Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Be Optimistic, Don't You Be a Grumpy...

...When the Road Gets Bumpy, Just Smile, Smile, Smile!

Are you an optimistic person?

I am. This is not to say that I don't complain, or ever think negatively, because I do. In fact, I often joke that I think negatively about things so I will pleasantly surprised when they turn out well. For example, I LOVE hearing that students on my list for next year are SO hard, because they rarely are as tough as the reputation they hold. It's the kids I don't know about ahead of time who are the tricksters!

Even so, I am overall an optimistic person, especially about the big things. Early on this April, I came to the realization that three very important people in my life have passed away in April. My grandfather passed away April 27, 1994 (17 years ago today, age 66). My cousin (age 24) passed away April 8, 2009. My former student (age 9) passed away last year, April 29, 2010. Not that you ever say someone was "old enough," but it's plain to see these 3 were not even close. For me, that is a lot of people in one month. I had to put a little effort into not freaking out every time my principal came to talk to me about something early in the morning, or someone who doesn't call me frequently called.

But, since I'm an optimistic person, I couldn't let the entire month of April be defined by this. April is a great month. The weather starts to get beautiful and sunny. Everyone in Boston is in a fabulous mood when the days are warm and sunny after a long and SNOWY winter. Plus I get April vacation. I can't let it be a bad month. So, I thought about things people have done lately to make me feel good. Actually a lot of things came to mind... I have wonderful family and friends. I'm lucky to work in a job where I get a lot of positive reinforcement from my students (in the form of hugs and "you are the best teacher in the world"), their parents, and my coworkers/principal (since I'm an optimist I won't mention the occasional negatives haha).

I've talked about my love for snail mail before, so it won't be a surprise that one of the things that stood out as something nice someone had did was this...


It's a postcard from one of my college friends, Cristina! She used that cool paper where it's all black and then you write on it with a special wooden stick (I think) and it comes out all rainbow and pretty. Obviously the Kindergarten teacher in me loves it. But also I just love getting snail mail from people, especially people who live far away and I don't get to see too often.

So I decided to combat the negative thoughts I was having about April, by declaring it the month of post cards. I created a bunch of post cards on Vista Print using this picture...

Digital Camera Pics 724.jpg

Then I thought about all the people that I just want to say hi to (that I don't always remember to, in particular), and just send them a little reminder that I care about them and I'm really glad I have them in my life. Wow, that just sounded corny. Oh well, isn't it a given that a kindergarten teacher is a little corny? Whenever you talk to someone who has lost someone they love, they always, always say they have learned to appreciate life and the people in their life more. We all show it in our own way. I'm a writer. One of the reasons I love having a blog is that when I mention something awesome someone did for me, or how much I love them on the blog- it seems to be the best possible thank you note.

I know I'm not a big hugger but I think everyone I love knows I love them. Don't you? Alright fine I'll give you a hug to prove it next time.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? What do you do to show people that you love and appreciate them?

PS. Heaven hugs to Pops, Brian and N., all inspirations to live every day to it's fullest and never forget to bounce into my kindergarten classroom ready for whatever the day will hold :) (sometimes it's a metaphorical bounce at 6:30 am I'll be honest).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Scenes from Relaxation and Stir Crazyness

Happy Friday everyone :) And Happy Easter if you celebrate it. First things first, my BFF Katie is in a contest for Best Love Story. If she and her husband win, she gets a replica of the royal ring which is pretty cool! Katie has had a very rough and stressful few months, so winning this contest would really make her smile... so if you want to make Katie happy and therefore me happy, you can vote for her and her husband Adam here. You either like or tweet about it to vote (this confused me at first).

I had vacation this week. Usually April break is my favorite. It's the only one where I don't have a ton of work to get done, and the weather is usually nice. This week I had a terrible cold and the weather was not really nice at all, but it was still a much needed, restful week and so I am thankful. But I am kind of ready to stop coughing... anytime now would be great.

Other than sleeping a lot, reading and reading lots of blogs, we've done a few other fun things this week...

