Surprise

It’s true!

I still blog 🙂  But just not today…well..not on here today.  Head on over to Ali’s site and check out my guest post on her recent marathon from an active spectators point of view.

As for me- I am going to be celebrating a whole new decade of my life. Today I officially turn 30! Woop woop 🙂 The celebration started last week with a surprise party at Maggiano’s, is continuing tonight with some lovely ladies and Regina’s pizza, and ending tomorrow with a dinner and Peter Pan with Jack.

Nothing says Happy 30th Birthday like having your face on a stick…in a beer bottle. I am a lucky girl.

Recap: Casey’s Bachelorette

Hi folks 🙂  How is everyone’s July going?  This month is flying by and I wish it would just slow down a bit.  What is the rush to get into August and the summer’s end? As you can tell, I have been slacking on the blogger front but I will catch you guys up eventually! One of the great things about the blog is being able to re-live fun times.  Doing recaps of events and parties is such a fun way to reminisce!

My cousin Casey is getting married in just less than a month from today even though it feels like she just got engaged!  Actually, she is getting married one month from yesterday.

Here is a shot of her gorgeous bridal party:

The weekend of the Fourth of July we headed up to York Beach, Maine to a quaint cottage we rented for the week and used my tips for planning an AWESOME Bachelorette Party to plan the weekend. The weather was warm and sunny and the party started as soon as the first groups of girls arrived. The house had both a large deck to hang out on as well as a fire pit, which was decorated for our Hawaiian Luau theme. I got all the decorations at the Christmas Tree Shop.

While waiting for diner to be grilled (Caesar chicken, steak tips, and salad) we had some beers and Jell-O shots.

After dinner we gave Casey a Bachelorette Bag filled with a bunch of fun stuff.

She got an authentic Hawaiian Lei (ordered here), fake grass skirt, bachelorette tank top (all the girls got these), and a “Dare List” full of fun things for her to do when we were at the beach.

Sample “Dares” included:

  • do 5 cartwheels in a row on the shoreline
  • body surf a wave
  • do a handstand in the water
  • run into the water, and dunk, without stopping
  • find a guy with a bald head and rub it to make a wish
  • write “I HEART TIM” in the sand with your toes, text him a picture

Simple but fun 🙂

Post dinner we also had our first Power Hour. Power Hour is a cd handed down to me by my friend Maureen that has 60, 1 minute songs. Every time a new song comes on, you take a shot of beer (it ends up being about 4 beers in 60 minutes). You can take a shot of anything I guess, but I don’t suggest using vodka or any other hard stuff.

As a fun game, I also sent her fiance, Tim, a list of 50 questions for him to answer. Throughout the weekend I asked her questions. The questions varied from relationship questions (think: where did you meet, what was your first date), to “favorites” questions (does Casey prefer pen or pencil?), to just plain goofy questions (If Casey was a stripper which name would she choose?). If she got a question right she gave a drink, if she got it wrong she took a drink. So fun!

Later Saturday night we had a fire, made s’mores, and hung out. Her friends are so funny, I laughed non-stop 🙂

Of course, dancing was involved too.

Don't ask!

We made Sunday a beach day even though it was cloudy and cool. York Beach was about a mile from the house and was PACKED even in the gloomy weather. We took advantage of Happy Hour at Inn on the Blue. I got the “Junk Punch”- man, it was the best drink I’ve had in a while. It sure did pack a [rum] PUNCH!

Im' the mature one in pink, Casey, Michelle, Carney

Monday and Tuesday the weather was perfect-O!

I can’t believe Casey is getting married so soon!  I feel like she should still be rocking some sweet Tweety-Bird shirts instead of a stunning wedding dress.  Congrats girl!

Carney, Casey, me, and my Uncle Mac circa 1996-ish

Happy Fourth of July!

Hope everyone is having a fun and safe Fourth of July.  I am up in York, Maine celebrating my cousin Casey’s bachelorette party.

When I was in high school I spent every Fourth of July up in Merrimack, NH.  Each year we took a picture in front on a humungous American Flag and we fit every person who was on that Island in the photo with us.

This particular photo was taken in 1998 in the summer (I believe) of my junior year of high school.  Do you see me??  Hot stuff right 🙂

What is a Fourth of July tradition of yours?

