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Dining Out on Thanksgiving

by Alaina on November 19, 2014 · 0 comments

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week?? It’s my favorite holiday of the year, and I don’t know how, but I don’t feel like Christmas has been crammed down my throat. Maybe it’s because I don’t watch cable, listen to the radio, or pretty much do anything else beside hang out around the house and go to work. Smile with tongue out They’ve started to decorate the Prudential Center (attached to my work) but I feel like it’s just the right time. Especially since it was 30 some-odd degrees today with a wicked wind chill. Winter is in the air my friends! And it’s time to load up on all of the holiday goodies.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Like I said, Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s time to start thinking about food. There’s also that thing about getting together with family, but food is where it’s at. Winking smile For some, the preparation is what makes the holidays special, with handed down recipes or the chance to start new traditions. For others, it really is all about getting together with friends and/or family, and cooking is the furthest thing from your mind. I recall one year when my parents moved in to their new house weeks before the holiday and they had Shaw’s cater the dinner. This year, my mother in law is doing the same thing with Wegman’s.

Or perhaps you just like to get out of the house on Thanksgiving! Not even worry about cleaning up any dishes and to just have someone else take care of you for the afternoon or evening. Boston and Cambridge have a variety of restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving, and making reservations are super easy through OpenTable.

A few months ago I was contacted by OpenTable about doing some write ups where I would mention their website. I have not been compensated for any posts; all ideas are my own and not solicited by the website.

Boston Restaurants

Anthem | Faneuil Hall | 11am to 4pm | Full menu and Thanksgiving specials

Beehive | South End | 11am | $46 traditional prix fixe menu

Bistro du Midi | Public Garden | 1pm to 7:30pm | $68 per adult or $29 for children under 12 for a special 3-course prix fixe menu

Café Fleuri | Financial District | 11am to 4pm | $81 per adult or $40 for children (5-12) for the Thanksgiving buffet

Grill 23 & Bar | Back Bay | Serving the regular menu along with a 4-course Turkey dinner at $72

Legal Seafood | All locations | Serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner

Strega | North End | $55 per person Thanksgiving day menu

Top of the Hub | Prudential Center | 4pm to 8pm | 4-course menu

Cambridge Restaurants

The BEAT | Harvard Square | Traditional a la carte menu and live music

Dante | Royal Sonesta Hotel | 1pm to 8pm | Traditional dishes

Grafton Street Pub & Grill | Harvard Square | $38 prix fixe menu

PARK Restaurant | Harvard Square | 11am to 9pm | Full menu and Thanksgiving specials

Russell House Tavern | Harvard Square | 3-course prix fixe menu at $45 per person

Temple Bar | Porter Square | 3-course meal at $39 per person

This is just a small listing of restaurants open for lunch or dinner on Thanksgiving. In addition to Boston and Cambridge, there are restaurants throughout the state, and even New England that are offering Thanksgiving specials.

Happy Dining!!

What are you plans this Thanksgiving? In the morning, I’ll be running the Whitin Five Miler and then having dinner at my in-laws. Smile


Back To It & Future Goals

by Alaina on November 13, 2014 · 1 comment

I have to say it certainly took me a while to actually sit down and write this post. It’s not that I’m trying to figure out what to write for the sake of writing (obviously, since my posts are days apart) but I’m actually really excited to share what David and I are doing in order to provide for a “financially free” future. I’m hoping that writing about might inspire someone else who might be in the same position.

But before all that, I’m excited to share that I am officially back to working as a hotel concierge! I attempted the corporate world and realized that the line of work just wasn’t for me. I started at this hotel in June as a Guest Services Ambassador and just about a month ago they opened up another position at the concierge desk. I immediately applied and just last week I got the official offer. Despite there being times where I felt like my professional interests had waned from the concierge desk, it really is where my heart lies. I’m excited to be a part of the team, and I am looking forward to picking up the application process to be a member of Les Clef d’Or.

And now, onto our Future Goals! Lately David has been obsessed (and I really use that term loosely) with Dave Ramsey. He’s been listening to his podcasts, reading his books and applying his financial wisdom to our current situation. Currently, David and I are in debt (cars and mortgage). And we want to break out of it. Since we started Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps, we’ve paid off our home equity loan and my car loan.


Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

1) Start an Emergency Fund of $1,000 – Done

2) Pay off all debt by using the Snowball Method – Currently in Progress


Pretty much David and I took any and all extra income (commissions, sales, tips) and threw it at our debt that had the least amount (home equity loan). With those monthly payments out of the way, we added it to my car loan and was able to pay that off last month. Now, our plan is to take that extra money that would have gone towards those debts and throw it at David’s car. We project that both of our cars will be paid off by next spring.

