etc.

Quote from a movie: "So, what would you say, you do here?" (Office Space)

Righty or Lefty: Righty

Siblings: Caroline and Jake

Time you wake up: Eric and I have slowed moved our wake up time later and later over the past few years. Now it's 6:10... somehow I still get to work by 6:45 most days.

Underwear: Pink.

Vegetables you don’t like: Hate lettuce, and yes this means I don't do salads. Love most other veggies though.

What makes you run late: Assuming I have a ton of time and then waiting until the last minute to actually get ready.

X-Rays you’ve had: I had my knee X-rayed last year but they didn't find anything. I'm sure I was also X-rayed as a child either from my tricycle flipped backwards off the deck incident or perhaps my freak accident involving wood swing sets and a green popsicle, which I clearly should not have had in my hand when trying to go across the top of said swing set... but the good news is, I never ACTUALLY broke any bones. Yay me.

Yummy food you make: Hmm, I like my pizza and I think I'm getting better on the spring roll front.

Zoo animal favorite: Monkeys are great, but if I'm at a Zooquarium (like at the Cape!) then I'm going to go with the sea animals every time, penguins, dolphins, whales, even sharks are pretty fascinating, though I don't want to see them in the wild I'll say that.

Since it's almost Friday (or it is Friday depending on when you read this), let's celebrate with you telling me one of the following:

*Something awesome you are planning to do this weekend.

*A crazy childhood accident you had

*What time you wake up during the weekend on the weekend :)

*What makes you run late, or are you a person who is always always early (like my darling husband Eric)

and GO!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ABC's of Kelly!

For the past few weeks I've been really hoping to start a "Travel Tuesday" feature, where I talk about travel tips/places etc on Tuesdays. However, somehow every Tuesday rolls around and I just can't wrap my head around thinking and write the first post. I think the reason is because Tuesdays I have tutoring bright and early in the morning, work all day and my 1 break is occupied by a meeting and then I teach an extra-curricular class after school. By the time I get home, there is just no brainpower left. I guess now that I write it out it's understandable. Maybe I'll have to start Hump Day Travel? haha. Oh well.

I've been seeing this around the blog world a lot and Amber had it on her blog this morning so I thought why not...

Bed size: King. Had it for almost 2 years now and ridiculously spoiled by it now.

Dogs: No dogs. I like to visit dogs, but I don't want the additional chores that come with having a dog :)

Favorite color: Pink. One of my 4th grade after-school kids told one of the 1st grade after-school kids today (after she said her fav color was pink), just wait til you get older, you won't like pink anymore :) Still waiting for that...

Height: Almost 5'5"

Job title: Kindergarten Teacher... also known as Data Management Specialist (I'm not kidding that's what Kindergarten is these days- ask me about percentages of my students who know any random K still), also known as Most Flexible Person on Earth, also known as Coat Zipper/Shoe Tier.

Live: Near Boston :) That's all I'll tell you.

Nicknames: "Trips W---" (fill in maiden last name), and Kel pretty much...

Pet peeve: Any type of comments about how teachers have it easy, that I "play" all day, that I get paid too much, "must be nice to have summers off," and all those dang people who say, "oh it's just kindergarten."

Righty or Lefty: Righty... and forever oblivious to weather children are lefties or righties, probably not something a K teacher should be oblivious to!

Time you wake up: Usually about 6 am, I'm at work by 7 at the latest. On the weekends about 7. Doesn't matter what time I go to bed I'll be up by 7.

Vegetables you don’t like: Lettuce! Other than that I actually like most veggies.

X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth and my knee was X-rayed last year. No others I can remember...

Zoo animal favorite: Probably monkeys.

I think I just proved that I barely even had the brainpower for this... when I went back to check it I had like 6 of Amber's answers still left. Oops. I would promise more thought tomorrow night but I have like 1000 parent/teacher conferences tomorrow so that's probably unrealistic promise!