May 222016
 

6 Reasons to Visit Massachusetts Pioneer Valley

When someone mentions Massachusetts to you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Boston?  Cape Cod? Those places are both great, but there is a lot of fun located in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, too. There are so many fun-filled attractions in the western part of the state and they are definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for some family fun this summer.

1. Six Flags New England

Did you know that Six Flags New England is the Coaster Capital of New England?  Six Flags New England is home to the New England SkyScreamer, Flashback, Pandemonium, Mind Eraser, Batman the Dark Knight, Goliath, Wicked Cyclone and the brand new Fireball, which just opened this year. Six Flag New England also relaunched the BIZARRO coaster this season.  It’s now SUPERMAN™ the Ride.

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If coasters aren’t your thing, you are not alone.  I don’t like them either, but fear not – there is a ton of other stuff to do at the park. For the little ones, there are four areas specifically dedicated to kids including Looney Tunes Movie Town, Kidzopolis, Whistlestop Park and Splash Island (in the water park).  There are tons of rides in those areas including bumper cars, a carousel, the scrambler and many more classics. Continue reading »

May 092016
 

As a former Jordan’s Furniture employee, I can personally attest to the fact that they truly enjoy keeping their customers happy.  The owners, Barry & Eliot had a vision of making visiting the stores more than just furniture shopping – they wanted to make it an experience for the whole family. Now that Barry has retired from the family business, Eliot has kept the family fun aspect of the stores going strong.  I worked at the Avon, MA store, which is the home of MOM (the Motion Odyssey Movie Ride), Enchanted Ice (an indoor skating rink) and the Boston classic, The Enchanted Village.  Families come out in droves for those attractions, but if you are a local you know that each store boasts at least one fun family attraction. In the Reading store, they have the BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course and I was able to head there to check it out with my family last weekend.

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Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets for the course in order to provide an honest review of our experience.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

The BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course is a 32-foot tall, 2 level ropes course (12 feet or 24 feet up) complete with 30 exciting activities including zig-zag beams, cargo nets, angled rope ladders, crisscross walks and more. Participants choose their own path through the elements and go at their own pace. No two obstacles are the same! The ropes course is also equipped with a Sky Rail zip line connection measuring 69′ long. which costs $2 more to ride.

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My boys have done rope courses before, so they already knew to empty their pockets before the employees helped them put their safety harnesses on, but for those of you who have never done a course like this – you do need to empty your pockets so nothing falls out on the people on levels below you.  And no, cameras are not allowed on the course, either. Continue reading »

Apr 112016
 

Taking the Hahvahd Tour

I’m a Boston girl.  Always have been and always will be. It’s no secret that I love living here and whenever I meet someone who is not from around here, as soon as they find out where I’m from I inevitably get asked the same question: “Can you say park the car in the Harvard yard”?  Seriously – it happens every single time.  It fun to play along, though, because we know how cool our accent is around here and we love to bust out the Boston whenever we can!

For the record, there are no “R’s in that statement whatsoever.  It’s paaaahk thuh caaaaaah in the Haaaahvid yaaaaad.

Even though there are no R’s to be found, there is tons of IQ at Harvard and my husband Chris and I learned all about it when we took the Hahvahd Tour last weekend.

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The award-winning tours of America’s most prestigious University are led by current Harvard students. Harvard student guides greet you right in Harvard Square. which is where the tour leaves from. The tour is scripted to be an entertaining, theatrical experience – you’ll have fun learning about Harvard! Continue reading »

Mar 012016
 

JZz

If you’re a regular around here, you probably remember how I told you last week about this cool podcast that gets broadcast here in Boston. Jaclyn Zukerman’s podcast is called “Social Scene with JZ” and on her show she promotes worldwide clientele from start-ups to celebrities. The podcast was created to allow her guests to inspire audience members and followers and allow the audience members to be able to follow and interact with the guests. This week she will be talking with Evan W. Spencer, who is a real estate broker here in Massachusetts.  He has been helping people buy & sell houses in here in MA for the past 13 years!

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Here’s his bio: Continue reading »

Feb 232016
 

It’s no secret that I love living in the Boston area.  I was born and raised here & can’t even imagine not raising my family here. Do you know what else makes my heart happy?  Finding out about really cool Boston based businesses.  There are tons of businesses that come out of Boston, but some really stand out, you know?  JZ Social Enterprises is one of them.

