Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dottie Pinkham Cancer Benefit

Hey Readers! You may remember my post from February about my Auntie Dottie who has been battling cancer since December. I want to thank you all for reading and sharing it. To date, it has almost 500 views (one of the highest of all my posts), so please keep sharing! Her GoFundMe page has received a great amount of support and we will be holding a fundraiser in her honor tomorrow night to raise a bit more.

I encourage you all to join us tomorrow night, May 29th, from 7-11PM at the Knights of Columbus in Peabody for the Battle Cancer Together Benefit for Dottie Pinkham. Admission is a $15 donation in which you will be entered for a chance to win the door prize. There will be music, great food, a cash bar and tons of raffle items. We will also have a special item that will be auctioned (hint, hint: it's Boston Bruins related). All the funds raised will help my Aunt and her family with medical expenses.

So come join us for a fun filled night full of dancing and laughter! Feel free to bring friends and family, the more smiling faces there, the better. My Aunt needs all the support she can get so please don't forget to wish her well and keep her in your thoughts as she goes through treatment and recovery. Cancer may have started the fight, but Dottie will finish it! Show some love and help us devour the details of this battle against cancer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: Gracie Lou Events

Today I would like to feature a boutique event planning and consulting firm based in Boston and share their involvement with giving back to the community. Gracie Lou Events is a fresh, contemporary company that was born out of owners Elizabeth and Adrienne's love of organization, personalization and all things beautiful. The two share a fierce passion for all stages of the event planning process - from event design and conceptualization through watching a great event unfold. My kind of gals!

Gracie Lou Events was named after the maternal grandmothers of Adrienne and Elizabeth. As children, Elizabeth and Adrienne watched their grandmothers infuse elegance and style into their everyday lives. This was and continues to be a strong source of inspiration and drive for the pair. Their services range from full service to even bridal styling.

The full service package is perfect for the couple who wants professional help and guidance throughout their journey to the altar. The Gracie Lou professional team will assist you with every detail pertaining to your big day - from vendor selection to etiquette and everything in between. They'll work closely with you to design an event that is truly a reflection of your relationship, love and style.!/Home

What I love about Gracie Lou is their smaller service offerings like the partial planning package. Planning a wedding is a stressful, expensive, time consuming task. They understand how difficult it can be to cover your bases in a timely and efficient manner. Gracie Lou Events would be happy to sit down with you, evaluate your progress, create a game plan to tackle the rest of your planning. Making your vision a reality while taking some of the burden off of you!

Their event styling and design package is designed for the couple who wants professional help designing the overall look and feel of their wedding day but ultimately does the majority of their own vendor research and general leg work. You will be able to work closely with Elizabeth and Adrienne to select a color scheme, linens, flowers and various stylistic details. Teamwork is a key element when brainstorming design ideas and Gracie Lou can help you do that!!/Home

The Gracie Lou Events month of coordination package is designed for the couple who have spent months tirelessly planning and want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the Big Day. They are in your corner to ensure your vision is executed flawlessly and any possible crises are dealt with promptly and professionally. This package includes hands on help in the 6 weeks leading up to your wedding with all the final details in addition to on site wedding day manger.

Their bridal styling package offers comprehensive bridal styling and bridal party styling services. Bridal Styling includes research of gowns, a fashion inspiration board, a day of shopping together and much more!

The reason why Gracie Lou Events deserves today's Wedding Wednesdays feature is because of their community involvement and support of those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. In this time of tragedy, Gracie Lou Events has been able to share love with some of the bombing victims with their "Love Runs" campaign. Gracie Lou Events teamed up with some of Boston's top wedding professionals to donate an all expenses paid wedding to one couple affected by the marathon tragedy. The wedding was thrown to honor Jen Regan and Marc Fucarile. Marc was seriously injured in the bombing. You can learn more about Jen, Marc and their amazing story of strength here. It was Gracie Lou's hope that by spreading love they could help strengthen the camaraderie that ties our great city together, and give Jen, Marc and their son Gavin something happy to look back on during their time of healing. And they surely did! Congrats to Jen and Marc. Cheers to many years of happiness together!!/Love_Runs

Check out Gracie Lou's reviews on The Knot and see their work for yourself. We can't wait to see how Gracie Lou Events devours the details in the future!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mark Your Calendar for the 2015 Boston Bacon and Beer Festival

Welcome back Boston Bacon and Beer Festival, we have surely missed you! Presented by Eat Boston on behalf of The Red Sox Foundation, Community Servings, and Lovin' Spoonfuls, the Bacon and Beer Festival is back for their sixth year at Fenway Park to celebrate America's two favorite things: bacon and beer!

