Cheap dates in Boston? Yes. Saturday, Sep 5 2009 

Jason and I had a quite unusual but really fun night last night.  Best of all, we spent almost nothing!

After work, we took the T to Central Square in Cambridge and walked to Union Square in Somerville.  It’s a little over a mile.  Halfway, we stopped in Inman Square for sandwiches at All-Star Sandwich Bar.

Then in Union, we made it to the main event: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Smellovision.

It was way more than just a movie on a screen. Scents were fanned out based on what was happening in the movie!  Oompa Loompas would walk by with giant fans dusted with cocoa powder or pixie stick dust, and it was lovely.

Best of all, everybody who snagged a seat (we made it JUST in time!) got a bag filled with candy.  The Willy Wonka-dressed woman at the front would hold up signs saying, “Eat the lollipop!” and “Eat a chocolate bar!” when they corresponded with the scenes on-screen.  We also blew bubbles during the bubble scene and pulled those exploding popper things at the end.

(Side note: this movie SO could not get made today. Jason and I alternatively winced and laughed hysterically at the numerous pedophily moments!)

After that, we meandered slowly up to Harvard, stopping in a field to look at the stars.

Harvard was our final destination because b. good — an awesome, healthier fast food chain — was having a party!  And with that party, they were featuring FREE BURGERS from midnight until 2:00 AM!

So good.  So, so good.

My favorite part, however, was that the party had a DJ — and he was playing my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE genre of music, 1995ish hip-hop and R&B!  I love it because that’s when I was 10 and started listening to music and discovered Jam’n 94.5. The first song he played was Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me. LOVED IT.

After that, we went across the street to Herrell’s Ice Cream — but realized that neither of us wanted to eat a whole cone.  We each got a free sample and were good to go.

A fun, event-filled night for less than $10.  The only thing we spent money on was the sandwiches at the beginning of the night.  That was IT.  I can tell we’ll be doing more of this in the future!

How to save and have fun in Boston:

  • Visit sites like going.com (by FAR the best!), Yelp and Boston.com events to find out what’s going on.
  • Get half-priced tickets at Gold Star Events and subscribe to Groupon for one huge coupon every day.
  • Don’t avoid neighborhoods if you live downtown — Cambridge and Somerville, particularly Somerville, have quirky residents and quirky events…many of them free.
  • Honestly, ditch the alcohol and get cheap food.  That’s what will always save you the most.

Immobility in Boston Wednesday, Apr 8 2009 

My foot has been bothering me for the past few weeks, and last week it got much worse.  On my chiropractor’s suggestion, I made an appointment with an orthopedist, and found out today that I have peroneal tendinitis.

In a nutshell, the tendon underneath my right ankle is inflamed and likely will be for several weeks.  While it heals, I need to wear a giant boot.

I also need to ice it on and off throughout the day and go to physical therapy.

Even though it’s only been a few hours, I can’t believe how much of an impact this boot has had on me.

Please note that I’m not whining or looking for sympathy, especially when so many people with disabilities go through so many worse things every day; I just want to share how it’s been for me.

I live and work in two different neighborhoods in downtown Boston.  I walk a minimum of one mile each day, and usually a few miles altogether.

Here’s what I can no longer do:

  • I can’t cross the street if there are only five seconds left to cross, like I usually do.  I can’t get across the street that quickly.
  • Going down stairs is SO difficult and takes forever.  (Also, my home station does not have an elevator or a down escalator.)
  • I can’t choose between two stations and go to one further away but ultimately more efficient for my destination.  I need to go to the CLOSEST one.  That’s it.
  • I can’t overlook the bus in favor of the subway.  If it’s closer to my destination, I need to take it.  (I think I’ll be taking the bus to work to avoid the stairs at my home station.)
  • The boot is so heavy that after a few minutes of walking, I’m exhausted and can barely shuffle along at two miles an hour.

However — I DID get offered a seat on the green line today.  That’s pretty amazing.

Let’s hope that my foot heals quickly, and that I’ll be able to dance in heels in Vegas in June.

Dining at Mare Saturday, Mar 21 2009 

For Restaurant Week, my friends and I decided to try out Mare, an organic Italian seafood restaurant in the North End.  I’ve been wanting to go there since it opened a few years ago, so I was glad to finally make it there.

Here it is in a nutshell:

THE SETTING:

Not your typical North End restaurant — think sleek, minimalist decor.  There are cool videos of Italian cities on TVs in the corners, and I occasionally yelped out, “My school!  My apartment!” when scenes from Florence were shown.

The restaurant is small and the tiny “bar” only has four seats, so there really isn’t a place to hang out while waiting for your table.

