On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


Today: Photo booths, popcorn, and people. {#HLS12 Part I}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I went to bed at 8:30 last night, if that’s any indication of how much fun I had this weekend at the 2012 Healthy Living Summit.  (To be fair, I would go to bed at 8:30 every night if that was an option.)  From sponsorship to logistics, swag stuffing to registration, and meals to sessions, Meghann, Julie and Heather put in some serious work to ensure that everything went smoothly.  It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with them and the planning committee.  Hands down (or hands up, if you prefer), the best part of the Healthy Living Summit was the opportunity to connect and interact with like-minded people, friends old and new, local and faraway bloggers, and fantastic brands.  Oh, and the three hours we spent in the photo booth.  That was good, too.

HLS Cocktail Party

Being just a few miles from this year’s Summit site, I was thrilled to help pull things together for our Friday night cocktail party.  After visiting a few sites and honing my negotiation skills a bit, we landed at the hotel’s Riverside Pavilion, a tented space that would also be home to our Reebok CrossFit and Drink Chia! workouts, as well as a few meals over the course of the weekend.  Having access to a small outdoor patio for  fresh air proved to be a great bonus.  We worked with the catering staff at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge to create a light, local, fun and fresh menu while the team rallied to put together a fantastic playlist.  If it was you who added all that Beyonce, thank you.  You’ve got me feeling so crazy right now.

Our sponsor for the evening, Rebootizer, provided their own jams, as well as sweet sunnies (which reminded me of the neon ones we got from Officer Friendly and the D.A.R.E. program back in middle school) and plenty of Rebootizer samples.  Stephanie and Sue were so wonderful to work with over the course of the weekend.  As I looked on from my drink ticket distribution perch next to Reebootizer’s booth, I couldn’t help but smile.   I know it’s not easy to wander into a room full of people, regardless of how well we know each other on the internet (that sounds very stranger danger), so it pleased me endlessly to see people being welcomed into the party.  I loved hearing the laughter and conversation flow right up to the ten o’clock hour.  I felt this warmth and friendliness carry right on through to Sunday’s brunch; it made me so proud of our little community.  And it made my face hurt.  From smiling.  And winking.

Ed from Wicked Fun Photo Booth set up shop just inside the tent to capture all the fun.  The props were a big hit, as were the lightning fast prints.  I’d highly recommend this company to locals.  Good prices, great service, no nonsense.  Except for the fun kind of nonsense.

We essentially set up shop inside the booth.  My apologies to everyone who had to wait their turn while we vogued.  And pretended to eat the chicken perched atop Theodora‘s head.

Meet the roommates

By the time my partner in crime, Bridget, and I made it up to our room, I couldn’t decide which I wanted to do more: eat or crawl into bed.

Sometimes the best choice is both.  

Pardon the blurriness. My hunger must have gotten in the way.

We wheeled the tray right between our beds, where we chowed down on our salads and fries.  We’re nothing if not practical.

Bridget had to dash early the next day, so I was thankful to have the chance to stay up and chat with her Friday night.  She’s been my tried and true roommate, from HLS 2011 to Reach the Beach, and I am so lucky to have her as such a great friend.  Speaking of friends and roommates, Michelle joined me on the 14th floor Saturday night.  Somehow, I have no photographic evidence of our roommate-ness, so I… um… drew a little something.

Oh, and then there was Rich.  My other roommate.

Who sleeps with a barbell locked out overhead?  The fittest man on earth, that’s who.  A little jealous?  Don’t be.  His muscles took up the whole bed, leaving me to sleep on the floor.   Just kidding.  I arm wrestled him for the bed and won.  Naturally.  Before I tell any more lies, I’ll wrap up here.  More to come.  Just as soon as I catch up on sleep life.

Also On Tap for Today:


Are you a wall flower or the life of the party?  


Today: Take better photos.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a long week at work, I would’ve loved to have slept in on Saturday, but that would have meant missing a day with these two hooligans at the inaugural Blog Better Boston conference.

I always have a good time with Bridget and Ali, regardless of what we’re up to.   In addition to catching up and lots of laughs, the highlight of the day was definitely Kristin Teig‘s food photography workshop.

