deals

2014 Winter Olympics at the BCAE

2014 Winter Olympics Logo

2014 Winter Olympics Logo

Doesn’t it feel like we just watched the 2012 Summer Olympics in London? Doesn’t it feel like just a few months ago the Spice Girls were reunited for a few songs and that gymnast girl was unimpressed with her silver medal? Has it really been almost two years? Apparently.

Strangely enough, I can barely remember the last Winter Olympics in 2010…Apparently it was in Vancouver? I do remember one from 1998, though, where young figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan were competing for the gold.

Back to the present, though.  This winter the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) is offering Boston’s only up-close and personal look at the Winter Olympics. In celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the BCAE is bringing together a group of renowned experts including a former Olympian for a series of unique classes designed to provide in-depth knowledge on the Winter Olympics and its competitions including bobsledding, figure skating, skiing, snowboarding and curling.

The BCAE will turn into Boston’s own Olympic village during the last two weeks of January. The series kicked off on January 22nd, 2014 with Skiing and Snowboarding led by Tom Meyers of Wachusett Mountain. Meyers and his expert staff will gave students an insider’s look at the Olympic sports including what to wear, proper form, what to look for while watching the competitions on TV, as well as the different types of skis and snowboards used in various competitions during this two hour class. On Thursday, January 23rd and January 30th, 2014 Anne Stacy will lead Figure Skating. Stacy, an esteemed figure skating coach, will guide students through the technique, pageantry and beauty of this beloved Olympic sport.  The two-part course will teach students everything they need to know about what it takes to become an Olympic skater including the amount of preparation that goes into a four minute routine, training, the history of the sport, an explanation of the esoteric scoring system, and a demonstration session where students will learn how to do lutz and axel jumps in the BCAE’s spacious ballroom.

On Monday, January 27th, 2014 the BCAE will give students a rare look at curling, one of the most intriguing Winter Olympic sports. Broomstones Curling Club will lead a hands-on Curlingclass, demonstrating the methods behind the madness of this unique winter event. Students will learn the rules, regulations and strategy of the sport, and participants will be given the opportunity to test out their skills with a specially-made curling stone created for dry land demonstrations. On Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 two-time Olympian Peter Donohue will lead a rare discussion onBobsledding and what it takes to be an Olympic athlete. After a career as a world-class sprinter in Ireland, Donohoe turned his sites towards bobsledding and qualified for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, representing Ireland. This lecture will include notes on Peter’s career, a video demonstration, equipment samples, and a question and answer session about both bobsledding and his career.

For those looking for a cultural taste of Sochi, the BCAE will host aVodka Tasting (chosen as a staff pick!) led by expert Randall Bird onThursday, January 23rd This class will cover production, labeling standards, understanding Vodka bottles, and will of course include a tasting of many Vodkas. Finally, on Saturday, January 25th the BCAE’s Dustin Todd Rennells will present Sochi Succulents: Russian Eating Olympics, a crash-course on preparing Russian cuisine such as blintzes and borscht. These classes are perfect inspiration for Winter Olympic game parties and preparation.

WHEN:            Skiing and Snowboarding: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014; 6:00PM to 8:00PM; 1 session. $40 / $34 members

Figure Skating: Thursday, January 23rd and January 30th, 2014; 6:30PM to 8:30PM; 2 sessions. $60 / $51 members

Vodka Tasting: Thursday, January 23rd, 2014; 6:30PM to 8:30PM; 1 session. Staff pick pricing: $36 / $31 members, materials $15 (regularly $45/$38 members)

Sochi Succulents: Russian Eating Olympics: Saturday, January 25th, 2014; 2:30PM to 5:30PM; 1 session. $55 / $47 members, materials $18

Curling: Monday, January 27th, 2014; 6:30PM to 8:30PM; 1 session. $40 / $34 members

Bobsledding: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014; 6:00PM to 8:00PM; 1 session. $40 / $34 members

WHERE:          Boston Center for Adult Education, 122 Arlington Street, Boston, MA, 02116

RSVP:             To register visit www.bcae.org or call the Boston Center for Adult Education at 617-267-4430

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Travel deals and coupons from CheapSally.com

Last week, I learned about a new website, CheapSally.com, which offers coupon and promo codes for top retailers like Amazon, Target, Bloomingdales and AT&T, as well as many travel websites.  CheapSally  recently teamed up with Expedia, the website that I use most often for booking trips, to offer Expedia coupon codes.

Current coupon codes for Expedia include $220 off vacations, $10 off hotels, and no cancellation fees.  The one for $220 off a complete vacation sounds the most interesting to me! Too bad I just got back from an expensive trip and can’t afford another one.  Keep in mind, when using the Expedia coupon codes, you must go through the entire booking process to see the discounted price.

