Poodle Play Time

It has been too long since Charlie the poodle and I have been able to make it to the dog park here in Somerville. But today we made it, and it warmed my heart the same way it always does… and exhausted Charlie the same way it always does. A quick post to share some of our actions shots from the play time.

Parties, Practice Tests and Pugs

Last week I blogged on the 5 Reasons I love Somerville dog parks. And for those of you who are not as avid about your dog love as me, I’ll keep my dog references more limited this time. However, today was the day of pugs at the dog park. There were 5 to be exact, and they were struttin their stuff with the best of the big dogs – under bites and all.

Charlie and Tom also fell in love with a miniature doodle puppy. Unfortunately, as Tom has pointed out to me, Charlie has no game with the girl poodles in the area, so he expressed his love by nibbling on her ears and barking in her face.

Although I rarely mention school, I am, in fact, still enrolled at HKS and have been a diligent student. This week brought our second statistics midterm, so many hours were spent in the library or at review sessions. I now know more about hypothesis testing and chi square distributions than I ever thought I would. That said, the teaching team works hard to connect our course content with real world applications, and its been one of my favorite classes at the Kennedy School so far.

To celebrate the end of a busy school week, Tom and I went to the HKS Dean’s Reception at the Court House in downtown Boston. There was a great view of the city skyline and a chance to see other students outside the classroom. The photos below show Tom and me and a great bunch of gals from my cohort (the group of about 60 students I take all my HKS courses with each day). This picture alone as amazing women from the UK, Lebanon, Germany, Venezuela and Nigeria. It speaks to the rich diversity of my HKS experience for which I’m so grateful.

Finally, outside of class one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had so far has been my work with the Kennedy School Review – a policy journal run by HKS students. This week we welcomed 10 new associate editors that will be helping us with both blog articles and print journal pieces. We also started a new effort to regularly email people that sign up through our website, so we are better connecting them with the pieces students are writing. I’m really proud to be a part of the team that is managing the KSR’s work – particularly because it connects me with ‘real world’ issues and allows me to help promote other students’ work.

Tom and I also were really lucky to have Brian, our KSR editor in chief, and his wife and another managing editor, Patrick, for dinner. With true Southern love, we amde Frank Stitt’s seasoned pecans and Parlor Market Vieux Carres. Charlie expressed his happiness about having company by trying to eat Brian. Overall, a great dinner success.

It’s been a long, full week for all the members of the Allin fam. So we’ll leave you with an image that sums up how we plan to spend our Saturday.

Until next time!


5 Reasons I Love Somerville Dog Parks

Every weekend Charlie the Poodle, Tom and I get to go to the dog park here in Somerville. It is pretty much my favorite hour of the weekend. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. We meet all kinds of crazy creatures.

2. The people are incredibly friendly to dogs and humans alike.

IMG_12153. There is always a dog or two that is worse behaved than ours.

4. Every so often we get to see an owner that matches their pet.

IMG_10025. Charlie the Poodle believes the dog park is heaven on earth.

I could keep the reasons going (with pictures to match). If you live in Somerville or Cambridge and would like to get more tuned in to all things dog, I would highly recommend connecting with som|dog – a great resource for events and dog needs. They also have a facebook page that has good info without a membership fee.

Until Next Time!

From Franklin to the World Series

Whew! Have we had a full week. We have bounced from western North Carolina and back, played 3D dodgeball, and seen our very first World Series game in the flesh.

We traveled to Franklin, NC last weekend to see Matt Garza & Kaila Ramsey – two close UNC friends – become the Ramsey-Garzas. Franklin is a town of 3,800 people very close to western-most tip of NC. It takes about 5 hours to drive from Winston-Salem (in the middle of the state) to Franklin, and it probably makes the list of top 10 hardest places to get to in the U.S. However, to get there you drive through the Appalachian Mountains, and now is the prime time for –as Bostonians like to say– high quality leaf peeping. Lots of pieces of Franklin presented themselves in Matt & Kaila’s wedding from the barn their marriage ceremony and reception were in, to the quilt her mom made to serve as their guestbook, and the moonshine that Tom got to sip at the reception. Their signature cocktails included an Autumn Garza and Ramsey Fiz – both of which facilitated dancing well into the night.

My favorite part of going to a wedding with Tom is seeing him deliver an exceptional toast. Tom’s toast for Matt and Kaila walked through the 3 reasons why he felt Matt deserved the Nobel Prize in Economics over the ‘thieves’ awarded every year. Matt’s brother also toasted with the 3 chapters of Matt’s life. Among his advice for Matt and Kaila about marriage:

  • Remember to lie sometimes.
  • Don’t go to bed without making your closing arguments.
  • Don’t set your expectations for chores too high.*
  • Her happiness is simply more important than his happiness.

* Chris’ wife strongly disagrees with this one.

It was a really wonderful weekend to celebrate Matt and Kaila, reconnect with UNC friends and dance like college kids with animal masks. Franklin definitely gets a two thumbs up from the Allins.