THE SERVICE:

I should chalk it up to being restaurant week, but it wasn’t that good.  It took forever to get someone to acknowledge you, whether it was the hostess or the waiter.  Everyone was polite as long as they were at our table, but take these two instances:

  1. I asked the hostess if our table would be ready soon.  Her response: “Oh, yeah — they’re paying, but I don’t know if some of them are going to want to stay.  But we’re trying to make everyone nervous tonight.”  Great…to say that to someone who is apparently about to become one of those nervous people.
  2. The waiter brought our wine, saying to me, “Here’s your Montepulciano.” I said, “Oh, I actually ordered the Montalcino.” “Oh, yeah. That’s Montalcino.” “Is it really?” I asked. “Because they’re different…” (From two different Tuscan hill towns not far from my adopted city of Florence.) “Yeah. Montalcino.”  (For the record, the wine was delicious and they charged me for a Montalcino.  But still…

THE FOOD:

FANTASTIC.

I like octopus, and I’ve had it several different ways, but THIS was THE BEST OCTOPUS I HAVE EVER HAD.  It was steamed to the point of melting in your mouth — not the usual gumminess — and came with some delicious, flavorful, insanely fresh pesto.  I couldn’t get enough of it.

The main course was pappardelle with wild boar — a dish from San Gimigniano that I used to eat all the time in Florence, but I’d never had it in the US.  And they did it VERY well.  It didn’t blow me away the way the octopus did, but I was impressed nonetheless.

Dessert was tiramisu.  I’m pretty picky about tiramisu — I like it soupy and with as little cake as possible — and though this was cakier than I preferred, I enjoyed it immensely.  Best of all was that there was a little SALTY CHOCOLATE BALL (not kidding) served with it that acted as the perfect counterpart.

My friends enjoyed their meals as well, sampling everything from salmon to gnocchi to Chilean sea bass.

Would I return?  Yeah, if someone else were paying!  I probably wouldn’t go to Mare if I had to pay out of my own pocket.  The prices are on par with some of the pricier restaurants (but not the priciest) in Boston.  But it’s a perfect bargain for the $33.09 Restaurant Week price, and I recommend it.

But you MUST try that octopus!

U2 in Somerville Thursday, Mar 12 2009 

What do you do when you can’t get tickets to the hottest event in Boston?

If you live for adventures, you don’t let that fact get in your way.

U2 just finished a three-concert tour across the United States.  There were stops in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.  All the concerts were super-exclusive, invitation-only and in small venues.

And they came to the SOMERVILLE THEATER.

The Somerville Theater in DAVIS SQUARE.  The  theater where I almost had beer spilled onto me during Pineapple Express.  The theater that’s home to the Museum of Bad Art.  The theater where I saw The Slutcracker.

U2!!!

Well, this was the most buzzed-about event to come to Boston in a few months, and the biggest thing to happen to Davis Square — my old neighborhood before I moved to the Back Bay — in YEARS.

Ten thousand people were expected in Davis, so I called Beth (who is a HUGE U2 fan) and we headed up to Davis to hang out outside in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the band.

It was crazy down there!

Ticket holders had to meet up in Assembly Square before they were bussed in.  Talk about exclusivity!

A local office gets into the spirit!

Lisa eventually arrived close to the end of the concert.

We were standing behind the theater because you can always hear concerts from back there.  We couldn’t really hear the music that well, but I downloaded the AOL Radio application so we could listen through Mix 98.5.

They played five songs — “Get On Your Boots,” “Magnificent,” “Breathe,” “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” and “Vertigo” — and then had a Q&A with the audience.

So we waited.  And waited.

It got to be really cold, but it was worth it —

because U2 came out to see the fans after the concert!!!!!  AND I GOT TO TOUCH 3/4 OF THEM.

First, the Edge!

I GOT A WHOLE HANDFUL OF HIS HAND.

Then, Adam Clayton:

Again, I got his hand!

And then…

BONO!!!!!!!

I touched his arm through his jacket…no skin-on-skin, hand-in-hand contact this time, but still!  It’s BONO!!!  Beth got Bono’s hand and she was nearly hyperventilating in happiness.

What a night!

I also have to say that I was so glad I was there with Lisa and Beth.  We always have a blast, no matter what we’re doing, and this was no exception.  Lisa is always great at toeing the line between idolizing and heckling, which she did with Channel 5 and security in particular.  🙂

Also, a few of our friends and family members saw us on television that night!

During times like these, I love my city SO much.

Top 25 Photos of 2008 Saturday, Jan 3 2009 

Here are the 25 best, weirdest and funniest photos of 2008 — the ones that I think best represent the year.  God, this has been a cruisazy year.  Enjoy!

Arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

I had a really difficult winter, mostly due to a rocky relationship, a bad breakup and being unable to shake a cold for two months.  My mom invited me to come to New Mexico with her and it was EXACTLY what I needed.  It was a time to heal.

I loved the color of this car.

Callie and I attempt to smile with our eyes, Tyra Banks-style, while at Ned Devine’s.

Lisa and I celebrate our Irish heritage in the form of Guinness, Jameson and Bailey’s on St. Paddy’s Day.

