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I had an amazing Memorial Day weekend filled with great friends, food, cocktails and two solid beach days. It was the perfect kickoff to the summer but sadly it’s back to work tomorrow for two days before I hop a flight to New Orleans! I hope your holiday weekend was just as great ☺️

Memorial Day is more than just a three day weekend though. It’s a time to give gratitude and appreciation to those who defended our freedom and paid the ultimate price. I am so grateful to the men and women in our armed forces that have allowed me the simple luxuries that I so often take for granted ❤️

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i thank god for my life
for the stars + stripes
may freedom forever fly
let it ring 🇺🇸

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signs of summer

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This weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. When you live in a beach town, Memorial Day may as well be Christmas, with “See you on the beach!” replacing “Merry Christmas!”. From overhearing old friends bump into each other in the grocery store, to running into neighbors in the elevator, “See you on the beach” is joyfully echoed all over town. Our little beach town has had quite the makeover in anticipation for its prime season. The once bland beige ticket booths have been repainted by incredibly talented local artists. The plain trailer where beach passes are sold is now a vibrant mural showing some love for LBNY. A lot that was once empty is now filled with Caribbean colored picnic tables, palm trees and driftwood art installations.  I’ve always considered Long Beach to be beautiful with its white sandy beaches and ocean views but these additions have added some much needed color to our little seaside town. Plus they’re an amateur photographers dream come true 🙂

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Ready for ya, Summer 2016!

bear moutain getaway

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Last fall one of my girlfriends invited hubby & I to Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain. Steins, pretzels & sausage? Count me in! So we came, we saw, we ate & drank and took a ton of photos (natch). After stalking the Bear Mountain Inn Instagram page (as I tend to do), I discovered they were hosting an photo contest featuring photos taken from Oktoberfest. The winner won 2 nights at the Inn. I entered a photo and hoped for the best. A few months later I received an email  announcing my photo as the winner! I was so stoked. I never win anything so I was more than surprised. We scheduled our trip for mid-May in hopes that the weather would be compliant.

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Thinking bout dat summer body but thinkin bout dem tacos

We headed up this past Wednesday afternoon after a few delays (Low tire pressure! Jon couldn’t find his travel bag! Tons of traffic!) and arrived around 4:30 completely STARVING. We checked into our room and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was very modern and updated. I had initially expected it to be a little more rustic & cabin-y but it was super cute. I quickly changed and we headed to the restaurant where we were given the option to sit inside or outside at their Blue Tapas Roof Bar. It was sunny and close to 80° so we sat outside. Our waiter was lovely and recommended the fish tacos and OHMYGOD HE WAS SPOT ON. Swordfish tacos with pico de gallo and avocado aioli. To say they were one of the greatest tacos I have ever eaten is an understatement. And I consider myself somewhat of a taco aficionado (if someone knows of an open taco aficionado position, CALL ME) . They were knock-your-socks-off-slap-your-grandma delicious!!! After dinner we walked around the lake and headed to a vintage car show near the lake, which provided for some amazing people and car (but mostly people) watching. We turned in early since we planned on hiking early the next morning.

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Pretty sure I was meant to own an aqua pickup truck

