A Kick Cancer’s Butt Staycation in Boston.

By Posted in - Boston & Featured Post & Skinny Cow & Travel Blog & U.S.A. on July 30th, 2013

home-introducing-wocaveA couple weeks ago I announced that I was partnering with Skinny Cow to promote women’s empowerment – in the form of WoCave travel missions throughout the summer. I was really excited to partner with them on this mission because although I’m missing my eyebrow rings and gothic/hippie overalls (I was clearly confused) from my college days I am still all about women getting the most they can from life, empowering themselves and each other. For some other bloggers the WoCave is an actual place or a room, for me it’s a bit more abstract since it encompasses the entire world! Which I think is actually pretty darn cool.

My first mission was to go on a ‘staycation’ and it was easy for me to figure out what to do since my favorite childhood memories come from Cape Cod. I haven’t really been back to enjoy it in years and I don’t think the weekly ride to Trader Joe’s in Hyannis counts. I was really looking forward to a day of fun in the sun on the beaches of the Cape…

but then something crazy happened.

A couple days after my announcement of going to the Cape I got some devastating news – Stacy, one of my best friends in the entire world was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Yes, that’s the actual name – it’s too bad doctors can’t come up with better names. Triple Negative? Seriously? Maybe we could call it Mostly Sunny With A Chance Of Breast Cancer instead? The name Triple Negative just sounds really depressing.

She’s only 37 and it was a total shock. Even though we knew she probably had the BRCA 1 gene (and she does) I just never thought the fight would come knocking on her front door. Luckily it’s Stage 2b and although its spread into a couple lymph nodes it isn’t Stage 3. PHEW! Her prognosis is good. If “Mostly Sunny” responds well to chemo it will respond really well and she will be clear quickly. After chemo it’s on to a double mastectomy and then breast reconstruction surgery.

All of this news came so suddenly and on the heels of what has already been a very busy month for her. She got married just 3 weeks before she was diagnosed at a routine mammogram and she had started a new job just a couple weeks before that. Suddenly on top of everything her and her husband had to decide within 1 week if they were going to have kids since she would need to have some eggs frozen before the chemo. Then the doctors wanted to know if she would like to be a part of a medical trial. A trial with excellent results for “Mostly Sunny” but terrible, possible side effects, like permanent hearing loss and kidney damage. It’s a lot to think about.

As the Dr. describes it she has Harvard/MIT cancer cells – they are over achievers and in the span of just this short time she has already felt her tumor growing. So the thinking needed to be done quickly.

She needed to clear her head and I needed to see her so I changed my staycation to Boston and I met her in the city for a bit of girl time and relaxation. Then the staycation turned into an entire weekend and it was just what the doctor ordered!

By the end of the weekend and after having an impromptu Let’s Kick Cancer’s Butt Party with friends she had the answers she was looking for – she would adopt kids. She saw our reactions after we all felt her up (hey we needed to know exactly what the tumor felt like!) and knew she couldn’t wait any longer, not even for future babies. We were all shocked by the size (much bigger than we thought) and told her that her chemo should’ve started yesterday, it wasn’t anything that could wait. And that was that. She starts chemo this Friday.

I know things are going to be OK because honestly there is no other option. She is young, she is funny and she is tough as nails. If anyone is going to make it through this it will be Stacy.

I wondered if I should tell this story along with my staycation travel tale but this is the WoCave in action. There’s no better reason for women to be supporting each other than this and if I had to pick something to go into my WoCave, it would be Stacy, T, Cheri, Ali & Karyn. Being a long term traveler ‘things’ mean very little to me but relationships mean everything. And now these relationships are more important than ever.

I have to say this weekend was really fun, you see Stacy is quite the comedian and is working through all of this with humor, which is awesome. The group of us laughed the entire weekend, while sipping on cocktails, eating endless amounts of avocados and Google-ing the best celebrity boobs, because if there is one good thing to come out of this, it’s that she will have a nice rack after it’s all said and done.

Before meeting up with Stacy and T (another one of our besties) in Boston I had a few hours to myself. I decided to do something that I haven’t done in a long time, which was to bookstore hop throughout the city. I LOVE bookstores and rarely have time to visit them so I knew it would be the perfect way to start my staycation. I also decided that I was going to photograph the entire day in B&W with my phone. Of course Boston didn’t let us down either, in fact being there just further fueled my desire to move back. I miss the city life and Boston is such a fantastic place to call home.

I hope you like these photos of my fantastically fun Boston staycation and thank you all for supporting my WoCave missions with Skinny Cow. It’s thanks to their generosity that I was able to treat these awesome ladies to a fantastic night – so thank you for traveling along with us and reading about my adventures!

Without further ado – here is the recap of my Boston staycation in photos!

On The Way To Boston…yep, Randy got to come along even though it was a girl’s day since he offered to be our designated driver. Thanks Randy!