I quit my job of nearly two years!!  Here I am on my last day with my wonderful friends Jackie, Nadine, Esther and Michelle.

The weekend before I start my new job, I meet Josh.

This is the start of a crazy friendship and the first of our many, many adventures.

While out in Faneuil Hall, I befriend a bachelor party and end up jumping on their bus with them, partying till dawn.

In Las Vegas at Madame Tussaud’s, Lisa, Alexa and I give Hef a good time!

I then get stuck inside Frank Sinatra.

Ever sat in a guy in a wheelchair’s lap as he spins you around on the dance floor?  I now have.  This was also at Tryst.

This is probably my favorite picture of the year.  It’s definitely the funniest.  This is me and Lisa in Vegas at 7:00 AM after leaving Drai’s and walking back to TI while high-fiving random onlookers and yelling, “Vegas!” then going to play Blackjack for a few more hours.  This is around the time Lisa lay in the alley next to the IP.

Yeah…no explanation needed.

I spoon Beth (under the tarp) on the Esplanade in Boston on the Fourth of July.  It rained for part of the day.

Beth tries to help me discreetly change from shorts into pants on the Esplanade as Janelle looks on.  Yeah, we kind of failed at the “discreet” part.

If you’re napping, you might as well keep up the patriotism and the pimpin’.

This picture is so embarrassing.  I was convinced my hand was on his left outer thigh, NOT HIS RIGHT INNER THIGH.  I nearly died when I saw this — and Lisa, Beth and Janelle nearly died of laughter.  We met this guy at the Blackthorne in Southie and he went to our high school 15 years before us.

I reunite with my wonderful college roommate Kelly Anne at our friends Sean and Shannon‘s barbecue at their beautiful new house in Bridgeport.  (Sean and Shannon have since gotten engaged, which excites me to no end!)

The night before our shared birthday, I run into Hans at Mantra in Boston.  We’re smiling pretty big despite our disastrous weekend a week before.

Me and my lubly Sars on my birthday at 28 Degrees.

Me and my wonderful friends on my birthday.  These are some of the people most important to me: Kara, Carissa, Surina, Sars, Josh, Callie, Lisa and Beth.

I attend Barack Obama’s September rally in Manchester, New Hampshire — what an amazing experience!

I needed a popular, smart, topical and preferably political, yet not overdone (aka Sarah Palin), Halloween costume this year.  I fretted that I wouldn’t be able to find a good one — and then the PERFECT character swept into the news and into my life.  Ashley Todd.  One of my best costumes.

My first night in Buenos Aires and I’m getting licked!  Maxi unsuspectingly gets me when I was expecting a normal, smiling picture.  That’s a genuine expression of shock on my face.

Poor Louis…in Buenos Aires, food poisoning and parilla do not mix.

Carissa and I get borderline violent at Shabu Shabu Kaze in Chinatown.

Beth and I celebrate the arrival of 2009.

Stories like this are why I need to stop drinking. Monday, Dec 15 2008 

This story is so weird…

Well, yesterday, my friend Josh and I went to go see The Slutcracker in Somerville.  It’s a burlesque version of The Nutcracker, and it was fantastic.  It used the same music, but had a different, much more sexual storyline.

Here are just a few tidbits:

  • Drosselmeyer is an eccentric old lady, and instead of a nutcracker, she gives Clara a dildo.
  • Instead of a Christmas tree growing, a giant red-and-white-striped peen appears.  Predictably, Clara licks it nonstop, and it then shoots snow out of it.
  • The Russian dance is done by three dominatrices with whips.
  • There is an AWESOME pole dance.
  • The pasties!  The pasties!

After the show, we had some Indian food and martinis at Diva (the show was in my former ‘hood of Davis Square in Somerville), then grabbed one of those beer-slash-energy drinks from the liquor store (AND some beef jerky — goodbye, vegetarianism for us both!), then hopped on the T to go back downtown.

We went to one of my favorite bars in the world, and due to the nature of this story, I won’t be revealing the name of it…but if you live in Boston or know me well, you can probably guess.

At the bar, which is hopping on Sundays, we each grabbed a frozen Bellini and hung out.  Before long, one of the bartenders came up to us and asked us how we were, started chatting.  We talked for a few minutes and he went back to the bar.  Josh and I looked at each other.

“Do you know him?” I asked.

“No.  That was kind of weird — he acted like we were friends.”

“I know!”

After a bit, I went up to get the second round.  I ordered them from the same bartender who came to chat us up earlier.  Expecting to pay well over 10 bucks a pop, I took out my wallet.

“No, it’s all set,” he said with a grin.

“Really?” I was dumbfounded.

“Yeah.  Enjoy them.”

I tipped him and went back to Josh.  “Um, he gave these to us for free!” I crowed.  “I LOVE free drinks!  How awesome is that?”

“That was your cue to introduce yourself,” Josh chided me.  “He’s straight.”

“Are you kidding me?” At that bar, most of the bartenders are gay.  And hott.  But gay.

