8 Best Things From Our Trip To Boston

A few weeks ago, before I became deathly ill, I had the pleasure of chaperoning Wolfgang’s high school band on a cross-country jaunt to Boston. (And I am not being sarcastic, those kids are a complete delight.)

I was going to write an amazing recap of our trip. Then I got through trying to recap the first day.

And after the red-eye with our 56 teenagers, the “somebody locked the ‘khakis’ in the van”, the “oh yeah, we changed our whole itinerary” and the “what the *%&)#%@* do you mean it’s SNOWING??”…..I realized it would take so long and I would probably lose most of you.

So to spare you the epic droning, instead, I give you…TOP EIGHT AMAZING THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN BOSTON.

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But first, here’s a picture of a bus. Because that’s what we spent most of our time looking at….and chasing madly. We had 7-too-many people to fit on a charter bus, so we had to rent a follow van too. I ended up playing navigator while one of the very very brave dads drove and FOR REAL THE STREETS IN BOSTON MAKE NO SENSE. I love Boston. But the streets. There is no “around the block”. It’s “one minute you’re downtown and you try to go around the block to find a space and then you’re magically in Cambridge.”

But I digress.IMG_7125

TOP EIGHT AMAZEBALLS THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN THE MAGICAL LAND OF BEANTOWN:

1. We headed straight to Boylston Street right off the airplane and I got to wander by myself. I think it was one of the only moments I was alone for the whole week and I got to do pretty much everything I wanted to do right off the bat, so the rest of the week was golden.

I bought a couple of Boston Marathon shirts plus my regular You Are Here mug I pick up whenever I travel (Miami, Orange County, Seattle, Boston and Cambridge yo!) and I got to see the finish line of the Boston Marathon. IT was the week before the Marathon prep for this week, so it was faded from the year, but still. That one painted line is very very awe-inspiring. I want to cross it some day.IMG_7235

2. The architecture in Boston is incredible. Instead of tearing buildings down to build new ones like everywhere else I’ve ever been, they save the facade and rebuild the inside. (For example, there was a very old bank that had been rebuilt on the inside to house the world’s largest Walgreens. And the old city hall now houses a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. SO AWESOME.)

3. Wolfgang got to visit his first college campus. And it was HARVARD. And it was mind-blowing. All of that history, walking where Nobel Prize winners and presidents and giants of corporations walked. And the architecture was just outstanding. Every time I saw Wolfgang (we made a point to be in different groups so he could do his thing), his eyes and his mouth were wide open and he just looked so thrilled.IMG_7433

4. It snowed while we were on the Harvard campus. It was kind of magical. And really really really freaking cold. But still magical.

5. We got to see Fenway. From the outside, at least….and only for about 2 minutes. But still. I don’t even like baseball all that much (I do enjoy a good live game, but not much televised) and I appreciated the hallowed-ness of it all. IMG_7280

6. Boston Symphony morning rehearsal. I don’t know that it was that early, but it was fabulous. We had to leave a little early because the kids had a tour, but the music was absolutely gorgeous and the kids totally were mostly asleep. I wish I had been able to take more photos, but we (the chaperons) were trying too hard to remain quiet while we cried laughing.

7. We got to meet one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I’m not sure the kids grasped how awesome that was, but he just happened to be filming some sort of video at the Old North Bridge while we were there. He spoke with us and shook everyone’s hand and it was pretty lucky of us to get that opportunity.

8. So. Much. History. Like everywhere we stopped, there was something amazing that happened back in history. We walked the Freedom Trail and in the middle of apartments and an office building and a church and a daycare, there was a cemetery where Samuel Adams was buried.IMG_7499

I had never been to Boston before this trip, and it had been 20 years almost since I had been on the East Coast. (I don’t count South Beach as the East Coast. That’s another planet, as far as I’m concerned.) It’s so different from the West Coast and worlds away from my little hamburg in the corner of Washington State here.

Wolfgang and I have decided that we will definitely go back and do some of the things we missed, and take Chuck with us. We will wait a few years and maybe swing in another campus visit or two while we are there.

I <3 Boston.

Driving the Mazda CX5

I recently had the pleasure of test driving the 2016 Mazda CX 5 last month….and holy smokes did we have enjoy it. (If you want more information on our “We Can Drive 55 Project”, check this linky here)

I have to say before we start – we had so much fun with this car that there are not a lot of photos. Honestly, we were driving all over and picking up friends and just having a really great time with that Mazda that I honestly forgot to shoot the actual car. Oops.

Good news? WE LOVED THIS CAR. Absolutely 100% LOVED.

Let’s do car stats first for our car people.