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My First Stop was to Lorem Ipsum Bookstore in Cambridge. This place is fun. It’s kind of wacky and has a lot of used books, which I love. It’s charming and small and full of Cambridge hipsters so yeah, it’s hip without being hip. There were a couple things that caught my eye in this bookstore:

Lorem Ipsum Bookstore Cambridge SFB

The selection of used books is interesting to say the least and I almost bought Cows, Pigs, Wars & Witches because of the name. I felt like I was holding a True Blood book from another time period with all of those characters – hahaha!

The ‘Read Instead’ TV is just plain rad and then I was like a photographer in heat when I spied the old fashioned typewriter just sitting there among the books. How cool is that? Then I noticed something really interesting on the typewriter keys – isn’t it funny how the symbols on one of these keys are so ironic? One symbol is basically ancient history while the other is imperative to our modern survival. I’ll let you decide which key I’m talking about…

After a bit I decided to find their photography section and see if I could get a little inspiration flowing through my veins. This bookstore actually had old film reels lying alongside the books so I had big hopes. Sadly they were dashed, while they had a large film selection they didn’t have much of a photo section, just a few random books. I thought it was going to be a total wash until I found this Diana F+ book

Diana F book sfb sm

I flipped through the pages and got sucked into the Diana world of photo imperfection. I love blurred out images (I call them thinking images) and this book was full of them. It was completely random and inspiring and I knew instantly it was coming home with me. Although I was basing my staycation around my friends, I knew that for just a few dollars this book would make a really great addition to our night. Perfecto!

After I bought the book it was time to hit the road. Along the way, we decided to visit Boylston Street and pay our respects to Boston Strong. I was surprised to see there wasn’t any memorial at the bombing sites but the finish line is still in place. I will definitely be back in Boston shortly to patronize some of these shops and restaurants in this area (one I noticed was still closed from the bombing).

Finish Line for Boston Marathon

Then it was off to Newbury Street to visit Trident Books! But since we got stuck in some traffic I decided to take some selfies in the car and wow!

For a change I actually look great in these photos! Being photogenic is a gift (and if you don’t have it, you know what I’m talking about here) and it is not a gift I was blessed with – usually I look like a hag with a giant moon pie face when someone takes a photo of me. But these photos actually look good and I am definitely going to take all photos of myself in Black & White from now on! If you don’t like photos of yourself normally, give it a try – I am still totally shocked and pleased with these!

Because I rarely put photos of myself up on our site I will only torture you with my favorite four. So far, the staycation is AWESOME.

Beth Actually Looks Good Amazing! SFB SM

We arrived at Trident starving and we were psyched to discover that they had a full cafe in this bookstore. Yes, this place is everything you wished for in a bookstore – free wifi, excellent food and a great selection of books and gifts. They even juice here! I got an apple, carrot, ginger juice and a bagel. Randy noshed on some vegan chili, fries and a PBR. Yep, they sell beer here too!

After eating I wandered up to the 2nd floor and finally found a photography section! I also found a book with instructions on how to change the world. Clearly this John-Paul Flintoff was a real entrepreneur capitalizing on the hopeful inner child of every adult that grew up wanting to change the world and then the ones still clinging to youth, like me, with the same dream. I almost bought it…

Visiting Trident Bookstore sfb sm

But then I heard the voice of the lady of the hour – Stacy had arrived and tracked me down in the bookstore. Yah! Promptly I had her pose with a clown’s nose on, I have no idea why but it worked. We chatted for a few minutes and then T showed up.

After entering the bookstore she proceeded to tell us about how much Newbury Street had changed since the days of her youth and how she didn’t like it now…I probably should’ve bought her the book. Within minutes we were out on the streets and on our way to DRINK.

On our way to this hip new drinking establishment (yes, it’s actually named DRINK) I snapped a couple pics of Boston in the rain. Ahhhh…. so pretty – Boston I Miss You!

Boston SFB  SM

DRINK was pretty packed when we arrived and after a 20 minute wait they invited us in to this ultra hip, extremely dark little bar. It has the feel of an old fashioned speak easy and as Stacy observed “It’s like the Pandora of Drinking.”

This is completely true.

I did not see a drink menu anywhere in this place. Instead they ask you what kind of drinks you like and then they make you something based off your preference – just like what Pandora does for music. I said I liked Gin & Tonics and I don’t know what I got but it was really good. T stated she liked ‘savory drinks’ and got a drink that she couldn’t finish called The Little Giuseppe. It reminded me of Italy because it had Apertif in it! Stacy ended up with something similar to a Cosmo.

Drink Boston SFB SM

They also have some appetizers here and we sampled Japanese Street Corn, Fries and Watermelon with Feta.

All in all this place was really fun. The only downside was that the drinks were teeny tiny (my entire drink could’ve fit into a shot glass) and we guessed they were expensive. We were right and so after ringing up a $125 bill in about a half hour we knew we had to get out of there fast and get to a real place where we could hang out and chat.

There is no dress code here but you get the feeling some things aren’t really acceptable here, like my Ziploc wallet. Yep, by a tragic turn of events involving my sister’s cat, my old fabric wallet was sacrificed to the trash and right before we left for Boston I put my ID and cards into the quickest thing I could find – which was a Ziploc bag. I didn’t really think about it until we got into DRINK and the bartender requested my debit card for the tab. I had to pull out the Ziploc bag wallet and the bartender did a really good job of not looking too mortified – at that point I knew I was really out of my element. Hahahaha!