In addition to a great weekend in Franklin, Tom and I had the UNREAL offer to join some other HKS students/alumni/staff at game 6 of the World Series between the Sox and the Cardinals. Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity. The city is still celebrating from the Red Sox win, and it will be a long time before I forget the game or the man behind me shouting ‘What’d I tell ya!’ after every good thing the Red Sox did as if he had predicted it each time.

Last weekend we missed out on taking Charlie to the dog park because we were out of town, but this weekend we are back in full swing. There were some real dog gems at Nunziato this morning… particularly the a keeshond puppy that Tom now adores.

Until Next Time!



Oh, the hashtag.

Yesterday, I went to a workshop on how to attract more readers to the Kennedy School Review blog. One of the recommendations Nicco Mele gave us was that we use at least 2 hashtags – or ‘#’ for the less social media literate – for each tweet as a way of driving more readers to our content. Now, I’m usually not a fan of hashtags… and Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon outline many of the important reasons why I feel lukewarm about them here. BUT I do love a good hashtag for a weekend of fun with friends. So, when Mindy came to visit for the weekend, we naturally created a hashtag for putting up our photos online – #mindydoesboston.

Many of the photos are below. We probably walked 20 miles over the course of the weekend (no exaggeration). We drank Harpoon beer, relished  some new england lobster rolls, and ate a bourbon glazed, bacon doughnut. Yes, that is a real thing that exists in the world. Mindy was a great sport, and Tom was a skilled Boston navigator. We also walked the Freedom Trail and got a fantastic app with fun facts for our future visitors. Mindy also decided that everything we saw was either the oldest or the best of its kind “in America”. The oldest building, the largest American flag, the best cocktails (at Drink, again)…”in America”. She was a joy to have, and I hope it will not be her last time visiting the Allins.

The same day Mindy traveled back to Jackson, two fellow Tarheels swooped in to take her place. Brendan (Tom’s college roommate) and Lindsey spent a relaxed Monday off with us around Cambridge. Tom took them to one of our favorite sandwich spots – Darwin’s – and they even came with me to do my regular homework procrastination activity – watching Charlie romp around the dog park. We warmed up that evening with some Welker white chili. I woke up at 7am the next morning, and Brendan was already scrubbing dishes in the sink from the night before…Brendan gets the gold star for being such a helpful house guest.

Last weekend also marked the end of busy week in which I took my first (two) midterms in 5 years. I still don’t enjoy them, but it was a little fun to feel the pre-test anticipation in a room full of nerdy students with sharpened number 2 pencils and calculators with fresh batteries. The midterms went just fine, and weekend visitors were a welcome distraction from the intense week of schoolwork.

Finally, Tom and I can’t wait to head to Franklin, North Carolina next weekend to celebrate as two of the most exceptional people we know  –Kaila Ramsey and Matt Garza– get hitched. Tom will be a groomsman, and he finally figured out just which socks to wear in today in Inman Square. Which did he choose? Stay tuned. We’ll let you know after the weekend of merriment!


Until Next Time!


A Tale of Two Weekends

Tom and I have had two whole weekends of fun since our last post! Unfortunately, our weekends of fun were spent apart. This weekend Tom has been in Roanoke, Viriginia at the CityWorks (X)po. The tag line for the weekend is “A Gathering to Share Big Ideas for Better Cities.” While I was sipping wine alone at our dining room table, Tom was sending me pictures from Ed Walker‘s rooftop apartment and chatting it up with my HKS professors. Tom was living the dream.

Zika, Irene, Dina, Miya and Joanna

Zika, Irene, Dina, Miya and Joanna

Since Tom was out of town, I took some time to fulfill some personal priorities for my time in Cambridge. Saturday night marked my first Massachusetts dinner party. No boys were allowed (except Charlie). We had my mom’s yummy stuffed past shells and a great salad. Charlie largely behaved himself thanks to a Target bone purchased earlier in the day, and all six of us has a great evening of stories about skydiving, shark watching, and bungee jumping. I have no plan to do any of these things after hearing their tales. Needless to say they were a group of intelligent and bold women who made my home feel full even when Tom was away.

Charlie and I also got to check out some particularly interesting characters at the dog park. There was a great dane and a schnoodle named Einstein.


Charlie also got to go to Friday’s HKS Quorum Call and became a complete ladies’ dog (credit to Chris Myers for the name). He got lots of treats from fellow students and dug one too many holes in the HKS lawn. He will definitely make another appearance soon.

Last weekend I was very fortunate to travel to Cape Cod with some fellow Kennedy School students. We spent a weekend focused on leadership development, but there was some fun spread across days as well. We did improv exercises and got to travel to David Gergen’s home on the Cape for a night of kayaking, volleyball playing and lobster eating. I had never had a lobster before (or at least one I had to break open!), so I was a bit overexcited about the process. The other students humored me by taking my picture with the lobster before I dug in. Our time on the Cape was very special and helped me form closer relationships with the CPL fellows. Plus, playing volleyball with David Gergen on your team never hurt anyone.

Next weekend our close friend from Jackson, Mindy Waldrop, is visiting Boston, so get excited for shots of us gallivanting around town.

Until next time!