Last Saturday I went to a bridal shower for Eric's cousin and his fiance. Erin and I got them scuba diving lessons off their honeymoon registry. I love honeymoon registries. I made a fun page to tell them modeled after one we got for our wedding made by my friend Christina.


The happy couple were rock stars at opening gifts. I think they set some kind of speed record.


I may have taken a fake picture of Chris with his best man pretending it was the two of them getting married. I think he deserves some extra points for coming to an all-woman shower. Not that I think he minded at all...


I don't have a picture of myself from the shower, which is really for the better because I was on more Sudafed than I care to mention.

While I was hanging with the girls at the bridal shower, Eric was at an engagement party for another of his friends and there was another CAKE BOSS CAKE (you may remember they also had a Cake Boss cake for their 30th bday party last year). Eric knows how much I love it so he SO NICELY (best husband ever) got me a piece...


By Monday I was starting to feel like a relatively normal human so Eric and I headed to Sandwich to go to the Green Briar Jam Kitchen and Nature Center. It's the place that inspired the author of Peter Cottontail (Here Comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail...) not to be confused with Peter Rabbit who I almost thought they were talking about haha. My 4th grade teacher who spent a million days of 4th grade teaching me about Beatrix Potter (the author of Peter Rabbit) would not be impressed!



The next day, we tried to do another short walk in Brewster on a boardwalk, but we quickly learned the high tide was going to beat us...


By Wednesday we gave up on trying to walk or deal with the cold and rainy weather and decided to resort to beer drinking. Eric and I enjoy our relaxation, but we were getting a little stir crazy! Look at the tiny beer Eric accidentally ordered...


After this we needed a little more so we ordered a flight of different beers. My two were Blue Moon and Sea Dog Blueberry Beer. I liked the blueberry the best, I seriously love blueberry beer.


Do you notice that the second from right beer is leaning on the second from left? Yeah, I decided to take out that second from left one first and let's just say it was not pretty.

Oh yea, I also got a delicious sandwich at British Beer Company, it was a veggie sandwich (zucchini, summer squash, eggplant and marinara sauce) and sweet potato fries. Yum.


The last part of an amusing week came last night when my family came down to start the Easter celebrations. It was my brother's 20th birthday yesterday (my parents officially made it through the teenage years!) and we went to our favorite Japanese restaurant. Without anyone noticing, my dad told the restaurant it was his birthday and they did a whole big embarrassing singing thing. The best part about it is, they literally shut off all the lights in the restaurant and say "Attention everyone! Could you please help us sing Happy Birthday..." haha. I was actually scared for a minute haha...


Good times. Tomorrow we will have Easter dinner and then Sunday we drive home to do Easter #2 with Eric's family.

If you celebrate Easter, what are you up to this weekend? If not, what are you up to anyway?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How Will You Pay For That?

I don't know about you, but I go through phases with the blogs I read. I mean sure, I read my blog friends all the time, but as for the extra blogs I read, those change a bit. I used to always focus on healthy living and food blogs, but sometimes I'm just in the mood for something different. You'd think I'd be a major sucker for Travel Blogs...and sometimes I am, but lately my biggest obsession is Money blogs. Not like serious investment blogs necessarily, but blogs about using your time and money well. My favorites are The Simple Dollar and Budgets are Sexy. Clearly I take my money blog reading very seriously haha.

I would say that among personal fiance bloggers, there is the belief that using cash instead of credit/debit cards will help you be more aware of your purchases and therefore spend less. Is this true for you?

It is NOT true for me. Why? I'm of the debit card generation. I've been using my debit card for my purchases since I got one at age 18. I will happily use it for a $3 cup of coffee, or a $50 dress and a $100 grocery trip. One of the arguments for using cash is that supposedly it's much easier to swipe a card then actually pull each dollar out of our wallet and part with it. I'd argue that those in the debit card generation consider a debit card "real money" and know the consequences of using it for a purchase.

Why do I love debit cards?

