Memorial Day 2019, the American classic holiday, is almost upon us! With lots of you on the move this weekend, we've decided to put together a list of activities that should make the next couple a days a smooth one. Here are 5 of the best local events launching over the weekend in traditional Western New England style!
Blog by Editorial Contributor Crystal Dunn
Antonia Ragozzino is a blogger, coach and author, with a huge passion for leading those who are single again and will help you to take out your "trash"! She inspires people to clear the clutter and to make a fantastic life that everyone deserves to live right NOW! Antonia is the founder of Antonia's blogs and also an author of two fantastic books, “Taking Out The Trash” and “Taking Out The Trash: Garbage In…Garbage Out”.
How did you get started on your own venture? I had worked very hard and made huge sacrifices to stay afloat after my divorce. Single again, no children and no support system, left me feeling sorry for myself, insecure and scared. When I overcame all of these negative feelings about myself and took out my own “trash”, I started focusing on my goals and what I wanted to do in my life to make me happy! The bonus was being able to inspire and help others find their happiness as well. Definitely a win win!
Do you remember the exact moment when you wanted to be your own boss? Yes, the year I missed out on all of my friend’s and family’s fun activities and parties to work overtime. I was traveling two hours back and forth from work, in addition to working 10 plus hours per day. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, no raise or praise. I started asking myself, what are you doing for YOU?
Tell us about your inspiration! My inspiration for writing my books came from the actual hatred I had for taking out the trash when my husband left. This turned into a lot of emotional and physical trash that needed to be taken out! My humor and drive turned these stories into two great books. My inspiration to be a blogger and start AntoniaBlogs happened when I readers started contacting me and asking me for advice. I felt so great being able to help others while going off on a journey of my own!
What do you feel is important for other women to know about your business? It is important for women to know that they have a place to come to to feel inspired, take out their trash and feel inspired to clear their path for a happy life, even if they are not single. Trash is trash and it needs to be disposed of everyday!!
How would you describe your leadership style? Modern and driven. I like to strive for success, help everyone achieve their goals and deadlines, yet have fun doing it!
What is your ultimate dream job – or are you living it? I’m actually living it, and I cannot believe I am saying this after 25 years of working!
Every business faces it’s challenges, how are you empowered to overcome yours? Stay positive, let go of the negative. Stay focused and driven.
To end, please tell our readers (in one word) how you would describe your boss-chik business? FUN!
Be sure to follow this chik-tastic SHERO and stay connected via social media!
Facebook, YouTube, and Blog.
With the renewal of spring upon us, it’s the perfect time to get inspired with something that’s lightweight, easy to make and on top of that delicious! Yes, it’s margarita time! I’m not preaching about just any margaritas— I’m talking about a good old fashioned homemade Watermelon Margarita! YUM!
I was inspired yesterday by this Howcast.com video and I couldn’t get over how easy it was to make. It was also a special day, my birthday, so I figured what better way to celebrate with family than to make a batch of freshly prepared watermelon margaritas out back on the deck while enjoying the beautiful weather. I headed out to my local grocery store and here are the ingredients I purchased. Now, you can use variations that you have on hand at home or go step by step on the list of items added with the video. Either way, I promise you these drinks will be a crowd pleaser!
Here's the video ingredients:
2 oz Blanco Tequila; .75 lime juice; .75 Agave Nectar. Shake and strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with 2 oz watermelon juice.
The prep time took about 10 minutes to juice the limes and blend up the watermelon. It's less than five minutes to put together each cocktail.
Don't forget to let us know how you made out with this recipe and make sure to comment and share some of your favorite concoctions on our Facebook page!
Until next time, chiks!
Blog by Editorial Contributor Crystal Dunn
Katie Lipsmeyer, Founder and Chief Glow Officer, of Camp Glow It Up® produces multi- and single-day camps in the mountains of Western Massachusetts with an emphasis on fitness to inspire badassery , mindfulness to inspire centeredness, and intentional groups to inspire meaningful relationships in women at various stages in their lives. Camp Glow It Up offers a strong, specific curriculum and guided introspection designed to focus on mental, emotional, and physical states of our own exceptional identities. It promotes inclusivity and empowerment of self and others.
