Vinyasa with a View with the American Cancer Society

There’s something about yoga that always makes me feel good. Since I started practicing regularly almost two years ago, I’ve taken advantage of the thriving yoga community in Boston by attending classes and yoga events. So when I was approached by the American Cancer Society to be a guest at their inaugural yoga fundraising event, Vinyasa With a View, I graciously accepted.

Vinyasa…with a view

Held at the distinctive 9OFS, a rooftop event space in Boston’s financial district, Vinyasa With a View was an evening rooftop yoga event with heart-warming cause behind it. The venue promised amazing views of the city of Boston and, despite the cold and rainy weather, did not disappoint. Due the weather however, the planned outdoor class was moved indoors.

vinyasa with a view american cancer society boston

Photo by Iam Nash NYC

Izzy VanHall, one of Boston’s most talented and spirited yoga and acroyoga instructors, led the practice. I had taken Izzy’s classes at YogaWorks Back Bay (fka Back Bay Yoga) and love her style of warm, relateable, and humorous style of teaching. Since this was a fundraising event, for many of the participants, it was their first time placing their feet on a yoga mat. Izzy led a practice geared toward beginners with sufficient room for more advanced poses, which I greatly appreciated.

The hour-long practice ended with a short mindful meditation and prizes for the top fundraisers. More than 85 participants raised over $8800 to benefit the American Cancer Society. Following the practice, we were treated to delicious pizza from Otto Portland, Freshii salads, Beacon Blend organic juice, Upstate Distilling vodka, and snacks from various vendors.

vinyasa with a view american cancer society boston

Participants all left with an Athleta reusable goodie bag filled with drinks, snacks, local discounts, and beautiful Hollis Hayes bracelets.

vinyasa with a view goodie bag

hollis hayes bracelets

Vinyasa with a View was a wonderful event and I encourage any philanthropic yogi to sign up next year. Congratulations to the American Cancer Society for a fun and successful fundraiser and thank you for letting me be a part of this amazing cause.

Note: I attended this event for free in exchange for media coverage but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Fall Day Trip from Boston: King Richard’s Faire

Fall is the time of many great things in New England—from apple picking and haunted hayrides to leaf peeping and drinking at beer fests, there’s always something fun to do. This weekend my fiancé and I took part in another New England fall tradition—King Richard’s Faire.

For those unfamiliar, King Richard’s Faire is an annual Renaissance Faire held in Carver, Massachusetts. This year marked the 35th anniversary of the event that draws crowds from Boston and the surrounding areas. My fiancé and I attended the Faire last year and had a great time, so when the good ol’ King Richard himself offered us two tickets to attend this year, we jumped at the chance!

king richards faire massachusetts

A big misconception about Renaissance Faires is that you have to dress up. While dressing up is fun and plenty of people do so, it’s certainly not required. That being said, last year I purchased a bodice from one of the vendors and was excited to have an excuse to wear it again. So, on Saturday morning my fiancé helped me tie myself into the surprisingly comfortable chest-emphasizing device and we headed out to the Faire.

The ride from Boston to Carver is around an hour, depending on traffic, and an easy ride. Despite the busy day and nice weather, there was ample parking and we found a spot near the entrance. With experience from last year under our belts, we arrived with cash on hand. While there are ATMs and many vendors take cards, food and drink tickets are cash only and service in the area is limited for credit card processing—do yourself a favor and hit up the ATM before you arrive.

king richards faire massachusetts

Food and drink tickets in hand, we ate our way through the Faire—turkey legs, baked potatoes, bacon mac and cheese, friend dough, and all of the beer and mead you could ask for! After stuffing ourselves silly, we made our way to the stocks outside of the medieval torture house, which this big baby opted not to explore!

the stocks at king richards faire

We walked past jousting shows, fire-breathing women, feats of strength, pony rides, a magical unicorn, and a kilt contest full of shirtless men. Everywhere you turn, there’s something to see.

