Monday, March 30, 2009

I Love Pasta

A few things I learned at our Intro to Pasta Making class at Dave’s Fresh Pasta:

  • Pasta dough needs proper kneading and resting, just like bread dough.
  • Sweet potato is tasty as a ravioli filling (though when isn’t it?).
  • I would never have thought about lemon pasta, but it is delicious (as I’m sure it is served, as Dave suggests, with chicken or fish).
  • Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook and can be frozen until ready to use.
  • Dave’s Fresh Pasta is amazing!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour in Boston - 2009

Boston seems consumed by the NCAA basketball tournament. However, maybe you should give your poor adrenaline-flooded heart a rest this Saturday from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM by turning off your TV, and all electricity. It's called Earth Hour, and it's a worldwide event where people turn it all off in recognition of [essentially] global warming and our impact as humans on the Earth.

Individuals can choose to participate simply by making the choice to turn it all off. You still can have fun without electricity - My cousins and I used to regularly play "hide and seek in the dark," which was oh so thrilling (and bruise-inducing - who put that stepstool there?). You could also pull out some cards, board games, or light a few candles and get cozy with a special friend. ;-)

Cities can also elect to participate. This year, Boston has signed up, joining the list of over 1,000 cities in 80 countries. Us New Englanders are officially part of this! The Hancock tower will be dimming its lights, as will the Zakem bridge, Prudential Center, and other local landmarks.

Some restaurants are also celebrating with beeswax candles setting the mood - The Achilles Project in the up and coming Fort Point district (aka the area between South Station and the Boston Convention Center) is leading the way with a special menu between 8:30 and 9:30 PM.

Last year Chicago turned it off, and prevented the same amount of CO2 from being created that 104 acres of trees would have consumed. One hour CAN make a big difference.

So. I'll see you in the dark!

Related Posts: Earth Hour in Boston 2008; What is preventing you from being green?; Shopping Thriftily (and greenly)
The photo is of me! I'm in front of my candle-heavy birthday cake.

SIS Marathon Social

April is when the infamous Boston marathon will be going down. Why not start cheering these champion runner's prior to the Boston marathon? Come on down and support Sport in Society's Marathon Team by coming to the Pour House for an evening of music, competitions, and fun.

There will be a raffle, with such awesome prizes as: Signed NE Revolution Jerseys, Personal Training Sessions at Train Boston, Personal Massage Gift Certificates, Signed Boston Bruins Items, Private parties at local bars...

March 31, 2009 from 6 pm – 9 pm

The Pour House
$20 Suggested Donation

*free giveaways and free food*

Sport in Society will utilize the power and appeal of sport to create a just world by eliminating discrimination, hate and violence, while creating lasting solutions, and promoting healthy development and social responsibility.

Related Posts: Spirit of Service is Hiding Something, Boston’s Run to Remember 2008, Team In Training: One Way to Make a Difference

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

And don't forget about finding your soul mate

Clearly CNN had been reading John's post from yesterday because they had their own little addition to the benefits of volunteering: finding your soul mate.

Now, I don't want to get down into the analysis of why this may or may not be true--I didn't cover that in Bio 101 and I didn't take any psychology courses, but who knows, maybe there's something to it. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get out of the House, Learn New Skills, Help Others and Your Resume

Jobless? Volunteer for Opportunities

Today, Good Morning America ran a story for the jobless - suggesting that volunteering can put you back on track to gainful employment.

"Everyone knows you're not job hunting effectively if you flood job boards with resumes and then hope the phone rings. Carve out time daily to find good leads, send out resumes to follow up, and make new contacts. That leaves time to devote to volunteering, which offers great benefits to advance your career."

When You Volunteer You:

Gain a new skill or enhance an existing one while minimizing a gap in unemployment. The change to get out of the house and feel good about giving your time and talent. Introductions to new people who may help in your search A positive experience to share when a prospective employer asks, "What have you been doing with your time?"

Ideally, to reap the maximum benefit from your volunteer time, your efforts should be aligned with your career goals. For example, an out-of-work graphic designer can offer to create a logo, invitations and all print and online materials for the 25th anniversary fundraiser at a church, or that same person can volunteer for an organization that brings arts programs to needy schools.Those contributions help a worthy cause and add value to a resume that's in keeping with the type of position the candidate wants to pursue.