Three trim levels: Sport (six speed manual with 4wd, six speed auto with front wheel drive, six speed auto with all-wheel drive), Touring and Grand Touring. (It’s literally a matter of how many bells and whistles you want in your car. We drove the Grand Touring this time around)

Automatic models (and all other CX5s) use a 2.5L 184-hp 4 cylinder engine. 2.0 is standard on the manual.

Both options boast 26 MPG in city, but the front wheel drive automatic gets 33 highway, with the 2.0 manual running 35 MPG on the highway.

4 wheel ABS, 7 airbags, plus a mess of other safety features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors and forward-collision monitoring with automatic braking)

An IIHS top safety pick

MAZDA CONNECT ™ Infotainment System, Smart City Support System

LATCH system – rear seat child safety seat

34.1 cubic ft (!!!) of space in the trunk with all seats up, 65.4 with the 60/40 back seats all the way down.

3 year, 36k basic/roadside warranty, 5 year/60k drivetrain, 5 year unlimited rust warranty.

 

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Now to my experience! The first thing I did was drive in in a hell of a rainstorm to one of Wolfgang’s track meets up at the border. (Seriously, like I could have thrown a rock into Canada from my parking space.) The car handled beautifully on our perpetually wet highways, and I didn’t even have to turn on the windshield wipers. Those fancy auto windshield wipers are pretty neat.

The 30 minute ride up to the school was smooth, quiet (except for the blasting 80s tunes) and for once, the long haul was actually quite delightful. Found a parking space right by the field and despite my qualms about fitting in it, I had plenty of room to spare in that spot on either side.

Next day, Chuck got to join us for our weekly family time. Holy smokes, was that girl excited. IMG_8627

She was pretty happy about the “fast red car” and on the fence about the “teeny blue speedy car“, but this car….she was super quiet for the first couple of minutes, standing in the driveway inspecting it. She opened all the doors and looked in, then climbed in her carseat. She buckled herself in and then ran her hands along the seats quietly. I let her ponder a minute and then she busts out with “do we have to give this back mom? Because I think this one is the best.”

She wanted me to make sure I let you guys know that she can roll down her own windows with the fancy buttons, that she likes it when people call my phone while we are in the car because she gets to hear what they are saying too and she loves the amount of leg room that she has in the back because (and I quote) she can “kick her legs all over without hitting [her] brother”.

Bonus.

Wolfgang would like you to know that he enjoyed the sound system, thought there was a good size head room for his ever-growing self and also enjoyed the leg room for his sister, so he didn’t have to keep turning around and hissing “stopkickingmyseatpleaseandthankyou” at his little sister.IMG_8601

Me? I loved the control panel of the car. The console in the middle is simple, but holds a lot. You can control the navigation and the radio, switch the 4wd, there’s even a little button you pull to pull the e-brake. There’s a couple of buttons on the steering wheel, but nothing out of the ordinary. (Push to talk for the phone, some shifting buttons I didn’t want to mess with and the radio controls.) I also thoroughly enjoyed the sunroof. I do like a good sunroof.

There were a couple of features I didn’t care for (lane-drifting assistance…just a lot of expensive beeping. Cruise Control Assistance would slow down the car if I got too close….but it’s an optional thing and I can use my foot to brake for a lot less!)

All in all, this one has so far been our absolute favorite. We got to put a couple of our friends in the car as well to see how they would fit, and two carseats plus one teenager and two adults seemed to fit just fine. And seriously, TRUNK SPACE.

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PROS:

  • Incredibly comfortable ride
  • Chuck Seal of Approval
  • Trunk space
  • Sunroof!
  • Non-complicated command center

CONS:

  • No third-row seating, but do we really need it?
  • The lane-drifting thing and the cruise control assist, but both are optional features I can live without.

CUPCAKE NEW CAR STANDARDS: 

  1. Gas mileage. Most excellent. About what I’m getting with Jupiter right now, better on the freeway.
  2. Size/space. Like I mentioned, Chuck is thrilled with the fact she can swing her legs and not kick her brother’s seat. Plus, the trunk was pretty decent.
  3. Radio. I really enjoyed the sound system on this one. I know it was the higher-end Bose 9 speaker system, but I still enjoyed it. Got a lot of Recess Monkey play and some 80s. Chuck loves her 80s.
  4. Good safety rating. This one has a great safety rating. If I want the extra package, it would be a ridiculously safe bubble of car, but I also know the low-end models are incredibly safe as well.
  5. Price point. It’s on the higher end of what I’m comfortable with. But I really do not need what equates to a spaceship command center, so the lower package would be sufficient.