kilt contest king richards faire

Family friendly, there are activities, rides, and games for kids young and old. Last year Ronnie won an axe throwing contest so this year we tested our luck at archery. Despite the mini lesson we got from the attraction guide, neither one of us was a winner.

archery at king richards faire

My favorite part of King Richard’s Faire was the Faerie Circle. Horticulture tells us that faerie circles are naturally occurring circles of mushrooms, but certain folklore explains that within these faerie circles are buried treasure that fairies are set to guard. Those who enter the ring are at the mercy of the fairies if they seek to uncover the bounty, but if you let the treasure be and tell no one of the location of the circle, a wish will be granted to you. At the risk of my wish not being granted, suffice it to say that there may be a faerie circle at King Richard’s Faire and in it you may find a centaur playing a flute and fairies granting wishes…

faerie circle king richards faire

In addition to the attractions and shows, there are dozens of vendors at King Richard’s Faire. Nearly anything you can imagine, and some things you never knew existed, are sold at the Faire. From fairy wings and leather kilts to swords and family crests, you can get your fix of Renaissance Faire wares. We picked up an outfit for my niece and a flower crown for myself but could have easily bought more things that I never knew I always needed!

king richards faire

After much frolicking around the beautiful scenery, we headed back home to Boston where I wore my flower crown the rest of the night.

king richards faire boston

If you’re looking for something fun to do over the next couple of weekends, head to King Richard’s Faire!

Note: I received two tickets to King Richard’s Faire free of charge, but all opinions and love of fairies are my own.

Besito Mexican Chestnut Hill Review

Located just outside of Boston in the chic Chestnut Hill Mall, Besito Mexican is a must visit for anyone in the Boston area. I had heard great things about the restaurant, so when my fiancé and I were invited for hosted dinner a couple of weeks ago, we jumped at the chance.

besito mexican chestnut hill review

We went to dinner on a Sunday evening to close out the weekend, arriving at the restaurant around 7:30pm. We were surprised to find the place busy with couples and families, but after our dinner, can easily see why it’s so popular.

Decorated taverna style, Besito Mexican, has a sophisticated yet down-to-earth vibe. Assorted lanterns, high-back chairs, and white tablecloths give the spacious restaurant an intimate feel. Everyone on staff was warm and friendly—the kind of welcome you feel when you’re dining at a friend’s house—and make you feel like part of the family.

Upon arriving at the table, our server told us a bit about the restaurant, including the daily Appy Happy Hour and events like the Día de Muertos festivities, where the staff paints their faces like sugar skulls. He even presented us with branded keychain lights to help us see the menu in the dim restaurant—a perfect solution to the issue of diners using the annoying flashlight on their phone.

In addition to the service and ambiance, Besito also offers a different take on the usual Mexican style food in local and chain restaurants for roughly the same price. The flavors and specials are fresh and authentically creative. You won’t find fajitas on the menu (iron skillet tacos are the closest thing they serve) but you won’t complain. From the food to the drinks, everything is expertly crafted and literally drool-worthy…and affordable. Appetizers are all less than $15 (most are under $10)  and entrées range from $18-$29.

cocktails at besito mexican chestnut hill boston

We started our impromptu date night with table side guacamole and a round of cocktails—a Paloma for me and a Spicy Martini for Ronnie. The Paloma was refreshing, perfect for the hot summer weather and the Spicy Martini offered an unusual and welcome flair. Radically different in taste, each drink was rimmed in a different salt mix that made our taste buds dance with joy.

shrimp taco appetizer besito mexican

Hector, the manager of the Chestnut Hill location, brought the drinks to our table and chatted for a few minutes. He recommended the Tacos de Camarones (shrimp tacos) appetizer on the menu but we had already had our hearts set on the rib special that our served had mentioned. Regardless, the Chef sent over both appetizers for us to enjoy.  The shrimp mini tacos were the perfect size, full of flavor, and the ribs in mole sauce fell off the bone.

