Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Go Outside

How is September here already?

How did summer literally fly by?

I don't want to rush it, but before we know it we will be in Fall then Winter. 2016 seems to be flying by. Lately I have been smiling more. I have been having fun. I have been living life to the fullest. In the start of 2016 I was not in a great place but with the help of friends and family I have been really turning things around in my life.

One thing I knew I needed to do more of was just go outside. Sure I've hit the beach a few times this summer but what about just enjoying being outdoors and soaking up the fresh air. Today I did just that when I visited the local Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel, NJ. After my trip to Red Bank last week I knew I wanted to bring along my camera to get some shots!

Here are some of my favorites from today!

I find the more I get outside the happier I am. It doesn't take much to change your scenery and it could even be something just around the corner. I hope to explore a few more parks in the next few weeks.

Do you ever just go outside?


Friday, August 26, 2016

Week Full of Smiles!

To be really honest I can't remember the last time I had a wonderful week filled with laughter and smiles. Life lately hasn't been filled with my finest days; however working with a Life Coach has really started to impact the way I view life and moving forward in a positive direction. I have been doing a lot more private writing and talking with friends and family about how I feel and where who I am. I've even had a few deep conversations with myself. 

With all that said, this past week has been so much fun! 

Last Friday I headed out to a local town, Red Bank in Monmouth New Jersey to walk around and take some photos. I had a wonderful afternoon window shopping and sitting near the marina watching the sailboats. Check out some of the photos

Saturday night my family headed to dinner in New Brunswick. We decided on a new to me cuisine and yes I now have a major itch to visit New Orleans. We ate at Old Bay Restaurant, New Brunswick's Finest Craft Beer Bar & Restaurant. Dinner with my sister, her BF, dad, and his fiance is always a good time. We don't always get together often, so when we do it always a catch up fest. 

Took a somewhat cool photo outside the restaurant 

We started with delicious Mini Crab & Shrimp Cakes and BBQ Pork Sliders. By the time I was ready to take a picture it was to late as we inhaled the starters. My dinner was simple; Mango Shrimp Salad. I love mango salsa and shrimp so this was a no brainier for me. 

"Let's walk a short block to Thomas Sweet" when in reality it was more like 6 blocks and I wore wedges, not planning to walk more then 10 feet to the car. It was all OK once I realized they brought back one of my favorite flavors, Chocolate Oreo with Marshmallows! 

Sunday I spent the day at the beach. Even with high tide all day we manged to have a great time just relaxing my Aunt and I. I even managed to burn again after multiple coats of sunscreen. It is inevitable for me to not get burnt.

Monday-Wednesday was spent working and I had a conversation with someone I had put for some time now. I felt amazing once the conversation as had and once I spoke with my family about it. So much so that I am really starting to feel more confident and strong, traits other's saw in me but I couldn't in myself. 

Traits I will use to describe #Myself
Wednesday night I had dinner with friends I hadn't seen in a while. It was so nice to catch up and laugh throughout the evening. Check out this post on Instagram

Ever since watching American's Kerri Walsh Jennings & April Ross in the Olympics I have been dying to get back on the sand to play some volleyball. Last night I joined a local meetup that was getting together to play for fun. Let's just say I didn't know how out of shape I was. I woke up this morning sore as can be. While I only lasted an hour it was great to get out there. I didn't know anyone so I was more impressed I got the nerve to join! Next up is playing tennis again! 

Today I saw a friend in from Florida! Looking forward to my last weekend at the beach! I can't believe next weekend is Labor Day. This summer really flew by!

Any fun plans this weekend?


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Let's Talk.....Exploring Red Bank, NJ

I was born and raised in Monmouth County, NJ. There are so many beautiful towns filled with charm and wonder. Red Bank is one my favorite local towns and one I don't visit enough.

Red Bank is located on the southern bank of the Navesink River, in northern Monmouth County. The town embodies the best of everything including casual and fine dining, specialty shopping, fine arts and galleries, and theaters and performing arts. From Brunch to Nightlife you have your choice of cuisine and atmosphere. You can go from Tiffany's to a consignment shop or many other small local businesses.

"The primary mission of the Count Baise Theatre is to serve the people of the State of New Jersey by providing a broad spectrum of quality entertainment and education programs that reflect and celebrate the diversity of the region; foster understanding and appreciation for the ennobling power of the performing arts; and create opportunity for cultural enrichment for people at all economic levels." Having attended concerts, shows and educational seminars I can say next to Broadway this is one of my favorite theaters.

Yesterday I decided to spend the afternoon walking around, window shopping and shooting on the marina.

