Sunday, May 29, 2016

Let's Talk....Memorial Day Weekend

Sunday evening and I am relaxing in bed currently reading #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media and Self-Awareness!

Let's take a step back and recap my successful weekend of work, beach, food, food, BBQ, friends and more food! See the pattern that is of #MDW!

Yesterday I worked in the morning from 8-2:30 before heading home changing and hitting the beach with my aunt. Living so close to the Jersey Shore I love going in the afternoons since most of the time it is quiet. Even with it being a holiday weekend most people were exiting the Avon Beach by the time we arrived. The only downside was how "cold" it was with the wind. I still managed a good hour and a half and some wind burn!

When your skin matches the color of the sand.


With it being #NationalHamburgerDay we decided to stop for burgers on the way home. I had never been to Bobby's Burger Palace so we decided after leaving Avon ( our beach) we would make the stop in Eatontown. I created my own and it got mixed reviews. Interested in your thoughts?


Medium with Bacon, Fried Egg and Avocado Relish. 
 Who has two breakfast's and then heads out to a lunch BBQ? I never turn down a breakfast since it is one of my favorite meals.  I headed to Turning Point Cafe this morning with my sister's boyfriend since she had a morning shift at work. My go-to breakfast place and top 5 all time favorite places for brunch! We live close to the one in Manalapan ( for any NJ readers) and I also frequent the one at Pier Village in Long Branch. For the first time ever, I drank hot coffee from a French Press. Adding that to the list of new things I've done. As for breakfast I had my usual, Classic Benedict!

Heaven on a plate!

 After that I headed up to Scotch Plains to visit friends who were hosting a BBQ at their new home. I picked up a friend from the Westfield train station and headed over to enjoy an afternoon of Friends, Fun and Sun. More food such as my Kosher Hot Dog, pasta salad and plenty of fruit was consumed. We played Kan Jam and my team won both rounds! Have you ever heard of this game or even played? It was new to me but since I won I didn't mind playing!

After a successful afternoon I headed home with one more stop in mind. In order to complete my Memorial Day Weekend since tomorrow will be a washout here in NJ I knew I needed to make the stop tonight at:

Chocolate Fudge Brownie + Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup! 
I would call the weekend a success. Spent time with friends and family. Enjoyed some good food and even walked away with a little color. ** I take care of my skin and use plenty of 50 sunscreen but it is inevitable to not get burnt even the smallest amount.


What did you do this Memorial Day Weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy


Friday, May 27, 2016

Let's Talk...5 Facts Friday

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 

What are your plans for the weekend? I will be working tomorrow morning at the Yoga Studio then heading down to the shore. Sunday is all about the BBQ and friends and Monday back down the shore! 

With that said my first fact coincides with talking about being outdoors all weekend. 

1:  I love the ocean. I love the beach. Give me a good book, a delicious drink and the sounds of crashing waves and I'm one happy person.......MINUS the sunburn that comes with it. I am extremely pale, like Casper White. I use SPF 45. I always reapply and I still BURN. I have two new sunscreens to use this weekend. Here is the hoping I won't be bright red, because it WILL NOT turn into TAN :( 

2: I spent close to 12 summer vacations on Martha's Vineyard with my whole family. When I was 9 years old we went clamming. I was petrified. I offered my entire life's savings to night have to go in the water. I was bribed with a chocolate sundae and I turned it down.....never again would I turn down a sundae. 


3: If you ever went to sleep away camp you will appreciate this. Our bunks went on raids were we visited the boys and one night I decided to play a small prank by having everyone meet on the baseball field....What I didn't realize was how easy it would be to get caught. I left prior to the group getting caught...Oops. 

4: I played tennis for close to 13 years when I was younger and attended the US Open almost very year. I met Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Michael Chang. 


5: In 2013 I ran for the Leukemia & Lymphoma's Society Man & Woman of the Year for the NYC Chapter. It was the most amazing experience in my life to date. We were the first year to break the million dollar mark. I dedicated my campaign to my mom. You can check out my video here


And this year Sarah Cirelli is running for the New Jersey Chapter. Please consider making a donation today. She has one week left to hit her goal of $100,000!


