9/18/2014

MS Challenge Walk: recap of 3 days and 50 miles

September 3rd through the 5th was the MS Challenge Walk on Cape Cod. I posted earlier about my foolproof training plan. Despite being a self-described expert, I was nervous in the days leading up to the walk--50 miles is no joke! 

The walk was from Friday to Sunday and the weather for the last two days was forecasted to be rainy. Naturally, I freaked out and on Wednesday night I ran around town spending $100 on a poncho, extra socks, and enough body glide to cover a sumo wrestling team. 

We were starting early on Friday morning so The Bean Team (i.e. me, Kate, Captain Jodi, and her sister-in-law) headed down to Cape Cod on Thursday evening. We prepped for the walk with a carb-loading dinner at the ever-fancy Olive Garden. Something I deeply regretted the next day... but anyway. I had almost reached my fundraising goal and was determined to meet it that night. In a last ditch effort I turned to Twitter and did some crazy stuff--but I'll leave that for another post on how to fundraise like a lunatic.

DAY ONE

On Friday morning we woke up at what felt like the butt crack of dawn and got dressed. The rest of the Bean Team--Jodi's sister-in-law, cousin and cousin's sister, assembled at the starting area. There were Opening Ceremonies from the MS Society of Greater New England and some calisthenics to get the blood moving. It was a hot day and we were sweating before the walk even started. 
MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod
We walked from Hyannis through the town of Dennis. The view and excited chatter helped time pass.



It was hot but there were rest stops every 2-4 miles with plenty of water, Gatorade, and snacks. The crew was amazing and supportive, cheering us all on.  I was so impressed with the amount of thought and planning that went into this event. We wanted for nothing, except for someone to carry us.
After 11 miles we stopped for lunch and continued the walk along the Cape Cod Rail Trail to Brewster. The shade from the trees was a welcome relief to our sweaty bodies and swollen fingers.
Upon reaching Brewster, we were greeted with cheers and ice baths and massages. We ended the night gorging on dinner and watching a slide show of pictures that had been taken during the day. 

DAY 2


The next morning we somehow found ourselves up and ready to go at 7am. This was no doubt assisted by a truck driving through the camp blasting music and honking its horn at 5:45am. It was "orange day" as orange is the color of MS, so we donned our orange and pink shirts and the orange MS buffs that we got when we checked in and headed out for the walk.


By the middle of the second day, we were tired and blistered--oh so blistered! I resorted to eating candy, something I rarely do, but it served as a distraction from my sneakers, which were quickly filling up with fluid from popping blisters. At some point I started running because my hip flexors were revolting and it was the only way to give the muscles a break. I never would have thought that I would prefer running to walking, but after 35 miles, you get desperate. I like to think that if the devil himself stopped by offering piggy back rides that I would have declined, but truthfully, I'd probably sell my soul if there was a foot rub thrown in.

The second day wrapped up with stories about MS research from leading physicians in the field and a beautiful candlelit ceremony where we honored the people we were walking for, the ones with MS. We saw, through a progressive lighting ceremony, how everyone at the walk had been impacted by this horrible disease--patients, spouses, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles/cousins, and friends. We were all there for someone. Had my body had any more salt to lose I would have broken down crying so I resorted to a group hug as we swayed to a sappy Josh Groban song.
Great, I'm crying listening to it now.  My badass persona is officially blown.


DAY 3


We met Day 3 with elation--surprising considering that out of the 6 of six, not one could walk without looking like she had a large stick up her butt. We had 10 miles to go! We were going to do it and cross the Finish Line together! Woohoo! We even had the energy to do a jumping picture, which I realized that I'm insanely good at. Why I haven't been doing these my entire life I have no idea, but have vowed to rectify that immediately.


Our motivation somehow lasted and kept us in a good mood for all 10 miles. Come to think of it, we were in good moods for the entirety of the Walk. It was an amazing experience to walk 50 miles with 5 other women, 3 of whom I had just met. We supported each other through the muscle cramps and blisters. We sang together to the Backstreet Boys Pandora station until our iPhones died. And we walked in silent admiration as we passed other walkers persevering through the effects of their MS assisted by walking sticks, canes, and wheelchairs. 


