Where you won’t find me this summer

Confession: I haven’t been following my own advice.  I haven’t been making the most out of life in Boston during these hot-but-not-completely-miserable-actually summer days. It seems like every spare moment is spent nailing down yet another detail for the wedding.  Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER excited for the big day.  But at this point, I’m looking forward to it being OVER.

Other than that my days have been filled with reading (hint: don’t read Stephen King while alone at night, Molly, you dummy), cooking (another successful Whole30 is almost in the books), and exercising (which I actually love now, WHO HAVE I BECOME?)

 

10533960 1448417368757917 1898864771 n Where you wont find me this summer

(Also – eating a probably unhealthy amount of watermelon)

Other than another squishy addition to the family – my nephew, Griffin, born on June 23 and so stinkin’ cute – I haven’t done anything new. And isn’t that my “brand”? Trying new things around Boston, finding new ways to have fun? I’ve been feeling slightly angsty about that.

When I started Wicked Cheap in 2010, I was newly unemployed and had nothing to do but discover (and cry about the fact that I couldn’t find a job but let’s gloss over that fact for now). I had done relatively little exploring in Boston before then so EVERYTHING was new. Now I’ve been around the block and that whole “been there, done that” attitude is starting to sink in.

There are, obviously, things I haven’t done. Some of those fall on my “I’ll do that…after the wedding” list and some of them fall on my “I mean, it would be a good blog post but…eh” list.

So now I give you: Things In Boston Molly Doesn’t Want To Do

1. Outdoor fitness

Free outdoor fitness classes are all over the place this summer. Proof: check out Boston On Budget’s comprehensive list.  You could get your sweat on in the great out doors every day of the week if you wanted to.  There’s the rub: if you WANTED to. I do not WANT to. Since starting my job at a gym, I’ve become something of a gym rat. I work out four days a week (you can go ahead and congratulate me now). The best part of the gym? TEMPERATURE CONTROL. I can’t really think of something I want to do less than sweating my butt off in the classic Boston humidity.

2. Outdoor movies

Are you getting the idea that I don’t like to be outdoors in the summer? You are very perceptive. Along with a plethora of outdoor fitness, there’s a huge selection of outdoor movie nights going on around the city this year.  You will find me at none of them.

3. Shakespeare in The Park

For the 18th year, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is up and running in the Boston Common.  This is something I’ve actually tried.  Last year, I headed over to catch their production of Two Gentlemen of Verona which was getting rave reviews.  I lasted about ten minutes.  This is nothing to say about the company, the actors, the production, etc.  This is everything to say about my ability to comprehend Shakespeare when I’m not reading it slowly and with Spark Notes.  I’m confident in my other intellectual abilities enough that I’m ok with this. If you want to give it a shot, check out Twelfth Night Tuesdays through Sundays at the Parkman Band Stand.

Yes, I just tricked myself into writing a blog post about stuff I didn’t want to write a blog post about. ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.

Goldstar, Music, and Bedazzled Suspenders

Living in one place for a while, it’s easy to get into a routine.  You visit the same coffee shops, go to the same restaurant, take the same walk, work on that butt imprint in your couch.  You find favorites and stop messing with a good thing. I’ll admit, in the winter months, that is 100% ok with me.  I’m not up for exploring or trying new things when it’s 5 degrees and icy.  No thanks. But come Spring and Summer, I’m itching for a change of scenery and fun excursions.

(Get ready, I’m about to plug my own work)

(Here it comes)

This is part of the reason why I started contributing over at The Boston Day Book. Have you checked it out? Get on it! By committing to sharing my favorite cheap date ideas, I’ve actually had to, you know, go on those dates. (You don’t need a Dr. Fiance or Significant Other to enjoy any of the dates I share, though.  They’re all enjoyable with friends or even alone!)

It’s also why I started looking for Boston experiences that I haven’t…experienced…yet. (I’m only one sip into my ice coffee right now, bare with my lack of vocabulary).

I had heard of Goldstar for a while but hadn’t ever used the service, which sells tickets online for events, shows, and attractions at a discount. I liked to keep my eye on the emails from Goldstar to see what was going on and a few weeks ago a show caught my eye – Great Gatsby Night with the Boston Pops.  I’ve only seen the Boston Pops perform during their Christmas season and was eager to see one of their summertime shows (except not the concert on the 4th. You would need to pay me a large sum to sit out on the Esplanade all dang day with a bunch of patriotic hooligans. I mean…I’m sure it’s a lovely event…)

I got tickets for the way-back of Symphony Hall for $12 each (half off the regular price).

SymphonyHall 600x450 Goldstar, Music, and Bedazzled Suspenders

The first half was what I expected, with the Pops playing pieces from the 1920s and Keith Lockhart being adorbs.

