Goodbye, old blog. Hello, new blog. Friday, Feb 26 2010 

Greetings, faithful readers.

I’m sorry to say that I will no longer be blogging on Kate’s Adventures.

My reasons for this are numerous.  I started this blog four years ago, and my standards of what I revealed and didn’t reveal are different from what they are today.  Even though I deleted everything that might be considered offensive, I’m still not happy with the general tone of much of this blog.  Nor am I happy with the online diary-style format.

BUT — I have a new blog.  I’ve decided that my new blog will be primarily about my travels, along with occasional tidbits of pop culture, adventures and stories.  It’s more polished, focused and professional.  I’m hosting it myself and working on a lot of the design.  I welcome you to Adventurous Kate!

Adventurous Kate features new content five days a week.  Every Friday, I post one of my adventures I’ve had while traveling.  And yes, there is something about Vegas at least once a week!

I would love if you followed me to my new blog.

Thank you for every kind comment and email.  And thank you for putting me in my place when I needed it.  You’ve been great readers.  🙂

*FYI — in a few weeks, this URL will redirect to Adventurous Kate.

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At a Crossroads Friday, Oct 9 2009 

I need advice on what to do with this blog.

I started this blog in early 2006, and so much has changed since then.  I had no qualms about blogging anything, photos and all.

But times have changed, and in an age when the slightest online infraction can greatly affect your career, especially in this economy, I know I have to do something about this blog.

I want to have a professional Web site — (myname).com — and I’ve already created it and am hosting it myself through WordPress.org.  I’m not sure what to do with it other than display my professional writing. I could make it a blog, or it could just be a Web site.

I also recently bought a GREAT new travel-oriented domain that I think would make a great new blog (let’s call it (awesometravel).com for now). I would blog at least 80% of the time about travel, but it could include occasional personal posts about life in Boston, politics or anything else.

But do I really want FOUR blogs?  I can barely keep up with two!

The choice is clear:  I’m at a crossroads with Kate’s Adventures.

Here are my options:

Option 1:

Keep Kate’s Adventures as is and continue to blog here occasionally.

Option 2:

Keep Kate’s Adventures but remove all photos, identifying details and some of the more scandalous entries.  In fact, possibly delete most entries.  Continue to blog here occasionally.

Option 3:

Get rid of Kate’s Adventures.  Obviously, export and save the blog to keep the memories, but have it removed from the Web.  Have katesadventures.com redirect to one of my new sites.

That’s the big decision.

Now, here’s what I need to decide regarding (myname).com:

Option 1:

Keep a personal blog at (myname).com.  Just hold onto the domain (awesometravel).com for now.

Option 2:

Occasionally blog at (myname).com, but in a way that mirrors my professional writing.

Option 3:

Do not blog at all at (myname).com.  Just keep it as a web site with my professional information and links to my writing.

And then there’s (awesometravel).com.

I really need help.  What do you think I should do?  Any answers would be greatly appreciated!

And THAT is how I roll. Wednesday, Sep 30 2009 

Believe it or not, I actually joined a gym.  I’m now a member of Healthworks Back Bay — an amazing and beautiful women’s gym.  I love it already.

Yes, those would be TVs on every single cardio machine. Plus tons of great classes, a eucalyptus-scented steam room, a spa, an on-site chiropractor, and the hands-down prettiest and best-smelling locker room I have ever seen.

Since I’ve never belonged to a gym before, I read up on how to get the best membership deal.  I’ve heard that people who work at gyms are really pushy but if you’re savvy, you can score yourself a better rate.

I brought in quotes from cheaper gyms, plus an offer to start without a fee at one of the fanciest gyms in Boston.  I planned to offer to do a blog entry on The Grammar Vandal, armed with traffic numbers — but then I didn’t have to do a thing.

“Where do you work?” the membership adviser asked me.  I told her and she was actually a fan of our company.  And then she told me she was about to go to Vegas with her girlfriends for the first time.

DING DING DING DING DING.