It was great to have access to such a talented photographer, see demonstrations on lighting techniques, and pick up a few tips and tricks.  While she focused on food photography, the information she shared was useful for all types of photography and not limited to DSLR cameras.  In fact, she shared an incredibly beautiful shot of fresh strawberries… and then revealed that it had been taken on her iPhone.

Here is Kristin walking Bridget through the aperture priority setting on her camera.

Kristen shared an extensive list of resources, and recommended we check out Creative Live‘s various online courses.

Other resources she recommended:

The other sessions I attended paled in comparison, but it was great to spend time with Bridget, Ali, Colleen and Michelle.  I am excited to break out my camera and play around a little bit over the next few days.  In the meantime, I have 42 loads of laundry to tackle.  And a French bulldog who is in serious need of a bath.

Also On Tap for Today:

Is there a particular skill you’re looking to improve?


Today: February Foodie Penpals and other things that require stamps.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The closer we get to the end of February, the closer we get to the beginning of March.  That’s fairly evident.  The very beginning of March, though, is when I turn 30, shoot (environmentally friendly) confetti cannons from my car’s tailpipe and do a handstand on our glass table.  I can’t wait.  But thanks to stupid Leap Day, I must wait.  In the meantime, the end of the month also marks another foodie penpal reveal.  This month, Lisa sent me a lovely package all the way from Oklahoma.

I love Luna bars, but have never tried the s’mores nor the chocolate raspberry flavors.  Isn’t it fun when someone else shops for you?  Into my gym bag they go!  Lisa recommended trying the Snapea Crisps over a salad; I can’t wait to give this a try.  Same goes for the tabouli mix, which includes bulgar and various dehydrated veggies and herbs.  According to her sweet note, this is a staple at Lisa’s family gatherings.  Looks great… unlike the silver horse head that looked lovely in the store, but when posed with Lisa’s treats, that thing just looks… scary.   Back on topic:  If you’re interested in joining in the Foodie Penpal fun, or you’d like to see what everyone else sent and received, head over to Lindsay’s blog, The Lean Green Bean. She will announce new matches on March 5th, so don’t delay.  Act now, as they say.

In addition to those tasty goodies, a giant box of sequins arrive the same day.  It’s a miracle FedEx hasn’t issued a restraining order against me.  I stalk my orders like a woman possessed.  Especially when those packages are wedding-related.  I clicked refresh until “out for delivery” became “delivered.”  I clicked for proof of delivery.  I wondered whose name that was (the intrigue of living in a big building).  I breathed a sigh of relief.  The dress had arrived. Well, not the dress (that one will remain a secret until I walk down the aisle, obvi), but close.

[Photo source]

After a bit of browsing and pinning, I happened upon this beauty.  Just the thing for a November wedding.  Not too bridesmaid-ish.  More Champagne than gold.  Not too short, but not that awkward in-between length either.  I rushed over to my (newly engaged!) sister’s apartment so that she could model it.  It was perfect.  I kind of want to order one for myself.  And a matching bow tie for Clark.  I am overtired.

The only thing better than receiving mail is receiving more mail sending mail.  Me and my tote full of chia are off to the post office.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • I found a new doctor (just in the nick of time!)
  • My heart breaks for those affected by the shooting in Chardon, Ohio
  • Heading home to see my parents

Have you been a bridesmaid or groomsman?  Best/worst attire?



Today: 11 things (including something especially… weird).

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]You may have seen the “Eleven Things” posts circulating around the internet lately.  Whitney, a fellow Bostonian and FitFluential Ambassador recently tagged me.  She and I had a lovely dinner last week at Franklin Cafe, and chatted about everything from work, yoga, and relays to house-hunting. I usually shy away from these types of things, but I could not say no to Whitney.  Plus, I like things that come with rules.  So there’s that.


