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Happy Spring!

To kick-off spring in a unique way (especially given yesterday’s storm) we decided to do something fun with our ongoing bloggers. We asked them all the same question:

Tell me one thing you are going to do this spring in NH that you have never done before.

Their responses are below. See if you can guess which one belongs to which blogger - or wait for their blog post detailing their adventure! There’s definitely an outdoorsy theme here!….

  • I am going to run all of the races in the Capital Area Race Series (CARS).
  • I would love to zip line (and live to blog about it, haha)!
  • I’m going to plant my first flower garden at my first house!
  • I am doing the Rock Wall at Evolution Rock & Fitness.
  • I am going to become a volunteer at Miracles in Motion, a horseback riding school for children with disabilities.
  • I am going to be participating in the Color Vibe 5k.
  • I’ll be doing Aerial Fabric Yoga.
  • I will pull on my neon running pants to go with my Ghostbusters t-shirt for the Totally Awesome 80s 5K Run in Manchester.

What’s your best guess? Participants include: Jess, Carmen, Anna, Griffin, Alyssa, Alexandra, Laura, and Erin.

Welcome to New Hampshire, Spring!

Kate_YPNSummitKate Luczko is the Executive Director of Stay Work Play New Hampshire.

"Service Above Self”

I am sure that we have all experienced that networking can be a fundamental contributor to the lasting success of our careers. Over the years, I have realized the diverse networking opportunities that New Hampshire has in store for us. At first I viewed networking as the formal Toastmasters event where you dress to impress and talk business. While these types of networking events can be highly valuable, I have found for myself, that there is another style of networking. 

New Hampshire is filled with opportunities that can align perfectly with your individual interests and values. I love to ski, get adventurous, and help people at the same time so volunteering at New England Disabled Sports has been a perfect fit. The other volunteers are local business owners, New England attorneys, doctors, businessmen, etc that drive north for a weekend adventure. The casual conversation and genuine interest during our time together makes each day fly by and the outdoor adventure that much more fun.

One of the newest organizations that I have found valuable is Rotary. Rotary began in 1905 as a men only club. In the late 1900’s, Rotary evolved to a co-ed club. The core values and motto of Rotary International is “Service Above Self” and they view any endeavor using a “four way test”:                                     

The Rotary Four Way Test
By Darrell Thompson

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Rotary International is the mother ship of all local Rotary clubs. I was inducted into the Lincoln-Woodstock Rotary Club last month as the youngest member, bringing the average age down 10 years (or so)!

I learned about Rotary during the Hurricane Sandy Relief Trip that my company sponsored a few months ago. Rotary also consists of local business owners and genuine people who just want to help others. From a networking perspective, you have your local club networking opportunities, but also, for example, if you are going on a business trip to another city, state, or even country, you can join one of their Rotary meetings and be welcomed with open arms (now if that’s not effective networking, I don’t know what is)! You can pitch this new group of genuine professionals with who you are, where you’re from, what you do, and what your Rotary Club is actively doing so that you don’t sound too salesy.

Since I joined Rotary last month, we have sent 15 members to Belize in aid of schools and hospitals, hosted a local ski race fundraiser, helped organize the annual “Winni Dip” and “Penguin Plunge” fundraiser, and much more!

One of my favorite endeavors with Rotary this month has been the brewing of our very own “Fellowship Brew” to be distributed with the Woodstock Station microbrews around New England. We brewed our very own beer with a customized label. It has been a very exciting process and all proceeds of the “Fellowship Brew” sales will go directly to our “Service Above Self” undertakings. We will be launching our brew on Saturday with a beer and food-pairing event at the Woodstock Station. All of the Rotary and NEDS experiences that I’ve had have been very rewarding, educational and valuable.

BrettLucas

Brett M. Lucas

  1. Stay: Brett lives in the beautiful White Mountains of Lincoln, New Hampshire. Work: Brett is extremely passionate about brands, their people, and how they evolve and grow together to become incrementally more successful. As the Global Operations Associate at Beacon Worldwide, he works directly with his firm’s Managing Partners in day-to-day operations, coaching sessions, strategy, e-training platform development, and more. This position requires a fair amount of national and international travel as his team is currently scattered in 32 countries across the globe. Play: Brett enjoys sharing resources and skills with local non-profits such as New England Disabled Sports, and the North Country Center for the Arts. In addition to work and volunteering with non-profits, he enjoys playing guitar, summer softball, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and skiing with his local and college friends.
So, they’re telling me tomorrow is spring…

Looking outside I certainly wouldn’t believe them. Especially because this week last year I’m pretty sure we had a beach day (& actually went to the beach).

