Sep 202018
 

If you are looking for a unique adult aquarium experience, try Cocktails with Whales at the Mystic Aquarium. There you you sip cocktails with Beluga whales!

I am not ashamed to admit that I LOVE the aquarium. One of my favorites is the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. I like the layout and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that they have beluga whales. They are such beautiful creatures and Juno, the younger of the 2, has quite the personality. He poses for selfies, photobombs, and starts trouble with the patrons. I recently went to an adults only evening that they have periodically called “Cocktails with Whales” and it is every bit as amazing as it sounds.

First of all, it’s only $10. That gets you in the door to socialize with your friends, coworkers, strangers, and the whales. There is a cash bar and prices are average priced. I nursed my $8 drink the whole 2 hours we were there. People, as a whole were friendly and courteous. Of course everyone wants to be near the tank and get their selfie with the whales but most were pretty considerate of others and moved along after a few minutes so others could have their chance. Continue reading »

Jul 252018
 

There is a lot to see and do in the state of Maine. From Stephen King's house to lighthouses to lots of wildlife! Here are a few ideas for your next trip!

I love to travel. Unfortunately, my budget does not allow for expensive, elaborate getaways, so I have to be creative and frugal. I try to pick places that I can drive to and that I can do inexpensively. I recently returned from a week in Maine and had more fun than I ever imagined I would there. My son was on vacation with his father, so my best friend and I went on a girl’s road trip. We didn’t spend much, doing mostly free things, and I figured I would share with all of you.

We stayed in Bangor, as it was central to most of the things we wanted to do. No trip to Bangor is complete without a trip to Stephen King’s house. I’ve been a fan of his writing all my life, and his house is exactly what you would expect. Continue reading »

Feb 142018
 

Are you looking for something fun to do? Try a ceramic class! They are making a comeback and it's perfect for all skill levels.

Are you looking for something fun and creative to do? Look no further. I consider myself a pretty crafty person. I scrapbook and crochet, though I don’t have time to do them now that I am in grad school. The one thing I can make time for is my weekly ceramics class. I know, I know……your grandma or your mom used to take ceramics. People look at it as an old lady thing to do, but this class is honestly my sanity some weeks.

I discovered this class completely by accident while attending the Boston Christmas a little over a year ago. There was a ceramics booth with finished products, but one item caught my eye – the ceramic Christmas tree. You know the one I’m talking about – our moms all had one when we were growing up. They have made a huge comeback in the last few years. Then I saw the big ceramic lighthouse that was way out of my price range but was gorgeous (I have a slight obsession with lighthouses). I began talking with the shop owners and they told me I could paint one of my own. Well sign me up!

Are you looking for something fun to do? Try a ceramic class! They are making a comeback and it's perfect for all skill levels.

This is not your Grandma’s ceramic class. We have all ages in our class – our youngest student is 15. We are all very different, but it is like a little family. It’s 2.5 hours of painting, laughing, and therapy. The owner and instructor, Dale, is so talented and helpful. You can tell that she truly loves what she does. In fact, this is her retirement job. She has a huge assortment of pieces and even if you think you have no talent for painting, with her direction you will create amazing pieces. We all made Christmas gifts for our loved ones, and everyone loved them. Prices are SO reasonable ($10 a class or $32 for the month plus the cost of the piece, and some pieces take several weeks to complete). Continue reading »

Dec 272017
 

Experiences, rather than material things, are a true gift. A Glass Blowing workshop is a fun and unique way to try something new and have fun doing it.

As I have previously mentioned in past blog posts, I LOVE Groupon. My friend and I are always looking for fun, new things to do, and Groupon never disappoints. I am a big believer in that experiences, rather than material things, are a true gift. So, when it came time for my friend’s birthday I took to Groupon and found a glass blowing workshop. It sounded fun and was something we had never tried, so I bought it. There were options for a 1-hour workshop or a 3 hour; having never done it before, I got us the 1-hour workshop (I believe it was $85 for the 2 of us).

We booked our session for a Saturday afternoon in early December. There were other scheduled for our class, but they never showed, so it was essentially a one-on-one lesson for us. We had to choose our project first. We could choose from a pumpkin, an ornament, or a paperweight. We then had to choose or colors; each project could be 2-3 colors, and they had a big choice of colors.