3) 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings – Hope to start this by next spring

4) Invest 15% of household income to Roth IRAs and pre tax retirement – Before we started the snowball, we were both depositing in to a Roth IRA account (with Vanguard) and I have savings through my work’s 401(k) plan. We have since suspended contributions until we are done with steps 2 and 3.

5) College funding for children – Not a concern at this time but certainly something we are thinking about.

6) Pay off home early – We cannot wait until we own our house! Our mortgage wasn’t big to begin with ($100,000) so we should be done in the next 2 years or so.

7) The best step of them all – BUILD WEALTH!

Another way for us to save more money, and limit our spending, is that we are using the envelope system. At the beginning of the month, we divide funds into either of our bank accounts for gas, parking, car payment and mortgage, and then we put the rest of our expenses as cash into envelopes. We have envelopes for groceries, car maintenance, dining out, blow money, clothing and gifts. Whatever is in the envelope is what we can spend; not a penny more. For the groceries, I was a little apprehensive that I would go over the budget, but since I’ve been shopping at Aldi, I’ve been able to stay under each week. And I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of their products! We had pork tenderloin a couple of weeks ago and a top round sirloin just the other day and they were both delicious!

Another BIG step that we took? We cancelled all of our credit cards and are only using our debit cards. If we want to travel (like we will be next March when we go to Florida) we will make sure to have the money we need in our accounts (for room, tax and incidentals). I was also informed by a friend of mine that rental car companies put an even bigger hold on your card if it’s a debit, so I will have to look in to that to make sure we are covered. The whole point is that if we want to splurge or indulge, we want to make sure we have the money to do it. Smile

So, what’s our goal in all of this? With getting ourselves out of debt, and putting those monthly payments and extra income into a retirement plan, we are projected to “retire” around the age of 40. I say “retire” because David and I will certainly want to keep working, to keep ourselves busy. But we will have the necessary funds to continue our lifestyle without having to “work for the money”. We plan on having the money work for us.

Like Dave Ramsey always says “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

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Welcome to November! It’s pretty much the official start of the holiday season with the shops starting to sell their Christmas items and Starbucks has brought out the holiday cups!

Starbucks Holiday

I’m honestly VERY excited for the holidays this year. And I don’t even mind that Christmas is being celebrated a bit earlier this year. The longer the better right? And with the holidays around the corner, I’ve decided to join in on Monica’s Pile on the Miles! I participated in 2011 and I’m excited to challenge myself this month. I may have been hasty in claiming that I will run 100 miles this month, but if I plan it right, I think I can do it! I ran 3.65 miles yesterday and I plan on running about 6 tomorrow. And with the running, it’s time to find some new songs! Here’s this month’s RunHundred picks.

The Top 10 Workout Songs for November 2014

This month’s top 10 list makes three things clear:
#1. Iggy Azalea isn’t going anywhere. The Levi’s model and rap phenomenon shows up in the list below with two different collaborators—Rita Ora and Jennifer Lopez.
#2. Calvin Harris is quickly becoming the face of electronic dance music. He also turns up twice this month—in a pop hit alongside John Newman and a club track with Alesso and Hurts.
#3. 128 beats per minute (BPM) is the Iggy Azalea and Calvin Harris of tempos. By that I mean it’s omnipresent. Seven of the ten songs below are within a few beats of this tempo.

In terms of working out, 128 BPM’s dominance in pop music means that–if you can find an exercise routine that approximates this pace–you’ll never be short of new workout music. If you’ve already got fixed a routine, you can swap in any of the songs from that range and see how they fit. If not, you might try walking, kickboxing, or a bootcamp-style workout—all of which are good matches for this speed.

Whatever this month’s top songs lack in tempo variety, they make up for in the genre variety thanks to a woozy remix from Tove Lo, some Australian folk from Vance Joy, and the fervent rock of Walk the Moon. Whether it’s the eclectic mix that draws you in or the four-on-the-floor beats, there’s something here that will invigorate your workout.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
Taylor Swift – Welcome to New York – 117 BPM
Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High) (Hippie Sabotage Remix) – 120 BPM
Vance Joy – Riptide – 104 BPM
Jennifer Lopez & Iggy Azalea – Booty – 129 BPM
Calvin Harris, Alesso & Hurts – Under Control – 126 BPM
Demi Lovato & Cher Lloyd – Really Don’t Care (Cole Plante Radio Remix) – 128 BPM
Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance – 128 BPM
Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora – Black Widow (Justin Prime Remix) – 128 BPM
Pitbull & John Ryan – Fireball – 125 BPM
Calvin Harris & John Newman – Blame – 128 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

As always I have not been compensated for this post; RunHundred.com is always free to use!

Are you looking forward to the holidays this year?