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Barcelona

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Sleep:

Hotel Murmuri A beautiful hotel that was in the center of town and around a bunch of restaurants and shops.  The breakfast was great.

We arrived on Palm Sunday and just wandered around the gothic neighborhood.  There were tons of squares and pretty alleyways.  We kept stumbling upon parades and street performers.street fair

Do:

Plaça Sant Josep Oriol – A cool artist area where we bought some pretty street art, had snacks and people watched.  (And where I can’t find a good weblink for y’all.)

sagrada familiaBasilica de la Sagrada FamíliaGaudi is a bit gaudy but so spectacularly so!  There is so much to see at this cathedral that I felt like my neck had a kink in it from looking up so much.  This is a must do!  Definitely get tickets online ahead of time (there are separate lines to enter) to go in and go up one of the towers.  The neighborhood is also a great place to wander around in.  Hopefully you’ll wander right into La Paradeta.  It’s a lively fresh seafood market/restaurant.  You go up to the lady tell her what fresh seafood you’d like in pounds or numbers and they’ll cook it right up for you.  It’s cash only, with only bottles of wine for sale.  It’s absolutely delicious and fun!  The clams marinara were awesome!!!!mussels

Casa Batllo – This is a home Gaudi designed for the Batllo family.  It’s pretty spectacular and definitely worth trip.  Worth it to get tickets online.

Picasso Museum – A lovely museum with beautiful courtyard.  It has an extensive collection of Picasso’s earlier work and works of his early influencers.  Another place where getting tickets online beforehand is helpful.

From the museum, meander through the neighborhood and into Parc de la Ciutadella, which is very pretty.  A good picnic site.  You can see the Arc de Triomf, which looks like a smaller scale to its Parisian sibling.

Eat:

Pinotxo BarPinotox – Lunch here is a MUST!!! It’s in the Mercat la Boqueria. Go in via the “St. Joseph Sign” on Les Rambles and go right. It’s number 466 on this map! Make sure to tell the charming owner Juan, or his sons you want to sit at the bar.  Juan will tell you what to order. He told us baby squid and meat. We added chickpeas.  Both were amazing washed down with a wine or better yet a glass of Cava. For dessert Juan ordered Mel i Mató for us which is a Catalan cottage cheese w honey and delicious.  Our friend Annie recommended this place to us and after we posted pictures, we found out our friends Tim and Ron went 10 years earlier!St. Josep

La Vinotecca Torres – After this trip, we’re going to try and find wine bars as a first stop in any country.  We’re able to tell them what kinds of wines we like and they suggest in country suggestions.  Perfect!  We had the Mas la Plana cabernet sauvignon from the Pendes Region and it was great.

Petit Comite – This was a great place for dinner with excellent service and right near the hotel! The asparagus was perfect.  The pork cheeks were super tasty.  We had a rice casserole that was too salty.   For dessert definitely get the sweet cream custard, it had caramel almonds that were grounded up as a topping.  And a surprise, a very delicious fried crepe with powder sugar.

La Bodegueta  – Right next to the hotel, we ducked into this basement tapas spot for a drink and some snacks.  It was very warm and friendly. There’s a wall of old wooden-door iceboxes they still use.  They also serve drinks and food outside where you can leisurely watch the world pass.

Mordisco (sorry, can’t find English version of this site) – The grilled artichokes were stupendous, the veal carpaccio were perfect.  The baby strawberries for dessert, exquisite.  The only caveat, the service is horrible.  It sucked, and we’re pretty patient folks.  That’s the thing, the food was delectable and the wines were very good so I want to say it’s worth it to endure the inattentive staff.

Madrid

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Transport:

We took the train from Barcelona to Madrid.  It was quick, easy and we’d highly recommend it.  Tickets were easily purchased on Renfe.

Sleep:

Preciados – This hotel was in a great location.  It was easy to walk to attractions, shops, and subway stations.  It’s a pretty tiny place and not very fancy, but clean and nice.  Be warned there are no doors for the bathrooms, so don’t do this if you’re on a first romantic getaway. Though, what it lacks in bathroom infrastructure, it makes up in toiletries; combs, toothbrushes, shoehorns, sewing kits and more.

Do:

Gran Via – Skip it.  It was super cheesy with a bunch of trinket shops.  Though to get to other sites, you’ll likely walk on Grand Via so just see it from that vantage point and not as a destination.

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Mercado San Miguel – This is a must, in fact we went back multiple times!!! An amazing awesome market that is as picturesque as it is delicious!  I had the BEST mojito ever! (Life changing, I’ve never had another one that even comes close!) It was purchased at a stall by this raw oyster bar.  We also had some delicious fresh mozzarella from an Italian vendor and wonderful wine.

Puerta de sol – It’s one of the main squares and will may of the places you’re heading to will lead you pass this place, it doesn’t need to be a destination.  It’s like Time Square, it’s flashy, there are a lot of people, but once you see it, you’re good.

Royal Palace – It was a lovely palace.  We went on a Wednesday, which was great because it was free but there was also a very long line.  And it was raining so we didn’t see the changing of the guards, which would have likely made the place a lot more interesting.  Definitely make time to walk around the Jardines de Sabatini, it’s lovely with lots of statues.

Cathedral la Almudena – A simply beautiful cathedral.mary

Plaza Mayor – This was a walled in square much like Siena, Italy but not as quaint.  A good place to stroll and take pictures.

Fuente de la CibelesFuente de la Cibeles – We stopped here at night for some great city scene pictures.

Reina Sofia National Museum – This is a must if only to see Picasso’s Guernica an amazing piece that you should spend some time with just to take it all in (it’s physically huge).  There are plenty of Picassos and Miros and the audio guide had great information.

The shops in Salamanca District remind me of Boston’s Newbury Street and Beacon Hill, they were high-end shops and boutiques.   Beware of siesta time, shops close, and we didn’t get to do any shopping.

Jardines del Buen Retiro – This park is just gorgeous. The Palacia Cristal and monument to Alfonso XII are not to be missed.  Take a boat ride.  Have a picnic.  It’s a lovely spot.  From there make sure to walk along Paseo del Prado which is beautifully tree-lined like Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue.  This will take you to Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.boat ride

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum – There are some great impressionists’ work here.  If you’re coming from the Buen Retiro, you’ll likely need a moment to sit and relax before heading in which is perfect because there’s a lovely, loungy bar upstairs.  It was great for drinks but the food here was not good.

Calle de Fuencarral – This is a must in the shopping department.  I got some funky dresses and tops in boutiques along this street.  The shops here are unique and fun.

Corral de la Moreria – We came for the Flamenco.  It looks and feels touristy because it is.  But if you’re in Madrid for the first time, you’re gonna do touristy things and this should be one.  It was truly awesome!!! We took in the show with dessert.  The sample platter was tasty and the wine was very good.  You just can’t get a bad house tinto in Madrid.flamenco

Eat:

La Barraca – We almost didn’t go to this place because it looked too touristy but the paella was really great.  It’s way too much for two but you must have it.  We got the Barraca style one and it was a savory delight!  We also got the green beans, which were shelled and delicious.  I really wanted the flan for dessert, but we were stuffed!

Gin Club – Before La Barraca, we wandered into the Gin Club for a drink.  As with everything in Madrid, it would have been hopping had it not been 8pm – people party late here.  This was great spot and the mojitos were second best to the one at the Mercado.

Venta el Buscon – What a great spot.  We wandered in for a brunch and wish we had known to come for dinner.  It’s a cool space with a rustic feel.  A fun looking bar.  We had tapas in the morning and left wanting to recommend it to everyone.  Thanks for the recommendation John Sullivan.

El Anciano Rey de los Vinos  – We stopped in for some tapas and wine and it was a very festive scene with what appears to be locals.  There were old dudes at the bar having tapas and chucking the toothpicks on the ground, so they were either locals or rude.

croquettesLa Alacena Victor Montes in Mercado San Anton – Victor Montes is a restaurant but there is a bar type set up upstairs of this market where you can get awesome tapas.  Just go up to the counter, order wine and tapas from the display.  They’ll warm them up for you.  My favorite was the gulas, baby squid.  There is also a fresh croquettes bar, where you pick the ones you want and they flash fry them.  Great recommendation @SheltieDad

Transport:

We took Ryan Air to Portugal.  Beware, they charge for everything.  Buy up for priority boarding and seating.  They only allow one bag.  And they’re strict.

Oporto

portoporto boatsporto church

Sleep:

Hotel Teatro – This was a beautiful hotel with some quirks.  There were no dressers in the room.  And during breakfast they didn’t have enough seating.  It’s also in downtown not the waterfront.  In hindsight we would have picked the waterfront.  The service at the hotel was wonderful.

Do:

Se Cathedral – Oporto’s Cathedral is a must and pay the 3e for cloister.  This gets you up close and personal with an ancient church.

bridge Pointe Luis I Bridge – It’s a lovely bridge that was designed by a student of Eiffel.  Definitely walk across (via the upper level) and hang out in the Vila Nova de Gaia neighborhood.

Calem – It was a good quick tour of the Calem port house.  We were gonna skip a port house tour, but our waiter at lunch said it would be like going to the Vatican and skipping the Pope’s house.  We didn’t want to be those people.  At the end, you get a great variety of port samplings.

Ribeira Neighborhood – This is the waterfront area.  You should definitely walk through.  It’s very picturesque and festive.  Grab a drink and enjoy the people watching.  Come back at night for the Quay Bar (notes below!)

Wander through the Virtudes Area and by Cordoaria Park (both of which I couldn’t find websites for.)

Livraria Lello – This is simply a gorgeous old bookstore that’s said to have been the inspiration behind JK Rowling’s description of Hogwart’s Library.  The only downside, there are no pictures allowed and the staff is EXTREMELY strict about enforcing the rule.

Sao Francisco Church – A beautiful church that you should see but feel free to skip the very creepy catacombs.

Hotel Boavista – For a spectacular sunset, check out this hotel’s terrace.  Be warned, the red wine came from a box and was horrible, but the view was stunning! After drinks, make sure to walk down to the beach to take pictures.  (We read the Crystal Palace Gardens was good for sunsets but we didn’t make it over.)sunset

Palacio Bolas – Who knew a former stock exchange could be so interesting?  It was an informative guided tour that took us inside a very beautiful building with plenty of interesting history.  The opulence and building surprises make it worth a visit!

Eat:

Wine Quay Bar – What a super cute spot for some charcuterie and delicious in-country wine.  Moses runs the spot and speaks English well.  He’ll help make some suggestion for great Portuguese wines and you can just relax in this very cozy spot.  It’s small and there’s awkward seating, so I would not recommend to any families with children or non-agile travelers.amantis

Dom Tonho – We went to this restaurant in the Gaia neighborhood and just sat and enjoyed the day.  It was the perfect spot for people watching, to enjoy the Douro River view and enjoy a delicious meal.  Order the baccala with potatoes and the veal stew. The octopus appetizer with black-eyed peas was also yummy!  The main waiter spoke impeccable English.  Actually, most folks in Portugal spoke a lot of English!

Shis – This was really amazing for dinner.  It was a stunning space that overlooks the ocean.  The food was so delicious.  I was so excited about eating that I forgot to take notes on what to eat.  This is perfect for post-sunset at the Hotel Boavista.

