Women's Topics
November 13, 2022

New Blog Series: Fearless Females

I would like to introduce a new series that has been swirling in my mind for a while now. As I was a Gender/Women’s Studies major in college, I am all about women’s empowerment. I think society needs that more than ever now, given what is going on in the world and our country. I hope to feature a new woman monthly who is killing it, hoping to inspire. 

First up, I want to feature Christina Orso (@christinaorso on Instagram), who I have admired via social media for years, and had the pleasure of meeting once (along with her cute dog, Marty, who was an adorable little puppy at the time). 

Christina has her own marketing business, and was kind enough to answer some questions that I asked her about her background and business:

  1. Let’s start at the beginning! I see that you went to the College of Charleston, but you grew up in MA, correct? As a kid/even in college, what did you see yourself doing professionally? What a great question! I went through many stages of career aspirations. I first remember wanting to be a secretary (now called an executive assistant) because my Grammy was one and I loved using a typewriter. Then I wanted to be a brain surgeon. By the time I got to college I considered pharmacy but ended up graduating with a degree in Spanish with the intent of working as a medical or legal translator.
  2. I see that you used to run a blog, “Healthy Meets Healthy;” was this the main impetus to getting into marketing and social media as your career? I started my blog as a way to chronicle my adventures around Charleston, most of which were centered around eating and working out. I quickly realized that I enjoyed writing and had a knack for using social media as a way to garner attention, whether that meant for my blog or for a business I was collaborating with. I didn’t even know at the time that I was teaching myself marketing skills along the way. Over the years I realized I wanted to work in a marketing role within the restaurant industry, and that is how I ended up at Boston Burger Company.
  3. You said that you moved from Charleston to Boston for your career. Can you discuss more about how you made this decision, and how it was a good shift for your career? I left Charleston for a couple of reasons, but one in particular was because I didn’t feel like I could grow in such a small town. Boston is a vibrant city full of opportunities and I knew that I would have a better chance of landing a gig that was a better fit for me.
  4. How were you able to garner your marketing, photography and social media skills? Were you self-taught, on-the-job learning, etc.? What resources do you recommend? I learned everything I know from having to figure it out. I’m a very curious person and when I’m passionate about something, I spend the time to make sure I can learn as much as possible. I’ve taken a bunch of online courses and learned a lot from my blog and previous positions. The internet is full of great resources like Skillshare, YouTube, and a bunch of other online course networks.
  5. You said that while working at Boston Burger Company, you were quickly promoted, and started taking clients on the side. This sounds like it was an “aha” moment for you; you really felt like you were in the right career. Can you speak to this? How far were you out of college at this point, if you don’t mind me asking? I started working for Boston Burger Company’s restaurant group when I was 30, so pretty far out of college. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do, but also how I could do that within the industry I wanted to be in (food & beverage). I was lucky enough to land a sales (ish) type of role at BBC, but after expressing an interest and a skillset on the marketing side, we were able to create a brand new role for me. I was working as the marketing director for the restaurant group for 5 years before I decided that I wanted to work with multiple restaurants, which is when I started my business.
  6. Could you please you speak more about the decision to go out on your own with your business? I had gotten to the point where I wanted to work with multiple brands in a more specific, focused way. I also wanted more flexibility and freedom. My former boss was the biggest motivator for me starting my business. It sounds funny, because at the time you’d think he wouldn’t want to let me go, but I was able to flip them into my very first client.
  7. What are your favorite things about having your own business? What are the challenging parts? My favorite aspect of owning my own business is the flexibility and freedom. I am not stuck at a desk in a traditional 9-5 role. The sky is the limit when it comes to making money versus in a salaried role where there are usually caps. The most challenging part is managing client expectations and communicating with a lot of people on a day-to-day basis. At this point, most of my clients have been with me for several years so I have great relationships with them.
  8. What is your advice for anyone wanting to start their own business? Have a clear plan on what exactly it is that you’ll offer and who your target audience (ideal customer) is. Clear, detailed contracts are crucial. Start a separate bank account and credit card. Be organized with tracking revenue and expenses and get a great accountant.

