Apr 112015
 

North End Wine Tour

**Disclosure: My husband and I were recently invited by City Wine Tours to join them on a complimentary North End Wine Tour.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

One of my favorite places in the world to be is the North End of Boston.  Coming from a large Italian family myself, I have so many fond memories of taking the train into the city with my Grandparents to get fresh ingredients to cook with.  As I got older, I truly enjoy the amazing tastes that I find in the North End.  Aside from my mother’s cooking, the North End has the best Italian food around. And seriously, what is a great meal without a nice glass of wine (or three) to accompany it?

Other than knowing I like it, admittedly, I am not much of a wine connoisseur.  That’s why I was really excited when I recently had a chance to go on a North End Wine Tour through City Wine Tours.

Wine tour you ask?  Now that I have piqued your curiosity, let me tell you more.

During each wine tour, you will be met by an extremely knowledgeable wine ambassador, who will take you around to three hot spots (in my case it was the North End).  At each stop, you will get a chance to sample two wines (six in total) and try several food pairings at a reserved table – with wait staff standing by, ready to serve!  What’s even better is that each tour is limited to 12 guests, so it’s like your own private wine tasting!

Each North End Wine Tour begins at Aragosta at the Fairmont Battery Wharf, which is right along the waterfront.  The views there were absolutely gorgeous. Continue reading »

Dec 292014
 

**Disclosure:  I received a weekend press pass at no charge in order to attend the event.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

A couple of weekends ago, Chris and I took a ride up to the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, MA to check out the Northeast Comic Con.  You see, we are both nerds at heart and big fans of pop culture events like this.

The NECC featured fun things like cosplay, costume contests, video game competitions, celebrity guests/autographs, panels, and over 100 vendors of vintage and modern toys, comic books and other pop culture must-haves, along with over 50 Artists and Authors.  I got quite a bit of my Christmas shopping done while I was there because there were so many unique products for sale there.

Northeast Comic Con Sign

When Chris and I first arrived, we scoped out the celebrity guests, which included:

  • Marky Ramone (The Ramones, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee)
  • Billy West (Futurama, Ren & Stimpy)
  • Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Criminal Minds)
  • Butch Patrick (The Munsters)
  • Leah Cevoli (Robot Chicken, Deadwood)
  • Gary K. Wolf and Charles Fleischer (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Rango, Back to the Future)
  • Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story)
  • MacKenzie Lintz (Hunger Games, Under the Dome)
  • Mike Pollock (Sonic the Hedgehog)
  • Tom Wayland (Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh)
  • Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1, X-Men: Evolution)
  • Paris Themmen (Mike TV from Willie Wonka)
  • Mike Zohn, Evan Michelson and Ryan Matthew (from the cast of Oddities, Obscura)
  • Kayli Mills and Peter Bernard (from Those American Girls).

Continue reading »

Dec 172014
 

**Disclosure: I received a pair of tickets to see The Nutcracker at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

When I was in the 4th grade, my class took a field trip into Boston to see a matinee performance of Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker.  Being nine years old at the time, I basically had no appreciation for what I was watching.  Fast forward to the present when I had a chance to go see this years production of The Nutcracker at The Boston Opera House and got a second chance to take in the show – as a “grown up” with a whole different outlook on the show.  My husband, Chris, had never even seen The Nutcracker before, so I knew he was going to be in for a real treat.

Boston Ballet The Nutcracker

“Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”  

The show itself was absolutely breath taking.  All of the dancers were so graceful and they all did such a great job of telling the story through dance.  Chris and I sat there in awe throughout the entire show.

More than 300 dancers will perform in the new production and each performance has approximately 150 dancers involved. There are 250 children in the performance, making up three or four casts (classical ballet students from the Boston, Newton and North Shore studios). Continue reading »

Oct 202014
 

I love  living in New England.  We have so many fun fall traditions that make living here so special. Aside from the obvious (the gorgeous colors of changing leaves), a few of the thing that make living here so amazing are the corn mazes, pumpkin picking, apple picking and last but certainly not least, Spooky World.

Spooky World features five haunted attractions as well as food vendors, a paintball game where you get to shoot zombies, a small bar, a bonfire, dance floor, and much more. Spooky World is located at Mel’s Funway Park in Litchfield, NH, which is about an hour north of Boston.