Cafe Majestic – This is a landmark in Oporto and is a beautiful building.  It has great old school charm, but really, it’s very touristy.  We had coffee and enjoyed the space but it was under impressive.

Caravela da Ribeira – This is a hole in the wall you should definitely duck into for a great lunch.  (There’s no website, but I linked you to TripAdvisor so you can get the address.)  The folks here don’t speak English, but with the help of some pictures, pantomiming and Google translater we were able to order.  The lamb was awesome and so was the baccala.  I also had the kale soup that was mighty tasty!

Hotel Teatro Restaurant Palco – This was our hotel’s restaurant and we went because it was our last night and because it was Easter and everything was closed.  It was very good.  The pork croquettes, veal medallions, and the pork three-ways were all delicious.  The scallops were cold and beware of small portions.

Lisboa

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Transport:

We took the train from Oporto to Lisboa.  It was, again, simple and highly recommended.  Booked our tickets online at Comboios de Portugal.

Sleep:

Hotel Britania – The good news, the front desk was super helpful.  The place was nice and the rooms were big!  It was close to two metro stops and some cool shops (loved the shoes at Fly London) and restaurants.  The interesting, it was located across the street from a strip club.  There was a homeless man who directed cars to empty public parking spots and if you didn’t tip him after parking, he’d vandalize your car (we didn’t drive).

Do:

Start your stay by buying a metro pass for length of your trip.  A great, inexpensive and easy way to get around.

peacockviewCastelo Sao Jorge – I loved this place!  You’ll easily spend a few hours walking around, checking out all the views and sites.  One of the highlights, the crazy awesome, gorgeous peacocks.  Go to Praca da Figueroa to catch bus 737 to the castle.  Take tram 28E down to Cathedral (though we missed it).

Cafe Luso – We went to the Café to hear some Fado and were NOT disappointed.  The location is negotiable but experiencing Fado is not.  It’s so soulful; the singers will make you want to weep.

Take an afternoon just to walk around town. The Praca Dom Pedro IV is the main square and has an exquisite mosaic tiled floor.  We wandered around and spotted an elevator that we later learned is the Santa Justa Lift.  Definitely do this.  Use your metro ticket to get up the top, then pay the extra 1.5e for the tip top.  You’ll exit to an amazing view of Lisboa.  When you leave, you’ll be going down to the Bairro Alto neighborhood.  It’s a great place to stroll.  We continued our circuitous exploration and found Rua Augusta, which was a bustling street, but oddly where we were asked twice if we wanted to buy drugs.  There’s also Avenida da Liberdade, which had the most beautiful, mosaic tiled sidewalks.   We made our way to  Baixa-Chiado  where we found great shopping.

graffitiIf you have time take the metro to the Picoas stop.  There’s awesome street art there by Os Gemeos who did the graffiti art at the former Occupy Boston site.

Eat:

BA Wine Bar – This is a must.  It’s a cool little wine bar much like Quay.  It has delicious charcuteries and amazing Portuguese wines.  See Rui.  Tell him what kind of wine you like and he’ll pair you up with a better Portuguese version that’s very affordable. (There was not website for the bar, so the best I could do was provide the TripAdvisor review page.)

Restaurante A Palmeira – This was an authentic Portuguese spot where the lady yelled at me for asking for a cup of sangria.  Only pitchers.  Folks still smoke in restaurants here so just beware.  We ordered the pescadinhas fitas com arroz de legumes and the Entremeada na grelha com ananas.  Both were amazing and the soup was great.  Beware the fish comes with head and tail.  It might make you squeamish, but it’s tasty enough to make you glad you ordered it.  The soup starter was also super tasty!!!

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Assintura – What a lovely restaurant with an amazing tasting menu.  This was definitely a place we’d recommend to all Lisboa visitors.  And thanks to our trip to the BA Wine Bar before hand, we knew to order a bottle of the Dona Maria Amantis Reserva.

Café Nicola – A bit touristy but we sat outside and had a nice lunch.  Joe ordered a chicken dish, I got a farmer soup and a cuttlefish and shrimp stew.  All were tasty.

Miscellaneous:

We only pack a carry-on so we always need to find a laundry.  In Lisboa, we found the 5 a Sec Laundromat in Baixa-Chiado.  I can’t remember the cost but it was reasonable for drop-off/pick-up.  The lady behind the counter was very nice but spoke limited English.  Google Translator was very helpful.

Take away: Everyone goes to Spain but you should go Portugal.

Transport:

We flew Royal Air Maroc to Marrakesh.  There was a connection in Casablanca.  Get your snacks and water before leaving.  The Casablanca Airport is sparse.  And did not have very good signage.  So just pay attention so you don’t get lost wandering to your gate.  We had to book the flight via Kayak.com.

Marrakesh

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Sleep:

Dar Hanane – This riad was simply an amazing sanctuary.  It’s in the medina and so close to the souks, yet the second you walk through the doors, you’re transported out of the frenetic market place and into a serene oasis.  Mandy and Aziz are great.  Mohammed was most helpful.  There’s also an honor system bar, with wine and beer, where you write down what you had and pay when you checkout.  Most Muslim establishments don’t have alcohol.courtyard

Transport:

Definitely arrange for transport from airport to riad. The minute you turn into the medina walled-in old city, steel yourself.  It was overwhelming to see mule-pulled carts, speeding scooters, running children, open-air butchers, and hunched over men with wheelbarrows, all at once at a frenetic pace while you’re trying to crawl along in the back of car.  Honestly, it was a bit scary and freaky but then this place becomes magical.

Do:

marketSouks – These are the wonderful market stalls where you can buy leather bags, spices, and trinkets.  Definitely wander through and just look.  I’d read up on what to avoid and know about anything you’re planning on purchasing.  A handmade bag may not really be sewn together and rather, a cheap, glued together piece.  Also, haggling is a must.  We bought spices at our first stall and definitely over spent as we didn’t even offer a lower price, we just paid what the merchant said was the ‘best price.’  I think a good place to start is to cut in half, every price they give you.  We eventually got the hang of it and you will too.

Jemaa el-Fna Square – It’s the square at the entrance of the medina and it’s really like the town square, with restaurants, shops, and entertainment.  It’s a must see because you’re in Morocco but we weren’t really into snake charmers or monkeys in diapers dancing.

Koutoubia Mosque – You should definitely walk over to take pictures outside and take in the site but you can’t go in unless you’re Muslim. Next door you can see is the Lalla Shrine.

Riad Tzarra – It’s a sister riad to Dar Hanane and this is where you want to have a hammam.  This is where they will bathe and scrum you. You will be naked. Just an FYI.  Also, follow it up with a massage.  It’s pretty awesome!

Maison de la Photographie – This was a cool little museum with some great photography.  Definitely stop in to check it out.  And after wandering around, make sure to head upstairs to the rooftop terrace for some tea and a snack.

Eat:

cafe

Cafe des Epices – This was a great spot to tuck away in and grab food and some tea, always have tea!!!  The kefta sandwich was delicious.

Le Foundouk – A beautiful restaurant where we had a lovely meal.  We don’t remember much as we realized we misbooked our flight home as we were getting seated for dinner.  We do remember they sent someone to walk us from our riad to the restaurant, which was helpful as we would not have been able to navigate the alleys at night.  And the restaurant did serve wine.

Miscellaneous:

Take pictures of things not people.  People did not like being photographed.

teaSay yes, when offered mint tea – it’s simply awesome stuff.

Sahara

stormdunesdesert

Do:

Just contact Nick at Desert Camp Morocco and he’ll take care of everything.camp

camelsOur driver and tour guide was wonderful and picked us up in a 4×4 SUV from Marrakesh and drove us the 10 hours to Erg Chigaga Luxury camp in the middle of the Sahara.  There were plenty of food, bathroom, and photo stops along the way.  Once you hit the desert, before you make it to camp, it’s a crazy drive on sand, past nomadic tribes with herds of camels, and through a mesmerizing landscape.  Take a Dramamine or get the motion sickness bands, because it is rocky.  But when you arrive at camp, it’s like seeing a mirage come alive.

The affable Bobo runs the camp and his hospitality and genuine good nature can’t be exaggerated.  The camp has a comfortable bed, a connecting bathroom with toilet, sink, and a place to ‘bathe.’  When you want to bathe, let the crew know and they’ll bring you a tub of solar-warmed water that you’ll mix with the cold water for a quick soap and rise.  I washed my hair and everything so I thought it was great.

There is a dining tent and a lounging tent with plenty of beer and wine.  And the food the cook prepares is really delicious.

We had dinner with a British couple who were honeymooning at the camp, then after dinner, the crew had a sing-a-long, replete with amp for the guitar.  It was awesome.  The 20-step walk back to our tent was lit by a million starts overhead.jam session

camel rideIn the morning, we got up for a sunrise camel ride that was really life changing.  You’ll see images; colors and hues that you didn’t think really existed.  It was magical.

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nantucket

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Nantucket is one of those places best experienced through an introduction.  Hubby brought me to this island nearly 10 years ago.  We went to The Pearl where I had one of my favorite meals, ever!  The Wok Fried Lobster is a dish I’d savor as a last meal and dream about as treasured past.

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When we met our dear friends Dominick and Cary, it was through the love of Nantucket that we connected.  They’ve made an annual pilgrimage to Nantucket for nearly 20 years and have shown us remote beaches and stunning sunsets.

 

paddleboaringI’ve since introduced this island oasis to my best friend Carrie, from California.  And for the past three years, we’ve all converged on Nantucket for a long weekend to toast friendships, feast on fine foods and celebrate the joys of island life.

 

nantucket 2013 from Susan Tran on Vimeo.

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Summer Vacation

The worst part about summer is it’s over, the best part, everything.  After last year’s Sunshine Day music video, this year I envisioned an old home movie.

For 2012, we added a GoPro camera.  Surfers, adventurers and random people like me use the GoPro to get point-of-view video while action is happening.

We snapped her into a bike helmet, onto friends’ heads while playing ball, and for THE shot I waited all week for; we had her on a boogie board.

1st shot from GoPro is always me pressing record

After getting video of me riding in a wave, I wanted to switch her around to reverse the shot.  Standing in calf deep water with my friend Paco, I released her out of her clip and she juggled around in my hands until she plopped into the ocean.  It was the same time a wave came in and swept her out to sea.  We searched.  Those nearby, who saw what happened, searched.  We walked the beach at low tide but she was gone.  So this year’s summer vacation video is for GoPro, she was taken too soon, but went out doing what she loved!

 

Here’s what I did on my summer vacation:

PTown from Susan Tran on Vimeo.

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olympic torch

In 2001, Hubby and I got married.  If that wasn’t momentous enough, 29 days after our wedding, I ran with the Olympic torch.

I didn’t cry at the wedding, I saved it for the entire 1/8 of a mile I was running with a butane flame.

The minute I stepped off the shuttle, the cold air hit my warm tears.  Every step brought along the visceral reactions associated with just how powerful the moment was for me.  When I saw my freshly minted family, along with friends gathered along Genesee Street to cheer me on, I started the bawling.  Crying with me, hubby and my new nephew, Lawrence; he thought I’d be running all the way to Salt Lake City.  He feared I was leaving him.