Thursday morning we were up and out of our room by 9:30 to make the complimentary continental breakfast offered by the Inn*. The breakfast was pretty basic but it was more than enough for us for a full day of hiking. I had scrambled eggs, sausage (sadly bacon was not an option), coffee (because duh), and a banana nut muffin (obviously the most superior muffin in the muffin family). We grabbed a map from the front desk, decided which trail we wanted to hike. They ranged from easy to challenging to difficult. We opted for challenging because while we’re no slouches, but we’re also not exactly expert mountain climbers either. The trail we chose was called the Perkins Tower (or Major Welch ) trail, which actually crossed over sections of the Appalachian Trail. After we established which direction north was thanks to our iPhones (really unsure how anyone survived prior to the internet) we started out on the trail. It was fairly steep and admittedly I was a little nervous about it. I had on pink Reeboks. Not exactly the kind of hardcore hiking boots I’m sure most people would recommend when scaling 1300 foot mountains. Uphill was rough. Since we left early and had the trees covering us, the sun wasn’t too much of an issue. It was a cloudless 80 degree day and that was a major concern of mine. I brought aviators, a hat, 2 bottles of sunscreen and bug spray. The trail itself had markers on trees that were red circles on white tags. We kept an eye out for them as we made our way up. When we finally got to the very top (after pausing several times to catch our breath) we were beyond thrilled to find a vending machine that had not only water but Vitamin Water, which I’m pretty sure saved my life. Walking a little further, we arrived at the lookout ‘scenic view’ that apparently you were able to drive to (I seriously contemplated taking an Uber down at one point). The view was a stunning 360 degree view of the mountain, surrounding mountains and islands, the Hudson River and if you looked a little further out, you could even make out the vague silhouette of the Manhattan skyline. A gentleman with a pretty legit looking camera asked us to take a photo of him, and then returned the favor and took a few of us. Travel Tip: Always ask the person in the crowd who looks like they know how to  a decent photo if you need some to photograph you. This guy was amazing! He took multiple angles, zooms and I actually liked every picture he took, which never happens. If you’re reading this mystery photographer, thank you!!!

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Top of the world

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I’ll be here if you need me

The way down was tremendously easier. It was strictly downhill and there were stairs! No super steep rocks to shimmy down! There were waterfalls! It was glorious. We got back to the Inn around 2:30 and decided to head to the zoo because it was closing at 4:30. A quick mile long walk and we were there. The zoo is filled with animals that were rescued from the area. You know, nothing frightening. Just black bears, bobcats and snakes. Lots of snakes. RATTLESNAKES. Thankfully all were behind a fence or glass. There were trailside museums filled with random facts about the area, from Mastodon fossils that were found a few miles north to a pretty major battle that occurred during the Revolutionary War.

By the time we got back to our room we cleaned up quickly and headed to dinner at Restaurant 1915 (Fun fact: 1915 was the year the Inn was founded). We ordered the mussels to start, Jon got the Hibernator which is meatloaf stuffed with mac and cheese. I was dangerously close to ordering the swordfish tacos again but opted for the steak. Our server was lovely and informed us that in addition to the rest of Bear Mountain’s rich history, Jackie Robinson signed his MLB contract with the Dodgers at the Inn, as well as had spring training.

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Jackie Robinson’s Reserved Table at Restaurant 1915

Friday morning we got a massage after Thursday’s adventure and went on one more quick hike to the Hudson Dock, snapped some quick pics and headed home as the rain began to fall. Bear Mountain was a much needed getaway for us and definitely the kind of trip that we would both like to take again.

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*Fun little side note about Thursday morning: My husband tried to kill me. Rather than the typical 20/20-Dateline-throw-your-wife-off-a-mountain-and-make-it-look-like-an-accident style of murdering your wife, he opted for the more subtle, lesser known spray-sunscreen-and-bugspray-on-the-bamboo-bathroom-floor and make it super slippery, not tell your wife and then she almost cracks head open and/or break her hip. All before climbing a mountain. THANKS JON.

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Cutest photobomber

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The photo that won our trip!

 

 

 

vintage tv cart makeover into coastal glam bar cart

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A few weeks ago I found a very 70s looking TV cart at a tag sale in my apartment building. The best part? It was totally free! I’ve been swooning over bar carts I’ve seen on The Dirty Bar Cart‘s Instagram and as I discovered, turning a TV cart into a bar cart is pretty easy. It’s only a matter of some paint, elbow grease and creativity.

First I wiped down the TV cart with a wet rag and let it dry overnight. One of the few perks of living in an apartment building is that people are constantly leaving cans of discarded, perfectly good (most of the time) paint. I found a barely used can of Behr white paint. I put masking tape over the original brass wheels and hardware. I then painted the entire cart. The whole cart took about 2 coats of paint.