1. My thoughts on ATMs are very similar to my thoughts on coffee. I enjoy coffee, but I like that I'm not dependent on it every morning before I start my day. It gives me a lot more flexibility in my morning. I don't want to be dependent on an ATM. If I run out of cash, I'll have to search for an ATM. Most likely it won't be my bank which means I'll be charged some kind of insane fee to withdrawl a simple $20 to pay for that $3 cup of iced tea Some would argue that maybe I will think twice about spending $3 on a cup of iced tea if I have to search for an ATM and pay more to withdraw money. This could be true, but you also may be underestimating how much I want that Iced Passion Tea from Starbucks. Maybe.

2. Loose change drives me crazy. As a kid I LOVED change because my dad always had a lot of it (my dad = the anti debit card person- he hates people like me who charge $3 at Starbucks, oops). I loved my dad having a lot of it because my mom would convince us to roll it for her over vacations. Then, we'd bring it down to the bank and get to keep the profits. Those $10 rolls of quarters were like gold to a 10 year old. But now that I'm no longer 10, I really don't want to spend my vacation day rolling quarters, nor do I want to go into the bank and use the machine designed for a 3 year old while everyone else in the place stares at me and giggles to themselves. I'd rather just have that money in my bank account, safe and sound, like it will be if I use my debit card.

3. To me, debit cards are not like "free money", but cash kind of is. If I take out $40 because I'm going out to dinner with a friend, but then only spend $25 of it, I consider that $15 money that is up for grabs. It doesn't bother me to spend it because it's already out of my bank account and therefore off my radar. When I check my accounts online, I don't say, "oh good, I have $200 dollars in my checking account, plus the $15 in my wallet."


I have never actually tried the envelopes filled with cash system. This would probably change my spending quite a bit because I suffer from "but what if it runs out?" syndrome. For example, I feel the need to charge my phone, computer, ipod all the time because I always fear it will run out of batteries. I'm guessing if I had $300 to spend on food in one envelope, I probably wouldn't even spend the full $300 because I'd be scared of running out. Speaking of, why have I not tried this year? haha.

Also, I think debit cards are a bit different than credit cards. I always pay my credit card in full at the end of each month, so I don't feel like it's "free money" by any means. However, I also have my accounts set up so that money goes to savings each month, meaning that I don't have a ton left the day before I get my next paycheck. I do sometimes find myself saying "I don't have enough money for that in my account right this minute, but I will in a few days, so I can just charge it." This type of thinking is why I am back to mostly using my debit card again, I figure credit card rewards probably aren't great enough to make up for those extra purchases I feel like I can make.

Do you tend to use cash, debit cards or credit cards the most? Which way helps you to spend less and which way encourages you to spend more?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Travel Tuesday: Being a Tourist at Home

Things are starting to look up in Kelly land. I can actually breathe and taste my food again. Coughing fits have decreased to maybe five or six times a day rather than every hour on the hour. Plus I finished my first book of the vacation: Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I'm still deciding if I liked it or not, it definitely had some cool parts (as far as the whole image of heaven and being able to look at people still on earth and "be" with them), but also some depressing parts (most of it).

You guys really did not give me any cool local holidays to learn about after my post yesterday. I was thinking about it this morning and when I was visiting my college roommate in Chicago a few years ago, they were celebrating Sweetest Day, which I had never heard of. I love holidays. Anytime you think of a cool local holiday, let me know.

As you know, Eric and I love to travel and be tourists. We can't travel ALL the time, so one of our favorite things to do is pretend to be tourists in our own city (and at the Cape).

How To Be A Tourist In Your Own City

1. Visit your local library. Check out Travel books on your area. No need to buy it, just write down anything you want to do. I love the Eyewitness books because they have the best pictures, but really any travel book will do, it's just there to give you ideas. Your library allow may have free passes to local museums, art galleries etc. Might as well save some money while being a tourist in your own city.

2. Use Tripadvisor and Google. Whenever I'm visiting a new city, or a new area of my home city, I always do a tripadvisor search first and click on "things to do." Then I can get real traveler's reviews on the best things to do in that area. After I've exhausted those options, I just keep typing in the name of the place I'm going and "things to do" until something comes up. I swear I find new things to do at the Cape all the time but just doing slightly different google searches.