JZ stands for Jaclyn Zukerman and in September 2014 she started her own radio podcast called “Social Scene with JZ”.  Since she started, Jackie has promoted worldwide clientele from start-ups to celebrities. The podcast was created to allow her guests to inspire audience members and followers and allow the audience members to be able to follow and interact with the guests.

Her show has become so successful and grew such a great following she now has created her own company JZ Social Enterprises.

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JZ Social Enterprises in addition offers marketing/promotions to clients from luxury to individual talent to startups. This is where she helps build partnerships, grow their following and online promotions and more. Her goal is to help showcase what people do through her podcasts, events and social media outlets.

This week on the Social Scene with JZ, Jackie is going to feature Delight. Delight is a psychic medium, angel communicator and Reiki master. She teaches people how to connect with the spiritual realm in order to hear their soul’s calling and live their best life.

Delight is also the creator of the e-course 44 Days to Connect with Your Angels which helps spiritual seekers to meet their team of angels and learn how to tap into their spiritual guidance every day. Continue reading »

Jan 122016
 

My Experience With ThermiSmooth™ and BodyFX™

Do you remember when I told you about my consultation with Dr. Petropoulos last month? She’s a cosmetic surgeon located north of Boston and when I met with her, she introduced me to Botox. While I was talking with Dr. Petropoulos, I mentioned how unhappy I was with my saddle bags and asked her what I could do about them.

For those of you who aren’t sure what I mean by “saddle bags”, they are these thick fat deposits on the tops of the outside of my thighs. Sadly, I inherited mine at birth and like every other female in my family, I have spent many hours trying to exercise them away – and honestly, no amount of exercise makes fat that dense go away.  It just doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve been trying for years.

*Disclosure:  I was provided with complimentary services in exchange for sharing them here.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

After Dr. Petropoulos looked at my saddle bags, she said that what I really needed was Liposuction in the area to get rid of the fat completely.  I am not against having liposuction done, but we decided to try to tackle them with a combination of two procedures that they do right in the office. We did a combination of ThermiSmooth™ and BodyFX™. Continue reading »

Dec 132015
 

Ride the Polar Express at Edaville

Inspired by the hit movie, this holiday favorite comes to life as you and your family take a ride on The Polar Express. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train.

My family had a chance to ride the polar Express at Edaville last week and I want to tell you all about it.

**Disclosure:  We received complimentary tickets to ride the Polar Express in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Our train was scheduled to leave the station at 6 pm, but we noticed that people were lining up early (like around 5:30), so we lined up, too.   There was a Thomas Christmas train running the same night, but they had the Polar Express riders on one side of the platform and the Thomas riders on the other.  It was clearly marked, so we knew exactly where to go. Plus, there were employees there to switch out our tickets from the printed ones we had to the golden tickets we needed to board the Polar Express, so they were able to direct people. Continue reading »

Dec 092015
 

What Happens When You Get Botox For the First Time

Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think to yourself “Eh, I wish I could change that”. Well guess what? Thanks to a lot of advancements in medical cosmetic treatments, there are a whole slew of modern non-surgical options for people who want to turn the clock back.  They’re a lot more affordable than you may think, too.

I recently had the opportunity to have a consultation with Dr. Anna Petropoulos at the New England Facial & Cosmetic Surgery Center in Danvers and I am excited to tell you about my experience.

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*Disclosure:  I was provided with complimentary services in exchange for sharing them here.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »

Dec 082015
 

Edaville USA is a modest theme park located in Carver, MA with cranberry harvesting and railroading as its two main themes. It is a really fun family attraction which features about a dozen or so amusement rides including a Ferris Wheel, carousel, bumper cars and more. Each admission includes a five mile train ride through the cranberry bogs on their property. It’s one of New England’s largest displays of Christmas lights and our family looks forward to going every year.

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**My family received complimentary admission to Edaville in order to experience the Festival of Lights for ourselves.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

In fact, I grew up going there with my parents, sister and brother and I am happy that it’s still around for my own children to enjoy. Continue reading »

Nov 052015
 

Last week I had the chance to dine at a wonderful restaurant on Cape Cod.  Located in the heart of downtown Falmouth, the Bear in Boots GastroPub was nothing short of delightful and I can’t wait to tell you how much I loved it.