XoXo,
Tracy 


Monday, May 23, 2016

A Long Nap

With my new position as the receptionist at a local yoga studio I found out my schedule would be the same moving forward giving me Friday and Sunday off. I am OK with that as long as I have one weekend day off over the summer since I plan to be down the shore? Or as some people say, at the beach. It's a Jersey thing saying "down the shore."

Friday was 75 and sunny, giving me the perfect reason to sunbathe at a local park. I was able to veg out, relax and do some journal writing which I haven't done in a while. I enjoyed blasting Pandora radio, catching some rays and writing. I mean look at the view. 


Saturday I worked from 8-2:30. I arrived home with a massive headache and a hungry stomach. After failing to make poached eggs I landed up with avocado and scramble eggs. I called my dad to check in around 3:11pm and decided I was going to take a quick nap. Remember the title, a long nap. Let's just say I woke up at 8:30am the next morning to hearing noises in the house. First, I was like it must be 8pm, but nope I was wrong it was 8:30am. With my sister away I realized my dad must have been home; however I did walk quietly in the house with my cell phone as my protector, lol. My body must have needed that sleep. All I kept saying was I missed dinner. ( Haha, priorities)

I shouldn't have been tired Sunday but somehow I was off to a slow start. After getting my act together and dressed I joined my friend to help her food shop and then meet up with her sister and future brother-in-law for Mexican. We decided on Rosalita's. I love that on Sunday's at the bar appetizers are $7 and drinks are $5 all day. Being on a tight budget that helped me. I ordered a Pain Killer and Shrimp Tostada.


We spent the rest of the afternoon playing around on Snapchat as she was learning about the faces and filters. One more stop at Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza for beers to cap off the weekend! This was one of my places to visit when I lived in South Florida and I am so happy they opened locally here in NJ. 

So my weekend consisted of being outdoors, lots of sleep, and drinking with friends. I would call the weekend success and look forward to Memorial Day Weekend and being off Sunday and Monday. You can find me down the shore next weekend! 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sinigual Review

When we last left off I was heading into NYC to meet up with my best friend and her mother for our monthly dinners. On a side note I joined Bloglovin on Friday as well! 

I am so thankful that we meet for this monthly dinner and when needed I can solicit motherly advice if I am ever looking for it. Dinner tonight was at Sinigual a contemporary Mexican restaurant right near Grand Central Station.

Every time we get together it's either pouring or starting to rain and this trip was no different. When traveling to NYC from my hometown in NJ the closest mode of transportation is the bus and let me tell you it's hit or miss when you add Friday traffic and crappy weather. We do have a train but it isn't as close. I took an earlier bus giving myself ample time since I knew the weather and traffic would be a factor. With that I arrived at the restaurant nearly an hour earlier then our reservation. No worries it was #HappyHour and who was I to turn that down. I found a stool at the bar, chatted with the bartender and nursed this amazing strawberry margarita! 


The rest of the party arrived close to 30 minutes later and we were lucky to be seated earlier then our original reservation. They took straight to ordering drinks to play catch up. We started with the obvious Guacamole De Molcajete which was made table side. They offer to add cheese which is the only thing I wouldn't do next time. 

For my main dish I went with the Fish Taco's that came with a side pasilla-cilantro rice, avocado relish and a sweet corn cake. The picture is of the last taco that I deconstructed and added the rice into the taco it was that sweet! The fish was cooked and seasoned perfectly to my liking not too spicy. 



The other two orders were Fajitas and Shrimp Diabla both that my friend and her mom were raving about even after we left the restaurant. Our goal is to always try a new restaurant; however I know I will be back and already told my father to add this to his list as he loves all Mexican food. That's what we are having Tuesday night for his birthday but locally in NJ. 