“You know, I go to Vegas all the time,” I told her. “I could definitely hook you up with one of my nightlife guys.  He’d get you in anywhere you want to go.”

She was so excited, she nearly hyperventilated.

We spent the next ten minutes discussing Vegas — what to do and not to do, the best clubs (Tryst! XS! Body English!), and how to make sure she doesn’t have to wait in a single line.

It was a smashing success for us both.

She left with the number of one of my nightlife guys.

I left with a new membership — plus no initiation fee, a $25 gift card, a coupon for a free eyebrow wax, two more group training packages, two personal training sessions, and extended my access to all five clubs for a few weeks.  That alone is a great deal — and THEN she threw in an entire month for free!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vegas connections will get you ANYWHERE.

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.

Back to the Blog Thursday, Sep 3 2009 

God, I miss blogging here.  It’s been over a month.  But when you stop for awhile, it becomes SO difficult to pick it up again!

To make it easier, I’ll just do a quick recap:

Birthday

I turned 25 a month ago. It’s the second year that I would have been fine staying the same age.

But we celebrated the best way possible. I usually have some kind of blowout, but I scaled it down this year.  Two awesome meals: one with the boyfriend at Erbaluce, and one with the girls at Cuchi Cuchi. Perfect.

Then Legal Seafoods with Mom and Santarpio’s with Dad. BEYOND PERFECT.

Cancun

Jason (the boooooooyfriend!) and I went to Cancun for a long weekend and had a blast. I’ve never been to the Caribbean, nor even been on a beach vacation, and it was fantastic. Gorgeous beach. Delicious food. WILD nightlife — it’s like a casual Vegas with a beach! Senor Frogs is probably my new favorite bar ever, we became best friends with our shot girl, and yes, Jason went down the waterslide into the alligator-infested lagoon.

He is just as crazy as I am, and that makes me very happy.

On our last night, we trekked into downtown Cancun, in an area where tourists never go, and found a tiny karaoke bar. We warbled through With or Without You — the locals just sang mariachi-heavy songs. It was just a really, really great trip. 🙂

Oh, also — we got offered cocaine three times in a row on this weird side street.  I have never even SEEN cocaine in person, ever, and guys kept jumping in front of us, offering to get us the good stuff. After the third maniac tried to stop us, we got the hell out of there.

The Piano

Wow, this was a really weird incident.  I saw a sign up in my apartment building advertising a piano for $200 or best offer. Of course, I called the girl right away! It was old, but good quality. And she told me, “You can have it.”

Well, I took that to mean, “You can have it for free.”

Not the case.

Long story short: She asked me for $200, I told her I had never even made an offer, and after a bit of negotiating, she told me I could have it for free.

I came home from work. It wasn’t there.

Girl: “Wow, it’s not there? Wow, that’s really weird.”

Me: “Well, it’s not there. Do you think someone else would have taken it?”

Girl: “Um, no! You were the only person I talked to!  And I was SUPPOSED to get $200 from you but then you said you wouldn’t pay, so maybe there were other people who wanted to pay me instead!”

Me: “All right. Well, thanks for lying to me, and I hope you learned something from this. Set a price early, confirm it, and maybe when you’re more mature, you’ll have better business sense.”

Then, because I live for irony, I hung up on her.

It wouldn’t have fit in my apartment, anyway.

Senator Kennedy

I was so upset when he died.

I knew this day was coming, but I hoped it wouldn’t be for a long time.  I wanted to pay my respects as a Massachusetts resident, so I went to see the motorcade, which went right by my office. As the hearse went by, everybody clapped. The family waved to us.

Ted always stood up for us, always. He was always on our side. And now that he’s gone, I have no idea if there’s anyone left who would do that for us.

Random Tidbits

Jason and I want to attempt the hot dog-eating challenge at Spike’s Junkyard Dogs.  We then want to take a food road trip and go to a place in Pennsylvania with 15-pound burgers and the place in Brooklyn that will deep-fry anything you bring in. (In other news, I’m in the middle of a two-week vegan fast again.)

