Thursday, July 31, 2014

My thoughts on Thursday (alt. title: Thursday Thoughts)

1. I set a goal on Goodreads to read 40 books in 2014. Since I'm reading my 36th book now, I upped it to 50 for the year. I know I recommend books every month in the Monthly Recs post, but would you guys like to see one post dedicated just to the books I've read that month, like Kristin at Krisin's kNook does? Do you guys read Kristin's blog? She's one of my daily reads.
2. This week's weather has been amazing. Windows open, perfect for sleeping and walking the dogs on the new path in our neighborhood.
3. Every day this week I have worked myself up into a frenzy over my dentist visit tomorrow morning. I've given myself a headache, the trots, and a black mood interspersed with periods of serenity/blind ignorance. I am a mental patient. Poor Laura and Michelle, my fellow tooth distress damsels, had to hear me all week. Everyone has their irrational thing and this is mine so let me have my neurosis.

4. Writing about 90210 in my Notes to My Teenage Self post really stirred up a hornet's nest inside my soul. I can no longer watch it on TV (I'm looking at you, SoapNet). Amazon instant video only has season one. Netflix has nothing. WTF, media world! Why are you denying me access to the greatest show ever? I got a wild hair up my ass so I checked my funny money account and ordered the first three seasons.  I will own them all and I will be happy. I will spread them out though because the later seasons are like $40 each! Damn, Donna. You pricey. Sounds like a perfect Christmas gift to myself. Speaking of West Bev, how about that Steve Sanders in Sharknado2? I like it. Give me more.
5. A lot of times in the summer I think about chants my friends and I used to say when we were little over jump rope or clapping games or double dutch. Like this one that's been in my head all week. What are some of yours? Let's reminisce.
uno, dos, ee-ay-say
To the East, west, 
I met my boyfriend at the candy store
He brought me ice cream, he brought me cake
He brought me home with a belly ache
Mama, mama, I'm so sick
Call the doctor, quick quick quick
Will I live or will I die?
Count to five and you're allive
One, two, three, four five I'm alive yeah (point to self with two thumbs)

6. I'm really annoyed that so many people think feminist is a dirty word. A feminist is a person who believes men and women should have equal rights politically, socially, and economically. Does anyone reading here not think that? You can like when people open doors for you and still be a feminist. You can be a stay at home Mom and still think women should get equal pay for equal work. Off of my soapbox and not totally related, you should check out April's post Ladies, Let's Stop... at The Striped Flamingo. She is on point!

7.  My other favorite blog post this week is courtesy of my friend from college, Jana at Jana Says. It's her promises to her friends without kids. I adore it and think it's awesome for people who have kids and people who don't have kids to read. I think it's really important to keep your identity outside of who you are as a parent so you can show your kids the value of self care. I think Jana gets that across here and the other messages are awesome as well.

8. Is it wrong to eat an entire container of blueberries throughout the afternoon? I DO WHAT I WANT.
9. Have I done a side by side of my Pete Rose haircut? I don't think so. Even if I have, the horror/hilarity never gets old. Relax, enjoy.
10. Ecard of the week. This makes me titter with laughter.
I'm going to double dutch my way on out of here.

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Linking up with Kristin for Stuff & Things

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July Recommendations

Skimmers, recommendations are in bold. Anything underlined is a link you can click on.

Aside from me, this month you get recs from my BFF Kim (Boston) and Kelli at Just Beachy blog. Kelli is one of my favorite reads. Links to her social media accounts are under her recommendations. I hope you check her out and follow her all the ways or one of the ways. Go forth and enjoy!

1. Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Shampoo/Conditioner: If you have wavy hair this shampoo and conditioner is for you. I can put my hair up in a bun at any time after using this and when I take it down loose beautiful waves happen with no effort on my part. Who doesn't want no effort hair?

2. Kong Stuffable Dog Toys - The perfect way to distract a chewing puppy, the old dog doesn't hate it either. Keeps both dogs entertained for hours and the Kong website has yummy recipes your dog will love.