Despite wearing snow boots to work today I definitely have spring fever. I can’t wait to run around with Yaz and take more advantage of the beautiful land we live on. Oh yeah, and tend to our kicka** garden.

Living on an old farm, it kind of goes without saying that we have to have at least a small plot. Luckily we get pretty into it and end up with a damn good sized crop if I do say myself.

GRAPE  TOMATOES FOR DAYS. Yes, those are actually mine from last year.

I’ve been mentally preparing for this season and decided to use one of the hottest items on the intrawebs to help me out- Pinterest, duh. 

There are endless gardening boards out there, but one that I always enjoy is Whole Foods’ board, as they have lots of out-of-the box ideas.

Does anyone else out there garden? Or want to?

If you don’t have land to use yourself, there are some other great options out there, such as crop shares and community gardens. 

I’d love to hear about all the other resources used by my fellow farmers!

MicaelaMicaela is a recent college grad and a new New Hampshirite. During the work week she can be found downtown at EVR Advertising, but on the weekends she’s normally spotted running around with her Chocolate Lab, Yaz, or still downtown, but enjoying a good brew with great friends. Through her blogs, she hopes to show people that it’s not as hard as it looks to move to a new place and find happiness. But when in doubt, just get a dog. For inspiration in 140 characters or less: @mgh8

The Evolution of Evolution

Jazzercise and Aerobics were the latest fitness craze when I was a kid. I remember seeing the Jane Fonda videos and saw exercising in the living room become the trendy convenient and fun way to exercise. I quickly understood how individuals are always searching for novel and fun exercise programs. Jazzercise and aerobics quickly evolved into programs such as spinning, yoga, Pilates and zumba. Weight lifting and strength training have also evolved. Bar bells and dumb bells were created late in the 19th century and have evolved into new lines of ergonomic machines that are being developed as recent as today (and often times showcased in late night infomercials.). This brings us to an unlikely but seemingly perfect next step in the fitness evolution: rock climbing.

I’ve participated in all kinds of different sports leagues like softball, distance running, basketball, skiing and competitive soccer. I’m also well versed with yoga, pilates, gym memberships, ab rollers and more of the like. It wasn’t till the summer of 2006 I got into outdoor sport rock climbing and started getting unprecedented full body workouts while simultaneously satiating my love for the outdoors. I was hooked from the start and quickly found the mental challenges where the most addicting while the physical rewards became the proverbial icing on the cake.

The opening of Evolution Rock + Fitness, a state-of-the-art climbing facility in Concord, has reinvigorated my passion for climbing. My niche as the Operations Manager at Evolution is surely a perk I am lucky to have, but getting to climb in the gym is something anyone can enjoy. I can’t fathom why anyone looking to be active would go to a traditional gym when this facility is available. We offer world class climbing, a fitness area with cardio and weights and fitness classes like Aerial Yoga, Zumba, mat Pilates and Yoga.

You’ll also find something slightly more abstract, but just as essential – community. The climbing culture is inherently social in nature. It’s common to hear chants of encouragement throughout the gym, frequently offered by a complete stranger who is inspired by a struggling climber’s effort. We work hard at Evolution to offer support to everyone and suppress judgment towards a person’s ability. We share the belief of our Founder, Hilary Harris, that everyone has their route. We want everyone to join us and discover their own personal evolution.   

Kris Hiller (above) is the Operations Manager for Evolution Rock + Fitness. His passion for the outdoors, athletics, health, and wellness has all come together for him while living in New Hampshire. He shares his rock climbing passion daily at the gym and enjoys contributing to the Nashua community as a Board Member of the Nashua Youth Soccer League.

Let me tell you a story….

My name is Beth Hutchins and I’m thrilled to be blogging for Stay Work Play! My life thus far has been fairly predictable, that is until last fall when my well-laid plans pretty much did a complete one-eighty. Now, I’m looking forward to picking up bits and pieces lost along the way and of course experiencing new things (you could call it a path to self-discovery). As I do so, I am hoping to share with you some fun and interesting stories. Maybe you’ll learn something and I’m positive that I’ll learn a few things as well!

I have to say that I enjoy something about every season in New Hampshire, but late winter has to be one of my favorite times of year. Days like last Sunday make putting up with a long winter all worthwhile. Bluebird skies, temperatures in the 40’s, and the sun shining… This was my perfect winter day.

