Announcement · Review · Series · Wedding · Yelp

Dance Lessons: db Studios

Between my me and my husband we have 4 left feet… The thought of awkwardly tripping all over each other or swaying lifelessly for our first dance as our friends and family watched on me queasy. My original plan was to DIY our dance routine by just using our favorite resource, YouTube! (Seriously I used this to learn how to swim.) Time slipped by — fast forward to February with the wedding around the corner! While browsing Groupon I noticed a deal for dance lessons at db studios which was very conveniently located for us. Of course I browsed reviews ahead of time to make sure we weren’t walking into a trap, and noticed that they had several glowing reviews. What did we have to lose trying them out? (BTW they also just started April 2016.) Congratulations to db studios too for celebrating their 1 year anniversary!

Another similarly priced location is Dance in Boston (DiB). Many other dance studios do not even publish their rates online and you have to call to get more info.

JM1
Us with Jon McLaughlin himself!

We decided that our first dance song would be I Am Always Gonna Love You by Jon McLaughlin [1] before we started our lessons. That way we could hit the ground dancing!

The owner and instructor, Kendall, responded immediately to our initial e-mail inquiry and we set up a FREE consultation dance lesson with her. I may have inadvertently made her update the website since it now says the Groupon/Yelp deals can’t be combined. Oops!

Free lesson cannot be combined with any other offer, including Groupon/Yelp etc. Groupon- Not eligible for free consultation offer.

True to their website slogan, Kendall is an extremely knowledgeable, patient and friendly instructor! She has a strong background in competitive ballroom dance and has over a decade of experience teaching adults and kids. We felt comfortable trying new steps the entire time with her guidance. We even overcame my biggest fear of being dropped while doing the dip finale. We did not create specific choreography for the dance so each time we performed the song, it was slightly different. There were so many times where we were either too early or too late for the ending!

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Business · Review · Wedding · Yelp

Wedding Cake – Konditor Meister

One of the highlights of the wedding planning process was definitely the various tastings! Believe it or not, we actually got to a point during the cake tasting where we reached our capacity – sweets overload. I wouldn’t mind lending my help for any future brides to be for this aspect if you catch my drift. Anyway let’s kick off the post-wedding series Wedding Wednesday series with Konditor Meister (KM) for our wedding cake! As I mentioned previously my SO and I chose this place as the cake vendor through our Raffael’s venue as it was included in our package. We also had a choice of Montillio’s, but from the venue tasting, we overall loved KM more!

I will be using the WeddingWire vendor rating system below, they break out the ratings by categories and average everything for a final verdict so these ones will be much more precise than even half stars! (Yes I made an account on there solely to use their rating.)

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Brand · Business · Review · Series · Wedding · Yelp

David’s Bridal Exposé

What’s the default place newly engaged and their bridal party flock to to look for dresses? Probably Davids Bridal (DB) in the US. There are several other boutiques and higher end chains that are usually more expensive with appointments required. However there’s no denying that they have cornered a monopoly for (affordable) bridal attire. All of my bridesmaids admittedly ordered their dresses from this place and it was convenient coordinating colors since they have the set palette. My post will be 2 pronged talking generally about their (1) wedding dress line, along with the (2) options for bridal party and special occasions. Of course we can’t forget the overall rating at the end!

Now if you’re wondering, another bride mentioned finding her perfect dress from Marry & Tux in Nashua, NH [Yelp Review], which my future mother-in-law (FMIL) and I also visited. The starting price at that place was $900-1500 for the lowest end of budget. Going up north to NH is not a bad idea though if you want to save some tax $. The luxury tax threshold in MA is only $175, so most likely you will have to pay something additional. Sadly $1,400+ is the average amount spent on wedding dresses these days. Alarming Avg. Figures for Dress Costs – Boston Globe

Stylequiz
I took their style quiz and here are the “picks”.  I can’t stand strapless haha!

