Expect the Best in Boston

The view from our room at the Hyatt Boston Harbor Hotel

Just returned from an East Coast adventure that included a great visit to Boston … my old college stomping grounds. I haven’t stayed in Boston since graduating from BU with a BS in Communications.  This time, spouse and daughter came along.

The inspiration for the trip was an family wedding that drew relatives from the US, Ireland and Australia.  Boston out-did itself in friendliness, weather and fun … We stayed at the Hyatt Harbor Hotel — and awoke to spectacular views.

We took the water taxi from our hotel right to the Intercontinental where the Irish cousins were staying. Our “taxi driver” owned the boat — and used to work for a tech company in Carson City, proving once again just what a small world this is!

Take a water taxi right from the Hyatt Boston Harbor to any waterfront location!

We walked all over — from the Intercontinental to the Boston Commons, through Back Bay, through the Public Gardens, to Copley Square in the morning … Giving the Irish cousins a taste of central Boston. We happened to walk right by the “Cheers” bar … a show immensely popular overseas ….


Back Bay brims with history– brick sidewalks, wisteria vines, townhouses with historic names etched into them … and churches everywhere.

In the afternoon we toured Quincy Market, which seems like the ultimate tourist trap, then on to Haymarket where fresh fruits and veggies vie with seafood vendors to capture attention.   Then it was on to the North End where the scent of Italian food made us hungry and the age of the buildings reminded us that we were walking the same streets as the Colonists. We saw the Old North Church, the statue of Paul Revere and the masts of the Constitution across the river in Charlestown.

Harvard was on the Irish cousins’  “must see” list so we hiked over to the Boston Gardens to catch the “T”.  Here we met yet another friendly Bostonian. The officer at the Boston Garden’s T station helped us get a Charlie Card — which saved us $$ on fares.  He didn’t have to do this — so a big Thank You to the MBTA for encouraging its staff to help visitors!

When I lived in Boston I didn’t hang out in Cambridge, so, touring “the Yard” was novel for me as well … (Thanks GoogleMaps!) We made the obligatory trip to the Harvard Coop (pronounced “coop” not co-op) so they could buy (some very expensive) trinkets … bought a $4 cupcake as a birthday surprise for my spouse at Sweet … then it was time for tea … before taking the “T” back to South Station.

We rounded out the adventure with dinner and drinks at Mr. Dooley’s Irish Pub … which naturally had Guinness and Harp on tap.

A terrific day — we logged nearly 12 miles according to my FitBit —  had a lovely time with wonderful relatives we see too rarely and met the friendliest, nicest people.

I recommend a visit to Boston especially in the spring!





Simple Concepts Win, and Keep, Clients

Sarah Russell has turned her love of cooking into a full-time catering business.

Sarah Russell has turned her love of cooking into a full-time catering business.

When it comes to winning and retaining clients simple, straight-forward concepts still work — and work well.  That’s a tenet that Sarah Russell of Perfect Pear Catering in Sparks, Nevada, never forgets. “Taste is everything. A dish doesn’t have to be complicated to be good,” she says. Russell has built a part-time, extra-cash, concept into a full-time endeavor — and now added a commercial kitchen to her business. Perfect Pear Catering is a busy, profitable endeavor offering heart-healthy dishes and top-notch service for clients throughout northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe region. In 2013, the company catered 30 weddings, more than 40 other large events plus provided meals to individual families.  The Perfect Pear’s summer wedding calendar was booked up in January. Russell grew up in Sparks and now has three children. She always loved to cook and entertain – earning rave reviews from friends and family.  Just over four years ago, she and a friend – also named Sarah – decided to try to earn a little extra money for their families by turning those skills into a small business. “We were a good pair – which is how we came up with the play on words for the name of business,” Russell said.  They had modest goals at first. “We thought we’d do a couple of events now and then and make about $500 a month,” Russell said.   Wrong.  In 2009, they started offering to cater events for friends, and soon friends of friends were calling. “It was all by word of mouth. We started working for friends and family, and the business just took off,” she said. When her cooking partner moved out of the area, Russell considered closing, but people kept calling. She now runs the business herself and employs two chefs and 10 event staffers, plus she has hired a bookkeeper and a web designer — and she’s expanding. Having a great support network and staff  lets her focus on growing her business. “I love being in the kitchen, but having great chefs and staff lets me work on design for the events. Each event is custom, we don’t just slap out chaffing dishes,” she said. The company still gets most of its clients by referral and Russell creates custom menus for both private and corporate events.

If you really want something, ….

I found this quote … which goes back to motivation:


“If you really want something, you can figure out how to make it happen”  — Cher

This is true for both positive and negative people …

A person in my life struggles with mild physical and psychological issues, yet this person usually figures out a way to be taken care of. If straightforward, conventional means don’t produce results, the next effort is manipulation.  This ranges from leaving out parts of a story to outright fabrication. I have learned to not take statements at face value — they rarely tell the whole story. Out of respect for a shared history, I stay in contact with this person, but I now limit contact and keep conversations light. That was a tough, but necessary choice. People have the right to live as they choose — and you (or I) cannot rescue them. 

Yet I still believe when honest effort, and honorable intentions, blend then good things happen. Motivation intertwines with innovation. Just move the self-imposed roadblocks — and amazing changes will happen. Good to remember … for business and life!