“No.”  Josh nodded at the guy.  “That guy’s definitely straight.”

Well, after that, we drank our Bellinis a bit faster than usual.  I then went up to the bar again.

“Two more, please,” I said to my bartender with a smile.  “I’m Kate, by the way.”

“I know,” he said.  “We danced together for about three hours at [our mutual friend]’s birthday party.”

I NEARLY DIED RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

Yes, I remembered this guy.  And maybe it wasn’t for three hours, but boy, did I do a lot of dancing with him at a club downtown.  And yes, I was hammered out of my mind that night.  I don’t usually get that bad, but that night, I had been on a date and had gone through a lot of wine before even arriving at the party.  The birthday became as muddled as the mojitos we were drinking — one of my very few blackout nights of recent memory.

Oh, God — yes, I remembered this guy.

You think that that would be enough of a lesson to stop drinking then and there.  Well, I was with JOSH.  Do you know what happens when I go out with Josh?

Here are three typical nights out for me and Josh:

  • The first time I meet him (the weekend before I started at my current job, where he also works), I go to a party in Jamaica Plain expecting to have one drink and drive home.  I end up playing (and winning) Beirut with him for hours before passing out in a recliner, bag of chips on my lap.  I wake up next to Josh on the couch with a giant picture of my ex’s naked centerfold in Playgirl (seriously) on the laptop.  In a house full of lesbians.
  • After deciding to go out for a veggie burger in the Back Bay, we end up drinking for hours, picking up college students and then getting lost in Beacon Hill looking for John Kerry’s house so we can play Ding Dong Ditch on his door.  Thankfully, we’re too drunk to find Louisburg Square and instead go to another bar, getting a pitcher of Sunset Wheat for each of us.
  • When taking out a new coworker for dinner, we end up hopping from bar to bar to bar…and out until 4:00 AM.  On a Tuesday.  On his first week in the office.  On an earlier date, we take out a visiting coworker from our UK office, end up having two oysters and three martinis each for dinner, and I end up inviting the whole bar to “the after-party” at my Somerville apartment.  Nobody came, thank God.

Combine that with free drinks from the bartender all night, and even some free food, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Yep, before long, Josh and I have had six Bellinis — EACH.  I’m chatting up the whole bar and telling stories that would make the cast of The Slutcracker blush.

And even after all that, I get a text message from the bartender late that night, telling me he’ll call me tomorrow.  (Apparently, I put myself in his phone as “Kate McIS SO HOT”.)

And he called me just now.  According to the context of the conversation, we made plans last night to hang out today…yeah, I have no recollection of that.  I told him that I couldn’t believe that he wanted to talk to me, ever, considering that the two times I’ve seen him, I’ve been shitfaced and making an ass out of myself.

But he didn’t care.  He doesn’t care at all.  He wants us to hang out.

The moral of this story is pretty obvious…STOP DRINKING, KATE.  Stop drinking to the point of blacking out.  Stop trying to match Josh drink for drink — he’s a guy, and that’s a contest you can’t win.  Free drinks do not equal a challenge.  Especially when alcoholism and addiction run in your family.

My company party is Friday (Lord, help us all), and I plan to go easy on the drinks there.  It won’t be easy — the venue has FABULOUS cocktails and there will be an open bar.  But it will probably be more entertaining to watch everybody else, and God knows that that’s probably what I need the most right now.

I met Alec Baldwin today. Thursday, Sep 25 2008 

When I heard that Alec Baldwin would be making an book-signing appearance at the Borders right by my office, I knew I had to go.  I am such a big fan of his.

I know what you’re thinking.  He called his daughter a “rude little pig” in a voicemail that made the rounds across the internet a year ago.  Why would I like this guy?

I’ll paraphrase my friend RyanHe is so damn good on 30 Rock, he makes me forget what a bad father he is. Watch the show — the best comedy on TV by FAR — and you’ll understand why he deserves the Emmy that he won on Sunday.

Besides 30 Rock, I love him as an actor.  I’ll watch him in anything.

Alec recently wrote the book A Promise To Ourselves, a memoir of his divorce and an attack on what he calls the “family law industry.”  I don’t really want to read the book, but I did want to get to meet him!

Alec arrived at Borders and, instead of reading, talked about his experiences.  I couldn’t see him from where I was in line, waiting for my book to be signed, but I could hear him.  And he actually made all the divorce stuff sound entertaining — he made a lot of great points.

And then I rounded the corner.

Dear God, he is SO much better-looking in real life than he is on TV. I’m totally serious.  The camera must add something like 30 pounds.

They were ushering people through pretty quickly, so I knew I’d have to be fast.  That didn’t stop the woman in front of me from having an entire conversation with him.

But the best part was that towards the end of the conversation, he was talking to her but looking at me the whole time.  And his eyes are SO blue.

And then it was my turn.

I handed him the book.

Alec: “Hi.  Who should I make it out to?”