Thank you so much to Christina for taking the time to answer my questions and helping me kick off this exciting new series! Please visit her website. If there are any females out there killing it that you would like to nominate for the upcoming months, please DM me on Instagram!

October 4, 2022

Top Three Things to Look Forward to: October 2022

I can’t believe how fast September flew by! Well now it’s October; the first FULL month of fall, meaning that we are in full-on cozy autumn mode! Read on to see what I am looking forward to most this month!

  1. Apple picking: We plan on traveling up to New Hampshire in a couple of weeks to partake in some ye olde New England apple picking! I grew up going apple picking, and have pretty much gone every year, but with our wedding being in October last year, it just didn’t happen. We are excited to get back into the tradition. Do you have any apple recipes to share?
  2. Weekend of October 21-23: Okay, there are two very important dates on this weekend-a BOGO, if you will. The first is Taylor Swift’s new album, Midnights, is to be released on October 21! I cannot wait. Swifties, have you been following Taylor divulge her track list on social media? THEN, on October 23rd, Nick and I celebrate our first wedding anniversary!
  3. Halloween: My two favorite holidays are easily Halloween and Christmas! I just love spooky things, but not too scary; I cannot watch a horror movie without overwhelming anxiety. A highly underrated fun Halloween movie, in my opinion, is Double, Double Toil and Trouble (yes, the one from 1993 with the Olsen Twins). It will give any millennial ALL THE NOSTALGIA. Also, Will from “Will and Grace” plays the dad. You’re welcome for the suggestion.

Once again, thank you SO MUCH to @jenneycee for her photography! What are you looking forward to most this month!?!?

September 5, 2022

Top Three Things to Look Forward to: September 2022

Hello there, friends. I recently was looking through my blog archives, and I honestly can’t believe how much I let this go; it makes me sad. But I think we can all relate; life just gets so busy. I am not a huge Ferris Bueller’s Day Off fan, but I think the famous quote “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” perfectly encapsulates the hustle and bustle of our everyday adult lives.

That being said, I really want to re-allocate my time to rebuilding up my little space of the internet. Given that it is fall, I think it is the perfect time to do that…which segues perfectly into the topic of this post…Top Three Things that I am looking forward to this month!

  1. Fall! Unofficially, fall kicks off after Labor Day, though the official first day of fall is September 22nd. Fall is my favorite season, it’s just so cozy. This is a big reason we decided to get married last fall; I always wanted a fall New England wedding. To me, fall signifies a season of renewal. As any fellow Swiftie knows, Taylor Swift says in her song, “Innocent,” “you’ll have new Septembers,” signifying that that September means new beginnings. Think about when you were a kid: it was a new school year, and a fresh start. Leaves fall from trees, to make room for new growth, changes and new opportunities. On a more surface level, I am obsessed with everything pumpkin-flavored or pumpkin-scented. Do you have any pumpkin product recommendations?!?!
  2. Guilty TV Pleasures: I am a true believer in self-care, and that includes humorous, nonsense TV. As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of the The Real Housewives franchises. Though I was skeptical at first, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, is now one of my favorite Housewives franchises. The trailer for this season was released this past week, and this season looks amazing. Further, I am curious to check out Bravo’s new series, Real Girlfriends in Paris, which premieres tonight!
  3. “I Put a Spell on You”….One of my favorite nostalgic movies is Hocus Pocus. I remember it coming out when I was a kiddo. I love Halloween but can’t deal with actual scary movies. It is so cool that the original movie was set and filmed in nearby Salem, MA. The movie premieres on Disney+ on September 30! I plan to watch it with my friend Caroline. I am super interested about the storyline of the sequel, considering only a handful of the original cast will be back; the Sanderson sisters and Billy, the zombie.

Also, huge thank you to @jenneycee for taking this pic! What are you looking forward to this month? I would love to hear!

