YWCA Women of Distinction Award Winners 2015

May 26th, 2015 @ 6:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards happen tonight at the Vancouver Convention Centre as a near record-setting number of remarkable women have been nominated for their contributions to their workplace, industry, and community. Awards will be handed out during a gala dinner and as the Social Media Sponsor, I will be posting live updates on Twitter throughout the evening. These will include photos, quotes, and of course news about the award winners in each category.

… Stay tuned for the list of award winners…

YWCA-tagline

Tonight’s official tag on Twitter and Instagram is #YWCAWODA. Follow the YWCA of Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter for more information along with the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards @YWVanWODA on Twitter.

Miss604 is a proud sponsor of the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards for the 6th year!

YWCA Metro Vancouver is dedicated to achieving women’s equality. Their mission is to touch lives and build better futures for women and their families through advocacy and integrated services that foster economic independence, wellness and equal opportunities.

Win a FIFA Women’s World Cup Coca-Cola Trophy Tour Fan Experience Prize Pack

May 26th, 2015 @ 2:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Coca-Cola Trophy Tour has been making its way across the country and will make its final stop in Metro Vancouver May 29th to May 31st. This exciting family activation builds up to kickoff on June 6th where we’ll host the largest live spectator sporting event in our country’s history.

FIFAWWC-TrophyTour

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola will unveil the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy from Friday, May 29, 2015 until Sunday, May 31, 2015 from 11:00am to 7:00pm at Metropolis at Metrotown (4700 Kingsway, Burnaby).

The custom-designed Fan Experience includes interactive activities such as the Coca-Cola Ultimate Goalie, foosball tables, expert freestyle soccer athletes, FIFA locker room and winner’s tunnel leading to the trophy room. All guests will take home a photo of themselves with the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy, and will cap off their experience with a perfectly served ice-cold Coca-Cola.

Win a Coca-Cola Fan Experience Prize Pack

To celebrate the trophy’s arrival, and the build up to the tournament, I have a prize pack to give away thanks to Coca-Cola. This includes one hat, one scarf and three custom specially designed, limited edition, collectible aluminum bottles of Coca-Cola (for both the winner and a guest). The winner will also receive a pair of tickets to the World Cup match on June 12th as reigning champions Japan take on Cameroon (ticket value $96.50 each).

I will be drawing TWO winners so that’s four people who will be able to benefit from this awesome prize pack. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a @cocacola_ca Fan Experience #TrophyTour #WWC prize pack from @miss604 http://ow.ly/NsK8c

Follow Coca-Cola on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information about this weekend’s trophy tour and fan experience event. I will draw two winners at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Monday, June 1, 2015. Each winner will receive the prize pack and a pair of tickets.

Artisan Bistro in Boston

May 26th, 2015 @ 1:41pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Arriving in Boston after a red-eye flight and a train from New York we were so hungry and tired by the time we checked-in at the Nine Zero Hotel that I gobbled up a Boston Bruins cupcake that was laid out as a part of our welcome amenity. Luckily, the hockey-themed pastry didn’t spoil my appetite because we were about to have a fantastic meal at over Artisan Bistro.

Artisan Bistro in Boston

Artisan Bistro

Recommended to us by our hotel, as the Nine Zero’s Highball Lounge isn’t open on Sunday nights, we walked down Tremont Street, alongside Boston Common, to Artisan Bistro in the Ritz-Carlton. Reading up about this “Modern American” hotel restaurant, at the Ritz, we really didn’t know what to expect. Would we be underdressed? Would it be a bland lobby eatery? I put on some heels, and we both put on nice jeans (not plane/train jeans) and button-up shirts for the 8 minute walk over from the Nine Zero.

Artisan BistroWe were greeted with a smile and had our pick of table so we selected a cozy, rounded booth that looked out over the room with the bar on one side and a window view of Avery Street on the other. Our server greeted us with a handshake and a smile, and made his cocktail recommendations.

Although we were hesitant and tired, we quickly snapped out of it realizing that we were both officially on vacation for the next eight days. We picked out two drinks that perfectly fit each of us as John went for a grilled pineapple margarita on the rocks and I had the Berkshire Manhattan.

Sliding around the booth to sit practically side-by-side — yes we’re one of those couples — we slipped into “vacation mode” with each sip of our delicious cocktails.

The appetizer recommendations were next and my questions from earlier in the day about this being a run-of-the-mill lobby eatery went out the window. We were in Boston, in the spring, and the menu reflected that perfectly. Tomato watermelon salad, Blue Hills mussels, day boat scallops and New England clam chowder were among the choices listed, but when John spotted lobster tacos we were sold.