mole ribs and cocktail besito mexican

After stuffing myself on the appetizers, chips and guacamole, I opted for the seemingly lighter Camarones Jalisco—a dish of pan seared jumbo shrimp, mashed boniato, tequila chipotle glaze, and spring pico. While the dish was lighter in calories, it was not small! I was surprised at the size of the dish and the number of shrimp on the plate.

dinner besito mexican chestnut hill review

Ronnie got the Filete de Res al Chipotle—a Filet Mignon marinated in Negra Modelo, salsa de chipotle quemado, queso Chihuahua, nopales, plantains, and queso fresco.  A big fan of bold flavors, Ronnie loved the steak. Both dishes were perfectly complemented by the Elotes de la Calle (Mexican street corn) that we ordered and the complementary side of black beans and rice that comes with every entrée.

flan dessert besito mexican chestnut hill review

Full from the delicious entrées, we opted not to order dessert, but Hector had other plans and sent over the most delicious cheese flan topped with crema, walnuts, and a sweet drizzle. Fluffy and rich, it was the perfect sized dessert for us to split. Before leaving, we were presented with mini churros to go with two little worry dolls. Our server explained that if you tell our worries to the doll and place it under your pillow, you’ll wake up worry free.

worry dolls besito mexican

Dinner was so relaxing that we almost didn’t realize that it 9pm and closing time by the time we were ready to leave. The restaurant was nearly empty as we rolled ourselves out the door and bid adieu to the staff. We left Besito Mexican impressed. Food, service, and ambiance—everything about the restaurant blew us away and we cannot wait to go back. If you’re in the Chestnut Hill area and craving an authentic Mexican experience, I highly recommend Besito Mexican.

Note: I received this meal free of charge but all opinions are my own.

Engagement Weekend in Ogunquit, Maine

Everyone has one of those places—the one that holds special meaning in your heart, where you visit again and again. It might be a small town, an exotic destination, or a secret spot close to home. For me, that place is Ogunquit, Maine. Located just over an hour north of Boston, Ogunquit is an artsy beach town on Maine’s mid-coast that I have fallen in love with again and again.

My love affair with Ogunquit began Last August when my boyfriend Ronnie took me there on a much-needed trip to reconnect and unwind. For two days we explored the little beach town—we watched the sun rise over Footbridge Beach, ate lobster rolls, shopped in local stores, and walked the Marginal Way, a mile-long path along the rocky shoreline. Together we fell in love with the town.

marginal way ogunquit maine

So when we were planning summer trips this year, it came as no surprise that Ronnie planned another weekend in Ogunquit. Little did I know how different this weekend would be and that I’d be pinching myself to make sure it was real.

We drove up from Boston on a Friday after work for our two-night stay. We stayed at The Blue Shutters Inn, a family-owned bed and breakfast, steps from the downtown shops and Marginal Way.

blue shutters inn ogunquit maine

Upon our arrival we quickly checked into the Grand Room, the largest of the rooms at the Inn, complete with comfy bed and fireplace. We sipped some wine that we brought with us and relaxed for a few minutes around the outdoor fire pit before venturing into town for dinner.

Due to traffic we arrived late, and many of the restaurants were closing up by the time we were ready for dinner at 9pm. We managed to snag an outdoor table with a personal fire pit at the Rose Cove Cafe on Main Street where we shared dinner and sangria.

dinner rose cove cafe ogunquit

Following our yummy seafood dinner, we stopped at the The Front Porch, a piano bar full of spirited vacationers, for a nightcap. We had plans to watch the sunrise on Footbridge Beach the next morning, as we had done the year before, so we made it an early night and headed to bed.