We did it together. 3 days, 50 miles,  closer to a cure.

9/03/2014

How to host a clambake in 10 steps

I spent this weekend wrapping up summer with a quintessential New England clambake. I had never been to a clambake before (or lobsterbake, which is really what this is) but thankfully the gracious hosts of this crustacean affair were old pros at the tradition of putting dying animals in a fiery hole in the sand.

I did manage to find the plans for the clambake and by a slightly amended version of my logic on becoming proficient in something I've never done before, I am now pretty much an expert. 

1. Find someone who is an experienced clambaker, attend their clambake, and steal their plans
Only the pre-planning phase is pictured below. The actual baking the food portion ended up covered in lobster meat and juice.  However, it is probably the most important part, as it involves intense physical labor and doling out responsibilities to people who will do the literal grunt work and set the stage for the rest of the clambake. 

Note: You'll need a beach, a shovel to dig a hole, about 20 hungry people to help, no less than 30 rocks, a cord of wood, a ton of food (lobsters, clams, potatoes, corn), trays in which to cook the food, seaweed, a source of fire, tarps, a rake, and a hose. 

clambake plans

2. Enlist the free help of 20+ hungry people
After setting up the above and keeping a fire over rocks or something bring out the food and the trays in which your food will be cooking. Find the people who have come to eat your food and put them to work--there's no such thing as a free lunch (or dinner)! 


3. Prepare the trays
Throw food and some seaweed in the trays. The seaweed will help to steam the food (it should be wet) so place the food in single layers on the trays.

lobster bake racks

4. Mitigate guilt
Toss any dead lobsters back into the ocean while singing, "Go home to your people, my friend!".


5. Cook the food, working quickly
Again using the help of people, rake the embers over the rocks (following real instructions linked above or found elsewhere) and place trays of dying crustaceans over the searing rocks. Move fast, because you want to trap as much of the heat in as possible. 

This part is difficult to take pictures of so these were taken while taking the food out.

how to host a clambake

It's helpful to have a system in place--one hostess of this weekend clambake gave people numbers assigned to tasks. I was on seaweed/tarp patrol and collectively threw seaweed over the trays and sealed the steam of the fire in with 4 wet tarps. 

6. Wait 1.5 hours, drink, relax, socialize
Put your phone down and really socialize.

7. Remove the cooked food
Enlist the same people with the same jobs. Reverse the order of how things went in.

lobster bake

Remove seaweed, enlisting the help of younger people who were too young to help over an open pit of glowing embers.



8. Take selfies with the food
You didn't put all of that hard work in for nothing.

clambake

9. Eat the food, socialize some more
Optional: drown your food in butter.

lobsterbake clambake food

clambake

10. Celebrate
Pretend you didn't just kill an entire family of lobsters, shoot off some illegal fireworks, and celebrate!

fireworks new england

8/21/2014

Why I'm Not a Fashion Blogger

Alternative titles for this post: 
The Story Behind the Sequins
I Never Wear Sequins
This Blog is a Farce

The other day a friend brought it to my attention that I don't wear sequins. He found this confusing in light of the name of this blog. And he's right. I don't wear sequins. Well, not anymore. Actually, really never. Here's the story...

I started this blog a couple of years ago as a fashion blog. Slightly humorous considering my aversion to high heels and anything super trendy but it was a spin off of a dating blog. In said dating blog, I posted some outfits and a bunch of people stroked my ego and told me that I was super fashionable. Naturally, I wanted to bestow my wardrobe wisdom upon the less color coordinated. And so, I started this little blog, Sassy in Sequins, because I'm a witty thing that really wanted to make sequins work.

I bought a quasi-fancy camera, tripod, and bluetooth shutter and spent too much time getting dressed and snapping pictures of myself under the judging eyes of my neighbors. But try as I did, bubble necklaces and nonchalant poses just look forced. And my outfits weren't even that great.