Feel-Good/ Health/ Noteworthy/ Women's Topics
November 15, 2021

Life Lessons since 2012

During COVID, my plan was to get back into blogging. Instead, I spent my time playing music (thank you to my amazing long-time guitar teacher, Steve Marchena, for teaching me all those folklore and evermore songs!). I also reconnected with my awesome former voice teacher, Laura Vecchione.  In addition, I took two grant writing courses, earning a Certificate in Grant Writing. I also embarked on a job hunt. During COVID, I  also recognized the importance of exercise for my overall health during this time (that will be for another blog post), so unfortunately, I had to put blogging on the backburner. 

One of the biggest updates since last December…I got married three weeks ago! A lot of work goes into wedding planning, which is another reason I was absent from the blogging world. Despite the pre-wedding craziness, It was such an awesome day! After postponing a year due to COVID, I feel so lucky that I found my partner, Nick,  and that we got to celebrate with those closest to us. 

As you may know, I am a huge Taylor Swift fan, and she re-released her Red (Taylor’s Version) album this past Friday. Taylor and I are the same age, so I feel like we have grown up together, as crazy as that sounds (we’re besties, she just doesn’t know it!). The original Red release date was October 2012, during my last semester of college (I graduated mid-year), so almost ten years ago. I was in such a different place then, and have such a different perspective on life now. So, I have to say, the majority of this album is a complete juxtaposition to how I feel now. The thing is, the “highs” in life (like marrying Nick) wouldn’t feel so high without the lows. And that applies to all areas of life. 

Watching the 10-minute “All Too Well” short film brought me back to where I was in my life in 2012, allowing me to reflect on what I have learned since the album’s original release. So, in honor of “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, here are life lessons that I have learned, signifying the nine years between the original release of Red and Red (Taylor’s Version):

  1. Have an outlet for when life gets messy: Whether it is religion (I started going back to church), or an inspirational person (I am looking at you, Cody Rigsby), it is so important to have something that provides you comfort and allows you to think about your circumstances differently. 
  1. Live in the moment: Taylor’s song “22” from Red particularly reminds me of college, “we’re happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way. It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah.” Looking back, I wish I had lived in the moment more back then, because the reality is that adulting is hard and you’ll soon be buried in responsibilities. 
  1. It’s okay to not have a life plan sometimes: Uncertainty feels very anxiety-provoking in the moment, but the truth is that nobody knows exactly what the future holds. It is ok to slow down, and take some time for yourself before figuring out your next step.  
  1. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea: Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok. It is okay for people not to like you; that is why we are all different. So don’t let one person’s opinion of you get into your head and make you feel down.
  1. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, either: Similarly, you aren’t going to like everyone, and that’s okay, too. You should still treat people with respect and kindness, but you don’t have to be their best friend.  
  1. On a related note, stand up for yourself: Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Be confident in what you bring to the table, and don’t let anyone treat you poorly or manipulate you. Be assertive. This can look like asking someone not to speak to you in a certain manner. If a relationship no longer serves you, perhaps you don’t need it in your life at all. Looking back in some of my romantic relationships and friendships, there is some behavior I am not even sure why I put up with. I recently listened to my friend Amanda Brabec’s “Build with Brabec” podcast, and she said the same thing. Like, what were we thinking giving some of these guys our time!?!?
  1. Work is important, but it’s not your whole life: Is it important to have a career you enjoy, and work hard? Absolutely, but you also deserve friends, hobbies and fun. 
  1. We are all busy, but it is important to stay in touch with people: Staying in touch is something that gets harder as life gets busier, but if both people aren’t putting time and energy into a relationship, then it just won’t work. All relationships are a two-way street and take work. 
  1. Treat yourself with kindness: So often we talk to ourselves in self-deprecating ways that we would never talk to a friend! Treat yourself as your best friend, appreciate your alone time and practice regular self-care. 

What lessons have you learned since 2012?

December 28, 2020

Fun and Easy Wedding Planning with Basic Invite-Guest Book for Wedding, Invites, and More!