Me: “I’m Kate. I LOVE 30 ROCK. And I really wanted to say to you, ‘It’s after six.  What am I, a farmer?'”

Alec laughed.  That’s one of his lines from the show.

Me: “And I love your pieces on the Huffington Post.  Thank you for all that you’re doing.”

Alec: “Thank you very much for coming.  Good luck to you.”

And that was that.

My book says “To Kate — [squiggle].”

Today was a good day.  🙂

There’s a MOUSE in my HOUSE! Wednesday, Sep 3 2008 

I wish that my first post about my new apartment in downtown Boston weren’t about something negative, but I MUST write about this: I had an encounter with a rodent this morning.

Welcome to the city.

I woke up at 5:30 AM to go to the bathroom.  As I was washing my hands, I saw a little furry figure scurrying (the word “scurrying” was made for situations like these!) across the floor.

At that point, I became a 1940s cartoon.  I started screaming and I jumped onto the sink.

My language, however, was pure 21st century: “Oh my God — oh my God — FUCK!”

I couldn’t see a mouse after that, and I didn’t see any holes in the bathroom.  Who knows where the little thing scampered off to.

I tried going back to bed, but I couldn’t sleep — I just kept playing that episode of Sex and the City in my head when Carrie has the mouse infestation and a mouse CRAWLS INTO HER HAIR in the middle of the night!!!

Again, welcome to the city.

I was finally able to doze off at around 7:00 AM.  I then kept having nightmares about cats in my apartment — cats that dug their claws into my arm and wouldn’t let go, even after I tried to shake them off.  Cats that were about to sink their teeth into my hand, and then I’d wake up.  Cats that rolled onto me and smothered me.  And a flying cockroach the size of a loaf of bread.

This evening, I bought four traps — one for my room, one for Sarah’s, one for the kitchen and one for the scene of the crime, the bathroom.  I baited them with Nutella, since we didn’t have any peanut butter and the hardware store guy said mice like chocolate, too.

It comes with the territory.  I live downtown now.  Mice are commonplace.  And besides the mice and a few other setbacks from the move (a dirty kitchen and bathroom; only one set of keys for the two of us; a door key that took 10 minutes of solid jiggling to work), it has been FANTASTIC.  The aforementioned problems have been solved.  The apartment feels so much bigger than I thought it would.  And I LOVE LOVE LOVE living with my little sister Sars again!

This neighborhood is much more my speed than Davis Square — fewer families, nearly all young people, much more diverse.  And although it’s technically the Back Bay, it’s kind of a hybrid between Back Bay, Fenway and Symphony.  It’s gritty, and I like that a lot.  As Josh said last night, “It looks like everyone in your neighborhood smokes a LOT of pot.”

And I’ve been hit on more or less constantly — like when a group of guys actually yelled “Sexual erotica!” at me the other night!  Seriously!  It took all I had to keep from cracking up!

Well, it’s been a crazy ride so far — and I’m enjoying it immensely.

Let’s just hope that I wake up tomorrow to at least one trap filled with a furry carcass.

Moving day is coming EARLY! Sunday, Aug 24 2008 

I was planning on moving in a week from tomorrow, on Labor Day, September 1st.

Well, that’s out the window now.

My new landlady (who is lovely!) just called me to inform me that the current tenants (two guys and two adorable kittens) have moved out, so Sars and I can move in as soon as it’s cleaned.

That’s fantastic news.  September 1 is going to be a hellish moving day, especially in a college town like Boston, especially especially since our apartment is within a ten-minute walk of around nine colleges or so.

Now, I talked to my dad.  He wants us to move during the week.  Excellent.  It will be much less busy.

However — we can’t do it Friday.  The Red Sox return to Boston that day, and our apartment is close to Fenway Park.  There’s a game Friday night.  It wouldn’t be smart to move in during a game, when the whole neighborhood is crazy.

And we can’t do it Thursday — Obama is accepting the nomination that night, and my mom is throwing a party.

Which means that we have to do it WEDNESDAY, provided that our landlady is able to get the apartment cleaned by that time.

I AM SO NOT READY!!!!!!  THERE IS NO WAY I CAN PACK UP MY ENTIRE LIFE IN THAT TIME!!!!!!

In fact, I shouldn’t be writing this.  My room is a disaster.  (It has been interesting — while I uncovered things like a moldy piece of pie, I also found my poetry portfolio from college!)

But it’s all worth it —

Because within a week, I will live here:

The Back Bay — Boston’s ritziest neighborhood.

And the late-night cabs home will cost $8, not $25.  🙂

Sex and the City — one day early! Thursday, May 29 2008 

Counting down the hours until Sex and the City premieres tomorrow?  Planning to hit the midnight show tonight?

How about the 7:30 PM show tonight?

I don’t know how they’re able to do it, but Loews Boston Common is showing Sex and the City a day early.  This is the only performance ahead of time — the next two are at precisely 12:01 AM.