On Saturday, June 20th from 2:00pm to 4:30pm "meat" us on the concourse at Fenway Park to sample bacon from all over: 51 Lincoln, Audubon, Bambara, Barcelona, Bison County, Blackbird Donuts, Brasserie 28, Central Bistro, Eat at Jumbo's, El Pelon, Ferry Street, Gaslight, JM Curley, Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant, Loco Taqueria, Lulu's, Mei Mei Street Kitchen, MET Back Bay, Night Market, Passim, Puritan & Co, River Bar, Saloon, Savvor, Shojo, Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale, Sweet Cheeks BBQ, Ten Tables, The Blue Ox, The Gallows, The Inn at Hastings Park, The Merchant, Tip Tap Room, Trina's Starlite Lounge, Vee Vee, Vine Brook Tavern, West Bridge, Whole Foods Market- Symphony. And don't forget about the beer: Anchor Steam, Blue Moon, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Cisco, Goose Island, Harpoon, Long Trail, Narragansett, Notch, Peak Organic, Redbridge, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Smuttynose, Wachusett and more to be announced.

This fundraiser has been wildly successful in the past and is ready to kick butt again in 2015! Tickets will be available for sale here tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27th at 10AM. As always, tickets are expected to go extremely quickly. They're selling a few more tickets this year, but they will still be extremely limited. Tonight at 7PM, a limited amount of early bird baller tickets will be released. These tickets cost more money, but should be available for more than a minute (because they cost more money, haha). The early bird baller tickets include a Bacon and Beer Festival t-shirt, a pound of Tender Belly Bacon, allow you to skip the line, AND you get to call yourself a baller, what could be better than all of that?

This year, the event will be set up a little differently in regards to the beer. Upon entry, each guest will receive 16 tickets redeemable for 1.5 oz samples of beer. Guests will also have the option to purchase certain beers after you use up your tickets. Bacon tastes will, of course, be unlimited until the restaurants run out! Mmmm, we can already taste it now. In the meantime, sign up on the email list to be the first to hear about any upcoming details.

We are ready for a stroll down Yawkey Way to devour the details of the 2015 Boston Bacon and Beer Festival, are you?

Empire State Proposal

When you're from New York, what better place to get engaged than Yankee Stadium? (Aside from maybe Central Park, The Statue of Liberty or The Empire State Building). Well, my college roommate had just that happen to her and we couldn't be happier! Sunday night (while most of us may have been boozing), at Yankee Stadium during the Yankees versus the Texas Rangers game, Liz's now fiancé Pat requested a proposal on the big screen, dropped down on one knee, and surprised not only Liz but everyone in their section! Take a look at everyone's excitement in the videos below.

We'd say this is a homerun for the lucky couple! Congrats to Liz and Pat! We wish you lots of love and happiness and can't wait to help devour the details of this wedding!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Meet Anthony Petrelis

You may recognize the last name as I had blogged about his wife earlier this year but I would like to introduce you all to Anthony Petrelis. A beloved teacher at the McGlynn Elementary School in Medford, MA, Anthony received the 2014-2015 Milken Educator Award for his exemplary work within the school system. Aside from being a 5th grade teacher, Anthony is also a member of the School Council, Teacher Assistance Team, an instructor for the MCAS Prep After-School Program, a summer camp counselor and an assistant head varsity football coach of his high school alma mater, Arlington Catholic. To me, Anthony is a role model, a true leader, someone I look to for advice, and most importantly, a friend.

In his seven years in education, Anthony has taught both 4th and 5th grade. He challenges his students to better themselves every day and be good citizens in their community. Every year his classes organize a Thanksgiving food drive that produces over sixty baskets of food for families in need. This past January, Anthony was recognized by the Boston Celtics as a “Hero Amongst Us,” an award given to a member of the Massachusetts Community for going above and beyond the call of duty. He couldn't deserve it more!

Anthony's enthusiasm for teaching, coaching, and inspiring our world's future leaders has escalated with his latest endeavor. He has taken on becoming a Lowell Milken Center (LMC) Fellow, joining a group of exemplary educators in Fort Scott, Kansas, to learn how LMC defines an “Unsung Hero” and applies this concept to project-based learning. Before that kicks off, he will be honoring another unsung hero: Heemo, a boy from his school who passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. Anthony truly believes Heemo defines what an unsung hero is; he was well loved by his peers, teachers and their school community. Heemo would have been a 5th grader, possibly in Anthony’s own class this year.

In honor of Heemo and the many students facing similar health challenges across the globe, Anthony is participating in the 5th Annual Buzz-Off on June 7, which takes place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The event raises money for children with cancer by encouraging people to sponsor individuals willing to shave their heads for the cause. Anthony finds that children battling cancer do not have a choice about being bald and at times they feel insecure about it. The Buzz-Off event communicates to these children that they are not alone and we are here with them every step of the way. Money raised through the event will fund vital programs and services that lift the spirits of patients and their families, help the healing and recovery process, and make life more livable during treatment and hospitalization. To make a tax-deductible donation to this critical cause, please visit Anthony's donation page.