I’m usually not the crier.  Hubby, of passionate Italian-Irishman heritage, cries at cotton and pet commercials.  But that day, I remember the endless tears streaming down my face, these streamers of joy.  I had this realization that only in America could a daughter of immigrants carry a symbol of peace, unity, and sportsmanship through her newly adopted community of Utica, NY.  Only in this great country would this girl, who learned to speak English second to Mandarin-Chinese, be anchoring the evening news in a small town.  Only here in this diverse nation, far from her home in Los Angeles, would she be embraced by her new family, without reservations.

A decade later, hubby has since framed my torch, jogging set, and newspaper clippings.  It is such a source of unbridled exuberance when I see that collection of memories.  And as I prepare to watch the London Olympics, I’m returned to that one moment in time and reminded of the immense honor I had of carrying the Olympic torch.  Only in America!

Olympic Torch Run from Susan Tran on Vimeo.

(Video courtesy of Kelly Fuller/WKTV)

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marriage

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This weekend I had the honor and privilege of marrying two dear friends.
More than a year ago, during a night out, they asked me to marry them. I agreed thinking they were under the haze of fun night. I accepted under the same cloud naïveté.

A couple months later, they informed me, they were serious. And that’s the point, in which, I started to panic.
I agonized over the service.

Ben and Tim did not have a wedding party. They choose not to have a reader, harpist, or vocalist. As Tim put it, it was the three of us and I had 10 minutes.

For months, I worked (lost sleep) over my ‘speech,’ along with the vows and ring exchange. When I got down to writing it, I was stumped! It wasn’t until I realized, the things missing were sound bites. It’s how I’m accustomed to writing my scripts for work. It’s where I was most comfortable. So I sent Ben and Tim a series of questions. It was after I read their answers that the the words to their wedding ceremony simply came to me with ease.
Below is the ceremony, I’d written for the marriage of Tim and Ben.

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Italy

Siena

Hotel:

Palazzo Ravizza – The breakfast of breads and meats were great.  Fresh fruits and coffee were perfect. The view out the window was breathtaking and sunsets spectacular.

 

Transportation:

Driver from Florence Airport to Siena: Licio.  Great.  Hired through hotel.

 

Restaurants:

Trattoria la Torre – Also no menu, just the owner Alberto.  He told me what they had (in Italiano), I asked to see the menu, he replied, “I am the menu.” Great picci pasta and raviolis both with bolognese.

Antica Osteria Divo – Best dinner in Siena.  I had zucchini roll with mozzarella and pea cream, picci pasta with wild boar ragu, and a potato encrusted fish.  All were amazing.

Activities:

Siena Duomo Crypt – Inside there was an area that was newly excavated that was very cool.

Façade at Siena Duomo – We climbed to top and had an amazing view of Siena.

Piazza del Campo – It was great for people watching and photographs (day and night).

Medieval Streets – We just hiked the streets and every turn was a beautiful, picturesque, and quaint.

Gelato – We lined up at the busiest one and were not disappointed.

Chianti Wine Tour – It was half-day and hired through hotel.  We went to Sant’ Appiano where they gave us a 6 pour tasting with snacks.  Their blends were delicious. 

Tenuta Casanova – They made amazing truffle oil and a balsamic-type vinegar.

The driver of wine tour also took us to Monteriggioni Fortress  and Castellina in Chianti for photo opportunities and a gelato stop.

Phrase I picked up:

Mi piace molto – I like it very much

City take away:

Everyone drinks from fountains, not water fountains but decorative ones in the towns’ squares.

 

Florence

Hotel:

Hotel dei Macchiaioli – The best part of this hotel is its central location and very helpful staff.  The breakfast is fine (you should order a double espresso from the bar instead of having the machine coffee in dining area).

 

Transportation:

Taxi from hotel to bus station.  Bus from Siena to Florence.  Cab ride to hotel.

(We took a train from Florence to Rome. It wasn’t until after we arrived to the main train station en route to Rome did I realize I bought online train tickets to depart from other train station.)

 

Activities:

Florence Duomo – Definitely climb to top of cupola.  The line was at the side entrance.  It’s a different line to get into church.  The gelato stand by side entrance was very good.

Ponte Vecchio – It was a must see but so crowded.  There was a statue there with a gate that folks put locks on to ‘seal their love,’ but it’s illegal.

Accademia – David was awesome.  But like the Mona Lisa at the Louve… it feels like you see the one attraction then you’re done.  Advance tickets are a MUST!

Convent of San Marco – Make sure to see dorms on 2nd floor.

Medici Chapel – The new sacristy was very impressive and Michelangelo created all the tombs.  (Also don’t confuse this chapel with the San Lorenzo.)

Santa Maria Novella – It was a very beautiful church but we couldn’t find the old perfumery that was mentioned in Rick Steves’ Florence tour.

Piazza Michelangelo – From this park we saw one of the most spectacular sunsets and what a view of Florence.  The pink hills in the distance were an elegant surprise.

National Museum of Bargello – This place had gorgeous statues and an awesome courtyard filled with coats of arms.

Galileo Museum – This was a very cool (modern) space.  We stayed near an English speaking school tour guide.  The museum houses Galileo’s middle finger which was hilarious and prophetic.

Santa Croce Basilica – It’s where all of the greats (Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli) are buried.  I loved the museum section where you can see the stained glass and frescos up close.

Pitti Palace – This place was vast and overwhelming.  You’ll probably do the garden after the palace so pickup a snack before you head up into Boboli Garden.

Uffizi – It was a must and it’s made even better and more manageable with Rick Steves’ audio guide.  Advance tickets here – also a MUST.

 

Restaurants:

Trattoria Enzo e Piero – Our hotel recommended this family-run restaurant and it was a lovely treat.  We started with this white bean appetizer with beans from the Valdarno region.  I had pasta with truffle oil and hubby had a special ham (that’s what it was called!) with roasted potatoes.  It was all delicious, simple and cozy.

Osteria De’ Benci – In our travels we met a young couple from NYC who recommended this restaurant and it was great!  I had this drunken pasta (pasta cooked in red wine) and demanded hubby figure out how to recreated it.  We also had a hot pepper steak. All was delicious with a great staff.

Trattoria Katti – This restaurant was all the rage with the Rick Steves’ devotees.  In fact, when we were there three tables talked about it.  It was proclaimed ‘a must’ but it was underwhelming.  (We’ve had a few mediocre meals in Italy but none were with such a highly rated place.)  My gnocchis were heavy, the spinach cold, and the saffron polenta was bland.  Hubby’s sausage and beans were tasty but the expectations were too high.

Il Santo Bevitore – The only sad part, we found this place on our last day in Florence and were only there for lunch.  It was a great atmosphere with mainly locals.  I had this linguine with smoked red mullet eggs and olive oil.  It was so flavorful.  Hubby had broccoli-pesto pasta with anchovies.  It was nearly as amazing as my dish.

Trattoria San Lorenzo – While at il Santo Bevitore, the Italians next to us recommended this restaurant and it was great.  A small family run place.  I had the picci pasta with a duck bolognese that was ridiculously yummy.  Hubby enjoyed a tasty steak with shaved parmesan cheese.

 

Phrases I picked up:

Sono piena – I am full

Tutto bene? Va bene – How is everything? It’s good.

 

City take away:

Tuscan bread is horrible.  They don’t use salt in their breads, so you can properly taste the cured meats, but I’m a savory girl who loves bread and I just stared at the bread baskets with disdain.

Rome

Hotel:

Daphne Inn – It’s tough to find.  And there are two locations.  Ours was on Santo Basilio next door to Alice’s Pizza (They have good slices!)  It’s a nice boutique hotel.  It was a good price for the very central location.

 

Transportation:

Train from Florence then cab to hotel.

(Note the train station mishap from above!)

 

Activities:

Photo by Matt TomlinColosseum – There were just so many pictures to take. Inside. Outside. Nighttime.  This was another place where you should definitely reserve tickets.  And Rick Steves’ audio guide was also handy.

Forum – A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum… we couldn’t find it.  We kept going on a road that looked like it would take us to an entrance.  But three churches later and we were still on the outside looking in.  We finally found an entrance on Via dei Fori Imperiali.

Trevi Fountain – As my friend Cara said, throw a coin over your shoulder then get out.  It’s a beautiful and impressive fountain but it is so very crowded.

Spanish Steps – We randomly found it and were at the top of the steps (Via Gregoriana and Piazza della Trinita dei Monti) so it was a quick and easy trek down.  A fun place to people watch before or after the shopping district.

Via dei Condotti – This is the street for all the high-end shopping.  We also walked along the parallels streets.  We found a cute home good store, Animalier di Gramacciono,  at 76a Via della Croce.

Piazza del Popolo – This plaza was in the movie Angels and Demons.  (We watched that after we were in Rome.)  From there we walked up to the gardens (there were several: Piazzale Napoleone and Piazzle Siena just two names for reference).  It was so beautiful and reminded us of Central Park or the Boston Common.

Pantheon – It’s a very cool building where Rick Steves’ audio was very helpful.

Vatican – We were there for Palm Sunday and went for mass.  It was very cool to go to church with tens of thousands of others and the Pope presiding.  I also bought rosary beads, now blessed by the Pope, for my Catholic family and friends.Photo by Matt Tomlin

Vatican Museum – This was a MUST advance ticket site.  The line wrapped around the Vatican walls!  There was so much to see in the museum and we really just wanted to see the Sistine Chapel.

Sistine Chapel – The ticket for the Vatican Museum gets you into the Sistine Chapel.  And it was spectacular.  This was another site that the Rick Steves’ audio guide was key.

St. Peter’s Basilica – Rick Steves’ guide gives a good exit strategy out of the museum to the Basilica. We didn’t listen well and went the long way around.  This was another place where you can climb up to the cupola.  It’s 551 steps to the top for a view of the Vatican.

Borghese museum – This museum was so high maintenance.  You need advance tickets.  You need to pick up the tickets 30 minutes in advance (no sooner).  Then you need to wait until your time slot opens before you can enter.  You have a limited time to enjoy the museum.  You also have to check your bags (camera, phone, wallet, everything).  There were beautiful sculptures and paintings but I’m not sure it was worth the hassle.

 

Restaurants:

Tullio – A pricey but lovely restaurant.  All the pastas were homemade and delicious.  We had a zucchini flower appetizer that was yummy and it had the best spinach side dish.

Giolitti – This place did have the best gelato but it was also the most expensive.  We sat at a table (where the prices are even higher but we didn’t have the patience for the VERY long lines).  They top their gelatos with whip cream, very delicious whip cream! This is a good pre or post Pantheon site.

Trattoria al 19 – We wandered in here after an evening of photographing the Colosseum.  Their antipastas were really innovative and yummy.  The pasta was not hand rolled but they did have tasty sauces.   The meats were good and the grill squid was delicious.  Sadly, the spinach was not good at all.

Caruso Gelato – This one gets a win for best gelato at a reasonable price.  It had the best pistachio and was as delicious as Golitti’s, just not as expensive.

Ditirambo – Delicious.  The bread, beef tartar, cheese/meat/phyllo mint appetizer, pasta with pork cheek and ewe cheese, pistachio gelato with pepper – they were all yummy. The salt encrusted pig was a bit boney.

 

City take away:

You can never go wrong with the Bolognese.