The camps are all-inclusive, featuring nutritious meals with attention to specific dietary needs, lodging in the most beautiful parts of New England, and curated programs. Each camp includes fitness classes, yoga, hiking adventures, women’s circles, s’mores, arts 'n crafts, and dance parties.
With the acknowledgement of their shared responsibility to invest in the next generation of women leaders, a portion of the proceeds goes toward sending girls involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program their own summer camp experience.
Katie is a connector, an advocate, an explorer, a mother, and an entrepreneur. She is an award-winning personal trainer, fitness instructor, business owner, and event planner. She combines her passions for health and wellness, meaningful events, and human connection in this venture. She believes in the unstoppable force that women create when they come together, share their life’s wisdom, and find support in each other. She seeks to urge women to find their individual and collective voices at a crucial time in history.
How did the idea for Camp Glow It Up come about? We are clearly living in a pivotal moment in history—one where marginalized groups are finding their voices and standing up for themselves in ways that wouldn't have been possible even just a decade ago. I identified a need within myself to speak up about issues of injustice but wanted to find a way to make an impactful change positively and intentionally.
About a year and a half ago, I was at a point of transition and knew that I needed a venture in which I could unpack all this creative energy within me, while still serving others in a powerful way. In this climate of #MeToo and the Women's March, I saw a true need for women to come together in a safe space to pause and think about issues affecting us societally and personally. We need a chance to challenge ourselves, to break through boundaries that can be paralyzing to the soul. To me, it is now crucial to figure out together what we as socially-conscious women stand for in this new era.
Yes, all those who identify as women between the ages of 25 and 85 are encouraged to attend our camps.
How are you able to find time to juggle everyday life on top of this new start up? I will tell you, starting a new business is like birthing a second baby. And I just had my first actual baby only 15 months ago! It can be really difficult to find time. There are a lot of nights when I’m writing a newsletter instead of relaxing after an already busy day. But I believe in the intention of Camp Glow It Up® so strongly that I want to invest my time and resources before I ask anyone else to do the same. It also helps significantly that I have a stellar life partner who has my back 100 percent.
When did you first launch Camp Glow It Up? We officially launched as a business over Thanksgiving of last year. Our first Kickoff Camp was March 29-31, 2019, at Nine Mountain Retreats in Plainfield, MA. It was a blast and a half!
What do you feel is important for women to know about this new venture? All women are welcome, whether introverted or extroverted, whether coming with a friend or by themselves. Empowerment of ourselves AND others is a huge part of our camp culture, and we honor others’ perspectives, backgrounds and experiences. It should be said again: YOU are welcome here!
What do you want your campers to take away from this unique experience? I would love for each woman to walk away from each camp with a sense of shared sisterhood and a validated grit to lead the life they have always wanted.
How does the registration process work and how many more camp dates are available right now? People can register for camp right on the website at campglowitup.com.
Our first day camp is this Saturday, April 13 in downtown Northampton.
Glow Like a Mother Day Camp, which is a special Mother’s Day weekend edition of Camp Glow It Up. It’s the day before Mother’s Day (Saturday, May 11) in downtown Amherst.
Show Your Glow Summer Camp July 19-21, 2019 at Nine Mountain Retreats in Plainfield, MA.
Is this a costly program? Do you provide discounts for first time campers? I firmly believe that this experience is one-of-a-kind. Our campers find it an excellent investment in their own physical and mental well-being. We work hard to make it affordable, and we will fight to keep it that way.
The best way for first-time campers to find a great deal is to sign up for our Camp Mail email list at campglowitup.com. Camp Mail members get first crack at discounts and early-bird price levels.
Every business faces it’s challenges, how are you empowered to overcome yours? I have a list of core personal values and professional values. Whenever I face challenges, I refer to these two lists and figure out the best course of action based on these values.