After looking at the Expedia coupons, I browsed through the rest of CheapSally’s selection of  travel deals. The coupon for $100 off vacation packages to Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean quickly caught my eye.  I would love to visit Hawaii for the first time, or take another trip down to the Caribbean. A few other interesting coupons include: 65% off Beaches or Sandals resorts, 50% off 4 star hotels through Hotwire, and $100 off vacation packages through Orbitz.

I’ll be sure to check out CheapSally.com before booking my next trip (which hopefully will be soon!).

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Free Ben & Jerry’s in Boston starting July 28!

Taken from Ben & Jerry's website

An ice cream addict’s dream is coming true on Wednesday!  Ben & Jerry’s will be driving around Boston with free ice cream for the next month. Ice cream fans are encouraged to follow Ben & Jerry’s on Twitter and on Facebook to tell the truck where to go and find out where it will be.

I definitely plan on following @BenJerrysTruck on Twitter and finding this free ice cream during my lunch break as many times as possible.  I mean, I haven’t eaten ice cream for lunch since the Scooper Bowl. So it’s been awhile.  Also, maybe if I can get more free ice cream, I won’t have to make my nightly trips to the J.P. Licks, Berry Freeze, or Friendly’s in my neighborhood, saving me some money.  My favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavors are Everything but the…, Karmel Sutra, Americone Dream, and New York Super Fudge Chunk.  Maybe they’ll have a few of those flavors on the truck.

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Last chance for cheap Red Sox pre-gaming & Celtics watching at Sports Depot

At Sports Depot before a Sox game last summer for drinks and 99 cent apps.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a server at the Sports Depot in Allston for over 3.5 years. I started working there my freshman year of college (I just graduated), and I’ve had a few great years working through the Red Sox World Series Championship in 2007, the undefeated Patriots season that ended in the horrible Superbowl loss, the Celtics championship in 2008, the BU hockey team winning the NCAA title in 2009, the current Celtics playoffs, some busy March Madness days, and countless Saturdays and Sundays during football season, trivia nights, and UFC Fight Nights. As much as I’ve enjoyed working there, I’m also a pretty loyal customer.  I’m a fan of their $2.50 beers and $5.50 mixed drinks (made with well liquor). Unfortunately, it’s all coming to an end. Sports Depot is going to be closing forever in the very near future. Pizzeria Regina  bought it, and it will reopen as a pizza place in the fall. No one will tell us when Sports Depot is closing, though! Needless to say, everyone should come in for some last minute deals!

The Celtics still have a few games left in this championship series, so I’m hoping to see tons of people packed into the bar cheering and drinking $2.50 drafts.  Where else can you get beer that cheap? It’s only Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light & High Life, but really, who can beat those prices? Sports Depot still has tons of TVs, even though a few of them are dying, and there’s plenty of places to watch the game.

Sports Depot never needed to promote the fact that they are a great place to watch a big game, but there is one thing they should have promoted that they never did: how they are a great place to go before a Red Sox game. You might think it’s a little strange since they’re probably about 2 miles from Fenway, and Fenway is surrounded by other sports bars like Game On, Cask n Flagon, Boston Beer Works, etc. Why not just go to those? Well, they are packed, expensive, and the only parking around is $30.  I know if you’re going to a Sox game you probably already dropped at least around $50 on each ticket, so why not just keep splurging? I mean 1 Bud Light at Fenways is $8.

If you’re looking to save some money, and you’re coming from outside of Boston, stopping at Sports Depot on your way to the game is definitely the way to go. They’re right off of the Mass Pike (the Allston Brighton exit) and Storrow Drive.  Every weekday between 4 pm and 6 pm they have 99 cent appetizers (nachos, boneless buffalo wings, sesame chicken fingers, fries, etc.) with the purchase of two drinks (including soda).  With two of the cheap light beer drafts, the total comes to $6 plus tax. So for $1 more than the price of one beer at Cask n Flagon and  $2 less than the price of  one beer at Fenway, you can get two beers and an appetizer at Sports Depot.

To add to the savings, just leave your car in the large parking lot on Braintree St., and either walk to Fenway (takes about 45 minutes) or take the 57 Bus on Brighton Ave (1 block from Sport Depot) or the T from Harvard Ave (2 blocks from Sports Depot).  After the game, just head back out to Allston, and avoid all the traffic near Fenway and the $30 parking.

As I said before, Sports Depot is closing soon. Very Soon. So this weekend, or next week, if you’re heading to Boston to watch the Sox, stop at the Depot on the way and save some money!

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Quick Disney Transportation Tip

Lynx buses from their website

So this was our dilemma: Disney World and Universal Studios are about twenty minutes from each other by car.  We didn’t want to rent a car, and we also didn’t want to spend $80 round trip on a cab or $18 per person on a shuttle that stops at multiple hotels.  We figured our best bet was to use Orlando’s public transportation system, Lynx.