Bathrooms – The toilets don’t have toilet seats (this was throughout Italy).  Just FYI, you’ll be hovering, so your quads will get a nice workout.

 

Amalfi

Hotel:

Hotel Luna Convento – It used to be a convent and its cloister is very cute.  It’s close to the center of town and the rooms have a spectacular view.  We read online to request a room in renovated section, we did.  If you’re going for the pool, note that it doesn’t open until May 1st.

 

Transportation:

We took bus 85 from Rome to Termini Train station.  Took a train to Salerno.  And took a hydrofoil to Amalfi.  There was little information online about ferry service.  We read somewhere the port was across the street from the Salerno train station and it was.  There was a little trailer to buy tickets and it was a beautiful, scenic ride to Amalfi.  I highly recommend the ferry.

 

Activities:

Amalfi was very chill and we just walked around town and took day trips.

Mamma Agata Cooking Course – This was really a highlight of our trip (and technically in Ravello but it was a quick bus rip!).  The cooking class, which was more of a demonstration, was lovely.  The terrace opens out to the most amazing view of the Amalfi Coast.  The food was so delicious.  The homemade wine kept coming and it was one of my favorite wines in Italy.  But the best part was Chiara (mamma’s daughter and translator) and Mamma herself.  It was like we were invited into a friend’s home and watched a delicious meal being prepared.  I love every minute of this day!

Blue Grotto – It was so beautiful and a shade of blue I’ve never seen in my life but it is a bit of a racket.  You pay $35 euro for round trip ferry to Capri, then transportation to the Blue Grotto ($25 euro for cab), $8.50 euro for rowboat into grotto and $4 euro for entrance fee (these are all per person!). We took a ferry to Capri (Great scenic route.  Sit on the right side of boat on the way out and left side on way back for best picture taking opportunities.), a bus to Anacapri then accidentally ended up walking 4 miles to the Blue Grotto.  I do not recommend that.  Just take a boat or taxi from the main port in Capri.  It’s worth the money… the walk was crazy.

Sant’ Andrea Square – We just sat in the square, had some wine, and people watched.

Northern Side of Town – There were these huge cement blocks on the northern side of Amalfi where you can climb and just enjoy the view of the water.

 

 

Restaurants:

Stella Maris – The swordfish with lemon leaf was very fresh.  I asked for some vegetables and they grilled up some yummy stuff.  Hubby had the Lemon risotto with shrimp and it was a winner.  This restaurant sits on the beach and has a great view of the water.

Donna Stella Pizzeria – (Link is Trip Advisor review.) The pizza was good but a bit under cooked.  The potato croquettes were very tasty.  It was #2 to Alice’s Pizza.  (We did not find great pizza in Italy!)

Marina Grande – (Chiara at Mamma Agata recommended this place.) Great meal that started with a great bread bag.  There was this delicious homemade squid ink bread that I could have just kept eating.  The dishes were innovative.  I had a pasta with mussels that was very good.

Eolo – Our favorite meal during our two weeks in Italy.  Two amuse-bouche that were delightful.  I had the mozzarella, tomato, tapanade starter that was fresh and tasty.  We had the Scialatielli pasta with seafood that was divine.  And the pasta stuffed with a cauliflower purée and clams. It was like a pierogi and so delicious.  Pastas were homemade and so much tastier!  For dessert a lemon cream and tequila jelly – WOW!

 

City take away:

Don’t eat anywhere there are “barkers,” folks stopping you on the street, telling you to eat at that restaurant.

Aglianico Wines are my new favorites.

 

Phrases I picked up:

Mi piace moltisimo – I liked it best!

Naples Airport

Transportation:

Amalfi Coast Car Service – Claudio Lucibello was great.  Perfect amount of narrative during our scenic drive to the airport. (Another recommendation from Chiara!)

 

Restaurants:

Antica pasticceria Vincenzo BellaviaI had the best sfogliatelle in my life right in the Naples airport!  In the states they come cream filled; it’s sweet.  But this shop had a spinach one that was amazing.  I ate it, then walked back to order a half dozen more (it’s all they had left) to take home with me.

 

Tips for Italy Trip

-       Download Google translator

-       Buy Euros stateside

-       Get power adapters

-       Invest in comfortable walking shoes

-       Get Rick Steves’ audio guides

-       Chat with folks at hotel, they can make reservations at the big attractions, hook you up with transportation, and help plan itinerary.

 

 

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Gratitude2012

For 2012, gratitude is my attitude. I’m posting, via Twitter, something I’m grateful for, everyday for 366 days.

It all started after seeing this segment by Faith Salie. What I took away from her two minute 36 second commentary was that being grateful would stave off depression and death. Sold!

A couple of folks have joined in on the #Gratitude2012 hashtag (@rclansing and @martymiz). But it’s not too late! Come on, it’ll be fun!

Below is the running list of my gratitudes and some with background on what was happening that day.

susantran #365/366 Grateful I’ve got much to b grateful for!Hubby cleared car of snow in am b4 work.Friend went w me to cheer 4 #Pats! #Gratitude2012

susantran #364/366 I’m grateful for a fun visit from my friend Mike from #Charlotte. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/422IMq8B

susantran #363/366 I’m grateful for @CoryBooker quote: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” #Gratitude2012

susantran #362/366 I’m grateful for folks in #Saugus who put on best light display I’ve seen this season!! #Gratitude2012 #5again http://t.co/6g798Ww4

susantran #361/366 I’m grateful my friend Darren introduced me to the mightily delicious hamantaschen!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/bD5OPlXf

susantran #360/366 I’m grateful for Christmas with hubby and friends who are like family. #Gratitude2012 (6 days left in 2012.) http://t.co/Y6k8S0pl

susantran #359/366 I’m grateful for hubby’s love of cooking. We all win. #PrimeRibPrepsForChristmasDinner. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/cPblvCdw

susantran #358/366 I’m grateful for Sundays!!! Brunch w friends. Dinner w friends. #Gratitude2012

susantran #357/366 Grateful hubby finally got to open the 10 yr anniversary box (time capsule) I have him in ’02. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/2IVwd78R

susantran #356/366 I’m grateful that from here on out, every day gets lighter and lighter out!!!! #Gratitude2012 #WinterSolstice http://t.co/vEBxGsqR

susantran #355/366 I’m grateful for these delicious cookies hubby bought from @momomilkbar. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/nwcLzee9

susantran #354/366 I’m grateful for a little holiday surprise from friends Bob and Jorge. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/w7FYkWQM

susantran #353/366 Grateful for http://t.co/dVaIvx7v. Feeling powerless, it’s perfect vehicle to help classrooms and students in need. #Gratitude2012

susantran #352/366 I’m grateful on this very wet day I was able to stay relatively dry. #Gratitude2012

susantran #351/366 Grateful I got to come home from CT for a night to cheer on #Pats! A luxurious distraction. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/aW3qbnU1

susantran #350/366 I’m grateful I found some veggies to-go for dinner. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/BXZZMIX5

susantran #349/366 Today’s gratitude is tough. I’m grateful for crew in #Newtown and #Boston. You’re the best! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/MaiHxbgH

susantran #348/366 I’m grateful for the call from @drivesavers! They were able to recover 90% of my damaged hard drive! #Gratitude2012

susantran #347/366 I’m grateful for the ability to print address labels. Do you handwrite the addresses for your cards? #Gratitude2012

susantran #346/366 I’m grateful for some adversity in life. 1-Makes me appreciate joy more. 2-There is no better motivator. #Gratitude2012

susantran #345/366 I’m grateful for @BostInnovation and their article on watching #Pats game on laptop!! http://t.co/NkLQ0WXd #Gratitude2012

susantran #344/366 I’m grateful we (hubby, housemate, and me) found a perfect #Christmas tree! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/g7FiNQYS

susantran #343/366 I’m grateful friends are expecting their first baby and we got to toast his eminent arrival. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/F36gBlrX

susantran #342/366 I’m grateful for productive days. Knocked off a bunch of to-do’s and went into work early! #Gratitude2012

susantran #340/366 I’m grateful for the @CapeCodFishShar! Hubby made me yummy lunch from this week’s catch. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/nhpuIXEE

susantran #339/366 I’m grateful I got my backup to my backup to work on my laptop. #Gratitude2012

susantran #338/366 I’m grateful I ran into this cute pup on my run. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/x90Aruyn

susantran #337/366 I’m grateful hubby took me to see #BookOfMormon for anniversary. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/hmnoRNqR

susantran #336/366 I’m grateful for hubby! 11 years in a row of marital bliss!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/qRdMQfvB

susantran #335/366 I’m grateful for ice skating at #RockefellerCenter. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/I1dAMSgF

susantran #334/366 I’m grateful that the dorsal fins in the ocean w/ me belonged to dolphins not sharks. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/836SxL75

susantran #333/366 I’m grateful for my little brother and his girl Rachel. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/pWLMrSX8

susantran #332/366 Saw on twitter that it’s snowing in #BayState. I’m grateful to be in #California. #Gratitude2012

susantran #331/366 I’m grateful for beautiful views in Southern California. Mountains behind me, ocean in view. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/HhP6GVga

susantran #330/366 I’m grateful I got to boogie boarding w/ my friend Katie in late November in California. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Rngq71Y8

susantran #329/366 I’m grateful to be a tourist in my hometown. #WarnerBrosStudios #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/xPwm77cp http://t.co/m1Ch4o0N

susantran #328/366 I’m grateful for people like Shannon Gouveia, who selflessly donated a kidney to a stranger. #Gratitude2012

****In search of Gratitude #327.  Which happens to be Thanksgiving Day!!! I either didn’t know one, or I didn’t hashtag it #Gratitude2012. Please stand by.****

susantran #326/366 I’m envious of folks starting their holiday today, but grateful for the clear roads for my drive into work. #Gratitude2012

susantran #325/366 I’m grateful for being able to call an old friend and pick up where we left off. #Gratitude2012

susantran #324/366 I’m grateful for a lunch date with hubby. #Gratitude2012

susantran #323/366 I’m grateful for a nice fall day in Union Square Park. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/WwLIYV2X

susantran #322/366 I’m grateful for a gorgeous day on the #HighLine w friends. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/L81u41CJ

susantran #321/366 I’m grateful for fresh pasta with friends. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/mNy0Yyaq http://t.co/m5Itbi3a

susantran #320/366 I’m grateful for a pre-trip present from hubby – boots! Woohoo! #Gratitude2012

susantran #319/366 I’m grateful for the email from @Gazelle_com that it’s giving me $ for my old phone (despite the crack!)! #Gratitude2012

susantran #318/366 I’m grateful for the power of my own two feet. Woke up late for doctor’s appt so I put on running shoes and ran. #Gratitude2012

susantran #317/366 I’m grateful for an unusually warm autumn day. #Gratitude2012

susantran #316/366 I’m grateful I finally got to meet a Puli. Wallace was such a sweetie!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/YKh7ic5T

susantran #315/366 I’m grateful for my tulip bulbs. Here’s to spring 2013!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/L1Btsk8L

susantran #314/366 I’m grateful for a stakeout that worked. #Gratitude2012

susantran #313/366 I’m grateful for bag of marked-down Halloween candy&photog (@dustywoodshow) who shared it w me #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/tRUYIbgz

susantran #312/366 I’m grateful for this piece of street art. I don’t know which part came first but I love it. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/RDLyTTBD