I woke in the morning (an hour early thanks to daylight savings), suited up for skiing and headed off to work. It was a special day for one particular reason: I got to ski first tracks with the General Manager, a.k.a. my boss, and a group of guests. This kind of event happens once a month at my company (a ski resort) and a few extra managers are always needed to help out. As the Director of Human Resources, you can imagine that I’m typically confined to my desk, so I absolutely take advantage of any reason to get out on the slopes and ‘work.’ That day, the morning air was fresh and crisp and the snow was that perfect corduroy texture us ski folk dream about. The morning ended with hot coffee and warm cinnamon rolls in the summit lodge. Great start to the day!

Later on, after work and with an extra hour of daylight still ahead, I got home with plenty of time to take my two dogs, Zoey & Lily, out for a 3-mile run. After being cooped up in the house most days this winter, they were in heaven, as was I. There’s something about a quiet run through the neighborhood and past the lake that just makes my day. Perhaps it’s absorbing all the fresh air and sunshine and the endorphins that follow a good run. I am very much looking forward to the sunny days and milder temperatures as we near closer to spring. I suppose I will have to be patient, as another storm is on its way this week. Lucky for me, if it’s not perfect running weather I can always hit the slopes and get in some skiing. So, that just about sums my perfect winter day… what’s yours?

BethHutchins

Beth Hutchins grew up on a farm in rural East Conway, NH. She is happiest when outdoors and therefore loves that her home is in the beautiful Mount Washington Valley. Beth attended Plymouth State University for her B.A. in Communication Studies (’05) and M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction (’13). She’s a Human Resources Director by profession and in her spare time enjoys spending time with her friends & family, skiing, and jogging with her two dogs, Zoey & Lily.

Lakes Region Manufacturing Week, Part II

Wow, what a fun week it has been. I’ve gone on tours of six of the eight plants participating in Lakes Region Manufacturing Week. My head is spinning. So many cool, high-tech products made right here in the Lakes Region. So many amazing jobs available! I just want to repeat something from my last post: if you are young and un/under-employed in NH, you need to check out the manufacturing industry. Even if you majored in fine art or English, seriously, you should take a look at these companies!

Here are the major points I walked away with:

  1. You can go through WorkReady NH at your local community college FOR FREE and get your skills rated to help make you look more attractive to a manufacturing company if you don’t have experience in the industry and your education is in something totally unrelated.
  2. You can start in an entry-level position with nothing more than a positive attitude, a demonstrated desire to learn, and some decent (but not advanced) math skills. Entry level jobs in manufacturing in the Lakes Region seem to pay anywhere from $15 to $20 an hour and provide good benefits.
  3. You can work your way up quickly by showing initiative and ability to acquire new skills. All of the companies I visited said they pay for their employees to continue their education. Many of them will pay 100% of your tuition if you maintain good grades. So even if you have an anthropology degree that is proving somewhat useless in this economy, you could get another degree at no cost if you are a hard worker. These companies invest heavily in their employees.
  4. The work environments are really nice. Some of the production floors are kind of noisy, but other than that, I didn’t see anything that would make me not want to spend my eight hours a day in any of these plants. They were cleaner than my house (but that’s not saying much).
  5. It’s gratifying to make stuff. I mean, really, these people are very proud of what they do. They make parts for military aircraft, commercial jets, cars, medical devices (like fake joints used in hip replacement surgery), heat sinks for all kinds of electronic devices, large format printers, the list goes on and on. And those are just the products made by the six companies I visited this week! There are tons more all over the state.

I learned so much this week! I’m excited to continue talking about what an exciting industry advanced manufacturing is and encouraging young people in my community to explore it. Spread the word!

On the production floor at EPTAM Plastics in Northfield with our tour group. Way cleaner than my house!

CarmenLorentz

Carmen grew up in Gilmanton, NH. After going to college in Washington, DC and roaming the world for a few years, she and her husband Jonathan recently moved to Carmen’s hometown with their four year old son Julius. Carmen is the Executive Director of the Belknap County Economic Development Council. In her spare time, she has epic pretend sword fights with Julius and supports her husband in bringing top-shelf jazz music to unexpected places through his new company, NH Jazz Presents.

Fun @ Stay Work Play

Crotched Mountain Spring Carnival 

March is my favorite month of the year for several reasons. First, it’s the month of my husband’s birthday, which just gives me an excuse for online shopping. Second, when the calendar flips around to March, I feel like I’m actually going to make it through winter. And third, and possibly my favorite (don’t tell my husband), March weather is perfect for skiing!

So why not get in some awesome spring skiing while checking out Crotched Mountain’s Spring Carnival happening this weekend with different events each day. Don’t miss the 9th Annual Cardboard Sled Race on March 16.  Registration is from 8am until 10:30am, and race time is 11am. But please note, all sleds must be made out of cardboard and duct tape. Any foreign materials will get the sled disqualified. 