DB gets a bad reputation due to its accessibility some have even equated it as the Wal-Mart of the wedding world. In recent years DB has been trying to change their image from the “Walmart” of wedding dresses. I find that quite ironic considering that the average price of a gown from there is still around $500-$1,200+. Keep in mind if you are getting a lower priced dress you will also have very limited sizing selections fighting with other brides/bridesmaids to get a deal! I’ve been to two locations one in Natick [Yelp Review] and in Westwood [Yelp Review]. No major complaints about either.

 

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Money Saving · Rewards · Yelp · Yelp Cash Back

Yelp Cash Back Saga: Part 3 New Features

When we thought we were done with this story, Yelp goes and adds NEW Features! I highly approve of the additions. The Saga continues… If you’re wondering what Yelp Cash Back is, then please take a moment to read Part 1 Overview and Part 2 Successful Redemption & Review of the Saga before reading on! I haven’t figured out a way to update & republish older blog posts on WordPress just yet so I’m making a Part 3.

Check Your Profile!

That’s right in Yelp’s funky new layout you can now go directly to your profile to see how much Cash Back you have logged to date! I love the transparency instead of waiting aimlessly for your cash back/prince to show up. Obviously the Cash Back is only viewable to you when you’re logged in and not to the public.

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Brand · Business · Coupon · Product · Promotion · Review · Yelp

Yankee Candle Review & Coupon!

Well this might be slightly random, but why share an awesome coupon to my undoubted favorite home fragrance and candle brand! You also need to know why I feel this way in my review. First of all check out the coupon if you have a location near you!

Yankee Candle Coupon available to get $10 off any $25+ purchase valid through March 19,2017 or you can use the code SUNNY17C online but free shipping is steep at $100+. Print your coupon here!

Candles & Fragrance Merchandise
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Refreshingly Summer

Yankee Candle (YC) has an absolutely stunning variety of different scents where I’m sure anyone could find something they like! I wonder who has the interesting job of deciding all of these colorful names. Some of them are quite out there like their Bacon, Beer or God Bless America fragrances. These were marketed as their rugged/manly collection… Aside from scented candles, they also have oils, room sprays, gel capsule fresheners, car jar fresheners/vent clips and of course candle accessories. Although slightly gimmicky they have seasonal decor for all of the major holidays and seasons. For an extra premium you can of course also customize your favorite candle scent with your own photo to call it some equally cheesy abstract scent! (I’m thinking Family Fun Time or Endless Love.)

Favorite Scents: Citrus Tango, Lucky Green, Pink Sands, Golden Sands, Bahama Breeze
Least Favorite Scents: Cozy Sweater, Bacon, Beer

Little known fact that I actually used to work for one of their main competitors back in the day, Bath and Body Works (B&BW). Personally I love the classic feel and unbeatable quality from Yankee Candle. I’m not going to pit these 2 brands against each other, but YC offers more size variety and specialize mostly in candles. (They know their stuff!) B&BW has a variety of candle scents, but they also have lotion and perfume fragrance offerings. YC also list each candle’s approximate burn time for each size. As long as you take care of the candle by trimming the wick as needed then the candle will burn evenly to fill your home with wonderful fragrance.

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Money Saving · Yelp · Yelp Cash Back

Yelp Cash Back Saga: Part 2 SUCCESS!

As you can tell from the title that this follow up post concludes the enigma of Yelp Cash Back with personal success (despite the initial disappointment) with the first restaurant attempt in redeeming. If you’re confused about what Yelp Cash Back is, then please take a moment to read Part 1 of the Saga before continuing!

ATTEMPT #1Shawarma Falafel Yelp Review 10% CB on 1/24/2017receipt

The glowing 10% and 4.5 average Yelp rating drew me in immediately! (Anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist a deal.) I carefully planned exactly when I knew I would be working from Boston, and meeting up with a co-worker for lunch. I’ll spare you the details of the actual experience, since it was mostly quite pleasant. The only hitch was I was expecting some sort of confirmation that my dine-in purchase had qualified for the cash back. To this day I still have yet to receive the automated e-mail and I swear that it has to do with the way the cashier rang up the receipt, note the “To Go”, which is not true. Anyway I noticed something was off so I contacted Shop@Yelp.com and waited for the abyss that is the nature of automated response queries for large businesses. Waiting, waiting, waiting until 2/7/17 when I received a non-descript response as follows. At this point I’m still not sure what’s going on and losing hope.