Show your support and take a little inspiration from Anthony in helping these children by devouring the details of this amazing cause! Please donate today!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: Get Creative with Cocktails

Who doesn't love a good cocktail? Especially when the setting is all about love anyways. Get creative with these Spring-y cocktails for your bridal shower, bachelorette party, or even the big day! Love is in the air and in your glass with these tasty treats. Cheers!

Pretty Pops

Strawberry, grapefruit and champagne popsicles

Sparkling wine or champagne, the secret ingredient in these homemade frozen fruit treats, adds a little effervescence that makes them extra-special. Serve them in tall, stemless glasses filled with champagne to infuse a little strawberry flavor into the drink. The frozen pops also serve as giant ice cubes to keep you and your guests cool on a hot day.

Sparkling Strawberry-Grapefruit Pops
Makes 6 ice pops

1.5 cups fresh strawberries, chopped (or 3 shots of strawberry puree), plus extra slices for garnish
7.5 oz. (or 5 shots) champagne or sparkling wine
3.75 oz. (or 2.5 shots) pink grapefruit juice
3.75 oz. (or 2.5 shots) simple syrup

Blend the strawberries in blender until smooth. In a pitcher, stir the fresh strawberry puree, champagne, grapefruit juice and simple syrup together. Pour into prepared molds, add sliced fresh strawberries, and freeze until solid (at least 6 hours).

Bubbly Bar

DIY champagne bar with carafes of juice

First of all, we love the idea of these lemon-stoppers! They are the perfect touch for a springtime gathering. Set the bar or bar cart with bottles of champagne, carafes of fresh juices, and berry and citrus peel garnishes. Guests will love mixing up their own take on a mimosa or bellini. Since it's kind of like an open bar, set something up for guests who prefer not to indulge. Fill a beverage dispenser with refreshing cucumber-mint water and you won't have to keep refilling glasses throughout the day.

The Blushing Bride

Blushing bride champagne cocktail with vase of peonies

Just the perfect name for a cocktail at one of these love filled events. We recommend serving it in an elegant stemmed coupe for a little Gatsby appeal. Be sure to keep it chilled with square cubes that fit well in the glass!

Makes 1 drink

2 oz. passion-fruit nectar
3 oz. champagne
1/2 tsp. grenadine
Handful of raspberries (or any berries in season)

Pour chilled passion-fruit nectar in a coupe glass or flute. Carefully add chilled champagne and grenadine; don't stir, but allow to blend. Add an oversize ice cube and a raspberry garnish.

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

Pink chandy cocktail with jalapenos in champagne flutes

If you want to heat things up a little, we recommend this fabulous cocktail. Mix rose sparkling wine, bitters and this unexpected garnish: jalapeno slices! Also glassware with textured lines really creates a slightly offbeat but stylish vibe, just like the cocktail. The balance of flavors is just right, so even if you're not a spice fan, you'll be surprised by how drinkable it is. It may be best to let guests control the spice by adding the jalapeno slices themselves.

Makes 1 drink

2 oz. pink lemonade
2 dashes Meyer lemon bitters
3 oz. rose sparkling wine
1 fresh jalapeno, sliced

Pour the pink lemonade over ice. Add the Meyer lemon bitters and top off with sparkling rose. Garnish with a slice of fresh jalapeno for a hint of heat.

We're so ready for these springtime cocktails! Hope they inspire you to devour the details of the cocktails at your bridal shower, bachelorette party, or the big day itself! Cheers!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lobster Roll....Donut?

Kane’s Donuts has been handcrafting sweets in Saugus since 1955, and recently opened a Boston location. I tend to venture to the Saugus location and can gobble up an old-fashioned glaze in about 15 seconds. I need a donut fix! I'm going to have to head over to the Boston location, Kane's Handcrafted, on Oliver Street real soon.

With the expansion to a second location has come some experimentation with their renowned donuts. President and co-owner Paul Delios instituted the “dowich”; which is basically the new Holy Grail of brunches. Kane’s Handcrafted is introducing a twist on the traditional lobster roll by using brioche-based doughnuts instead of bread. Um, yum. You can also get braised beef and chicken between buttery, brioche-based doughnuts. But when in New England, especially Massachusetts, you can’t skip the seafood.

"Why has this not been done sooner?", is my only question. Kane's Donuts, how I've loved you since I was a kid, selling newspapers on Sunday mornings out front of your shop. You never cease to amaze me and I cannot wait to get my hands on one of these! God help us if this is something that turns up on a Dunkin' Donuts menu.

Keep doing you Kane's and we will keep devouring the details of all of your donuts!

