Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Five: Five Travel Tips

Welcome to the Friday Five!  

It's Danielle Kempe taking over the blog today. I'm your MA state rep and a blogger at Getting Fit in MA.

My five tips today all have to do with travel. Summer may be over but we all know that fall is a great time to travel, especially throughout the Northeast!

1)    Don’t pay for guide books – borrow them from the library before you leave.
I just returned from a trip to Brussels, Belgium, and Paris, France. I got great walking tour guides (with maps) for both cities from the library. I also checked out a great beach read of a mystery novel set in Nice, France.

2)    Check Yelp before you go – to get recommendations on tourist attractions & dinning
Bonus: If you’re a part of Yelp’s Elite program, you can attend Elite events in any city. Check the Yelp Elite calendar of the cities you’re visiting & RSVP if there’s an event you’d like to join. I’m a Boston Yelp Elite but I attended a wicked fun Elite event in Dallas, TX when I visited this year.

3)    Don’t over-schedule yourself
It’s OK if you’d like to just sit and read a book on your vacation. You don’t need to be sight-seeing 24/7! This is your time to relax too!

4)    Bring a power strip
If you’re traveling overseas, don’t forget the power adaptors too. (Note: Ask the front desk about it first though if traveling overseas. I found out the hard way that power adaptors and power strips may overload a circuit though when I blew a fuse at a hotel when I plugged the power strip into the adaptor. Oops!) The power adaptor is great for US trips though, since you’re less likely to leave a charger behind if everything is plugged into the power strip.

5)    Check local blogs before you travel to see if they have suggestions.
Locals know their cities best after all! If you’re traveling to Boston, I recommend the Boston on Budget blog. (I read it regularly too since I’m a local to MA.)

I hope you all have a lot of fun on your trips this season!
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday 5: Traveling Fit...5 Ways to Stay on Track

Hi everyone! I'm Kelly. I am one of the Massachusetts reps, and I write A Lovely Life, Indeed

Committing to a healthy lifestyle takes planning. You plan what you're going to eat, prep your meals and easy to grab snacks, and you try to arrange your schedule to include some sort of physical activity. 

Staying on plan when you travel can be more of a challenge. When schedules loosen and food options expand, staying on track takes more thought and initiative, but it can be done. 

Here are five ways to stay committed to your fitness goals, even when you're traveling. 

1. Plan. Putting water and your favorite go-to snacks in a cooler will give you the flexibility to make healthy choices. Pack a bag with other snacks and avoid the gas station wasteland. 

2. Pit stop stretch. Stop along the way and stretch. Energize your body and brain during these needed rest stops. Need a circuit? Try this one. 

3 When you arrive at your destination, think about a walking tour or a bike tour of the city. How about a photo stroll? Walk whenever possible and explore excursions that keep you active, at least part of the time. 

4. Shop and cook when you can. This is better for your wallet and your waistline. When you do go out, grilled protein and a veggie is a great choice. Order your salad dressing on the side and dip your fork before you take a bite, instead of pouring it all on top. You can decline the bread basket if you want, and if you're ordering dessert, one dessert split among many can give you the bite of sweet that you want without overdoing it.

5. Enjoy a treat now and then. Don't deprive yourself of your favorite things. Eat a cupcake, and then work off a cupcake. 

Travel and healthy living can go hand in hand. Plan and prep where you can and when you can't, use what you know to make good, healthy choices. And enjoy the treats. 

Happy travels!  

What is your best tip for staying on track with a healthy lifestyle when you're traveling? 

Thank you to Northeast Bloggers Network for letting me guest post. If you're looking for an upbeat blog about love, travel and the good life, visit me at A Lovely Life, IndeedHave a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Cocktail - Mojito Slush

Even though the official start of summer isn't until another couple of days, it has been hot enough here to bring out the iced cocktails. I've always loved a good mojito so when I came across this recipe I knew I had to try it out. It was such a hit! I think it's the perfect summer cocktail.

Mojito Slush
Original recipe by Jessie Damuck via Martha Stewart Living

Makes 8 cups

In a blender, combine 1/2 cup each sugar and water. Blend until sugar dissolves, 1 minute. Fill with 10 cups crushed ice. Add 1/3 cup lemon juice (from about 3 lemons) and 1/3 cup lime juice (from about 5 limes), 1 cup white rum and 1 cup fresh mint leaves. 
Blend until smooth.

The only little change that I make is I use a white organic raw sugar. Obviously it's not anything "healthier" but I just prefer it to regular granulated sugar. Hey it's a cocktail after all!

The fresh mint smells amazing and gives this cocktail a gorgeous green color. It's just the right combination of sweet with a touch of sour from the lemon and lime juice. So good!

Do you have a favorite summer cocktail recipe?

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Event: Bloggers Beach Day

You're invited to a Blogger's Beach Day meet up!  Come join your fellow bloggers for a fun day of sun, sand, drinks, and laughs as we spend the day at the beach. 

What: Bloggers Beach Day
When: Saturday, July 25th 10-?
Where: Point Pleasant, NJ

Hope to see you there!  