Experiences, rather than material things, are a true gift. A Glass Blowing workshop is a fun and unique way to try something new and have fun doing it.

Next came the glass blowing. Safety glasses are a must and we also had to wear sleeves to protect our arms from the heat. The furnace that the melted glass is kept in is well over 500 degrees (I can’t remember the exact temperature, but it was REALLY hot) and the furnace that you spin the glass in is around 400 degrees. Continue reading »

Nov 172017
 

Flu season is upon us and there is a lot of misinformation out there. Here's what you need to know about the flu this winter.

Flu season is once again upon us and, as a nurse, I feel like this warrants a blog.  There are some common misconceptions about the flu.  My personal favorite is one that we’ve all heard – “I got the flu shot once and it gave me the flu”.  This is absolutely 100% impossible.  The flu vaccine is NOT a live virus, making it scientifically impossible for you to get the flu from it.  If you get sick after getting the flu shot, it is purely coincidental; you were likely brewing some sort of viral illness prior to receiving it.

This brings me to my next point: not every illness/virus/cold someone gets during flu season is the flu.  People tend to call whatever they contract the flu.  The only way to know with 100% certainty that you have the flu is to be tested.  It’s a nasal swab; it’s not pleasant, I’m not going to lie.  At the Urgent Care that I work at on the weekends we do rapid flu tests right there; results within 10 minutes.  How’s that for service? Other facilities send the swabs to the lab and you’ll have your results back within a few hours.  If it comes back negative, you likely have some other viral illness that’s going around.  I know, I know….no one likes to hear “it’s just a virus”.  Bear in mind that the flu is a virus; these things just need to run their course.  No antibiotic will make any of it go away.  Treatment is rest, fluids, Tylenol…. the usual.  **IF** you are diagnosed within 48 hours of the start of the symptoms, there is Tamiflu.  Tamiflu is an antiviral that will lessen the symptoms and duration of the flu.  It is only effective if started within the first 48 hours.   Continue reading »

Aug 232017
 

Continuing education is a tough decision! There is so much to consider.

I recently made a big decision for my career; I decided to go back to school for my Master’s degree. A little background: I graduated from nursing school 21 years ago with my Associates degree. I had always maintained that I never had any intention of going back, and for years I didn’t. Then I interviewed for a job I REALLY wanted and I didn’t get it. I realized then that having my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) would make me much more marketable and increase my chances of eventually getting the job I wanted. Within 3 months I was enrolled and I finished my BSN in June of 2016. On the last day of classes for me, I got offered the job I wanted (2 years after I applied the first time). Coincidence? Maybe, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. And now that the learning bug has bitten me, I can’t get enough.

Maybe you’ve thought about going back to school and are unsure. I’ve talked to many people about this over the last several years. Some tell me they are too old, others tell me they don’t have the time, and some tell me that just the thought itself overwhelms them. It IS a huge decision. Continue reading »

Jun 192017
 

Yoga on a farm with baby goats

I will be the first to admit that I have let myself go and I am completely out of shape.  I used to run 7 miles and now I couldn’t run 7 minutes if I tried, and that is unlikely with the summer months upon us.  I’m always looking for things to do and for things that at least give me the illusion that I am doing something healthy. I recently came upon an article in our local newspaper about a local yoga studio doing yoga with goats classes.

I have never done yoga; I’m not particularly flexible or quiet (I’m Italian, we aren’t meant to be quiet).  I have heard all the health benefits of yoga: increased flexibility, increased muscle tone & strength, increased energy, and weight loss, just to name a few.  I’ve also never had much of an interest in trying yoga……but this was with baby goats!!  I’m an animal lover through and through and let’s be honest, baby goats are adorable, so my friends and I decided to sign up for a class.  Let me tell you, these classes sell out quickly!! The class cost $30 for an hour and was being held rain or shine (indoors if it rained) at a local farm. Continue reading »

May 232017
 

The hot weather has arrived and with that comes all kinds of worries: sunburn and dehydration top my list. Despite being of mostly Italian descent, I am a pale gal and I burn to a crisp. But that is a story for another day. We all hear every summer that we need to stay hydrated (and being a nurse, I am constantly pushing fluids on people and educating them on the importance of it), but do you know what dehydration looks and feels like? I consider myself somewhat of an expert on dehydration and rehydration (the rehydration part is generally not fun for you if you’re seeing me for it at work).