My Celebrity Crushes

We have all had them right? Celebrity crushes? Last year I watched me my fifth graders swoon over Justin Bieber and before that it was Joe Jonas. I can remember being their age and trying to get my parents to give me money to join their fan clubs (luckily for me I am now old enough to take care of the fees myself 😉 )

Here are my top three celebrity crushes:

1) Joey McIntyre
(SOURCE)

Who didn’t love this New Kid? I mean, when I saw them at Fenway Park a few weeks ago I heard him sing “Please Don’t Go Girl” and my heart melted like a pre-teen again.

My Auntie Erin took me to their concert, my first concert EVER, at the Boston Garden. I must’ve been like 7 or 8. A friend of hers knew security and offered to take us back stage to meet them (I think my cousin Carney still hates me for this). I was so SCARED that I refused to leave my seat. That’s right girls- I almost met Joey McIntrye but was too big of a wuss (even at 8yrs old) to do so!

THe following Christmas we all received an autographed picture. Mine read, “To Lisa, Love Joey McIntyre”. Best. Christmas. Present. EVER. I still have it framed in my bedroom at my parents house, 20-something years later!

2) Brandon Call
(SOURCE)

Now, I know there are probably a lot of Jonathan Taylor THomas lovers out there, and though I have to admit he was a cutie pie, my TV crush was Brandon Call from “Step by Step”. He was kind of the bad-ass, knuckle-head older brother character that had a little bit of a sweet side.

I tried to join his fan club back in the days when you had to snail mail in applications. I was excited to get back a response with his picture enclosed, that asked for $X to join the club. My parents would NOT give me the money so I guess that was the end of that.

3) Adam Levine

(SOURCE)

Ok, my crush Adam Levine may not be classified as a “childhood crush” (unless you consider a 25-year-old a child) and “crush” might better be described as an obsession, but whatever. I think you get the point. I saw Maroon 5 for the first time at a Kiss Concert and immediately needed to stalk his life, haha. I bought “Songs about Jane” and left it in slot number 5 of my car’s cd player basically until I started to love Ray LaMontagne.

I loved Adam Levine before you loved him on The Voice friends 🙂

Quick story: I got to go back stage at a Maroon 5 concert when they played at the Fleet Center Garden. At the end of the concert, in hopes to find my God Father who was working there I bumped into a crew member and inadvertently got us backstage passes. I know, when does that EVER happen? We went back stage and hung out with his band mates who, as I remember were super impressed at me and Amy being teachers. You know, drinking Carona’s with Maroon 5, no big deal. 😉

I was patiently waiting for Adam, who I was told was doing yoga (weird?!). Finally I asked an important looking guy in the hallway if Adam was coming out, his answer made me blush. Apparently Adam was looking to do “yoga” (if you know what I mean).  Since I am not that type of groupie (hey, I am a teacher and morals), I headed toward the exit.

Who was your childhood (or adult) celebrity crush? Did you ever get to meet them?

How to: Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette parties are fun.  Period.

Between this summer and last I will have attended 4 of them.  And in my life I have planned four for close friends and family.

Planning a bachelorette party is like picking out the perfect Christmas present for someone. Since the bachelorette party is a celebration of the bride, the party should reflect her style and her personality. When I have the perfect combination of activities, games, eats, and attendees I get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside knowing that the party is 100% specific to the bride, and it takes some serious will power to keep everything a secret until the party! I am horrible with surprises 😉

I would venture to say that planning is actually almost as fun as attending the party itself (I like to be in control of the details 🙂 ). So if you find yourself planning a bacheloretteI thought I’d offer some tips to help you out

1) Find the Perfect Venue

Every bride is different. They don’t all enjoy laying on the beach for a weekend, nor does every bride enjoy being the center of attention at a comedy show. When deciding where the party will be and what you will be doing keep in mind that it is a party for her and select a venue that compliments her personality. If you can’t picture the bride doing something on a Friday night, or at someone else’s bachelorette, she probably won’t like to do it for hers!

Ideas from experience:

  • Fondue dinner and a fun show
  • Improv Theater
  • Beach get-away with the girls
  • Weekend in the woods of NH (find a place to stay on Vacation Rentals)
  • Night out on the town
  • Pole dancing lesson
  • Some type of “male encounter” show

Remember, not every single second of the party needs to be painstakingly planned for. Just having one “big event” planned for the day/weekend is enough! The rest of the fun will just happen.

