Saturday, August 24, 2013

How to Feel Great & Look Great in a Bikini!!

A few weeks ago, I attended a Blogger Event hosted by whom else… @blogandtweetbos! This time the theme of the event was about how to feel and look great in a bathing suit with the body you have…something even at the age of 29 I still need to work on! The event was held on a gorgeous night at Cerulean Blu Boutique located on Newbury & Hereford St.

Another little tid-bit about me: ever since I was a kid and even to this day, I still can’t pronounce this color correctly! I can remember being a kid coloring with my CrayolaCrayons and looking at this coloring thinking, ‘how do I pronounce the name of this color?!’ Beautiful color…just tough to pronounce! ce·ru·le·an \sə-ˈrü-lē-ən\

Any-hoo, there were a good amount of bloggers at this event, it’s always great meeting new people and learning about what type of blogs they write. The boutique was a very warm environment with no fluorescent lighting to show off any extra pale faces or unflattering flaws. The owner , Desiree, described about how she wanted to her store to have a certain look and feel, a place where every-BODY was comfortable well taken care of when it came to searching for that perfect bathing suit.

 As we gathered around while Desiree discussed her store and motto, there was a fashion show of girls of every body size/type who showed off some of her beautiful swimwear. She had a type of swimsuit for everyone- from large and small cleavage, to someone who wants to hide their middle area, and ones to flaunt areas that you’re proud to have. All the swimsuits were especially unique and gorgeous in their own way- my favorite ones were the black/white revisable (2 for the price of 1) and of course any type that would give me a little extra oomph of cleavage…or any cleavage for that matter!!

After the fashion show, we were introduced to Rachel of @Healthy_Chicks who discussed with us about body image and how you can actually love the body you have…and not the body you want. One of my favorite quotes of the night was not to compare the three “P’s”- paycheck, plate & pant size; that quote rang true to me especially when it comes to the ‘paycheck- P’. Ever since I was around 17 and go my first credit card, I’ve always been trying to keep up with the people with the better paychecks and able to afford the ‘nicer and finer’ things in life. 12 years later, I’m still paying off the credit cards and re-working my mind set on being happy with my own paycheck and all the nice wealth I have in my life. Still, sometimes I still can’t help but be a little envious to the people my age living in these fabulous apartments in the Back Bay, shopping and dining ‘Sex and the City’ style….seriously, how do they do it?! 

Always the Boston Wannabe…never a Queen Bean.

During her discussion, Rachel had us all take an index card, write our names on it, and pass it around in a circle where everyone would write something positive about each other. It was a great way not only to break the ice, but also feel great about yourself by others letting you realize what great features you have. Rachel also gave each of us an ‘inspiration card’ with a mantra saying to keep the positive energy flow going event after the event.

Lastly, we had Blush Tan from Wellesley & Westborough stop by and show us a demo of their airbrush spray tan…something I really need to get done myself, especially this summer…what happened to my tan?!  What’s unique about their service is that not only do they have airbrush sessions that can give you rapid results- 30 minutes!- but they also do “spray tan parties”, for a small fee, they’ll come to your house for girls night, bachelorette night or just a random Monday night and give you and your girlfriends a beautiful new tan.

At the end of the night, I felt a little better in my own skin, discovered a great boutique with gorgeous bathing suits that would great on every-body, (pricing is a bit steep for only being able to wear a bathing suite 2 maybe 3 months out of the year [written by the girl who get her bathing suits from Target and the super clearance Victoria’s Secret last season suits], but well worth to get this perfect fit that you’ll love). But the best part of the night- Swag Bag!!! Lots of goodies from some new funky shades to a cute little clutch to take to the beach!

Defiantly before the end of the season I’ll stop on by and snag a new swimsuit for those rare occasions I actually get the beach…and with my 50% coupon, that’s a perfect reason to come in and great excuse to hit the sand!!  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mobile Monday Boston's Summer Party...with a Twist!