That was until my son, who was 9 or 10 at the time, came out to me one night at about 9 PM crying and telling me that he had the worst headache he had ever had in his life. He’s not a kid who complains, so I knew it must be serious. And being a nurse, I just wanted to make it go away so I gave him Tylenol. That didn’t touch it. I had no idea what else to do; he was literally grabbing his head and crying. I paged his pediatrician who, knowing my son’s lengthy medical history, sent us on our way to the ER. The ER is a nightmare, as you all know.

After several hours, labs, and much crying the diagnosis was……dehydration. WHAT??? Surely, they were kidding. I’m a nurse. I know all about dehydration and how to prevent it. Except that he had been at his summer program all day and it was hot. There was no AC and despite my constant lectures on drinking enough, he just hadn’t. I had never seen it present this way and it a real eye opener for me. So the next summer when we were on vacation and spent the day at Hershey Park and he started to complain of headache and became irritable, I knew what we were up against. Now when he gets aggravated with me constantly reminding him to drink, I remind him of that awful headache. Continue reading »

Apr 112017
 

Now that my son is older, I find myself looking for things to keep myself busy while not breaking the bank. My friend and I decided to look for inexpensive and/or free things to do, and that was the inspiration behind our Adventure Girls Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/adventuregirls0608/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Adventuregirls0608/). We love to get out and do things, but New England winters are tricky so we had to find things indoors to do.

One of my favorite places to find bargains is Groupon. You can find almost anything on there, and we found a Plant Nite that piqued our interest.

I will be the first to admit that I do NOT have a green thumb; I have killed pretty much every plant I’ve ever had, and quickly. I wasn’t, however, letting that deter me from trying this out. These nights are located all over the US and there were lots here in Massachusetts to choose from. We wanted to stay close to home with the often-uncertain weather conditions here in New England during the winter, so we chose a local restaurant. Continue reading »

Mar 082017
 

We all need time to ourselves, and what better way to spend it than in the company of friends? I’ve never been one who enjoys going to bars, and I am even less inclined to do so now that I’m older. Sure, a girl’s night out is fun occasionally, but it can get expensive. My friends are I prefer a girl’s night in; much cheaper and often a lot more fun! Here are some ideas for Girl’s Night In:

Pinterest Night– I’ve done this many times. The rule was that we each had to pick a Pinterest project (sometimes we worked on the same thing, other times we did different projects). We tried out some great food, some not-so-great foods, and made some cool stuff. We typically also had a bottle of wine, but that is optional. I know that my Pinterest page has over 5,000 pins, many of which I will never make, but I have tried more than a few out this way. Give it a try!

Craft Night– At one point I had a group of friends who were a crafty bunch. Some knitted, some crocheted, and some scrapbooked (I am a crocheter and a scrapbooker). We had snacks and drinks, and we always chatted the night away. We had many laughs on those nights. We made it a monthly event and rotated houses each month. Continue reading »

Mar 012017
 

Okay, so I am new to this whole blogging thing ( BIG thanks to Robin for giving me a chance!!) and recently attended my first blogger event. It was for a chalkboard t-shirt company called Chalk Me Up! I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with the owner, Shelley Henshaw, and she is super nice and has such a great product.

Shelley developed the idea in 2011 when her son came home with a can of chalkboard spray paint and used it on his wall. Shelley thought it would be great if she could get it onto a t-shirt, and over the course of the next year tried every kind out there. In 2012, she finally hit the jackpot and found one that worked, and the rest is history. She is now in her 6th year of business and the t-shirts have been a huge success, particularly in her home market of New York/New Jersey. She wants to expand into New England (and all over, of course!) because she grew up here in Western MA.