Please note this event is not planned or sponsored by the Northeast Bloggers Network, we are just sharing the news!  If you have any questions or to RSVP please contact:

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Places to Visit Near Buffalo & Niagara Falls, NY This Summer!

Every year, every season, I set out to make these "to do" lists of things that would make a well-rounded family experience (like THIS, and THIS). Sometimes we do a good job at checking things off, and other times we totally blow it.

I'm okay with not checking off every little thing on every single list, but taking the time to create such detailed lists and then ignoring them in exchange for lying on my patio swing for hours while the boys work buckets of sand into their shoes (and in Jake's case, his diaper), seems like a waste.

I've gotten better at streamlining my lists down to the realistic things. Last year I focused on outdoor activities. This year, I'm focusing more on outings.

We live in the Buffalo, NY area, and we just don't take advantage of all there is to do these days. In the past five years alone, our community has created so many things to see and do! There's a saying around town that goes, "If you haven't seen Buffalo lately, you haven't seen Buffalo."

So just in case you are local to Western New York, or you're thinking of crossing "See Niagara Falls" off your bucket list this Summer and you want to know what else to check out while you're here, I'm sharing my list of what we'll be up to around Buffalo this Summer!

1. Transit Drive-In
2. Letchworth State Park
3. Fantasy Island
4. Beaver Island Beach
5. Putt-Putt (anywhere!)
6. The Buffalo Zoo
7. Camping (lots of choices, we like the KOAs around here)
8. Old Man River/Mississippi Mudds (get the sweet potato fries!)
9. Greg's U-Pick (Strawberries in June, Blueberries in July, Blackberries in August)
10. Buffalo Botanical Gardens
11. Glen Falls
12. Sweet Jenny's
13. Buffalo Naval Park & Canalside
14. Tifft Nature Preserve 
15. Arcade & Attica Railroad
16. Harbor Center
17. Olcott Beach
18. Wehrle Golf Dome
19. Transit Lanes
20. Buffalo Science Museum
21. Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
22. Fort Niagara Park & Old Fort Niagara
23. Darien Lake
24. Niagara Falls Aquarium
25. Canal Fest

We will, of course, visit many playgrounds, our three fav ice cream stops (probably way too many times), and watch 4th of July fireworks nearby. Oh - and don't forget to get your Beef on Weck, Wings, and Watsons sponge candy while you're in town!

If you're local - where are you headed this summer? Anywhere I should add to my list?


Jenn is a mom of 3 boys living near Buffalo, NY, and blogs about her life and hobbies on her blog, Rych In Love

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Event: Sip and Tweet Meet Up

We are hosting a "Sip and Tweet" event for our members at the Conshohocken Brewery in the Philly suburb of Conshohocken. 

When: June 30th 7:00pm
Details: bloggers will receive a flight of 3 4-ounce beers to sample in exchange for tweeting and instagramming during the event.  We will also be putting in for a few apps for the group to share!

If you can make it, RSVP using the form below! We will send a reminder email to those who RSVP right before to event so you don't forget!

CLICK HERE to RSVP if you can make it!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Blog of the Week: Life in Order

Welcome to our blog of the week!  This week's blog of the week is Life in Order, written by Ashley!  Ashley lives in upstate New York and blogs about organizing and home decor.  Meet Ashley in our interview!

Tell us a little about you:
Originally from Rochester, NY, I moved out to the eastern part of the state in 2013 after graduating from Penn State. I work at a small advertising agency in Troy, that specializes in healthcare marketing and I live with my boyfriend who works as a mechanical engineer. We met at Penn State and moved to Saratoga together. I love exploring Saratoga Springs and the Adirondack region, decorating my suburban apartment and--of course--organizing.

What is your blog about?

My blog is mostly about organizing, with a little bit of home decor and cooking thrown in. I started Life in Order as a source of inspiration for younger generations to get organized to start living more productive and complete lives. I'm a true believer that being organized and tidy can change your life and help focus your energy on the important things in life like starting a career, enjoying the current season, and enjoying time with friends and family. Many young people think they should wait until they have a house, a spouse or children to start getting organized and being tidy. I want to encourage a twenty-somethings to stop waiting until they're settled to get their life in order.

Where do you live and what do you love about it?

I live in a suburb of Saratoga Springs, NY. The thing I love most about it is the history. The track brings in thousands of visitors each year and I'm so blessed to live in a vacation destination that has so much small town charm. Also, it's only a few minutes to the Adirondacks where I love spending time kayaking (in my brand new kayak), hiking and enjoying the outdoors!

What is your favorite spot to visit in the Northeast?

My absolute favorite is day/weekend trips up to the Adirondack Mountains to Kayak on Great Sacandaga Lake or Lake George. But since I moved out to Saratoga Springs, I also love going back home to visit my family in Rochester and spend time with my nieces and nephews.

What do you love most about blogging?