Sars and I have officially lived in our Back Bay/Fenway/Symphony Triangle apartment for a year now! And while this place has plenty of faults, we love it.

The Boston mayoral election is coming up. I’m supporting city councilor Sam Yoon. While it seems like so many people are ready for Menino to go (he’s done a lot of good for the city, but he has been mayor for SIXTEEN YEARS!), I’m not sure how easy that will be — he has three challengers, and I bet they’ll split the vote.

Three of my favorite books ever are coming out as movies right now. I loved Julie and Julia; I have yet to see The Time Traveler’s Wife (but considering the painfully sappy trailer, I don’t have high hopes), and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is coming out soon.

Books: I’ve been reading all of my birthday books and LOVED THEM ALL. From Dad, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson were great — I read them both in Cancun.

And if you’ve read Eat, Pray, Love, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST read Drink, Play, F#@k. It’s a hilarious book written from the point of view of her husband — and rather than being about eating in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Bali, it’s about drinking in Ireland, gambling in Vegas, and getting back in the sack in Thailand. Lisa got it for me and it was stellar.

Current book: The Ridiculous Race. Sars got it for me. It’s about two guys — both sitcom writers, incidentally — who decide to race around the world. Without airplanes! Perfect book for me. I love it.

Regular blogging SHALL resume! At least once a week.

The Best Gift Ever Monday, Jul 20 2009 

I just received the nicest gift of my life.

The guy I’ve been dating heard me play piano for the first time yesterday.  He had wanted to hear me play for quite some time.

Just so the comments won’t be filled with, “What?  I didn’t know you played piano!”, here’s a short summary of my piano life:

I love to play piano.  It’s been my life.  I was groomed to become a professional musician since I was four years old; while in high school, I decided that I didn’t want to turn pro or study music in college.  It wasn’t for me as a career.

When I was 13, I started taking college-level instruction at Boston Conservatory.  I did even did gigs at 13 — a reception at the (then) Ritz-Carlton and background music at a fashion show.

I have perfect pitch — I’ve been playing songs by ear since I was a year and a half old (if you believe my mom) and these days, I mainly play songs I love — anything from Stevie Wonder to Coldplay to 50 Cent (my sister’s favorite piano jam is my version of “Candy Shop”).

My favorite thing EVER is at parties with a group of people gathered around the piano, singing along and calling out requests and me playing them immediately, even if I’ve never tried playing those songs before!

Whew.

Despite my history with piano, I’m pretty private about it.  That’s why people are so often surprised to hear that I play.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to play frequently in college, but since then, I haven’t been so lucky.  Living in Somerville and then Boston, I just didn’t have access to a piano.

Enter my guy.

After hearing me play yesterday, he actually got me a guest pass for one of the universities near my apartment.  And it wasn’t easy to get — he had to fight for it.  But now I can go there and play piano pretty much whenever I want for the rest of the summer.

I was so blown away and touched by his kindness that I nearly burst into tears.

This is one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me.  I went, and I played my fingers off.  I’m working on a new arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Seems So Long,” and that song has some wonderfully complex harmonies with which I can have a lot of fun.

I went blonde! Sunday, Jun 7 2009 

Most of my friends know that I rarely do anything to my hair.  Lately, I’ve been cutting it about once a year to once a year and a half.  I haven’t colored it since I was 17 — since I got highlights before my senior prom!

Well, I was ready to do something different.  Not losing the length, of course (I love my length and have had some TRAUMATIC haircuts when I lost more than I wanted to!), but giving it a trim and changing up the color a bit.

And I had a bit of an odd inspiration for my new look.

Bradley Cooper.

I saw The Hangover on Friday night, and it is now one of my favorite movies of all time.  I have never laughed harder at a movie in recent memory.  I had to sop up my face with a Kleenex as we were walking out of the theater!  SEE IT.

And Bradley Cooper…he looked good.  There was a part when he came out in an all-black suit, and he looked SO, SO, SO good.  I was ready to hurl myself at the screen.