These t-shirts are so cool! Each one comes with a free box of chalk (it works best when the chalk has been worn down a bit, though) and you decorate them any way you want. Want to change your picture? A damp cloth will wipe it away easily. They are machine washable and can be dried in the dryer, though the color of the shirt may fade, so air drying is best. They come in several designs: the talk bubble, heart, flower, T=Rex, shark, and a brontosaurus. She can even do custom orders (there may be an extra fee). Continue reading »

Feb 212017
 

I am always on the go; even when I plan to relax, I don’t relax. The teenage son and two dogs ensure that I don’t. I kept reading and hearing all kinds of things about Himalayan salt caves, so I decided to do a bit more research and find out what all of the hype was about.

Salt therapy, also known as Halotherapy, has been around for centuries. It is a natural therapeutic treatment that is used to treat a variety of ailments. It’s said to help with respiratory conditions, acne, depression, allergies, eczema, stress, psoriasis, and anxiety. There are no side effects, and it is safe for all ages.

The benefits of salt therapy were noted in Eastern Europe back in the 12th century, and it has been used there since; it just never really caught on here in the US. It was first noticed that salt miners did not suffer from the same afflictions as the rest of the population. Once people realized this, they began going into the salt caves to reap the benefits of breathing in the salt vapors. Salt contains over 80 minerals that are essential to maintaining a healthy body. Salt is also said to help with migraines, detoxify, and help with insomnia and joint pain, as it is a natural anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Continue reading »

Feb 122017
 

If you are a parent you’ve either been there, are going through it now, or will someday experience the joy (please note the sarcasm) of raising a teenager. Let me start off by saying that I love my son with all my heart and cannot imagine my life without him. It’s been just the 2 of us taking on the world for the last 12 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some days I just don’t like him very much. He is very much a typical 14-year-old boy. He’s a good kid and doesn’t get into trouble, but the mouth, the sighs, the eyerolls, and the general “mom, you are the dumbest person alive” attitude are enough to put me over the edge. I know that I’m not the first parent to experience this, and I certainly won’t be the last, so I decided to do a little bit of research on parenting teenagers and here is what I came up with. Continue reading »

Jan 302017
 

Robin posted not long ago about the importance of “me time,” and one of my favorite ways to spend my “me time” is reading. I have loved to read since I was a kid but then motherhood took over, and there wasn’t a whole lot of time to read. Now that my son is older and more self-sufficient, I have that time. I read a lot, and I read fast, so buying books gets expensive, and they take up room that I don’t really have. I have two eReaders/tablets: the Nook and the Kindle Fire. I like them both for different reasons, but I tend to use my Kindle more for reasons you will see below.

eReaders are so convenient. I recently took a cruise and brought my Kindle along for the downtime on the boat before we arrived in Bermuda. I downloaded a few books before we left so there would be no shortage of reading material because I can finish a book in a day or 2. Again, this can get expensive so I made it a mission to find free and inexpensive books and am going to share them with you.

FreeBooksy is a website that has free eBooks for the Kindle, Nook (Barnes and Noble), Kobe, and Apple. You can be added to their email list, and they will send you a daily email with free books of various genres, or you can search for them yourself. They have numerous genres: romance/chick lit, mystery/thriller, fantasy, non-fiction, young adult, science fiction, literary fiction, religion, horror, and even children’s books. There is definitely something for everyone. Continue reading »

Jan 242017
 

We have a few school vacations coming up and if your kids are anything like my son, they are always “bored”.  The unfortunate thing is that most of us are not independently wealthy, so we sometimes must get creative with finding things to entertain them.  Cue the Mr. Potato Head statues located throughout Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the home of Hasbro and Mr. Potato head.  In 2000, the state decided that they needed to boost tourism and chose Mr. Potato Head as their “travel ambassador”.  The result was a whole lot of 6-foot fiberglass statues (some reports say 37, others say it was closer to 45) decorated buy artists and placed around the state.  They were met with mixed reactions and now, 17 years later, there are only a handful left in the state.  Rumor has it that there is one in Virginia and a few others are owned privately.  One was even for sale on EBay for a mere $5,000, but I digress.

On one of those days where the kids are bored and you need something inexpensive to do, take a Potato Head adventure; the only cost is the price of gas.  There is a total of 8 left in RI.  A friend and I   searched them out over the course of several trips and much research.  I have taken all of that away for you.  We truly made it an adventure, finding them and taking selfies with each.  I have them listed in no particular order. Continue reading »