As I previously mentioned, I was supposed to get married in November 2020. Like many couples, we had to postpone our nuptials, due to COVID. Now that we rescheduled our big day for October 2021, I am getting back into planning mode.

Before COVID, we had already booked the church, reception venue, and DJ, and we were luckily able to shift dates without a problem.

So, to get back in the swing of things, we took engagement pictures in October (we wanted to get an autumn background). If you are looking for a photographer around Boston, I highly recommend Liz Stefani Photography (@lizstefaniphotography on Instagram).

Next stop: Basic Invite. I previously have written about Basic Invite, but I wanted to share the cool wedding services and materials that they offer! Basic Invite offers online invites, Seal and Send wedding invitations, Save the Date cards, a guest book for wedding, free wedding printables, free wedding websites, as well as various items for your rehearsal dinner, Bridal shower, or Bachelorette party. They even offer thank you cards that you can send to your guests after the big day.

In terms of online invites, they are completely customizable-there are over 180 color options, as well as multiple sizes and shapes to choose from. And don’t worry, you can preview your online invites before sending them out to your guests! There are so many different choices, that you should have absolutely no trouble finding a design that speaks to you.

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

Through Basic Invite, you can also get a guest book for wedding, which is something that you can always remember your special day by. I love traditions, and a guest book is a great one. You are able to order a sample guest book, so you know what you are getting before you receive the final version. Like online invites, there are almost unlimited color options. There are even different themes. For example, you can get a guest book with a nautical theme for a Cape wedding.

guest book for wedding

I am so excited to order our wedding materials from Basic Invite. Are there any other couples out there getting married in 2021? How is your planning going?

Thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

December 9, 2020

My Three Favorite Things about the Holidays

This year did not go as expected, but there is a lot to be thankful for. Well into December, the holidays are right around the corner. I admit that I am not feeling quite as festive this year, but I have been listening to some Christmas tunes to try to get into the spirit. Even though this will not be a typical holiday, there is still plenty to look forward to. Here are three of my favorite things about this season:

  1. Christmas songs: As I just mentioned, holiday music is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. Just throw some on in the car or while you’re taking a stroll (Spotify has numerous playlists). My current favorite? “O Holy Night,” by Sons of Serendip, who are Boston-based and appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2014. Singer Micah sang this acapella at Christmas mass last year, and it was amazing!
  2. Snow: There is nothing like a white Christmas. Being in New England, getting snow around Christmastime is always magical. Something about the snow is so peaceful and cozy.
  3. Christmas movies: I have so many holiday movie favorites; there are too many to name! I remember growing up and watching Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, and others. Does anyone else remember those movies?

What are your favorite things about the holidays? Do you have any recommendations for further getting into the spirit!?!

Thank you to my friend Jenny, who took this beautiful photo of her decorated home!

November 30, 2020

Adulting 101: The Home Buying Process

As I have mentioned before, I am currently engaged. We originally were going to get married earlier this month but postponed until October 2021. Anyways, given that this major #adulting event is on the horizon, I have started to think about other major adult events-there is one happening right now in my own family!

My sister recently purchased a home with her husband in our hometown. Also, a few of my friends have begun to buy properties. I was curious as to what goes into the house-buying process, so I reached out to my sister with some questions. Here are some things to consider when it comes to the house-buying process

1. Why should I buy a property, rather than rent one?

If you own a property, you don’t have to worry about asking a landlord about renovations or painting. We also wanted a property with our own yard and space, so we did not have to worry about potential disruption from neighbors. We are really looking forward to decorating.

2. How did you and your partner decide on a comfortable budget?

We created a spreadsheet that summarized our monthly income and spending expenditures. This allowed us to find a comfortable budget.