To end, please tell our readers (in one word) how you would describe your boss-chik business?
Be sure to follow this chik-tastic SHERO and stay connected via social media!
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest: @campglowitup.
I was recently lucky enough to be featured on the new and fabulous Agency Life Podcast: a podcast with marketers sharing their stories and experiences in the fast paced industry. One of the first questions I was asked was “how do you do it all?”
Well. I don’t.
Haven’t we all been asked that at one point or another? How do we find the balance between bustling careers and a happy home life? As a new-ish entrepreneur, I remember the pure joy of taking the leap to quit my job and start my own business. The fantasy of endless vacation days, building my own schedule and cooking a homemade meal every evening for dinner was quickly squashed by the reality of business ownership: it never stops.
Over the course of the last year, I have experienced the ups and downs, anxiety attacks and pure glee at the score of a new client, and too many WTF moments to count. I learned quickly that if I wanted to have a balanced life I had to create a balanced life. It was no one else’s responsibility to do this for me, and in fact, most people were going to actively work against my goals. The reality is, everyone is trying to wrap up work and get the monkey off his or her back just like I am; and it will never end.
So what do we do? Skip out on family activities because we don’t have time? (No). Let our gel nails grow out too long so they become unsightly? (Hell no). We need to schedule and prioritize in order to achieve the ultimate goal of business ownership bliss. Here are my best tips for finding your balance and reducing the chaos:
Above all, you know what is best for you. Spend some time setting up the life you want and stick to it. Only you can ensure you’re getting what you need from your daily life; go out there and get it, Chik!
University of Massachusetts Dining Services will be hosting their tenth annual “UMass 5K Dash and Dine” on campus Saturday, April 6th. This run/walk is held annually, open to the campus community and the general public, with the goal to raise funds for our neighbors in need at The Amherst Survival Center (ASC) while promoting health and fitness at the University.
The 5K was created to bring an exciting course to runners and walkers alike, including children, while supporting the ASC food and nutrition programs which directly impacts the purchase of food for the ASC Community Kitchen and Food Pantry. Particularly, funds aid the ASC during the winter months when the purchase of produce, diary, kitchen supplies and program staffing are in great need.
The race fee is $5 for all 5-College Undergrad and Graduate students, faculty and staff, and $15 for the general public. The race fee includes registration, and a complimentary meal at the University’s award-winning dining facilities in the Hampshire Dining Commons.
Over the last nine years, UMass Dining has been able to raise over $39,000 for the Amherst Survival Center. The goal this year is to reach more than $7,000.
Schedule of events:
· 9 a.m. – Check-in at The Southwest Horseshoe
· 10 a.m. – FREE Fun Run for children 8 years old and under
· 11 a.m. – Race begins
· 11:30 a.m. – Award ceremony
· Noon – Lunch in the Berkshire Dining Commons
The top three winners in each gender category will be awarded $1,000 in prizes! Online registration will end at midnight on April 4th and walk-up registration is available on Race Day!
“UMass 5K Dash and Dine is always one of my favorite events to see our students and staff running/walking together to support our neighbor in need. It’s a great way to build community and showcase what UMass spirit is all about.” said Executive Director of Auxiliary Enterprises, Ken Toong.
To register or make a donation, visit: www.runumass.com.
Blog by Editorial Contributor Crystal Dunn
The 68th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will commence on Sunday, March 17th, 2019 in downtown Holyoke, MA. Parade weekend is one of the largest gatherings in Western Massachusetts, drawing in people from all across the region. As February comes to an end-- we’re all starting to feel that undeniable itch for warmer weather, outdoor beer fests and a shamrockin’ good time!
Every year, Western Massachusetts becomes the place to be as you’ll find us locals on the prowl for the best neighborhood hotspots, where everyone knows your name, to celebrate all things GREEN!
However, we understand how the numerous parties, parades and beer pairing events can be a bit overwhelming. Lucky for you, we’ve narrowed it down and put together an easy, on the go, listing guaranteed to get you into the Celtic spirit!
