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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!

 

 

 

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.

twosday lovin

There’s no easy way to put it. Tuesday doesn’t get much love. She’s Monday’s ugly sister. The weekend was 48 hours ago, and there are still 72 long hours left until this weekend (UGH). But Tuesday isn’t all that bad, which is why I’m starting a weekly installment featuring two things I love this Tuesday. In the words of Drake: “It’s goin up on a Tuesday”

  1. National Coffee Day: National Coffee Day is September 29th. I love coffee and cannot function without it, so of course I love a day celebrating it. You know what else I love? FREE COFFEE. That’s right. Several java joints are giving out free coffee, including Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Wawa. Check out this article from USA today for more info: National Coffee Day Freebies

2. Late Night Chauffeurs: I love a good night out, and I especially love a good night out when everyone can have a good time, and there is no cause for concern as to how to get home. Enter Late Night Chauffeurs. Basically, you drive your car to your destination, you call LNC, give them a time and location to meet you, and they will pick you and YOUR CAR up, and drive you both home safe and sound. No drinking and driving, no worrying about what to do with your car if you end up partying too hard. Easy peasy!  A friend of mine recommended them to me after using them a few times. I used them recently after a night out and I do not have enough great things to say about them. They met us at our location and the time I scheduled, drove our car home and found parking (which in my area is a nightmare on the weekend). Our driver was super sweet, patient and a great driver. His co-Chauffeur followed us back to our home to pick him up (in case you were wondering how he gets home). It’s a safe, inexpensive way to enjoy a night out. Keep them in mind next time you’re thinking of going out! Late Night Chauffeurs

long time no blog

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September has been a crazy busy month and I cannot believe we are almost into OCTOBER!!!! I’ve had a ton of social functions, and here on Long Island we’ve been having an unseasonably warm {HOT} fall. It’s been in the 80s the majority of the month so I have been soaking up the sun every moment I’ve been able to! I’m hoping to keep my tan going until Thanksgiving…cross your fingers for me!

Well, Fall has officially begun and the weather forecast is calling for a cold front this week, so I will be making up for lost time. I have plenty to catch up on and a bunch of October adventures in the works. I promise I will keep you up to speed on all my pumpkin spiced, sweater filled, boot wearing escapades!