Summers at the Market

Disclosure: I provide social media assistance for the Collinsville Farmers Market. This review is my own and does not represent the thoughts or views of the vendors and board members of the Collinsville Farmers Market and/or the Canton Advocates for Responsible Expansion, Inc..

Summer is (finally!) here! After what seems like forever, the weather is now warm enough to really experience the awesome things Connecticut has to offer outdoors. One of my favorite activities is attending local farmers markets. Farmers markets give me the opportunity to support local businesses, buy fresh and local produce, and experience things I may not get to otherwise.

Fun in Collinsville

Collinsville Farmers MarketLast Sunday was the first day of the Collinsville Farmers Market’s 2017 season, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I have been going to the Collinsville Farmers Market since 2008, and love its relaxed and fun atmosphere. The vendors are awesome too! I love looking at the flowers from Syme Family Farm and getting vegetables from Gresczyk Farms. Another vendor I like is Heirloom Kitchen, who specializes in gluten-free foods. There aren’t a lot of places that can make a great gluten-free muffin, but Heirloom Kitchen is one of them!

One of the nice things about the Collinsville Farmers Market is its location. The market is set up in the center of Collinsville, and is a stone’s throw away from local restaurants and shops. For me, every visit to the Collinsville Farmers Market begins with an iced coffee from LaSalle Market and Deli. Their restaurant is always busy, and the coffee is fantastic! Another fun store to peruse is the America the Beautiful Country Store, which is full of authentic Amish furniture and products. Coming to the Collinsville Farmers Market is a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

Continue reading “Summers at the Market”

Back in the Old Routine…

I like to blog about things that are new, exciting or unusual. My entries comprise of places I’ve never been or experiences I’ve never had. After the insanity that was last month, my weekends were considerably more mundane. I did have a few fun adventures though!

A couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went out to eat at Thai Bowl in Watertown. Thai Bowl serves authentic Thai food, including pho. The atmosphere of the restaurant is very calm and relaxing, with light green walls, ornate decorations and hardwood floors. While I enjoyed my meal (my usual pad si eow), I appreciated the environment of the restaurant the most. It was quiet and peaceful, letting my boyfriend and I have intimate conversations without worrying about time or noise. I would love to go there again!

IMG_1958Then, last Friday the two of us went to Mohegan Sun to see Bastille on their “Wild Wild World” tour. I had never seen Bastille before, but a friend of mine had said they put on a good show so I was pretty intrigued. Needless to say, they did not disappoint. Their performance was tight, and they got the kids in the crowd into a frenzy. The visuals that accompanied their performance were interesting as well. Their “Wild Wild World” album is a response to the turbulent times we are living in right now, and the videos that played during their show reflected that theme perfectly. Some videos were reminiscent of Koyaanisqatsi, others were more like 1960’s films. There was even a nod to the opening of “Vertigo”! I had an excellent time at their show, and I definitely recommend seeing them if you can.

I’m hoping that since the weather is getting warmer I will be able to go on some new adventures soon! Keep an eye on the blog to see what happens!

Running Ragged

Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks…or months) where you have done so many things that eventually your mind and body begs you to slow down and let it catch up? Well, that has been me since my last entry. So many things (both good and bad) have happened since the Women’s March on Hartford that I haven’t had the time to sit and reflect. So, here I am.

January

At the very end of January, I got to do two very exciting things. First, I got to check out a New York Islanders game at Barclays Center. This was the first time I ever visited the Barclays, and I was impressed by the grandeur of it. Some say that it’s not a great arena for watching hockey because of the smaller rink size, but it did have great sight lines! I was up in the nosebleeds for this game, and I was able to have a good view of the entire rink. I was also next to the Blue and Orange Army (a group of Islanders fans that is the hockey equivalent of the Mets 7-Line Army), which was pretty fun!

Next was my Winter Regional Weekend for chorus in Newport, RI. Our regional weekends are the Sweet Adelines version of conferences for different professions. They’re held at hotels around our region, and there are a variety of seminars we can take to help us further improve our craft. This weekend was held at the Newport Marriott, which was absolutely GORGEOUS! The hotel is decorated with a nautical theme (because what else do you do when you’re literally next to the Atlantic Ocean), but in a classy and upscale fashion. The rooms have what looked to be white sails as a headboard against the beds, and ropes around the lights as decoration. The gym was also a plus for my visit – it scales two floors, so you can fit a “full size” gym into a smaller space. I found it to be very clean and able to meet my exercizing needs. The best part about the hotel was how central it was to shopping and restaurants!

February

As far as months go, February was the craziest. Every weekend was filled with some sort of activity or obligation. I held a small Superbowl party at my house with my closest friends, which was pretty fun. A couple weeks later was my dad’s 60th birthday, so we held a surprise party for him at home. This was an exciting (yet completely nerve-wracking) event; tons of family and friends came, and we got delicious food and desserts from Hall’s Market and Cake Gypsy to satisfy the crowd. My dad was surprised and happy about the party!