Fire House

Tree Lined Street


Downtown Architecture

Cute Restaurant
With outdoor courtyard

Favorite Saying on Pillow at Cabana 19
I found myself browsing the the racks of one of my favorite local consignment shops, Greene Street which offers high-end to moderate new and consigned clothes and accessories for men and women!

I loved Cabana 19 and the beach vibe feeling it offered! See the above pillow that I almost landed up purchasing.

There are so many great boutiques to visit and I look forward to visiting again in the fall for some great pieces to add to my wardrobe as well as home decor pieces!

I didn't eat in town this time but a few of my favorites are; Gotham, The Brothers Restaurant, and Surf Taco.  I look forward to trying out more in the area as well as hit up The Downtown for more Happy Hours!

What small local towns do you enjoy?


Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Favorites #2

Happy Friday!

Below are just a few of my favorites this week; however I do want to send thoughts and prayers to Baton Rouge. There is always a way to help and if you are inclined like I was here are some ways to give back. With the Olympics and Presidential Campaign there hasn't been much news on the damage of the flooding in Baton Rouge. Share this with your friends, families and networks. We need to come together in a time like this.

  • I for one am amazed by the 2016 Olympic athletes and the unbelievable stories coming from Rio. Today Helen Maroulis won the the FIRST EVER USA GOLD in Freestyle Olympics defeating the three time Olympic Champion from Japan. 
  • I know what I am making Labor Day Weekend for a friend's BBQ; FROSE, thanks to the amazing post by Grace
  • OMG Refinery29 released AltEmojis. They are perfect and hysterical and thanks to Lucie Fink I downloaded them right away. I already sent my sister the Avocado so she can bring home some after work and my best friend the But First Coffee. 
  • At age 29 only now I am I OK with wearing more dresses. These 12 Plus-size dresses are cute! Now only to find a date, oh the stories I could share of my online dating chronicles. 
  • The White top Black bottom combo Jessica paired is perfect for a night out on the town and one that I am eager to recreate. 
  • On a more serious note this post by Michelle Iannou, my twitter friend has brought me to tears and more importantly a perspective of disability and unconditional love. 
  • I absolutely love Apartment Therapy and have for a while. I am constantly inspired by the tours and trying to change my one room often. This profile on Annie Carroll, the General Manager, Video for Apartment Therapy on Career Contessa had me in deep thoughts most of the week! 

What are you loving or has inspired you this week? Share in the comments.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Hill Country BBQ Review

When 25 family members meet in New York City for dinner it's no easy task to find a cuisine let along a restaurant we can all agree on. Thanks to my cousin's girlfriend who works at Hill Country BBQ we were able to make a 7pm reservation. Parking in midtown on Friday night is a breeze if you ask my father, a parking pro. So with that we made the drive into NYC to meet up with everyone. There were two big reasons for this dinner, the first being that our cousin from San Francisco was in and we hardly get to see her. The second reason another cousin is leaving for Thailand at the end of August to teach and cook and we won't see him for at least 2 years. Getting together really was a highlight of my summer. That's the entire family on my dad's side minus my sister who was on vacation and another cousin who lives in Florida were present!

Family Group Shot! 
If you are not familiar with the restaurant it is such a great concept. I had never been there before; however heard nothing but wonderful reviews so I was extremely excited to get my hands on some ribs. Our family is big brisket and rib eaters so this was perfect!

When you arrive you are handed a card that looks like something you would fill out; however if you read the front you don't mark anything. This was about a 10 minute conversation and I believe our waiters were asked about 15 times about the card. First we ordered drinks and then went in pairs to the counter.

Such a cool concept. So easy to pay and make separate checks at the end. 

At the first counter you order your BBQ meat. Since the meat is hand carved, the actual weights may vary. I knew I was getting spare ribs and was just unsure how many I could eat. I decided on three and knew if I had leftovers I would either take them home or my dad would finish them off. Once you order your meat you move over to another counter which is made up of all the amazing sides. You can order individual or family size and even though we were a large party we all had different ideas of what we wanted. Some shared while others just ordered on their own which worked out for me. If you know me I have a deep love for cucumbers so when I saw "Cool As Cucumber Salad" I was sold, no questions asked. I also ordered a side "Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese." I finished all but one spare rib that my dad took off my hands. 

Felt like sleep-away camp with the trays. Everything was delicious!

During the month of August our family celebrates 3 birthday's and we ended the night with 3 desserts and sang pretty loud. Some customer's joined in while others just sat and stared. Large party in the middle of the room makes for some good entertainment. 

L-R; Me, Aunt, Cousin from CA, and her mom! 
Thank you to Hill Country BBQ for being such a great host! The long table made it easy for us to play musical chairs so everyone could catch up with other members of the family. The wait staff hands down was so accommodating to our large group. We must have asked 100 questions and requested refills on beverages every 5 minutes. 