Initially I thought I was done with it after painting it white. Sure it looked nice but it was lacking personality. About 2 weeks went by and I was still racking my brain with ideas to spice up the cart. After watching A LOT of Flea Market Flip (seriously if you haven’t seen this show and you’re remotely into interior design, you should definitely check it out), a light bulb appeared over my little blonde head. Enter my new favorite thing: contact paper. I know what you’re thinking. The last time I remember hearing the term ‘contact paper’ was in grade school when my mom had to cover my text books. Well, turns out contact paper has come a very long way, comes in super cute patterns and can be used for a variety of home makeover projects (check out this Buzzfeed article). I hopped on Amazon to find one that fit the coastal vibe in my apartment and found this Duck Brand Sea Foam Ikat pattern for 20″ x 12′ for $13.45 and free shipping with Amazon Prime (which is literally the best thing that ever happened to me).

After cleaning and measuring the surfaces where the paper would cover, I carefully cut the paper and placed it on the surfaces. the tricky thing about contact paper is trying to avoid air bubbles. I had a scraper (pretty sure that’s not the technical term) from a puzzle glue kit that I used to scrape the paper as I laid it on the shelves. If you don’t have a scraper, I’d suggest using a spatula. Overall it was a pretty simple medium to work with.

Lastly (and most fun), I had to style the cart. I wanted to keep it simple but put a beachy twist on the typical bar cart and what says beach drinks more than margaritas?? I had a Libbey margarita pitcher and glass set from Bed Bath and Beyond that’s just too pretty to take up space in a closet. I had a coastal bar sign from Kohl’s, and a lantern leftover from our wedding (originally from Pier One). Throw in a bottle of Cuervo Silver and some limes and we are ready for a margarita party!

 

 

 

 

my name is jonas…

Winter Storm Jonas pummeled much of the East Coast on Saturday, dumping more than 2 feet of snow on our little beach. I spent most of my Saturday hunkered down with good friends and neighbors, laughing, playing with puppies, Heads Up, eating chili and drinking bloodies. It was a pretty fantastic snow day.

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The Calm Before the Storm

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Friday night-I see you Jonas!

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Frozen Margarita, anyone?

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Waking up to a Winter Wonderland

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ALL THE FRENCH TOAST

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Blizzard Rules: S’mores + S’more flavored beer are acceptable forms of lunch

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Bloody Marys + All the Fixings

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High Tide

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Calm After the Storm

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Just when you think it can’t get any better…

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This Happened.

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Pretty great way to end a pretty great weekend.

 

blizzard binging

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In case you’ve been living under a rock this week, you’ve probably heard Winter Storm Jonas is making his way up the East Coast and it looks like he is going to make himself comfortable for a little while.

Getting snowed in is the perfect excuse to blow off all responsibilities (exercise, sit down. Wine, you’re up!) and binge those shows your friends and coworkers have been harassing you about. Pop some popcorn, throw on your comfiest PJs and cozy up on the couch with these shows:
     

  • Narcos: Fascinated by the recent El Chapo headlines? You should check out the story of OG druglord Pablo Escobar (Netflix)

 

  • Making A Murderer: If you haven’t seen MaM by now, you probably either don’t own a television or aren’t among the living. This 10 episode docuseries follows the potentially erroneous conviction of Steven Avery, the prime suspect in a murder case that just was just released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit. If you want to carry any sort of conversation on pop culture for the next several months, I strongly suggest checking this one out. (Netflix)
  • Master of None: Probably my favorite choice on this list. First things first- I LOVE Aziz Ansari.  If you are (or ever were) a 30 something struggling to make sense of life while fumbling through adulthood, you’ll appreciate Master of None. And I still really want a Paro  (Netflix)
  • The Jinx: Already seen Making a Murderer? Craving more? Check out The Jinx. The 6 episode series follows Robert Durst, heir to a New York real estate fortune and eccentric millionaire, the bizarre story of his life and how he became the key suspect in a string of unsolved murders spanning 30 years. (HBO)
  • Mr. Robot: A big winner on the awards circuit this year, Mr. Robot follows a young, socially anxious computer programmer who is recruited by a vigilante hacker group to bring down corporate America. (USA On Demand)
If you’re still not satisfied, I’d also suggest the following movies: People Places Things, Tangerine, Beasts of No Nation, Dope, What We Do in the Shadows and Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