3. Ask friends and family for recommendations. Ask them what they would do if they had someone visiting from out of town. In Boston, I always take visitors to the Freedom Trail, Swan Boats, and North End (Italian section of Boston). If we have more time, I like to take them out of Boston to see sights of the Salem Witch Trials.

Digital Camera Pics 1057.jpg

If I can get tickets, a Red Sox game is usually a good thing to take a visitor to as well! I've mentioned before that I was in Australia when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. I converted all my Australian friends to Red Sox fans, so when my friend Kirsty came to visit, a tour of Fenway Park and a Red Sox game were must-dos.

4. Read bloggers from your area. I get the best ideas for fun things to do from Tina, Sues and Chels, Melissa, Meghan and the many other Boston bloggers I read.

Tourism Boston
I already mentioned some of the things I think people should do when they come to Boston. Here is my more extensive list. Obviously if you have kids/don't have kids/love something in particular, I might change it a bit for you. Also, I know some people like to get off the beaten path and not do typical things like the Duck Tours- therefore you could ignore my cliche choices- I'm okay with doing both what everyone does, and off the beaten path choices. I wouldn't go to Rome without seeing the Colosseum after all :)

In the City
Freedom Trail

Swan Boats (or Ice Skating on Frog Pond, in winter)

Boston Duck Tours

Shopping on Newbury Street

Red Sox Game and/or Tour of Fenway Park

Historic Sightseeing Cruise

Boat to George's Island

Sam Adams or Harpoon Brewery

Museum of Science

Castle Island

Lunch or Dinner and Pastries in the North End

Out of the City

Harvard Square

Kayak the Charles River Salem, MA

Nashoba Valley Winery

Concord/Lex... I mean why not?

Day/Weekend Trips

Newport, Rhode Island

Coastal Wine Trail

Lakes Region, New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Burlington, Vermont (okay this would be a crazy day trip haha)

Coastal Maine


Cape Cod

The possibilities are pretty much endless!

Tourism Cape Cod

Eric and I consider Cape Cod our second home. Since we tend to spend our free vacations down here, we've probably done more touristy things down here than we have in Boston.

Hyannis Harbor Cruise

Shining Sea Bikeway and Cape Cod Rail Trail

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Provincetown (especially Pilgrim Monument and Art's Sand Dune Tours)

Truro Vineyards

Heritage Museum and Gardens

Sandwich Glass Museum


Bass River Cruise or Kayak

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

Cape Cod National Seashore

Day Trip to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket

Do you ever pretend to be a tourist in your own city? Where do you make sure to take visitors? If you live in Boston or have ever been, would you add anything to my list?

The Third Monday in April

Hi everyone. It's been awhile since I blogged last, but it was a busy week followed by a cold that came out of no where. I just had a little cold a few weeks ago so I figured I was in the clear for awhile. Then halfway through the day on Thursday I started to feel TERRIBLE. I had a tutoring interview Thursday afternoon and a Writing Celebration with kids and parents on Friday morning so I powered through those days but my body is definitely against me right now. Mainly in the form of excessive coughing fits. I'll be happy when that's over.

If you aren't from Massachusetts, you may not be familiar with the greatness that is the third Monday in April. Over the years, this day has meant different things to me and it's crazy to think that most other places in the world, it means nothing at all :)

Patriots Day

Patriots Day is a holiday celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine which remembers the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolution. I can't remember exactly how old I was the first time my dad decided to bring me to the re-enactment but I do recall waking up in the pitch dark, driving to the center of Lex and then walking around trying to find a place to actually see the "battle" from. This was followed with a delicious pancake breakfast from the churches nearby. When I got a little older, I got to march in the parade with my Brownie troop.

You may think that the re-enactment got less cool when I was in high school, but in fact, it did not. In high school, I would sleep over my friend Lisa's house- and then me, Tiff and Lisa would strap on our rollerblades and rollerblade in the freezing cold darkness (it's 5 am after all) to the re-enactment. Then we would go get bagels, go back home and hang out at one of our houses' until the afternoon parade. Then we'd rollerblade back to the center to visit all the things set up- cotton candy stands, etc- it was kind of like a fair type atmosphere from what I remember. I think it was just the fact that we were allowed out of our houses at 5 o'clock in the morning that really made it fun.