2) Pick your “Pre-game”

Whether you are going out on the town or going away for the weekend, picking a pre-game is a great way to get the party started. I always like to start with a theme and then center my food, drinks, decorations, and music on that theme.

Food:
If you are going to dinner, appetizers and pickies are perfect for people to munch on while mingling and getting ready. If you are hanging in for dinner you can hit up a wholesale club like Costco for your cooking needs or order catering from a restaurant (Spinelli’s has always been my go-to caterer).

I tend to over-buy and over-order food but the leftovers always serve as a great “post-game” sustinance.

Drinks:
You do not need to supply alcohol for every person for the entire night, but thinking of a signature bahcelorette drink is a great way to incorporate any theme.

Going Italian? Think sangria or peach bellinis. Mexican? Margaritas. Luau? Mai Tais or Pina Coladas. FYI: Beer fits well with any theme!

Decorations:
No need to go overboard here, especially if you are in a space to kill time before going out. Pick a few choice decorations or even a color scheme for the paper goods and you can call it a day. HINT: pink and black are never a bad decision.

3) Make the guest list and send an Evite

Some brides will prefer smaller, more intimate affaris with close friends and/or relatives (think in-laws and moms). Others may have want to invite every person they have come in contact with for the past two years. My point? Ask the bride who she would like to attend the shin-dig and gather a list of email addresses (or stalk them on Facebook, I have done it both ways!).

Knowing who the bride wants in attendance may also alter your venue/pre-game so keep that in mind. Unless, of course, her mom and aunts don’t mind wearing penis neclaces and pole dancing.

When you have the venue and the guest list, put together an evite that specifies:

  • The place, date and time
  • RSVP date (and if you don’t hear “yes” or “no” resort to the Facebook stalking as mentioned above)
  • The cost and date payment is due by (REMEMBER: the bride should not have to pay her way!)
  • Any special instructions (“wear black”, “bring the bride a new pair of undies”, “shhhh, its a surprise”)

4) Make the Bride stand out.

With all the planning, reservation-making, decorating, ordering, and RSVP-ing, you may find yourself focusing on the party itself, and not on the bride. It’s ok, let’s get back on track: the party is about her and you want her to feel special and unique.

Whether you are going out on the town in a big city (where there will be a million other bachelorettes) or to a hole-in-the-wall pub (where she will be the only one), be sure your bride stands out and looks/feels more special than anyone else!



Ideas from experience:

  • Get t-shirts/tank tops made with a fun graphic and saying. Include the brides name and wedding date. (Boston locals I get my shirts printed here)
  • Pick colors. Have each guest wear black and the bride wear white (or everyone wear black and she wears pink, you get it right?)
  • Buy her a blinking tiara, sash, feather boa, or all three. make her wear it all night!
  • Plan a “Bachelorette Checklist” of things for the bride to do
  • Suprise her with a special gift (something she wouldn’t normally recieve at ehr shower) like: skimpy lingerie, Victoria’s Secret gidft card, authentic Hawaiian lei.

Have you ever planned or been a part of a truly unique, perfect-for-the-bride-to-be bachelorette? Or had a group of friends who nailed it on the head for your own bachelorette party? What did they do? What ideas/advice do you have to give on planning a bachelorette?

PS I am off to bachelorette it up for the third weekend in a row.  Wish me luck! 😉

~L

Teacher, teacher

Monday, Monday….

How did you get here so fast?

As you know, I finished up school last Wednesday and had a lovely few days off where I slept in and learned some new dancing skills 😉 Well today I started my position as a writing teacher for the summer program held at my school. Teaching summer school is different than a regular school day because the group of kids is significantly smaller (10-15 in a group) and the day is shorter too! My regular school day runs Monday to Friday from 8:20-2:40, but summer school is generally Monday to Thursday 8:00-12:00. The program, which is 20 days, focuses on building reading and writing skills and preventing the “summer forgetfulness” that happens when children are out of school for the summer. It is all about filling in the gaps and giving students a good base to start the next school year with. I really enjoy working with a different grade level of kids for a short time. This year I will be working with second and third graders (who will be entering third and fourth grade in the fall) for 10 days of the program. Teaching the writing piece brings me back to my days before I found my love of teaching math!