3. Coppertone Oil Free Faces - Perfect for sensitive and combination skin types, doesn't clog my pores or cause the breakouts I've had with other sunscreens. It's lightweight and perfect for everyday use.

4. Sargento Tastings - If you love cheese but don't want to buy (and by that I mean eat) the entire block/wedge/wheel, these snack sized servings of some cheese favorites are a sure bet. 

I've been living in the Boston area for over ten years now and one of my favorite summer time trip planning tools is the show Chronicle.  They do different episodes that showcase places around New England to visit that are "A Tank Away" or explore "Main Streets and Back Roads." 

In New England, the choices abound to covered bridges, beaches, mountains, and the coast.  Each year, I try to add a new spot to my list and this year it'll be Lake George, NY.  Other favorites are Nantucket, MA, Newport, RI, Portsmouth, NH, and Portland, ME.  I keep meaning to get to Block Island, RI as well. Without a doubt, my favorite "Tank Away" go-to summer getaway is Martha's Vineyard, MA.

Disclaimer:  I'm that friend that doesn't really take pictures and if I do, you will never see them because I will never send them to you.  Naturally, this drives Steph crazy!  I've attached a few, but if you really want to see MV in all of its glory, you need to come to MA!

1. The Island Queen - It's a quick 35 minute ferry ride from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs and it's the only way to go.

2. The Painted Ladies -  Small Victorian Gingerbread Houses.  They are fun, festive, and historic and make my wonder why we all can't paint our houses a variety of colors.
3. Offshore Ale Co-  I love beer!  This place has a lot of it brewed locally.  My husband and I always stop her for a quick beer and mayhem ensues.  You can also eat whole peanuts to your heart's content and throw the shells on the ground.  I'd never do that because it's a big mess, but I like that I can.  Obviously, if you have a peanut allergy, this isn't the place for you.

4. Cliffs of Aquinnah - AKA Gay Head - Completely gorgeous red clay cliffs.  You can climb Gay Head Light for a bird's eye view.  It's worth the trip and you can spend the day on the beach with the cliffs towering behind you. Disclaimer:  There's a nude beach that you pass on the way to get your beautiful, tranquil cliff shots.  This makes me feel good because it reinforces that anyone can go to the nude beach.

5. Chappaquiddick Island - Besides the Ted Kennedy incident of 1969, it's a little island with great beaches that can be reached in short time with an enjoyable bike ride. Trust your instincts when you see huge black clouds looming.  I didn't and ended up crouching in terror against a random fire station door during a thunder and lightning storm.
6. Lighthouses - It's an island, so there are lighthouses everywhere, five in total.  I'm a big fan: lighthouses possess a quiet solitude, are a constant beacon, and bring people home safely. These are a few of my favorite things. I also got engaged at the Edgartown Lighthouse, so it clearly holds a special place.
1) Steve plying himself with some liquid courage before the proposal 2) Edgartown Lighthouse
What's your favorite "Tank Away" get away?

1. Books: Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt is a beautiful story full of sads and coming of age truths and I didn't want it to end. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams - I thought this was a delicious summer read, much like her other book was for me last year (A Hundred Summers).

2. Gain car deodorizer. Lord, lay me down in a field of Gain scented anything. Michelle got these for me about a year ago, and Target finally started carrying them. Hallelujah and Amen. 
3. Nordic bakewear. See this pan? It was just used. It's not new, and there are no marks anywhere. I detest cleaning baking sheets. Nordic bakewear comes clean like a dream with no elbow grease required. I always find mine at Marshalls or HomeGoods, but they're available on Amazon too. 

Thanks to Kelli & Kim for sharing your musts of the month! 

What about you? What do you recommend this month?

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Not Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions but you should.