Don’t feel like careening down a hillside with nothing between you and the hard earth but a piece of cardboard? Perhaps a 100 ft. pond in the midst of its spring thaw is more your speed. On Sunday, March 17, put on your green and get ready for Slush Cup 2013! As crazy as this sounds, you can compete to win a 13/14 season’s pass to Crotched Mountain just by skimming across the ski area’s 100 foot pond. Points are awarded according to performance in this endeavor, so check out their website for more information. The event is open to the public, but remember, ski and snowboards only for the skim across the pond.

With live music outside and a visit from the Manchester Monarch’s mascot, “Max”, at the Slush Cup, this will be a weekend extravaganza not to be missed!

1776

Ok, confession time. When I was in high school, I was a major band geek, which meant a lot of time spent in the pit band for the annual musical. So when I saw 1776 was playing at the Garrison Arts Players Center in Rollinsford March 15 – 17 and 22-23, I was instantly transported back to a pit band rehearsals, listening to awkward teenagers gush about liberty and independence. And I knew I had to share the love for this unique musical about the creation of the Declaration of Independence.

Don’t yawn just yet! I promise this musical, which showcases the debates of the Second Continental Congress will not leave you wishing for those three hours of your life back. The witty dialogue and masterful score will keep you engaged until the last signature dries on the Declaration of Independence.

Show times are at 8pm on Friday and Saturday and 3pm on Sunday, and tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for students. Order online or call their box office at 603-750-4278.

Dancing with the Stars 1940s Dance Hall 2013 Gala

Yes, we all know you secretly want to be on Dancing with the Stars, so why not get a little closer to your dream and grab a seat the Manchester Community Music School’s 2013 gala on March 21 at 5:30pm at the music school in Manchester?

Watch as community leaders Heidi Copeland, Publisher at Millyard Communications / Business New Hampshire Magazine, Mike L’Ecuyer, President and CEO of Bellwether Community Credit Union, Brady Sadler, VP at GY&K Marketing, and 1 band 1 brand and Deb Titus of Human Capital Solutions, LLC compete to win in this dance competition featuring 1940s jazz from the New Hampshire Youth Jazz Ensemble. And don’t forget celebrity judges Katie McQuaid of the Union Leader’s “Katie McQuaid’s Scene in Manchester”, Scott G. Christensen,  Managing Partner at Northwestern Mutual Northern New England Financial Group and Jill Deleault,  Music School Voice Faculty, Former Miss Nebraska, and local Musical Director & Choreographer. 

Shine up your dancing shoes and support this great community organization. Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of 8. Purchase tickets online or by calling 603-644-4548.

Check it out

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center in Plymouth, Friday, March 15 at 7:30pm. Don’t miss this chance to sharpen your dance skills in anticipation of the Manchester Community Music School’s gala by dancing the night away to the sounds of this swing era band. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased at the door or online.

If you have something fun you want me to write about, please send me an email at fun@stayworkplay.org.

JessMcQuaidJess would like to spend her days writing gripping stories about love and passion and sometimes naughty, naughty mice to inspire children to do the right thing, depending on what project she’s currently working on, but sadly, she needs a day job in marketing to pay the mortgage. A transplant from western New York, Jess is very happy to call New Hampshire home. She lives in Manchester with her husband and a very opinionated Basset hound.

Is “Shop Local” Dying in your Community?

I grew up in a town with no big box stores or chains, so I only knew about “shopping local”. This term is in regards to not just shopping in your town, but rather shopping at the places that were owned and operated by the people in your community. Of course it is near impossible not to shop at popular multi-store shops, since we get most of our clothes from a mall anyway, or our groceries from chain locations. I am not saying to never shop at places like this but to be consciences of the Mom and Pop shops in your communities.

When I got to college, I was certainly exposed more to larger chain stores, with Wal-Mart, BJ’s Jordan’s Furniture, Plant Fitness, Barnes and Nobles, Chili’s and Home Depot. I am positive that I have stepped foot in all of these places and more, but depending on where you live these types of places are more prevalent. With the popularity of stores like these in the towns we live in, we see less and less of the family owned businesses. It is unfortunate, but lower prices, larger selections and convenience have replaced customer service, hospitality, and friendships from our shopping and dining experiences.

Chain stores are found more in the southern part of the state, but as you continue to drive north you will find a gift shop owned by your neighbor a unique clothing boutique run by members of their community, restaurant’s grocery and book stores all with selections that favor the demand in the area. I prefer to, when I can, Shop Local. As a college student I worked with the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce to promote their Shop Local campaign that supported shopping in the town. This program was and still is successful to this day. 