The Missus was first to discover this early show on Tuesday, and I immediately snapped up two tickets.  Several of us in the office are going.

I checked Fandango just now, and the show is now sold out.  Word travels fast.

I can’t wait!!!

Oh my God, I actually crashed a bachelor party! Sunday, May 18 2008 

Red lipstick has always served me extraordinarily well.  It’s weird, but a lot of great things have happened because of my wearing red lipstick.

Last night was no exception — and it led to one of the craziest adventures I have EVER had!

My friend Holly’s birthday celebration was last night.  We met up at Kingston Station, had some drinks and proceeded over to the Hong Kong (where, honestly, I hadn’t been in quite a long time).

We had some scorpion bowls; we danced to 90s hip-hop; we checked out the mostly unremarkable crowd.

(Great quote from earlier in the night:
Me: “I hope we meet some hot guys tonight.”
Esther: “At the Hong Kong?”
Me: “…Yeah, you’re right.”)

And then the bachelor party arrived.

There were about 20 of them and they were dressed in red and blue baseball jerseys, either the “Jerk Sox” or “New Turk,” and they each had their nickname on the back.  The bachelor himself was decked out in a sombrero.

I went over to them and started chatting.  It’s wedding season, and whenever I spot a bachelor party, I always go talk them up.  It turns out that the groom was getting married in a little over a month and they had a full weekend of festivities planned.  (They had strippers at the house earlier.)  They also had a party bus outside.

The guys were awesome.  All of my friends talked to them a bit, but I was spending the most time with them.  (One of the guys told me that he had a girlfriend but that whatever I wanted, however my tastes fell, I could have my pick of the entire group!)

After about an hour or so, Holly’s group had mostly dispersed, and the guys were ready to move on to the next watering hole.  Then they started telling me that I should totally join them.

None of the other girls wanted to join me, and even though it went against any safety training I was EVER taught, I decided to join them.

Just me and a busful of guys.

Well, I got on the bus, grabbed a beer from the overstocked cooler, and joined in the fun, telling stories, throwing back drinks and dancing.  The guys were hanging from the bars like monkeys.

Check it out:

Lapdance!  Wouldn’t be a bachelor party without one!

There are a few girls in the back of this picture.  They picked up another group of girls to come with them as well — but I think it goes without saying that they weren’t nearly as fun as me.

 

There’s the groom in the sombrero.

Yeah, no comment.

But the guys at the Hong Kong did get pissed at him for wearing sunglasses inside.

 

I couldn’t resist.  I had to take a picture.

This guy was really cool.  We talked for a while, and it turns out that he is in the same industry as my new job!  He’s now working as a consultant, pulling in crazy money and working abroad.  It was FANTASTIC to hear about someone doing that.

This guy was just fun.

And now for the red lipstick.  I’ve found that guys always LOVE it.  There are certain biological reasons for this (I won’t go into details here, but Google it and you’ll find out some surprising information).  At any rate, it’s always a hit.

They told me to give the groom a kiss on the cheek, just to leave a mark on him before his wedding, so I did.  And pretty soon there we had escalated into all-out red lipstick war, and everyone was covered in it.

Yeah.  The guys wore it.

They put it on and they loved it.

It was a sea of red.

We dropped by a bar in Beacon Hill, but the line was too long, so we decided to just ride in the bus for a bit (while still doing acrobatics on the poles), then head back to Allston, where one of the revelers lived.  The group of girls joined us there, though they didn’t stay at the house for long.

One of the guys was really into wine, and I attempt to be somewhat into wine, so he ended up pouring a really nice Zinfandel, my favorite varietal.  (NOT White Zinfandel.  We had this argument with all the guys.)

I had to get a shot with the groom.  He was a really good sport, despite what they put him through all night.

I love this picture so much.  And doesn’t the guy on the right look like Joel McHale from The Soup?

I stayed there for a few hours, telling stories, dancing, singing songs, trading travel stories, trading drinking stories.  And it wasn’t weird at all being the only girl there.  In fact, it was exhilarating.  I was the center of attention (and you know how much I love that!).  They weren’t weird about it, either — though they kept trying to outdo each other whenever they were in front of me.

I have to say, they were such fun guys.  I had a blast hanging out with them.  They told me that I was the coolest girl ever for being spontaneous and actually coming on my own, without a buffer group.  Again, they were awesome.

I returned the favor by not overstaying my welcome and catching a cab back as the sun was rising.  The guys were due to play paintball today.  What a great bachelor weekend!

Looking back, I’m still kind of surprised I did it.  I mean, that’s exactly the kind of thing they tell you NOT to do.  Well, I trusted these guys, and I know that’s not a valid reason, but it was the truth.  And they turned out to be AWESOME. 

I’m off to find a new tube of bright red lipstick, because mine has worn down to a nub.

I HAD A FANTASTIC TIME!!!!!