One weekend, I went skiing with a friend at Mount Southington, a small ski area in Central Connecticut. I’m pretty familiar with Mount Southington as my elementary school went there for Ski Club. It wasn’t the enormous monstrosity I thought it was as a child, but it was still a ton of fun! The trails are excellent for novice skiiers; the one black diamond trail they have felt like more of a blue square to me. My friend and I took on the slopes for a few hours until the biting cold finally brought us indoors for the day.

Another weekend led to a trip to Mohegan Sun to see the band Pop Evil at the Wolf Den. The Wolf Den is an awesome venue to begin with – there is literally no bad seat in the house. The tickets to shows at the Wolf Den are free; but seating is first come first serve as a result. My friend and I took refuge at the bar behind the Wolf Den (since the line to get in was enormous), and it turned out to be the best idea we had all evening. We had a direct view of the stage, so I got to see and hear everything perfectly! Pop Evil put on a spectacular show – they were fun, engaging, and got everybody on their feet. There was even an elderly couple swing dancing to their songs! I definitely want to see them again!

Finally, last weekend led to a couple culinary adventures in Middletown. My friends and I went to Krust, which is an up-and-coming pizza bar in NoRa. The restaurant has a minimalist, hipster aesthetic which allows the visitor to focus on the delicious food. Their pizza is topped with unique ingredients (brussel sprouts, for one), which separates them from other restaurants in the area. I was fortunate to find they had gluten-free crust available for my pizza. However, on this particular night my first pizza got burnt, and the second one was undercooked. The staff were really nice to me about it, though, and I know they were making an effort to make sure I got something good to eat. I would definitely visit Krust again, particularly because of the staff experience!

The second place we went was Zero Degree Thai Ice Cream. The concept of their restaurant is cool – the ice cream is made in front of you on an antigriddle, and you get unlimited toppings on it. However, I did not feel the “flair” was worth the hour long wait. The ice cream itself wasn’t as good as I thought it would be when I got it, which was a disappointment. If you want to visit Zero Degree, make sure you do it at a day and time where it won’t be crowded. You may have a better experience than I did.

The Women’s March on Hartford

I am still processing the unbelieveable things I witnessed at the Women’s March on Hartford. People of all races, religions, nationalities, and identities stood together on the lawn of the Legislative Office Building (LOB); voicing their concerns about the future and finding solidarity in each other. It was a peaceful but powerful demonstration that left me awestruck.

Why I March

img_1817I felt compelled to march Saturday because of a cause very close to my heart: mental health and disability rights. My lived experiences have shown me that people with mental illnesses are people first, and the stigma associated with having a mental illness compounds the pain of the illness itself. The challenges people with disabilities face are incredible: the ARC finds that most people with disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed. They also face similar stigma to those with mental illnesses.

The events of this political season shocked me to my core and made me worry about what would happen to the people I’ve encountered throughout my life. As the weeks and months have gone by, it’s become increasingly more apparent that now is the time to stand up for what I believe in. Prior to Saturday the urge to be “active” (as it were) came in whispers, shrouded in anxiety. But now is not the time to be afraid.

Continue reading “The Women’s March on Hartford”

Happy 2017!

Happy 2017 from Outside my Nine to Five! Like most people, my holidays were filled with family, shopping and (of course) food. I was able to do a few things that were fun since my last entry, though! Here’s a quick recap of the end of 2016:

Not Just Another Holiday Show

After Simsbury Celebrates was my chorus’s annual holiday concert. As the name indicates, it wasn’t your typical holiday concert. We had trivia, “elves” running up and down the aisles handing out candy canes, an opera singer, and the most entertaining version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” I have ever witnessed in my life. Picture a church sanctuary, people sitting in the pews anticipating their turn to sing along. As their day of Christmas is called, they joyfully spring out of their seats and pantomime the animal or object given that day. As time goes on they try to outdo the other groups and show that yes, their day of Christmas was indeed the best day. My chorus was standing on the risers watching the absolute hilarity occurring in front of us; wondering “How are we going to top this next year?” Needless to say, this concert was one for the record books. Continue reading “Happy 2017!”

Succulents and Singing

Yesterday was the busiest day of my weekend. After my morning exercise class, I was off to do two things I’ve never done before: Plant Nite and the Harwinton Hometown Holiday Celebration!

Plant NitePlant Nite

Plant Nite follows the same concept as Paint Nite (it’s actually owned by the same company); take over a bar or restaurant and teach people how to create a work of gardening art! My Plant Nite took place at Bertucci’s in Bishop’s Corner, West Hartford. The event was at capacity – over 40 people attended! However, I was not as impressed with the event as I probably should have been. It was difficult to find the succulents that I wanted; I had to switch one of them with an extra that was lying around. We also had a limited selection of rocks and moss to decorate with (mainly because our table had one set of rocks and moss when we were apparently supposed to have two. We didn’t get the second set until 15 minutes later). Finally, the service at Bertucci’s was less than stellar. My friend didn’t get the lemon she requested with her tea and it took two waiters to get the dessert I was splitting with another friend. Unfortunately, I would not recommend attending a Plant Nite. Continue reading “Succulents and Singing”

Simsbury Celebrates

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the annual Simsbury Celebrates festival; a magical time where downtown Simsbury turns into an early winter wonderland! Since it also coincides with Small Business Saturday, it was the perfect time to explore and do some Christmas shopping!