Position Value to an Employer:

It's up to you to position your volunteer work in a way that's perceived as valuable by prospective employers. Do so in business terms that translate in any work place.

Tap New Connections:

Don't be shy about looking at the board of directors or the list of supporters at the organization. If you can point to the value you've brought to that group, there's nothing wrong with making a cold call or sending an e-mail saying, "I've been volunteering here ... this is my contribution ... and I'd very much appreciate the chance to spend a few minutes talking to you about my work in this field."

That doesn't work if you've been there for three days; it's only applicable once you've shown a sustained commitment.

Talk to other volunteers to find out what kind of work they do. Even if they're out of work, they likely have a spouse, friend, neighbor, former colleague or someone who they could introduce you to if there's a potential connection.

Volunteer Overload?

In some organizations, there's a catch-22. Finally, highly qualified people want to volunteer, but the charity doesn't have the people and resources in place to handle the overflow of volunteer requests.

If this is true at your desired place of service, your best move is to approach the organization with an idea of how and where you can help, as opposed to waiting for the group to assess your interests.

Don't limit yourself to the big names. While there's instant recognition and prestige, you can also contribute to smaller groups where you can truly have ownership of projects and cut through red tape to make things happen.

To find an opportunity, is a national database of organizations looking for volunteers. You can also approach any group of your choice in your area.

Externships Are Also an Option

Volunteering is associated with nonprofits, interning is connected to students, and externing is a combination that's focused on professionals in the corporate world.

Tory Johnson is the Workplace Contributor on ABC's "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women For Hire. Visit her Web site at and follow her on"

Article: Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures. Picture: Copyright

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Intro to Pasta Making Class this Tuesday

If you’re like me, the closest you’ve come to making fresh pasta is boiling the tortellini you buy at the supermarket. Despite my experience in the kitchen, stuffed pasta has always seemed intimidating and something best left to the professionals, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you’re looking for a new culinary adventure or just to hang out with fellow foodies while supporting a good cause, join us this Tuesday, March 24th from 6:30-9:00pm at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square for Intro to Pasta Making: A pasta creating class benefiting the Italian Home for Children. The Italian Home for Children is a residential and day treatment facility for emotionally disturbed children of all races, nationalities and religions.

Tickets are $50 and include a pasta making class with Dave himself, after which you can taste your fresh pasta creations paired with samples of Dave’s wines.

So come cook, eat, and drink with us and hurry, there are only two tickets left!

Friday, March 20, 2009

What is hindering your ability to be Green

I am sure I have mentioned by now that I watch a lot of TV. In any case my latest obsession is watching the green channel. Most of the shows that I watch show you ways you can become more green. The irony isn't lost on me either that I would actually be more green if I didn't watch all the TV I did and read a book instead.

So although I try to be as green as possible sometimes there are instances on these shows that I a end up saying. "I can't do that". For Example one episode featured a home that was being made of straw! I can just imagine going to the City officials asking for a permit, stating I would like to redo my house into straw. I can guarantee I would be denied!
Another episode on a different show said I shouldn't buy clothes that have cotton (not organic) or polyester in it. Sure no problem! Wait a second, it costs what? In this economy who can afford these clothes? Not me. I might as well buy as well buy couture for those prices.

Furthermore, I was at my friend house for the first time and they were giving us a tour of their home. Seems logical, right? Then when we got to the bathroom and they said they have a policy just like in Meet the Fockers, to only flush when they go #2. While I appreciate the water it's saving, it's REALLY gross to see someone else's urine! I would worry about the cleanliness of the whole thing. Perhaps the answer is to get a dual flush toilet, but what if you rent and that is not an option? Then you are left with the choice to flush or not to flush.

My examples may not be something most people can do but that's the point. Where some of us see limitations others see opportunities. I like to think of myself as an opportunist but sometimes even I have my limits. Do you have anything that is hindering your ability to be green, or is it just me?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s YSPN Program

On Friday April 3, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston will hold their first annual YSPN Spring Event hosted by Mayor Thomas M. Menino at Boston’s historic Parkman House.