When you first walk in the bar is at the front and the back is all booths with only a few tables mixed in which I found to be interesting. They atmosphere is warm and comfortable. The star lights hanging above caught my eye right away. 


Deep Fried Ice Cream anyone? How could you even think of turning it down? Are you crazy? OMG all of the three desserts were ordered were delicious. Unfortunately I only was able to take two photos since the third was devoured before I could get out my phone to take the photos. We ordered the following: Deep Fried Ice Cream, Chocolate Flan Brulee and Carmerized Fruit Flautas



If you know me you know I am seriously a chocolate addict which for me isn't the greatest. Time to get back into a gym routine now that I have a part time job. With that I allow myself to indulge every now and then with no regrets. 

Once we finished we walked over to Grand Central Station and enjoyed another round of drinks at the bar. I stuck with a Diet Coke as I had a subway ride and bus ride home and work the next morning. We always have a wonderful time together. 

Have you been to NYC? What is your favorite restaurant? 

XoXo,
Tracy 












Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Favorite Links

Happy Friday!

I am writing this post before heading into NYC to meet up with my best friend and her mom for our monthly dinner. Each month we chose a new restaurant and this month we have reservations to Sinigual a Mexican restaurant near Grand Central Station.

I wanted to share some articles and links from the past week or so that have really resonated with me for many different reasons.

Last Friday I was enjoying lunch with my closest friend from elementary school when she stopped me dead in the middle of a sentence which I was complaining about something. ( It's bad when I can't remember what I was complaining about.) That night I read Laura's post on her May Challenge: No Complaining. I try to constantly preach #ThePowerOfPositiveThinking because when I get to a dark place I remind myself if my outlook can change I can be in a better place. We need to catch ourselves and then stop and of course it is easier said then done. I am not making it an official challenge but with both my conversation and this post I am going to work on catching myself and less complaining and more gratitude. A vent here and there is OK just when you get into a routine of negative thoughts and complaints your headed down the wrong road.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you know I am constantly re-tweeting and liking many of the articles from Levo League. There May campaign is all about Mentorship something that I believe in. I have been super lucky to have one great mentor now since graduating college seven years ago. She works in the nonprofit industry and she always will listen even when I feel like I am constantly babbling. However the more I read the many articles on mentors and how to find them, where to find them, and how the relationship works I know it's time to step up my game.

Michelle and I are Twitter friends and I look forward to the day we get to meet IRL. She is a nonprofit professional in NYC and writes for a career advice and job seeker website, Ploymint for millennials written by millennials. Each article is better then the one before.


What are some of your favorite articles, links, posts lately?

XoXo,
Tracy



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Your Health.....It's Important

May 8-14, 2016 is National Women's Health Week!

Did you know that? I was unaware until my news feed on Twitter was flooded with posts and reminders. Our health should be our number one priority in life, yet many times we let it fall on the back burner because we just don't have time or we feel fine so nothing must be wrong. I will be the first to admit I am guilty of not making it a top priority, however that is about to change. I want to live a long, healthy life and be around for a while, don't you?

When you visit womenshealth.gov this week you are able to choose an age bracket and it will list out steps that will help you live a better life. At 29 I fall in the last year of the 20's and am on the cusp of joining the 30's. As you can see there are many similarities and a few differences.

Why am I sharing this with you? If I haven't take care of my health who am I to tell you to take care of yours? Because by sharing this I am holding myself accountable. It is important that as women especially we know "we can do it all" includes taking care of your health, career, personal lives etc..If that is what you believe and many I am sure do.

Here are the following areas I am going to work on. I am not a doctor and the information shared here is from my own personal research. Please consult your physician with any questions you may have.

1) Preventive Screening- When I turned 25 my Gynecologist informed me that it was time for my first Mammography. My exact response, "I'm 25 are you joking? I have no signs and I have been doing a self exam for the past two years since my mom passed away." It was that moment when he looked me dead in the eyes and said, this is for early detection. My mother was diagnosed 30 and I needed to start preventive screenings 5 years earlier than her. So with a referral in hand off I went to a radiology group for my first of yearly mammograms. I will be honest I have not had one since 28 and I know I need to change that and I have an appointment for one next month. It is time to really take this seriously.