The Pickup Artist Sunday, May 4 2008 

Oh my God, let me begin by saying that I just got back from a nightmarish commute home from the bar.  I left Hynes at about 12:15 AM and immediately got a Red Line train to Alewife at Park Street.

Between Harvard and Porter, the train just stopped for 15 minutes.  Just stopped.  As I listened to song after song on my iPod, I watched everyone get aggravated, especially since the sound system wasn’t great and we couldn’t decipher any of the announcements.

After that, the train spent several minutes lurching a few inches, then stopping, then lurching a few inches, then stopping.  It felt like we were trying to get over bumps.

They let us off at Porter, telling us that all trains were out of service.  This was one stop away from where I needed to be!

I knew getting a cab would be nearly impossible during this time of night, even on Mass. Ave., so I waited for a bus.  (This is major for me, considering that I have NEVER taken a bus in Boston that wasn’t a temporary shuttle.)  A bus never came.

I hopped into a cab with two other people trying to get to Alewife and I just had the driver drop me off on the corner of my street and Mass. Ave., walking the rest of the way back.  The other passengers were amused when I pointed out where I had seen Owen Wilson earlier today.

But I digress.

I met the WORST PICKUP ARTIST OF MY LIFE tonight.

I went to Match in the Back Bay with Esther, Lauren and Laura.  The place has a nice atmosphere, though the martinis aren’t strong at all (I had two and I didn’t even feel a buzz) and the prices are a bit high.  They could also stand to spend extra money on the bathrooms.

The bar was really crowded, so I went to get a drink on my own first.  I squeezed in next to a guy who looked like a young Sean Penn with black hair and a goatee.

Guy: “You are so beautiful.”

Me: “Thanks.”

Guy: “I love your eyes.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Guy: “I’m Michael.  What’s your name?”

Me: “Lisa.” [Sorry, Lisa!!  It was the first name I could think of!]

Guy: “I live right here.  Where do you live?”

Me: “You live in this bar?  Funny, I grew up here, but I now live at a watering hole down the street.”

Guy: “I love the shape of your face.” (Starts leaning over and brushes his goatee against my shoulder.  He repeats this twice over the course of our conversation.)

Me: (Nothing.)

Guy: “I love your lips.  Can I talk to you?”

Me: “Well, this is a bar, lots of people, lots to discuss, yay!”

Guy: “Can I see you again, Miss Ulley?” (He had leaned over, reading my partially obscured ID.)

Me: “Listen, as awesome as this conversation is, I’m going back to my friends.”

Guy: “When will I see you again?”

Ugh.

Right after me, Esther went up.

Guy: “You look like my cousin.  My cousin is hot.”

After that, Laura got hers.

Guy: “I love you.”

When Lauren went up, she made sure to stand far, far away.

Ugh.  He could have at least bought us a drink.

I’m really in the mood to go dancing again.  I haven’t been in months.  Maybe next weekend.

I LOVE my new haircut! Saturday, May 3 2008 

I just got my hair cut for the first time in 18 months, due to being traumatized by my haircutting experience.

I was so afraid of another disaster.

Well, there was no disaster — AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE RESULTS!!

I went to Escape Spa in the South End and had it cut by Wendy, after reading so many glowing reviews of her on Yelp.  Well, she definitely lives up to the hype.  Wendy is AWESOME!

I explained to her how my last haircut was traumatizing and told her concerns.  Above all else, I NEED LENGTH.  I love my long, wavy hair and I need to keep it at least a few inches below shoulder-length.  Additionally, I’d like more volume and I’d like a low-maintenance style.

I was also considering experimenting with side-swept bangs, NOT thick or heavy bangs of any kind (because I had those throughout my childhood and hated them).  I’m not a fan of my fivehead and wanted a way to camouflage it better.  I wasn’t sure how to go about it with wavy hair.

Wendy is amazing .  In addition to being HILARIOUS, interesting and so much fun to talk to, she did a wonderful job with my hair.  She didn’t try to make it anything it wasn’t (unlike many stylists).  She just worked with the odd wavy-to-curliness with the occasional straight patches throughout my hair.

She also remarked that she never sees hair in as good condition as mine, in spite of the fact that I hadn’t cut it in so long.  (That’s because I don’t dye it and I don’t blow-dry or heat-style it.)

Wendy cut the bangs long so that I can tuck them behind my ear, and she added layers throughout the front of my hair to give it depth and dimension.  I was a bit ambivalent right away, but as soon as it settled, I saw it: it’s perfect.  I don’t know how she did it.

And here are the pics!  Here we go:

Before:

After (down):

After (up):

I LOVE this up look!  I had no idea I’d be getting anything that good!  And if it’s a special occasion and I need to do a fancier French twist, I can wear the bangs straight and pulled to the side.

I highly recommend seeing Wendy at Escape!  They have no Web site, but you can check them out on Yelp.  Be sure to book ahead — she’s hugely popular and she’s going to be away all summer.  I might see her again for a touch-up before Vegas.