If you’re wondering where the name Bear in Boots came from, there’s a really sweet story behind it. Wife and Husband duo, Kate and Gates Rickard, named the restaurant after their three children, who are affectionately known to their parents as Boots, Bear, and Squirrel. Although their youngest daughter’s nickname didn’t make it into the name of the restaurant, when you eat at Bear and Boots you will surely notice the strategically placed squirrel decorations.

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I dined with three other local bloggers the night we went and the four of us were treated to a nice variety of menu items that were all prepared by Chef Joseph Ellia. Joseph spent some time with us talking about the practices at the restaurant and how many of the dishes were prepared.

**Disclosure: Although all the food I ate that day was complimentary, as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Each night Bear in Boots offers specials in addition to their regular menu. One of the things off of the specials menu that we tried were these wonderful potato pierogies with house-made dry aged saucisson sec.  Oh, they were so good. Continue reading »

Nov 022015
 

Tavern on the Wharf opened in early June and is already taking Plymouth by storm. Located on the town wharf, when you dine there you are are guaranteed amazing views of historic Plymouth Harbor – seriously, you can see it from every seat in the restaurant.  What makes dining at Tavern on the Wharf really spectacular is that all of their food is fresh and the majority of it is sourced locally.  Much of their seafood comes right from Plymouth Harbor.

Tavern on the Wharf is both casual and classy at the same time. With very reasonable prices, Tavern on the Wharf really is the perfect restaurant for any occasion including date night or just a night out with the family.  The menu was created by Chef John Sheehan, and there is something for everyone on there. John may be young, but he brings lots of experience and fresh ideas to this restaurant.

Last week I met up with three of my fellow bloggers for lunch at Tavern on the Wharf and we were not only treated to a wonderful meal, but got a chance to spend some time with with the chef and were given the opportunity to tour the restaurant and see some of the behind the scenes happenings.

**Disclosure: Although all the food I ate that day was complimentary, as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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Tavern on the Wharf’s menu selections include many seafood dishes, in addition to salads, burgers, steak, pizza and much more.  I was truly impressed by the variety of dishes on the menu. Continue reading »

Oct 192015
 

Haunted Happenings in Salem

The Salem witch hunt was indeed a real-life horror story.  In case you need a refresher, twenty innocent people were put to death during the Witch Hysteria of 1692, leaving Salem forever branded.  Actually, these days many people refer to Salem as “The Witch City.”

The people of Salem totally play up their spooky reputation to tourists, too.   In addition to the town’s normal bewitching attractions, Haunted Happenings run for the entire month of October and draws nearly a quarter of a million people to the city.  This year, my family was among Salem’s visitors and today I want to tell you about all the fun we had there.

**Disclosure:  I received a complimentary media pass to all of the locations mentioned in this post in order to tell you about our experience in Salem.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Since we had the kiddos with us, we kept our visit to Salem family friendly (well, as family friendly as the murders of 20 innocent people can be I suppose).  Here are all the things we did while we were there:

The Salem Witch Museum
The main presentation is based on actual trial documents. Visitors experience the drama of that dark time though thirteen life-size stage sets, figures, lighting and a stirring narration as they are witness to the web of lies and intrigue of the Salem Witch Hunt.
In our second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, live guides take you through changing interpretations of witches, the truth behind the stereotypes, witchcraft practice today and the frightening phenomenon of witch hunting.

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The Salem Witch Museum is located at 19 1/2 Washington Square and is open daily, year round: 10:00am-5:00pm, but they do have extended hours on select dates in October, so be sure to check their website before you go. Continue reading »

Oct 152015
 

Fright Fest 2015 at Six Flags New England is in full swing. Like in the past, this year they have some seriously awesome haunts that are guaranteed to make everyone’s hair stand on end.  This year there are over 20 chilling attractions and over 200 petrifying characters. When you’re there, be sure to enter the Big Top and experience the all-new Slasher Circus 3D. If you love getting scared by sinister clowns, this is the attraction for you.  The clowns make it their mission to terrify people as they roam through this 3D attraction.