Two Mondays ago, I attended Mobile Monday Boston’s Summer Party Event at the new District Hall in the Innovation District in South Boston. A little background of Mobile Monday: “Mobile Monday is the world’s largest mobile industry community with chapters in over 80 cities worldwide.  Mobile Monday Boston started in 2006 as an informal meeting at a bar and since has grown into one of Boston’s biggest technology networking organizations.” I originally found out about this organization through work and have been to a few of these events around the city. However, unlike the other momobos events I've been to, this one was quite different- this time I was working with them being their ‘great and powerful Oz, behind the curtain’!

…Okay, maybe not ‘great and powerful’, but I was their Twitter expert for the night.

A few weeks prior, I read in momobos’ newsletter about an opportunity to be a part of their organization and that they needed assistance with the social media portion. I figured I’d give it a try and see what happens. I met Matt Gross, founder of Mobile Monday Boston over coffee one afternoon and he told me it would be great if I did their Twitter feed during events. I was ecstatic! I must admit, this whole social media marking/PR industry is quite interesting and must be a really great career to have, always going to the coolest parties, writing, Tweeting, taking photos, be part of ‘the scene’; someone might say, ‘like being a Queen Bean’…too bad I don’t work in that industry, (knew I should’ve taken a few of those classes in college, oops)!

The night of the party was absolutely gorgeous and I was very excited and rather nervous… hopefully I wouldn’t say something stupid on Twitter and everyone see it, or what if people complained about the event, do I do damage control…maybe I just overthink things. The event was held at District Hall near my work, a place that technically wasn’t event open yet, yet they were giving us a preview of what it was going to be.

District Hall- Located on Marina Park Drive, the heart of the Innovation District, District Hall 12,000sq/ft space that caters to the innovation community to network and exchange design ideas. Scheduled to open in the fall, District Hall will also include meeting hall space for larger conferences, ‘pods’- smaller spaces dedicated to classrooms and seminars that can also be used for technology labs and experimental  retail & galleries. There will also be an open lounge for entrepreneurs to brainstorm and connect with others, as well as, a full restaurant & café counter.

I got there right at the so I could have ‘first dibs’ on the featured sponsors and hear about what each company did, a great way to ask different questions and take pictures for momobos, but also great way to network to see if any of their services or products would work with the company I work for. There were four great companies that I got to speak with, each with different types of services in the mobile industry.

Mobiquity- Located in Wellesley & Waltham, MA, Mobiquity develops Enterprise Class apps for businesses in different types of industries. Whether your company already has an idea of building an app but not sure where to go next, confused about how to build an app on different platforms, need a little more strategy on User-Experience Design so customers will continue to use the app, or searching for a better mobile strategy, Mobiquity can assist your company with any needs it may have in the app development/configuring field. Just ask their clients: Panera Bread, Weight Watchers, Crackle, FanShots and many more.

SkyHook Wireless- SkyHook Wireless, located right in the Innovation District, is the brainchild of a software-only location system based on Wi-Fi positioning, GPS & cell tower triangulation. Using the millions of Wi-Fi access points throughout populated areas, SkyHook’s technology is the fastest, most accurate and most reliable location system on the market. SkyHook’s technology not only uses GPS for outdoor locations, they can also use indoor Wayfinding, as well.

Athena Health- Originally beginning as a medical practice in California, called Athena Women’s Health and the Birthplace, the co-founds of Athena Health found themselves spending more time and money organizing and retaining paperwork and knew it was time to find a solution. When there were no solutions on the market, they created a cloud based service for retaining & organizing Medical Health Records securely. Today, they have over 43,000 medical providers on their network that can organize and review their entire electronic medical records, effectively bill services correctly that eases administrative burdens and boost collections, and with athenaCommunicator, physicians and patients are able to have an active role in managing their own healthcare and stay connected via a web portal. 