 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Linking up with Liz for Fitness Blondie's Blog Hop:
The Hump Day Blog Hop

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

10 Items of Note for my Teenage Self

I’m not a person who would like to go back and erase every bad choice or mistake I’ve made. I believe that our reaction to mistakes and fuck ups shape who we are and that every choice we make, good or bad, leads us to where and who we are right now. And I'd never change that.

I also know that sometimes you have to touch the fire to know it burns. Even if Current Me told Teenage Me these things, Teenage Me would give Current Me the finger and keep on doing what she was doing. That being said, if I was going to tell my teenage self some things, these would be those things.
  1. Keep that Polaroid camera you got when you were 11. You’ll really want it when you’re 36 and it will cost eleventy billion dollars which you will have a hard time justifying.
  2. Remember: people who talk shit are simply shit talkers.
  3. Spend as much time as you can with your grandparents. Talk to them about what it was like when they were young. Soak up the time you have with them.
  4. Savor every second of not working, having bills, or being responsible for anything.
  5. All things end: good and bad. Appreciate what you have when you have it and hang in there when you don’t. 
  6. Whatever qualifies as a huge deal now will not even be on your radar in 10 years. It’s not worth the angst or the stress.
  7. Record every single episode of Beverly Hills 90210. Never get rid of your VCR.
  8. In regards to college: don’t eat and drink whatever you want, study abroad
  9. In regards to college: Go to a state college. You’ll save a ton of money. Better yet, go to a community college for a year or two, then a state college.
  10. These are not the best years of your life as some people will tell you – but if you make it a goal to have the best time of your life every year, then you’ll always technically be in the best time of your life.
Advice. I have some.
Teenagers say "no thanks" though
Bastards would take cash.
Speaking of teenage selves, happy happy birthday to one of my favorite friends since we were teenagers friends - Frank!

What would you tell your teenage self?

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Linking up with Jana, and you should too!

Monday, July 28, 2014

TWTW - how is it already the end of July?

1. Friday night: zucchini taco boats, gelato in the comfort of our own home, relaxing.
Gus works out. Don't all dogs?
2. Saturday morning Farmers' Market haul:
3. We enjoyed a day at the races at Monmouth Park with Chris and Diana. Click here to see yesterday's post on it. 
4. We were going to attempt a pop in at The Stone Pony, but it was insane. We drove through to Belmar to take a little walk along the shore and have dinner. We were home an hour later. It was a really nice day. 
6. Morning coffee Saturday / Sunday:
7. Weekly food prep - egg muffins using leftover base of Friday night tacos for breakfast. Cheesey enchilada quinoa for lunches. A fresh, light, simple cold pasta salad for Sunday and Monday. Baked chicken and veggies for other weeknight dinners.
8. Sunday night I headed up to Whippany, NJ, with my brother Stephen and his friends Jared & BJ to see our brother Sean play in the U-23 NPSL semi-finals for the NY Red Bulls vs Lansing United from Michigan. Sean scored off a corner to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead and his teammate scored to make it 2-0. The Red Bulls advance to the NPSL final game next weekend. Laura and Chris brought the boys and it was great to see them on an impromptu visit. Laura and I have watched many many many soccer games together in our time. I got home at around 10:45, late for a Sunday, but I'm glad I was there!
Sean after scoring his goal - Via New York Red Bulls Twitter Acct
Other things, not pictured: hausfrauing, finishing a book, contemplated weeding but decided not to, Geege and Mae losing their shit over Sunday night thunderstorms meaning no sleep for the rest of us.
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Today? I'm surprisingly chipper for a Monday in which no days off loom large. Do tell...How was your weekend?