susantran #311/366 Gratitude today is easy one -I’m very grateful for the right to vote!!! Happy #ElectionDay! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/wzt2EcKo

susantran #310/366 Grateful 4 job where I get 2 cover local race w national implications. #Gratitude2012 (thx @tbone51558 4 pix) http://t.co/2nacEit0

susantran #309/366 I’m grateful for Sunday night with friends. I made quinoa salad. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/YNNhioti

susantran #308/366 (Saturday) I’m grateful for a busy day. #Gratitude2012

susantran #307/366 I’m grateful for caramels. They’re my favorite candy. What’s yours??? #Gratitude2012

susantran #306/366 (Thursday) I’m grateful my hair stylist (Alison at @DellariaSalons) could work me in for a cut and color. #Gratitude2012

susantran #305/366 I’m grateful for #Halloween at #FenwayPark. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/BWCrcOB7

susantran #304/366 I’m grateful for Milk Duds, one of my favorite candies! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/CDLUM4EN

susantran #303/366 I’m grateful for a small silly moment during #Sandy – found fish in floodwaters and caught 3. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/kQFHKF4f

susantran #302/366 I’m grateful for a quiet night at home before #MASandy coverage tomorrow. #Gratitude2012

susantran #301/366 (Saturday) I’m grateful my friend totally won at roulette!! #Gratitude2012 (cc: @ryancmiller) http://t.co/P8kjT06H

susantran #300/366 I’m grateful for ice sculptures. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/LeNHcPbj

susantran #299/366 I’m grateful for a few moments of fun w @dustywoodshow during a crazy day. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/wFubBG2e http://t.co/5CYQh23O

susantran #298/366 I’m grateful for how fun it is to take pix w cardboard @RobGronkowski! #Gratitude2012 (thx @tvdang72) http://t.co/2ESezI3z

susantran #297/366 I’m grateful for whoever is responsible for turning an ugly lot to a beautiful green space! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/hr3s2XDt

susantran #296/366 (Monday) I’m grateful for shows waiting for me on my dvr. #Gratitude2012

susantran #295/366 I’m grateful for my new #Patriots jersey!!! #75 #Wilfork!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Z6vK2bkM

susantran #294/366 I’m grateful for the splendor of the #HeadOfTheCharlesRegatta. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Rd5YgSEv

susantran #293/366 I’m grateful for laptop computers. They make it possible to multitask! #Gratitude2012

susantran #292/366 I’m grateful the city granted an appeal to my ticket. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/5b2z00ns

susantran #291/366 I’m grateful I don’t have kids. #Gratitude2012

susantran #290/366 (Late again, shoot!) I’m grateful for a reliable plumber who fixed our heater. #Gratitude2012

susantran #289/366 I’m grateful for a new profile picture. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/tlB4mLIn

susantran #288/366 I’m grateful for Southern comfort food. #Gratitude2012 #ShrimpAndGrits http://t.co/6vuhPwnL

susantran #287/366 I’m grateful for the piñata at my party!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/DvTAU5Oi

susantran #286/366 I’m grateful the mittens I ordered have arrived in time for a chilly fall. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Vx3JVzbn

susantran #285/366 (Thurs) I’m grateful for a clean house. #Gratitude2012

susantran #284/366 I’m grateful for the candy at the sexual harassment training session. (The session was also very good!) #Gratitude2012

susantran #283/366 (tardy again!) I’m grateful for meeting mother of Glen Doherty, former Navy SEAL killed in Libya last month. #Gratitude2012

susantran #282/366 (a bit late) I’m grateful for how awesome the battery life is on my new phone. #Gratitude2012

susantran #281/366 I’m grateful for icee and popcorn for movie night! I highly recommend Pitch Perfect. Very cute! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/BZrBnYsS

susantran #280/366 I’m grateful for date night with hubby. Dinner at @erbaluceboston with great bottle of wine. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/NWHpwLS5

susantran #279/366 I’m grateful for a leisurely walk through Government Center today that provided great people watching. #Gratitude2012

susantran #278/366 I’m grateful to have a really exciting day!! #Gratitude2012 (sent via my new phone! yeah!) http://t.co/RnHbU12Y

susantran #277/366 I’m grateful for the presidential debate. What a great country, that we can have civil discourse. #Gratitude2012

susantran #276/366 Grateful I needed to get video from parking lot of 1 of my favorite pie places! #PiesForCrew #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/EGsJA1dF

susantran #275/366 I’m grateful for two new local stores in our neighborhood @UrbanGrape and @SnapTopMarket. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/NpjJUfzf

susantran #274/366 I’m grateful for how a good movie can be mood altering. #LiberalArts “Fortune never smiles on those who say no” #Gratitude2012

susantran #273/366 I’m grateful for an opportunity to emcee the Viet-AID event and win #Patriots tix! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/HPm0bcam

susantran #272/366 I’m grateful for the sour apple Blow Pop our truck op just gave us!!! #IFeelLikeAKid! #Gratitude2012

susantran #271/366 Today, really, I’m just grateful for a few deep breaths. #Gratitude2012

susantran #270/366 I’m grateful for the people around me who make me better. Thank you! #Gratitude2012

susantran #269/366 Grateful for my dress that’s made in America. As a daughter of garment worker, I know the importance of that label. #Gratitude2012

susantran #268/366 Living in a houseful of unhandy people, I’m grateful for our handyman, Will, who can fix anything!! #Gratitude2012

susantran #267/366 I’m grateful for a fun bike ride before a working Sunday. #Gratitude2012 (Only 99 days left of 2012!)

susantran #266/366 On this first day of autumn, I’m grateful for pumpkin ice cream. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/cP8FHgnh

susantran #265/366 Grateful for running into old neighbors while doing story! Even better, they agreed to be interviewed. #Gratitude2012

susantran #264/366 I’m grateful for the nice man at #BedBathAndBeyond who helped me carry my new trash can to the car. #Gratitude2012

susantran #263/366 Grateful for new piece of furniture. Created by our friend Andy. (http://t.co/6RPCejKk) #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/46jsqt7B

susantran #262/366 I’m grateful for the ability to multitask!! #Gratitude2012

susantran #261/366 I’m grateful for ‘vacation highs!’ They can sustain me for months!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/LAWgjskz

susantran #260/366 Grateful for great last day of vacation on Cape. Finale-bike and hike to Race Point Lighthouse. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/oFQOcpTz

susantran #259/366 I’m grateful for an awesome beach fire. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Cnk3KAIP

susantran #258/366 I’m grateful for a perfectly packed trunk. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/sMMU3G5p

susantran #257/366 I’m grateful crazy green peppers from @SienaFarms. Hubby coated w olive oil, grilled then sprinkled w sea salt. Yum! #Gratitude2012

susantran #256/366 I’m grateful for a relaxing evening after a day of fun in the sun! #Vacation. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/60rllTEo

susantran #255/366 I’m grateful to be with friends enjoying a beautiful sunset. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/fZWDn9jp

susantran #254/366 I’m grateful for the many literal and figurative signs of peace in my life. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/fVh9RtoZ

susantran #253/366 I’m grateful for a beautiful double rainbow in #Provincetown. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/xFyyjS3C

susantran #252/366 I’m grateful for my new used bike. #gratitude2012 http://t.co/NSdWYBgp

susantran #251/366 I’m grateful to be packing for the Cape!!! Woohoo. #Gratitude2012

susantran #250/366 I’m grateful for the very helpful folks at my local #Volvo dealership! #Gratitude2012

susantran #249/366 I’m grateful for live streaming. 4years ago I had to dvr all convention speeches, now I can watch online! #Gratitude2012

susantran #248/366 I’m grateful for sticky rice dumplings that hubby saw at market and thought I’d enjoy. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Kb4X2tJW

susantran #247/366 On this Labor Day, I’m grateful to live in Massachusetts the 1st state to pass child labor laws. #Gratitude2012

susantran #246/366 I’m grateful for coffee ice cream. #Gratitude2012

susantran #245/366 Grateful for fun experience @salmagundi_hats watching hubby and @BermudaDotCom tying bowties. http://t.co/sA4yjuXS #Gratitude2012

susantran #244/366 I loved seeing this flower growing out of side of dilapidated building.It’s like a life lesson. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/7Td3Vaxm

susantran #243/366 Grateful for neighborhood stores like Tadpole. Zip in. They recommend fun baby gifts. Zip out. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/wRuS0usc

susantran #242/366 I’m grateful I found a hose sprayer that works and doesn’t leak. #Gratitude2012

susantran #241/366 I’m grateful for our democratic process here in #America. #Gratitude2012

susantran #240/366 I’m grateful for coupons. I saved $10 today. #Gratitude2012

susantran #239/366 I’m grateful for a perfect beach day… Finished a book, chatted with a friend, got sun! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/0cCxUAsc

susantran #238/366 I’m grateful for cliff diving event at Fan Pier! Beautiful and powerful athleticism. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/PS78Sfq3

susantran #237/366 I’m grateful hubby took me purse shopping. I didn’t find ‘the one’ which is probably a gratitude for all. #Gratitude2012

susantran #236/366 I’m grateful that few goats and calf can instantly turned us into kids! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/R2HdtNvr http://t.co/s9y1inZJ

susantran #235/366 Grateful I got to meet Robert Curley. His 10yr son Jeff was murdered 15yrs ago. He advocates against death penalty. #Gratitude2012

susantran #234/366 I’m grateful for the invention of Bengay. I use it on big bites. Today, it’s key to my survival. #Gratitude2012

susantran #233/366 I’m grateful for a good diner breakfast. #Gratitude2012

susantran #232/366 I’m grateful for a great visit w my friend Brendan. #Gratitude2012 (Excuse the horrid pix!) http://t.co/sUYRzPrL

susantran #231/366 Listening to #Boston‘s own Gracie Curran & The High Falutin’ Band at Newport Blues Cafe. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/NVdo6AqT

susantran #230/366 I’m grateful to see two little old ladies, swim caps and all, boogie boarding!!! Love it! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/TEPm7PBQ

susantran #229/366 I’m grateful for the beauty of a long weekend!!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/kdq7LpYH

susantran #228/366 Grateful for notification that I won #Gotye tickets during a benefit before last night’s #BruceSpringsteen concert. #Gratitude2012

susantran #227/366 I’m grateful for an awesome night with the Boss. #BruceSpringsteen!!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/ggN5ilAC

susantran #226/366 I’m grateful for #OldtimeBaseball. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/MdMl69GX

susantran #225/366 I’m grateful for a moving sunset. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/MXZZU3y8

susantran #224/366 I’m grateful for beauty within and urban community garden. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/9HfOROWf

susantran #223/366 I’m grateful for my old, sassy girl Cricket. She’s 15 today. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/bB6jgkJJ

susantran #222/366 (Thursday-I’ve been tardy!) I’m grateful for the peacefulness plants bring me each morning when I water them. #Gratitude2012

susantran #221/366 (Wednesday) I’m grateful that my tooth pain was nothing serious. #Gratitude2012

susantran #220/366 I’m grateful that working w photogs means a daily photo lesson. Say Cheese! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/MCZfG3vm

susantran #219/366 I’m grateful @tim_caputo was kind enough to let me take the last laptop this afternoon. #Gratitude2012