Did you know I have ALWAYS wanted to be a teacher? When I was little I used to play school ALL THE TIME. I would dress up in my mom’s long skirts and heels and carry around a coffee mug filled with water. I would make my brother take made-up spelling tests and played “school” every Friday in elementary school. I mean, what kids do you know leave school and then pretend to be back in school when they get home? I often used milk crates to create desks in the spare bedroom in my house so I had my own “classroom”. I am fortunate in the sense that I just have always known what my perfect profession was. You know how what they say:

“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”
(SOURCE)

Here is a little background of my teaching career:

2004: Graduated from the University of Maine, Farmington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education
2004-2005: I taught grade 3 in Benton, Maine (I got offered a job before even graduating!)
2005: Returned to Massachusetts, began working in my school district as a permanent substitute in a grade 6 position
2006-2007: Taught 6th grade Reading and Social Studies
2006: Got my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Literacy from Lesley University
2006-2010: Taught self-contained (meaning I taught all subjects) 4th grade
2009 (I think): Received my C.A.G.S (certificate of advanced graduate studies) in Mathematics Education through Lesley University
2010-2011: Taught 5th grade math

As you can see I’ve taught a variety of grade levels and subjects. To date my favorite position would be my fifth grade math position. The upper elementary grades allow me to maintain high expectations of students and develop more independent thinking skills while preparing them for middle school. Teaching math only allows me to prepare in-depth, quality lessons and gives me ample time to reflect and rework them when necessary. Math lessons are always on my mind!

What did you want to be when you “grew up”? Did you go with that career or find another that suited you better? Are you still in the process of finding what you want to do when you “grow up”?

Interestingly enough, even though the hours are shorter and the groups are smaller, I still can’t get up when my alarm goes off. I guess a downside to teaching summer school is that my body is in summer mode. Summer mode means I get easily sucked into watching hours of crappy Sunday night television on E! (Have you seen the Ice T show?!)

This morning I hit the snooze until about 7:00 and while I showered I popped two Van’s waffles in the toaster for a delicious waffle sandwich made with peanut butter and banana. Then I stopped at Dunk’s for a French Vanilla iced coffee.

Since I got out at noon I headed to my parent’s house to have lunch with my dad. I also went to the mall to pick up some warm-weather friendly running shorts and shirts. I got aocuple pair of Nike Tempo shorts and Dri fit shirts. Crossfit’s WOD is outside tonight and seems very different from what we have ever done!

I think a nap may now be in order 🙂

Catch ya later!

A Brand New Look

Good morning! Everyone notice something different about the site? Yup! I gave myself a blog makeover, and the best part is that it was free 🙂

A couple of weeks ago, Ali and I were discussing blog related things and I had mentioned that the part of blogging I dislike the most is the uploading of pictures from my camera, into iphoto, then onto WordPress and into a post. It is so time consuming and for some reason it annoys me a lot. She suggested uploading and editing my photos into a free program called Picasa.

Yesterday I finally uploaded the program and got sucked into the wonders of photo editing for the entire afternoon! Oh boy this is going to change the way I post with pictures for sure!

I created a whole bunch of collages to make a header and it took me a while to get the size and layout right:

Too big!

Too small!

Typo. Can you spot it? (I spelled “quit” as “quite

Just right!

I also changed the theme of my page by using a free theme through Word Press. I think the blog is now clean and simple. I love it!

What do you think??

After spending my entire afternoon playing with Picasa, I was looking forward to a night out with coworkers to celebrate the retirement of our school’s beloved secretary, Miss Phyllis. Miss Phyllis is the BEST secretary a school could ask for. She knows the names, numbers, and family members of every student in the building. She will drop anything to fix the copier when it has a jam or is out of toner, and will make 90 copies of my kids math homework without complaining once. She is kind and caring and is going to be missed by the entire community. Miss Phyllis is truly irreplaceable.

The soiree was at the Winthrop Arms which is a restaurant/hotel that overlooks the ocean. It was a rainy night and the restaurant lounge was very comforting. It was a cozy spot for a party.

I had two glasses of wine over the course of the night.

A plate of appetizers help my appetite over until dinner.

Entree:

The chicken limone was topped with melted cheese and asparagus and came with a couple roasted potatoes. I ate the potatoes and the cheesy asparagus off the to of the chicken. The food wasn’t bad but I sometimes do not enjoy chicken at restaurants.

Dessert was a scoop of vanilla ice cream and an unpictured piece of strawberry shortcake. Yum!

On today’s agenda is 11a.m. Crossfit class. The WOD calls for us to be outside so I am hoping the rain holds off.

See ya this afternoon!

~L