10/20/2014

Suck it, Monday

Today I thought was going to be the start of a great Monday. I was pumped about the fall weather, had a cute outfit on, and had even scheduled a inspirational graphic (#motivationmonday) for work. I was on top of the world...or so I thought.

Suffice it to say that today sucked. Not just any old suck, but a magnanimous Alexander's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, kind of suck. From the get-go it was like there was a cloud looming over me that no matter how much I ignored it, just kept getting darker. Except for my hair, which looked pretty good considering its unwashed condition and casual up-do courtesy of Goody spin pins, the rest of the day was horrible.

I made too little coffee. Somehow the coffee maker lied to me. The water I put in was enough to brew 4 cups of coffee...or really only 2 because somehow in CoffeeLand the 4 cups line is really only 2 normal person cups but that's besides the point. The coffee maker failed me. I expected 2 cups and got only one. I refuse to believe that I'm blind and can't read, despite my glasses telling me otherwise. Cuisinart = Liar  /gavel


There was hair in my breakfast. Despite my aforementioned up-do, my hair managed to find itself in my cooked eggs. My quasi-gross but completely unwashed hair in my incredible edible eggs.

I ate the last 1/4 of a bagel from New Jersey. This wasn't a real problem because it was the most freaking delicious part of my day (minus the Wendy's that I totally didn't eat for dinner) but it was sad to finish the bagels I brought back.

The internet hated me. In fact, all of technology hated me today, including the CSS I was attempting to change without being logged into Wordpress at work and the stupid error message I keep getting while writing this. I'm probably not even logged into Blogger right now. Stupid Blogger. Why is this blog even on Blogger? (is it even called Blogger or is it Blogspot? I should know this).

I did manage to drink 3 cups of coffee and eat a bag of Goldfish before 11am though, so I consider that a win (score!)

I stained my new white pants, felt like crap, and wanted to cry. The first part alone was enough to ruin my day.  My cute outfit was ruined...and then I had to do laundry. Double whammy.

A friend promised to bring over a puppy for me to cuddle and cry on and didn't.


I have friends who make empty promises. I did get breakfast out of them this weekend though so I can't really complain.

I whine too much. But I really was upset about my pants, feeling like crap, and the significant lack of a puppy pile.

So, I give up. Monday wins. I hope you had a better day than me. Cheers, because, wine.

10/19/2014

Spooky World

Spooky World | Sassy in Sequins Someone once said, do one thing everyday that scares you. I spent an evening at Spooky World Nightmare in New England and have now filled up my quota of scary things for the rest of the year.

Going to a place called Spooky World seemed like a silly idea for someone who get spooked by a fallen leaf blowing in the breeze, but when the opportunity to go for free with other bloggers through Blog and Tweet Boston arose, I couldn't say no. So a couple of weeks ago I headed up to Litchfield, New Hampshire with Kate (Another Clean Slate) and Kerry (Till Then Smile Often) on a rainy Saturday night to attend the Blog and Tweet Boston event at Spooky World. 

Both Kate and Kerry are fans of scary things so they enjoyed the 5 haunts a bit more than I did. From the moment we arrived, I was freaked out. The rain only added to the creepiness of the night. 


We started out with a backstage tour to see some of the 300 actors getting their makeup done which was really impressive. It was also nice to see the actors out of character before going into the haunts. I'm always afraid there's going to be one legitimate sociopath who sneaks into these things, pretends to be an actor, and then grabs, kidnaps, tortures, and kills someone.  YOU NEVER KNOW!

Photo credit: Kerry (Till Then Smile Often)
Thankfully Kerry was nice enough to let me hold her hand through all of the haunts. After the first two we decided to take a break and indulge in some food for strength, and possible courage. I gnawed on a turkey leg almost solely for the photo op, as I quickly realized after the first bite that I'm not a huge fan of turkey on the bone. Give me some sliced up deli turkey any day but real turkey just isn't for me. It didn't help that Kate told me it was really emu, as the rumors online suggest. I'm still not sure what I ate that night but I had fun doing it.


After filling up on mystery meat, we continued through the rest of the haunts. The rain was coming down hard and I could barely see through my glasses. I had the genius idea to take my spectacles off while walking through the haunts. It was slightly safer than closing my eyes and having Kerry lead me through--yes I was THAT scared--and it turned each haunt into a game--haha, I can't see you so I'm not scared, la dee dah!

My favorite haunt was one through a junk yard which was probably the least scary of them all. There was a creepster who followed us out the haunt and let us take a fun picture with him.

Photo credit: Kerry (Till Then Smile Often)
All in all it was a fun spooky night, but I won't be going back anytime soon. One scary attraction a year is enough for me! Thanks for a great night Blog and Tweet Boston, thanks to Kate for getting our butts there and back safely, and thanks Kerry for holding my hand!



10/06/2014

Kitchen Kibitz: The Land of Milk and Honey

Kitchen Kibitz: The Land of Milk and Honey | Sassy in Sequins If you live in Boston and haven't heard of Kitchen Kibitz, you're missing out. The brainchild of foodie Jeff Gabel, Kitchen Kibitz joined the Boston popup movement with a focus on bringing the experience of Jewish style food to local restaurants through delicious flavor mashups...without the Jewish guilt.

My first Kitchen Kibbitz event was Southern Schmear, back in August. The popup held at State Park restaurant in Cambridge was a fusion of Southern and Jewish foods (think moonshine cured trout instead of smoked salmon and peach pecan kugel). In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I recently attended Kitchen Kibbitz's newest event "Land of Milk and Honey". 