1. Post these rules. 
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the person who tagged you set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Without further ado, eleven random things about me:

1.  I am the second of four children.
2. In fourth grade, one of my classmates stabbed me (unintentionally, I assume) with a pencil.  The pencil tip is still in my hand.  For real.  Weird, I know.
3. I met Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton in the same week.  I was 18.  And socially awkward. (Not much has changed.)
4.  I would be lost without my day planner.
5.  I don’t trust fax machines and firmly believe that we should stop using them.
6. I will probably cry when Picnik goes away.
7. My confirmation name is Blaise.  Like the saint, not the American Gladiator.
8.  I majored in French and minored in Fine Arts in college.
9.  I am prejudiced against cats.
10. I love crime shows (actual crime, not so much).
11.  “Walking in Memphis” is probably my favorite song of all time.
And here are my answers to Whitney‘s eleven questions:

1.  If you had to choose, would you pick running over yoga or vice versa?

Yoga.  Mostly because I can’t sneak in a nap while running.

2.  Kindle, iPad or Actual Book?

Actual book.  For sure.

3.  Favorite fitness magazine and why?

I am a magazine junkie, but Self has always been a favorite.  I love their focus on balance and happiness, and have been reading since I was high school.

4.  Favorite vegetable and favorite way to cook it?

I really dislike cooked vegetables.  Raw or bust.

5.  What is your favorite kind of sweet? Cake, ice cream, cookies, tortes, you name it!

Junior Mints. 🙂

Very out of focus. I blame the sugar coma.

6.  The Olympics are this summer, what sport are you excited to watch?

I am obsessed with the Olympics.  I seriously cannot wait for all of the swimming events (especially relays), diving, tennis… let’s see… track and field, gymnastics… you get the point.  I have never paid much attention to Olympic boxing, but now that I have a teensy bit of experience, I will definitely be watching this year and hoping to learn a thing or two.

7.  What kind of running shoes do you wear? Why?

I’ve worn Mizuno Wave Alchemys for four or five years now.  They fit my feet, plain and simple.

9.  What kind of yoga mat do you have? Do you even have a yoga mat?

I use an Aurorae classic mat.  I love their colors, and the feel of the mat, but it gets a bit slippery, especially during hot yoga when I am sweating like a man.  In my quest for a solution, I discovered that Aurorae sells small rosin bags for this express purpose.   I haven’t used it yet, but am looking forward to giving it a try. I keep a G2 Lifestyles Trainermat at my desk, for use in the rare event that I have 20 minutes to take a lunch break and can fit in a little stretch.

10.  What is your favorite topic to blog/write about?

I love writing about entertaining, running trials and triumphs, and Clark.  Clark brings all the boys to the yard readers to the blog.

11.  What do you do for a day job?

I work in the non-profit sector.  Aren’t I mysterious?

And now, I shall tag the following people: Bridget of Yogurt and Berries, Jessica of Dairy Free Betty, Jaime of Embracing Balance, Halley of Blunder Construction, Colleen of the daily craic, Michelle of Hit the Bricks, Mattie of Comfy and Confident, Michelle of Fun and Fearless in Beantown, Meghan of Travel Wine & Dine, Cynthia of It All Changes, and Erin of Big Girl Feats.

Here are my 11 questions for you lovely ladies:

  1. If you could pick your theme song, what would it be?
  2. What is your favorite local restaurant?
  3. What day of the week were you born?
  4. Tea or coffee?
  5. Pants or skirts?
  6. Where would you go on your ideal vacation?
  7. What’s your favorite day of the week?
  8. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  9. What is your favorite sport to watch?
  10. Do you have a secret talent?
  11. What is your go-to workout song?

Can’t wait to read your answers.  And, um, if you happen to know anything about the longterm effects of pencil tips living below your skin…. please.  Get in touch.

Also On Tap for Today:

Did you ever send a chain letter and have it work out?  I am still waiting for those 21 pairs of socks to arrive.


Today: Let’s reach the beach.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Here’s the story, of a team named… well, we don’t know yet… but we do have a team.  I am really excited to be running the New Balance Reach the Beach (Massachusetts) relay with eleven lovely ladies.

And now you know what I was doing (stealing people’s identities) when the stress of last night’s giant loss (get it…) got to be too much.