Marathon Monday

When I went to college, the Patriots Day traditions were abandoned for a new tradition, MARATHON MONDAY!!! The very-famous Boston Marathon goes right past BC right at Heartbreak Hill so the crazy BC students go out to cheer most of the day. And pretend to be runners... obviously...

Digital Camera Pics 769.jpg

My junior year of college, one of my best friends ran the Boston Marathon for the first time. She has since run SEVERAL marathons, and qualified for Boston (she had previously run with a charity) this year so she'll be running today! Here is her fabulous cheering section including her family and all our friends. We are totally failing to actually spell her name right here but I promise that we did in fact HAVE all the letters at one point!

Digital Camera Pics 773.jpg

First Day of April Vacation

Another weird thing that Massachusetts does in the public school system is that we don't have a "spring break." We have 2 breaks, one in February, one in April (I believe this balances out normally though because we have only 1 week off in December, while most public schools have 2... at least that is my understanding). I much prefer this method because I like my vacations spread out and I have had the pleasure of managing kindergarten kids after two weeks off and I'd rather not do it on a regular basis :) So now, Patriots Day/Marathon Monday is the first day of April vacation for me and Eric. We have done a couple of different things since we started working 5 years ago. The first year we went up to New Hampshire, which was a terrible idea. At the first site of snow, we knew we would never head north in April again! The next year we stuck around to watch both of our cousins run the marathon and since then we've been at the Cape enjoying the hopefully spring weather and being tourists. That is where we find ourselves today. Looking ahead, I see myself going back to some of my old stomping grounds in the future. Don't think I won't drag my darling hopefully early-bird children up at 5:00 am to hear some gunshots. It's an experience, I promise you.

What's a fun local holiday you celebrate? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I had an idea for a Travel Tuesday post today, but I had been considering waiting until next week because I'll have more time to devote to a good post. Then, I saw that Lisa was in charge of the Ten on Tuesday questions today and I took that as a sign, I have to answer them :)

Sorry if you read my earlier post (like 20 minutes ago), I was having Ecto problems, as usual!

1. If you work, do you drive to work or take public transportation?
I drive. If I took public transportation, it would be VERY out of the way and take over an hour. Driving takes 7 minutes. So yeah, I drive. Plus I need my car to get to tutoring.

2. How often do you get your haircut? Do you go to the same person every time?

3 or 4 times a year, sometimes less if I'm feeling cheap :) I love my hair dresser though. She's nice but she leaves me alone. I don't love to the chat with my hair dresser. Wow, no hugging and no chatting- I am pretty anti social!

3. Do you read the newspaper? If so, a hardcopy or the online version?

Honestly I'm so out of the loop on the news unless I'm on vacation or home sick from work! When I used to live with my parents, I did read their newspaper, but I prefer local news to be honest.

4. What is the best book you have read this year?

I am really into the Lisa Gardner books, starting with Alone. I've read a lot of awesome books this year though. I'm on a reading kick right now.

5. What is the best movie you have seen this year?

Definitely Toy Story 3. Yes I do get movie recommendations from 5 year olds!

6. Do you tend to crave sweet or salty foods?

My mom is a sweet person and my dad is a salty person. I managed to get both. It's a wonder I'm not 500 pounds! I think I'm overall more of a sweet person but I just happen to love chips. Cake with a side of Pringles?

7. Do you eat breakfast every day? If so, what do you have?

Yes. I truly do not understand people who don't eat breakfast. I need food and I need it immediately. I usually eat oatmeal, bagels or quick pancakes on the weekend.

8. If you celebrate Easter, what Easter treat/candy are you most looking forward to?

Chocolate bunnies and Starburst jelly beans. However I'm going to try to avoid both as much as possible this year. Jelly beans are addicting for me- I had to throw some away today because I couldn't stop eating them and my stomach was not impressed!

9. How late is “sleeping in” to you?

7:00. I can't change my sleeping up that much on the weekends and I'm definitely an early bird at heart!