2) Get Active- I follow plenty of fitness bloggers and I always say that would be cool or I would love to take that class or try that exercise. Then I let life get in the way. Last year I worked hard to lose about 25 pounds only to face yet another layoff and find myself back up. I am not happy to admit it but I have started working out again slowly. Walking and running in my development and hitting the gym 2-3 times a week. I also just started a part time job a yoga studio which I hope will also be helpful for my next topic.

3) Mental Health/Stress/Sleep- I am not sure that I should lump them in one bullet however I feel they go hand-in-hand. As I mentioned above I just started at a yoga studio and I hope to incorporate some classes and learnings into my daily routine. Speaking of the one consistent thing currently I am doing is meditating 10 minutes when I wake up and 10 minutes before bed. Let me tell you, I see a difference in how quick I speak, how anxious I get and how to calm myself down before flying off the handle. May also happens to be Mental Health Awareness Month for those who didn't know. We need to #StopTheStigma of mental health. Before seeking out a therapist and opening up to family and friends I fought in silence. That was the worst thing I could do. I would sleep maybe two hours a night. I would constantly find myself wide awake at night stressing over every little aspect of life. After finding a good therapist I was able to start coping. This process has helped with relationships, career goals, and personal goals. It has made me realize I am not alone and neither are you. I want to tell you I get 7-8 hours of sleep but I don't. If I get 6.5 I am happy and that works for me. Anything less I and I struggle to get through the day. Again, I am working on this and will for as long as I need.

4) Eating healthy- I went to Johnson & Wales University, a school known for their culinary program. 9 out of 10 times I'm asked if I was a culinary major and work in the food service. My old response was "I burnt pasta (which really happened) my freshman year" so no I am not a cook and stay far away from cooking. Now my new response is "I'm not a huge fan but cooking healthier meals motivates me to change my eating habits and enjoy the process." I don't cook everyday but I do try to cook a few meals here and there. I'm not afraid of the kitchen anymore and I am learning to embrace the challenges of cooking and seeing what I like and dislike. Currently I am loving Salmon, Tilapia and healthy stir-fry. And Salads...give me all the salads! Incorporating vegetables was easy, fruit on the other hand is harder as I am not a huge fan and find it hard to stick to fruits I like.

5) Alcohol & Smoking- I am not a smoker and never have been one which for me is good news since cancer runs rapid through my family. Alcohol on the other hand is more social for me; however I do sometimes find myself over indulging and every once in a while will do a detox. I would rather just work on a path of healthy choices when drinking and really working to eliminate it when using it as a clutch. A nervous person a drink has always helped me to relax in settings such as gatherings where I don't know others. I don't plan on cutting it out, just cutting back.

I took the pledge, will you take the pledge? What areas do you want or need to work on?

XoXo,
Tracy

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

#TacoTuesday with Bubbakoo's Burritos

Born and raised in Marlboro, NJ this restaurant was new to me. With that said and it being #TacoTuesday I decided to give Bubbakoo's Burritos in Freehold a try. "The roots of Bubbakoo's are in the skater and shore scene, but all are welcome in what's quickly become a neighborhood hub of activity" thanks to Paul and Bill. They first opened their doors in 2008 in Point Pleasant, NJ and have since added 7 locations proudly building bridges with local communities where people work, eat, and gather as a family! 

Arriving later in the afternoon after the lunch hour rush I was one of the few people who ordered and stayed to enjoy my meal. I struck up a conversation with the young gentlemen who was helping me as it was my first time. He recommended so many wonderful dishes that I will be back to try. I really to enjoy build your owns and therefore decided on two chicken soft tacos with lettuce, shredded cheese and guacamole. On the side I had salsa for the chips that were included in my meal. 