Cue The Cap And Gown

As many of you have seen on your social media accounts, tis the season of countless graduations. I myself will be sitting through one this Thursday to support my graduating cheerleaders. At each commencement, a school invites a speaker to advise these students of post-grad life and send them off with well-wishes. I know this year at Endicott College, my alma mater, Boston Bruins alumni Ray Bourque spoke as an honorary doctorate recipient. Nancy Frates, mother of Pete Frates (starters of the viral social media campaign the ALS Ice Bucket challenge), also spoke as an honorary doctor of humane letters.

So why am I talking about all of this? Well, I found an interesting article on that explains the different types of commencement speakers. And since a graduation ceremony is a large-scale event that people take a lengthy amount of time to plan, I thought it was only right to share how they might go about selecting invited speakers. Though during commencement most of us are sitting there trying not to pass out from heat stroke or the countless beers that may have been drunken the night before, there was a reason this person was chosen to lay it on you. Whether it is someone with an inspirational story you will remember for a lifetime or someone with nagging advice you won't remember tomorrow, here are the six following categories invited speakers will fall in to.

These grads are like, “Oh thank goodness, we can take our sweaty gowns off soon.”

When it comes to politicians, you’ve got your Big Deal National, Minor Deal National, Big Deal Local, or Minor Deal Local speaker. Examples: President Obama spoke at Barnard this year as a Big Deal National. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is delivering a speech at Walters State Community College this year, which counts as both Minor Deal National and Big Deal Local.

These are the most exciting commencement speakers, as people have generally heard of them before. For example, Natalie Portman is speaking at Harvard’s Class Day. Harvard is fancy, so they also get a Commencement speaker, Deval Patrick, whom is a Big Deal Local. Sometimes celebrities who’ve been out of the spotlight for a while pop their heads up, like LaVar Burton from Reading Rainbow, who spoke at UMass Lowell.

These people are saving the world. Their speeches are supposed to inspire students. An example of a Do-gooder is Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative—he’s speaking at Holy Cross this year.

Business people
Entrepreneurs are big gets for colleges. Especially good-looking, tech-drenched people like Jason Kilar, who spoke at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Older, successful business people who are wildly successful in their fields are also coveted, like Richard Saul Wurman, the guy who founded the TED conference. Babson got him this year.

Alumni might fall into any of the other categories listed here. An example of the legit kind of alumni speaker is Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer for the United States who went to—and is speaking at—MIT this year.

A current student’s parents
A graduate's mom or dad may be a notable choice since they may be recognized as falling in to one of the above categories and happen to have a student in the graduating class.

If you're on the commencement planning committee, we hope these invited speaker categories help you to devour the details of graduations for years to come!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Pitch Perfect Proposal

This story was too amazing not to share. Fair warning, it's a true tear-jerker.

Melissa Dohme arrived at the Tampa Bay Rays game on Monday night expecting to throw out the first pitch. Just as Dohme was getting ready to wind up, her boyfriend, Cameron Hill, ran on to the field with a baseball. It had four words written on it: “Will you marry me?”. Are your eyes watering yet? Because it only gets sweeter.

Dohme is a representative for Hands Across the Bay, a nonprofit benefitting Tampa Bay families. She joined after recovering from a brutal domestic attack by her ex-boyfriend. If you're wondering how Hill came into the picture, well, here comes the water works. Hill and Dohme first encountered each other in early 2012, when Hill was one of the firefighter-paramedics to rescue Dohme in Clearwater after she had been stabbed 32 times, an attack that almost ended her life. After recovering and speaking at a church in fall 2012, Hill and another first responder visited Dohme, and the pair were seeing each other by the end of that year and have been together ever since.


Dohme’s ex-boyfriend Robert Lee Burton Jr. has since pleaded guilty to attempted murder and has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Dohme made an incredible recovery in spite of nerve damage, and went on to travel Europe and earn her nursing degree. Dohme says that she is no longer resentful of the 2012 attack, “because I met Cameron out of it.”

And of course she said yes, and the two Florida natives embraced an are officially happily engaged. It was quite a journey to get to Tropicana field and it was truly was a devour the details-worthy pitch perfect proposal!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: Five Honeymoons Under $2,500

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today's post features five honeymoons under $2,500 ranging from exotic to rustic. This share-worthy research was done by The Knot and we couldn't agree more with their picks! Check out these five "best" honeymoon destinations that will fit any wedding budget!

Best City Honeymoon: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland's  Ha'penny Bridge

Pack: If you're visiting Dublin in July, you'll want to bring an umbrella and a even sweater. The weather is sporadic, and the summer months can get soggy or chilly.

Stay: Start out at Butlers Town House hotel, close to restaurants, bars and the rugby stadium (rooms start at around $150 a night). Then go to Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, an eighteenth-century castle 20 minutes from the Dublin City Center. While it's a little pricey (rooms start at around $200 per night), it's well worth it when you walk through the doors and step into old-world luxury.