10. Where are you going on your next vacation?

Not sure exactly yet (unlike us, I know). We want to go somewhere for a weekend for our anniversary. We will also be going to Chicago in October to watch Caroline run the marathon!

Pick one of the questions and answer it in the comments :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Make Ahead Sunday

Good morning all. It's a beautiful weekend here so I hope you are enjoying similar weather wherever you are :)

I haven't posted in awhile so here are my random Sunday thoughts...

Why do weekends go by so fast?

I totally voted for this Blogger Book Club selection but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish it, I hate it so much. I don't remember if ever before I have wanted to reach into a book and smack a character... is that normal?

I had my first ever massage yesterday. I got an $80 massage for $35 at Asi Texeria in Davis Square (located in Samara Yoga Studio). I'm not a big massage person at all (hence why I've never had one) but my back has been really bothering me so I thought it was worth a try. It did go well, but it's still not my favorite way to spend money. If you do like massages though, I would recommend Asi.

After my massage, I went into Starbucks for my first iced Passion Tea of the season. While there I noticed a ton of Tufts University students sitting on laptops. Inside staring at a computer on one of the nicest days of spring so far. It was then that I realized I literally NEVER want to be in school again. I'm so over it.

Good weather and frozen yogurt cures all. Especially frozen yogurt with pink spoons.


In other news, Make Ahead Sunday

I'll admit it now, I'm not ACTUALLY a fan of cooking. I do it out of necessity because I believe it's the cheapest and healthiest way to eat. I also prefer the taste of homemade meals to frozen and take out for the most part. Since I cook out of necessity, rather than pleasure, I like meals that can be made quickly and produce a lot of leftovers. With lunch in particular, I tend to make something on Sunday and eat it for the rest of the week for lunch.

Today I am testing out a recipe from The Simple Dollar (which by the way, if you don't read this blog you should, it's great). It's called Slow Cooker Jamaican Red Bean Stew. Since The Simple Dollar is a money blog, you can be sure it's going to be a cheap meal and it's also ridiculously easy. It took me about 15 minutes to cut up the veggies and throw them into the slow cooker. Now it's just cooking and making the house smell delicious while I go about my day :)


It smells amazing so I can only imagine it will taste amazing, but I'll let you know for sure in my next post. I love lazy-man's meals that will feed me all week.

Other things I enjoy making on Sunday and eating all week include:

  • Pizza with tomato sauce, veggies (usually carrots, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms) and black beans.

  • Quinoa or Harvest Grain Mix (from Trader Joes) mixed with veggies, beans and topped with mango.

  • Hummus- I like lemon garlic, roasted red pepper and Eric's amazing sweet potato hummus the best.

It summary, I like to take some kind of bread/grain and mix in a bunch of beans and veggies haha.

Do you make ahead meals on Sunday? If so, what do you make? What are you all up to this weekend?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Travel Tuesday- Destination Weddings

Hi everyone! Today I have a special guest post from Karen. I hope you enjoy :) I'll warn you right now that Ecto seems to hate when I cut and paste so I'm sorry in advance if the spacing is CRAZY in this post. I swear it looked normal before I posted it!

Hola Bloggies!

Let me introduce myself - my name is Karen but on the blogosphere I go by Toronto Girl West, and you can find me at the blog of the same name. And I'm here today because Kelly has been wonderful enough to allow me to guest post on Travel Tuesday.


Like Kelly, I'm a healthy living blogger with an absolute passion for travel. There are few things that thrill me as much as experiencing different cultures and seeing the world. In fact, if it were up to me I'd travel pretty well every other month.

Unfortunately, that's not realistic but I get my trips in where I can! And that includes planning destination wedding - which is what I'm here to talk to you about today!

You see back in November, I married the love of my life at the beautiful Cabo Azul resort in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Our big day was honestly like something out of a fairy tale . . . I will forever remember dancing the night away under the stars, waves crashing in the background, and palm trees rustling in the wind.