Are you a fan of Tieks ballet flats? Check out the giveaway on them over at Meet at the Barre!
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Linking up for Weekly Wrap Up
Ameliorer la Vie

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I need to see a man about a horse

We had so much fun yesterday. We left our house at 11 and drove to Monmouth Park on Oceanport Avenue in Oceanport, NJ. MFD and I both marveled at the lack of shore traffic and ease of the drive.
We were invited to a day at the races by Dan at America's Best Racing, who covered our passes, food, drink, and racing programs for free; and treated us to a behind the scenes paddock tour. We even got our photo taken with the winning jockey from the first race (not shown, it's on MFD's phone but I think he tweeted it). He was the happiest little man I've seen in a long time. I liked seeing the horses and jockeys up close. Our friends Chris & Diana met us there. The weather was perfect to spend a day outside meandering the park.
I'd never been to a horse race before, even though I live five minutes from a track. It never would have entered my mind to go. I was surprised that I found it really interesting. Dan gave us a lot of background on the park, how the day plays out and why.

I really liked the ebb and flow of the day - about 15 minutes before race time it got very busy - everyone rushing to get a hotdog or a beer, to go to the bathroom or place a bet before the race started. Then the few minutes the race was run were quiet until the horses rounded the last bend, then the collective excitement of the crowd reached a peak of shouting and cheering.
The people watching and eavesdropping were the best. I feel like there's this whole horse culture I know nothing about and it was cool to observe it for a day. MFD placed one bet for me based on the horse's name (Rogue Lady). I didn't win. We stayed for nine of 11 races. Would I be a track regular? No. I'd definitely consider going once or twice a year - Monmouth Park is relaxed, there was live music, the people were nice, and I like the air of excitement before the race. It's a good day out with friends. You can even bring your own food and drink in, I saw a ton of people doing that.
Thanks to America's Best Racing and Monmouth Park for a great day!
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Five - Best Songs to Listen to in the Summer

TGIF mofos! Today's topic is best songs to listen to in the summer. Not top five favorite summer songs. They're different!

Example: Boys of Summer by Don Henley is a summer song, and it's also a song I like to listen to in the summer. Untouchable Face by Ani DiFranco is not a summer song, but it's one of my favorite songs to listen to in the summer. You see? I'm very seasonal with my music. I love A Long December by The Counting Crows but you won't find me listening to that in July. No way. Sorry. No can dosies.

When I asked one of our BFFs, Frank, to share his list, he asked, "Songs to listen to in the summer or summer songs?" As if I didn't already know he was perfect person for this topic, that cemented it. It's all in the distinction. Frank's birthday is Tuesday, wish him a happy one a bit early! Without further ado...
Frank at a gig/Frank, Amanda and little Miss Eva the Diva/Me & Fronk at Amanda & Fronk's wedding
I love music and I love top five lists so thank you Steph for asking me to combine them.  Here are my top 5 favorite songs to listen to in the summertime.

5. Whoomp There It Is – Tag Team.  This song comes on and you are transported to the 700 level watching the 93 Fighten Phillies. (Assist by Amanda on this one)
Whoomp There It Is by Tag Team on Grooveshark
4. Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band.  This song played on repeat one year at the Sea Side Heights boardwalk and to this day when I hear this song I can smell the ocean.
Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band on Grooveshark
3.  On the Way to Cape May – Bud Nugent (how many Mummers actually knew that?). Every summer since 1997 I have sang the song with Mike Capie playing the banjo with the Uptown StringBand.

2.  (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding.  If you drank beer with me in a Levittown backyard in the summer you probably heard this song a couple times.
(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding on Grooveshark
1. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.  Obviously.  
Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince on Grooveshark

Thanks to Frank for sharing his top five songs to listen to in the summer. What about you? What's on your list?

Weekenders and Instagram fans, I'm going to be all over it this weekend, especially on Saturday when we'll be out and about with America's Best Racing at Monmouth Park. I'm popping my horse racing cherry. Giddy up.

-Follow me on Instagram
-Follow MFD on Instagram, I asked him to clear the cobwebs from his little used Instagam account and share some pics on Saturday.
-Saturday I will also be carrying the Northeast Baton for the Northeast Bloggers Network - follow them on Instagram

Th-th-th-tha-that-that's all, folks! Have a great weekend!

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