Amherst, MA - The Harp, a well known Irish pub where you enter as strangers and leave as friends. Relax to a wide selection of live music and a satisfying drink menu.
Northampton, MA - McLaddens, the pub that has a staggering 160 plus varieties of whiskey and one of the finest & most diverse beer selections in all of New England. If you’re looking for good ole’ Irish fun, McLaddens is your haven.
Holyoke, MA - Brennan’s Place, come and celebrate for a cause with the Celebrity Bartender Media Challenge! TONIGHT February 28th from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Western Mass News, Rock 102 and MassLive go head to head to see who can raise the most for the Leprechaun Plunge (sponsored by ChikMedia)! This one is guaranteed to bring on the competition.
Springfield, MA - Nathan Bills, whether you need to unwind at a local eatery or just feel like grabbing a pint; be ready to party and make sure to check out their “MARCH MADNESS” extravaganza! A series of events to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all month long.
Let us know in the comments below your favorite Irish hotspots!
Blog by Editorial Contributor Crystal Dunn
So we’ve all been there; we’re casually scrolling through our Instagram feed as a way to disconnect and BAM! We get an ad. And WOW, that ad is always on point. “How does Instagram speak to my soul?” you ask yourself. Well, they use targeting, cookies and voodoo, but that’s a post for another day.
For me personally, I always hesitate to make a purchase via an Instagram ad due to countless horror stories of Chinese Doll clothing posing as a human wardrobe. (We’ve all been there, yes? Just me?) So I wanted to take the guesswork out of it for my Chiks. I spent one week buying a product a day based on Instagram ads that were presented into my feed. Here’s what I found…
Amazon Wardrobe: Everyone knows Amazon is the bees knees, let’s not kid ourselves. New vacuum? Amazon. Selfie light? Amazon. Kid’s party supplies? (No, I don’t have kids) Amazon. But, clothes? Who knew? I purchased a handful of items from the Amazon Wardrobe collection and have to say, they are on point. Now, not everything that came in was a keeper, so if you’re the type of person who doesn’t return things when they don’t fit, avoid shopping on Amazon. You have to be willing to take the good with the bad here. The best piece of advice I can give when it comes to AW is read the reviews. Check for sizing discrepancies and reports on quality. Listen to other ladies who have been there, done that, and you’ll be golden! Items range anywhere from $10-$100 and if you choose Amazon Prime, they’ll arrive in two days.
Misses Kisses: Ladies: gird your loins, the tatas are out. My friend recently referred to this as the “black magic of bras.” The Misses Kisses bra is intended to hold the girls up while being backless and strapless. Not gonna happen, right? Wrong. I am a full 32c when it comes to bra size and this thing is a damn miracle. It may look like an iron maiden torture device, but it’s remarkably comfortable and actually stays in place. The larger the breasts, the better this item works (really, go look at their feed). Girls rocking smaller than a B cup unfortunately will not find this product useful, but if you’ve ever purchased a cute jumper (like the one pictured below) or a dress that doesn’t allow for a bra, this is the solution. I chose to use the optional strap because I was paranoid about it snapping off, and cannot be happier with this purchase. It’s not cheap, coming in at around $100, but worth the investment if you own anything low cut and strapless.
Red Dress: To be honest, I’ve been seeing Red Dress ads for months and was always curious. The price tag is a bit higher than Amazon, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and fit of this line! I ordered a handful of items (including the jumper featured below) and loved every piece. The camo print overalls were soft and flexible. The gray and white striped top was loose fitting, flattering and silky smooth. You’re going to pay a bit more than you would say, Forever 21, but it’s well worth the investment as the clothes won’t fall apart first wash. Simply put, Red Dress is quality comfort a girl can get behind.
Sun Basket: Stop everything you’re doing and go sign up for Sun Basket now. The end.