**Disclosure:  My family and I were invited to experience media day at Six Flags New England and received complimentary admission.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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If you have little ones, don’t worry – there is something for everyone at Six Flags New England this Halloween season. Here’s the full Fright Fest breakdown. Continue reading »

Oct 052015
 

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If you’re a regular around here, you know that I am fascinated by all things spooky and haunted.  In addition to going on ghost tours on a semi-regular basis, I drag my poor husband to as many reportedly haunted locations all over New England. Today, I am going to tell you a little bit about eight of the spookiest places right here in Massachusetts!  I’ve visited four out of the eight and only had an experience at one of them – the Lizzie Borden House, if you can call it that.  No, I didn’t see a ghost, but all my batteries (phone, camera) that were fully charged drained as soon as I entered the house.  I can’t wait to check out the other four.

1. Old Yarmouth Inn, Yarmouth Port, Mass
The Old Yarmouth Inn was established in 1696, making it the oldest Inn on Cape Cod. It stands to reason, then, that there are a few ghosts here. The ghosts are not mean or scary, though; they seem to have a sense of humor and actually enjoy being irritating to the guests. Since the Inn also served as a post on the underground railroad, one of the ghosts may be a woman who visited the Inn in that manner. The other is a benevolent spirit of a grandfatherly old man.

2. USS Salem, Quincy, Mass 
This gunship was built in 1947 and commissioned in 1949. Her guns were never fired in anger, but she did serve as a flagship for other U.S. ships in the Mediterranean during WWII. It has since been turned into a museum to the industry of shipbuilding and the wonderful marvel of this type of ship. Although this ship was never fired upon, it does seem to have its fair share of ghosts. They are seen roaming the decks going about their work, as if it’s just another day. Continue reading »

Sep 292015
 

Where Kids Can Eat Free South of Boston

I don’t know about you, but there are definitley sometimes in which I don’t feel like cooking, but don’t want to pay a fortune for the four of us to go out to eat.  I knew there were some places around where kids could eat free down here on the south shore, but wasn’t sure which places had offers.  I decided to make a list of all of the places I could find so that I could refer back to it when I needed it.  If you live south of Boston, I hope you find this helpful.

Sunday:

  • Dine at SKY in Norwood with your family on Sundays (3pm-9pm), and for each entrée ordered from their regular dinner menu, each child under the age of 10 eats for free* from their kids menu (one child per adult).
  • The Charlie Horse West Bridgewater  Children under 12 pay a penny for every pound that they weigh on Sundays from noon-9pm with adult purchase!
  • Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (Seekonk): 1 Free Kid’s Meal for kids 12 & under per paid adult meal of equal or greater value. Dine-in only.
  • Chili Head BBQ (West Bridgewater):  From noon until 9 pm, kids eat free (Kid’s Meal) with the purchase of an adult entree. Dine-in only. One kids meal per one adult entree.
  • Zendo Bistro (in the Hingham Shipyard): Kids 3-12 years old eat free with an adult meal purchase.
  • Healthy Grille (Dartmouth) – Kids eat free on Sundays 12-8 with an entree purchase of $10.99 or more.

Continue reading »

Aug 092015
 

Boston Red Sox Baseball Summer Camp

I love living in the Boston area.  I always tell people that this is the best place in the country to live and I honestly mean it. One of the things I love the most about living here is our awesome sports teams. I love them all, but when I tell you that there is nothing like spending a day at Fenway Park watching the Red Sox play is one of the best ways to spend three hours in the city, I speak the truth. Sure, the Sox have their ups and downs, but whether they are winning or losing, they always put on a great show.  I learned something new about the Red Sox this year, though.  They hold a summer camp for ballplayers ages 5-13 every summer.  How did I not know about this before?

**Disclosure:  Both of my boys attended Red Sox Camp at no charge in order to share our experiences with you.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

I am happy to say that my boys recently had the opportunity to attend Red Sox Baseball Summer Camp.

The Red Sox Camps curriculum is highly organized based on age & ability and is infused with lots positive energy to get kids excited about baseball. Along with instruction, the camps include: Continue reading »

Jul 232015
 

Recently my husband, Chris, and I had an oh-so-special night. You know what I’m talking about – the kind that doesn’t involve kids. That’s right, we got to go out on a date.  Alone. Without children.  Since he and I both love a good mystery, we decided to go to a murder mystery dinner show.   As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with a little mystery, intrigue, and murder.