3. Can you walk us through the buying process?

a) I definitely recommend having an app like Realtor.com, Zillow, or Trulia on your phone. I literally would check every day to see what homes come on the market in our areas. I found that homes usually come on the market on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Also, if you have a real estate agent you are working with, they can set up MLS listing emails that will come to you every time a home comes up with your desired parameters.

b) If you see a house you like, go to the open house. Usually, they are on the weekends. If you have a real estate agent, see if they can get you into the house early before the open house.

c) Once you get to the open house, take your time. This may be your only opportunity to look at the house (which is crazy), so look inside kitchen drawers, look at foundations, look in basement ceilings/walls for any signs of asbestos or mold. Be diligent. We often preferred to look at houses twice before making an offer. Do not be afraid to ask your agent to make a second appointment.

d) If you like the house, speak with your agent about making an offer. Hence, it is best to have an agent to work with. You may literally only have a six-hour window to decide if you would like to make an offer. So, your agent needs to be someone who you trust and who knows you’re looking for. You also want someone who really knows the market well in the area you are looking.

e) Before putting an offer in, you need to have a mortgage pre-approval letter from a mortgage company. Again, this is something your real estate agent can help you with. So, once you are serious about buying a home and know your budget, I would get this set up right away because it will take some time and it cannot be done at the last minute. Also, you may want to talk to a few mortgage companies to ensure you are getting the best rate.

f) Decide with your agent how much you are offering on the desired house. The paperwork can be done digitally but will take about 2-3 hours. You may also want to add a personal touch and write a note to the seller about your love for the home.

g) Your agent takes it from there. You may need to negotiate with the seller or if there are other buyers you may end up in a bidding war….Fingers crossed for good luck!

h) If your offer is accepted, you will need to provide a deposit check, usually for $1,000 to the seller’s agent.

i) You have a certain number of days to complete the home inspection. If something significant is found, you can back out after the home inspection and receive your deposit back. Have your realtor walk you through this.

j) After you accept the inspection and make it clear that you wish to move forward, your realtor will put you in touch with an attorney, who will draft the Purchase and Sales Agreement. At this point, you will be asked to pay a down payment.

k) Then, the mortgage company will go to the house and appraise it. Make sure to purchase homeowner’s insurance in the meantime, as you will need it before closing.

l) Closing is about a month to two after the purchase and sales. After some signatures, the house is yours!

4. How is the buying process different during COVID-19?

Right now, the open house process looks very different. Sales in Boston suburbs have become even more competitive, which we did not anticipate. Many homes we looked at and put offers on went for at least 60,000 dollars over asking and had multiple offers (as many as 15!). Also, in most cases, you need to have your agent sign you up for a time slot during the open house. You will have 15 minutes to look. That’s it. You may also have to sign a release form saying that you do not have Covid-19 symptoms and will have to wear a mask, sanitize and maybe even wear disposable booties and gloves.

5. What other tips do you have for potential home buyers?

Definitely explore the area before you decide to make an offer on a property! Also, know that your bid will most likely be rejected numerous times before being accepted.

Thanks to my sister for providing me with insight into the momentous adult event of purchasing a home. For anyone who is moving or looking to move, please be sure to check out Fresh Start -The Moving Crew. They are based out of Worcester, MA, and serve all of New England. They can help you with all of your moving needs. Established in 2012, they are licensed and insured, which saves you in case of any mishaps. If you need help packing and moving in Worcester, they are a go-to.

Thank you to Fresh Start -The Moving Crew, for sponsoring this post. All views and opinions are my own.

October 13, 2020

My Three Favorite Things About Fall

Happy Fall! Like many things this year, this summer didn’t go as planned for me. I unfortunately had some health issues, including a concussion, which I had never experienced before. I also battled low energy levels, as my doctor found out that my B12 levels were low, as well as stomach issues.

It’s now October and I can HAPPILY say that all of those health issues are behind me. Back in May, which seems like a lifetime ago, I wrote that I would post more, but due to what was going on in my life, that didn’t happen.

I used to beat myself up about not getting everything done that I wanted to. I still do this and am still hard on myself, but not as much as I used to be. This change in thinking is accompanied by my goal to be more positive-I try to take a look at everything that I am doing, instead of what I am not doing.

Some things that I did this spring/summer that I am proud of include eating healthier, getting into better physical shape, getting back into playing music and helping local organizations obtain PPE masks.