susantran #218/366 I’m grateful for an afternoon of shopping with my niece E. Senior portrait outfits-check. Cowgirl boots-check. #Gratitude2012

susantran #217/366 I’m grateful for Mrs. Dang who heard I loved this Vietnamese dish, so she made it for me. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/9C4pIe4m

susantran #216/366 I’m grateful for our beautiful National Anthem. Every time I hear it, I get chills. #Gratitude2012

susantran #215/366 (Thursday) I’m grateful I got to witness a spiritual scene on the streets of #Boston. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/2M3tNIl7

susantran #214/366 I’m grateful to have made my final credit card payment. I feel lighter. #Gratitude2012

susantran #213/366 I’m grateful for my new umbrella and old rain boots. It’s yucky on the Cape tonight! #Gratitude2012

susantran #212/366 I’m grateful for a great cup of coffee w my best friend before she went home & I went to work #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/mbH9HqeZ

susantran #211/366 I’m grateful for my best friend and husband who are quite similar!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/KSsjZ8Vq

susantran #210/366 When I die I hope my heaven looks like the #Nantucket Hydrangea Farm. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/na7iDfXa http://t.co/W5M1Yoep

susantran #209/366 I’m grateful for the fun created by the buoy bat at #MiacometBeach! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/JpwxkMA3

susantran #208/366 I’m grateful for my very best friend (of 25 yrs) who is visiting!!!! Yipppeee!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/qfAGQuK9

susantran #207/366 I’m grateful for best brother EVER! Sent me bottle of fav wine as TY for his bday present! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/uiLQEJQV

susantran #206/366 I’m grateful we finally found something that keeps my pup from freaking out when there is thunder and lightning. #Gratitude2012

susantran #205/366 Grateful I got to meet Fernando Morales. Battled cancer last summer, this yr he’s going to #London to see #Olympics #Gratitude2012

susantran #204/366 I’m grateful for hot air balloons. #Gratitude2012 (cc: @awilliamson7) http://t.co/fLF9oMF5

susantran #203/366 I’m grateful for an afternoon of food, folly, and furry friends. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/drAF4XMG

susantran #202/366 I’m grateful for my small vase of garden flowers. On such a day, I needed bit a beauty. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/tWifzXTD

susantran #201/366 I’m grateful for Bengay. For some reason they do the trick on my mosquito bites. And I have many! #Gratitude2012

susantran #200/366 I’m grateful for the beauty following a storm! It’s everywhere!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/QRK2mySW http://t.co/9XgK9UDf

susantran #199/366 I’m grateful for Willis Carrier who invented the air conditioner 110 years ago! #Gratitude2012

susantran #198/366 I’m grateful for the discovery of a yummy new eatery! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/0KaL3FcA

susantran #197/366 I’m grateful for ability to crowd source mosquito bite relief. Toothpaste was most effective suggestion! #Gratitude2012

susantran #196/366 I’m grateful for road trips. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/xI0vwy6k

susantran #195/366 Grateful for Tomasi Nurseries who are so helpful to a novice (black-thumbed) gardener. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/4ffz6Od6

susantran #194/366 Grateful for Mr. Ruckus, WWII vet, who said he’d kick butt if they said he couldn’t hang flag. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/GlzjhZgf

susantran #193/366 grateful for a lunch of watermelon and corn. #SummerTime #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/2C82QZ9T

susantran #192/366 I’m grateful that the news gods were kind to me today. All 3 scenes I showed up at, someone talked to me! #Gratitude2012

susantran #191/366 I’m grateful when work takes me to the beach! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/fIF4xECh

susantran #190/366 I’m grateful for a dirty martini, down. Cheers! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/tmwjSmbY

susantran #189/366 I’m grateful for a great book. Just started “The Fault inOur Stars – John Green.” Love it! #Gratitude2012

susantran #188/366 I’m grateful for wedge heeled shoes. #Gratitude2012

susantran #187/366 I’m grateful for dogs and how they humanize people. (This cutie was at vet today!) #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/tzdG77R5

susantran #186/366 I’m grateful to be an American! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/xyX6c5aE

susantran #185/366 I’m grateful for these beautiful sand creations at #Hampton Beach. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/FPDqbSxL

susantran #184/366 (Monday) I’m grateful for the advent of email. I can’t remember life before near-instantaneous response. #Gratitude2012

susantran #183/366 These are just majestic vessels. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/FuLwgakG

susantran #182/366 (Saturday) A whole fun day of celebrating a friend’s birthday. #Gratitude2012

susantran Due to complaints-amend: grateful I got to work on my garden! RT @susantran: #181/366 My back aches after working in garden. #Gratitude2012

susantran #181/366 My back aches a bit after an entire morning working in the garden. #Gratitude2012

susantran #180/366 I’m grateful that a small plant can give a friend a big smile. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/p6oEplr2

susantran #179/366 I’m grateful for the iron sulphate that keeps the slugs out of my garden. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/W8Sxd4RP

susantran #178/366 I’m grateful for a black bear who seems to charm us all with his travel exploits. #Gratitude2012

susantran #177/366 (Monday) I’m grateful for a great morning before a crazy day at work. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/TleDhrBh

susantran #176/366 I’m grateful for the pair of Jacks at The Red Inn. #Gratitude2012

susantran #175/366 I’m grateful for marriage equality. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/2W9NETnM

susantran #174/366 (Friday) I’m grateful for the magnificent beauty sunset against a #Boston skyline. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/4TtsxqJ9

susantran #173/366 I’m grateful for a fun crew on this fabulous summer night. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Kkd3VJoN

susantran #172/366 First day of summer and hottest day and I’m in #Chatham where it’s beautiful. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/iO57q054

susantran #171/366 Love it! #Gratitude2012 RT @techglance: A Cappella Group Gives Popular Wedding Song a Rap Twist [VIDEO] http://t.co/gl4RvnbJ

susantran #170/366 I’m grateful for the arrival of my favorite fruit. Cherries!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/WSTzrbLV

susantran #169/366 I’m grateful for my dad, father-in-law, and all the awesome father figures out there. #Gratitude2012

susantran #168/366 I’m grateful for an afternoon with some super cool kids (and their parents too!)!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/VPqFgqwi

susantran #167/366 I’m grateful for my pup’s pride bandana. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/uVVIY5qy

susantran #166/366 Eating mint and basil from my garden. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/xkRhHkJu

susantran #165/366 I’m grateful for coconut sauce. Put coconut in anything and it’s better. #Gratitude2012

susantran #164/366 There’s never a shortage of news in Boston. #Gratitude2012

susantran #163/366 I’m grateful #Middleboro, whose public profanity by-law, gave me a fun and interesting story tonight. #Gratitude2012

susantran #162/366 I’m grateful for chowder. Lots of delicious chowder on the Cape! #Gratitude2012

susantran #161/366 I am so grateful for friends, Cape, and clams! Together. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Am7FYMr6

susantran #160/366 Had some late night pizza with housemate. Always fun! #Gratitude2012

susantran #159/366 Grateful for summer gift from hubby – a Nantucket Beach Chair. Will test it out this weekend. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/p7zcqu1R

susantran #158/366 I’m grateful for breaking news. Gets the adrenaline pumping. #Gratitude2012

susantran #157/366 Grateful for Cape Cod potato chips. #TastySnack! #Gratitude2012

susantran #156/366 I’m grateful for great co-workers. #Gratitude2012

susantran #155/366 I’m grateful for the miracle of life. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/7bbx6AoE

susantran #154/366 (Saturday) I’m grateful for TV News Prom. Big fun with new and old friends. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/7vlUJnNg

susantran #153/366 I’m grateful I finally found an awesome primary care physician!! Yeah!!! #Gratitude2012

susantran #152/366 I’m grateful for my summer scent: DEET! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/FHw38yf2

susantran #151/366 I’m grateful for packaged ramen. It’s cheap and yummy and reminds me of college. #Gratitude2012

susantran #150/366 When working is fun.While waiting to get video of lightning, @tvdang72 got me w ominous clouds. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/EwLlOt1Q

susantran #149/366 (Monday) Grateful for all our military heros. #Gratitude2012 (pix courtesy of friend Cyrus) http://t.co/X38NT21H

susantran #148/366 I’m grateful for the $3.00 bag of mangos with chili, salt and lemon juice. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/hubqYeKZ

susantran #147/366 I’m grateful to be visiting my friend in NYC. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/gmqsBsO3

susantran #146/366 Grateful to have a friend, an Army soldier visiting us this weekend. #Gratitude2012

susantran #145/366 I’m grateful for my 52 point word on Words With Friends. #Gratitude2012

susantran #144/366 It’s nearly 8p and it’s sunny! Hip hip hooray!!! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/zDGD5eEB

susantran #143/366 I’m grateful for the kind woman who offered me coffee after seeing me outside her store all day. #Gratitude2012

susantran #142/366 (Just a few minutes late!) I’m grateful for some new slug killer stuff (Hope it works!). #Gratitude2012

susantran #141/366 (Sunday) I’m grateful for the first beach day of the season. #MStreetBeach #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/C66ZNSXX

susantran #140/366 Getting to see my niece off to prom. (I know, the resemblance is uncanny!) #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/7QX3E22n

susantran #139/366 (Friday) I’m grateful for flip flops on a sunny day. #Gratitude2012

susantran #138/366 I’m grateful for the beauty that lives in the #Boston Public Garden. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/fZw2IGbT

susantran #137/366 I’m grateful for #Wednesdays. They’re midway between what I’ve done and what I’m looking forward to. #Gratitude2012

susantran #136/366 I’m grateful for the construction guys who are kind enough to help me move my trash cans. #Gratitude2012 #SmallActOfKindness

susantran #135/366 I’m grateful for my dentist who squeezed me in after I chipped my tooth. (#3 in string of bad luck this week!) #Gratitude2012

susantran #134/366 Driving to #Greenland, NH to find perfect peony plant is something to be grateful about. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/bJCJojze

susantran #133/366 I’m grateful for the inaugural summer back patio dinner. #Gratitude2012

susantran #132/366 I’m grateful for grill cheese sandwiches. #Gratitude2012

susantran #131/366 I’m grateful for truck operator who brought us ice cream treats! #LourencoRocks #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/7IMC1HTF

susantran #130/366 I had many fails today but I’m grateful they were all #FirstWorld or #UptownProblems. #Gratitude2012

susantran #129/366 I’m grateful that my phone still works even though her screen is shattered. (Like breaking instead of losing arm.) #Gratitude2012

susantran #128/366 I’m grateful for finding a new primary care physician (and getting an appointment)! #Gratitude2012

susantran #127/366 I’m grateful for the advent of flashmobs! Such a fun moment w strangers. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/RUNNThAf

susantran #126/366 I’m grateful for movie theater popcorn. It’s just so yummy! #Gratitude2012

susantran #125/366 (yesterday) I’m grateful for a brand new tree planted in neighborhood. Thx @mayortommenino! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/Z2edPaGW

susantran #124/366 I’m grateful for the ice cream treat from @dustywoodshow! #Gratitude2012

susantran #123/366 I’m grateful for an 8yr w brain tumor who give me a better perspective on life. #Gratitude2012 #RileyRoman http://t.co/dK9weq7o