I feel best when people leave me comments telling me I've been helpful, and I see people my age pinning my posts to Pinterest. It's really the ultimate to know that what I'm doing is having an impact. I also love experimenting and trying new things with social media, photography and content promotion. It's a constant learning experience and I feel like I'm growing as a blogger and writer everyday.

What is your favorite form of social media?

Definitely Instagram! I have had a lot of success sharing snippets of my daily life on Instagram and I people respond well to strong visuals. I also love seeing the beautiful things people in the organizing and interior design world come up with. It's so inspiring!

Thanks Ashley!  Be sure to head over to her blog this week ,leave some comments and follow her on social media!  Check out a few of her favorite posts:

Do you want to be featured as one of our blogs of the week?  Let us know!

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Blog of the Week: Figuring Out My Ever After

This week's blogger of the week is Ana who writes the blog Figuring Out My Ever After.  Read on for Ana's interview!  Meet Ana:

Tell us a little about you:
I'm a 20 year old full time student, part time blogger, all around Disney Princess ( I wish). I have a passion for all things beauty, fashion, fitness and health related and love to share this with my readers.

What is your blog about?
My blog is about anything and everything. I break things down between smile (positivity posts), travel, Musings (random thoughts), beauty, fashion, foodie and fitness.

Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I live part time in Elizabeth, NJ when I'm not at school and the other part in Wayne. Best part about my hometown is the food and culture, it's predominatly hispanic so you know the food is just amazing and homedown. Best part about Wayne is the amazing wilderness I'm surrounded with while also being about a half hour away from the city (NY).

What is your favorite spot to visit in the Northeast?
Oh my goodness this is a tough one! I'd have to go with my close to home NYC

What do you love most about blogging?
Sharing my passions and the give and take relationship of the process of blogging.

What is your favorite form of social media?
PINTEREST! It's just so stinking pretty and it's another one of those give and take type of relationships. I get so many great ideas and inspirations and I get to do the same. It's also a great way to accrue a new audience!

Thanks for the interview Ana!  Be sure to visit her blog this week and follow her on social media!  Check out some of her favorite posts:

Do you want to be featured as one of our blogs of the week?  Let us know!

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, NY

If you have any small children, chances are you've been to a zoo in the last handful of years. It's a great outing for little ones, and if you live close to one (as we do), it's a relatively easy way to get out of the house without spending a ton of money. While the kids may be into repetition, and you all may develop a little love for the specific animals in your zoo, sometimes the same old place can get boring!

I have a tip for you!

We were gifted a membership to the Buffalo Zoo for Christmas the past couple of years, and with our membership we get free or reduced admission to tons of other zoos.  If you have a zoo membership to many other locations in the Northeast, they'll offer you the same deal - I highly recommend taking advantage of it! (Also, asking for a zoo membership for Christmas from Grandparents is a great way to avoid getting TOO many toys and also have a way to make great family memories all year!) It was really cool to see a new zoo, and they had lots of animals that our zoo doesn't have. Plus, with it being a new place, it was extra-exciting for the kids to get their grubby hands on everything for the first time. ;)

Almost exactly a year ago, my family and I took a quick trip to Syracuse, NY to take advantage of our zoo discount and to visit my sister and her family. They actually just moved back to the Buffalo area recently, but had been living there for a few years. It worked out perfectly!

So on a Friday evening, we loaded the crew in the van and made our way across the state.

The next morning, we went to the zoo bright & early. We ended up getting my entire family in for only $10 - which was awesome! (See? Pack snacks and drinks, and you've got one heck of a cheap family outing!!)

I was expecting this zoo to be really small and not as nice as the Buffalo Zoo (as I've heard from many that Buffalo is the best zoo in Western & Central NY), but I was pleasantly surprised! They did a lot of recent renovating, and it was really cute there!

The first thing we saw was a big octopus - the kids loved it!


We followed the twisting hallways and saw meerkats, lemurs, fish, snakes, and all kinds of monkeys. Their lion den was even visible through a hallway, and we found ourselves separated from a massive male lion by only a sheet of glass! It was so crazy to be that close and see him so well - I don't think I've ever been that close to a lion before!! (Coincidentally, I wasn't able to get a good picture because there was a bad glare due to the glass - oh well!)

Some necessary goofy picture posing ;)

We saw lots of birds (big and small), tigers, elephants and farm animals (like pigs, chickens, and ponies) before we got some lunch in the zoo's cafe - which was yummy!

Our "Zoovenirs"...haha ;)

They had a great little gift shop, and since this trip counted as a family vacation, I let them all pick out a small souvenir. I was wearing the baby through our whole trip, and as we walked passed a little display of squirty bath toys in all different animals, he reached out and grabbed a lion! I tried to put it back, and even show him some of the other animals, but he insisted on that little lion! I'd never seen him show a preference for something like that before, so that had to be his little toy! The big boys each picked out a Jeep toy, and I picked out a magnet for our fridge.

I would highly recommend a trip to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo if you're in NY or passing through - it's really nicely done, and the kids really enjoyed it!

Jenn is a mom of 3 boys living near Buffalo, NY, and blogs about her life and hobbies on her blog, Rych In Love

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