Our team includes:

  1. Anne of Fannetastic Food
  2. Sarah of SarahFit.com
  3. Patricia of Run Foodie Run
  4. Tina of Carrots ‘N Cake
  5. Ashley of A Healthy, Happier Bear
  6. Bridget of Yogurt and Berries
  7. Me (obvi)
  8. Theodora of Losing Weight in the City, whose shirt is proof that Patriots and Giants fans can peacefully coexist… in a photo collage, at least.
  9. Gretchen of Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
  10. Monica of Run Eat Repeat
  11. Ali of Food Fitness Fashion
  12. Melissa of Fitness NYC

The relay will cover 200 miles over the course of 24 hours, beginning at Wachusett (were I learned to ski way back when) and ending in Westport.  We’ll pass right by my hometown.  And a bunch of other cute places, too.

[Image source]

I have wanted to run Reach the Beach since I learned it existed, so needless to say… I am excited.  Excited and nervous.  To be specific…

I am excited about:

  • Having a “motivation race” on the calendar.  When I swore off marathons for 2012, I initially thought the longest distance I’d be covering would be the walk down the aisle in November.  Depending on which shoes I end up in, it may be a speed walk (truthfully, I will likely have to talk myself out of sprinting directly to Nick… I just can’t wait… in a balanced, non-crazy way).  But just two months into the year, I’m finding myself itching to get a few longer races on my calendar.  I miss training.  I never thought I’d say that.  But I just did.  On the internet.
  • The adventure.  I love navigating (when my blood sugar is regulated, and there’s no traffic).  With the exception of a small stint in New York, I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life.  Yet there are stops along the Reach the Beach course that I have never visited, and some that I’ve never heard of.  I am looking forward to a little exploring.
  • A little friendly competition.  I have heard such great things about the race course, staff, organization and atmosphere.
  • “Living” in a van for 24 hours.  It could be awesome.  I’m envisioning mix tapes and hilarious stories and hair braiding.
  • Nighttime.  I haven’t run at night in ages, mostly because it’s either been unsafe, or I’ve been asleep.  I am looking forward to our nighttime legs.  I think reflective gear is a good look on me.

I am nervous about:

  • “Living” in a van for 24 hours. It could be terrifying.  I’ve recently realized (at one of Clark’s vet appointments, where I nearly hyperventilated into a poster about deer ticks) that I am claustrophobic.  And I think any of my siblings will tell you that I am cranky when underfed or overtired.  Plus, where will I plug in my hair straightener?
  • Nighttime.  I have read ever murder mystery available to me and watched every crime show (both true and ripped-from-the-headlines) that ever aired.  My imagination works on overdrive, especially when the sun sets.  While I know quite a bit about sociopaths (thanks to the serial killer marathon Meg and I watched after graduation), I know very little about nature.  What I do know, though, is that racoons, bears, mountain lions and the occasional escaped domestic boa constrictor can and very much do exist in Massachusetts.  The two times I’ve been camping, I stayed awake all night to keep watch.  For what, I don’t know.  Regardless, I am not sure a headlamp and a year’s worth of training at Peter Welch’s will cut it.

Clearly, I have a lot to learn over the next few months.  If you’re a relay veteran, your advice would be most welcomed and appreciated.  If you’d like to pass me on the course, or jump out of a bush and terrify me, registration is still open for both Reach the Beach relays.

Also On Tap for Today:

What would you name your relay team?


Today: Hot sauce in the mailbox.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a particularly busy end to the year, I am playing a bit of catch up.  I have not one, but two month’s worth of Foodie Pen Pal packages to share.  In November, I receive a lovely package from Lindsay, who organizes this fabulous exchange each month (click here to learn more about participating).  She sent me all kinds of Ohioan (is that a word?) goodies!

We immediately broke into her homemade pumpkin, cranberry and chocolate chip bars– they were delicious!  I am not usually a fan of pumpkin, but Lindsay may have converted me.  She also sent a few cooking magazines, locally made peanut butter and raspberry jam (one of my favorite pre-run combinations), really tasty crackers and chipotle salsa, granola and buckeye-flavored coffee.  I loved it all– especially the jam.

