The State of Massachusetts – Part 1

Not only a popular Dropkick Murphy’s song but a pretty cool place. Boston, and Massachusetts as a whole, was the final leg of our East Coast Trip and one that we were really looking forward to. Nikki and I figured that we’d enjoy Boston for the history, the food, the walkability and the beer (who would have thought). We also knew that we could not wait to see my family for Patrick and Sarah’s wedding in Topsfield, MA. What we didn’t know was how much we would enjoy Newburyport as it turned out to be one of the major highlights of our trip (Wedding and Newburyport in Part 2).

We arrived in Boston on Thursday around noon after a long train ride from NYC. Hungry and thirsty we set off for our hotel a few blocks away. Immediately we found out the navigating our way through Boston might be difficult. The history of the city is great but maybe…maybe…figure out the road system (whoever the civic planner was DEFINITELY FAILED). After winding our way through a couple alleys and criss-crossing some streets we found our hotel and stayed for long enough to be insulted by the workers and drop our luggage…fun.

Our Boston experience could only go up after that so off we went to Faneuil Hall. We quickly found Cheers (fake Cheers, real Cheers is about 2 miles away) to get out of a brief rainstorm and grab some lunch. The bartender did not know our names but that did not stop him from being excellent and even giving me a nice 1/4 cup free refill on my beer. Lunch and the rain came and went so we were off to the next adventure, Fenway Park. Fenway was the only park we went to and without seeing a game. We stayed long enough for a Sam Adams and some awesome Center Field Views from the Bleacher Bar under the Green Monster.

Nikki was in need of a little afternoon catnap so I took off to explore Boston by foot. I was finally able to gain my bearings after a run through the financial district and up through Boston Commons and back. The run took me past the State House (both old and new), the sight of the Boston Massacre and a very active Boston Commons which was featuring a Shakespeare festival, multiple concerts, an art fare and adult softball games.

The North End and its Italian charm came highly recommended for dinner so we picked Nico’s and were not disappointed. On the way we stopped at the Paul Revere Mall and House. On the way back we saw lines around the block for Mike’s and The Modern cannoli shops. We were full and wanted to get back to the hotel for a nightcap (and neither one of us really like cannoli’s) so we passed this time.

Boston has such a historical charm that makes it easy to fall in love with the city (the 75 degree weather was nice too). Nikki and I wanted more time but knew we were limited so we made the decision to turn in early Thursday night so we could get up and walk the rest of the Freedom Trail up to Bunker Hill early Friday morning. It was a great decision as the walk and Charlestown were really great to explore. We also were greeted with hello’s and good morning’s from strangers along the walk…something that was not expected and stood out as a Boston exclusive.

We left Boston Friday morning with a new favorite city in our list of places we’ve visited. Nikki and I both would rank Boston at the top of the cities we visited on a list of places that we could see ourselves living at some point.

Off to Newburyport and Topsfield for the S&P wedding, detailed in Part 2 of this blog.

Cheers,
Ben and Nikki

The Innovation of Loneliness – Commentary

Relevant…wanted to repost.

Colorado 2 California and Back

Shimi Cohen published a great video about the connection of social media and human’s sense of loneliness.

Watch this video – http://vimeo.com/70534716

The video is masterfully done and the comparisons are smart and accurately pointed. Social media, video games, electronic devices have done amazing things to bring people together, increase efficiency and provide entertainment. Unfortunately they have also created lazy and out of shape kids, distracted spouses and effectively eliminated the need for face-to-face interactions.

Shimi asks “What is the problem in having a conversation? It happens in real time and you can’t control what you are going to say.” People and companies who operate in the same town as I do would rather have an email chain conversation with 12 people cc’d on it that lasts 4 days than take 30 minutes over lunch and discuss everything we would have accomplished in those emails before our entrees arrived at…

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My 2 cents on Sports Marketing and what I learned from SMU Basketball this week

Say what you will about Mark Cuban but he absolutely gets it as a businessman/sports marketer.

blog maverick

I had the pleasure of going to an SMU Basketball game this past week. It wasn’t a huge game from a standings perspective. It wasn’t a big rivalry game.  It wasn’t a game between 2 powerhouse teams. It was an important game as every game is for an up and coming team like SMU.  But there was no one outside the two teams that were really paying attention to the outcome. Bottom line, it was a game on the schedule.

It was a game on the schedule for every one but SMU basketball fans.  For SMU basketball fans it was their chance to show off to any and all newcomers who walked into the gym.  President Bush (43) was there.  Dejuan Blair, Jae Crowder, Casey Smith and others from the Mavs were there (I had no idea they were going to be there).  I ran into friends I hadn’t seen…

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One year down – excited for many more!