#TacoTuesday


Current NJ Locations

My tacos were delicious and the chips had just the right amount of salt and there were just a few not an overwhelming amount. The mission of Bubbakoo's is "provide fresh, high-quality food - an outstanding service - in a fun and friendly environment" which I believe they nailed on the head. 

I didn't save room for dessert but next time I will make sure to. Do you see what's on the menu? Chips with Caramel or Choco Taco would be my top two choices. Which would you try?

Dessert
The atmosphere was really inviting and if I was with a larger group I wouldn't have a problem because of the long tables they provide. You can also sit a a small bar on one side of the counter. When you share a photo of your team on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you show them at the counter and you receive a $1 coupon. They also have a punch card which I think is great. 

I would totally recommend them to locals in NJ as well as guests from out of town. The atmosphere and the food hit the spot. What is your favorite taco? 

XoXo,
Tracy 







Sunday, May 8, 2016

Dear Mom,

This will be the 6th Mother's Day without you hear physically. However, I carry you in my heart everyday and am guided through life by fond memories we shared in the 23 years of life I spent with you.

Between the social media campaigns, the TV/Radio commercials, and my inbox flooded with Mother's Day reminders, promotions, and gift ideas I tend to get filled with emotions ranging from anger to sadness. Angry that I am not able to celebrate with you in person. Not hear your infectious laugh, or see your spunky read head. Sad that you will miss important moments like our weddings or seeing your grand kids grow up. Then I remember Emma and I are blessed to have so many memories that we will share with our spouses, families and friends. Those memories make celebrating and rejoicing your life a little easier each Mother's Day. 

Road trips to Florida for Passover and Disney World vacations always top my list of some of my favorite times together. Spending hours in the city just shopping are not far behind. And who could forget the time we rode the elevator in the Marriott Marquis in NYC to the very top floor just because Emma wanted to. Sure I also remember the time I lied and you yanked the TV out of my wall, I ran away. How naive I was back then. The memories just like all the photos we have will always stay with me. You hold a special place in my heart that will NEVER be replaced. 

Special moments we shared <3
I can only hope to be as strong and courageous as you were throughout life. Sure life wasn't easy fighting cancer for 17+ years but you made it look like a walk in the park at sometime. You fought hard and never once gave in or quit. You went from Chemo treatments back to work because the kids depended on you and they brought a smile to your face everyday. Your determination to watch both myself and Emma graduate high school almost didn't happen for Emma but you put up such a fight and made it to her graduation. You also made it my college graduation something that I will always remember and be grateful for. 

I love you so much, and I look forward to the day I can see your smile and hear your laugh again. 

Love Always,
Your Mookster ( Tracy) 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Routine Rut

Do you follow a routine everyday?

Is there a favorite part of your routine?

How to you stick to your routine?

Please share with me your tricks to sticking to a routine.....I'm in need of some motivation. I am sure I am not the only one experiencing this "Routine Rut."

On Monday night I took part in Callie Gisler's #CreativeCoffeeHour Twitter chat. It really got the wheels in my brain spinning. I make lists. I love lists. Every Sunday I have a cup of coffee and make a weekly list that is meant to be broken down into daily to-do lists. After sharing this with the ladies I realized I need to look into the way I create the lists and what I add or delete. But with the lists I fail to stick to a routine. Re-evaluating making lists and how to incorporate a routine is something I will work on.

As mentioned in a previous post I incorporate 10 minutes of meditation in the AM and 10 minutes in the PM. I need to stick with going to the gym in the morning. I fall victim to the "snooze" button way to much. Since I am currently unemployed I am having a hard time getting out of bed first thing in the morning and staying up way to late. With the start of May my goal is to work on setting a routine that would benefit me both physically and mentally. Start the day with Gym and Breakfast, followed by some writing/job searching and ending the day with some friends/TC, etc....

I saved this article from the Huffington Post back in January and finally got around to re-reading it about "The Morning Routines of 13 Ambitious Millennial Women."

Routine Rut I am ready to get rid of you and take more control over my life!

What are your thoughts on routines?

XoXo,
Tracy