In December, Laura spoiled me with a box full of Texas treats.

She sent me an adorable questionnaire, and armed with my answers, got to shopping. I was delighted by her selections!  From organic whole wheat pasta to authentic Texas hot sauce, Laura knew just what to send. 🙂  She also included Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, instant refried beans, salsa verde straight from Fort Worth, and the most adorable Bunny Bars.

I definitely recommend checking out Lindsay’s and Laura’s blogs. 🙂

Participating in Foodie Pen Pals has been a great way to “discover” blogs, while sampling food from around the country.  I love perusing the aisles of my own local markets each month, scouting out the perfect items to send from Boston.  Our mail carrier might be suspicious of all the hot sauce coming my way, but um… please…  keep it coming.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite local product?


Today: The Paparazzi Club goes to Portsmouth.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]As nine of us sat down for dinner at Portsmouth’s Black Trumpet, cameras were drawn from pockets and handbags and given prominent spots at the table.  “Is this a paparazzi club?” our waiter asked.  Sort of, if you consider artfully arranged plates of food, cute antique shops, and rustic bridges to be celebrities.  (Side note: If we were to form a paparazzi club, can our theme song could be modeled after that of The Babysitters Club?  Please.)

A day that had all the makings of a CSI episode (namely, traveling across state lines with people I met on the internet, complete with a dying iPhone battery) proved to be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday in New England.

Though I like New Hampshire far more than I like Rhode Island (which isn’t saying much, sorry), it has never held much allure for me.  I loved our family trips to the White Mountains to ski, and once even summit-ed one of those mountains (and stayed awake all night, convinced I’d encounter a mountain lion or serial killer… or both).  These days, New Hampshire seems like a good way to get to Maine.  Or, in an emergency, to the border.  I am pleased to report there is much more to New Hampshire than a lack of helmet laws, a now-defunct Man in the Mountain, and a penchant for living free (or, you know, dying).

From bustling sidewalks to charming seaside vistas, Portsmouth was the perfect day trip from Boston, made only more perfect by the company (Elina, Jen, Michelle, Bridget, Meghan, Bianca, Megan, Daisy, and Emily).  Emily, Megan, Bridget and Daisy all have ties to the area– they had great suggestions for places to eat, grab coffee, shop and explore.

We started the day with lunch at the Cataqua Public House and a tour of the Red Hook Brewery.  We ordered samplers of Red Hook’s brews (never fear, I only had a few sips of each… I was driving, after all) and appetizers to share.  The fried artichoke hearts and sweet potato fries were especially good.

After plenty of snacking and lots of catching up, we made our way over to the brewery’s store, where the tour would begin.  Having toured the Dogfish Head not too long ago, I sort of knew where beer comes from, but looked forward to touring Red Hook.  Our guide was quite a character (in the best possible way), but rather than actually tour the facility, we went up to a single room overlooking the the brewery floor.  It was a bit stuffy up there, so I ducked out early to get some fresh air (I make a point to not faint whenever possible).

We were soon on our way to downtown Portland, where we enjoyed tea, treats and people watching at Breaking New Grounds.  We stopped into Stonewall Kitchen and several other shops and took in the view from a waterfront park.  Elina and I ducked into Three Graces Gallery and fell in love with Denise Duong’s whimsical paintings.

By the time 5:30 rolled around, we were all eager to sit down for dinner.  We had the back wall of The Black Trumpet to ourselves, and settled in at copper topped tables with glasses on sangria in one hand, and cameras in the other.  While most of the girls ordered from the Restaurant Week menu, I chose a salad and one of the “medium dishes,” a squash ring potato latke with sage quark and candied crabapples.  While the menu was quite varied, there were few vegetarian options.  Both the salad and latke we good, but nothing extraordinary.  The ambiance, sangria, and delightful company more than made up for that, though.

We are so lucky in Boston to have such a warm, welcoming community of bloggers.  To be able to venture outside of the city with this group of ladies was a real gift.  By the time I pulled into my driveway in Southie, I had a full stomach, a much evolved appreciation for the Granite State and a smile on my face.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite day trip?