Artisan Bistro

These crisp, crunchy, deep fried and puffed up shells were loaded with smooth, creamy, lobster filling. They only took two bites each to devour and three came on the plate so we split the last one, and could have done a whole other order.

The dinner menu was more of what we could have expected from a prestigious hotel such as the Ritz-Carlton: Filet mignon, braised beef short rib, Parisian gnocchi, truffled mushroom pizza. Again, being in Boston — and appreciating coastal cuisine no matter which coast we might be on — we went right to the menu section labeled “Fish Market”.

My choice was the grilled salmon with baby kale, dill pappardelle, Meyer lemon cream, and a poached egg.

Artisan Bistro

John’s selection for dinner was the skate wing schnitzel* with salt cod brandade, cucumber salad, and caper brown butter.

Artisan Bistro

Our choices were classic dishes with noticeable Boston twists that weren’t just creative but inventive, original, and local. My first choice for an eggs benedict back home is never the smoked salmon but after having this grilled salmon with poached egg, I’m a big fan of this combination. The smokey crust of the fish, the creamy pasta and flowing yolk pierced by the fresh contrast of the kale made every bite a delight.

Artisan BistroJohn handed me a forkful of his meal and I swear Artisan Bistro used my Oma’s recipe for their mashed potatoes. There was a hearty, home-cooked feeling to his dish served up with a fresh spike from the cucumber salad.

Our dinners complete and with fresh cocktails in hand, a tower of desserts arrived to welcome us to Boston. It was reminiscent of High Tea at the Empress in Victoria with levels and layers of various confections.

The sun had gone down and the room had filled up with an after-work crowd mixed with others enjoying a date night. The New England Sports Network (NESN) caught our eye on the TV behind the bar, making us feel better about our fairly casual dress. We sipped our drinks, discussed which dessert was best — and which we had room to finish — and savoured our first night in this very special town where we first met ten years ago.

*Upon further research about skate, since it was a new menu item for us, we discovered that some do not have a favourable rating in terms of sustainability. However, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch updated its ratings in 2014 upgrading some skate from an “avoid” to “good alternative” rating.

Disclosure: cmp.ly/1

This is not a paid post. Views are my own. Our meal was compliments of Artisan Bistro.

Nine Zero Hotel by Kimpton in Boston

May 26th, 2015 @ 11:41am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Staying at the Nine Zero Hotel by Kimpton was the best reintroduction to Boston that we could have received. Ten years after visiting the city together as friends, and twelve years after I moved back to Vancouver after living in Massachusetts, John and I hauled our luggage up from Park Street station and walked over to the Nine Zero at 90 Tremont Street.

Metal lettering embossed in the sidewalk in front of the hotel read: “Relax”. After taking a red-eye to New York then an Amtrak into Boston, I stepped over the message and made my turn through the revolving door, prepared to do just that.

Nine Zero Hotel Lobby

“Welcome to Boston,” the staff at the boutique hotel greeted us and quickly followed up with: “Would you like some wine?”

We had arrived during the hosted wine hour in the lobby and although I had a computer bag on one shoulder and a carry-on handle in one hand, I freed some fingers to clasp the stem of the incoming glass of merlot. Just steps off the historic Freedom Trail in Downtown Boston, the entrance to the Nine Zero was bright and modern, with a floral scent in the air that followed us past the couches and chess pieces, down the hallway past lime green chairs, and into the elevator.

Nine Zero Hotel Lobby

Ascending to the 18th floor we turned the corner to our hotel room where it felt like Christmas morning. I opened the door to see the first piece of a trail of welcome notes and amenities, but I was soon completely distracted by the view.

“Hello Boston!” we exclaimed as we pulled back the sheers and looked out at Boston Common, the State House, Tremont Street, Back Bay, Hancock Place, the Prudential Tower, the Charles River, and Cambridge.

Park Street Church and Boston Common

Looking out past Boston Common at the Charles River

At time of check-in, the sun was setting and reflecting off the 23 karat gold dome of the State House. This spectacle bathed our entire room in an amber glow.

A photo posted by Rebecca Bollwitt (@miss604) on

I snapped a few photos around the room and spotted the signature Kimpton leopard print robe, to which I was first introduced when we stayed in a Kimpton in San Francisco in 2009:

Nine Zero Hotel Boston Nine Zero Hotel Boston

Nine Zero Hotel Boston
I loved the Boston-themed wallpaper behind the bed.