The event, sponsored by WHDH-TV, will feature dinner, drinks and music. All proceeds will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s YSPN program and its continued efforts to develop stable, healthy relationships with the city’s most at-risk youth.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s YSPN Program
Date: Friday April 3, 2009
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Ticket price: $100
Location: The Parkman House, 33 Beacon Street
MBTA: Green Line, Park Street

Photos and information pulled from:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gap's Give and Get

If you are going to be spicing up your wardrobe for spring (its coming soon, I promise!) at the Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy this weekend, why not take advantage of a discount - who doesn't love saving money? And the best part is, while you get 30% off your purchase, the Gap will donate 5% to a charity! A win, win situation if you ask me. Here's a link to the Give and Get site and here's a link to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society coupon. Happy Shopping!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spirit of Service is Hiding Something

OK, so your time has freed up a bit because things are slow at work and your getting a little nervous that your job might not be there tomorrow.

Experts say the leading cause of depression and anxiety during this recession is lack of meaning. People who's schedules were jam packed now have free time and are contemplating (while procrastinating and worrying) how they should spend it. We have an answer that is both meaningful and productive...

Volunteer, serve on boards, network, make friends, get off the couch, go out for a drink after work, try a new restaurant.... you see where I'm going with this.

Come tonight to Spirit of Service from 6-9pm at M.J. O'Connor's by the Park Plaza Hotel.

Mingle with others like yourself looking to volunteer, eat, drink, and visit the tables of over 30 nonprofit organizations. Stop in or stay the whole 3 hours; bring your resume or leave it at home; wear your dancing shoes, a suit, your workout clothes --- just come!

All of the organization you see in the picture above (along with some others that will be floating around) will have volunteering opportunities in the Boston area. Some will also be looking for people to serve on their board. I'm sure at least one of these organizations will inspire you.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I want to spend money

I'm extraordinarily lucky for numerous reasons. I'm safe, happy, and healthy for starters. And to put the icing on the cake, I'm employed doing a job that I actually enjoy.

Every morning on my way to work at this job that I enjoy, I listen to news stories about the economic woes. People are unemployed, and even if they have jobs, they aren't spending money. What can I do to help? Well spend money, clearly. I'm not exactly rolling in dough, and I was raised by very frugal parents. But my boyfriend and I do go out to eat once or twice a week, we're going on a 12 day vacation, we're doing our part.

But I decided I wanted more. It was time for me to make a big purchase - my very first TV. After all, I'd be helping the economy, and prices are pretty danged good right now...

I'm not a martyr with no screens in the house. I'm currently using the TV my boyfriend bought with his snow shoveling money when he was 12 years old. It's 19 inches - not too shabby! - but it is 15 years old. Prior to that, I was using my grandmother's old 17 inch TV, even after it was flooded in 8 inches of water (the sound is a little fuzzy now). My DVD player is one of the first ones that ever came out, and came free courtesy of my dad's previous job. I also have a 3 year old laptop (with a line down its display), my work laptop, an iPhone, and a Wii from Craig's List.

But man oh man, I wanted a flat screen LCD TV, at least 32 inches, 1080p, and a decent contrast ratio.

But I couldn't find one anywhere, at least in my price range. It's been a month. Target hasn't gotten a shipment of TVs since before the Superbowl. BestBuy only has humongo TVs in stock way out of my price range Kmart didn't have any nice ones. Circuit City's going out of business "bargains" were nothing of the sort. Walmart (yes I even tried there) was way out of stock.

I wanted to spend ~$800, and can't find anyone to sell me a decent flat screen TV that hasn't gotten terrible reviews! There's three possibilities:
  1. People are continuing to spend money they don't have, this time on TVs.
  2. The economy's not actually that bad, at least in the Boston area.
  3. The economy's so bad that TV manufacturers stopped making and shipping TVs, and/or retailers have stopped ordering stock for their shelves.
I tend to think it's #3, but likely it's a combination of all three factors.

For now, I'm just sitting on the $800 bucks. I'd rather have the TV, esp. since my ING DIRECT savings account is just getting 1.35% interest right now. I could go online to get it... but I tend to think I'll put in the order and it won't be fulfilled!

Perhaps instead of sitting on the $800, I should invest it in one of these TV companies. What do you think?

Related Posts: Sock it to the Holidays; Emergency Christmas; Penny Pinchin' Times; MEFA: down and out
This communication is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute investing advice or a recommended course of action.