For those of you not in the know, Israel is referred to as the land of milk and honey...well, more accurately Canaan, the promised land in the Old Testament is referred to by that moniker, but this is a post about food and tight pants; not religious history. Regardless, it was a fitting  name for this Rosh Hashanah popup, as the New Year is celebrated with sweet foods to signify wishes for a sweet new year. Nice, right?


The popup was held at The Met Back Bay, a great restaurant right in the heart of Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. Jeff came up with the Yemenite-inspired menu with the amazing Geoff Lukas, the chef de cuisine at Sofra Bakery. Sofra is known as "the" Israeli bakery in Boston so it's no surprise that the Yemen influenced food at this Kitchen Kibitz event was out of this world amazing.

From hummus and flatbread meze style starters to the entire lamb shoulder served with brussels sprouts and pomegranate seeds and autumn-colored rice, the food was like a party in my mouth. A self-proclaimed hummus snob, thanks to time spent living in Israel, I was pleased to admit that Lukas' hummus was quite tasty. I had brought a non-Jewish foodie friend with me to introduce him to the awesome flavors of Rosh Hashanah and warned him about eating too much hummus--it is very high in fiber!

No matter how good the hummus is (I'm talking REAL hummus, not Tribe in a tub), you should always stop before you want to, lest you find yourself too full for the main course and nursing a belly ache after dinner. Trust me on this one.


The feast was incredible and the Yemenite-inspired flavors were well accented by the belly dancer shaking her hips and chiming her timbrels. The belly dancer was amazing and a welcome change to a festive dinner. The cultural music was also a nice respite from a chorus of, "OMG this is sooo good! Wow! You try this--no, have more, this is amazing! The flavors...I just..I...I...yum!" (Dude, I know I'm right here eating it too!) emitted by my goyish guest. It's good to know that although "Jewish inspired," that Kitchen Kibitz was well received by my most critical German friend.



One of my favorite things about Kitchen Kibitz is the chef-to-table experience. In both of the events that I have attended, the chefs come out before each course to explain it to you. Chef Lukas told us about the spices used that came from Yemen and the Spice Route history of Yemen.  He explained that Yemen's Honey Trade was the impetus for using the country as the inspiration for a Rosh Hashanah menu.  

It's not often that you get first hand perspective from the chefs themselves and Kitchen Kibitz brings a unique experience to the diner. The mashup menus of Kitchen Kibitz take considerable time and creativity and undoubtedly challenge these kitchen masters. My only hope is that these chefs enjoy it as much as I did--and that Kitchen Kibitz hosts another event soon!

9/26/2014

How to fundraise on Twitter in 7 steps

How to Fundraise on Twitter | Sassy in Sequins
By my rationale that doing something once and succeeding makes me an expert, I'm offering you my step-by-step brilliantly executed plan: How to Fundraise on Twitter


1. Pick a Worthy Cause

You can't fundraise without a cause. Well, technically you could, if you're a scam artist or just don't want to work, but keep your honeymoon fundraising off Twitter. No one wants to fund your bike trip down a volcano. I'm talking legit 501(c)(3) organization fundraising for worthy causes. My cause was the MS Challenge Walk--a 50 mile, 3 day walk to raise money for the MS Society


2. Have an Epiphany

In my last post I mentioned that I met my goal for the MS Challenge Walk at the 11th hour. I was about $300 from my goal and was desperate to meet it by the time the walk started. Having already tapped into my family and friends for donations and realizing that neither group was going to pay me to stop begging, I had an epiphany. I could use another source: Twitter


3. Listen for the angels

You just had an epiphany--they should be singing.

4. Come up with a plan

I've seen the how the power of social media can shame people into giving strangers money for good causes (รก la Ice Bucket Challenge) and we all know that humans are naturally curious, so I put the two together in my goofy awkward way to solicit the remaining donations from Twitter. 

how to fundraise on instagram

I had asked for donations on Twitter previously in my fundraising efforts, but this time was different. I needed something that would make people want to donate to a stranger. I had to be creative! So I tapped into curiosity and offered the unknown "weird things" as a reward for a donation.

The result? My Twitter followers, likely thinking that they would receive some naked selfie, obliged.

*Warning: Unfiltered selfies ahead*

5. Execute the plan

I had one person re-tweet my request for donations and within minutes the first donation came rolling in. It was from my friend Josh and I set myself up to do my first "weird" thing to thank him. Due to both self respect and lack of resources in a hotel room, I did the first second thing that came to mind--I dressed myself up like a puppy!

Probably not the best idea considering I subsequently had to wipe my eyeliner-drawn nose and whiskers off of my face but Puppy Emily was well received. Josh and I exchanged some "terRUFFic"puns and I was one step closer to my goal. Woohoo!


6. Keep it up

Donations from Twitter continued to come in little by little. Having used the most adorable idea first, I resorted to doing yoga poses and cramming myself into small spaces wearing the MS Buff that we had gotten as swag. 

My creativity was constrained by the fact that I was in a hotel room with my teammates who were in their pajamas wanting to go to bed before our early morning wakeup for the Walk the next day. So I stuck to doing strange things around the hotel room for the rest of the generous donations. 


In less than an hour I had met my fundraising goal, thanks to my awesome followers and a Twitter stranger who donated the remaining $157 to get me there. 

7. Say thank you

While my followers didn't receive the topless pictures of me riding a donkey they had likely envisioned, their curiosity and philanthropy helped me exceed my fundraising expectations by the next morning. I had successfully met and exceeded by fundraising goal for the MS Challenge Walk thanks to the help of curious strangers.



And that's my guide for fundraising on Twitter!

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.