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: I was provided the use of the vehicle and fuel for week in exchange for my opinion. I was provided no other compensation.

Oh hi there!

Last week, I had the privilege of accompanying/chaperoning 56 high school students from Bellingham, WA to Boston, MA for 5ish days.

We got to go to Harvard (and now Wolfgang wants to go there….help me) and do a boat tour of the harbor (I wanted to take a picture with a tea bag, but I kept forgetting!) and so many other things. I will have to recap that one next week.

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The first day we were there, we got dropped off on Boylston and I managed to find my way to the Boston Marathon finish line. That’s a pretty awesome and powerful place. Lots of people practice and train and stretch and fuel and wake up early and run in the rain to be able to cross that finish line.

I kind of want to do that before I turn 40.
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Last year, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon in January, and I did it in Novvember.

This year, I am declaring that within the next mumblemumble years, I want to at least qualify for Boston. I am stubborn enough, I can do it.IMG_7125

Boston was a pretty life-changing trip for me. I had never been there before, and in a really short period of time, I fell completely and utterly in love with the city and the people and maybe not so much the meter maid we had a run in with (seriously, she must have been having a TERRIBLE DAY) or the driving, but everything else in the whole world.

Maybe they could add some drinking fountains.
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For those of you that have been following Bruises in the Frosting for a while, you know that when Chuck doesn’t travel with me, one of her little stuffies does. She gets to pick which stuffie, but usually it’s Cupcake the Cat. This time, I got to take Lightning Lemur with me.

Normally, I just show her some photos and tell her what adventures Lightning Lemur got to have on our trip, but this time I found a company that makes little books out of Instagram photos, so I am writing Chuck a book with words she can read (MY BABY IS READING) so she can see pictures of Lightning Lemur in Boston.

I’m pretty excited about recapping Boston for y’all since we had SUCH A GOOD TIME, but for now, I have to get back to the kids and our fabulous weekend (NOTHING PLANNED!! WOOT) so I hope you enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you next week!

PS – if you are following me on Instagram, you’ve noticed that I started a Whole30 on Wednesday. I’ll recap the week at on Wednesdays :)

Five for Friday, April 10, 2015

In lieu of an actual Five for Friday post (as I am traveling in the Boston area with Wolfgang’s high school band), please accept these five photos of Boston-y stuff.imageimageimageimageimage

Five for Friday, April 3rd 2015

Hey guys!

 

Have you missed me? This week has been CRAZYTOWN. Wolfgang and I are preparing to go to Boston with his high school band next week, I’ve been prepping for Easter at our house which involves keeping myself out of a lot of candy and trying to remember if I already bought Big Hero 6 (for some reason, I have purchased four copies now.)

So in no particular order, here are 5 things happening in my world:

1. I am heading to Boston next week with Wolfgang’s high school. We are flying a red eye out on Tuesday and spending 4 days in Beantown. I am super excited and also chaperoning 10 high school kids, so send good thoughts my way! I’ll try to blog a little, but our schedule is ridiculously jammed. Follow my Instagram or my Facebook fan page if you want to follow in our adventure!

2. I had the opportunity to shoot some roller derby with the Bellingham Roller Betties a few weeks ago. Sadly, my starter lens is a bit inadequate for shooting indoors, in garbage light with these tough ladies speeding by me,but I did get a couple of pretty fun shots.

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3. Chuck is only with us on the weekends, as her dad and his family take amazing care of her during the week. (I’ve said it a multitude of times, but I’m lucky to have a great set of people to co-parent her with.) We try not to jam too much in a weekend, since we don’t want to wear each other out or wreck everybody’s good nature. We do choose one or two fun things to do. And any time Chelle Beautiful is painting faces, Chuck is 100% THERE. We waited in line for 2-1/2 hours last weekend to get Chuck’s face painted, and Chelle always does an AMAZING job. Check out Chelle at the Bellingham Farmers’ Market if you’re ever in the area!

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4. I work my “muggle job” for an amazing company who treats their employees like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I am proud to work for them. They just announced our annual retreat location, and it looks like I might get to learn to surf while we are there! If all else fails, I’ll get to take more photos of surfers! And I’ll get to visit Sessions, and you all know how much I love Sessions.surfer

5. One of the other reasons I have been so quiet lately is that I have been planning a Whole30. I need to figure out what is causing me to stick at this size and never budge. It’s time to be pretty drastic, as nothing else is working and female obesity runs in my family. I want something that is going to be sustainable, and not a diet. I’m looking at a complete lifestyle change and I’m super excited! As with everything, I am totally over-planning for this. I love the planning. Now learning to love the execution too :)

So that’s my Five for Friday - What do you have planned for this weekend?