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Our first year of marriage has been a blur and a constant adventure as we’ve done our best to explore Fresno and the great sites that are around us in California. We are so thankful for the opportunity to explore and grow our relationship as husband and wife. We’ve been blessed by long time friends, new friends and great family support – we could not do it without you!

 

To Ben – Thank you for being an amazing and supportive husband. I am grateful that you can be a goofball with me and that you can make me laugh and smile no matter what mood I’m in. Your drive and determination always inspire me. Thank you for your friendship and unconditional love. I look forward to many more anniversaries and adventures. 

 

Love you lovesy! Nikki 

The Dusty Bun

Finding food trucks in Fresno was like Christmas Day for Ben and I. We continue to stalk Dusty Buns and the other local food trucks weekly. They get a lot of love locally, but now have received national attention.

 

The list of the top 100 best food trucks in America lists Dusty Buns Bistro as number 55. Glad to have Fresno on a list for something positive (and delicious).

Cheers to the Dusty Bun!

Sports Bucket List

I’ve always been one for the sports bucket list. Sitting around and thinking of where I want to travel, what venues I want to visit and what major games I want to see. I have been lucky enough to work in sports and see some amazing games and amazing venues. There are always those places that sports fans want to experience. Whether it is a baseball parks tour across the US, a SEC football weekend, a Sunday at Augusta or sitting in the top of a RV on the infield at Daytona…everybody has their trip.

Mine was the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, emphasis on the was part. The Big East as I knew it was gone quicker than a Kentucky freshman.

Being born in Connecticut and having your earliest sports influences being Ron Francis and Jim Calhoun meant something to me. The Boston Celtics would play a few games a year at the Hartford Civic Center but my dad taught me at an early age that we didn’t really like the Celtics, and that was fine with me because, (1.) they weren’t from Connecticut and (2.) we liked the Denver Nuggets (I liked chicken nuggets so this was cool).

Growing up I lived and died by UCONN basketball. We moved to Florida but I still read the sports page every morning in the winter and spring searching for UCONN box scores. I followed the great 90’s teams with Donyell Marshall, Donny Marshall, Kevin Ollie, Doron Scheffer, Jesus Shuttlesworth Ray Allen and Travis Knight. I cut out news clippings and AP polls the first time UCONN was ever #1 and I hated Kerry Kittles and Villanova for years for knocking them off the following week.

We moved to Colorado and the only thing that changed was that I could watch the Big Monday games 2 hours earlier. I remember watching Ray Allen knock off Allen Iversen and Georgetown while putting my room together as an 11 year old. I also remember all the devastating tournament losses and wondering when/if UCONN would get break down the door to the Final Four and a National title for Jim Calhoun. I have been lucky to have been to a first round game in Denver in ’99 and the Final Four in San Antonio in ’04 to witness 2 great Husky teams and some amazing players. I was never lucky enough to make it to the Garden…

Sports Illustrated recently wrote an article that highlighted the tournament from the coaches perspectives…most sound like they’ll miss the old Big East. They’ll miss runs like UCONN’s in 2011 led by Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon on the big stage, 2006 Cuse run by McNamara and friends, the epic 6 OT Cuse-UCONN game, Brandin Knight and Pitt, John Thompson and Georgetown, conference domination of the 80’s…they’ll miss that the Big East tournament was the hardest to win and that it isn’t a gambling bracket, it’s a basketball tournament and they’ll miss the bright lights of the Garden.

The Big East shaped my love for basketball my entire life. I’ll miss the rivalries and the relevancy.

I guess I can check it off my bucket list…

More

Learn more. Love more. Care more. Be more. 

 

Being comfortable in life is the easy route. Getting out of that comfort zone is the way to a more rewarding and fulfilling life. 

 

Move towards more. And don’t stop moving. 

 

Cheers, Nikki 

Wahoo’s Green Sauce: Make at home!

Homemade Green Sauce for delicious burritos

Tonight Ben and I were craving burritos, I specifically a Wahoo’s Fish Taco burrito. So, thank goodness for miraculous Google and it’s ability to bring me whatever I want in the recipe world. I made a few adjustments to the recipe I found and I think this is top notch. 

Nikki’s version of Wahoo’s Green Sauce

  • Large handful of cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeno (de-seeded)
  • 1 lime (juice only)
  • 1/2 cup of half & half
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Salt to taste, about 1/4 tsp

Throw all of these ingredients in a food processor and let it blend for a bit. I put the salt in after the first blend, just to make sure it needed it. Build the inside of your burrito however you like (we put rice, black beans and chicken) and add the sauce and cheese. I zap it in the microwave to warm the sauce and melt the cheese.

Delicious and really easy. Enjoy!

Cheers, Nikki