 
There you have it! Hours upon hours of glorious eccentric millionaire serial killers, simple minded Midwest murderers (OR NOT?!?!), corrupt cops (OR NOT?!?!), hermit hackers, and aspiring actors and Colombian drug lord goodness. Stay warm friends!

twosday lovin

  1. Spotify Subscription: Some people are asked to bring cupcakes to parties, I’m usually asked to bring music. The most recent event was New Year’s. I have a few go to playlists, but depending on the audience (in other words if there are kids around) my old standbys won’t quite fly (early 2000s Ludacris probably isn’t something a 5 year old needs to hear). So rather than spend a ton of money on downloading new songs, I decided to try out Spotify Premium’s 3 month trial. The deal is you pay .99 for 3 months and have access through your phone to their entire library (after the 3 months the price jumps to $9.99 a month). Now I can go from Chris Stapleton to Vance Joy to Fetty Wap without have to jump from Pandora station to Pandora station hoping they’ll play my song. Also (back to my original point) Spotify has a ton of different playlist based on mood, genre, activity, time of day, probably one even based on your favorite color. You name it, they have it. Pretty great when your the resident DJ of the group.
  2. This watch: I’m not a label or designer girl by any means. Sure it’s nice, but it’s never been my thing. Having said that I have to say I NEED THIS WATCH. I don’t even like watches. But a watch that tells me exactly when happy hour is? YAAAS.

TAKE ME BACK…

While Winter 2016 isn’t as unbearable as some in recent memory (I’m looking at you 2015), it’s still not sunny and 80°. I’m still not in shorts and a flowy tank top or sun dress or a bikini-although the actual thought of being in a bikini right now in my pale, post holiday body makes me physically ill (note to self: PUT DOWN THE CHEEZ-ITS). Getting dressed in the morning in the summer vs the winter is a completely different situation. In the summer, for work, I throw a dress over my head and run out the door. My hair is naturally wavy and somehow looks less homeless, more surfer girl in the summer. Winter…I don’t leave the house without wearing at least 3 layers. And this is before I add on my giant amorphous coat. My hair is always in a ponytail or a bun because let’s be real: given 15 extra minutes in the morning I will choose sleep over hair every.single.time. Or scroll through Instagram until I get back to the last post I saw before I went to sleep. It’s a toss up, really.

I recently went through pictures from Summer 2015 and thought I’d post as a reminder that vast gray, bleak wasteland that is winter does have an expiration date. And it’s in exactly 154 days. In no particular order, here are the things I miss most about the summer:

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Long lazy bike rides to empty beaches

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How tan I was (disclaimer: I haaaate hot dog leg pics, particularly pics of my hot dog legs, but you guys I WAS SO TAN)

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Wearing a sleeveless dress without hating life

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Maxi.Firepit.Sandals.Pedicure.Come back to me.

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Frozen cocktails without immediately feeling like I needed mittens

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Sweet, buttery lobster rolls ::insert Homer Simpson drool here::

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Seasonal Restaurants. Beer just doesn’t taste as good unless you’re on the water.