Dine & Do: Treat yourselves to fresh seafood at The Lobster Pot, an upscale restaurant with an extensive wine list and out-of-this-world crab claws. Two entrees will land you somewhere around $100—a splurge you definitely won't regret. Also check out Gallagher's Boxty House for pub fare or head over to Queen of Tarts on Dame Street for scones, cakes and cookies. Get historical with the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour ($17 per person). And if shopping's your thing, check out Henry Street for typical Irish swag. Then stroll over Ha'penny Bridge. It's romantic and free (our favorite part).

Best Beach Honeymoon: Aruba

Aruba beach on Caribbean Sea

Pack: The weather is consistently warm in Aruba, but there's usually a strong breeze. Bring a windbreaker for walking on the beach at night and plenty of hair ties.

Stay: Relax at the European-style Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, complete with a beach, spa and outdoor dining (garden rooms start at around $263 per night). If you want to mix things up, check into the centrally located Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino (rooms start at around $245). The hotel provides a small boat to take you to its private island 10 minutes away. Or stake out a spot by the 8,000-square-foot pool at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Casino & Spa on the island's more popular Palm Beach (rooms start at $335).

Dine & Do: Enjoy seafood straight off the grill at Pinchos Grill & Bar, a restaurant on a pier. Try the Aruban wahoo fillet (expect to pay $20 to $30 per entrée) and leave room for dessert. Or sit at a table on the sand at The Old Man and the Sea, where you can reserve a private Pampered in Paradise prix-fixe dinner so you get a front-row seat for the sunset ($96 per person at Hyatt Regency). See the island on a De Palm Land Rover Tour ($99 per person for four and a half hours), which takes you on an adrenaline-pumping ride along Aruba's rockier beaches and past sights such as the Gold Mill Ruins, Alto Vista Chapel and the California Lighthouse. Don't miss Aruba's Natural Pool, one of the most romantic and unique spots, where you can swim and snorkel in a secluded lagoon.

Best Adventure Honeymoon: Belize

Tikal Mayan ruins in Belize

Pack: Beach essentials and hiking gear. A backpack is key since many of the sights involve full-day tours. Make sure you have comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes and sun-protective clothing for longer walks. Bring snorkel or scuba gear and water shoes if you plan to spend time on the Cayes.

Stay: Fly into Belize City and spend a few nights in the jungle. Gaia Riverlodge offers centrally located private cabanas overlooking the Five Sisters waterfalls, with traditional Belizean accents of thatched roofs and mahogany interiors (villas start at $165). Visit Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker islands to get closer to the famous barrier reef—the second longest in the world! On Ambergris Caye, stay in San Pedro at the Belizean Shores Resort for immediate beach access (rooms start at $169). Or opt for ample privacy and relaxation on Caye Caulker, where a cozy cabana at Colinda Cabanas starts at $59.

Dine & Do: If you're going to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo district, stop in for lunch at Francis Ford Coppola's Blancaneaux Lodge. The poolside Guatemaltecqua restaurant specializes in authentic Guatemalan cuisine. On Ambergris Caye explore downtown San Pedro for local, cheap eats. Or tryout Aji Tapa Bar for paella and tapas any day of the week. There is so much to do at this destination! Start on the mainland in Belize City, and arrange a day trip to explore the must-see Mayan ruins at Altun Ha in northern Belize or Xunantunich to the west for 360-views of Belize and even Guatemala. Schedule an excursion with Pacz Tours to the archaeological treasure that is the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, or go horseback riding or zip-lining through the forest. And if you're not tired from a wedding and all of the above, the Cayes also have some of the world's best snorkeling and scuba diving that we highly recommend trying!

Best Rustic Honeymoon: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming's Grand Teton mountains

Pack: In the summer, bring hiking boots, a baseball cap and sporty sunglasses. For winter, you'll need your usual cold-weather gear: hat, gloves, ski pants and hand and foot warmers.

Stay: Cozy up at Snake River Lodge & Spa, an AAA four-diamond resort known for its views— and honeymoon specials. Rooms start at around $128 per night in the summer (winter rates spike to $255). If you're looking for a mod place to stay, check out Hotel Terra, an eco-friendly hotel that starts at about $200 a night. The flat-screen TVs, romantic fireplaces and sleek décor add to the luxe vibe.

Dine & Do: Head to Snake River Grill (not to be confused with the lodge above). Chef Jeff Drew has been nominated by the James Beard Awards as "Best Chef: Northwest" three years in a row. Entrées are a bit costly ($22-49), but worth it if you're a foodie like me and plan to splurge for a night. For a down-home meal, check out Bubba's BBQ for pulled pork and baked beans. Ski season runs from December to April, with full-day lift tickets costing $61. In warmer months, try a Mad River whitewater-rafting trip (from $58 each). Then tour the Snake River Brewery and down a pint of its namesake ale. Another idea would be to take a trip up the mountains on the Bridger Gondola ($16 each). Not your typical idea of a honeymoon destination, but we'd be down right happy venturing to Jackson Hole for these experiences!