susantran #122/366 Grateful knowing there are people who will risk their own lives to safe another. #EverydayHeros #Gratitude2012

susantran #121/366 I’m grateful for my digital camera. How did we manage when we could only get 36 pix on one roll of film? #Gratitude2012

susantran #120/366 I’m grateful for a fridge full of leftovers. #Gratitude2012

susantran #119/366 I’m grateful we got to toast our friends’ upcoming nuptial. #Gratitude2012

susantran #118/366 Grateful I still know how to ride a grocery cart from store front to car. #Gratitude2012 #IAmStill7Sometimes http://t.co/NxPd02Tr

susantran #117/366 I’m very grateful for friends who will show up at an event just to support me! Such love! #Gratitude2012

susantran #116/366 (yesterday) I’m grateful for the very helpful and friendly folks at the #Weymouth Police Department. #Gratitude2012

susantran #115/366 I’m grateful for spicy soups (combatant of congestion!)!!! #Gratitude2012

susantran #114/366 I’m grateful to know there are so many kind, thoughtful souls in this world. #Gratitude2012

susantran #113/366 I’m grateful for umbrellas. #Gratitude2012

susantran #112/366 I’m grateful for good food and good company. #CharlotteFriends #Gratitude2012

susantran #111/366 I’m grateful for my #Charlotte friends visiting us in #Boston! Now we need sun on Sunday for #RedSox. #Gratitude2012

susantran #110/366 I’m grateful for grilled chicken. Hubby travels but stocks fridge w food and this time – delicious chicken. #Gratitude2012

susantran #109/366 (Late again!) I’m grateful for scanners… bring old pictures to the whole wide web. #Gratitude2012

susantran #108/366 I’m grateful for outdoor space in a city apartment! A cup of coffee is so much better when sipping in sunshine. #Gratitude2012

susantran #107/366 I’m grateful for Facebook’s ability to reconnect me with old friends. #BU #Gratitude2012

susantran #106/33 I’m grateful for strawberry shortcakes w/ homemade biscuits courtesy : @BradTatum! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/8u52WTIN

susantran #105/366 (yesterday) I’m grateful for the side-ache I got from laughing so hard with friends. #Gratitude2012

susantran #104/366 I’m grateful for the people of #Greenland. They suffered a great loss but still extended such kindness to us. #Gratitude2012

susantran #103/366 Such heartbreaking news out if #Greenland NH. Today I’m grateful for police officers! #Gratitude2012

susantran #102/366 (few minutes late!) I’m grateful for friends who bring in #Easter candy pilfered from their children’s baskets! #Win #Gratitude2012

susantran #101/366 (yesterday) Grateful for the tulips I planted in the fall. Nature, you are beautiful! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/4hXU7vQQ

susantran #100/366 I’m back to work!!!! #PostVacationHigh #Gratitude2012

susantran #99/366 Coming home. #Gratitude2012

susantran #98/366 Rain day on vacation. One out of a dozen is a win! #Gratitude2012

susantran #97/366 Seeing a shade of blue I’ve never seen before inside the grotto in #Capri. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/CZIO4Kru

susantran #96/366 Delicious wine made by Gennaro’s at #MammaAgata ‘s! If in #Italy -u must visit them in #Ravello! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/mZwfKvYo

susantran #95/366 (Wednesday) Meeting great strangers on a ferry. #Gratitude2012

susantran #94/366 Romantic #Rome. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/95GcuNh5

susantran #93/366 (Monday) The #SistineChapel. Beauty to behold. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/wsK9W9jU

susantran #92/366 (Sunday) Palm Sunday Mass with the Pope. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/6lotRXGs

susantran #91/366 One of the best birthday surprises ever – friends meeting me in #Rome. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/piwqGlnV

susantran #90/366 Fresh, homemade pasta. I can eat it at every meal. Tonight, it was pici pasta w duck bolognese! #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/gjoyFlhH

susantran #89/366 (Yesterday) Wandering the streets of #Florence has a very romantic feel at night. #Gratitude2012

susantran #87/366 (Yesterday) Seeing #Florence from atop the #Duomo. http://t.co/Em27qAR5 Gratitude2012

susantran #88/366 Being ahead of schedule on the #Florence itinerary. #Gratitude2012

susantran #86/366 I’m grateful for beautiful sunsets. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/bfNwsVyI

susantran #85/366 Celebrating a birthday in a foreign land. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/ueYALrsv

susantran #84/366 At Logan airport. I am grateful for the ability to travel! #Gratitude2012

susantran #83/366 (yesterday) I’m grateful for a great morning crew who were extremely helpful and supportive. #Gratitude2012

susantran #82/366 I have a great allergist. Hallelujah, this spring! (But I’m desperate for a primary care physician. Know anyone?) #Gratitude2012

susantran #81/366 (for Wednesday) I’m grateful for not needing a winter coat for work. #Gratitude2012

susantran #80/366 Spring – I love you and your above average high!!!! What a great day! #Gratitude2012

susantran #79/366 (for Monday) I’m grateful for the incredibly nice nurses at my allergy clinic. #Gratitude2012

susantran #78/366 Im grateful for a beer on the stoop w/ hubby. #Gratitude2012

susantran #77/366 I’m grateful for dinner parties; great way for friends to reconnect. #Gratitude2012

susantran #76/366 (Again, a day late!) A cancelled flight led to a surprise visit by a friend. Great to see you @BermudaDotCom! #Gratitude2012

susantran #75/366 (yesterday’s) I’m grateful for electricity. You don’t know how good it is to have power until you don’t. #Gratitude2012

susantran #74/366 Despite having no power, I still had a hot meal and shower at a friend’s. Very gratefull!! #Gratitude2012

susantran #73/366 I’m grateful for kale. I’m obsessed with sautéed kale. I know, odd. #Gratitude2012

susantran #72/366 I’m grateful for my sassy, old girl who is as stubborn as she is cute. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/A0iTM4R2

susantran #71/366 I had a nice long run and enjoyed the first day of Daylight-saving Time! #Gratitude2012

susantran #70/366 I’m grateful for pizza, movie and friends. #Gratitude2012

susantran #69/366 Im grateful for the compliment I received today. #Gratitude2012

susantran #68/388 Eating al fresco and getting some sun!!! Great day to work mornings!!! #Gratitude2012

susantran #67/366 Joy of all joys!!!! Sunshine and gorgeous outside and I’m enjoying it!!!! #Gratitude2012

susantran #66/366 The freedom to vote! #Gratitude2012

susantran #65/366 I’m grateful I’m half way done with my weekly allergy shots. They are not fun. #Gratitude2012

susantran #64/366 My college girlfriends and I got together for brunch. Good times. #Gratitude2012

susantran #63/366 I’m grateful for friends who are like family. #Gratitude2012

susantran #62/366 A thoughtful husband who scrapped my car of snow so I wouldn’t have to in the middle of the night. #Gratitude2012

susantran #61/366 I’m grateful for pilates and how much it turned around my mood. #Gratitude2012

susantran #60/366 #UrbanTriumph!!!!!! I’m grateful for the parking space right infront of restaurant where I’m picking up food! #Gratitude2012

susantran #59/366 (from yesterday) I’m grateful for a mango frozen yogurt after a long day! #Gratitude2012

susantran #58/366 I am grateful I survived an extreme schedule change w just a bit of crabbiness. (I should be nicer tomorrow!) #Gratitude2012

susantran #57/366 I’m grateful for a beautiful, sunny day. #Gratitude2012

susantran #56/366 I’m grateful for a dinner date with old and new friends!! #Gratitude2012

susantran I panfried some polenta for lunch. It was delicious. A small yumminess that gives me #55/366 for #Gratitude2012!

susantran #54/366 I am grateful I was at the end of my run and only two blocks from home when it started to rain and hail! #Gratitude2012

susantran #53/366 I’m grateful for a fabulous February day where I could eat ice cream, outside in the sunshine! #Gratitude2012

susantran Saw a young man help a stranger in a wheelchair.. giving me #52/366. I’m grateful for the kindness of strangers. #Gratitude2012

susantran #51/366 I’m grateful for considerate neighbor who had his demolition crew hold off on jackhammering until after 9a. #Gratitude2012

susantran #50/366 I’m grateful for Chinese takeout with friends. #Gratitude2012

susantran #49/366 I’m grateful for a day spent listening to a beautiful service for #WhitneyHouston. #Gratitude2012

susantran #48/366 I’m grateful for a hole-in-the-wall restaurant Ferry St. BBQ where we got quick bite of delicious chicken! #Gratitude2012

susantran I feel off #Gratitude2012 bandwagon w #WhitneyHouston funeral coverage. Here’s #47/366 Grateful for station that likes to travel for news!

susantran #46/366 I am grateful for the infectious laughter inducing video. Enjoy! http://t.co/ecLvoe3y Thx: @mpcapasso #Gratitude2012

susantran #45/366 I’m grateful for the love that’s in the air because it’s Valentine’s Day! #Gratitude2012

susantran #44/366 I’m grateful I got to see my college girlfriend marry a wonderful man. #Gratitude2012

susantran #43/366 (I missed a gratitude Sunday!) I’m grateful for how much inspiration a piano can be for an impromptu photo shoot! #Gratitude2012

susantran #42/366 I’m grateful for old college friends. #Gratitude2012

susantran #41/366 I’m grateful for a housemate with whom I can share camera equipment. (His gear is WAY better!) #Gratitude2012

susantran #40/366 I’m grateful that I found a beginners adult tap dancing class! (And all the fodder that’s set to follow!) #Gratitude2012

susantran #39/366 I’m grateful for my parents’ insistence that I know how to speak #Chinese. #Gratitude2012

susantran #38/366 I’m grateful for hubby who did my laundry. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #37/366 I’m grateful for the 3-mile run that gave me a good attitude adjustment. #Gratitude2012

(I woke up and was reminded the Patriots lost. I equate it with waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I decided to go for a run and not stop until I was no longer grumpy. It took 3 miles.)

@susantran #36/366 I’m grateful for hubby’s buffalo chicken dip! Tough day for this. #Gratitude2012

(We were returning from Gillette Stadium to the station and I was so deflated after the Patriots lost, it was difficult to find a gratitude. I held out all night hoping I could be grateful for a win.)

 

@susantran #35/366 I’m grateful for a surprise email from @Faith_Salie. She’s the one who inspired #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/QV5F3SKu

@susantran #34/366 I’m grateful for social media outlets like #Twitter and #Facebook that are megaphones for regular people. #Gratitude2012

 

@susantran #33/366 I’m grateful I got to work w one of my favorite photographers who can turn a mess into a fun little story! #Gratitude2012

@susantran #32/366 I’m grateful for Tony and the rest of the crew at @DellariaSalons! #Gratitude2012

(More details in this old blog post)

@susantran #31/366 I’m grateful for a fun retweet from my favorite #Patriots player @PatrickChung25. #Gratitude2012. http://t.co/krXDFYwk

(This was such a highlight. A friend, sent to Indianapolis to cover the Super Bowl, took a picture of my favorite Patriot Patrick Chung for me. I posted it on Twitter. My friend @TomlinMatt replied and @PatrickChung25 did as well. I squealed when I saw Chung’s retweet)

@susantran #30/366 I’m grateful for days when persistence pays off. #Gratitude2012

(It was 4:45p when I learned @Harpoon_Brewery was redoing its 2008 Super Bowl wager with @BrooklynBrewery. It took four separate calls to find the person I needed. Well worth it, the CEO turned out to be a hilarious interview.)