Before I knew it, the 4:45am alarm was blaring, waking us in time for sunrise at 5:15am. We dressed and drove a mile north on Rt. 1 to Footbridge Beach, where we set ourselves on the same lifeguard stand where we watched the sun rise last August.

sunrise footbridge beach ogunquit maine

The beach was nearly deserted because only crazy people get up before dawn on weekends. Ronnie bought our mini tripod and set up my cell phone so that we could get time-lapse photos ourselves with the sunrise…or so I thought. After setting up the camera, he joined me in the frame and as the sky brightened on a new day, Ronnie got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

ogunquit maine proposal

Through a chorus of shrieks and nervous giggles, I became the happiest woman in the world from our spot on Footbridge Beach. Little did I know that the time-lapse photo plan was just an excuse to film the proposal so that we could grab photos, like the one above, from the video. If this man isn’t the perfect [Instagram] Husband-to-Be, then he’s pretty close!

engagement in ogunquit maine

About 17,257 selfies later, we headed back to the hotel to nap before sharing the news with our family and friends.

engagement ring proposal

engagement ring sunrise

Our first celebration was breakfast at the Blue Shutters Inn. The owners learned about Ronnie’s plan upon check-in and were anxiously awaiting the news. We shared our proposal story with them over a delicious breakfast and mimosas, included in our stay. Ronnie and I had decided to take a few hours to ourselves before telling anyone (even our parents!) about our engagement, so the owners of the Blue Shutters Inn were the first people to know. It was heartwarming to see how happy they were for us, which made our weekend even better.

breakfast blue shutters inn ogunquit

breakfast blue shutters inn ogunquit

The rest of the weekend felt like we were walking on air! We spent a romantic day at Sandy Cove Beach off of the Marginal Way, ate lobster rolls in Perkins Cove, and enjoyed a celebratory dinner at Jonathan’s Ogunquit.

sandy cove beach ogunquit

Our engagement weekend in Ogunquit could not have been more perfect and cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with this wonderful man!

Wrapup of June Events in Boston

June is one of the best months in Boston when it comes to the weather and events. The short month bridges the gap between college graduations and the July 4th holiday and is the perfect time to experience all that Boston has to offer. Here’s a wrap up of what I did in Boston over the past month.

Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea

My boyfriend and I kicked off the month by spending Memorial Day weekend at Singing Beach. Although not technically part of June, our trip to Singing Beach set the stage for an awesome month so I’m including it in this round up. Singing Beach is a beautiful little beach named for the sound the sand makes when walked upon. The beach is long and wide enough that there’s room to spread out without having to move to accommodate the changing tides.

My boyfriend and I had the perfect day relaxing on the sand and testing the freezing waters. Giant seaweed-covered rocks sit at the end of the beach and make for the perfect tide-pooling experience or Instagram-worthy photo shoot. My boyfriend begrudgingly agreed to climb up the rocks with me amidst swarms of flies so we could sit on top of the sharp rocks and longingly gaze out on the ocean together.

singing beach manchester by the sea

people at singing beach manchester by the sea

Singing Beach is about an hour north of Boston. Admission to the beach is $5/person unless you have a season pass and there are bathrooms and a snack bar on site. Parking is limited—there’s a paid lot by the commuter rail station where you can park for $20-$30 but from there you must walk a mile to the beach. I recommend you save yourself the money and just take the commuter rail straight there—you’ll still have to walk but at least you don’t have to worry about driving home after a few beach beers.

Hyperlocal Craft Brew Fest

Beer wise, I kicked June off at Somerville’s Hyperlocal Craft Brew Fest on June 11th. Held at the Armory in Somerville, I attended the event as a vendor, helping out my good friend Allo from Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tours who was a sponsor of the event. If you’re looking for a great day trip to drinks some of Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s finest brews, hop on the Pints of Portsmouth bus. The round trip tour from Boston to Portsmouth is all-inclusive and drives drinkers to three great breweries for an all day adventure.

hyperlocal craft brew fest somerville

Bacon and Beer Festival at Fenway

On June 12th I attended the Bacon and Beer Fest at Fenway Park sponsored by Eat Boston to benefit the Red Sox Foundation, Community Servings, and Lovin’ Spoonfuls. My admission to the event was complimentary on behalf of Eat Boston but tickets to the event would have been well worth their price tag.