Apperian- An ‘all-in-the-box’ app solutions company, Apperian provides organizations with securing, managing and tracking how apps are used and stored. They offer an ‘enterprise app store’ for distributing 3rd party and custom made app which can be pushed to any devices that are attached to the store. Backend security via encrypted data will be able to disable apps, enable VPN access and integrate an app with an enterprise Identity provider for single sign-on (SSO). Analytics can also be recorded to a dashboard in the backend admin console to provide better understanding of app download and usage behavior.
After I had spoken with the featured sponsors, it was getting a little more crowded at District Hall, which meant one thing for me: it was time to network…ugh! It’s one thing to hide behind a Twitter curtain and tweet pictures and cheers about a party event, it’s something very different (and scary for me!), to walk around and network and talk with
people. I know it’s sometimes better to network alone, but either a wingman and or alcohol is what I need to build some confidence and walk up to a group of people to start talking. Luckily for me, no sooner than I thought of this, then a woman by the name of Jae-Lyn came up to me and stared a networking conversation with me (phew!). She told me she wasn't big on networking by herself either, so we decided to join forces and work our way around the event and network together. Thanks to her… and a few glasses of wine…I was able to gain some confidence and walk up to people and chat with them. I even made a few connections throughout the night to hopefully help out find solutions to a few problems at my work- (indoor Wayfinding if anyone knows a company!!).

By the end of the night, I had a bunch of business cards from networking, met some great people from great companies around the Innovation District area, but best of all, Mobile Monday Boston asked me to continue working with them… woo-hoo! I’m very excited to be a part of the great organization and I can’t wait until the next event in October…until then, don’t forget to follow @momobos

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Contortions, Contraptions... and Pilates!

Two Saturdays ago, I attended another fabulous Bloggers event hosted by @BlogandTweetBos for a Pilates class at The Studio Empower in Newton Centre. Although, I used to be an avid Yogi at my old yoga stomping ground Green Tea Yoga in Salem, (about 4 years ago), I really haven’t hit the mat since and the thought of going to a Pilates class with people I assumed did this all the time, made me quite nervous. Pilates, I learned is a little different from yoga, in the sense they use they intimidating contractions to stretch your core muscles and really make you work…something I really wanted work on.

Here’s a little tid-bit/confession about me: I hate going to the gym. Every year, it’s always the same routine: I sign up for a gym,(about 3 different gyms in the past 2 years), go for about 2-3 weeks constantly, skip a day or two, which then turns into skip a week or two…skip a month… oh, who are we kidding?! I need someone to really kick my butt and make me want to go to the gym. I did have a personal trainer at one point, who really did a great job kicking butt, however, she has since moved to New Jersey…damn. 

Without someone telling me what to do and how many reps and how to actually use the machines, I usually just end up on the treadmill for an hour then leave… I can do that outside for free.  What I really like doing, is taking classes- yoga, Pilates, cardio/strength training, anything in that category, a class that makes me move, sweat and have fun. I would try almost any types of classes, (except CrossFit, that shits just scary!)
The morning of the event, I was set to go and try this class. It was a nice easy ride off the highway from Quincy, (if I actually lived in the city like a Queen Bean, I could’ve easily taken the Green Line D Train to get there). As soon as I got to the area where the studio was, I couldn't help but notice how cute of an area Newton Centre is. I believe I've walked in the area during the Walk for Hunger, but I never actually had the chance to walk around the area and see all the little shops and restaurants. This was something I put down on the to-do list to explore some weekend.

When I walked into the open studio, my initial thoughts were: 1. I really hope there are some other ‘Pilates newbies’ here & 2. What the hell are these contraptions and do they really expect us to use them?! Our instructor was both energetic and friendly and did a quick demo on how the machines worked and showed each routine before we did them. The class itself was quite deceiving- although it was a low-impact class, you had reps that made you use your own body weight and strength for 1-2 minutes. In the beginning, the class moved at a slow pace and I really wasn't felling the burn in my abs like I thought I would. Honestly, the stupid thought that went through my head was, “really, this is it? I thought I would be a little more endurance”. Well, apparently, our instructor had ESP, because no sooner than I thought that, my arms, abs, legs and butt were getting kicked! Those 1-2 minutes reps were a killer, my body was really getting a workout, and I loved every second of it, (despite my face being super red and my legs were shaking like Jell-O).