@susantran #29/366 I’m grateful for dim sum w friends for #ChineseNewYear! #Gratitude2012

 

@susantran #28/366 I’m grateful for fun day trips to Portsmouth, NH. #Gratitude2012 http://t.co/NXStaEVR

@susantran #27/366 I’m grateful for a Friday night off. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #26/366 I’m grateful for pizza and wine with friends. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #24/366 I’m grateful for #nataing my favorite appetizer ever from Elephant Walk restaurant. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #25/366 I’m grateful for massages. #Gratitude2012

(My guy Steven Toland at Moore Massage is awesome!)

@susantran #23/366 I’m grateful for girlfriends. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #22/366 I’m grateful for an awesome #Patriots v #Ravens game; including a huge favor by Cundiff. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #21/366 I’m grateful for friends visiting. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #20/366 I’m grateful for laptop computers in the field.(what did we do before them?) #Gratitude2012

@susantran #19/366 I’m grateful for the people I get to meet through work who have beautiful stories to tell. #Gratitude2012

(I met fallen Peabody Firefighter Jim Rice’s mom and helped her finally meet the fire victim who named her newborn after Rice. Story here.)

@susantran #18/366 I’m grateful for knowing where to go for good Chinese food! Thanks @tvdang72 #Gratitude2012

 

@susantran #17/366 I’m grateful for old friends whom I can call when I need to talk out a problem. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #16/366 I’m grateful for breaking news with great visuals, descriptive interviews, and no one hurt! #Gratitude2012

@susantran #15/366 I’m grateful for beef stew. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #14/366 Grateful for a fun night at #GilletteStadium watching big #Patriots win! (few mins late!) #Gratitude2012

(To stay toasty in single digits: thermal pants, corduroys, wool socks, insulated wind pants, thermal top, silk turtleneck, fleece, #25 Chung jersey, knee-length down parka, wool scarf, fleece-lined hat w/ ear flaps, snow boots, ski gloves and technology gloves.)

@susantran #13/366 I’m grateful for wearing the right layers of clothing for the elements today! #ItIsFreezing! #Gratitude2012

@susantran #12/366 I get to look at Tom Brady’s picture all day and it’s work! #Gratitude2012

@susantran #11/366 I’m grateful for Twitter and how it connects me to strangers! It’s my source to the world. #Gratitude2012

(It was late and I needed an interview with a religious figure about Tim Tebow. Would the faithful in Boston rally around Tebow or remain Patriots fans? Thanks to Twitter, I had a connection to @CHines. He’s a great Patriots fan and interview!)

@susantran #10/366 I’m grateful for a glass of wine at the end of the day. (14 minutes late on this one. ooops!) #Gratitude2012

@susantran #9/366 I’m grateful for the bahn mi sandwich that @tvdang72 so generously shared w/ me. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #8/366 I’m grateful for the camera from my brother and lens from my hubby that takes great picture! #Gratitude2012

@susantran #7/366 I’m grateful for in-laws whom I love. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #6/366 I’m grateful for emails from a friend confirming her visit. #Gratitude2012

@susantran #5/366 I’m grateful for songs on the radio and how they can trigger happy, distant memories. #Gratitude2012

 

@susantran #4/366 I’m grateful for public bathrooms. #Gratitude2012

(It’s part of the job; we’re on the road and are so grateful for the random coffee shops, convenience stores, or restaurants! Thanks again and in advance!)

@susantran #3/366 I’m grateful for thermal underwear! #Gratitude2012

@susantran #2 I’m grateful for ‘official’ holidays and how they mean little to no traffic for my drive into work! #Gratitude2012

@susantran #1 I’m grateful for a husband who loves to cook and entertain. #Gratitude2012

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Holiday Music

 

My favorite Christmas song is probably O Holy Night. It’s beautiful, serene, and angelic.  But you can’t have 20 versions of O Holy Night looped on a playlist for every dinner party and gathering.  This holiday I became obsessed with the perfect playlist.  It’s easy to hear the classics, the traditional songs on the radio.  What I was looking for was the unique, the remake or remix that captures the feeling of the season for me.  This list is a compilation that I’ve been working on for a few years.  There are some obvious choices but some I hope you’ll find to be a pleasant surprise.  Please leave me some of your favorites below in the comment section!

Happy holidays!!

 

All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

All My Bells Are Ringing – Lenka

All That I Want – The Weepies

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Harry Connick Jr. & Lee Ann Womack

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Lady Antebellum

Boots – The Killers

Children Go Where I Send Thee – Joan Osborne

Christmas Just Does This to Me – Matt Wertz

Christmas Lights – Coldplay

Christmas Must Be Tonight – Bahamas

Christmas Must Be Tonight – The Band

Fall In Love With Me On Christmas – Josh Kelley

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Rascal Flatts

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Sarah McLachlan & Barenaked Ladies

Green Christmas – Barenaked Ladies

Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Colbie Caillat

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Jake Ousley

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – My Morning Jacket

I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Aimee Mann

It Snowed – Meaghan Smith

Joseph, Better You Than Me – The Killers (feat. Elton John, NeilTennant)

Maybe This Christmas – Leigh Nash

Maybe This Christmas – Ron Sexsmith

O Holy Night – Mariah Carey

Peace – Norah Jones

River – Sarah McLachlan

River – Herbie Hancock (feat. Corinne Bailey Rae)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Jack Johnson

Santa Baby – Madonna

Silent Night – Lifehouse

Silent Night – Zach Gill

Sleigh Ride – Diana Krall

We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Weezer

What Do Bad Girls Get? – Joan Osborne

When the Bells Start Ringing – My Morning Jacket

White Christmas – Sonya Kitchell

***I just figured out I could create a playlist on iTunes.  So the songs on this list that are available on iTunes are here.***

 

 

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sunshine day

This is what happens when a bunch of current and former TV news people go on vacation… we make fools of ourselves creating a music video.
Okay, that’s not actually a factual statement. The truth, I’ve always wanted to do something like this (I am also desperate to participate in a flash mob!) and well, I coerced everyone into taking part! I used guilt for some, temptations of fame for others, but really, I just begged!
Here’s to sunshine days…

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Camping

****Updated With Video*****

I went tent camping for first time in my life.  You probably can guess that I’m not much of an outdoorswoman.  In fact, a few months after I met my future-husband, I asked him if he wanted to go camping in New Hampshire with my college girlfriends and their boyfriends.  He was excited and said he’d love to and he’d bring his tent.  I looked at him befuddled and asked why he needed a tent when we’d be stay in a condo.

Recently, some friends asked us to go camping with them.  I thought about it for a week.  Bugs, public bathrooms, dirt, sleeping on the ground, and no electricity seemed incredibly daunting!  Of course, hubby was totally excited about going camping for the first time in a dozen years.  Ug!  In the end, I decided I like adventures.  I like challenges.  I like doing scary things sometimes.  And I can do anything for a weekend.

Below is a timeline of my camping adventure that I started when I realized I got cell service at the camp site.  It was done via my iPhone so it’s very rudimentary! I was updating as often as time and friends’ tolerance would allow.  Now that I’m home, I’m adding and amending on my laptop so you have a complete picture of my camping trip.

12:01a (Saturday) Arrive at camp site. Hubby and friend empty our car, drop me off and drive off to park the car. I stand there confused. Other friend, Paco, offers me a beer! I can do that.

(The reason hubby and I arrived after midnight on Saturday was that I had to work Friday night.  But our friends set up camp for hubby and me so we wouldn’t have to do it in the dark!)

12:10a I need to change out of work clothes. They hand me a flashlight but I can’t find ‘door’ to our tent.

(This is when I discovered I had cell service and that blogging about my first tent camping trip, stealthy, might  be fun!)

12:19a Eating and chatting. No campfire tonight. I’m told we don’t have a fire permit yet.

12:20a I have been told (scolded) to put away my phone! Bye!

12:57a Getting ready for bed. Bathroom is decent! Yeah!!!

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1:17a Getting ready to hit the sack. We don’t have sleeping bags. We’re on some blankets. Wish me luck. Here’s a look inside our tent. Well, that’s just all my stuff.

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1:27a Hubby is tolerating my Kindle reading.

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5:23a Nature; she is loud!

5:46a Can’t go back to sleep. Sun is rising. Crows are chatting. All sorts of critters are ready for the day.

5:54a Read Facebook posts on my camping experiences. Friends are finding it humors and silly. Most think the blogging is too much!!!

5:56a Maybe I’ll try the sleep thing again. (Didn’t work!)

8:10a So far I’ve brushed my teeth, packed for the beach, went and got coffee, and tried charging my phone (with apparatus I had for our international travels). Other campers in our group are still asleep!! Wake up!! Wake up! Wake up!

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8:18a We hear a crash and see a biker has crashed. We rush to scene. He says he’s broken his shoulder. Called 911 and his family. Waited with him till ambulance came.

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11:39p Arrived at beach at 9:30a. No cell service. In short, we spent 14 hours sunning ourselves, eating, riding boogie boards, taking pictures, playing Wiffle Ball, sitting around a bonfire, cooking hotdogs, playing tunes, taking crazy team pictures with a timer, having a mini-dance party, before finally making it back to camp.

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11:45p Took a shower that cost $.25 per five minutes.  It was kind of gross but after a day at the beach where at times I was covered in this slimy seaweed stuff, all I wanted was a quick shower.

12:29a I am hoping 14 hours at the beach will tire me out enough to sleep. Good Night!

5:42a (Sunday) Well, good morning Mother Nature.  Still tired back to bed.
6:45a Yeah!!!  I slept through the night while camping!!!  I think secret is to totally tire yourself out during a day of fun and sleep will come!

7:11a Heading out to get some coffee.

7:24a Dunkin Donuts line is out the door.

7:25a Hubby is kind enough to get in line solo so I can charge my phone.

7:32a Listening to Acoustic Sunrise. Charging phone. I know, we’re pretty lame campers. (But I slept in a tent and took a shower that costs $.25 a minute.)

7:33a Checking email, Twitter feed and Facebook. (Another lame camper move!)

7:50a Coffee. Check. Heading back to camp site.

8:11a Eating some awesome omelets that our camping friend, Brian, made.

8:18a Listening to a voice mail message.  It’s the wife of the biker from yesterday’s accident.  She says he suffered a fractured collarbone and 2 broken ribs.  Ek!  Glad she called as we were wondering how he was doing and hoping he was on the mend.

9:21a We decide that since it’s not a beach day, due to the predicted rain, we’ll end our camping trip early and head home.  (We were originally just going to go to the beach before heading home.)

9:23a Breaking down camp.  Every item of clothing I have is damp and dirty.  We collapse the tents, clean up the trash, and pack the car.

9:45a Heading home.

So the weekend camping trip was a TON of fun.  It helped that we went with a crew that has camping experience and was not totally into roughing it in the wilderness.  We went to Maurice’s Campground in Wellfleet and it was a perfect site for a novice.  I don’t think I could have stayed another day.  I don’t think I’ll do it again anytime soon but I’d definitely consider it as a possible annual event (Am I hedging too much?)!!!

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