Case in point.
summer outfit white pants

The "pose and pray" (that I look skinny) thing worked for a few months until the novelty wore off. I started seeing a trend in my pictures-- the best ones were the pictures where I looked relaxed, usually the by-product of laughing at my own ridiculousness and making a funny face. I quickly came to terms with the fact that I wasn't going to be a Pinterest celebrity. I also wasn't comfortable enough to keep taking pictures of myself in broad daylight. Save for silly selfies, I'm just not cut out for self photography.

pencil skirt business casual

Obviously I kept blogging. But instead of taking pictures of outfits, I wrote about the goings on of my life, travel, and stories about accidentally almost killing myself. Apparently that was not enough to distract smart folk from catching on to the fact that I'm a farce who writes a blog with a title that only half describes herself.

So there you have it, the deficiency behind the name of my blog and why I'm not a fashion blogger.

8/12/2014

How (not) to Train for a Charity Walk

This weekend I did my first training walk for the MS Challenge Walk. Considering the walk is in less than a month and I will be walking 20, 20, and 10 miles over 3 days, it's pretty safe to say that completing one training walk makes me an expert.

Naturally, I've compiled a "how to" guide for training walks because there's nothing as effective as last minute strategizing for a trial of physical endurance.*

1. Find Your Motivation
Aside from the fact that I'd rather not be carted off in an ambulance during the MS Challenge Walk, my main motivation for completing a training walk on Saturday was free food. Shake Shack was giving out free burgers to the first 100 people in line on Saturday--the perfect motivation for walking almost 7 miles round trip to Harvard Square.

Shake Shack Free Burger


2. Dress the part
Fake it til you make it, right? You might not be an all star athlete, but that doesn't mean that you can't dress like one. Break out your best gear and what you'll be wearing on the walk day.

Athleta Chatarunga Yoga Pants


3. Reward Yourself
That aforementioned free cheeseburger was not only free but came after a 3 mile walk and it was A-FREAKING-AMAZING! It didn't hurt that the calories I consumed were burned off by the miles I walked.

Shake Shack Meister Burger

4. Tell people to DONATE
The most important thing about a charity walk is actually raising money for charity. I'm doing this walk in honor of my friend Jodi, who has MS. She's a badass and will be walking 50 miles with me despite having a horrible disease that's messing with her immune system. That's reason enough to cough up some money.

DONATE NOW
* Disclaimer: This is humor, not an actual training plan. Please train with a fitness professional and consult your doctor before engaging in physical activity. 

7/28/2014

Wine + Moonshine: Spodee White review

Over the weekend I had the chance to try out Spodee White, a wine infused with moonshine from the good folks over at Spodee Wine. I knew I was planning a weekend with friends in Martha's Vineyard, an island with a surprising lack of vineyards, and brought Spodee White along.

After a long day at the beach, I broke out the Spodee. I'm no oenophile or moonshinephile (if such a designation exists) but did appreciate the sweet slightly citrus smell of Spodee. To play off the citrus, I made my own Spodee recipe similar to the Spodee Mojito that I have named:

Spodee Porch Rocker
1 part Spodee White
2 parts lime sparkling water
5 mint leaves
Twist of lime
Serve over ice with a lime garnish, enjoy anywhere outside


Spodee was surprisingly good, as I was slightly skeptical of a wine and moonshine concoction. It was sweet and light and refreshing for a hot summer day-- perfectly fitting for some Martha's Vineyard Gingerbread house porch drinking to get the evening started.


I had other plans for the evening and took Spodee White to go to be enjoyed on the beach with friends over a fresh cooked seafood dinner. Spodee fit right in, both in aesthetics and taste. This refreshing drink was a great accompaniment to our lemon-squeezed shellfish. 



An added perk was the wide mouth jar that Spodee comes in. I was able to easily add more sparkling water, mint and lime for the ultimate portable beach drink (if your beach allows glass). Spodee was an exciting new addition to a weekend away with friends! Check out their website and get some today! 

Note: Spodee White was provided in exchange for an honest review of the product. As always, all thoughts and boozy musings are my own.