But seriously, this is the 4th meal service I have subscribed to and as someone who is a “flexitarian” (I eat mostly vegetarian, but also eat fish) this is a home run. The meals are easy to prepare (I’m a HOT MESS in the kitchen) quick, and healthy. And when I say healthy, I mean stealth health: you don’t notice because the flavors are on point and you always feel full. My favorite part of this company is the app they have to control your meal service. Unlike others, they send you text alerts reminding you to choose meal choices and offering you to skip weeks with no penalty. It’s the easiest meal service I’ve ever signed up for and I’m totally hooked. If you tend to be conservative with your food and are afraid to try new flavors, this may not be for you. But if you’re open to ingredients you can’t pronounce AND want to feel like a master chef, this is the choice for you.
P.S. text me and I’ll get you $40 off your first order. Seriously, text me.
City Lips: Full disclosure: before I review this product, I must admit, I get my lips filled. And honestly, there’s no substitute for some beautiful Juvederm filling out your pout. I WILL NEVER GO BACK. But, if you’re not ready for the needle, then City Lips is a great substitution. This thicker-than-average lip-gloss has kept my lips hydrated and soft throughout these harsh winter months. If you put it on before bed, you’ll still have moist lips when you wake up (this presents a problem for me since I have 5 fur-babies and often wake up with cat hair stuck to my mouth, but I digress…). It lasts for hours and never gets sticky or gross. Plus, the pretty sheen keeps your lips looking irresistible.
Happy Healthy Hippie: Time to get serious. Anxiety and depression are both mental health issues I deal with on the regular (me and everyone else, right?). Launching a business is one of the most stressful life decisions I’ve ever made and at the end of 2018, shit got dark. My life is everything I want it to be, but I was going to bed AND waking up in a full-blown anxiety attack: couldn’t breathe, heart racing, thinking I was about to drop dead. I see a therapist, but have never taken more than an Ativan, here and there, as needed. A little over a month ago, as I sobbed on the treadmill at the gym, I realized something needed to change; I started looking up medications for my condition. I have never been a pill popper, but I knew deep down that if something didn’t give, I would end up in the mental institute within the year. In pops the Happy Healthy Hippie. After a quick run through of reviews and in-depth research of the ingredients, I clicked ORDER NOW and eagerly awaited the arrival of this herbal supplement that people all over the country claimed cured depression and anxiety. Folks, it has been a month and I haven’t had a single anxiety attack. I am crying as I type this. I take 2 of these pills daily and cannot say enough about this product. I’ve convinced half of my family, my husband and friends near and dear to me to give it a try and not one person hasn’t agreed with me. Whether you’re a chronic worrier, or someone who’s experiencing a light case of SAD, these herb-based, St. John’s Wort filled, pills are lifesavers.
Finishing Hair Cream: Admittedly, I am not one to wear my hair up very often. For some reason a topknot turns me into Gollum from Lord of the Rings. But I wanted to give this product a try to see if I could control the hideous fly-aways that leaves me feeling wind blown and ragged. This product is GREAT for fine or super soft hair. For my course, thick hair, it took a bit more to get it to work. It’s light and absolutely does not weigh your hair down, as it claims. There’s no hard hairspray feel, and no greasy mousse feel when you use it. But for thick-haired girls, you’re going to have to reapply throughout the day. Luckily, its mascara sized and can easily be thrown into a purse. If you’re looking for a hairspray alternative to control your beautiful bun, this is a great workaround.
-Boss Chik Meghan
Got a product you want Meghan to review before you buy? Email us! Send a note and a link to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get on it, Chik.
January 30th, 2019— the early morning forecast shows a high of 27° and a low of -2° in Northampton, MA. The snow is literally everywhere now. Tis’ the season where you just want to stay inside, styled with your most huggable, snuggable warm weather gear. While that’s great for a typical Netflix Binge-a-thon, it’s basic and we both know you’re better than that. There’s plenty of worthy hot spots in our area to get you out of the house that are guaranteed to keep you warm and snug.