Nine Zero Hotel Boston

Nine Zero Hotel Boston Nine Zero Hotel Boston

Then I went back to collect the welcome notes that were placed from the front door, to the desk, the bed, and the bedside table:

Nine Zero Hotel Boston
John: “I wasn’t born in Des Moines. I was born in Eastern Iowa.” Me: “Shhh! It fits with the song, it’s adorable!”. We left for dinner with Journey stuck in our heads for the rest of the night.

The Nine Zero’s Highball Lounge wasn’t open when we arrived, its hours are Wednesday to Saturday, so they made dinner reservations for us at Artisan Bistro just down the street. All of these incredibly thoughtful gestures, paired with the spectacular room views, filled us with all of the love we’ve missed from Boston during these years away, and validated our return to this wonderful city for our vacation.

What I Loved

The welcome: While our in-room greeting was very personal (complete with cheese and fruit plate, cupcakes, and a bottle of bubbly) all guests do receive a health amenity upon arrival. If your arrival coincides with the hosted wine hour, even better. You’ll get the same welcome glass we received in the lobby.

The location: We walked over to Boston Common, walked to breakfast, walked to dinner. Everywhere we needed to go, we could get there on foot from Nine Zero Hotel. If we couldn’t walk to our destination, Park Street Station at Boston Common was literally 160 meters away.

Boston Common

We purchased a 7-day CharlieTicket from an MBTA kiosk for $16 that allowed unlimited Zone 1-1A travel during that time. This included buses, and all lines of subway and streetcar. Park Street hosts the Green and Red lines, with the Red line being our main route to get out to South Station (for the train) and Cambridge (for our Harvard Square, and Porter Square adventures out to Concord), and the Green line taking us to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game.

Boston - Fenway Park

The privacy: Even though our room opened up 180 degrees to the Boston skyline, we felt like we were tucked away in our own private corner of the city. The hallways in the hotel were quiet, we couldn’t hear any street noise, and the only sound that penetrated our windows while the sun was up was the calming chimes of the 200 year old Park Street Church bell tower. We could have been more engaged with the hotel, participating each night in the wine hour or playing a game in the lobby, but since we were on a mission for romance and celebrating our 10 year meet-a-versary, we loved that it was easy to get all the quiet alone time we wanted even in the heart of the bustling city.

The Kimpton perks: Hosted wine hour in the lobby (yes, I keep mentioning it but it’s a great feature), free Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma points members, yoga mats in your room, and activities like doing a run around the Common with the hotel GM on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00am. John was tempted by this but we had been so active in our exploration of the region that a sleep-in took priority.

Nine Zero Hotel Boston

One Change I Would Make

It’s not even a big one. Well, it is about size but it didn’t hinder our vacation in any way. In one corner of the room, opposite the windows, there was a very large cabinet that was round at the front. The TV sat on top, it had a shelf in the middle, and on the bottom there was a cupboard for the minibar. Since it was tucked in the corner one would think that a flat or even angled-to-the-corner cabinet would be better suited. It stuck out quite a bit into the room which already lacked floor space. We didn’t really have anywhere to put our suitcases, since the closet was also occupied by a shelf and safe, so we put our main suitcase on the stand right by the front door and my smaller suitcase stayed on a low window sill.

Nine Zero Hotel Boston

Overall

What I love about Boston was reflected in our hotel. Friendly people, down-to-earth with modern style and technology, an appreciation for history, being on-the-go but also savouring relaxation.

We sincerely enjoyed our room and everything about the hotel’s service, location, and amenities. We woke up to Boston every day together and thanks to the Nine Zero, we were able to have our little adventures around the city before coming home to a comfortable room where we fell asleep looking out at the city we love so dearly.

Follow Kimpton Hotels in Boston on Twitter and Instagram, they are also very engaging and will assist before or during your stay!

Disclosure: cmp.ly/1

This is not a paid post. I was offered and paid a media rate for our stay. All views are my own.

Community Day at Playland 2015

May 26th, 2015 @ 9:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Enjoy a day at Playland this Saturday and you’ll help benefit the amusement park’s neighbourhood. On Saturday, May 30th, $10 from every ticket sold for Playland at the PNE will be donated to the Hastings Community Little League on the fourth annual Community Day at Playland.

Spin-o-rama
Photo credit: Tim Cheung on Flickr

Community Day at Playland

Where Playland at the PNE
When Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 10:00am to 6:00pm

Since 2010, the PNE has raised over $67,000 for the sports organization, which will help the Little League upgrade their facilities. This year, all proceeds will support the Hastings Little League in hosting the 2016 Little League Canadian National Tournament. Members of the Hastings Community Little League will be at the entrance to Playland thanking guests for their support, so make sure to say ‘hello’ and wish them luck in this year’s season.

Follow PNE/Playland on Twitter and Facebook for more information about what’s in store this summer.