There are no pictures of him in the full suit, but you’d die if you saw it.  Here’s the best I could find:

So, why is Bradley Cooper, clearly a dude, my beauty inspiration?

Blue eyes.  Dark hair.  Olive, borderline golden skin.

That’s what I have.  (The skin is a bit of a stretch, but it gets SO gold in the summer.)  But he has such a fantastic GOLDNESS about him.  It makes him gleam.  I want that.  Gold in my hair, golden skin, eyes a wild blue contrast.

So I went to the salon.

Before picture on Newbury Street:

before

After picture at the salon:

After picture, with makeup:

I’M A BLONDE!!!

I was freaked out about it at first — and still am, a tad — but everyone has been giving me so many compliments, it’s made me feel good about it.  (Everyone loves it straight, too, but I NEVER straighten it because it’s so tough to do and takes so long.)

I think I’ll keep it through the summer, then go dark again.

What do you think?

The Vegan Diet Experiment: Days 1 and 2 Tuesday, May 12 2009 

Thank you for all the comments!  I’ve had a few requests for updates on my vegan diet experiment, so here goes:

Day One:

Breakfast: Starbucks grande bold (soy milk and one Splenda, which is what I usually get anyway).  Plain bagel, no topping.  (I know, not the healthiest thing, but we have them for free at work every Monday.)

Lunch: Two apples.

Dinner (eaten at two different seatings a few hours apart): One vegan burger.  Two grape leaves.  Half a cup of baby carrots.  Four tablespoons of horseradish hummus.

Snack: Five Triscuits and two tablespoons of horseradish hummus (LOVE that stuff!).

Exercise: Walked home from work (45 minutes).  Took a brisk 70-minute walk around the neighborhood.  Did some planks, push-ups and sit-ups.

Net calories: 612

Day Two:

Breakfast: Starbucks grande bold. (I know, I know.)

Lunch/Workday food: Two apples.  One soy yogurt.

Dinner/Evening food: Four pieces of vegetable sushi. One grape leaf. Two-thirds of a cup of baby carrots. Six tablespoons horseradish hummus.

Exercise: Walked home from work (45 minutes). Took a brisk walk around the neighborhood (50 minutes).  Did some planks, push-ups, sit-ups and squats. Did 20 minutes of weights for my arms.

Net calories: 426

I’m keeping track through the iPhone, which recommends a 916-calorie day to lose two pounds a week and a 1,166-calorie day to lose one and a half pounds a week.

I didn’t crave anything unhealthy today, though I was a bit tempted to grab free pizza at a rally that Menino had today.

A few of the challenges that lie ahead: avoiding the office candy.  The desk next to mine is the unofficial “candy desk,” so I spend a LOT of time hearing people unwrap Twixes and Peppermint Patties and my favorite, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  And my coworkers LOVE their street meat (aka Herrera’s, the best burritos in Boston from a cart on Washington St.).

Also, I have a work lunch out on Thursday, but I know the menu of this place and how to adapt what they have.  And more work dinners out next week, if I’m still going vegan by then.

I’m also going to make an attempt to strictly limit the alcohol — just in time for company drinks on Wednesday and a friend’s birthday party at a bar that I love on Friday.

In other news, my foot is doing SO much better — the tendinitis has more or less cleared up and I’m out of the boot, but it turns out that the arches in my feet are flattening.  Wearing arch supports is helping a lot, but I still get pain now and then.

But I have found a new love — therapeutic massage.  After just one visit, I am doing SO much better in my back, my foot and all the other parts of me that have been in pain over the past few months.  I can’t wait to go back tomorrow!!  I’m a fan of chiropractry, but this is so much better.

I will keep you posted…the veganism is easy on the second day, but let’s see if it can last!

Vegan for Vegas Monday, May 11 2009 

A month from today, my friends and I leave for Vegas.  We’re starting to make the preliminary reservations — dinner at N9NE, cabana at Tao Beach — but the most important part MUST start now.

Operation Vegas.