Fall is my favorite season by far. When I think of fall, I think of cozy plaid scarves, colored leaves, pumpkins, Taylor Swift’s Red album (other Swifites will relate to this), boots and sweaters.

That is why we chose to get married in the fall. Our wedding date was supposed to be this November. Like many planned nuptials, it is not happening this year. Though this was obviously a major event that I was looking forward to, I am trying to be more positive (see above) and focus on the things that I enjoy about this season in general. Here are three things that I love about this season.

  1. Apple picking: As a New Englander, I grew up with my family going apple picking pretty much every year. It is important to go in September/early October,  otherwise it is easy to miss the season. This year we went with my entire family, including Nick and my sister’s husband (and doggo). After picking apples, we helped ourselves to cider and donuts. Apple picking is a great way to kick off the fall season!
  2. Halloween: I love Halloween-I have no idea why! I don’t like candy (other than chocolate) or horror movies, but I still love this holiday. It’s just so fun! I think it brings me back to childhood a bit. One of my favorite Halloween activities is watching Hocus Pocus. It is always fun to take a trip to Salem, MA during the month of October, as well.
  3. A sense of renewal: There is a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald (who wrote my favorite book, The Great Gatsby) that I love: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Because the school year always started in the Fall, there is the mindset of a new beginning-at least I feel it is. Time to set some goals! My goals right now are to sustain my new healthier lifestyle and get back on the horse with blogging.

What are your favorite things about fall?

May 28, 2020

Life Update: May 2020

You guys, it has been NINE months since I last posted. That is INSANE! Sometimes life just gets so busy; I think that we can all relate.

A lot has happened in the last nine months. I think the biggest news is that I got engaged in December, right before Christmas. Luckily, I decided to get my nails done that morning (something that I never do). I loved that I was able to get my ring from Brilliant Earth, which is a jeweler that sells conflict-free diamonds. So, it was a very Merry Christmas this year. We originally planned for a November wedding this year, but we decided to postpone it a year, due to the current quarantine situation.

Fast forward to March. I normally live in Boston but decided to quarantine with my parents in Cape Cod. I am able to spend time with my dog (who is sadly getting older and older, despite her looking like a little puppy) and parents, save money, and my mom has provided some nutritious cooking! I try to take walks and go on the bike. This has resulted in healthy changes for me (more about that later).

There have been challenges, of course, but I’m very thankful for my health and that of my family and friends. Hopefully, we can all get back to normal in a timely fashion, and it has been wonderful seeing the outpouring of support for those in need during this time.

Health/ Style & Beauty
August 22, 2019

Testing At Home Teeth Whitening with Smile Brilliant

I have had a very cool collaboration in the works! I was THRILLED when Smile Brilliant reached out to me about their teeth whitening system. I am not a coffee drinker, except for Starbucks lattes (#acidreflux), but my teeth really needed some touching up. I am happy to report that Smile Brilliant offers a stress-free, convenient method for anyone on the go! I have personally never used any whitening products in the past.

Before Photo

Here is how Smile Brilliant Works: For $149, you will receive a kit. The kit
contains the ingredients to make molds of your teeth (super easy), and you send them back to the Smile Brilliant lab in the provided envelope. These molds will be used to make trays.  You will receive your trays about a week or two later.

In the original package, I received a whitening gel and a desensitizing gel. It is recommended to use 1/3-1/4 of the whitening syringe provided in your tray. After about 5-7 sessions, I started noticing a difference in the color of my teeth. Suggested sessions for whitening are between 45 minutes to 3 hours. What I love about the Smile Brilliant whitening process, is that it is so convenient and easy! I would wear the trays in on my morning commute. I also used desensitizing gel after, which is suggested for someone with sensitive teeth. I would say at about 10-12 sessions is when I stopped the whitening process.

After Photo #1

After Photo #2

After Photo #3

If you would like a chance to win a Smile Brilliant whitening kit (valued at $149, click here)! Or if you prefer a 15% off coupon, here is a code: busyasabeeblog15

Tooth Whitening Gel

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