In that moment, I couldn't believe that the dream I was living was actually my wedding day!  So without further ado, I present to you the "Top 10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding:"

wedding 1.jpg

1) You'll save big $$$!!! The Husband and I paid for our own wedding so we really wanted to make sure we get the best bang for our buck. First, we started off by looking at venues in Toronto (where I'm from) and in Victoria (where the Husband is from), that's when we discovered that many places were looking for $5000 for venue rental alone! The thought of paying that much and getting nothing but a space hurt our wallet. And then came the costs for flowers (very pricey) and food. That's when it became blatantly obvious that a wedding in either the U.S. or Canada would be very costly indeed. So we considered a destination wedding instead! The same wedding services that at home would have cost us a fortune were a mere fraction of the price in Mexico. Take the flowers for example, our reception was absolutely full of orchids - I was stunned to see how beautiful everything looked. There's no way we would have been able to have such extravagant florals on the same budget in Canada. Let me put it to you this way, a welcome reception, a rehearsal dinner, an eight piece mariachi band, a wedding planner, stunning florals, a DJ, a cocktail hour, a plated dinner, an open bar at every event, the cake, the venue, and the officiant all came in under $12,000USD for a party of 35!!! And while I know that may still be over some people's budgets, consider that we had our wedding at a non-all inclusive resort. You could easily plan a destination wedding for much less! In fact, many all-inclusives offer complete packages for just a few thousand dollars. wedding 2.jpg

2)  The Help is Included Most destination wedding venues include a wedding planner - which is a HUGE help when planning such a big event! Because let's face it, we all lead busy lives and although it would be absolutely fantastic to have endless hours to plan a wedding it's just not going to happen. Enter the wedding planner. She (or he) can be as involved as you want them to be. In my case, I had a vision for a big day and I chose to be extremely involved in all the decisions but if you're a totally hands off bride you can leave the planning up to the planner and basically just show up for your wedding. Any way you look at it you come out winning!!!

wedding 3.jpg

3)  Might as Well Get a Vacation out of It If you're anything like us, you'll have guests attending your wedding from many different cities. In our case, we live in the Rockies, and our friends and family are either in Toronto, California, or British Columbia. It was inevitable that people were going to have to travel from far away to attend our wedding. And that means spending big $$$$; add in the price of a hotel in our wedding destination and it's likely that a couple would have spent well over a $1000 just to share in our big day. But that's where a destination wedding is perfect - since people are already going to be travelling it makes complete sense to hold the wedding abroad. That way, your guests at least a get a vacation out of all that travel! And potentially for a cheaper price too!

wedding 4.jpg

4)  It Weeds People Out This one may be a bit controversial - but one of the things we liked most about destination weddings is the way that it weeds people out. Yes, you may lose some guests because you're holding your wedding abroad. But at the end of the day, those that really matter will most likely still be there. When we were planning, we didn't know how many guests we would end up with but we knew we could count on our parents and best friends. Ultimately, we had a small and intimate wedding of 35 people (which coincidentally is considered large in the destination wedding world) which turned out to be perfect!

wedding 5.jpg

5)  Three Days is Better than One A huge bonus of destination weddings is the fact you get to spend a couple of days with your guests in the lead up to your big day. Think about it, there will be only a few times in your life that you will be fortunate enough to be surrounded by such unconditional love and joy. Why not make that feeling last? Most of our guests arrived at least three days before the wedding - which gave us time to share special moments with each of them. Plus, by the time our wedding day rolled around, everyone was friends and it really showed when it came time for the reception!

wedding 6.jpg

6)  Experiencing Something New is Always Fun One of our biggest considerations when planning a wedding abroad was the ability to expose our guests to something new. Some of our guests had not traveled very much and most of them had never been to Latin America. Granted, we chose to host our wedding at a luxury resort but we still took great pains to make sure our guests enjoyed some of the real Mexico. For us, that included exposing them to different food, walking around the nearby town, and planning a full-day boat excursion so they could see the beautiful Baja Coast from the water!

wedding 7.jpg

7)  Because Weddings are Stressful and the Ocean Makes it Better I may have been as prepared as any bride will ever be but that doesn't mean that the wedding day wasn't a little stressful. But rather than rushing around a city trying to make it to the church on time I had a relaxing day by the Ocean. On my wedding day, I woke up early and enjoyed the sun rise with my mother down at the beach. Those are moments I will always treasure. And I'm convinced they wouldn't have been nearly as relaxed or memorable had I not chosen a destination wedding.