We came about the term by accident.  I think it was Jen who initially came up with it.  But Operation Vegas refers to any kind of diet and exercise plan to lose weight, look good and feel fabulous by the time we stroll into the Palazzo on June 11.

Since I was a vegetarian for nine months last year and lost a ton of weight that way, I’ve decided to be a vegetarian (more like a pescatarian) for the final month.  I decided to limit alcohol, too, since that’s the easiest way to knock off the pounds.

I’ve done all that before, though.  What would be more of a challenge?

Going vegan.

I’ve read Skinny Bitch.  Hell, I own Skinny Bitch (thanks, Lisa!).  I know there are SO many benefits to going vegan.  If you do it right, it’s one of the healthiest diets you can have.  (If you do it wrong, eating nothing but bread, of course you’re going to gain weight and feel awful.)

But it is SO DIFFICULT!  You won’t believe some of the things that have milk or eggs in them, like my favorite fake chicken patties and even some multi-grain baked goods.  You have to read the labels on EVERYTHING.

It’s also tough for me because I’m a microwave cook and a grazer.  I used to love cooking in college, but now having no time, money or desire to do so, I just don’t, ever.

I went to Trader Joe’s and bought tons of supplies: vegetables, horseradish hummus (SO SO GOOD!!), soy yogurt, vegan vegetable fried rice, Tofurkey Italian sausage, vegan burgers, etc.

Also, some products would be vegan except that they are made in facilities that use milk and eggs.  I am allowing myself those, because without them, there would be ALMOST NOTHING.

I’m not going to go vegan for the whole month.  I’m going to try it for a week, through Sunday, and then go back to pescatarianism until we get to Vegas.  And then I’ll reward myself with caviar, a filet and a lobster tail at N9NE.

Let’s see how this works.  I’ll let you know if I succeed or ultimately fail in a very big way.

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.

Vegas: Debauchery is a Mild Word Sunday, Jan 25 2009 

Vegas was absolutely amazing.  This trip totally blew the last trip out of the water.

I could go on for days, but at least a few things need to stay in Vegas.

The highlights:

  • Four hours of sleep a night, supplemented by far too much Red Bull.

  • Meeting people you become best friends with for a few hours, then tastefully ignoring them when you run into them the next day.

  • Never paying cover.  EVER.  Never waiting in line.  EVER.

  • Comped dinner and subsequent partying at Tao.  Love my Tao guy!

  • Eating things you’d never eat at home, like fish with a head on it and sweetbreads.

  • Getting dressed up in designer dresses, black sparkly eyeshadow and fake eyelashes and not being overdressed.

  • Meeting characters at buffets.

  • Hanging out in the casino until 5:30 AM, not even gambling, your fake eyelashes now a moustache.

  • Molesting the statues at Madame Tussaud’s.  (Then, karma: getting molested on stage by the Chippendales in front of everyone.)

  • Also: here’s the one thing in Vegas to NEVER, EVER do.  DO NOT GO INTO THE HAUNTED HOUSE AT MADAME TUSSAUD’S.  PEOPLE JUMP OUT AT YOU AND IT’S SO SCARY.  Lisa was in the fetal position afterward.  Beth and I were in similar states.

  • Getting pulled into VIP booths at Tryst all night.

  • Drinking giant drinks just because you can.

  • FINALLY trying In-N-Out Burger!!!

  • The odd celebrity sighting; also, magnificent chi-chis.  Ice-T and Coco!!!!!!!

  • Getting to spend time with your best friends from high school: The Brood.

  • Never going to bed your last night there.

  • Making friends with bachelor parties.

  • The best part: here’s what we did on Saturday night.  After Chippendales and primping, we headed over to the Bank nightclub at the Bellagio.  We walk past a line of people who have been waiting for hours and walk right in, no cover or anything.  We hang out at the club for 20 minutes, decide it’s lame, then decide to head to Pure at Caesars Palace.  Again, we walk past a line of people who have been waiting for hours; again, we walk right in, no cover.  Later, our host feeds us shots at the bar.  The day before, we do the same thing with an all-you-can-drink party for ladies at Jet, then we head to Tryst.