Chris & I went to Spooky World last Friday night and had a blast going through all of the haunted houses.  Because it is the first one you come to when you walk into the park, we started with the Freak Show in 3D.

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We were handed 3D glasses before we entered and once we set out through the house, we were scared out of out wits several times. Complete with neon paint, strobe lights and monsters jumping out at us, this house was by far our favorite of the night.  And as an added bonus, it had one of  those spinning tunnels at the end that makes you feel like you’re walking on the ceiling.  It was awesome. Continue reading »

Oct 012014
 

I admit it, I have a slight zombie obsession, so naturally when I heard there was an an interactive tactical live-action zombie experience right in Abington, MA, I was all over it. Interactive you say? Yes, interactive!  During the interactive experience you get to travel through a small city infested with zombies.  Don’t worry, you will have the help of a guide and you’ll get a shotgun to shoot with to ensure you survive.

There are two areas of the city to be cleared at Boston Zombie Apocalypse. Chem Zone 44 contains slower Zombies and is a shorter experience. If you are nervous at all or are accompanying young people (no one under 8 allowed), then Chem Zone 44 is for you.  Z-Swarm 617 is a longer battle through a larger more intense part of the city.  You can do one or both.

Here’s the thing.  I went last year and had a pretty bad experience.  It was very poorly organized and I ended up waiting outside for over two hours in the cold.  Once I was inside the building, it literally took less than five minutes to run through the experience and boom, we were done.  I left there last year feeling very disappointed that I waited for that long to get in and it was over in just a few minutes.

But guess what, Boston Zombie Apocalypse has new owners this year.  They really listened to all the feedback about people’s experiences last year and greatly improved things this year.  Instead of having to stand in an extremely long line to wait for tickets, they are selling a limited number of tickets by the half hour to the two different zombie fields. That will ensure that you will enter your sector in a timely fashion without having to wait.

Chris and I were there this past weekend and were so happy that the whole process was streamlined.  Our tickets were for 7:45 pm and we only had to arrive about 20 minutes early.  It was so much better this year, so if you were turned off by your experience there last year, trust me – it’s not like that this year.  Oh, and did I mention that they have a food truck there this year now, too.  Last year while we waited for over two hours everyone in line kept saying that snacks would have been nice while we were waiting.  See, the new owners listened!

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Anyway, once it was our time to go in to the live action experience, we entered the building in a small group (about 8 people) and were met by a military guard who showed us how to use our shotguns and let us all have a practice shot at a target. Once we all got that, we met our guide who would be taking us through the city.  He led us through the field and we defended our territory by shooting the zombies that came at us alongside the rest of our team. Continue reading »

Sep 282014
 

**My husband, Chris, and I received a complimentary paint lesson at The Paint Bar in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

I had been telling my husband for ages that I wanted to go to The Paint Bar and since he didn’t seem to be getting the hint, I took matters into my own hands and booked us a lesson at the Newtonville location.

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You see, I come from a family of artists, but somehow that artistic gene seemed to have skipped me.  Both my mother and sister graduated from the Mass College of Art and here I am barely able to draw a stick figure that even remotely resembles a human being.  That is why The Paint Bar intrigued me.  At The Paint Bar, the instructor helps everyone in the class create a masterpiece by teaching the class how to recreate one specific painting step by step – and I knew that would be perfect for a “beginner” me.

At The Paint Bar, you can call or make reservations online and because space is limited, reservations are suggested.  I made our reservations online and when you book online, you can see which paintings are going to be featured on which night, so can you choose based on that if you’re looking for something specific to paint – which is what I did.

Chris had no idea what we were going to be painting, but as soon as we walked in, they had the painting that the class was going to be working on displayed.  It is called “Moonlit Boston”. Continue reading »

May 012014
 

**Masshole Mommy and her family were invited to a complimentary meal at Skybokx 109 in exchange for my honest opinion of the restaurant.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Last weekend my family headed over to check out Skybokx 109, which is a sports bar attached to the Hampton Inn in Natick, MA.