A recent example of this, for me, was doing something I never would have thought I’d be doing at 25, but that is mattress shopping. I was told to go drive down south (more than 1 hour) to some of the bigger and popular furniture stores. However, right in my backyard was Harris Family Furniture. This family owned business operates out of 3 locations and has been in business for over 45 years. There stores have been set up inside of refinished post and beam homes from yesteryear. The attentiveness of the staff to our questions and concerns was comforting and their quality delivery service left us with no concerns. The only other thing people would argue with is the prices. I’ll tell you after researching big box stores online, the prices were reasonably close, enough to not make me drive more than an hour and pay for delivery. On top of it they were having a sale so our mattress was less than it would be at a box store! Double win!

If cost is a big concern to you than stick with your big box stores, if friendly conversation and customer service are more up your alley, shop local more. New Hampshire is full of great places that won’t rank highest on your Google searches, but they will give you what you need and more, with a smile. We all have our favorite places to shop, but next time you are out, try somewhere new, a sports store that your coach operates, or restaurant that your friend’s parent’s own. Enjoy shopping local.

GriffinLaFleur

Griffin works as a Client Development Associate for Digital Marketing Agency, SilverTech, out of Manchester. Moving to the Granite State from neighboring Massachusetts, Griffin attended Plymouth State and decided to stay in the mountains, starting his career as an Executive Assistant for New Hampshire’s own Common Man Family of Restaurants.  Knowing what New Hampshire’s north country has to offer for an avid outdoorsman, Griffin spends a lot of time with his Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Willow, hiking, hunting, and swimming around the Lakes Region and White Mountains.  Always seeking to learn and grow as a professional, Griffin is currently attending Southern New Hampshire University seeking his MBA in Marketing.

Up North

I bet you didn’t know this but there’s actually stuff to do up in that there North Country here in New Hampsha. This past weekend my boyfriend and I went up to Lincoln, NH to support a friend of ours, Brett Lucas (also a Stay Work Play blogger) and his recent endeavor as an actor. We both headed North with the mindset of ‘eh, this will be fun, right?’ The two of us don’t venture past exit 16 on 93 North very often so besides my time at Plymouth State for four years and him going to school at New Hampton, we went up some hesitations.

 

On our way up we made some pit stops. I know you’re curious so I’ll share ‘em.

Like most alumni, we had to check out our old stomping grounds. I got the tour of New Hampton School in New Hampton, NH (obvi). Did you know the school was founded in 1821? When the first term began tuition was $3.00 per term. The campus was quaint, homey & beautiful. Definitely a must see if you’re in the area.

Before getting off exit 25, we took a detour so I could show off The Common Man’s Express location in Ashland (exit 24) that many people don’t know about. It’s shared with the Mobile gas station. It’s the typical CMAN dish but way more convenient while you’re on the go. Add it to your to do list, especially once the warmer weather approaches … homemade ice cream!

As a proud PSU Alum, I just had to drive through the campus. I even asked to be dropped off once I spied a group of people playing corn toss outside. Ahh.. memories! Skipping ahead in our weekend, on our way home we stopped back in Plymouth to grab breakfast at one of my favorite spots, Main Street Station. Order the Station Sampler. It has everything you’d ever want for breakfast. Trust me. 

Once we checked into the hotel we headed to dinner. I bet you can’t guess where we went. Yep, The Common Man in Lincoln. Nothing beats their fireplace. It was roaring and the place was packed. As always, I recommend their Camp Crackers. Enough said.

So for the main reason we ventured North… Brett’s play! The North Country Center for the Arts, Papermill Theatre is a non-profit arts organization supporting arts in northern New Hampshire. We met up with other friends as well to check out Brett’s leading role “You Can’t Take it With You.” We had a great time. Just as an FYI, the theatre (Jean’s Playhouse) does house beer & wine … and cookies. Great job to everyone, cast & crew.

(Kate attended Brett’s show on Sunday and took this picture of the stage before the show started….)

We wrapped up the evening at The Bunyan Room at Loon Mountain. It was full of your typical NH skiers. It was great to go out on the deck and see the mountain lit up while enjoying a brew or two with good friends. And last but not least, we ended our evening at The Woodstock Station & Brewery. All in all, what an (unexpected) great weekend.

AlyssaBuckleyAlyssa is NH born & bred. A social media enthusiast who craves coffee, diet coke and texting. When she’s not pretending the Kardashians are distant relatives, she’s a proud auntie and passionate for brands with meaning. Her wit is memorable and ability to coordinate all things chaotic is unforgettable. Laugh with Alyssa via Twitter.