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!

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

some just have to chase the sun

If you follow my Instagram account, one thing you have probably picked up is that I have a hardcore, unabashed sunset obsession. I will be in the middle of eating dinner, mid-forkful, look out the window, see bright pink skies, grab my camera or phone and run to the roof to shoot it. I live in a beautiful place where each sunset is better than the last and it’s hard not to share my photos on social media. Well it turns out that one of my photos won an “End of Summer” contest on the US National Weather Service Facebook page, after much love and support from friends, family, and even strangers. My photo, taken on September 22nd, the last official day of Summer 2015 (pretty appropriate, given the contest), received the most likes on the Nation Weather Service’s Facebook page and it is now featured as their cover photo. Needless to say, it’s a very cool feeling to know that your photo was featured on a site viewed by almost 50,000 people every day. It should be noted that I never win anything, so this was a pretty big deal to me. Thank you to everyone who voted!!!

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Farewell, Summer 2015

how mermaids whet their whistle…spiked seltzer!

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I’m always on the hunt for a new cocktail, preferably one that is low cal and yummy. Enter Spiked Seltzer. I had first seen Spiked Seltzer on Instagram a few months back and fell in love with the packaging. The cans are tall, sleek and slender (kind of how I would like my body. Too bad pizza keeps getting in the way.), with their trademark mermaid on the front (were you wondering how it got my attention? There’s your answer!). I was in my local beer distributor and they carried it, so I snapped it up.

There are four flavors each named for its origin: Valencia Orange, Indian River Grapefruit, West Indies Lime and Cape Cod Cranberry. Each flavor is bursting with refreshing citrus flavor, but none are overly sweet. Developed by Nick Shields, Spiked Seltzer is brewed in Connecticut. Each flavor is made with all natural ingredients, is gluten-free, has a 6% alcohol content, 5 grams of carbs per can and is 140 calories. The best part of not having any unnecessary sugar or preservatives? No hangover!  The Spiked Seltzer website even suggests that it even makes a nice mixer and comes complete with cocktail recipes: Spiked Seltzer Cocktails

It’s a flavorful, guilt free cocktail that is best served chilled over ice with your toes in the sand.

Summer Bucket List (better late than never, amiright??)

Earlier this summer, I came up with the idea for a Summer Bucket List. Every year, I mentally make a list of all the things I want to do once the weather gets warm. Every year, I end up doing a handful of them but not nearly enough of them. I should also mention the last 2 summers I was a busy bride to be with a full time job and planning a wedding which ended up taking up the majority of my summer weekends. This year, things are different. I am already starting to get that sinking feeling that the end of Summer 2015 is nigh (tear) and I need to get my Bucket List butt in gear. I actually wrote a list out this year and hung it out my refrigerator. This way instead of getting sucked into a Real Housewives marathon, I can remind myself to get outside and make some memories! While I’ve crossed a few items off already: music festival, bike to Point Lookout (a neighboring beach town), & watch fireworks on the beach-just to name a few-time is running out!

Now that summer is in full swing, here is my Summer 2015 Bucket List:

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  • Kayaking
  • Movies on the beach 
  • Play Bocce Ball
  • Host a rooftop BBQ
  • Eat a Lobster Roll
  • Watch the sun rise
  • Be a tourist in my own city
  • Concerts on the beach
  • Wine tour
  • Bike & picnic in Point Lookout
  • Sunset cruise
  • Go hiking
  • Watch fireworks on the beach

Since we live in a northeastern beach town and endure very long, very cold winters (did I mention LONG?), my hubby and I look forward to taking advantage of the beach and like to stay local in the summer. Who likes to sit in traffic, anyway?! We also like to keep things costs on the lower side so we look for things that we can do that cost little to nothing, or find Groupons or Living Social deals to cut costs. We’re very lucky that our town has quite a few activities that cost little to nothing, such as movies on the beach and concerts on the beach (both free!).

This weekend, I scratched one more item off my bucket list. Jon and I had a free day so we decided to go hiking at a local nature preserve! A friend told me about the Norman J. Levy Nature Preserve in nearby Merrick. We packed the cooler with PB&J and water bottles, slathered on some sunscreen (SPF 50 or higher for this fair Irish lass!), laced up our sneakers and we were on our way. About 20 minutes later, we arrived at the preserve, where we discovered we can rent kayaks (imagine a 2 for 2 Summer Bucket List Sunday?!) but alas it was too good to be true. We had to reserve the kayak earlier in the week (at least we know for next time!). In addition to kayaking, the preserve also offers a golf course, driving range and fishing pier, as well as golf carts that are constantly zipping around in case you have little ones that can’t make the trek. The Norman J. Levy Nature Preserve is 52 acres, 3 miles and 115 feet at its highest point, offering vantage points of Jones Beach and the Manhattan skyline. There are several different types of wildlife that live on the preserve including red foxes (which we sadly did not see), along with a ton of greenery and winding hills that make you forget that you’re in the middle of suburban Long Island. It was a great day spent exploring new territory and we will definitely return in the fall!

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My honey & I at the peak

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The preserve’s essentially “employs” the guinea fowl (left) and the Nigerian dwarf goats (right). The birds are an eco-friendly insecticide, as they control the tick population, whereas the goats maintain the weed and brush overgrowth.

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