Hi,
Thanks for using Yelp!
To confirm, the Empyr team reported that they manually replayed this transaction on their end on 1/30/2017, and you should be receiving your Cash Back bonus shortly. We appreciate your patience.

Regards,
Betty
Yelp Support

ATTEMPT #2 – Walnut Grille Yelp Review 7% CB on 2/13/2017

My SO was craving something from dare I say it, a vegetarian restaurant (self-proclaimed meat man over there) after our dance lesson, so we popped by this restaurant. We’ve been here before with other friends who are vegan and had a great experience so why not come back? Light bulb goes off! We could also get 7% cash back, but I of course forgot my wallet at home. My SO and I both have the same Amazon rewards card that has 2% cash back for restaurants as the default so I quickly added his on the mobile website. Again I’ll spare you the actual experience details and link my review once that’s ready. Lightning speed, as soon as the waitress swiped the card, DING! I get a notification that the purchase qualified for cash back! How exciting to confirm this actually works. The e-mail itself was titled “You’ve Got Money.” (Anyone else thinking of AOL’s antiquated “You’ve got mail” tagline?)

Of course continuing on the train of great news, a couple days later on 2/15/2017, I received the “Payday from Yelp Cash Back” e-mail with the image on the right above. I checked my credit card activity & statement lo’ and behold it worked!!!

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All’s well that ends well for one of my many Sagas? The cash back does work, but they definitely made me work for it! I’m hoping other restaurants in the future won’t be as much of a headache as my first attempt. Now that you know, go forth and save lots of money and enjoy your weekend!

Saga hasn’t ended just yet! Yelp has added some New Features in Part 3 of the Saga!

Rating: 4/5 ★★★★

Business · Review · Yelp

Boda Borg Boston Review & Quest Guide

When you hear the word team building does it send a chill up your spine of awkward ice breakers? After a couple years entrenched in ResLife as an RA that’s my initial response however Boda Borg is so much more than just team building. Boda what? It’s difficult to describe to someone who has never heard of Boda Borg, the “quest” type challenges first originated in Sweden. It involves intense team work either mental (green), physical (black) or a mix of both (red) to solve each room/phase. It truly is an amazing team building activity for almost all ages! We are fortunate to live in the Boston area where the first and only location in North America is located in Malden, MA!

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As a first time participant, one of the staff members will give you an intro about each of the rooms and how you must complete them in succession. Each quest has a total of 2-4 rooms you must pass, usually with increasing difficulty before you get to the final where there’s a locked black box with a stamper to collect your badge of completion.

AMENITIES
– Free locker rental in small/large, you will want to put away any heavy loose items as they will get in the way
– Cafeteria area past the lobby where you can eat at the buffet style Taco bar for $10 and re-hydrate with water
– Cleverly designed themed rooms with awesome props
– Clean restrooms on each floor

PRO TIPS
– Choose your team wisely. You can have 3-5, but there’s a time limit of ~2 minutes on each room so it may be difficult to get everyone through the more physical quests.
– The quest doors close excruciatingly slowly, and you won’t be given credit until it is completely closed. I recommend opening it just wide enough so everyone can slip through.
– You can get a green triangle for “Pass” and it can turn into a red circle “Fail” if you do something in between the next room being ready. Watch out!
– Don’t touch anything when entering a room, just observe for clues before making a decision!
– Get the stamp before you exit the final door, it re-locks!
– Wear capris/long pants. All the crawling can be painful on the knees even with some of the padded floors.
– Don’t give up if you keep failing, try one of the other quests in between if we were really stuck.
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