**Disclosure:  I was provided complimentary tickets to the show thanks to Vimbly in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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We ended up choosing to go see the Crime and Pun-ishment Interactive Dinner, which is put on by The Murder Mystery Company at the Sons of Italy in Quincy, MA.

Here is the description of the show:

Things take a turn for the gutter at Mafia Don Lou Zar’s juice joint when someone is put on ice! The crowd is chock full of potential suspects. Jealous, jilted lovers, a rival Mafioso, and a pair of undercover feds make an appearance at this speakeasy and not a single person is muttering a word! Help find out who’s on the level and who’s on the lam by trading clues with your guests, gathering information, and solving the crime before the murderer hotfoots it out of there! Continue reading »

Jul 202015
 

My boys are only three years apart in age, but at the particular ages they’re at right now, they seem to have a lot of trouble agreeing on things they like to do. My oldest is a few weeks shy of his 11th birthday and he’s got a major case of the tweens going on.  No matter what I suggest, it’s not cool.  Even things that are very cool, he always finds something to complain about.  My little guy on the other hand, who is just shy of his 8th birthday, is still a little kid and much more agreeable to pretty much anything I suggest doing. Thankfully there is one thing that they both still agree on – the zoo.

Stone Zoo

**Disclosure: My family and I received complimentary admission to the zoo in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

My family and I recently had a chance to visit the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA for the very first time recently and I have to say that I was really impressed.  I’ve been to my share of zoos over the years and unlike its larger sister zoo, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Stone Zoo is much more low-key and smaller in size, making it a great place to visit with little ones. The day we were there it was not very crowded and it’s not too far from where we live, so I’m over here scratching my head about why we’ve never gone there before. Continue reading »

Jul 082015
 

Summer is finally upon us here and when the weather is nice & sunny, the possibilities are endless.  Most of us spend time at the pool, beach, hiking, at the playground – see there are tons of fun things to do outside.  But then the unthinkable happens – it rains.  How dare Mother Nature ruin our already way too short summer by raining on us.  It’s days like that when you scramble to find fun indoor places to take your kids.

Here’s your solution to that problem.

launch trampoline park

Launch Trampoline Park!  It is an indoor sports and family entertainment facility in Norwood, MA.  They have over 15,000 sq. feet of connected trampolines forming one GIANT jumping surface and angled trampoline walls to bounce off of.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

**Disclosure:  My family was invited to a complimentary blogger event at Launch Norwood.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

At Launch, there are five courts for your family to jump on. There is the main court, a basketball court, a fun foam pit for the kids to jump in, a dodge ball and kids court (for kids ages 5 and under).  The best part about this indoor park, it’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Continue reading »

Jun 142015
 

10 More Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer

There are so many things that you can do for free in Boston this summer!  Last week I told you about 10 Things you can do for free in Boston, but today I wanted to tell you about ten more.

1.  Go Star Gazing

The Coit Observatory at Boston University has Public Open Night at their Observatory most Wednesday evenings throughout the year, weather permitting. Public Open Nights are a chance for people to come observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars and see things they otherwise might not get to see, and learn some astronomy as well.

Starting times are 7:30pm during the fall and winter, and 8:30pm during the spring and summer. The program lasts about an hour. If the weather looks sketchy and you’re wondering whether the Open Night will be held, call their information number at 617-353-2630, no earlier than two hours before the scheduled starting time to find out.

The observatory is located at 725 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, MA, above the Astronomy Department. The stairwell up to the Observatory is on the fifth floor just to the left of room 520.

2.  Hike up the Blue Hills

Blue Hills Hiking

Ok, so technically this is not in the city, but it’s located only minutes from downtown Boston. The DCR Blue Hills Reservation stretches over 7,000 acres from Quincy to Dedham, Milton to Randolph and it provides a green oasis in an urban environment. The highest of the 22 hills at Blue Hills is the Great Blue Hill, which reaches a height of 635 feet.  You will have an awesome view of the city from the top. At Blue Hills, there are 125 miles of trails and terrain. Continue reading »