Best Exotic Honeymoon: Marrakech, Morocco

Medina of Marrakech, Morocco

Pack: Wear walking shoes in the city, since roads tend to be dusty. Also bring typical over-the-counter meds, and wet wipes to wash your hands.

Stay: Check into the Riad Azzar (about $182 per night), just steps from the city's marketplace. If you want to lounge in the sun, the Riyad El Cadi (around $195 per night) has a large roof terrace.

Dine & Do: Chow down with the locals at the marketplace food stalls for a cheap lunch with lots of local flavor. Or sit under a citrus tree at Cafe Arabe, where main courses are $10 to $16. Party under the stars at Djemaa el Fna, the city's open marketplace, where people go to eat and dance. For relaxation, head to the Mille et une Nuits spa and hammam, which offers a one-hour steam massage for $77. There are also three popular golf courses in the city as well as an opportunity to take the local flavor home with you by participating in a Moroccan cooking classes at La Maison Arabe are about $110 per person.

Umm.. can we take more than one honeymoon? These picks are too good to be true! What we recommend doing is settling on one based on your wedding date, then each year try to plan a getaway to each of these awesome destinations! They could even turn into something you may want to do with family and friends as well. Take some time to do research like The Knot and devour the details of your honeymoon destination!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Know Your Attendees: Special Dietary Accomodations

As food is a staple in many events, I thought this article by BizBash was a beneficial read for all planners alike. Specialty diets are becoming more and more prevalent since we now have offerings available to fit consumer needs. That being said, it’s not uncommon for planners to receive requests from attendees for special diets. Whether for medical or religious reasons, or simply by preference, many attendees follow specific guidelines as to what they will and will not eat.

While it may not be possible to fulfill every request, planners can familiarize themselves with some of the most common specialty diets. Here are five diets that are well-recognized today that BizBash suggests getting to know a little more.

1. Gluten-Free

Some people follow a gluten-free diet out of necessity- they have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that means gluten damages their small intestines. More commonly, people may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, meaning gluten causes physical discomfort similar to celiac disease but it does not destroy the intestines. People who avoid gluten cannot eat foods made with flour, wheat, rye, or barley. That means no pizza, cakes, pasta, cereals, or baked products made with regular wheat flour. Also keep in mind cross-contamination effects them as well. For example, oatmeal is naturally gluten-free but it is often processed on the same equipment as wheat which can essentially still make the consumer ill.

Image result for gluten-free

2. Vegetarian and Vegan

According to a 2012 Gallup poll, about 5 percent of people in the United States identify themselves as vegetarian. That means they do not eat any meat, such as fish, chicken, beef, or shellfish. But vegetarians do consume the by-products of those animals, such as dairy products and eggs. Vegans have a much more limited diet. They avoid all animal products, including eggs and dairy, and they also will not eat honey since it comes from a living thing. It is important to understand the difference and ask for clarification if you do not know what foods they are able to consume.

Image result for vegetarian and vegan

3. Milk Allergy and Lactose Intolerance

While milk allergies are most common in children, they can persist in adults. People with a milk allergy cannot process the proteins in milk, known as casein and whey. When the protein is ingested it can trigger an allergic reaction such as hives and swelling to more serious symptoms such as trouble breathing and loss of consciousness. Milk is in everything from cookies and chocolate to salad dressings and cream sauces. Some guests may avoid milk products because they are lactose intolerant, which means their bodies are missing the enzyme lactase which breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. While lactose intolerance is not life-threatening, it can cause discomfort such as nausea and bloating, all symptoms your attendees will want to avoid.

Image result for milk allergy and lactose intolerance

4. Paleo

Those who follow this diet eat foods similar to what ancient humans may have eaten. That means a lot of protein and fresh vegetables and fruits and no grains, sugar, milk, or processed foods. People on a paleo diet also avoid all legumes, such as soy, peanuts, and all types of beans. They want grass-fed beef and chicken, wild-caught fish and seafood, and organic eggs. The fresher, the better. It would be interesting to plan all F&B around this diet type as an event itself; I think food distributors could get very creative with paleo dishes and attendees would find the meals very appealing.

Image result for paleo

5. Kosher

I was recently on-site for a meeting at a hotel on Long Island where there was also a bar mitzvah going on. The food served was all kosher and had to be prepared by a specialty chef after the kitchen was cleaned/setup to their liking. It was interesting to see how the requirement was handled by the hotel. A certified kosher meal will generally cost more than a regular meal due to the steps needed to prepare it in accordance with Jewish law. It is important that planners understand that sealed, kosher-certified meals should not be touched by anyone except the person who is going to eat it. As this is a religious diet, it would be beneficial to consult with your client on the food preparation if something arises that you do not know the answer to.