I’m really glad we did! We each spent $4.00 on an all day pass, so we wouldn’t have to worry about transfers.  I think a one way ride is $2.00.  We were able look at the schedule online and figure everything out at our hotel, so it took a little planning, but it was worth saving the money.

All we had to do was take the 8 bus from International Drive, which was one block from our hotel (a couple blocks from Universal) to the Sea World stop, where we caught the 50 bus to the transportation and ticket center at Magic Kingdom. Once you’re at the transportation and ticket center you can take Disney’s buses to wherever you’d like to go.

We left early, so we could get to the parks before they opened, and the trip probably took a little less than an hour. The buses definitely aren’t touristy, and I wouldn’t recommend them to families with small children, but they worked out fine for us.  I mean, we all live in Boston, so we’re used to taking the T everywhere. Just make sure you plan your schedule before hand! They don’t run very often, especially late at night.

After a long day at Hollywood Studios (still MGM to me) and Magic Kingdom, we took a Disney bus over to Downtown Disney, and then took the 50 bus from Downtown Disney to Sea World, and the 8 bus from there to our hotel.

Google Map of Universal area/ I-Drive, Universal Boulevard intersection

So, of course, if you’re staying in Disney and want to go to Universal for the day, you can just do the opposite of what we did.  For transportation from Disney to Universal, just take the 8 bus to Sea World and then the 50 bus to the stop on International Drive across from Wet and Wild.  Walk down Universal Boulevard for about 5-10 minutes to Universal Studios! Easy. Cheap.

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Disney’s Give a Day. Get a Day. Promotion

We got special volunteer buttons

Spring break is now officially over, and I’m back in Boston getting soaked by this seemingly endless rain/wind storm. I have a few posts planned for my recent trip to Florida, and I’d like to start by praising Disney’s  “Give a Day. Get a Day” promotion. This promotion started in January and offers the first 1 million people who volunteer at an approved organization a free voucher for a 1 day 1 park ticket during 2010.

My friend’s and I started planning our spring break like typical 21 and 22 year old college seniors. Our requirements: beach, sun, pools, relaxation, drinks, bars, repeat. And we wanted to do this for around $500 each.  Every trip we found seemed too expensive, though, and we began thinking about Orlando. Of course. As I’ve said before I’m really a 5 year old. I absolutely love Disney World.

We decided to stay near Universal since they have some bars and clubs at their City Walk, and we might as well go out during our last spring break.  I just couldn’t fathom the idea of going to Orlando without going to Disney, though, so I insisted that we try out Disney’s Give a Day Get a Day program to get a free day at Disney.  I’d seen the commercials and I really think that it’s definitely one of Disney’s best marketing initiatives yet.

We found an opportunity in Lowell, through the Hands on Network, and spent a few hours organizing decorations from an event that the organization, “Community Teamwork”, had recently held.  It was definitely worth it.  We were a little scared because we volunteered exactly one week before our trip, and it could take up to 2 weeks to receive the vouchers, but fortunately, the day before we left, we got our emails for our free day at Disney.

The vouchers are good for one day, at one park, but you can upgrade them.  We decided to add the park hopper option, which cost a little over $55 with tax.  It was worth it.  We spent a full day (about 16 hours) in Disney and had tons of fun at Hollywood Studios (always MGM for me) and Magic Kingdom, as well as in Downtown Disney.

The promotion is great because once you have one free day at Disney, you’re going to want more.  You can’t do everything in one day at one park, so it’s basically just a great way to save $80.  And I’m sure Disney realized this.

I just checked out the website, again, though, and they already reached a million volunteers! The program just started in January, so I guess our trip happened at the right time.  I was going to recommend it to everyone traveling to Orlando, but I guess now I can’t.  Hopefully Disney will bring it back in the future.  It was great to give back to the community, save money, and have fun, all at the same time.

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Two Great Ski/ Snowboard Deals

Picture of Mount Snow, from their website, beautiful.

I just found two great lift ticket deals for this weekend.  Get in some last runs before spring comes skiing or snowboarding at either Mount Snow for $45 this Friday or Stratton for $55 this Sunday.  If I wasn’t going to Florida for spring break, I’d definitely use these, but since I can’t

I figured I’d pass them on to the few readers of my lovely blog.  Mount Snow is one of my favorite mountains, and although I haven’t been to Stratton since I was five, I’m sure it’s great too.  I just checked out Mount Snow’s website and apparently there’s been 4 feet of snow recently! Hard to believe, since Boston hasn’t gotten more than an inch or two since Christmas.  So conditions should be good.

Mount Snow link: http://thesnowriders.com/products.php?product=Day-Trip-to-Mount-Snow-March-5th

Stratton link: http://thesnowriders.com/products.php?product=Day-Trip-to-Stratton-Mountain-March-7th

There’s only about 50 spaces left for each day, so hurry!

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