beer and bacon fest fenway

For two and a half hours I stuffed my face with the best bacon creations that Boston chefs had to offer and sampled eight craft beers. Sprawled throughout the concourse at Fenway Park, the Bacon and Beer Festival was the perfect event for any beer, bacon, or Red Sox loving philanthropist.

beer and bacon fest fenway

beer and bacon fest fenway

Naot Gives Back Trunk Show

A charitable weekend, I went to the Naot Gives Back Trunk Show the same day as the Beer and Bacon Fest. In partnership with Simons Shoes in Brookline, Naot Footwear hosted a trunk show at the Brookline store where, for every pair of Naot shoes tried one, they donated a pair to Rosie’s Place. For every paid purchased, two pairs of shoes were donated. I was invited to spread the word about the event in exchange for a complimentary pair of sandals and was thrilled to help spread the word about the great event.

naot sandals

Brunch at City Table

Although I’ve walked past it a million times since living in Boston, in June I ate brunch for the first time at City Table in the Lenox Hotel in Back Bay and it was delicious. I debated between the biscuits and gravy, my all-time favorite breakfast food, and the breakfast pizza. After some serious contemplation and a recommendation from our waiter, I ordered the breakfast pizza—OMG yum! It was everything I wanted and more, literally. Half of the giant dish came home with me for breakfast the next day.

city table brunch boston

Just Add Cooking

Speaking of food, June was my last month with a free trial of Just Add Cooking, Boston’s local meal prep delivery service. Included in the box were ingredients for Jambalaya, Philly cheesesteaks, and grilled veggie and feta pitas. Everything in this box was delicious!

I’d never made Jambalaya and was surprised at how easy the recipe was to make and how tasty the end result. As a Philadelphia native, I’m a bit of a cheesesteak snob and am happy to report that this cheesesteak was up to my high standards. The side of panko-crusted green beans was an interesting addition to the sandwiches and a healthy alternative to French fries.

just add cooking jambalaya

just add cooking cheesesteak

The grilled veggie and feta pitas were yummy and healthy and the perfect dinner for a warm summer night. The only downside to this recipe was that pitas that were supposed to be stuffed with the veggies failed to cooperate so I made open-faced sandwiches instead. The huge chunk of feta included in the recipe was fresh and tangy and large enough to be used in other recipes during the week. One of my favorite things about Just Add Cooking is that sometimes there’s too much food included, as was the case with this feta, which allows you to be creative for non-JAC meals with leftover ingredients.

just add cooking veggie pita

Elie Goulding Concert

Summer is concert time and this summer is no exception. My boyfriend joined me at the Elie Goulding concert at Boston’s TD Garden for an awesome concert from the British songstress. The concert was an all-out ladies fest and I give huge credit to a man who stood next to me as I sang along to her songs. We left covered in gold confetti which, in my opinion, is the perfect way to end a night.

elie goulding concert boston ma

Crane Beach in Ipswich

The last weekend in June was beautiful and on a perfect beach day my boyfriend and I headed up to Crane Beach in Ipswich. Just an hour north of Boston, Crane Beach is beautiful and the perfect place to spend the whole day. Unlike some other beaches like Singing Beach, there’s ample parking at Crane Beach. Parking is $30 but puts you right at the beach where there are huge bathrooms with showers and changing areas and a concession stand with picnic benches. The parking lot is attended by friendly teenagers who will help you find a spot on a crowded day.

crane beach ipswich ma

Crane Beach is long, providing plenty of room to find a spot on the sand surrounded either by families or no one at all. We chose to hike down a ways and set up camp in an area near the dunes where there were fewer people and spent the day relaxing in the sun.

crane beach ipswich

That’s a wrap up of June in Boston—check back soon to see what I’ve been up to so far in July!