My Summer Story: Lovely Local Firsts + A Giveaway

summer-story-1.jpgThis sponsored post was inspired by Starwood's My Summer Story campaign. All editorial reflections are, of course, my own.

Ever since becoming a parent, summer is a completely different ballgame. And while I could do without the transition woes and calendar juggling, I do appreciate how Laurel and Vi's summer schedules force me to think about blocking out down time and trying new things (both good things!). So when Starwood Hotels & Resorts invited me to participate in their My Summer Story campaign -- in which they're encouraging people to reflect on their summer stories and make the summer worth talking about -- I was like, yes, I am on board with this!

Summer usually means travel for many families, but I'll be plain and say that right now Violet is a pretty rambunctious toddler. I had no problem flying with her as a baby, but being sequestered with her on a flight to California? Not so appealing right now. And as I reflected on how our summer has been shaping up, it occurred to me that my summer story has been all about lovely local firsts. With the kids, that's translated to taking the girls to Brewster and to visit my sister on upper Cape Cod for the first time. On an individual level, Laurel participated in a mini-art camp for the first time at Artworks in 2 Shades (and adored it), I ran my first 10K in Somerville (testing ground, it turns out, for signing up for my first half marathon in Boston!), and Jon taught his first college course in Cambridge. (Violet's lovely local first has been hyper-hyper-local: it involves the potty.)

And as part of my participation in the Starwood My Summer Story campaign, Jon and I recently spent a night at the Sheraton Boston; the experience also led to several lovely firsts:

1. It was the first time Jon and I enjoyed a local hotel together. I've had meetings at the Sheraton, but never stayed and the location was perfect for downtown meandering.


2. It was my first time seeing Boston from that vantage point (27 floors up). The kind folks at the Sheraton had champagne and cupcakes waiting...perfect refreshments to enjoy while taking in the beautiful view.


3. It was our first time eating at Sonsie. It's a restaurant I have walked by a million times and I decided it was time to visit. Dinner was delicious (and the pistachio ice cream that accompanied the brown butter cake was outstanding).

4. It was the first time in several years that Jon and I woke up in a leisurely fashion and went out to enjoy breakfast together. We actually ended up going back to Sonsie so we could enjoy the open-front atmosphere. The granola was good, but I highly recommend the homemade doughnut with orange glaze.


5. Finally, it was the first time in a long, long time that Jon and I had a chance to stroll slowly and absorb. As we walked the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, we came across the Boston Women's Memorial and I couldn't believe I had never seen it before. It made me realize how focused I tend to be on getting from point A to B when I'm in transit around the city. I need to take more time to look around.


I'm sure there will be more firsts in the remaining weeks of summer, but so far, this summer has been a wonderful reminder of how much there is to enjoy locally when Massachusetts is your home. Thanks, Starwood, for providing the inspiration to reflect on this!


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Congrats to winner Lauren!
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Now, as part of the My Summer Story campaign, Starwood also is offering something fun for you. I've got 16,000 Starpoints to give to one lucky winner. Simply e-mail with "Starwood" in the subject by noon EST, Thursday, August 15, 2013 to enter to win. One lucky winner (drawn randomly via will receive 16,000 Starwood Starpoints (approximate value of $250-500 depending on dates and property selected). The winner will be notified directly via e-mail, then listed back at this post using first name only.

Image credits: Christine Koh