wedding 8.jpg

8) Your Pictures and Videos will Look Even Prettier Ask any of my friends or family and they will all tell you how very important wedding images were for me. We were fortunate enough to book our dream photographers and cinematographers for our big day. And while we knew that we picked a beautiful hotel to host the wedding at, it didn't hurt that the scenery was so spectacular. Having seen some of the images, I can tell you that a destination wedding makes for spectacular memories caught on film! And while I know that a ball room wedding in a city can also be very beautiful there is just something special about having an exotic location as a backdrop to your big day!

wedding 9.jpg

9)  You can Incorporate your Culture

While this one may not apply to every couple, I would encourage those that come from different cultures to consider having a destination wedding in a location that allows them to showcase their heritage. I am not Mexican but I am Hispanic, and having a wedding in Mexico meant that my traditional Spanish dress and mantilla veil fit perfectly into the surroundings. Plus, everything from the flowers to the flavours of the dishes spoke to tastes and sights familiar to my Latin American self. But please don't think that you have to be from a warm tropical place to incorporate your culture into your destination wedding! A big day in the Tuscan hillside or in a beautiful English Castle would be equally as appealing!

wedding 10.jpg

10)  Your Anniversary Trips are Planned for You Admittedly, we won't choose to spend every anniversary in our wedding location but when we're ready it will be wonderful to take a trip back to San Jose del Cabo and reminisce our big day. And when the time comes - we're looking forward to taking our children to Mexico and showing them where mom and dad were married. Think about it . . . how special would it be to be able to re-live your destination wedding for years to come!!

So there you have it bloggies the "Top 10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding!"

I think it's clear to see that we're thrilled with the way our wedding turned out and we would recommend a destination wedding to anyone looking to have an unbelievable event!!!

Here's hoping you enjoyed my guest post - please feel free to drop by and say hello at Toronto Girl West!    Question: Have you ever attended a destination wedding? What did you think? Would you ever consider a destination wedding yourself?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Fitness Updates

It's April.... WAHOO. In case anyone was wondering, April is an awesome month. Why?

-Spring actually hits in Boston in April. By spring I mean nice weather with the occasional snow storm...-Easter and April vacation- April vacation is the BEST vacation of the year- no report cards to write :) -Kindergartners start to "get it" in April. By "it" I mean life in school. By "kindergartners" I mean some of them :) My kids LOVE reading right now though, and that to me = the best. Plus they are starting to tell jokes...

student: I am not coming to school tomorrow!!!me: oh yeah?student: April Fools!!!!!!!!!

Okay so the joke would've been SLIGHTLY better if not told on a Friday, but hey! I didn't say their jokes make sense yet!

In other news, I have 2 fun fitness updates for you guys.


#1- I registered for one of the Great Hyannis Road Races! Caroline did the half marathon last year and is doing it again. There is no possible way I can even pretend to do a half marathon at the moment but I decided to challenge myself a bit with the 7.2 miler (and by a bit I mean a lot, I've never run more than 5 miles!). This is probably not the BEST idea I've ever had given that a 5K is a challenge for me at this point (because my body = hates running). However, if I have to walk, I walk- at least I know a half marathon is also happening at the same time so I can't be the VERY last person right? I've never done a race longer than a 5K so I can take a casual Sunday walk and still PR. Mwahaha. Think positive thoughts of my knee and back not rebelling against this decision.

#2- I am about to buy a Passport to Prana which allows me to try a bunch of different Boston area yoga studios for $30. I'll be blogging about my adventures at all the new studios. This also may not the BEST idea seeing as I've literally NEVER been to a yoga class I liked at anywhere besides my current amazing studio but yoga is expensive and this is a good deal so I'm going to take the risk. If I'm going to be training to walk/run 7.2 miles I'm going to need some serious yoga. Man I should really stick to 5Ks.

Anyway what is going on in your fitness world? I know Katie and Lisa are both running half marathons today so go visit their blogs to cheer them on!