And so much more that I can’t publicize.

We’re going back in June.  😀

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.

Top Five Adventures in 2008 Thursday, Jan 1 2009 

Well, the new year’s here, the world hasn’t ended, and the worst decision I made last night was not rolling around in a vomit-filled curb but rather deciding to go out for Chinese instead of grabbing a cab earlier, when I should have, and waiting forever in the freezing cold in order to get one.

Success.

Though it’s a tad late, I’d like to recap my top five adventures of 2008.

  1. My solo trip to Buenos Aires. Despite the amount of travel I’ve done, I had never done an entire trip alone.  And I did it.  To a continent — nay, hemisphere! — where I’d never been.  In a country whose language I speak at a kindergarten level at best.  And you know what?  I had a BLAST.  I got into the nightlife scene.  I made tons of friends from all over the world.  And I dealt with my biggest travel issue ever — by myself, without freaking out.
  2. Going home with a bachelor party.  I ran into a bachelor party in Faneuil Hall this summer, and they invited me to get on their bus and go back to their house with them.  In a move out of a Lifetime movie, I accepted.  Alone — none of my friends would come with me.  EVERY guide tells you never to do anything REMOTELY resembling that — but turns out that in between all of us doing shots, me and the guys hanging off the stripper poles (fully clothed), and covering each other in red lipstick, we had a GREAT, chaste and surprisingly low-key time.  What a night.
  3. Crashing the Alpha Omega party. Carissa and I were at the Pru and saw a party going on at Alpha Omega.  We were dressed up nicely, so she sweetly talked us in.  Turns out it was a party for the jewelry line Carrera y Carrera.  Mojitos all night, fancy passed apps, awesome gift bags AND we got to meet Carrera himself and gush to him about how beautiful his jewelry is.
  4. Meeting a guy at a club and then going away for the weekend with him. I never wrote about this in the blog.  I don’t want the guy to be able to google himself to this page.  Um…of all the names in the world, his name is Hhaannss! (Double-lettered.)  And he’s very well known where he lives, in a popular resort area of Massachusetts.  And while I thought that going away with this random guy would be SPONTANEOUS and ROMANTIC and would make a FANTASTIC story…turns out, only the latter was true, because it was THE SINGLE MOST AWKWARD WEEKEND OF MY LIFE.  Yeah.
  5. Surviving Tryst night in Vegas with Lisa. Lisa, Alexa and I had an unforgettable night in Vegas — starting with Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE at the Mirage, then the Grand Lux at the Venetian, then heading to Tryst nightclub at the Wynn.  Well, shortly after Alexa left, Lisa and I did the following:
  • Spent only a few dollars each all night
  • Got pulled into countless VIP booths at Tryst
  • Sat in the lap of a guy in a wheelchair and got spun around on the dance floor
  • I did a long catwalk-style walk  in a straight line to convince the Tryst security guys I was still sober after they nearly threw me out for drunken behavior
  • Pulled random people into a cab to go to after hours at Drai’s
  • Left Drai’s at about 7:00 AM, high-fiving everyone we walked past on the Strip, yelling, “Vegas!”
  • Decided that it was a GREAT time to start (!) playing blackjack
  • Lost all our money…well, not quite all of it, but I lost a lot more than Lisa did.

Besides that, there were a ton of great things that happened this year.  I got a new job at a really wonderful company, all thanks to The Missus (my boss now!).  I’m very lucky to have this job.  I moved to the Back Bay with my sister, and we have a wonderful apartment.  Besides Vegas and Buenos Aires, I went to New Mexico and some places around here.

I played blackjack publicly for the first time ever (at Foxwoods) and made nearly $100 in six hands.  I got more press for my grammar blog.  I went to a lot of cool local events.  I made tons of new friends — most notably, Josh, who has a penchant for convincing me to make bad decisions that make hilarious stories the next day.

Well, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2009.

I need to figure out where to do my next big (and likely solo) trip.  I’d like this one to be two weeks long, but the timing will depend on a lot of things, including work.  The Greek islands hold my attention more than most.