I would totally go back with a smaller party next time and maybe do some sharing of meats/sides. I think that would work great for a party of 4-8. 

Can't wait until we are all together again, hopefully for a wedding or another great celebration! 


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bike4Chai Ride

Last Thursday I arrived back in Newark Airport around 8:30am and waited for my aunt to pick me up. My morning and night ended around the same time( 1:30am) so by 9:45 when she arrived I was exhausted; however I knew there wasn't a chance of me falling asleep in the car for the 4 hour ride we head ahead of us.

My aunt, great aunt and uncle were headed to Upstate New York to watch my father finish his two day ride for Bike4Chai. Before we would arrive at the finish we would search for a cemetery and a place to pick up our tickets. GPS in the car gave a different route then the GPS on the phone and my uncle also tried to be a GPS. With twist and turns and tight roads came my first ever experience with getting car sick. Here is where I wish I could have fallen asleep. With all the right and wrongs turns we found both places  and with that drove off to find Camp Simcha, where the finish line of the bike race would be.

With a little over an hour until the riders would arrive we found spots in the shade as well as along the fence so we could hope to get a clear view of my dad who would be in a sea of 500 rides, all wearing the same uniform. Sure if I knew which helmet he was wearing and what bike he was riding it would have made things easier but why ask those questions.

Upon our arrival we saw hundreds of family members and friends singing and dancing on the camp grounds, watched the campers in their parade, and listened to wonderful stories about how these campers all who had cancer were living life to the fullest and enjoying their summer. Every few minutes I stopped to reflect. Some of the stories are heartbreaking while others are inspiring.

Aunt & Uncle at the Finish Line

Finish Line
Around 3pm we heard the first announcement that riders would arriving momentarily. Everyone broke out into song "We Are The Champions" and let me tell you that was all I needed to hear to start cheering on! Talk about an emotional moment it was the moment I saw my dad ride through the finish line. He raise $5,245 dollars, rode 180 miles over two days, and played a part in sending 430 children to camp. One of his motto's is "It's not about the numbers" but on Thursday at the finish line it was all about the numbers. 500 riders raised $6,853,817.59. What an incredible celebration to be part of!

Steven Schwartz- Cyclist
Some may say he is crazy, others may say nothing at all, I for one will always say my father is amazing man and true inspiration.

Fuel Anyone? 
Any exhaustion I was feeling from no sleep and lots of travel disappeared the moment I stepped onto the grounds of Camp Simcha. Watching the counselors with campers and seeing the smiles on so many faces is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. What a wonderful organization Chai Lifeline is. Check out Bike4Chai Facebook Page for more photos and videos of the event!


Monday, August 8, 2016

Wedding Wednesday in Florida

3:30am Tuesday Morning meet dad to drive me to airport

4:15am Arrive to mass chaos at Newark International Airport

5:10am Through Security and at the gate

6:00am Takeoff

8:50am Arrive at Palm Beach International Airport and await the bride to be who picks me up as we head to breakfast at First Watch. Eggs Benedict Florentine for the win.

11:00am Drop bags at house. Run three quick errands.

2:00pm Lunch

3:30pm Get ready for Rehearsal and Dinner. The wedding was held at the Addison in Boca Raton, FL. We worked together at CCFA when I lived in Florida and she became a wonderful friend in my life. I was so glad I could make the trip to watch her marry her best friend.

5:30pm We Rehearsed.

6:30pm We ate pizza and drank beer at Bob's Pizza in Deerfield Beach, FL.

9:00pm Home. Catch some TV before crashing hard in order to be wide awake for hair and makeup in the early morning.

7:00am Up and ready for a full day of wedding prep!

8:00am Picked up by Alyssa and off to the hotel for Hair/Makeup/Girl Time.

8:30am-4:00pm Hair and Makeup, catching up with friends and watching the cubs game!

4:15pm Arrive at Addison to prep for Bridesmaids photos. 

CCFA Ladies!

Moved Ceremony inside due to clouds

Preview of Reception

Love & Basketball- Their Love Story!

Wedding Cake
7:00pm Ceremony Begins

7:30pm Cocktail Hour

8:00pm Let the celebration begin! We ate, drank and danced through the night. No pictures as I was too busy on the dance floor!

12:30pm Home 

1:10am-2:30am Sleep

2:45am Pack up and call for an Uber

3:15am Uber ride to Palm Beach International 

4:10am Security isn't open yet. 

5:00am Through and coffee in hand.

6:00am Takeoff

8:20am Arrive in Newark close to 30 minutes early. 

9:45am Picked up by Aunt for a 3 hour drive to upstate New York.( That's for the next post) 

Just under 48 hours in Florida to celebrate the #McCorvey Wedding and I couldn't be more excited for them.