Via 9

Via NineI got to downtown Simsbury an hour before Simsbury Celebrates began, since I knew parking would be a challenge. I was itching to find some Christmas presents that were unique and “locally sourced”, and walking down Hopmeadow Street led me to a brand new shop called Via 9. Via 9 celebrates the unique and beautiful in everything. The building has gorgeous exposed brick, ductwork and hardwood floors, including a large mezzanine that is used for daily yoga classes! The store is on the first floor, and includes products made by artisans committed to sustainability. I was excited to find a soy candle scented with essential oils that will be the perfect Christmas gift! Continue reading “Simsbury Celebrates”

De-stress in Northampton

Catching Up

The past few weeks haven’t been too out of the ordinary. I had one weekend where I didn’t stray far from home. Then there was Halloween.  I had attempted to attend the New Britain Museum of American Art‘s Museum After Dark Halloween party that Friday night.  This event is SUPER popular: people come in amazing homemade costumes, and there are lots of fun things to do. This year was so packed that the event was sold out before 7 PM…and I hadn’t pre-ordered my ticket. Night one of Halloween weekend = bust. The next night, a group of my friends and I went to Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury for their Halloween party. I will admit to not being impressed with it; the contests they were holding were poorly organized and it took WAY too long to hand out the prizes for them.

After Halloween I went out to a Hartford Wolfpack game with one of my friends. We got dinner at Agave Grill beforehand, and it was DELICIOUS! I got the enchiladas, which I really enjoyed. Then…a little event called the Presidential election happened. Like a lot of people I know, the aftermath of the election really stressed me out. Fortunately, I found a way to escape: grab a bunch of my friends and go to Northampton! Continue reading “De-stress in Northampton”

Southington Apple Harvest Festival

Two weekends ago was the opening of the Southington Apple Harvest Festival. Unfortunately, it was also the first weekend where we’ve had rain in over a month. The showers and blustery cold didn’t get me down, though. I had so much fun!

Downtown Southington

The Apple Harvest Festival takes place in the center of Southington, an area I know very well. When I was a kid, I learned to play clarinet at Apple Music when they were on Center Street. Walking down Center Street with my mom after music lessons was one of the highlights of my day, especially in the winter when the holiday decorations were out! Downtown has evolved since then, and in a good way. There are numerous restaurants and shops encompassing Main and Center streets, giving the curious wanderer lots of places to stop.

The Festival – but mostly about the food.

One of the main reasons people attend the Apple Harvest Festival is the famous Zion Lutheran Church apple fritters. The lines can get ridiculous! Unfortunately for me, there’s this thing called gluten that gets in the way. However, there were so many other options for me to enjoy! My friend and I got our dinner from the local Boy Scout troop, which was cooking grinders and baked potatoes. We both enjoyed our meal and supporting the Scouts. Then I found Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes, who had been at the Mum Festival a few weeks before! I was so excited to see them there because I had purchased a gluten free blueberry lemonade cupcake at the Mum Festival and really enjoyed it. This time, I got a gluten free lemon cupcake (I don’t remember the name at the moment), which I unfortunately found to be a little dry. Finally, my friend and I got soft serve ice cream with the signature topping of the evening – hot apple filling! As odd as it sounds, it tasted amazing – like eating the inside of an apple pie with vanilla ice cream!

Aside from the food, there were a lot of different vendors representing community groups around Southington. My friend and I took refuge from the rain and cold in the First Congregational Church of Southington craft show, which was a fun thing to see. The craft show had quilted items, homemade goods and franchise booths (i.e. Tastefully Simple). They also had a small raffle which had a few items of interest to me.

Despite the rain, it was great to get out and enjoy a community festival!

B – Weekend

I am not sure how this happened, but this weekend I explored places that each had the letter ‘B’ somewhere in the name. Hence, the ‘B’ – weekend!

Crystal Bees

My weekend started out with an evening at Crystal Bees in Southington for Radio 104.1’s Cashapalooza Live. This event provides the opportunity to win $104 every 15 minutes on top of other prizes. Considering I’m a twenty-something with loans to pay, the potential to win free money and prizes was a definite draw.

When I entered Crystal Bees, I was shocked to see just how huge it was. My guess is that they retrofitted an old industrial space and turned it into a massive arena of fun. One side of Crystal Bees has a video arcade with a mix of classic (Skee-Ball, basketball, air hockey) and modern games (they have Flappy Bird!), and a cornhole and bocce court. The other side consists of a bowling alley and a bar and bistro with plenty of seating. Throughout Crystal Bees, there are big screens that project either local television or a wide array of music videos.

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