With this helpful information from BizBash, you can now devour the details of these five food diets at your next event!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mission Montreal: What To Do This Weekend

I'll be traveling for work this weekend to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This will be my second time out of the country and I'm pretty excited. I started to look up some things I can maybe squeeze-in doing while I'm there. Looking forward to checking out these sites!

Notre-Dame Basilica

As the site of numerous historical events since the 19th century, Notre-Dame Basilica has long been a focal point in Montreal's history. Overtime, this beloved site of worship has transformed from wooden chapel to a vast and ornately beautiful church. The church still operates today and continues to spread its mission among worshipers and travelers alike.

Montreal Botanical Gardens

The Montréal Botanical Garden, one of the city’s jewels, is recognized as one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens. It offers a colorful program of events, exhibitions and activities all year long. With its collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion, and more than 20 thematic gardens spread out over 75 hectares, it’s also a perfect place to enjoy fresh air and natural beauty.

Biodome de Montreal

An oasis in the heart of the city, the Montréal Biodôme recreates some of the most beautiful ecosystems of the Americas:
  • the lush and humid Tropical Rainforest, warm even in the depths of a Montréal winter;
  • the Laurentian Maple Forest, changing with the seasons;
  • the Gulf of St. Lawrence;
  • and the Subpolar Regions of the Americas: Labrador Coast and Sub-Antarctic Islands.
The Biodôme, whose name means “house of life,” shows visitors the “true nature” of the Americas, by offering up their loveliest and most amazing ecosystems. They house a number of Penguins that I cannot wait to see!
Founded in 1860 as the Art Association of Montreal by a group of Montreal art collectors and patrons, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) was one of the first museums in North America to build up an encyclopedic collection worthy of the name. It now numbers over 41,000 works from Antiquity to today, making it truly unique in Canada.
Photo of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts)
I'm all about food and on this tour, you can discover the best of Montreal’s food scene on a 3-hour gastronomic tasting of Mile End, a historical neighborhood known today for its cafes, pubs and independent restaurants. Follow a local guide to favorite spots like vegan restaurant La Panthère Verte (The Green Panther), St-Viateur Bagel and the Cardinal Tea Room. It'll be cool to get a taste of Quebec’s culinary history and see attractions like the Rialto Theatre along the route.
Mile End Montreal Food Tour
First known as the Molson Centre when construction was completed in 1996 the arena was renamed the Centre Bell in February of 2002. This new arena replaced the aging Montreal Forum that was built in 1924 and was considered the most storied building in hockey history. Located in downtown Montreal and with a capacity of 21,273 seats the Centre Bell is the largest arena for hockey in North America and one of the most technologically advanced and versatile venues in the world. And if you didn't already know, it’s home to legendary Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club. As a Bruins fan, I can't say I would love this spot but it would be nice to catch a playoff game!
Photo of Bell Centre
Hopefully I will be able to devour the details of a couple of these attractions while visiting Montreal this weekend! Check back for updates!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

StubHub becomes 'ExperienceHub' with Latest Venture

StubHub, your go-to vendor for all entertainment genre ticket sales, is planning to branch out to create 'experience'-buying opportunities for consumers. With their latest venture, the ever popular company owned by Ebay, is teaming up with San Francisco-based company BandPage to not only sell tickets but merchandise, VIP meet and greets, and even visits to recording studios to interact face-to-face with artists. The partnership comes at a time when musicians increasingly rely on the live events business and T-shirt sales as revenue from CDs and downloads continues to fall.

These types of offers create an experience and memories that consumers can't get anywhere else. Particularly, in-person meetings, whether backstage or at the recording studio, can be a huge draw for music fans. The two companies are hoping people will want to take advantage of the online offers ahead of the show instead of waiting to stand in the long merch lines at the venue or trying to win their way into meeting different artists through radio contest. BandPage's founder and chief executive, J Sider, thinks directing fans to online merchandise and opportunities to interact with artists can significantly boost revenue for the music industry. BandPage, which employs 35 people, powers artists' online stores already on websites and apps such as Spotify, YouTube and Shazam, taking a 10-15% cut of merchandise sales through those outlets. So this pact with StubHub will help them succeed even more.