And I’m going to Vegas two weeks from now.  😉  With Lisa, Alexa (and Grant), Beth, AND Jen, my dear friend who now lives in Chicago!  I can only imagine the ensuing debauchery…

My generic New Year’s resolutions are generic (though specific) — to walk more often and to drink less coffee.  But beyond that, I hope to enter 2010 having had countless new adventures, epic adventures, wild adventures.

This year is going to be fantastic.  Starting with Vegas.

How do you pack for Buenos Aires? Wednesday, Nov 26 2008 

Forget for a moment that I’m about to leave for my first solo trip ever.  Forget that I’m about to go to a continent where I’ve never been, a country whose language I speak badly.  Forget that I’m about to cross the fucking EQUATOR.

I’m terrified of one thing — of being in a city that’s home to such gorgeous people.

Portenos — as Buenos Aires residents are called — are notorious for their vanity.  Women and men alike are known to work out obsessively, and plastic surgery is RAMPANT, especially when it comes to breast implants and liposuction.  And everyone is beautiful and Italian on top of that.

As a result, most women larger than a size eight have trouble finding clothing in their size.

HOW AM I GOING TO SURVIVE IN THIS CITY?!?!?!

I’m going to be the fattest person in the city.  Morbidly obese.

Well, I just packed.  I filled my usual little red carry-on that has been useful for a weekend in Vegas or two weeks across Europe — then put it in the slightly larger suitcase that Beth lent me.  The shopping in Buenos Aires is supposed to be fantastic and cheap, so I plan on doing all my Christmas shopping there.

My Buenos Aires wardrobe: all of my best things.  LOTS of black pencil skirts and black minis.  Retro black dresses.  A few unique items, like my gold and leopard-print tank top and my black-and-red Asian winged top.  My black-and-white Native American-patterned strapless dress and my crazy Cavalli dress, of course!

And the Vegas items: fluttery halter tops, black satin hot pants.  Black leggings.  Four pairs of black heels and one pair of black flats.  EVERYTHING is nice, trendy and/or fancy, down to sleepwear.  The ONE casual item is my “Barack of Love” shirt.  I can dress it up.  And a pair of jeans for STRICTLY emergencies.

Have I mentioned that it’s going to be 92 degrees when I land?  😀

I’m excited.  And nervous.  And I have to say, I am SO glad that I’m doing this instead of a trip to Europe.  I love that I’m getting out of my comfort zone.  And it’s going to be great — I’ve already been invited to Thanksgiving dinner with several couchsurfers!

Wish me luck!  Follow me on Twitter.  I’ll have my iPhone and will be updating often.

Get happy. Monday, Nov 17 2008 

I had a great day today.  Following my terrible Saturday and an all-around tough week, I needed a good day.

It was simple, but fun: Sars and I took a long walk (to her chagrin, in the cold weather) through Symphony and Northeastern before arriving at Tremont 647 for brunch.  (Very good brunch — I had gingerbread pancakes with lemon coulis and walnuts, while she had biscuits and gravy.)

We then walked through the South End and up to Marshall’s with the goal of buying home stuff.  I bought her a bust of Beethoven that she really liked.  We made a few stops down Newbury — H&M, American Apparel, CVS, the hardware store, Urban Outfitters.

We then got home and started CLEANING like CRAZY.  God, we needed it.  We’ve neglected cleaning our place, but now it’s sparkling.  For the most part.

And I did cut my finger pretty badly — I sliced it open on a piece of jagged tile — but hopefully it will be better within a few days.

I also sent out several couchsurfing requests to people living in Buenos Aires, and I’ve got a bunch of people to hang out with when I go!  I’d love to have a packed social schedule when I arrive.

It’s all about keeping a packed schedule.  I feel myself getting depressed again when I’m sitting on the couch or surfing the web, especially when it comes to politics, because there is NO NEWS anymore!!  I am going to have something planned for every night this week.  That will hopefully help.

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