Oh — also, I was just driving up Mass. Ave., just north of Porter, near the Elizabeth Grady, and I SAW OWEN WILSON COMING OUT OF A BLUE TRUCK!!!!  I didn’t think it was him, but I saw the nose!!  He was with a women wearing a scarf over her hair — probably Kate Hudson!  She’s still filming in Boston!

But why North Cambridge?  Weird.

Thoughts on the hair?  🙂

Filming in Boston Wednesday, Apr 30 2008 

I love how Deval Patrick authorized tax cuts for film production companies in the state of Massachusetts.  Because of that, tons (TONS!) of movies have been filming in Boston!

It’s fantastic — not only for the economy, but also because of the celebrity sightings!  Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson went to the Upper Crust in Beacon Hill; my friend ran into Cameron Diaz at the Starbucks by Park Street…

The Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, is one of the latest.  According to IMDB, Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop (Willis) is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.

I work in the Fort Point Channel area of South Boston.  This is a view of the filming area, as taken from right next to my office:

Heh.  Not that exciting yet.  But it could be…The Departed also filmed in the Fort Point area, and the scene when the body falls off the building was filmed just a few streets away from my office!

Let’s hope there’s another celebrity sighting in 2008.  I haven’t met anyone famous since Vanilla Ice.  Hmm, Matthew McConaughey is currently filming in town…so is Steve Martin…

I’m moving to the Back Bay! Saturday, Apr 26 2008 

In Paris, it’s the 8ème arrondissement.  In New York, it’s the Upper East Side.  In London, it’s Knightsbridge; in Miami, it’s South Beach; in Washington, D.C., it’s Georgetown.

In Boston, it’s the Back Bay — the most upscale and luxurious neighborhood in the city.

And I am moving there on September 1!

My sister and I have planned to live together for the ’08/’09 school year.  This is for two main reasons: first of all, we miss each other so much, even as often as we see each other!  Secondly, this is Sarah’s last year in Boston before moving to Los Angeles.  This is our last chance.

Also, as much as I LOVE my apartment and living in Davis Square, it’s time for me to live downtown.  It takes me about 15 minutes to get to Park Street from Davis, plus a 10-minute walk to the T in the first place, and while that isn’t very long in retrospect, it’s starting to bother me.  I want to be closer.

Sars is a film student at Emerson College, which is in the Theatre District.  Because of this, and because of all of her late nights working on films and projects, she needs to be downtown.  She is currently moving out of her Chinatown apartment just a few blocks away from school.

We were open to living in several different places.  Although the South End was my first choice (I will live there someday!), we were open to living in Beacon Hill, Bay Village, the North End, Fenway, the Longwood Medical Area and even as far as Central Square in Cambridge and Coolidge Corner in Brookline.  (ANYWHERE but Allston/Brighton.)

This place popped up on our radar.  We saw it the first day it went on the market, and when we saw what an amazing deal it was, we immediately pounced on it.

That being said, it’s small.

It’s a two-bed split: that means that there are two bedrooms and no living room.  When you walk in, there’s a hallway running from left to right.  There is a bedroom on the left side (with a bay window!) and a bedroom on the right side.  In the middle are a kitchen (tiny!  Not eat-in!) and a bathroom.

The apartment is in a brownstone near Berklee College of Music, technically in the Back Bay but right by Symphony and Fenway.  When you walk into the building, ours is the apartment immediately on the left, right next to the mailboxes!

And there are TONS of Berklee students there.  The guy living above us plays the drums.  Yikes.  He says he mainly plays at school, though.  It’s almost like dorm life.  Hopefully we’ll have some of the benefits of dorm life, like getting to meet new people all the time.

Yes, living in a place this small will be a challenge, but at least the bedrooms are large.  Besides, since we’re so close, we don’t mind hanging out in each other’s bedrooms, and we aren’t shy to having friends hang out there, either, like some people are.

Also, I will be getting rid of my car.  I’m very nervous about this, but I know it’s ultimately the right decision, considering gas prices, the environment and the deteriorating state of my car.  I won’t visit my parents and friends in Reading and Wakefield as often, but I can always take the orange line to Oak Grove, a 15-minute drive from my mom, or even take the commuter rail.

Plus, my dad loves coming into town whenever he can and has been doing it a LOT since Sarah and I moved here.  (I kind of have the feeling that he might relocate to a condo in Charlestown or Cambridge five years from now.)

And Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are right in the neighborhood, along with a Shaw’s!  We’ll need to get one of those old lady carts.

I have to say that I have had a FANTASTIC living situation for the past 16 months.  My apartment is terrific, and I have wonderful roommates and landlords.  My roommates have become three of my closest friends, and considering some of the roommate experiences I’ve had in the past, that’s an incredible gift!  I will miss them dearly.

So…if you’re looking for a place to live, I have a great Davis Square apartment that I can offer you, starting September 1 (which is Labor Day).

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