We walked out, almost blinded by the pink sunset covering Boston like a blanket – it was beautiful! It was so dark in DRINK that I actually forgot it was still daylight outside. I had to use the flashlight app on T’s phone to take the photos above.

On the way out we spotted this rainbow above us and then I noticed this nifty lit up staircase. Just as I was about to snap a photo this guy walked out of the door – thank you Boston staycation photo gods!

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We finished the night at one of my all time favorite Boston bars – The Model Cafe. I love this place. I have always loved this place. A couple years after college I practically lived here since it was right near my apartment. It’s still exactly the same which was perfect – dark, kind of ratty but easy going. Everyone fits in at The Model, which I guess makes the name really ironic.

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What we really needed was a place we could talk about what was going on with Stacy over a good beer and The Model delivered. We stayed here for a while until it was time to head home and let out little Chachy.

Stacy came home to spend the weekend at our place and later on our friend Cheri brought over these incredible cupcakes made by her very talented neighbor which got everyone laughing hysterically. Clearly they needed to be photographed in color.

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It was the ideal way to spend a staycation – time spent with best friends, excellent books, good drinks and some very appropriate boobie cupcakes! Who wouldn’t want all of those things in their WoCave?

I have always known that I am incredibly lucky to have such fantastic friends. I don’t get to see them as much as I would like and spending the weekend with them all, even with the difficult situation, was such a gift.

Want to visit some of these places yourself?

Lorem Ipsum

1299 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 497-7669
Lorem Ipsum Books

Trident Bookstore

338 Newbury Street
Boston,  MA 02115
(617) 267-8688
Trident Bookstore & Cafe

DRINK

348 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 695-1806
DRINK

The Model Cafe

7 North Beacon St
Allston, MA 02134
Phone:(617) 254-9365

 Stay tuned for my next travel mission with Skinny Cow – it involves a LOT of food because I’ll be visiting 3 different eateries! I’m going to see if I can rally the troops again for this one and spend some time taking Stacy’s mind off of everything that is going on. A vegan diet is known to work wonders for cancer patients and I just so happen to have a favorite vegan restaurant in Boston…fortunately it is also located just a couple doors down from The Model!

*Disclosure: While this project is being sponsored by the great folks at Skinny Cow, our adventures, thoughts & opinions are entirely our own.

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!

 

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(9) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Pauline -

    July 31, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Hi Beth, I’m sorry to hear about Stacy’s diagnosis. I work for breast cancer research and I know how devastating that must be. I’ve spoken to many survivors throughout the past 3 years or so and the one thing I’ve learned is that in addition to all the necessary medical actions, a dose of positive attitude and heartfelt encouragements from family and friends also help tremendously (which I should say, you’ve done well during your staycation!). Please give my best wishes to Stacy. Also, as always, beautiful pictures! XO.

    • Bethany Salvon -

      August 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words. So far she is doing great and being a real trooper thru it all. 🙂

  • Juliann -

    July 31, 2013 at 8:26 am

    What an inspiring story. I hope Stacy comes through with flying colors. I know one thing – your staycation and fun times had to have helped her. A positive attitude can make such a difference. Glad you all had so much fun.

    • Bethany Salvon -

      August 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for commenting Juliann! Her attitude through all of this has amazed me !

  • Jennifer -

    July 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Stacy should talk with my sister-in-law Heather, who just went through the same time at only 32.

    Tim and Heather’s mom passed away of breast cancer after it came back after she had been in remission for 3 years. Their mom was only in her 40s.

    Heather was diagnosed 2 years ago and also unsurprisingly tested positive for the gene. She had chemo, a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery, and also recently had a full hysterectomy.

    After all of that, she treated herself to a wonderful holiday and has just returned from Turkey.

    • Bethany Salvon -

      August 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Jen,

      Oh, I am so sorry to hear that about Tim’s mom and sister. That is such a difficult thing to go through. That gene is so tough to deal with. Stacy’s mom had breast cancer 3 times before it was discovered that it was genetic. It’s amazing that it can be almost eradicated by removing the breasts and ovaries yet it’s sad that it has to be such a traumatic surgery to do so. I’m sorry that his sister had to go through all of that but glad she came out on top. I hope she loved Turkey. 🙂

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures -

    July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    It is sooooo awesome that you did this for your friend! I’m sending her positive vibes!!! I hope she heals quickly! You should post more pics of yourself, you’re so beautiful. 🙂

    • Bethany Salvon -

      August 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Awwww… Thank you so much Andi. She had a lot of fun – I hope we can all through her another party before her big surgery. 🙂

  • Karlon -

    August 5, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Hi Beth, seems like you had a great staycation. It was sad to know about Stacy, she needs to stay strong. These are the tough times , but as they say, This too shall pass.Thanks for sharing the post with us.