Hadley, MA – The Quarters , located at 8 Railroad St. just off Route 9 and directly on the Norwottock Rail Trail, is the destination hub for those seeking a cozy place which serves creative food, amazing drinks and 20+ vintage arcade games that are total classics. However, it’s Quarters Monday Night Trivia that steals the show! So, get started by gathering your smartest, nerdiest and most clever friends to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights. (I think it’s going to be my plan for this Monday 😉).
Holyoke, MA – Gateway City Arts, a thriving event venue in Holyoke’s growing innovation district, beside its historic canals on 92 Race Street. If you are looking for a fun night out with friends, or simply on the hunt for something new and fresh, then look no further! This prime location offers live concerts with full bar and dining, events, entertainment, theater and so much more! With an absolute jam-packed lined up throughout the calendar year— It’s truly the ideal place to check out for a rockin’ good time!
Amherst, MA – Amherst Cinema, a quaint and intimate local theater, screening independent, classic and current films. The advantage of this film house, over a chain movie plex, is that they present over 275 programs a year on four screens in more than 20 languages. Their mission is, rightfully, to entertain while providing inspiration through the universal language of cinema arts that serves to inform and educate as a resource for everyone. For the true movie enthusiast, it’s the perfect warm-welcome into the world of film. Hands down, a hometown favorite! (Yes, I grew up in Amherst, yes I may be a tad biased about this one. But chiks, it truly is a crowd pleaser— I promise you 😂)!
Northampton, MA – East Heaven, a great local place to dip into during the cold winter months. Guaranteed to melt your stress away, in traditional Japanese style, the private tub rooms are crafted of the finest woods, both indoors and outdoors. Scouts honor (✋), this hot tub house and spa will allow you a total relaxation experience that you’ve been searching for— Now, that’s hot!
Springfield, MA – MGM Springfield, the newest addition to downtown Springfield, has been all the roar! It’s the spot for nightlife, entertainment, state of the art casino and resort. If you have not stopped in for a quick drink or seat on the casino floor, you’re missing out on a great time for sure! (Oh— and no big deal. But... THE QUEEN, THE ICON, THE LEGEND, CHER: Here We Go Again World Tour is coming to MGM Springfield on Tuesday, April 30th!) You’re welcome.
Blog by Editorial Contributor Crystal Dunn
Where do I even begin? It wasn’t too long ago that I was sitting with one of my best chiks discussing my desire to launch Chikmedia as a full-time endeavor. I’ve had the company for over five years, but always had the fall back of a full-time job to “keep me safe.” Entrepreneurship is scary. Screw that, it’s TERRIFYING. The thought of being out there on my own, independently responsible for my own success, was paralyzing. But the vision of being my own boss, starting a company that focused on supporting women, and leading a team of badass chiks, far overshadowed any doubts I had.
2018 was a tremendous year for Chikmedia. We kicked off with a new brand launch and also hosted our first Chiks’ Night Out: a sell out success. From there, the rest was history. From Inns, to financial investors, to school systems, beauty professionals and nonprofits; our client base is diverse as it can be. We are so incredibly grateful to our clients, those who have supported us along the way and those who we are continuing to work with regularly. It takes a village and we’ve found a damn good one!
Everyone always asks what my plans are for the company, but the truth is, I have nothing set in stone. I have never wanted to be a large Marketing & PR firm who employs dozens of people, but I can’t officially take if off the table. I see us growing slowly, but steadily: a vision I often refer to as “contained growth.” I see us hosting more events to bring women together in meaningful ways. I see us drafting marketing strategies, designing social media content, and positioning our clients as experts to regional media outlets. I see a happy team enjoying two Chikmedia retreats a year and inserting their passion into their work every day. I see powerful, successful women and I see a lot of them!
I hope you stay with us for this wild ride here in 2019 as we look forward to having you!
-Boss Chik Meghan
Hey girl (and guy), we're so glad you're here. ChikChat is our version of an informative blog that keeps you up to date on all the latest marketing trends, fabulous business owners and must-see hot spots. So pour a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and get comfy.