The program starts testing this month with offers from alt-rock band Switchfoot, funk godfather George Clinton and alternative rockers OK Go. Customers searching for tickets to Clinton's upcoming shows will be offered $175 VIP meet-and-greet tickets, for example. We're excited to see what's in store for these two companies and wish StubHub and BandPage the best of luck devouring the details of this new venture!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: Rebloom

Ever wonder if there was something else you could do with all of the flowers from your wedding? Don't you think it's such a waste that you spend all that money on them and then they're just tossed away? Well, this Boston-based company that repurposes event flowers is here to help! Rebloom saves expensive flower arrangements from being doomed to the trashcan, and resells them for 70 to 90 percent off their original price. And you'll be happy to hear that a portion of the proceeds is also donated to charity.
Rebloom operates in Boston and New York. Founder and Harvard Business School graduate Jennifer Soffen is proud to offer this alternative that gives flowers a little more life by reducing, reusing, and recycling their arrangements. Donors contact Rebloom by filling out a form on the company’s website before their event. A company representative will then contact them to find out more about the types of flowers available and what time the event finishes.

So incase you haven't caught on yet, you can reach out to Rebloom and they'll swing by the aftermath of you wedding to take your flower arrangements and repurpose and resell them for a great cause! Not only do they salvage wedding floral arrangements, they also recycle from charity galas and directly from florists. Rebloom lets donors choose any charity they’d like when selecting where the proceeds go. So far, there isn’t a clear winner for the most-often used charity.

Many of their customers are repeat buyers, ranging from wealthy Back Bay residents to law firms and investment banks. Flower buyers can get alerts about available arrangements through the company’s new app, in addition to subscribing to their email list. Rebloom app users will not only receive push notifications alerting them that flowers are available, they’ll also have the chance to rate delivery drivers. At offices where people work long hours, it’s nice to have flower arrangements around and instead of buying them for $300 or $400, they can get them for $60 while helping a charity!

We love the idea of repurposing florals for a good cause! Check out Rebloom for more information and devour the details of your next event's arrangements!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BostInno de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! The 5th of May has become a wonderful celebration across the globe, though most enjoy it by excessively drinking, here's a nice alternative! Since it is a Tuesday, and you may have work tomorrow like me, we encourage you to celebrate all weekend long. One event we're looking forward to checking out is the 4th Annual BostInno de Mayo.

You're probably asking what on earth is BostInno? Well, it is a branch of Streetwise Media. You probably don't know who they are either, but here is some more info. Streetwise Media is a digital media and events company that has taken the buttoned-up city news landscape by storm with entertaining, intelligent and provocative editorial coverage. Founded by Chase Garbarino and Kevin McCarthy, they own and operate digital city news properties BostInno, DC Inno, and Chicago Inno, as the premier news source for urban innovators who are the future of their cities. Sounds like a source of media you're into? Us too!

The first property of the Streetwise Media network, BostInno launched in 2009 and quickly became the preeminent news source for Boston’s next generation. Combining an opinionated editorial team with a community publishing platform and events, BostInno continues to reinvent the model of local news online and in cities nationwide. Being that hip to it all, BostInno is hosting their 4th Annual BostInno de Mayo on Saturday, May 7th from 6-10pm at Tia's on Atlantic Ave on the beautiful Boston waterfront.

BostInno de Mayo Summer Kickoff

In true Boston fashion, they're celebrating Summer early with the ultimate goal of making this event bigger and better than the last three. Join BostInno in throwing the 'Official Boston Tech Summer Kickoff' and enjoy plenty of margaritas, delicious appetizers and of course good company. Drink tickets will be handed out at the door and the patio fills up quickly, so grab your friends and get there early! Devour the details of a whole new BostInno de Mayo this Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Oyster Lovers Rejoice, the Duxbury Oyster Festival Is Here!

I only recently became a fan of oysters and I may be bias because I love Duxbury but this festival sounds like an amazing time. If you're looking for a Sunday Funday and love a good oyster, this event is for you! The Duxbury Oyster Festival is held in support of the Duxbury Student Union on Sunday, May 17th from 3-7pm at the Winsor House Inn. This is a small event and will sell out fast!

Duxbury Oyster Festival

Just to give you some background, the Duxbury Student Union Association (DSUA), founded in 2006, is committed to providing a safe, supervised location, in the center of the Duxbury Schools campus, serving the evolving needs of all Duxbury students and families. All of their programs and activities are designed to meet the social, physical, emotional, and academic needs of all users and fall into three distinct areas: Community Service, Special Events, and After School Programs. They strive to provide an environment that fosters respect, kindness, philanthropy and leadership opportunities among all Duxbury students. The support they receive from participating in the Duxbury Oyster Festival and similar events will provide for these students and their families in a life-changing way, putting them on a path for long-term success.


If oysters weren't a big enough draw for you already, supporting this great cause will have you buying your tickets in no time! You can reserve your spot at this wonderful festival online or by visiting the Winsor House Inn during their respective hours. Tickets include: oysters generously donated by Duxbury’s growers, additional fun fare prepared by Chef Franco of the Winsor House, two drink tickets - cocktails, wine and beer available, fabulous music provided by Despite Dwight, and a t-shirt. Seriously, who doesn't love a free t-shirt?

Get your tickets today and devour the details of this event with us on May 17th!