By the end of class (and three days later), I was sore, but it was that amazingly good sore you feel after a great workout. It’s a class I would love to try again, and although it stinks that it’s far from me, (because, let’s be honest with myself, there’s no way once it turns cold that I’m going from work to Newton back to Boston to go home), a class every other weekend may be my best bet to keep going here, and keep my butt kickin’ every time! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

To Keratin or Not to Keratin?...

That was the question every summer... 

Every summer it’s always the same- my hair goes from quiet and collective to wild, crazy and frizzy, I never know how to control it.  I feel like each summer is getting worse, this summer being no exception. Since June, I've been curling my hair and try and hide the frizzy, unapologetic, ‘hey, the 80’s called, they want your hair back’, from the general public. Up until a few weeks ago, it was working rather well with all the curling products weighing my hair down and keeping it rather frizz free. Then July rolled around with its unforgiving dog days of summer with weeks of 90°+ heat, my hair couldn't take it anymore- it gave up with the curls and just turned into some sort of  Farrah Fawcett meets the Lion King sort of hair mane…it was at this point, it was time for a drastic change.

I had many friends who got the Keratin treatment done on their hair with much success; their own crazy, unmanageable hair seemed to magically turn straight, smooth and silky. I myself tried the Keratin Express last September with the hopes of obtaining the same results. I did some research online and found a place in Quincy who had sale going on- $50 for the Keratin Express, lasts 4-6 weeks. I figured I had nothing to lose so I gave it a shot. Well, needless to say, I got the Express done with very poor results. First, the $50 price tag didn't include the sulfate free shampoo & conditioner I just ‘had to have’, I couldn't buy the L’Oreal brand at CVS, and it had to be this expensive salon brand shampoo. Second, what was this 4-6 week business, my hair stayed relatively straight for about 4 days, before it frizzed up again, perfect timing for my cousin’s wedding which just happened to be a bit drizzly that day.

Although reluctant, I decided to give the Keratin Express a second chance. Through a friend of a friend, who works at Pini Swissa salon on Newbury St. she had informed me of a summer sale of the Keratin Express for $100. Okay- it’s on Newbury Street and I trust the girl working on my hair, so I booked an appointment for Express Part 2.

Unlike the first Express treatment, (which consisted of the girl spraying my hair like hairspray, brushing my hair and using a straightener), Sophia, my hair stylist, took her time and painted (she looked like she was using a paintbrush for hair), the Keratin all over my hair so that every inch was covered. After she had brushed and painted on any missed spots, she began the process of carefully straightening every inch of hair and made sure no one fly away, well, fly away.

Although it felt a little greasy, my hair looked so much better- shiny and straight, not one frizzy piece to be scene! However, the real test was to begin and see how my hair lasted outside in the 88°, extra humid and a good chance of a thunderstorm… then we’d see how this Keratin worked. From the moment I left the salon to when I got home, my hair lasted great, not one frizz and not one bit of sweat on my hair. If felt so good to finally have straight hair that I could actually maintain during the hot summer months.

Since it couldn't get wet or kinked for almost 48 hours, I was extra careful during that time to not get it wet or sweater or kinked… that’s an awful lot asking form one person. By day 2, it was finally time to wash my hair and see how well the treatment came out. Like it was told, I could easily blow dry and straighten my hair in a matter of 20 minutes or so- and not one piece of frizz came out… I was psyched!

That is of course… until my real first test of rain came. It was an absolute monsoon that Tuesday morning and extra busy on the T to work during rush hour. Needless to say, between the rain, humidity, other people squished against me, my hair got a beating… and failed the test. By the time I got to work, I had a broken umbrella, rain soaked clothes…and frizzy hair once again.

I really don’t know if it just happened to be a very rainy, humid day that did it or just my type of hair in general, but I’m a little skeptical about getting a Keratin Express again or recommending it to anyone else. Although my hair is shiny looking and soft to the touch, the frizz was always my #1 concern. I really don’t know if the more expensive one is worth it and my wallet is too scared to try, so until then, I’ll have to see what other people recommend and see if the real deal is really worth it.