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Some of the best sunsets ever

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Taking pictures in the water without feeling like my toes will fall off

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Everything about summer storms (that smell of rain right before though…)

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Rainbows after the aforementioned summer storm

 

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That holy-crap-the-sky-just-exploded way summer days end

netflix + chills

I just have to start by saying this: I LOVE Halloween. Once the summer ends, Halloween is the carrot dangling from the long, bloody stick getting me through dwindling hours of sunlight of September and October. I love everything about it. Costumes, pumpkins, The Monster Mash, candy, all things spooky and scary. There’s no better way to spend a chilly October night than turning on a scary movie, killing the lights, lighting some candles and cozying up with a warm spiced cider. Scrolling through Netflix searching for the perfect horror movie can be a buzzkill, so here are my favorite recent scary movies streaming right now:

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5. The Houses October Built (2014)

Director: Bobby Roe

Starring: Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Jeff Larson

Every October, haunted house attractions pop up across the country. The Houses October Built focuses on a group of friends in an RV making a documentary determined to find THE scariest house in all of the good ol’ US of A. What they find is an underground world of haunts that goes far beyond the fake blood and creepy masks. Sometimes you don’t just go to the haunt. It comes to you.

I tend to not always love found footage movies, but I found THOB to be a very creepy movie. The cast is likable and believable as friends and I really enjoyed the chemistry they had with each other. I’ve always been fascinated by haunted houses and have heard about “underground” haunted houses that are so intense I can’t believe they are legal (getting kidnapped, waterboarded and essentially tortured?! I’m good, thanks). The Houses October Built is about the closest I’ll be getting to one.

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4. House of the Devil (2009)

Director: Ti West

Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Greta Gerwig, Tim Noonan

Broke college student Samantha takes a mysterious babysitting job during a lunar eclpise in the hopes of earning some extra cash to move into a new apartment. When she arrives, she is told there are no actual children to watch (RED FLAG) but she is asked to watch the couple’s ailing mother. She initially turns it down, but is eventually lured by the very tempting amount of $400. After discovering a terrifying secret, Samantha realizes she made a huge mistake.

Specifically shot of 16MM film that would give it a very retro look, House of the Devil combines several horror genres, including slasher, haunted house and devil worshiping. HOTD made me nostalgic for scary movies my girlfriends and I would rent from Blockbuster (RIP) for our Friday night slumber parties as kids. It would fit right into the line up of The Slumber Party Massacre, Sleepaway Camp and Prom Night, and right before you broke out the Ouijia board and stuck the first girl asleep’s hand in warm water.

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3. Creep (2014)

Director: Patrick Brice

Starring: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass

Josef is a very CREEPy (sorry-couldn’t help myself) dude who hires a videographer named Aaron off Craigslist to film him because he is dying and wants to leave behind the video as a token for his unborn child. Sad and kind of sweet right? WRONG. This movie is proof that when answering any ad off of Craigslist you can be communicating with a total lunatic. Don’t do it.

Creep was a movie I stumbled on after one of those nights after scrolling through Netflix for close to an hour, which is just about when I start to lose my patience. I came across scary and Mark Duplass and I was sold. And rightfully so, because now it’s listed on just about every “Best Scary Movie” list.

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2. The Babadook (2014)

Director: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall

This Australian flick centers on a recent widow and her troubled son, 6 year old Samuel. Amelia is asked by Samuel to read a mysterious popup book found on his shelf, entitled Mr. Babadook. Samuel becomes convinced the Babadook is following them and their lives begin to spiral out of control, leading the family into utter chaos and turmoil.

Creepy kids have long been synonymous with horror movies (The Shining, Poltergeist, The Omen, The Ring…stop me because I can keep going) but the Babadook  a genuinely frightening movie that has earned its place in the Creepy Kid Hall of Fame.

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  1. You’re Next (2011)

Director: Adam Wingard

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn

Erin joins her boyfriend for his family reunion at their vacation home in the country.What follows is chaos caused ax wielding maniacs trapping them in the middle of the woods as one by one the family is picked off by masked maniacs.

If you thought your in-laws were bad, they look like the Brady Bunch next to the Davisons. You’re Next is a bloody, gory, raucous romp with one of the best twists I’ve seen in horror in quite awhile. 

What are some of your favorite scary movie picks?