But then! The second half! New York based band The Hot Sardines shared the stage with the Pops.  They describe themselves as “Liquor-Drinking Jazz” and it’s appropriate.  They’re boozey and blustery and SO MUCH FUN. The set started with “Paris In The Springtime” and the energy during the break down was infectious. Mine weren’t the only toes a-tapping – part of their rhythm section is a tap dancer! I repeat, SO MUCH FUN.

This is what can happen when you decide to do something just-slightly-different.  You can pay $12 to watch a world class orchestra play with an amazing jazz band that makes you want to wear bejeweled suspenders (did I mention the singer, Miz Elizabeth wore bejeweled suspenders?) and learn to tap dance.

By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post and I’m not working with Goldstar (or the Pops…or the Hot Sardines….BUT I WOULD).

ScoreBig or Stay Home – Review

Last week, I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. I was invited to try out ScoreBig.com, an online ticketing platform that has been around for a couple years but was new to me. I was offered credit to the site in exchange for a blog post. Credit that could be used towards Red Sox tickets. Credit that ultimately got me FREE Red Sox tickets. Count me in.

I’ll be completely honest, there were a few times when I thought about not using the credit and not blogging about the website because I was frustrated. But in the end, I wanted to be able to give a review of this service if it could be a viable resource for discounted tickets. And I wanted to go to a Red Sox game, lets be real.

ScoreBig moves unsold ticket inventory to sports games, concerts, theater, and other attractions. In the Boston area, most of the listings are for Sox games but there are some big name concerts on there as well (Beyonce, for instance. I thought about it, trust me.) There are no fees and ticket delivery (whether electronic or by mail) is free.

Here’s how it works: You choose an event, choose the seating area you’d like, then make an offer for how much you want to pay for those seats. You get an answer instantly whether your offer was accepted or not. If not, you can accept their counter offer or try again on that seating area in 24 hours.

ScoreBig EnterPrice1 ScoreBig or Stay Home   Review

The tagline for ScoreBig is “Save on every ticket. Guaranteed.”

As I mentioned, I got frustrated a couple times. The first was some mix up with login information that seems to have been resolved. The site would say I was logged in when I wasn’t, and would ask me for my login information multiple times. Maybe it says something about my patience level when I was ready to walk away just from that, but there you have it. A call to customer service (A very polite human! Right away! No number pushing! Thanks Daniel…or David….D-Man!) got me on the right track.

I’ve been to two COLD Sox games this season, so I chose a date in July when temperatures might actually be above 60. Then I chose the “Two-Star Seating Area”. For those of you Fenway Faithful, this gets you anywhere in the Grandstand or Right Field Boxes.

Here’s where things get a bit hinky for me. On the ScoreBig site, there’s a listed “Full Price” of $66.16 per ticket. However, if you go onto the Red Sox website, the price listed for these seating areas at the same game is $52. With convenience and processing fees, the total per e-ticket you’d pay on RedSox.com is $60. I assume there’s a delivery fee if having the tickets sent in the mail but getting them electronically is a free option. At the bottom of the ScoreBig page it states “Full Price is the max value of the ticket plus service and delivery fees.” Where they got $66.16 is a bit of a mystery and I find it misleading. If you didn’t do the research and just assumed that full price was correct, you feel like you’re getting a bigger deal than you are.

Not knowing the real “full price” of the tickets, I put in an offer of $50 per, which was accepted. But how do I know I couldn’t have gotten them for cheaper had I tried? I don’t. Because of the lack of transparency (which protects the ticket sellers, understandably), you never really know what their bottom line is. This leads to some back and forth and fiddling when all you really want to do is buy the darn tickets already.

Checking other ticket vendors made me feel a bit better about the price difference. Tickets for the same area for the same game were being sold for $62.50 and $68 on Ace Ticket and Stub Hub respectively. If I had just these three options ahead of me, the fiddling with offers indeed saved me money making ScoreBig a slight headache but maybe a worthy headache if you do your research.

I made my offer and received a confirmation for the tickets on June 1. I was informed that I would be receiveing e-tickets. As yesterday, June 4, and I hadn’t received an email with the tickets yet and on my account it still said “processing.” Since I used my credit for these, I wasn’t worried but if I had used Real Life Money I would’ve been freaking out that it was gone. I sent an email to their help address and within minutes, the e-tickets were in my email inbox.  I don’t know why it took an extra email to get them.

This may be my first less-than-stellar review on the blog and I feel…conflicted. Do I feel guilty about using the credit and then writing a “meh” blog post? Yep. But it would be a disservice to you, my lovely lovely readers, to write a glowing everything-was-perfect review if that’s not how I felt about my experience. As I like to say, this blog is about “keeping it real, and real cheap.” Do I think you should check out ScoreBig? Definitely, check it out the next time you’re looking for tickets. You could really get a good deal. I just want you to go into it well-aware. Will the Red Sox win when I go on July 10? Yes. Of course. Obviously.