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The first thing we noticed when we walked in was the decor.   The whole restaurant is decked out with lots of local sports memorabilia!  How cool is that? If you happen to be a New England sports enthusiast, they have tons of televisions at the bar and throughout the restaurant, so you won’t miss a second of the game.  If you don’t want to sit at the bar for the game, the regular tables are raised, so you can easily see several tv’s at once. Continue reading »

Mar 092014
 

Last weekend Chris surprised me with tickets to a show called Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at a small community theater called The Curtain Call Theater in Braintree, MA.  I had never heard of this show before (and neither had he), but after reading the description of the show, I was excited to see it.  I was even more excited to check out the theater, though.  I had never been there and honestly some of the best shows I’ve ever seen have been put on at small, local theaters like this.

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? features husband and wife George and Martha in a night of dangerous fun and games. A stunning, almost unbearable revelation provides a climax that has shocked audiences for years.  When the play opened in Broadway over 50 years ago, Newsweek rightly foresaw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as “a brilliantly original work of art—an excoriating theatrical experience, surging with shocks of recognition and dramatic fire [that] will be igniting Broadway for some time to come.”  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won a 2013 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Continue reading »

Jan 032014
 

Yesterday I told you about how we brewed our own beer at Barleycorn’s Craft Brew. It was a very cool experience! Our beer had to sit and ferment for three weeks, so we made an appointment to go back so that we could bottle & label what we made. You saw yesterday that we brewed a huge vat of beer – enough to fill six cases. Yes SIX. That’s a lot of beer, huh?

The first thing we had to do was wash our bottles. We were given the option to bring our own or buy bottles from them for $25. Since we’re really not huge beer drinkers, we bought the bottles from them.

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Chris is such a good guy – he did all the washing. After he was done, he & I placed them on these trees to dry a little bit. Continue reading »

Jan 022014
 

Chris has a knack for coming up with really cool date ideas.  I don’t know where he comes up with them, but really does come up with some cool things for us to do.  Our most recent date was a trip to brew our own beer at Barleycorn’s Craft Brew in Natick, MA.

When we first arrived, they gave us a list of different beers that we could choose from to make.  There are IPA’s, Lagers, Specialty Beers and frankly, just about any kind of beer you can imagine. The list/menu explains what each beer is and I think I’m safe in saying that there were at least 100 different kinds of beers to choose from.  We went with a lager.  It was actually called the Firehouse Lager  and the description on the menu said “Similar to a Sam Adams Lager, but mildly hopped for less bitterness”.  Since Chris was a fire fighter in the military and we both like lagers, it seemed appropriate.

Each beer has it’s own recipe and yes, there are people there to walk you through all the steps.

The first step was for us to measure out our grains.  They told us exactly which ones to use and how much of each to measure out.

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Continue reading »

Jun 182013
 

Chris and I spent the weekend in Newport, RI.  Whenever we get a chance to go away without the kids, that’s usually where we end up.  It’s only about a 45 minute drive from where we live and there are so many cool things to do in Newport – including some really good eating establishments (and you all know my love of eating), tours of the famous Newport Mansions and tons of shops to visit.  Plus, we get wicked cheap lodging at the Naval Base down there because Chris is in the military, so  it doesn’t cost us an arm & a leg for an entire weekend away.

Anyways, we were looking for something different to do while we were there last weekend and about a month go, I did some snooping around and came across a link to this place called The Firehouse Theater.  They have live improv comedy shows there every weekend featuring a comedy troupe called the Bit Players.  I’ve seen live improv before, but Chris hadn’t, so we decided that we’d check it out.

When we got to the theater, we checked in at the desk and then were able to seat ourselves once we paid.   I’m not positive, but I’d guesstimate that there are somewhere around 75 seats in the theater and we picked seats right in the front row since we were there nice and early.  Here’s a picture of the stage.

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The place itself was pretty laid back.  Chris and I had a few laughs over the ghetto chairs they had in a few of the rows.  Don’t worry – there were only three or four of them in there. Continue reading »

Dec 132011
 

I can’t believe that I’ve lived in this area for my entire life, but just went to the Medieval Manor in Boston for the first time this past weekend. It’s an interactive dinner and show set in the dark ages and it was a fricken blast. Throughout the night we were entertained by the King, the Minstrel, the Jester, an Oaf and a few Wenches who all put on quite a show filled with jokes and music. All of the performers (minus the king) were also the servers, so they had double duty. But since we were doing things dark ages style, meaning we had to eat all our food with our hands, the performers were able to just drop our food and go. I guess they didn’t have forks back then.

Continue reading »